The following essay is intended as a contribution to the current reassessment of the rela- tionship of Old Icelandic saga literature to the European mainstream and of the ways of literary tradition in dealing with oral sources.
Approaches to paganism and uses of the pre-Christian past in Geoffrey of Monmouth and Snorri Sturluson
The dissertation is a comparative analysis of Geoffrey of Monmouth’s and Snorri Sturlusson’s descriptions of paganism and uses of pre-Christian history. What was the function of these pre-Christian narratives, and what apporaches were used by the two authors to construct a complete image of the past, acceptable to their contemporary societies?
The list by Snorri or incorporated in his work, reproduced here in an appendix, comes after comparable lists of the names of legendary sea-kings, the names of—or for—giants, and is followed by a brief list of bynames for Þórr and then the names of the Æsir. These lists are an important part of the skaldic tool kit and are introduced by Snorri’s comments on word-play—homonymity—and the substitution of metonyms or homologues for more common words in poetry.