Gesta Danorum

related topics
{work, book, publish}
{son, year, death}
{language, word, form}
{god, call, give}
{church, century, christian}
{area, part, region}

Gesta Danorum ("Deeds of the Danes") is a patriotic work of Danish history, by the 12th century author Saxo Grammaticus ("Saxo the Literate", literally "the Grammarian"). It is the most ambitious literary undertaking of medieval Denmark and is an essential source for the nation's early history. It is also one of the oldest known written documents about the history of Estonia and Livonia.

Consisting of sixteen books written in Latin on the invitation of Archbishop Absalon, Gesta Danorum describes Danish history and to some degree Scandinavian history in general, from prehistory to the late 12th century. In addition, Gesta Danorum offers singular reflections on European affairs in the High Middle Ages from a unique Scandinavian perspective, supplementing what has been handed down by historians from Western and Southern Europe.

Contents

Books

The sixteen books, in prose with an occasional excursion into poetry, can be categorized into two parts: Books 1-9, which deal with Norse mythology, and Books 10-16, which deal with medieval history. Book 9 ends with Gorm the Old, the first factual documented King of Denmark. The last three books (14-16), describe Danish conquests on the south shore of the Baltic Sea and wars against Slavic peoples (the Northern Crusades), are very valuable for the history of West Slavic tribes (Polabian Slavs, Pomeranians) and Slavic paganism. Book 14 contains a unique description of the temple at Rügen Island.

Chronology

When exactly Gesta Danorum was written is the subject of numerous works; however, it is generally agreed that Gesta Danorum was not finished before 1208. The last event described in the last book (Book 16) is King Canute VI of Denmark subduing Pomerania under Duke Bogislaw I, in 1186. However the preface of the work, dictated to Archbishop Anders Sunesen, mentions the Danish conquest of the areas north of the Elbe river in 1208.

Full article ▸

related documents
Olaus Rudbeck
Bill Bryson
Gabrielle Roy
Alexander Trocchi
Margaret Atwood
Marie Bashkirtseff
C. Northcote Parkinson
Ernest Thompson Seton
Lars Onsager
1066 and All That
Sofia Kovalevskaya
Carol Shields
Fields Medal
René Goscinny
Thomas J. Watson
The Elements of Style
Herman Potočnik
Louise Erdrich
Nancy Huston
William Sealy Gosset
Astrid Lindgren
The Chicago Manual of Style
Chain letter
Baedeker
Raphael Holinshed
John Maynard Smith
Sergey Brin
Margret Rey
Anne Desclos
Andrey Kolmogorov