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The fragmentary medieval chronicle, Historia Norwegie, is the oldest piece of historical writing from Norway, and probably our first specimen of Norwegian literature. It was composed in Latin in the second half of the twelfth century, perhaps in the Oslo area. Only the beginning of the work exists today, but it offers, among other things, a detailed report of a shamanic séance among the Sami as well as a unique early geographical description of Norway and the North Sea realm. Furthermore, we are presented with an early version of the Norwegian kings' genealogy, beginning with the mythical Yngling kings and ending, abruptly, with Olav Haraldsson's claim to the throne in 1015.
This is the first critical edition of the Latin text since 1880, accompanied by a modern English translation by Peter Fisher. The introduction and full commentary in English take stock of previous scholarships and are new contributions to the interpretation of the text.
The late Inger Ekrem (1938-2000) was working as a senior research fellow at the University of Oslo, Department of Classics. Her main publications belong within the field of 16th and 17th century Norwegian Latin literature.
Lars Boje Mortensen, PhD, is a professor of Medieval Latin at the University of Bergen. He is the author of a book on the Lombard history of Paulus Diaconus, various editions and numerous articles on early and high medieval historiography and learning.
Peter Fisher is a professor emeritus from Anglia Polytechnic University in Cambridge. He has published translations of Saxo Grammaticus' Gesta Danorum and Olaus Magnus' Historia de gentibus septentrionalibus.
The Latin Text & English translation
Essay on Date and Purpose
"The twelfth-century Historia Norwegie (HN) is probably the earliest literary work in Latin by a Norwegian to come down to us. One strength of this new edition, the first of HN in almost 125 years, is that its editors are specialists in Medieval Latin. Their commentary, rich in observations about medieval Latin spellings, usage, sources, vocabulary, and syntax, explains in detail the reasons for preferring one reading over another. Another strength is that the editorial language is English: just as the anonymous author of HN used Latin to convey his story to an international audience, so the English notes, apparatus, introduction, and commentary of this edition make it accessible to the scholarly community at large.
The editors of HN have done their part to draw public attention to this first step in the rise of Latin letters in Norway. They and the Museum Tusculanum Press have produced an attractive and affordable hardbound book, whose meticulously prepared Latin text and apparatus will be an important resource for years to come.
- Roberta Frank, Yale University / The Journal of Medieval Latin
"Mortensen's introduction constitutes a sound presentation of the very latest thinking on Historia Norwegie and is a valuable contribution independent of the edition and commentary ... Fisher's translation, like his translation of Saxo Grammaticus, is excellent. Stylistically unobtrusive, it strikes a near-perfect balance between the original and readable English ... [T]he commentary functions at a uniformly high level and is an excellent contribution to the study of Historia Norwegie ... Anyone seeking to delve deeper into these issues, both through an excellent edition and translation and a stimulating gathering of secondary materials, must consult this important book."
- John Lindow, University of California, Berkeley, Speculum, October 2005
Lars Boje Mortensen som redaktør
Olavslegenden og den latinske historieskrivning i 1100-tallets Norge
2000, ISBN 978-87-7289-616-8, hft
2004, ISBN 978-87-7289-907-7, indb
The Making of Christian Myths in the Periphery of Latin Christendom (ca 1000-1300)
2006, ISBN 978-87-635-0407-2, indb
2006, ISBN 978-87-635-0612-0, e-publikation
Medieval Narratives between History and Fiction
2012, ISBN 978-87-635-3809-1, indb
Lars Boje Mortensen som forfatter
1991, ISBN 87-7289-126-2, hft
Peter Fisher som oversætter
2006, ISBN 978-87-635-0612-0, e-publikation
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