Sturlungaöld

03 Sturlunga Helgi og Jan.004

Helgi Þorláksson

Friður, völd og vandræði

Fimmtudaginn 29. október 2015 kl. 16.30
Öskju 132

Helgi Þorláksson
Helgi Þorláksson

Fyrirlesari fer yfir kenningar og tilgátur sem settar hafa verið fram um valdasamþjöppun á þjóðveldistíma, hvenær hún muni hafa byrjað og náð hámarki. Hann fer líka orðum um ástæður sem dregnar hafa verið fram fyrir þessari þróun og til hvers hún leiddi að mati fræðimanna. Meginatriðið er að kynna eigin kenningu um þetta en hún snýst um að ósk eftir friði og hugmynd um að „sterkir menn“ gætu tryggt hann hafi átt hljómgrunn í kringum 1200. Dæmi um þetta verða rakin og grafist fyrir um ástæður, ekki síst áhrif kirkjunnar og vandræði sem tengdust fæðardeilum. Loks verður fjallað um það af hverju valdasamþjöppun leiddi ekki til aukins friðar heldur þvert á móti.

Helgi Þorláksson er prófessor emeritus í sagnfræði við Sagnfræði- og heimspekideild Háskóla Íslands.

—o—

Jan Alexander van Nahl

Mun engi maðr öðrum þyrma

Thoughts on Universality and Contingency in Heimskringla

Fimmtudaginn 29. október 2015 kl. 16.30
Öskju 132

Jan Alexander van Nahl
Jan Alexander van Nahl

One of the most significant concepts in Gylfaginning and Ynglinga saga is the idea of a kraptr fylgjandi, distinguishing successful rulers in a mythical era. In the context of the intensive use of kraptr in Old Norse theological treatises, mostly serving as a translation of Latin virtus, the depiction of these early rulers can be read as contributing to a Christian theology of history. This idea of a divine predetermination allows for the establishment of a meaningful history of mankind, but also restrains people from questioning the world order.

In Heimskringla, this order is closely linked to kingship, and the numerous genealogies are a hint towards the idea of a continuity of history, too. However, quite often, this royal descent is displayed both as stirring heavy quarrel among relatives and confederates and as being affected by mere coincidence. In these cases, the idea of a meaningful continuity of history competes against more rational explanations of historical development, centring on disruption. In other words: history is experienced as contingent, and its alleged unity and universal meaning thus have to prove itself over and over again.

Given Heimskringla’s composition during Sturlungaöld, this fundamental questioning of traditional orders can be interpreted as a new stage in Northern historiography, arising from and contributing to societal and political agitation in 13th-century Iceland. The close reading of important passages in Heimskringla sheds further light on this thesis which contributes to a new understanding of possible intentions behind the Kings’ sagas.

The lecture will be delivered in English.

Jan Alexander van Nahl studied in Bonn and Uppsala, and holds a Dr. phil. from the university of Munich. He is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Iceland and the Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies. Jan has published on Old Norse literature, History of Science, Theology, Modern Literature, and the Digital Humanities.