Pre-Modern Seminar No 4: Daniel Sävborg
On February 8th prof Daniel Sävborg will give a talk called:
"Source Criticism and the Disappearance of the Viking Age History of Sweden: The Case of the Fyrisvellir Battle".
The seminar will take place in the library of Skandinavistika (Ülikooli 17) at 18.15.
Wine, bread, fruit, cheese and ham will be served.
A short presentation of the lecture:
"For a long time Swedish history books contained a large part about events in the Viking Age. Especially prominent was the battle of Fyrisvellir, usually dated to 988, between the Swedish king Erik the Victorious and his nephew Styrbjörn. The sources used were mostly Icelandic sagas, where these events were mentioned several times; there was even a special Styrbjörn's saga, one of the very few sagas about Sweden. Bur also other sources were used, like skaldic poems and runic inscriptions. In 1911, exactly 100 years ago, a small book was published by the Swedish historian Lauritz Weibull, which changed Swedish historiography dramatically. He used what he called an "historical-critical method" and totally rejected the Icelandic sagas as sources for Viking Age history. Not much was left of Swedish Viking Age history after that, and it has never come back. He also claimed that the battle of Fyrisvellir never took place at all, and there was a hard scholarly debate about exactly that. In my talk I wish to take up the discussion again. Partly because it is methodologically interesting: How can we combine sources of different kinds (like allegedly contemporary skaldic poems, contemporary runic inscriptions, 13th and 14th Century sagas, 12th Century learned literature etc.)? Are the Icelandic sagas valid as historical sources for the Viking Age at all? Can we actually know anything about events in Viking Age Sweden? But the problem is also relevant for me, since I, with a more philological approach, to Old Norse texts have found several sources about these events not known by Weibull and the historians. I will present them for the first time for you."