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Sagans svenskar. Synen på vikingatiden och de isländska sagorna under 300 år.

Wallette, Anna LU (2004)
Abstract (Swedish)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

Detta är en historiografisk studie av hur några välkända svenska historiker har använt sig av de isländska sagorna när de presenterat perioden som vi idag kallas vikingatid. Vikingatiden har haft en viktig funktion i konstruktioner av kollektiva identiteter, och i sökandet efter relevanta förfäder, vilket passar bra ur ett historiekulturellt perspektiv.



När medicinprofessorn Olof Rudbeck skrev sitt berömda historieverk Atlantican 1679–1702 kom de isländska sagorna att bli viktiga för honom. Det behövdes en nationell ursprungsmyt, och Rudbeck uppvärderade förfäderna. 1600-talets svenskar hade ärvt dygder från ett modigt och välorganiserat folk. De hade de äldsta – och bäst... (More)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

Detta är en historiografisk studie av hur några välkända svenska historiker har använt sig av de isländska sagorna när de presenterat perioden som vi idag kallas vikingatid. Vikingatiden har haft en viktig funktion i konstruktioner av kollektiva identiteter, och i sökandet efter relevanta förfäder, vilket passar bra ur ett historiekulturellt perspektiv.



När medicinprofessorn Olof Rudbeck skrev sitt berömda historieverk Atlantican 1679–1702 kom de isländska sagorna att bli viktiga för honom. Det behövdes en nationell ursprungsmyt, och Rudbeck uppvärderade förfäderna. 1600-talets svenskar hade ärvt dygder från ett modigt och välorganiserat folk. De hade de äldsta – och bäst bevarade – dygderna, och var ett av de äldsta – och bäst organiserade rikena i världen. Han skilde inte mellan olika nationaliteter eller etniska grupper. Istället såg han skillnader inom samma befolkningsgrupp.



Forskning under 1600-talet baserade sig på etnisk teologi, byggd på den bibliska skapelsemyten. Denna idé försvagades under 1700-talet, när bibeln började ses mer som ett moraliskt rättesnöre. Rikshistoriografen Olof von Dalin och historieprofessorn Sven Lagerbring var intresserade i vad som hade överlevt från skyternas tid in i skandinavernas vikingatid. De använde de isländska sagorna i stor utsträckning när de målade upp ett lagbundet samhälle, karaktäriserat av rättvisa och enkelhet, byggt av hårt arbetande män och kvinnor. Förfäderna idealiserades som de ursprungliga demokraterna, och ädla hedningar.



Under 1800-talet fick sagorna nya läsare. Läsmönstret hade förändrats, vilket i sin tur ökade sagornas tillgänglighet. Mytologin uppmärksammades på ett nytt sätt, och inte som historiska källor per se. Historieprofessorn Erik Gustaf Geijer hävdade att den svenske medborgaren skulle känna igen sig själv i denna litteratur, och känna igen förfädernas kärlek till fosterlandet och dess invånare.



Populärhistorikern Carl Grimberg talade år 1913 om det germanska arvet i Norden. Han var intresserad av vikingatida människors krigiska natur, och han använde sagorna som exempel på en nordisk mentalitet. Därtill var sagorna, trots att de erkändes som skrivna av islänningar, representanter för det typiskt svenska. Kritiska diskussioner om källor i Grimbergs tid utvecklades av forskare som koncentrerade sig på vikingatiden och på sagorna när de uppmuntrade till ett positivistiskt ideal. Relationen mellan källorna, tidsspannet mellan händelsen och beskrivningen av den, och upphovsmannens avsikt med beskrivningen måste beaktas. Sagorna klarade sig inte bra i dessa diskussioner. De skrevs inte ned före 1200-talet och skulle därför ej användas för att beskriva vikingatiden enligt historikerna. När Ingvar Andersson och Jerker Rosén skrev sina historiska synteser om Sveriges historia på 1940- och 1960-talen dominerade denna radikala källkritik. Sagorna användes inte längre som historiska källor. De sågs bara som litteratur. Vid 1900-talets mitt ville historiker inte producera nationella ursprungsmyter med rötter i vikingatid. (Less)
Abstract
“The Swedes of the Sagas. A Historiographical Study of the Old Norse Sagas and the Construction of the Viking Age.”



This thesis is related to the construction of collective identities, and the search for a common ancestry. There are different types of characteristics which have been associated with the Viking Age, and this is a historiographical study of how a few, well-known, Swedish historians have used the Icelandic Sagas in their presentation of the period known today as the Viking Age. The Professor of Medicine, Olof Rudbeck, wrote a famous piece on Swedish history, called Atlantica (1679–1702). The Icelandic Sagas came to be of considerable importance for him when he upgraded the ancestors of the Swedes. The 17th... (More)
“The Swedes of the Sagas. A Historiographical Study of the Old Norse Sagas and the Construction of the Viking Age.”



This thesis is related to the construction of collective identities, and the search for a common ancestry. There are different types of characteristics which have been associated with the Viking Age, and this is a historiographical study of how a few, well-known, Swedish historians have used the Icelandic Sagas in their presentation of the period known today as the Viking Age. The Professor of Medicine, Olof Rudbeck, wrote a famous piece on Swedish history, called Atlantica (1679–1702). The Icelandic Sagas came to be of considerable importance for him when he upgraded the ancestors of the Swedes. The 17th Century Swedes embodied the oldest – and best preserved – virtues, and furthermore, inhabited one of the oldest – and best organised – realms in the world. But research during the 17th Century was based on ethnical theology, and Rudbeck did not distinguish between different nationalities or ethnic communities. Instead, he saw differentiation within a common stock. The Historian of the Realm, Olof von Dalin, and the Professor of History, Sven Lagerbring, visualized a law-abiding community in the Old Norse Sagas, characterised by justice and simplicity, and hard-working men and women. The ancestors were idealised, not as the proud Viking-warrior, but as original democrats, and noble heathens. During the 19th Century, the Sagas acquired new readers. Mythology received new attention, but not as historical sources as such. Erik Gustaf Geijer, Professor of History, argued that citizens of the Swedish nation should be able to recognize their forefathers’ love for their homeland, expressed in freedom and equality. The best-selling historian Carl Grimberg was interested in the war-like nature of the Nordic-Germanic Viking. But the critical discussion in Grimberg’s day was developed by scholars who concentrated on the Viking Age, and the Sagas, when they encouraged a positivistic ideal. When Ingvar Andersson and Jerker Rosén wrote their historical syntheses, in the 1940s and the 1960s, a more radical criticism of sources dominated. The Sagas were not treated as historical sources anymore. They were exclusively seen as fiction. However, as I have shown in this thesis, Rosén uses them in passing. But in the middle of the 20th Century, Swedish historians did not want to produce any ethnic myths of origin for the nation that had supposedly originated in the Viking Age. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
opponent
  • Professor Aronsson, Peter, Linköping University
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
view of history, Olof Rudbeck, Jerker Rosén, national identity, Sven Lagerbring, Icelandic Sagas, history writing, History-culture, Carl Grimberg, Erik Gustaf Geijer, Ingvar Andersson, Olof von Dalin, History, Historia
pages
410 pages
publisher
Sekel Bokförlag
defense location
Historiska institutionen sal 3
defense date
2004-10-02 10:15
external identifiers
  • Other:ISRN: LUHFDA/HFHI-2004-1124-SE-410
ISBN
91-975111-0-1
language
Swedish
LU publication?
yes
id
2383c52e-bded-4f0e-bd4b-9f82cfd447f7 (old id 21503)
date added to LUP
2007-05-28 10:55:06
date last changed
2016-09-19 08:45:08
@misc{2383c52e-bded-4f0e-bd4b-9f82cfd447f7,
  abstract     = {“The Swedes of the Sagas. A Historiographical Study of the Old Norse Sagas and the Construction of the Viking Age.”<br/><br>
<br/><br>
This thesis is related to the construction of collective identities, and the search for a common ancestry. There are different types of characteristics which have been associated with the Viking Age, and this is a historiographical study of how a few, well-known, Swedish historians have used the Icelandic Sagas in their presentation of the period known today as the Viking Age. The Professor of Medicine, Olof Rudbeck, wrote a famous piece on Swedish history, called Atlantica (1679–1702). The Icelandic Sagas came to be of considerable importance for him when he upgraded the ancestors of the Swedes. The 17th Century Swedes embodied the oldest – and best preserved – virtues, and furthermore, inhabited one of the oldest – and best organised – realms in the world. But research during the 17th Century was based on ethnical theology, and Rudbeck did not distinguish between different nationalities or ethnic communities. Instead, he saw differentiation within a common stock. The Historian of the Realm, Olof von Dalin, and the Professor of History, Sven Lagerbring, visualized a law-abiding community in the Old Norse Sagas, characterised by justice and simplicity, and hard-working men and women. The ancestors were idealised, not as the proud Viking-warrior, but as original democrats, and noble heathens. During the 19th Century, the Sagas acquired new readers. Mythology received new attention, but not as historical sources as such. Erik Gustaf Geijer, Professor of History, argued that citizens of the Swedish nation should be able to recognize their forefathers’ love for their homeland, expressed in freedom and equality. The best-selling historian Carl Grimberg was interested in the war-like nature of the Nordic-Germanic Viking. But the critical discussion in Grimberg’s day was developed by scholars who concentrated on the Viking Age, and the Sagas, when they encouraged a positivistic ideal. When Ingvar Andersson and Jerker Rosén wrote their historical syntheses, in the 1940s and the 1960s, a more radical criticism of sources dominated. The Sagas were not treated as historical sources anymore. They were exclusively seen as fiction. However, as I have shown in this thesis, Rosén uses them in passing. But in the middle of the 20th Century, Swedish historians did not want to produce any ethnic myths of origin for the nation that had supposedly originated in the Viking Age.},
  author       = {Wallette, Anna},
  isbn         = {91-975111-0-1},
  keyword      = {view of history,Olof Rudbeck,Jerker Rosén,national identity,Sven Lagerbring,Icelandic Sagas,history writing,History-culture,Carl Grimberg,Erik Gustaf Geijer,Ingvar Andersson,Olof von Dalin,History,Historia},
  language     = {swe},
  pages        = {410},
  publisher    = {ARRAY(0x84dbb50)},
  title        = {Sagans svenskar. Synen på vikingatiden och de isländska sagorna under 300 år.},
  year         = {2004},
}