Snorri Sturlason or Snorri Sturluson was a poet, historian and chieftain from Iceland in the 12th and 13th centuries.

Snorri was born in 1179 in Hvammur í Dalir, Iceland to Sturla Thordarson and Guðny Boedvarsdóttir, a descendant of Egill Skallagrimsson. He had two older brothers, Thordur and Sighvatur. At three he was sent away to be educated in Oddi in the house of one of the most notable chieftains in the land, Jon Loptsson. This upbringing gave Snorri an extensive background in the traditions of his homeland and the knowledge he needed to have a world view that wasn't as limited as most of his peers. His affluent life also enabled him to marry an heiress in 1199 so he could gain both land and power and put his education to good use.

Most of Snorri's greatest works were written at Reykjaholt, where he moved in 1206 and wrote between 1223 and 1235. He is best known for the Prose Edda or Snorra-Edda which is a collection of mythological tales where we have learned the most about the Norse and their gods and his culture's style of writing and poetry. In addition to this, he also wrote a history of the kings of Norway in about 1225 called Heimskringla spanning from the legendary Odin to Magnus Erlingsson (1184).

Snorri became interested in Norway after being invited there by King Haakon IV in 1218 because he was the serving "lawspeaker" on the Icelandic high court in Althing. While visiting Norway he was drawn into politics, served on the Icelandic high court from 1215-1218 and 1222-1232 and became a vassal of Haakon's. This alliance fell apart over the years and Haakon had Snorri assassinated in 1241.

Today Snorri is best known for his mythological poetry. His writing gives us a picture into his life that the Stirling saga about him by his nephew doesn't provide and paints a picture of a kind intellectual who was both in touch with the past and the future.


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