The Earliest States of Eastern Europe
DG-2013, 527-551

Первый историограф Исландии Сэмунд Мудрый

G. V. Glazyrina

The article is dedicated to a medieval Icelandic historian, the priest
Sæmundr Sigfússon (Sæmundr the Wise, born in 1056, died in 1133), who
was working on his history of Norwegian kings at about the same time as
the famous historian Ari Þorgilsson (Ari the Wise) was writing The Book of
Icelanders. Historiographical work created by Sæmundr was lost. Its content
has been partly restored based on references to it preserved in sagas and
other sources. The facts of Sæmundr’s biography and those of his historical
and literary activity are studied in the article in the context of some of
the most important processes and events in the history of Iceland of the
eleventh to the fi rst third of the twelth century; most of them are related
to the consolidation of Christianity in the country and the establishment of
the national church. In particular, such issues are in the focus of attention
as the access to education in the Middle Ages, the formation of centers of
learning in Iceland and training of priests among Icelanders; the expansion
of land possession by the Church, the development and implementation
of the legislation which established the introduction of tithes; the use of
vernacular writing, the codifi cation of laws, and many others. Being not
only a priest and historian, but also a public fi gure, Sæmundr directly
participated in many events that had historical signifi cance for the country
and its people. Broad education in different fi elds of knowledge (particularly
in the humanities — history, literature, legislation), recognized by the most
infl uential and competent people of Iceland, allowed Sæmundr to work on
a number of laws that changed political and economic conditions in Iceland
signifi cantly.

Keywords:
Middle Ages, Iceland, christianization, centers of learning, introduction of writing, codification of laws, historical writing, Sæmundr Sigfússon (Sæmundr the Wise), Ari Þorgilsson (Ari the Wise)
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