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Sigrid Storråda - hur och varför blev hon till?

f. 1945, fil.dr., professor emeritus i historie, Norges teknisk-naturvitenskapelige universitet.

birgit.sawyer@telia.com

  • Side: 77-88
  • Publisert på Idunn: 2015-04-09
  • Publisert: 2015-04-09

Först nästan tvåhundra år efter slaget vid Svolder möter vi den person som ska ha underblåst fiendskapen mellan Sven Tveskägg och Olav Tryggvason och orsakat den senares död. Denna nyckelperson är drottning Sigrid, änka efter Erik Segersäll, sannolikt allra först introducerad av Gunnlaugr Leifsson. Därefter möter vi Sigrid i Fagrskinna och, framför allt, hos Snorre Sturlason, som ger en utförlig beskrivning av henne och förklarar tillnamnet «Storråda». Redan Lauritz Weibull förpassade Sigrid till sagornas värld, men frågan är varifrån motivets förlaga hämtades och varför. Här föreslås att islänningar känt behov av att rentvå Olav Tryggvason från all skuld i striden mot Sven Tveskägg, och som en «dea ex machina» uppfann Gunnlaugr Sigrid och modellerade henne efter den ryska furstinnan Olga.

Sigrid the Strong-minded – how and why did she turn up in Scandinavian history?

Ever since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Scandinavian contacts across the Baltic have increased, and meant a lot academically. Several conferences have dealt with medieval contacts between Scandinavia and our eastern neighbours, and we can hope for a wider knowledge of this topic. Here, I show how a totally fictitious person was imported from the East in order to explain a purely Scandinavian conflict. This was Sigrid «the Strongminded», said to have been the wife/widow of the Swedish king Erik the Victorious, who died c. 995. In preserved Old Norse literature, she first appears towards the end of the 12th century, i.e. almost 200 years after she is said to have existed. Traditionally, her first appearance is attributed to the Icelandic monk Oddr Snorrason, but Sveinbjörn Rafnsson has convincingly argued that it was Oddr’s contemporary, Gunnlaugr Leifsson, who introduced her to Icelandic history. Later, we meet Sigrid in Fagrskinna and, above all, in Heimskringla, where Snorre Sturlason gives a very detailed description of her inciting her second husband, Sven Tveskägg, to attack Olav Tryggvason, thereby causing Olav’s death. Lauritz Weibull had already dispatched Sigrid into the realm of myths, but the question is why this motif was used and where it came from. Here, it is suggested that the Icelandic monk Gunnlaugr felt it necessary to exonerate Olav Tryggvason from all guilt in disputes with Sven Tveskägg and as a «dea ex machina» he invented Sigrid, modelling her on the Russian Princess Olga.

Keywords: Battle at Svolder, Sigrid the Strongminded, Princess Olga, Gunnlaugr Leifsson.
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