is an autobiographical poem of the legendary Viking hero Ragnar Loðbrók, composed and spoken while Ragnar awaits his death in the snakepit of King Ælla. We discuss the content and form of the poem, compare it to the Saga of Ragnar Loðbrók and His Sons
, and examine the place of the History Channel’s Vikings
in the literary tradition of this legendary figure. There’s also some discussion of kennings, quirks of early modern scholarship, and the evolution of literary fads throughout history. We also tackle the question “Unicorns: Fact or Fiction?” in a nearly serious manner.
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Go to vikingnorse.com for more information about Jesse Byock’s Viking Language series, or just click the links below the images to purchase a copy through Amazon.
Viking Language 1 Learn Old Norse, Runes, and Icelandic Sagas (Viking Language Series)
Viking Language 2: The Old Norse Reader (Viking Language Series) (Volume 2)
Click Krakumal Translations to read a .pdf of the verses covered in this episode.
If you’d like to have your very own copy of Krákumál, pick up a copy of Ben Waggoner’s The Sagas of Ragnar Lodbrok
And to prove the poem’s lasting popularity, check out this performance of Peder Syv’s (1631-1702) adaptation of the 12th century Krákumál from Velbastað on the Faroe Islands in 1959 (at least that’s what the tag on the YouTube video says). Now that’s an impressive journey through the ages.