Snorri Sturluson (1178-1242) grew up in the home of one of Iceland’s most learned men. There he was taught to read and write, and he gained deep insight into the sagas, history, geography, theology and law. Through marriage and deft skill, Snorri became very wealthy and gained much political power. But he is best known as a writer, especially for his Prose Edda about Nordic mythology.
Heimskringla commences with narratives of origins and sagas before it chronicles the lives of Nordic and especially Norwegian kings and earls. With an unmatched narrative style, Snorri tells of their lives and fates, battles and wars, but he also depicts their feelings and describes domestic life. The chronicle takes us up to 1177, approximately the time when king Sverri and Snorri Sturluson were born.
In Heimskringla, we read many of the stories that form the backdrop to several ancient ballads, e.g. Ormurin Langi and Guldbrand’s Ballad.