Heimskringla thread

  • Thread starter marcus
  • Start date

arildno

Science Advisor
Homework Helper
Gold Member
Dearly Missed
9,948
130
I would like to join in on this thread; I have read a few extracts of Procopius earlier, it was quite an enjoyable treatise..

marcus, I also think the period from approx. the collapse of the Roman West to the High Middle ages is a fascinating time.

It is quite some time since I read Heimskringla, so perhaps it's time to reread it?
I have a vague remembrance of having read Gregor of Tour's "History of the Franks" once; that might be another choice.

Evo, this is just me speculating:
It is well-known that Justinian, stepped into the role as the prime defender/promoter of the Christian faith/strength of the church, perhaps more strongly than rulers before him. (I think this is fairly well attested, not only by Procopius)

Now, as any other man, Justinian would have his foibles&weaknesses. But if he displayed himself to the public as the prime defender of God&moral authority, couldn't a person close by him (like Procopius) easily interpret J as being hypocritical, and hence, over time come to despise him utterly (whatever J "objectively" might have done)?


And to both of you, many thanks for congratulating me on the 14th!
 

marcus

Science Advisor
Gold Member
Dearly Missed
24,712
783
Good, we're set.

It's 11 here so i'm going off to bed.
tomorrow we can read some more of the Secret History and
sort procopius out a little.
 

Evo

Mentor
22,875
2,350
arildno said:
Evo, this is just me speculating:
It is well-known that Justinian, stepped into the role as the prime defender/promoter of the Christian faith/strength of the church, perhaps more strongly than rulers before him. (I think this is fairly well attested, not only by Procopius)

Now, as any other man, Justinian would have his foibles&weaknesses. But if he displayed himself to the public as the prime defender of God&moral authority, couldn't a person close by him (like Procopius) easily interpret J as being hypocritical, and hence, over time come to despise him utterly (whatever J "objectively" might have done)?
Arildno, I am so happy you will be the third. Yes, what you say is very likely. These are the points I am missing right now.

marcus explained who procopius was, but what I have been missing is his mindset in all of this. He obviously holds both T & J in contempt, but as the person hired to chronicle their lives, this seems at odds. Perhaps I should first get more background, a better understanding of procopius, before I read more of what he has to say? Or just more of the history surrounding this event in time?

Goodnight marcus!!
 

Ian

87
1
Marcus,

I've read through some of your posts on the 'Heimskringla'. It is very interesting, but are you sure you know what it is you are reading?

The Heimskringla is a re-writing of the Hebrew scriptures - but put in such a way that the people of that day could understand and also conceal their sacred knowledge.
 

marcus

Science Advisor
Gold Member
Dearly Missed
24,712
783
well it has been 16 hours since that was posted and no one
seems to want to pursue it.

Arildno said he read H. a long time back and wouldnt mind rereading, so at least in theory we could be reading and discussing both books I like so much namely both Snorri and Procopius.

Question to Arildno about Heimskringla: As I get back into reading it, I see that all the favorite things I remember come from Olaf Tryg
this is a very entertaining saga with lots of good stories.
Suppose you had to pick just one other King's saga that would also be like that, what would it be?
Arildno please name just one other piece of Heimskringla which could be a favorite because of it's good anecdotes. We can try it out.

I also have forgotten a lot from when I read this book.

Question to Evo about Procopius: I have felt for a long time that P. is so outraged by T. because he adores her. She is very fascinating to a man like him----a celibate priest, a clerical worker, a man of books. she is an erotic dancer, she performs with animals in the circus, she throws wild parties, she has a lot of fun and she completely ignores him but he cant stop thinking of her and so it turns to a furious anger.
Can you imagine this?
Does it seem reasonable to you?
his only possible defense from her charisma is rabid condemnation
(perhaps it is a very common thing that happens, not just in this one situation)

Question to Evo and Arildno: I want to say that the thing about the middleages is that in medieval times the Europeans were just the way they always are, except that it was more obvious then.

I am encouraged by what Arildno said a couple of posts back about the medieval period--- maybe you agree?
 

arildno

Science Advisor
Homework Helper
Gold Member
Dearly Missed
9,948
130
marcus:
If I should pick just one saga (and not be allowed to choose O.T), I have always enjoyed the story about Harold Hairfair.

It begins ominous enough, in Halvdan the Black's tale (his dad), when 12 year old Harold wants to join a party (or something), but is rebuffed by his Dad for being merely a child and told to get out.
Incensed by this indignity, the boy makes arrangements with a Finnish sorcerer to make the ice on the Randsfjord rot, so that when Halvdan rides over it, the ice breaks, and he drowns.
And thus, Harold became king..

Ok, it's a rather fanciful story that can't be seen as particularly reliable. However, there are quite a few good anecdotes in it; they might not be strictly true, but I would think that these anecdotes survived/developed
on basis on the personality Harold was perceived to possess (they might accurately reflect his "public image" as king).


I have no trouble with reading Procopius either; as it happened, I read it through yesterday in order to gain a basis to discuss from.
I noticed that Procopius explicitly stated that he himself had not seen J turn into a devil, but had heard it from very good sources..
 

Evo

Mentor
22,875
2,350
marcus said:
Question to Evo about Procopius: I have felt for a long time that P. is so outraged by T. because he adores her. She is very fascinating to a man like him----a celibate priest, a clerical worker, a man of books. she is an erotic dancer, she performs with animals in the circus, she throws wild parties, she has a lot of fun and she completely ignores him but he cant stop thinking of her and so it turns to a furious anger.
Can you imagine this?
Does it seem reasonable to you? his only possible defense from her charisma is rabid condemnation
(perhaps it is a very common thing that happens, not just in this one situation)?
It makes perfect sense. She must have been quite a woman. I find it interesting how often in history lust/love for a beautiful woman seems to have so strongly affected the minds and actions of men.

marcus said:
I am encouraged by what Arildno said a couple of posts back about the medieval period--- maybe you agree?
About the time period? Yes, I agree.

arildno said:
If I should pick just one saga (and not be allowed to choose O.T), I have always enjoyed the story about Harold Hairfair.
I was just reading about Harald Fairhair yesterday. An interesting story of how he got the name, being previosly called Harald Shockhead due to an oath he swore to Gyda not to comb or cut his hair until he ruled all of Norway.

You two pick the story, I'm sure whatever you decide on will be great.
 

arildno

Science Advisor
Homework Helper
Gold Member
Dearly Missed
9,948
130
I have felt for a long time that P. is so outraged by T. because he adores her. She is very fascinating to a man like him----a celibate priest, a clerical worker, a man of books. she is an erotic dancer, she performs with animals in the circus, she throws wild parties, she has a lot of fun and she completely ignores him but he cant stop thinking of her and so it turns to a furious anger.
Can you imagine this?
Does it seem reasonable to you? his only possible defense from her charisma is rabid condemnation
(perhaps it is a very common thing that happens, not just in this one situation)?
From my impression of Theodora and Procopius, I would say that Procopius would be just the type of guy Theodora would love to poke fun at..delighting in humiliating/ridiculing him..
(I feel a bit sorry for Procopius, I think she was very good at making men stumble&mumble in front of her..)

I was just reading about Harald Fairhair yesterday. An interesting story of how he got the name, being previosly called Harald Shockhead due to an oath he swore to Gyda not to comb or cut his hair until he ruled all of Norway.
Perhaps this tidbit is of interest:
The original Norse word for "Shockhead " (Luva) had two meanings:
Shockhead, and birthcaul (I think that's the word in English).
Now, most historians tend to believe that Harald got his byname Luva due to having been born with a birthcaul, because it is documented that this was regarded as a portentious event; that something special could be expected from such a child.
Hence, that a chieftain's son might get a byname due to a somewhat unusual birth has a certain credibility.
 

marcus

Science Advisor
Gold Member
Dearly Missed
24,712
783
Hello Evo and Arildno, in the last two days I completely lost focus.
I was reading Saint Olaf's saga and got to the place where the King of Sweden refers to St. O as "that fat man".
I didnt know Olaf was so heavy

As for Halfdan falling through the ice, my version gives the real reason. That winter, some farmers had been watering their cattle on the ice. they drive them out on the ice and make a hole in the ice for them to drink.
And the dung had darkened the ice. ordinary ice reflects, but
dark-stained ice absorbs heat from sunlight, and so it was rotten.

But in Arildno's version, that he remembers, it was because of that Finn (finns are often sorcerers) who rotted the ice for Harald because he was angry at his Dad. Every boy should have a sorcerer for a friend and then fathers would all be much nicer, or else!

And it was exquisite that procopius who is lying a mile a minute suddenly stops and says "I have heard from reliable sources that...."
there is an elegance in storytelling when the teller sometimes distances himself and goes "the men of Egypt say that...."
and "the Persians believe that the Indians have so much gold because they obtain it in the following way...."

you know what I mean---he pretends to be a judicious man who is prudently evaluating his sources.

And so Arildno reminded me that Procopius did not himself witness his employer the Emperor Justinian changing into a demon and back, but he was told of this by others whose word he trusted.

They saw the horns sprouting and being reabsorbed and a kind of blur around his face as he was changing---so that Justinian's true nature of a devil was revealed to them.

I expect that we have all had employers like that at one time or another.

BTW I am completely unfocussed and distracted (apologies) and my mind keeps going back to what Herodotus said about what the men of Persia told him about how the Indians get their large supply of gold.

It involves both a male and female camel.

Evo would you care to try something like "Herodotus gold camel" or
"Herodotus gold camel ant"?

I have the Penguin classic edition of herodotus, but it is doubtless online too.

the Persians had invaded Greece and been beaten
and Herodotus was traveling around in the persian empire
doing research for his history book by asking questions
and one day some persians said to themselves "here is this Greek,
let us see what we can get him to believe" and so, in a nice
way they took revenge for the dreadful seabattle of Salamis and
other indignities they had suffered.
 
Last edited:

arildno

Science Advisor
Homework Helper
Gold Member
Dearly Missed
9,948
130
Hi again!
marcus said:
I was reading Saint Olaf's saga and got to the place where the King of Sweden refers to St. O as "that fat man".
I didnt know Olaf was so heavy
Actually, St.Olaf was not St.Olaf in life, but went by the nickname (guess what?) "Olaf the huge"

As for Halfdan falling through the ice, my version gives the real reason. That winter, some farmers had been watering their cattle on the ice. they drive them out on the ice and make a hole in the ice for them to drink.
And the dung had darkened the ice. ordinary ice reflects, but
dark-stained ice absorbs heat from sunlight, and so it was rotten.

But in Arildno's version, that he remembers, it was because of that Finn (finns are often sorcerers) who rotted the ice for Harald because he was angry at his Dad.
I believe both versions are present in my Snorri (I'll check it), but the other is soo mundane..
Every boy should have a sorcerer for a friend and then fathers would all be much nicer, or else!
Or even better, be one oneself to get rid of all the Dursleys in the world..
And it was exquisite that procopius who is lying a mile a minute suddenly stops and says "I have heard from reliable sources that...."
It's one of the most effective techniques in the art of character assassination..
I have the Penguin classic edition of herodotus, but it is doubtless online too.
I have that one myself (a 1950's edition, I think); it's a much more enjoyable read than Thucydides "History of the Pelopennesian wars"
T. is of course, a far more reliable historian than Herodotus, but did he really have to put in corroborating evidence from every f**king person involved in that war (all the range from diplomats to boatswains)..:eek:
BTW I am completely unfocussed and distracted (apologies) and my mind keeps going back to what Herodotus said about what the men of Persia told him about how the Indians get their large supply of gold.
Hm.. I've missed out on that one..
Do you know by the way, how Herodotus believes lions are reproduced?
 

marcus

Science Advisor
Gold Member
Dearly Missed
24,712
783
arildno said:
Do you know by the way, how Herodotus believes lions are reproduced?
I will get my Penguin copy and look in the index under "lions, reproduction"
thanks for the lead!
 

marcus

Science Advisor
Gold Member
Dearly Missed
24,712
783
there is no "lion" index entry in my copy of H.
[edit: found it anyway III, 108, how awful!]

for directions on how to get the gold using male and female camels
look in Book III
around section number 103-105
(I am not sure of the numbering)
 
Last edited:

Evo

Mentor
22,875
2,350
marcus said:
there is no "lion" index entry in my copy of H.
[edit: found it anyway III, 108, how awful!]

for directions on how to get the gold using male and female camels
look in Book III
around section number 103-105
(I am not sure of the numbering)
I'm still at work, but I'm dying to see what you guys are reading. I will search for it when I get home.
 

Evo

Mentor
22,875
2,350
I found both how lions reproduce and the ants/gold/camels.

Another favorite of mine is section III, 113. About what has to be done to prevent the sheep's tails from dragging the ground.
 

marcus

Science Advisor
Gold Member
Dearly Missed
24,712
783
that is so charming!
and very thoughtful of the shepherds

this time i suspect that you had the book already
since you gave no link?
 

Evo

Mentor
22,875
2,350
marcus said:
that is so charming!
and very thoughtful of the shepherds

this time i suspect that you had the book already
since you gave no link?
No, I found it here. Sorry, I'm so distracted right now between too much work and not enough sleep.

http://www4.wittenberg.edu/academics/hist/dbrookshedstrom/105/herod.htm [Broken]
 
Last edited by a moderator:

marcus

Science Advisor
Gold Member
Dearly Missed
24,712
783
Evo said:
No, I found it here. Sorry, I'm so distracted right now between too much work and not enough sleep.

http://www4.wittenberg.edu/academics/hist/dbrookshedstrom/105/herod.htm [Broken]
not to be sorry! I also am a bit distracted. Henceforth we will proceed leisurely-wise, get sufficient sleep, and enjoy our reading the more for it.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Evo

Mentor
22,875
2,350
marcus said:
not to be sorry! I also am a bit distracted. Henceforth we will proceed leisurely-wise, get sufficient sleep, and enjoy our reading the more for it.
My problem is that when I start reading, I can't stop and I get no sleep.

I am enjoying reading everything you and arildno have suggested so far.
 

marcus

Science Advisor
Gold Member
Dearly Missed
24,712
783
Once upon a time (this is a true story) there was a very wicked Duke of Milan
Im not sure but I think his name was Strozzi
or something like that, perhaps we could find out

this Duke was very sinful and he knew it, he did all kinds of bad things which he knew would make God angry at him

so the Duke devised a strategy of always having a lot of servants with him whose job it was to jump on him in case of thunderstorms

he went right on abducting virgins from the villages and doing all the other things he wasnt supposed to do, but he had these people ready to jump on him
and that way, he believed, he was safe from being struck by lightning

because the Almighty, in his justice, would not slay the innocent servants on top of the Duke. So as soon as he heard thunder the guilty Duke would fling himself on the ground and be flopped on by his innocent servants.

this was his shield against Righteous Vengeance carried out by means of an electrical storm.

this was in the Renaissance. I expect it was 16th century.

It was a european thing to do and involved a physical understanding of lightning bolts as well as a somewhat legalistic grasp of ethics---he cleverly deduced that the bolts would have to get the servants first if they were on top of him, so that if they were virtuous he was safe.
 

marcus

Science Advisor
Gold Member
Dearly Missed
24,712
783
time for bed,
there may be other translations of herodotus on the web
that we could compare with the one you found---for style

I like the penguin one which is by a man born in 1896 whose name
was Aubrey de Selincourt---but i also like things to be available on the web

so I would be interested to know what is available
besides that one at the Wittenberg website.
perhaps sometime in the next few days I will have a look
 

Evo

Mentor
22,875
2,350
I should be outside working on my yard. Oh well, never enough time. Perhaps I should quit my day job. :wink:

marcus and arildno, here are some of the links I have found and have been reading through.

This looks like a very interesting site. I haven't had a chance to really read through much yet, but it does have a lot of information on procopius, Justininan and Theodora, as well as Herodotus. It also has a discussion board.

This is the link to Justinian & Theodora.

http://www.isidore-of-seville.com/justinian/1.html

This is the home page. There are many links, texts & sources reviewed and posted. I plan to read through these, perhaps you an arildno may be interested in looking at this to see if there is useful information to discuss.

http://www.isidore-of-seville.com

Here are some other links I went to on Herodotus.

http://classics.mit.edu/Herodotus/history.html

http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~clase116/txt_herdodotus.html

This is medieval/ancient history forum I found. It's brand new, so not too many members yet, but it is currently active.

http://www.talk-history.com/forum/ [Broken]

Another Herodotus link.

http://www.herodotuswebsite.co.uk/
 
Last edited by a moderator:

marcus

Science Advisor
Gold Member
Dearly Missed
24,712
783
Evo said:
I should be outside working on my yard. Oh well, never enough time. Perhaps I should quit my day job. :wink:

marcus and arildno, here are some of the links I have found and have been reading through.

This looks like a very interesting site. I haven't had a chance to really read through much yet, but it does have a lot of information on procopius, Justininan and Theodora, as well as Herodotus. It also has a discussion board.

...
This is medieval/ancient history forum I found. It's brand new, so not too many members yet, but it is currently active.

http://www.talk-history.com/forum/ [Broken]

Another Herodotus link.

http://www.herodotuswebsite.co.uk/

I was glad to see the mosaic portrait of Theodora from the church in Ravenna
It is interesting that they have a medieval/ancient history forum.
You found some good stuff!

We were in Big Sur today and just got back 10 minutes ago. I just turned on the computer to see if there was any post on the Heimsk. thread. Lo and behold.

the Nika riot was a good case where Theodora saved justinian's bacon (i.e. throne and probably life) by a cool decisive ruthlessness she had---a clearer idea of how to use power

It was a little like Los Angeles and they were into stock car racing
and it was connected to organized crime and political parties and justinian tried to suppress the excesses of it and the masses of the bubbas took offense and backlashed. they were getting ready to depose J but theodora knew just what to do which was to massacre a stadium full of racing fans, this got their attention and defused the situation. Please correct me if I am wrong.

so in the material you hunted up there was an account of the famous Nika riot

I have to turn in. It was a long drive. Tomorrow is another day. thanks for the links!
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Evo

Mentor
22,875
2,350
marcus said:
I was glad to see the mosaic portrait of Theodora from the church in Ravenna
Yes, I've never seen it in person though. I must say I would not have thought her that attractive based on the mosaic.

marcus said:
We were in Big Sur today and just got back 10 minutes ago.
How nice! I envy you living close to the coast. I grew up near the ocean and now I live in the plains of the midwest. I really miss the beach.

marcus said:
the Nika riot was a good case where Theodora saved justinian's bacon (i.e. throne and probably life) by a cool decisive ruthlessness she had---a clearer idea of how to use power

It was a little like Los Angeles and they were into stock car racing
and it was connected to organized crime and political parties and justinian tried to suppress the excesses of it and the masses of the bubbas took offense and backlashed. they were getting ready to depose J but theodora knew just what to do which was to massacre a stadium full of racing fans, this got their attention and defused the situation. Please correct me if I am wrong.
I love your analogy. You pretty much nailed it.

I remember reading a lot of this when I was maybe 5-6 years old. My mother had an entire series of books on ancient history with each book covering a different period and I read them all. That was a VERY long time ago. It's all coming back now plus there are bits and pieces that I don't remember ever reading.
 

marcus

Science Advisor
Gold Member
Dearly Missed
24,712
783
Evo said:
I remember reading a lot of this when I was maybe 5-6 years old. My mother had an entire series of books on ancient history with each book covering a different period and I read them all. .
that was a bit of luck
BTW in the Karla McLaren thread I thought both you and that other person had some very astute things to say, and I am not engaging in flattery
you saw through her to some extent---buttering up the pompous skeptics, who would be vulnerable to that----but presumably for a good cause: making them change their behavior

I'm a bit discouraged---just dont have the gumption to go through procopius (even though I see the book as entertaining and shedding considerable light on the period)

also I think nobody but me enjoys that anecdote about the duke of Milan

and the business about the camels was a bit obscure
the slow ones are left trailing behind so that the ants will occupy themselves with those while the men on the fast camels get away
I see the Persians impressing Herodotus, the eager listener, with the
fiendish cleverness of this scheme

If I were a young historian perhaps i would specialize in the reign of justinian and theodora----they built the Haghia Sophia
as well as having all that monkeybusiness and circus act stuff

it was a piece of the Roman Empire that lasted till, I dont know, 1200.


My cousin's father was chief of security in Leningrad during the Stalin purges and eventually he was executed and his wife and the two boys were sent to a camp---she was friends with a lot of poets and composers
(she knew Akhmatova) and eventually a composer who may have been her lover before she went to the Gulag, well he used influence and got the family out. And he is the oldest of the two boys and still alive and he has written a memoir about her and her friends and his childhood and that terrible time
and he gave me a draft and inside the front cover there was a Latin inscription----it epitomizes the aristocratic ideal in education, teach your son "To ride, to draw the bow, and tell the truth"

"Equitare, arcum tendere, veritatem dicere" or something like that, Self adjoint would know the precise latin.

Well, two days ago I was in Big sur and was reading herodotus and
where do you suppose that Latin motto comes from?
herodotus Book I, paragraph 138 I think. i dont have the book with me to check. And it was the way the persian nobles raised their sons. I think herodotus reports it in connection with cyrus.

So it must exist in Greek in the original and have been translated.

And a funny thing: Isaak Dinesen used it as an epigraph for "Out of Africa" so that it can be connected if you wish with your impressions of meryl Streep in Kenya around 1910. You see, Karen Blixen was a Danish aristocrat
and she would not let you forget it either. And she had a sense of style so she put the finest possible motto in her autobiographical memoir-----and old Slava our russian cousin stole it.

A lot of things I try to communicate I just dont manage to, partly because of laziness and leaving things out. Or because they are a bit idiosyncratic perhaps.

i like Isaak Dinesen stories. I like Babette's Feast

Aristocratic traditions are useful because they preserve ideals
including ideals of beauty
 

Evo

Mentor
22,875
2,350
marcus said:
Once upon a time (this is a true story) there was a very wicked Duke of Milan---he cleverly deduced that the bolts would have to get the servants first if they were on top of him, so that if they were virtuous he was safe.
I somehow missed this. That's so funny! :biggrin: His servants must have thought he was nuts.

I will respond to your last post tomorrow when I can think clearly.
 

Related Threads for: Heimskringla thread

  • Last Post
Replies
6
Views
2K
  • Last Post
2
Replies
42
Views
6K
  • Last Post
Replies
18
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
10
Views
2K
  • Last Post
2
Replies
46
Views
4K
Replies
15
Views
3K
Top