Den Fagre og den Morkne: Historieframstilling i Morkinskinna og Fagrskinna
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- Master theses 
This thesis explores the historical writing in the two Norse-Icelandic kings’ sagas Morkinskinna and Fagrskinna. In the period 1035-1157 the sagas cover the same historical events, but the history they put forth differs, both in narrative length and in thematic emphasis. This thesis poses two main questions; 1) How does the saga writers portray themselves as historians in the stories they tell and 2) How does the history they put forth in the sagas differ? This thesis has shown that the bastion of Norse-Icelandic saga writing, Snorri Sturluson, probably have gathered some of his thoughts on source criticism from the authors of Morkinskinna and Fagrskinna, and that they too deserve some of the recognition that has befallen Snorri. Furthermore, there are differences between the authors in the way they have put forth their narrative material and their usage of skaldic stanzas. Fagrskinna has one primary goal, the historical one, but Morkinskinna also include several stories and skaldic stanzas for their aesthetic, entertaining and stylistic value. Therefore, I argue that while the author of Fagrskinna was primarily concerned with writing history, the author of Morkinskinna also had an interest in telling stories. In the second part of this thesis I investigate the history that the saga writers put forth. I divide the society into three social groups, king, magnate and people, and investigate how the different groups are portrayed. I argue that Morkinskinna shows a great interest in the character of the Norwegian kings and the concept of kingship. Morkinskinna also includes a greater narrative concerning the other social categories in the sagas, the aristocracy and the people, thus showing a greater interest in the relationship between king and retainer. Fagrskinna on the other hand, places the king firmly on centre stage, mostly excluding negative incidents surrounding legitimate Norwegian kings. Fagrskinna is also less concerned with the other political groups in the saga, the aristocracy and the people. Thus, the history and role of the aristocracy and people in Fagrskinna are less prominent than in Morkinskinna. However, both sagas include more references to the people compared to contemporary European historiography. The people are given identity trough collective groups belonging to a specific geographic region with a clear function in the political landscape.