- Hi Tim,
Long time no see on this list. I think you have a point indeed since
of course the minstrels were the persons spreading those poems and
everyone making his own adding to the story or own variant to suit the
lord he entertained. The main reason I think that so much had been
preserved on Iceland was the fact that most, not to say all, of the
leading courtminstrels at all the Scandinavian courts came from a very
few and selective Icelandic families who claimed just a background
from what the Icelanders called Eastscandinavia ,i.e. Sweden and
Denmark, and also had a fertility cult background from Frey and Freya
which was not common on Iceland. The mother was leading in those
families meaning the children took name after her - a matrilinear
tradition from the fertilitycult - and she used to be the local
frejadis- pristess of Freya - and the farm type they possessed was
called Sauerbær-farms implying that they used animal fertilizer-dunge-
from breeding of pigs in farming. The families stuck strong to their
origin and preserved and told stories from the time before landnam for
their children. In such way the deeds of their ancestors were never
totally forgotten and those traditions hence originally came from
--- In email@example.com, "Tim Caldwell" <vikingtimbo650@...>
> I'm no "expert on lore", but I thought I'd throw in another theory.
> Tales like these tended to flow from people to people in the form of
> alliterative songs/poems recited by professional gleemen, who
> travelled the Germanic world learning, composing and reciting their
> songs. If the Gothic chieftains prized these poets even more than
> other Germanic peoples, and rewarded visiting poets particularly
> generously, the poets would be particularly attracted to Gothic
> lands, and learn a disproportionate amount of Gothic material.
> The Anglo-Saxon poem Widsið might support this idea quite well. The
> poet who composed it, who says he hailed from the Myrging people of
> Angeln, mentions his visit to the Gothic king Eormanric right at the
> start of the poem, and later says:
> "And I was with Eormanric for quite a while,
> where the king of the Goths was graciously kind to me.
> He, the ruler of the city-dwellers, gave me a collar
> in which there was six hundred coins' worth
> of pure gold, counted by shillings."
> This generosity towards poets seems particularly significant given
> that the poet had already described Eormanric as an oath-breaker;
> and Anglo-Saxon tradition remembers Eormanric as a particularly
> cruel man who in some ways represented the antithesis of the
> Germanic kingly ideal. The poet also says:
> "From there I travelled through the Gothic homeland --
> I always sought out the best companions --
> that was Eormanric's household guard!"
> To a traveling poet, the best hosts will be the ones who are most
> appreciative of their work, and the most open-handed!
> It was primarily these minstrels who were responsible for recording
> Germanic tribal "history", and their activities would be a decisive
> factor in controling what information and news was disseminated and
> remembered, and what was not. Whatever the explanation for
> the "Gothic stamp" is, it's quite possible that the travelling
> minstrels had an important part to play.