Kings, Poets, and Outlaws: Royal Admonition in the skáldasögur

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


The thematic parallels of the sagas of warrior poets (skáldasögur) have often been noted, among these the propensity of the skáld to travel to the various courts of the tenth- and eleventh-century North Sea world. Yet, for these similarities, antagonists have very different experiences of kingship and their fates are, in part, shaped by their responses to royal admonition at critical narrative junctures. Focusing on episodes of royal advice-giving at the English court – as portrayed in Gunnlaugs saga and Egils saga – this paper argues that these are nostalgic constructs of royal agency in which the power of a king’s words to shape the fortunes of an individual serve as allegory for societal perceptions of kingship. Importantly, however, it also questions whether such motifs should be understood as linked, or whether they represent a common yet independent experience of the transformative impact of monarchies in the medieval Anglo-Scandinavian world.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventPolitics, society & Cultures: The Transformative impact of monarchies: Kings & Queens Conference 9 - Miami University John E. Dolibois European Center (Digital), Luxembourg, Luxembourg
Duration: 1 Jul 20203 Jul 2020
Conference number: 9


ConferencePolitics, society & Cultures: The Transformative impact of monarchies
Abbreviated titleKQ9
Internet address


  • skáldasögur
  • warrior poets
  • kingship
  • royal admonition


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