Saturday, May 03, 2003

Skalds: Nomad Poets of the Norse Age

Here's a little blurb I found concerning Hobopoets of the Viking age:

One might suppose that the Norse skalds (nomadic shaman-poets) formed a guild of sorts, although no formal mention is made as such, the circumstantial evidence points that direction. All of the skalds living at the same time, no matter what source you consult seemed either to know, or at least know of the other skalds. They frequently met, and exchanged tips on style, subject matter, or simply to try to outdo each other in a duel of words. And skalds often seemed to train others with the gift of poetry in skaldcraft. The Prose Edda may have its roots in a guild expressly for the training of skalds, and Snorri as one of the last to know the craft set it down for eternity to read and learn. While none of this counts as hard and true evidence that the skalds had a guild, no where is it expressly said they did not.

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