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Ólafr hvítaskáld Þórðarson

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Ólafr hvítaskáld Þórðarson

For the Icelandic footballer, see Ólafur Þórðarson (footballer).

Óláfr Þórðarson was an Icelandic skald and scholar who was born about 1210 and died in 1259. He is usually called Óláfr hvítaskáld ("Olaf the white skald") in contrast to a contemporary skald called Óláfr svartaskáld ("Olaf the black skald"). Óláfr was the paternal nephew of Snorri Sturluson and spent his youth in Snorri's home where he had an important part of his scholarly education. Particular important is his Grammatical Treatise.

After his father's death in 1237, he travelled to Norway, where he stayed with king Haakon IV of Norway and Jarl Skule, before he went to Denmark and its king Valdemar II of Denmark. He probably also visited king Eric XI of Sweden. In 1240, he served as king Haakon's housecarl in the Battle of Oslo.

Back in Iceland, he was the island's lawspeaker from 1252 to 1256. He became a famous skald and composed poems about the three Scandinavian kings, which are partially included in the Knýtlinga saga, which he probably made from material he collected in Denmark.

public domain.

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