The Danish History, Books I-IX eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 487 pages of information about The Danish History, Books I-IX.
who adds a third letter written by himself to Bishop Urne, vindicating his application to Saxo of the title Grammaticus, which he well defines as “one who knows how to speak or write with diligence, acuteness, or knowledge.”  The beautiful book he produced was worthy of the zeal, and unsparing, unweariable pains, which had been spent on it by the band of enthusiasts, and it was truly a little triumph of humanism.  Further editions were reprinted during the sixteenth century at Basic and at Frankfort-on-Main, but they did not improve in any way upon the first; and the next epoch in the study of Saxo was made by the edition and notes of Stephanus Johansen Stephanius, published at Copenhagen in the middle of the seventeenth century (1644).  Stephanius, the first commentator on Saxo, still remains the best upon his language.  Immense knowledge of Latin, both good and bad (especially of the authors Saxo imitated), infinite and prolix industry, a sharp eye for the text, and continence in emendation, are not his only virtues.  His very bulkiness and leisureliness are charming; he writes like a man who had eternity to write in, and who knew enough to fill it, and who expected readers of an equal leisure.  He also prints some valuable notes signed with the famous name of Bishop Bryniolf of Skalholt, a man of force and talent, and others by Casper Barth, “corculum Musarum”, as Stephanius calls him, whose textual and other comments are sometimes of use, and who worked with a Ms. of Saxo.  The edition of Klotz, 1771, based on that of Stephanius, I have but seen; however, the first standard commentary is that begun by P. E. Muller, Bishop of Zealand, and finished after his death by Johan Velschow, Professor of History at Copenhagen, where the first part of the work, containing text and notes, was published in 1839; the second, with prolegomena and fuller notes, appearing in 1858.  The standard edition, containing bibliography, critical apparatus based on all the editions and Ms. fragments, text, and index, is the admirable one of that indefatigable veteran, Alfred Holder, Strasburg, 1886.

Hitherto the translations of Saxo have been into Danish.  The first that survives, by Anders Soffrinson Vedel, dates from 1575, some sixty years after the first edition.  In such passages as I have examined it is vigorous, but very free, and more like a paraphrase than a translation, Saxo’s verses being put into loose prose.  Yet it has had a long life, having been modified by Vedel’s grandson, John Laverentzen, in 1715, and reissued in 1851.  The present version has been much helped by the translation of Seier Schousbolle, published at Copenhagen in 1752.  It is true that the verses, often the hardest part, are put into periphrastic verse (by Laurentius Thura, c. 1721), and Schousbolle often does not face a difficulty; but he gives the sense of Saxo simply and concisely.  The lusty paraphrase by the enthusiastic Nik.  Fred. Sev.  Grundtvig, of which there have been several editions, has also been of occasional use.  No other translations, save of a scrap here and there into German, seem to be extant.

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The Danish History, Books I-IX from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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