Snorri and His Death: Youth, Violence, and Autobiography in Medieval Iceland
A single detail catches our attention in a somewhat conventional description of a young warrior who has a minorrole in this medieval saga. This detail is unexpected and indeed unique in saga literature. “Hann … kallaði mjök sinn þá, er hann talaði við” (Sturlunga saga 1:351) [“he addressed many to whom he spoke as‘my’” (1:252)]. The person described referred to those to whom he wastalking as “Sturla minn,” “Þórðr minn,” “Gizurr minn,” etc. [my Sturla,my Þórðr, my Gizurr], a form of endearment still used by many Iceland-ers. Nowadays, and in all probability in the thirteenth century as well,the use of this term would automatically give the audience an idea of what sort of a person he is. Today it suggests sentimentality and perhapseven over-familiarity, a pleasant and yet aggressive person who tries ina kindly manner to dominate and even possess his interlocutor.