Eerikinkronikka [Eric’s Chronicle]

6 March 2014 | Mini reviews, Reviews

Eerikinkronikka kansi2.inddEerikinkronikka
[Eric’s Chronicle]
Finnish translation by Harry Lönnroth, Martti Linna
Helsinki: Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura [Finnish Literature Society], 2013. 221pp.
ISBN 978-952-222-445-3
€35, hardback

Eerikinkronikka (Erikskrönikan) is both an important source of knowledge about Finland’s medieval history and a chivalric epic poem. The Old Swedish text was possibly written during the 1320s by Duke Eric’s secretary, the priest Torkel Kristinsson. Philologist Harry Lönnroth and historian Martti Linna have translated the work into Finnish for the first time, in prose form, with an extensive introduction by Lönnroth. The epic depicts the political history of Sweden in the 13th and 14th centuries, and also the struggle for power within the family of the well-known statesman Birger Jarl (died 1266). One of the central characters is the idealised Duke Eric (died c.1318), whose son becomes King Magnus Eriksson. The narrator comments on events in a laconic style that often has a religious tinge. The epic gives a vivid and dramatic account of chivalric life and life in the kingdom of Sweden, of which Finland was a part. At the time the Swedes were consolidating their power in Finland; the work mentions Birger’s ‘crusade ‘ to Häme in southern Finland, the founding of Häme Castle, and battles in Karelia.

Translated by David McDuff

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