Saxo Grammaticus on Slavic Pre-Christian Religion: The Relevant Fragments from Book XIV of Gesta Danorum Stanislaw Sielicki Author
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Among the literary sources on the pre-Christian religion and mythology of the Slavs, the Western, German-Danish, and Latin texts, while predominantly highly fragmented and biased, distinguish themselves when compared to the Arab and Old Rus' sources by their relative scrupulousness and less obvious agendas. Even in the backdrop of the other Western sources, accounts of Saxo Grammaticus are especially characterized by the detailed and rigorous descriptions and the minimal use of ideologically motivated narrative instruments.Unfortunately, the English translation of book XIV, Gesta Danorum, written by Erik Christiansen, is highly difficult to access. As well, Oliver Elton's translation of certain parts related to the topic fragments, included in his edition of books I-IX, lacks a desired level of accuracy in the details of the cult description. The following translation, with all its imperfections, is intended to make Saxo Grammaticus' texts more accessible for a wider circle of readers, both specialists and not; present frequently overlooked fragments; and correct some of the errors, traditionally creeping from one of the Saxo's account overview to another. The Latin original accompanies the translation, and an attempt was made to preserve the original structure of the text in English translation as much as possible without impeding its semantics and the ease of understanding. Another goal of this translation is to give a second possible reading to vague fragments, comparing to existing translations, without penalizing the accuracy.


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