Snorri Sturlason, Or Snorre Sturluson, an Icelandic historian, born on the shores of Hvammsfiord, a bay on the W. coast of Iceland, in 1178, murdered at Reykholt, Sept. 22, 1241. He was of distinguished family, was carefully educated, and became proficient in Greek and Latin. Though originally poor, he became by marriage the wealthiest man in Iceland; and his legal attainments, bravery, and eloquence obtained for him the highest positions in the field and in the althing or legislature. His residence was a fortified stronghold, and he appeared in the national assembly with a retinue of hundreds of armed followers. Traces of his sumptuous abode at Reykholt still exhibit stone structures of finished elegance for hot baths, supplied from boiling springs through an aqueduct of hewn stone 500 ft. in length. On being elected to the chief magistracy, he gave proof of great judicial learning. In 1213 he produced an ode to a Norwegian warrior, which was requited by liberal presents. This poem was followed by others, one of them composed in honor of the king of Norway, Haco V. On a visit to Norway he was made an honorary marshal of the court, and upon re-embarking for Iceland was loaded with rich presents.
Faction and disorder prevailed throughout Iceland, and the king of Norway seized the moment to advance his designs for the subjugation of the island. Snorri became involved in domestic feuds, and in 1237 appeared in Norway as a fugitive. The king created him a jarl, but soon became hostile to him, and Snorri returned to Iceland. Emissaries were employed to seize him and send him in irons to Norway, but he was murdered at Reykholt by his son-in-law, Gissur. His most important work is the Heimskringla, or " Chronicle of the Norwegian Kings." It is probable that in this work ho made large use of the writings of Ari Frode, fragments of whose Scandinavian histories, composed a century earlier, still remain. The Younger Edda also bears the name of Snorri Sturla-son alone, but it was gradually formed by the successive additions of several writers. The first copy of it was found by Arngrim Jonsson in 1628. The original Icelandic text of the Heimskringla was first printed by Peringskiold in 1697, though a Danish translation was current 100 years before.
The last edition is by Schoning and others, in Icelandic, Danish, and Latin (6 vols., Copenhagen, 1777-1826). There is an English translation, "The Heimskringla, or Chronicle of the Kings of Norway," by Samuel Laing (3 vols., London, 18-14).