Historisk tidskrift 131:2 • 2011
Innehåll (Contents) 2011:2
Bland drottningar och hertigar. Utblickar kring riddarromaner
och deras användning i svensk medeltidsforskning
In the company of Queens and Dukes. Reflections on medieval
romances and their use in Swedish medieval research
The article argues that it is possible to gain insight into
the ideology and political culture of the aristocratic elite,
the “frälse”, by analyzing three medieval romances from the early
14th century collectively known as “Eufemiavisorna”.
discusses and problematizes “Eufemiavisorna” as fiction and/
or a source for courtly ideals primarily by discussing the role
of the translator/ author. Leading scholars have shown that the
translator altered passages, sometimes quite extensively. This
was probably done in order to adapt the story to a Swedish audience,
who might not understand the nuances of chivalric culture. Since
courtly culture had found its way into Sweden prior to the introduction
of “Eufemiavisorna”, it is also likely that the translator/ author
was influenced by this when adapting the romances.
The overall purpose of romances is also discussed. Scholars
have seen them as either didactic or entertaining, but resent
research has interpreted romances differently and argue that
they should be seen as dualistic, as both didactic and entertaining.
Courtly ideals are also discussed and placed in a European
context by analyzing courtly love. It is clear that the translator/author
de-emphasized this concept. In European research, courtly love
is seen as an essential part of romances, and a leading scholar
argues that romances and the part of courtly love in them was
constructed by the clergy as a means of civilizing the aristocracy.
Since courtly love is de-emphasized in “Eufemiavisorna”, and
instead courtly behavior, feasts and battle scenes are emphasized,
this might not have been the purpose with these particular romances.
Instead, it is possible the author/translator wanted to provide
models of behavior in order to educate the “frälse” in European
Finally, the romances are placed in a socio-political
context through a discussion of the formation of courtly culture
and chivalric ideals in relation to Swedish courts and Swedish
royal power. The influence of ideas from several European kingdoms
and courts on Sweden is also discussed.
Sweden, Norway, middle ages, romance, Eufemiavisorna, courtly
and chivalric ideals, courtly love