Snorri Sturluson (1178 – September 23, 1241) was an Icelandic historian, poet and politician. He was twice law-speaker at the Icelandic parliament, the Althing. He was the author of the Younger Edda or Prose Edda, which is comprised of Gylfaginning ("the fooling of Gylfe"), a narrative of Norse mythology, the Skáldskaparmál, a book of poetic language, and the Háttatal, a list of verse forms. He was also the author of the Heimskringla, a history of the Norse kings that begins, in Ynglinga saga with the legendary history, and moves through to early medieval Scandinavian history. He is also thought to be the author of Egils Saga.
As an historian and mythographer, Snorre is remarkable for proposing the theory (in the Prose Edda) that mythological gods begin as human war leaders and kings whose funereal sites develop cults (see euhemerism). As people call upon the dead war leader as they go to battle, or the dead king as they face tribal hardship, they begin to venerate the figure. Eventually, the king or warrior is remembered only as a god. He also proposed that as tribes defeat others, they explain their victory by proposing that their own gods were in battle with the gods of the others.
Snorri was raised by Jon Loptsson in Odda. His marriage made him a wealthy man, and in 1206 he settled in Reykholt, where he constructed buildings preserved to the present day. He quickly became known as a poet, but was also a successful lawyer, and from 1215 became the lögsögumađr , or president of Iceland's legislative assembly and supreme court.
Snorri sailed the summer of 1218 from Iceland to Norway, by royal invitation. There he became well-acquainted with King Hákon Hákonarson, visited Skule Jarl during the winter, and in the summer of 1219 the law speaker Eskil Magnusson (Bjälboätten) and his wife Kristina Nilsdotter Blake in Skara. They were both related to royal family and gave Snorri a nice insight into the history of Sweden.
Snorri became involved in an unsuccessful rebellion against King Haakon IV, the King of Norway, and was subsequently killed at Reykholt (Borgarfjörđur) where he had been living most of the time.
A statue of Snorre Sturluson by Norwegian sculptor Gustav Vigeland was erected at Reykholt in 1947.
Note about the name: The correct Icelandic spelling of the name is Snorri Sturluson. Snorre Sturlason is the modern Norwegian spelling, whereas "Sturlusson" is a corrupt spelling. Since Sturluson is a patronym and not an actual surname, Snorri Sturluson should always be referred to as either "Snorri Sturluson" or "Snorri", never as "Sturluson" only.