The Gesta Danorum, or Story of the Danes, is a
history of Denmark written in Latin by Saxo Grammaticus in the twelfth century. The work contains both fantasy and fact and includes many tales of interest to storytellers.
Little is known about the author other than that he seems to have had a full academic education. He was commissioned to write this work at the end of the twelfth century by the archbishop of Lund.
The Gesta Danorum is divided into sixteen books. The ﬁrst nine deal with the Nordic gods and heroes. Also contained in this work is the story of Prince Amled, who was the inspiration for William Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
The second half of the work covers Danish history up to the author’s time during the reign of King Canute VI. The main purpose of the work was to praise the Danish nation and its line of kings, although it does not seem to have been widely known outside of Denmark until fairly recently.