By Frederic Amory
Saints, Scholars and Heroes: Studies in Medieval Culture (1979)
Introduction: “Une histoire de Hasting à travers les chroniques serait fort instructive,” Lucien Musset has said, very truly. Not that such history has not been already attempted: sixty years back Henri Prentout devoted a chapter to this Viking in his critical study of Dudo of St.-Quentin as a historian. Anyone who wishes to evaluate the continental Latin sources of Hasting’s biography must begin with the discussion of them in this chapter, which supplements and correct the standard history of the founding of Normandy by Walther Vogel. Unfortunately, however, for his critical acumen with the continental Latin soruces, Prentout was, like most scholars of his day, innocently trusting of the historicity of the Icelandic sagas, and felt quite free to make arbitrary and erroneous identifications of Hasting and Bier costae ferrae with the Icelandic pair Hallsteinn Þorolfsson and Bjorn Ketilsson in the Landnambok and Eyrbyggjasaga.