YMMV / Gesta Danorum

  • Narm: The Dane Saxo tried very hard to write an artistic and "learned" Latin (chiefly in imitation of post-classical Roman writers like Valerius Maximus). The result is an ornate and stilted style which is characterized by, in the words of translator Oliver Elton, "joy in platitude and pomposity" and "proneness to say a little thing in great words". Naturally, this easily crosses the line into "entertaining in an unintended way" terrain. A few samples:
    • In book VI, Saxo describes how, much to Starkather's digust, the good old Danish ways are corrupted by the foreign luxury introduced by King Ingild's German wife. This culminates in a vicious condemnation of German cuisine (made especially funny because German cuisine isn't associated with particular sumptuousness or finesse nowadays):
      For when [Ingild] had once abandoned himself to the manners of Teutonland, he did not blush to yield to its unmanly wantonness. No slight incentives to debauchery have flowed down our country's throat from that sink of a land. Hence came magnificent dishes, sumptuous kitchens, the base service of cooks, and all sorts of abominable sausages.
    • Note that the sausages are not abominable because they taste bad, but because they are so delicious it's decadent, and that's abominable.
      [Starkather] was also very wroth that they should go to the extravagance of having the same meat both roasted and boiled at the same meal; for he considered an eatable which was steeped in the vapours of the kitchen, and which the skill of the cook rubbed over with many kinds of flavours, in the light of a monstrosity.
    • Saxo on shieldmaidens ("amazons") (book VII):
      "There were once women among the Danes who dressed themselves to look like men, and devoted almost every instant of their lives to the pursuit of war, that they might not suffer their valour to be unstrung or dulled by the infection of luxury. For they abhorred all dainty living, and used to harden their minds and bodies with toil and endurance. They put away all the softness and lightmindedness of women, and inured their womanish spirit to masculine ruthlessness. (...) These women, therefore (just as if they had forgotten their natural estate, and preferred sternness to soft words), offered war rather than kisses, and would rather taste blood than busses, and went about the business of arms more than that of amours. They devoted those hands to the lance which they should rather have applied to the loom. They assailed men with their spears whom they could have melted with their looks, they thought of death and not of dalliance."