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Definition of SAXO GRAMMATICUS
ca 1150–after 1216 Dan. hist.
(flourished 12th century–early 13th century) Danish historian. Little is known of Saxo's life except that he was from Sjælland, born to a family of warriors, and probably served as clerk to the archbishop of Lund. His 16-volume Gesta Danorum (Story of the Danes) is the first important work on the history of Denmark and the first Danish contribution to world literature. A panorama of his country's antiquity and traditions, it inspired many 19th-century Danish Romantic poets and was the original source of the story of William Shakespeare's Hamlet. Saxo's brilliant, ornate Latin earned him the name Grammaticus in the 14th century.