Find the word definition


Amleth (Latinized Amlethus, Old Icelandic Amlóði) is a figure in a medieval Scandinavian legend, the direct predecessor of the character of Prince Hamlet, the hero of William Shakespeare's tragedy Hamlet, Prince of Denmark.

The chief authority for the legend of Amleth is Saxo Grammaticus, who devotes to it parts of the third and fourth books of his Gesta Danorum, completed at the beginning of the 13th century. Saxo's version is similar to the one given in the 12th-century Chronicon Lethrense. In both versions, prince Amleth (Amblothæ) is the son of Horvendill (Orwendel), king of the Jutes. It has often been assumed that the story is ultimately derived from an Old Icelandic poem, but no such poem has survived; the extant Icelandic versions, known as the Ambales-saga, or Amloda-saga are considerably later than Saxo.