Like the protagonist of the play Sigurd Slembe (1862), the hero of this epic poem, Arnljot Gelline, is based on saga-literature, mainly the stories of Olaf the Holy, and the missionary king Olav Trygvason in the Heimskringla of the Icelandic poet Snorri Sturluson. Arnljot Gelline was a minor historical figure in the latter saga, but Bjørnson here affords him a central role. The murder of his father when he was only eight provides the motive for Gelline’s violent revenge; he converts to Christianity, and dies in support of King Olaf at The Battle of Sticklestad (which took place on August 31, 1030).
The poem occupied Bjørnson, on and off, for over ten years. He dedicated the poem to the Folk-High-Schools of the N…
Rees, Kathryn Jane. "Arnljot Gelline". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 08 September 2016
[https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=35809, accessed 16 November 2018.]