(b) To be the chiefs' lasting monument.
(c) To describe the feats of ancient warriors as a model conduct.
(d) To bring to the notice of the chiefs serious discontentment
among their subjects.
2.2 In what follows these four features will be dealt with briefly:
(a) The chiefs' propaganda appears in two ways. On the one hand
the poems were intended to show their right to power. This could, i.a.,
be done with genealogies tracing their descent from ruling families and
ultimately from Óðinn.6 On the other hand their prowess in battle was
described, as a proof of their ability to govern in a society founded on
military power. At the same time this prowess was held up as a worthy
model for their subjects.
Similar features of Tamil heroic poetry are discussed by Kailasa-
We may venture to suggest that with the progressive consolidation
of the Three Tamil Kingdoms, the concept of divine royalty, which
was, indeed, nascent in the community, blossomed into a full-
fledged political theory. Such a theory enabled the bards to con-
struct 'a poetic theogony glorifying aristocratic history'.
And in Africa by Finnegan (1976:142):
In societies where status and birth were so important, the praise
poems served to consolidate these values. As so often with pane-
gyric, the recitation of the praises of the chief and his ancestors
served to point out to the listeners the chief's right to the position
he held both through his descent from those predecessors whose
great deeds were commemorated and through his own qualities so
glowingly and solemnly depicted in the poetry.
(b) It is a common idea that the fame of the dead survives and that
poems may be lasting monuments. Parallels to this from Tamil court
poetry are furnished by Kailasapathy (1968:78):
The idea of the bards immortalizing those whom they praise seems
to be a subordinate but important theme running like a thread
6 Examples of this are the two poems Ynglingatal and Háleygjatal, which are,
however, not composed in the dróttkvtt metre. The chiefs traced their descent
from the gods, no doubt to consolidate their power. Similarly, in Christian socie-
ties kings were sometimes said to govern by divine grace.