Selected by Gwyn Jones - the eminent Celtic scholar - for their excellence and variety, these nine Icelandic sagas include "Hen-Thorir," "The Vapnfjord Men," "Thorstein Staff-Struck," "Hrafnkel the Priest of Prey," "Thidrandi whom the Goddesses Slew," "Authun and the Bear," "Gunnlaug Wormtongue," "King Hrolf and his Champions," and the title piece.
Author: Gwyn Jones
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Presents a collection of Viking "sagas" to commemorate the adventures of the people who first settled Iceland, and then explored Greenland and North America.
Author: Jane Smilely,Robert Kellogg
From the translator of the bestselling Poetic Edda (Hackett, 2015) comes a gripping new rendering of two of the greatest sagas of Old Norse literature. Together the two sagas recount the story of seven generations of a single legendary heroic family and comprise our best source of traditional lore about its members—including, among others, the dragon-slayer Sigurd, Brynhild the Valkyrie, and the Viking chieftain Ragnar Lothbrok.
With the Saga of Ragnar Lothbrok
Publisher: Hackett Publishing
The medieval Norse-Icelandic saga is one of the most important European vernacular literary genres of the Middle Ages. This Introduction to the saga genre outlines its origins and development, its literary character, its material existence in manuscripts and printed editions, and its changing reception from the Middle Ages to the present time. Its multiple sub-genres - including family sagas, mythical-heroic sagas and sagas of knights - are described and discussed in detail, and the world of medieval Icelanders is powerfully evoked. The first general study of the Old Norse-Icelandic saga to be written in English for some decades, the Introduction is based on up-to-date scholarship and engages with current debates in the field. With suggestions for further reading, detailed information about the Icelandic literary canon, and a map of medieval Iceland, this book is aimed at students of medieval literature and assumes no prior knowledge of Scandinavian languages.
Author: Margaret Clunies Ross
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Category: Literary Criticism
Photographs exploring the grandeur of Iceland's remarkable geography accompany tales of real-life heroes and supernatural beings
Land of the Sagas
Author: David Roberts,Jon Krakauer
Publisher: Villard Books
A Norse saga recounts the conquest of the northern Scottish isles by the Viking kings of Norway during the ninth century
The History of the Earls of Orkney
Author: Hermann Pálsson,Paul Geoffrey Edwards
Iceland is unique among European societies in having been founded as late as the Viking Age and in having copious written and archaeological sources about its origin. Gunnar Karlsson, that country's premier historian, chronicles the age of the Sagas, consulting them to describe an era without a monarch or central authority. Equating this prosperous time with the golden age of antiquity in world history, Karlsson then marks a correspondence between the Dark Ages of Europe and Iceland's "dreary period", which started with the loss of political independence in the late thirteenth century and culminated with an epoch of poverty and humility, especially during the early Modern Age. Iceland's renaissance came about with the successful struggle for independence in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and with the industrial and technical modernization of the first half of the twentieth century. Karlsson describes the rise of nationalism as Iceland's mostly poor peasants set about breaking with Denmark, and he shows how Iceland in the twentieth century slowly caught up economically with its European neighbors.
Author: Gunnar Karlsson
Publisher: U of Minnesota Press
This is an accessible, meticulously researched introduction to the oral tradition passed down since the Viking Age. Based on the oldest texts, Vikings Myths and Sagas is authentically interpreted and retold by a highly-acclaimed storyteller. A wide range of information is provided brings to life the most significant Viking Age stories. From the true accounts of their discovery of North America 500 years before Christopher Columbus, to the myths and legends that pushed the Vikings to the ends of the Earth. The text is written with the consultation of leading Icelandic academics. Complete with detailed notes, a comprehensive glossary, and an assortment of authentic proverbs, poems, riddles, and spells no other source so thoroughly goes into Norse history. Read the important myths from the mighty gods who dominated Viking pagan worship, like Thor the giant slayer and the mysterious, one-eyed Odin. Be shocked by the earth-shaking treachery of the trickster Loki, and discover the secret of eternal youth. Learn how they believed the world was created, and how it is predicted to end. Iconic Viking women are introduced and profiled. From Aud the Deep Minded, one-time queen who set up a Utopian community, to Melkorka, the abducted princess who brought dignity to slavery. Admire legendary female role models such as the goddess Frigg, who persuaded the whole of creation to weep with her and Gudrun who single-handedly destroyed the mightiest king in Europe. The mystery behind ancient Viking Age carvings are also explained. Myths such as Thor fishing up the World Serpent, Sigurd slaying a dragon, Odin riding an 8-legged horse, Gunnar condemned to death in a snake-pit, and many other extraordinary stories.
Retold from Ancient Norse Texts
Author: Rosalind Kerven
Publisher: Chartwell Books
In the dying days of the eighth century, the Vikings erupted onto the international stage with brutal raids and slaughter. The medieval Norsemen may be best remembered as monk murderers and village pillagers, but this is far from the whole story. Throughout the Middle Ages, long-ships transported hairy northern voyagers far and wide, where they not only raided but also traded, explored and settled new lands, encountered unfamiliar races, and embarked on pilgrimages and crusades. The Norsemen travelled to all corners of the medieval world and beyond; north to the wastelands of arctic Scandinavia, south to the politically turbulent heartlands of medieval Christendom, west across the wild seas to Greenland and the fringes of the North American continent, and east down the Russian waterways trading silver, skins, and slaves. Beyond the Northlands explores this world through the stories that the Vikings told about themselves in their sagas. But the depiction of the Viking world in the Old Norse-Icelandic sagas goes far beyond historical facts. What emerges from these tales is a mixture of realism and fantasy, quasi-historical adventures and exotic wonder-tales that rocket far beyond the horizon of reality. On the crackling brown pages of saga manuscripts, trolls, dragons and outlandish tribes jostle for position with explorers, traders, and kings. To explore the sagas and the world that produced them, Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough now takes her own trip through the dramatic landscapes that they describe. Along the way, she illuminates the rich but often confusing saga accounts with a range of other evidence: archaeological finds, rune-stones, medieval world maps, encyclopaedic manuscripts, and texts from as far away as Byzantium and Baghdad. As her journey across the Old Norse world shows, by situating the sagas against the revealing background of this other evidence, we can begin at least to understand just how the world was experienced, remembered, and imagined by this unique culture from the outermost edge of Europe so many centuries ago.
Viking Voyages and the Old Norse Sagas
Author: Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Offers a dramatic reconstruction of the life and times of Gudrid, a Viking woman who, according to Icelandic sagas, arrived in the New World, spent three years there, and gave birth to a baby, before sailing home some five hundred years before Columbus, drawing on the latest archaeological data, scientific research, and cutting-edge technology to trace her odyssey. Reprint.
Voyages of a Viking Woman
Author: Nancy Marie Brown
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Category: Biography & Autobiography
Full of dreams, strange prophecies, sexual slander, violent power struggles and fragile peace settlements, Njal's Saga is a compelling chronicle of a fifty-year blood feud. Written in the late thirteenth century, it is the most powerful and popular of the great Icelandic Family Sagas and teems with memorable and complex characters such as Gunnar of Hlidarendi, a powerful warrior with an aversion to killing, and the not-wholly-villainous Mord Valgardsson. Alongside the heroism and prowess there is also blood spilt in acts of cowardice and cruelty. Despite its distance from us in time and place, Njal's Saga explores perennial human problems: from failed marriages to divided loyalties, from the law's inability to curb human passions to the terrible consequences when decent men and women are swept up in a tide of violence quite beyond their control.
Author: Robert Cook
Publisher: Pearson Education
Or, Life in Iceland at the End of the Tenth Century. From the Icelandic of the Njals Saga
Its Scenes and Sagas
Author: Sabine Baring-Gould,Alfred Newton
Frans Gunnar Bengtsson’s The Long Ships resurrects the fantastic world of the tenth century AD when the Vikings roamed and rampaged from the northern fastnesses of Scandinavia down to the Mediterranean. Bengtsson’s hero, Red Orm—canny, courageous, and above all lucky—is only a boy when he is abducted from his Danish home by the Vikings and made to take this place at the oars of their dragon-prowed ships. Orm is then captured by the Moors in Spain, where he is initiated into the pleasures of the senses and fights for the Caliph of Cordova. Escaping from captivity, Orm washes up in Ireland, where he marvels at those epicene creatures, the Christian monks, and from which he then moves on to play an ever more important part in the intrigues of the various Scandinavian kings and clans and dependencies. Eventually, Orm contributes to the Viking defeat of the army of the king of England and returns home an off-the-cuff Christian and a very rich man, though back on his native turf new trials and tribulations will test his cunning and determination. Packed with pitched battles and blood feuds and told throughout with wit and high spirits, Bengtsson’s book is a splendid adventure that features one of the most unexpectedly winning heroes in modern fiction.
Author: Frans G. Bengtsson
Publisher: New York Review of Books
Icelandic folklore is rife with tales of elves and hidden people that inhabited hills and rocks in the landscape. But what do those elf stories really tell us about the Iceland of old and the people who lived there? In this book, author Alda Sigmundsdottir presents twenty translated elf stories from Icelandic folklore, along with fascinating notes on the context from which they sprung. The international media has had a particular infatuation with the Icelanders' elf belief, generally using it to propagate some kind of "kooky Icelanders" myth. Yet Iceland's elf folklore, at its core, reflects the plight of a nation living in abject poverty on the edge of the inhabitable world, and its people's heroic efforts to survive, physically, emotionally and spiritually. That is what the stories of the elves, or hidden people, are really about. In a country that was, at times, virtually uninhabitable, where poverty was endemic and death and grief a part of daily life, the Icelanders nurtured a belief in a world that existed parallel to their own. This was the world of the hidden people, which more often than not was a projection of the most fervent dreams and desires of the human population. The hidden people lived inside hillocks, cliffs or boulders, very close to the abodes of the humans. Their homes were furnished with fine, sumptuous objects. Their clothes were luxurious, their adornments beautiful. Their livestock was better and fatter, their sheep yielded more wool than regular sheep, their crops were more bounteous. They even had supernatural powers: they could make themselves visible or invisible at will, and they could see the future. To the Icelanders, stories of elves and hidden people are an integral part of the cultural and psychological fabric of their nation. They are a part of their identity, a reflection of the struggles, hopes, resilience and endurance of their people. All this and more is the subject of this book."
Twenty Stories of Elves from Icelandic Folklore
Author: Alda Sigmundsdottir