The Medieval Magazine: (Volume 4: No. 4): Issue 106

In this issue, we look medieval cannibalism, dietary advice to a king, animal sex in art, the medieval precinct of St. Paul’s, visit Dorchester Abbey, and look at the life of Edward II.

Bloodfeud and Miracles: Creating and Killing a Saint

Hrafn Sveinbjarnarson was a physician and chieftain in Iceland who was drawn into a bloodfeud that ultimately resulted in his death.

Erosive and Mechanical Tooth Wear in Viking Age Icelanders

The importance of the Icelandic Sagas as a source of information about diet habits in medieval Iceland, and possibly other Nordic countries, is obvious.

Gender Ambiguity in Medieval Iceland: Legal Framework and Saga Dynamics

In the judgmental genre of the Icelandic family saga, gender transgression is always central to plot dynamics and this is its only rationale for inclusion.

‘To Talk of Many Things’: Whales, Walrus, and Seals in Medieval Icelandic Literature

The use of whales, walrus, and seals in the sagas illustrates a cultural map of the ocean. This network of places, known and imagined, is filled in by trade goods, species and place names, and stories that incorporate the denizens of the deep.

Medieval Iceland, Greenland, and the New Human Condition: A case study in integrated environmental humanities

By interlinking analyses of historically grounded literature with archaeological studies and environmental science, valuable new perspectives can emerge on how these past societies may have understood and coped with environmental impacts.

The World’s Saga: An English Translation of the Old Norse Veraldar saga, a History of the World in Six Ages

Veraldar saga is a medieval Icelandic prose universal history written in the Old Norse vernacular. It describes the history of the world divided into six “ages” from the Biblical creation narrative until the reign of Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa.

Power and Political Communication. Feasting and Gift Giving in Medieval Iceland

Unlike modern friendship, its medieval namesake was anything but a free and spontaneous practice, and neither were its primary modes and media of expression.

Combat in Saga Literature: Traces of martial arts in medieval Iceland

On a first glance, the Íslendingasögur can seem like a never-ending chain of feud killings, and many of the best known and most noteworthy saga scenes are scenes of combat.

A Case of an Odd Saga: Structure in Bjarnar saga Hítdælakappa

The discussion of ‘Bjarnar saga Hítdælakappa’ structure has resulted in it being described either as a clumsily made saga or as an odd, non-mainstream saga. However, a scholastic attempt to find the narrative strategy behind the veil of clumsiness has shown that the seemingly loosely constructed narrative of the “Icelandic” part appears to be planned in a rather sophisticated and artistic way.

Communities of Death in Medieval Iceland

In Iceland, the introduction of Christianity around 1000 AD was associated with fundamental chnges in burial customs.

Old Norse White Walkers?

Fear of the undead is by no means a new sensation to humankind; the Icelanders, for instance, knew it centuries ago.

The character of commercial fishing in Icelandic waters in the fifteenth century

The character of commercial fishing in Icelandic waters in the fifteenth century By Mark Gardiner Cod and Herring: The Archaeology and History of Medieval Sea Fishing, eds. J. Barrett and D. Orton (Oxbow Books, 2016) Abstract: From the early fifteenth century English vessels began fishing in Icelandic waters. They adopted a mixed approach of fishing and trading to […]

New Medieval Books: Iceland

Five new books for those interested in the sagas and society of Iceland during the Middle Ages.

Shapeshifting in Old Norse-Icelandic Literature

This article aims to cast a light upon the colorful yet largely unknown shapechanging motifs found in Old Norse-Icelandic literature as well as in related literary works conceived from Classical times until the middle of the 16th century

Popular Culture and Royal Propaganda in Norway and Iceland in the 13th century

Do the kings presented in Strengleikar appear as the European Christian rex justus kings, which was the dominant medieval royal model, or do they convey another image – an image that may be interpreted to explain both the intended function and the popularity of the translations in Norway and Iceland

The use and the abuse of history, national heritage and nationalism

‘Icelanders or Norwegians? Leifur, Snorri and national identity then and now’ followed by a panel discussion

Book Review: A Medieval Woman’s Companion by Susan Signe Morrison

Susan Signe Morrison’s book, “A Medieval Woman’s Companion” brings the contributions of medieval women, famous and obscure, to the forefront in this fantastic introductory text.

Environmental Scarcity and Abundance in Medieval Icelandic Literature

Can medieval literary texts tell us anything about the environmental conditions and the availability of natural resources in premodern times?

The geography of a cemetery – the early Christian cemeteries of Skagafjördur, North Iceland

In the last decade early Christian churches and cemeteries in the region of Skagafjördur, North Iceland, have been the object of extensive archaeological research.

From Heroic Legend to ‘Medieval Screwball Comedy’? The Origins, Development and Interpretation of the Maiden-King Narrative

New types of popular texts emerged, bringing with them new images of women, especially the maiden-king or meykongr, a figure that features prominently in many of the late-medieval indigenous romances or (frumsamdar) riddarasögur.

Historical Oddity: The Birth of a Commonwealth in Medieval Iceland

Iceland is an odd place with an odd history. Despite being ranked among the wealthiest nations today, for much of its history it was left out of the growth and development of culture and technology throughout the Medieval period. It has never been a particularly hospitable environment for human habitation. Wind-blasted, cold, and rocky, it was an island left unsettled by humans long after it was discovered.

Was it for walrus? Viking Age settlement and medieval walrus ivory trade in Iceland and Greenland

The Norse expansion into the North Atlantic is remarkable testimony to the maritime transformation of the early medieval world.

Norse North Atlantic Textiles and Textile Production: A Reflection of Adaptive Strategies in Unique Island Environments

Textile production was a key industry for the Norse colonies of the North Atlantic during the late Viking and Medieval period.

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