Once upon a time, in a mountainous region somewhere in Iceland, something strange took place that was at the same time puzzling and frightening: every year
How did Icelanders build and run farms in the Middle Ages?
Brennu-Njáls saga can—and most often is—be translated to The Story of Burnt Njal. But another way of translating it is The Story of Njáll the Burner. And I believe it is exactly this duality of the saga’s main character Njáll that makes the saga so appealing
This paper discusses a series of episodes from the Sagas of Icelanders in which one character attempts to deceive another.
Archaeologists in Iceland have for decades examined the remains of more than 350 graves from the Viking Age. In approximately 150 of these, teeth or bones of horses were found.
Here are five spells from the Galdrabók, which range from helpful to cruel!
By comparing chosen cases of ambitious men taken from the Íslendingasögur and the Sturlunga compilation, the applicability of the category to commonwealth Iceland is assessed.
Who scribed Urðabók? And for whom and what? Wawn aims at unveiling the story behind this little, modest manuscript.
Clover uncovers the seemingly inadequate evidence-finding process in Njáls saga and discusses how the legal process can be transmitted to the saga’s narrative structure.
The scholarly world interested in all things Norse, Viking and saga-related is coming to Iceland this week for the 17th International Saga Conference. Here is a quick guide to what is happening.
Axlar-Björn, or Björn of the farm Öxl, was executed in 1596 for having murdered at least 18 people.
In Iceland, there are four settlement sites that answer to the name of Jórvík – and all of them probably are Viking Age foundations named after the Old Norse name of York: Jórvík. So basically, there are four ‘New Yorks’ in Iceland.
Rómverja saga is an Old Icelandic translation of three Latin works on historical themes from the classical period. In this thesis, I provide the first English translation of this little-known text in the hope that it might prove a resource for scholars interested in the reception of Latin literature in the medieval period.
Made in the last quarter of the 14th century, Flateyjarbók (Book of Flatey) is probably the finest manuscript that Iceland has ever produced.
This paper will try and draw out the picture of mead in Viking Age Iceland, a picture worth elaborating on due to the importance of Icelandic sources of information for an even larger culture.
“It’s like having a time machine. Now it is possible to study the actual people who participated in the founding of Iceland.”
In comparing the roles of whales, walrus, and seals, this study will examine the themes that recur throughout the Old Icelandic literary tradition, and how these may have been influenced by the circumstances of the time.
This paper focuses on Icelanders’ myth of origin as presented in the various Landnámabók redactions, and explores how a largely fictional medieval text can assert ownership and control over territory, and ultimately contribute to the creation of a legendary topography.
Memories of the largest lava flood in the history of Iceland, recorded in an apocalyptic medieval poem, were used to drive the island’s conversion to Christianity, new research suggests.
The importance of the Icelandic Sagas as a source of information about diet habits in medieval Iceland, and possibly other Nordic countries, is obvious.
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.
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.
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.
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.