Saga

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Sagas are stories mostly about ancient Nordic and Germanic life. Some are entirely invented, and some have an historical basis.

They tell about early Viking voyages, the battles that took place during the voyages, about migration to Iceland and of feuds between Icelandic families. They were written in the Old Norse language, mainly in Iceland.[1]

The texts are tales in prose which share some similarities with the epic, often with stanzas or whole poems in alliterative verse embedded in the text, of heroic deeds of days long gone, "tales of worthy men," who were often Vikings, sometimes pagan, sometimes Christian. They are sometimes romanticised and fantastic, but always dealing with human beings one can understand.[2][3]

The best sagas are recognised as fine literature. Njál's Saga, or the Saga of Burnt Njál, is one of the most famous.[4][5]

In Old English (Anglo-Saxon), Beowulf is a saga written in England, and so is the later Gawain and the Green Knight, written in a West Midlands dialect. These are both works of the imagination, but Layamon's Brut (about 1200 AD) is based on English history since the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.

Sagas of Icelanders[change | change source]

"The Icelandic sagas (or Sagas of Icelanders) are the backbone of all ... literature" from the Nordic countries, says Roy Jacobsen (en), a translator of Sagas of Icelanders, and author.[6]

List of the Sagas of Icelanders[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. Old Norse saga, class of heroic prose narratives (Merriam-Webster)
  2. De islandske sagaer by Peter Hallberg, Stockholm: Svenska bokförlaget, Bonniers)
  3. Vésteinn Ólason 1998. Dialogues with the Viking age: narration and representation in the sagas of the Icelanders. Heimskringla. ISBN 9979-3-1650-0
  4. Magnusson, Magnus. 1987 [1960]. Introduction, Njal's Saga. Penguin Classics. ISBN 0-14-044103-4
  5. Thorsteinn Gylfason. 1998. Introduction, Njál's Saga. Wordsworth Classics. ISBN 1-85326-785-6
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 6.8 6.9 Roy Jacobsen. "Gersimi Mikla: Sagaene er realisme av edleste vare. De er paradoksale, tvetydige, klassiske, moderne. Den store veven" Gersimi Mikla: the sagas are realism, as pure as it comes. The sagas have paradoxes, the sagas can be interpreted in more than one way; they are classic and modern. The large web. 2016-02-20. Klassekampen. p. 5. http://www.klassekampen.no/article/20160220/PLUSS/160229955, (subscription needed)
  7. Byock, Jesse. Viking Age Iceland. Penguin Books Ltd; London, 2009. Page 99.