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Encyclopedia > Norse saga
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Excerpt Njåls saga in the Möðruvallabók (AM 132 folio 13r) circia 1350.

The Norse sagas (from Icelandic saga, plural sögur), are stories about ancient Scandinavian and Germanic history, about early Viking voyages, about migration to Iceland, and of feuds between Icelandic families. They were written in the Old Norse language. Image File history File links Möðruvallabók_f13r. ... Image File history File links Möðruvallabók_f13r. ... Njáls saga (also known as Brennu-Njáls saga or The Story of the burning of Njáll) is the most famous of the Icelandic sagas. ... The term Viking commonly denotes the ship-borne explorers, traders, and warriors of the Norsemen who originated in Scandinavia and raided the coasts of the British Isles, France and other parts of Europe from the late 8th century to the 11th century. ... A feud is a long-running argument or fight between parties—often groups of people, especially families or clans. ... Old Norse is the Germanic language spoken by the inhabitants of Scandinavia and their overseas settlements during the Viking Age, until about 1300. ...


The texts are epic tales in prose, 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. The tales are usually realistic, except legendary sagas, sagas of saints, sagas of bishops and translated or recomposed romances. They are sometimes romanticised and fantastic, but always dealing with human beings we can understand. The Old English epic poem Beowulf is written in alliterative verse. ... The name Viking is a loan from the native Scandinavian term for the Norse seafaring warriors who raided the coasts of Scandinavia, Europe and the British Isles from the late 8th century to the 11th century, the period of European history referred to as the Viking Age. ... Norse paganism or Nordic religion is a termed used to abbreviate the religion preferably amongst the Germanic tribes living in Nordic countries under pre-Christian period that are supported by archaeology findings and early written materials. ... By Germanic Christianity is that phase in the history of Northern Europe understood, when the Germanic peoples of the Migration period and Viking Age adopted Christianity. ...

Contents

Background

The term saga originates from the Icelandic saga (pl. sögur), and refers to (1) "what is said, statement" or (2) "story, tale, history". It is cognate with the English word "say", and the German sagen. Icelandic sagas are based on oral traditions and much research has focused on what is real and what is fiction within each tale. The accuracy of the sagas is often hotly disputed. Most of the manuscripts in which the sagas are preserved were taken to Denmark and Sweden in the 17th century, but later returned to Iceland. Look up Plural in Wiktionary, the free dictionary Plural is a grammatical number, typically referring to more than one of the referent in the real world. ...

Snorre Sturlasson, perhaps the greatest saga recorder; portrait by Christian Krohg.
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Snorre Sturlasson, perhaps the greatest saga recorder; portrait by Christian Krohg.

There are plenty of tales of kings (e.g. Heimskringla), every-day people (e.g. Bandamanna saga) and larger than life characters (e. g. Egils saga). The sagas describe a part of the history of some of the Nordic countries (e.g. the last chapter of Hervarar saga). The British Isles, northern France and North America are also mentioned. It was only recently (start of 20th century) that the tales of the voyages to America were authenticated. Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (660x1000, 330 KB) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Norse saga ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (660x1000, 330 KB) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Norse saga ... Christian Krohg (August 13, 1852 - October 16, 1925), was a Norwegian naturalist painter, author and journalist. ... Look up monarch in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Heimskringla is the Old Norse name of a collection of sagas recorded in Iceland around 1225 by the poet and historian Snorri Sturluson (1179-1242). ... Egill Skallagrímsson in a 17th century manuscript of Egils Saga Egils saga is an epic Icelandic saga possibly by Snorri Sturluson (1179-1241 A.D.), who may have written the account between the years 1220 and 1240 A.D. It is an important representative of the sagas and has... Political map of the Nordic countries and associated territories. ... Hervarar saga ok Heidhreks is a fornaldarsaga from the 13th century using material from an older saga. ...


Most sagas of Icelanders take place in the period 930–1030, which is actually called söguöld (Age of the Sagas) in Icelandic history. The sagas of kings, bishops, contemporary sagas and so on, of course have their own time frame. Most were written down between 1190 to 1320, sometimes existing as oral traditions long before, others are pure fiction, and for some we do know the sources: The author of King Sverrir's saga had met the king and used him as a source. The Mythology theory of saga origin maintains that the plots and characters were heavily influenced by mythological material associated with the local landscape. Sverre I (Sverrir Sigurdsson) (1149? - 1202) was a king of Norway from 1184-1202. ... Einar Pálsson. ...


On the plots and writing style

Some of the sagas live between Christianity and Paganism and fate plays a central role, a key line in Grettis saga (ch. 69) is Destiny refers to a predetermined course of events. ... Grettis saga or Grettla is an Icelandic saga detailing the life of Grettir Ásmundarson, an Icelandic viking who became an outlaw. ...

... she spoke thus: "Now you are going, my two sons, and you are fated to die together, and no one can escape the destiny that is shaped for him.'

The civilization of Norse sagas is complex, many-layered, with often-contradictory agents sometimes acting as forces for good, sometime evil, and always human. Predestination is a religious idea, under which the relationship between the beginning of things and the destiny of things is discussed. ... Destiny refers to a predetermined course of events. ...


The writing style tends towards the impersonal, terse, with no explanation of why's. Things happen; no one questions fate. Characters are often but briefly introduced, There was a man named ..., followed by brief biographies, genealogy, and all-important relations to other figures in the saga. Personalities are shown through action, seldom through analysis any deeper than offhand lines like He was an utter scoundrel, or, He was a powerful chieftain. Often a prominent agent figures in other sagas, and one may draw information from them, which saga writers simply assumed. Relationships between individuals are complex, by friendship, blood, marriage, and immediate geography.


One must often and at disadvantage overcome fantastic enemies. Life is short, uncertain, and men's worth is determined by glory in arms. The bayonet is used as both knife and spear. ...


Critical concepts to the Norse saga technique are honour, luck (or destiny), and fate, the supernatural, and character. Behavior is often not explained, as within the world of the saga it is what must be done, and early listeners of sagas had no need of questions. Alexander Hamilton defending his honour by obliging to duel Aaron Burr. ... A four leaf clover is often considered to bestow good luck This article is about fortune. ... Destiny refers to a predetermined course of events. ... Look up Supernatural in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


Any slight to one's honour (or that of one's family) had to be avenged, by blood or money. Men could easily be goaded to fatal violence over a (real or imagined) slight to their honour. Violence is any act of aggression and abuse which causes or intends to cause injury, in some cases criminal, or harm to persons, and (to a lesser extent) animals or property. ...


The concept of luck is simple, certainly in one such as Njáls saga: one is born with a certain store of good luck. When one's good luck runs out, one is doomed.


The supernatural often plays a major role as well. Oneiric (i.e., relating to prophetic dreams) factors may also play a role. A dream is the experience of envisioned images, sounds, or other sensations during sleep. ...


Do agents have the character to surmount their difficulties, or do they succumb to vices such as evil, cowardice and pride? Vice is the opposite of virtue. ... In religion and ethics, Evil refers to the bad aspects of the behaviour and reasoning of human beings —those which are deliberately void of conscience, and show a wanton penchant for destruction. ... The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ...


As a final stylistic point, Magnus Magnusson notes in his introduction to Njáls saga; Magnús Magnússon KBE (born 12 October 1929) is a British television presenter, journalist, translator and writer, of Icelandic origin. ...

In the midst of such economy, one spendthrift sentence can speak volumes: 'two ravens flew with them all the way' (Chapter 79) as Skarp-Hedin and Hogni set out at night to avenge Gunnar ...

Classification

Norse sagas are generally classified as:


Kings' sagas (Konungasögur)

Main article: Kings' sagas

These tell of the lives of Scandinavian kings. They were composed in the 12th to 14th centuries. The Kings sagas are Norse Sagas which tell of the lives of Scandinavian kings. ... Look up monarch in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


Icelanders' sagas (Íslendingasögur)

Main article: Icelanders' sagas

These are heroic prose narratives written in the 12th to 14th centuries of the great families of Iceland from 930 to 1030. These are the highest form of the classical Icelandic saga writing. Some well-known examples include Njáls saga, Laxdœla saga and Grettis saga. The Icelanders sagas (Icelandic: Íslendingasögur) or family sagas are prose histories describing mostly events that took place in Iceland during the Age of Settlement (870-930) and the following century. ... Events With the establishment of the Icelandic Althing, now the worlds oldest parliament, the Icelandic Commonwealth is founded. ... Events July 29 - Battle of Stiklestad in Norway. ... Njáls saga (also known as The Story of Burnt Njál) is an epic of Icelandic literature from the 13th century that describes the progress of a 50-year blood feud. ... Map of the district of the Laxdæla saga, from an english language translation LaxdÅ“la saga[1] is the saga of the clan/family of Laxárdalur. ... Grettis saga or Grettla is an Icelandic saga detailing the life of Grettir Ásmundarson, an Icelandic viking who became an outlaw. ...


Short tales of Icelanders

The material of these sagas is similar to Íslendinga sögur, just shorter. The short tales of Icelanders or Íslendinga þættir are short prose narratives written in Iceland in the 13th and 14th centuries. ...


Legendary sagas

Main article: Legendary sagas
Berserkers in the king's hall; illustration by Louis Moe, 1898.
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Berserkers in the king's hall; illustration by Louis Moe, 1898.

These blend remote history with myth or legend. The aim is on a lively narrative and entertainment. Scandinavia's pagan past was a proud and heroic history for the Icelanders. A Fornaldarsaga deals with matter that took place in Scandinavia (and a few distant places) before the colonization of Iceland. ... Image File history File links Louis-Moe_berserker_kongshallen_1898. ... Image File history File links Louis-Moe_berserker_kongshallen_1898. ...


Chivalric sagas

Queen Ragnhild's dream.
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Queen Ragnhild's dream.

These are translations of Latin pseudo-historical works and French chansons de geste as well as native creations in the same style. Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (646x900, 273 KB) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Norse saga Ragnhild Sigurdsdotter ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (646x900, 273 KB) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Norse saga Ragnhild Sigurdsdotter ... The chansons de geste, Old French for songs of heroic deeds, are the epic poetry that appears at the dawn of French literature. ...


Other Norse sagas

See List of other Norse sagas This is a list of other Norse sagas which do not nicely fit into other categories of sagas. ...


External links and references


  Results from FactBites:
 
Norse saga - definition of Norse saga - Labor Law Talk Dictionary (1145 words)
The Norse sagas or Viking sagas (Icelandic: Íslendingasögur), are stories about ancient Scandinavian and Germanic history, about early Viking voyages, about migration to Iceland, and of feuds between Icelandic families.
Critical concepts to the Norse saga technique are honor, luck (or destiny), and fate, the supernatural, and character.
Icelandic sagas; these are heroic prose narratives written in the 12th to 14th centuries of the great families of Iceland from 930 to 1030.
Sagas and Norse Literature Bibliography (3224 words)
57.The Saga of the Slayings on the Heath (Heidarvíga Saga) tr.
81.The Saga of Hrafnkel Frey's Godi (Hrafnkels Saga Freysgoda) tr.
84.The Saga of Havard of Isafjord (Hávardar Saga Ísfirdings) tr.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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