Sagas

This part of the Hall contains all things saga-related: the sagas themselves (and links to find them), a map of saga sites (and more), and even rímur (epic poems based off of the sagas)! You may explore the world of sagas by clicking the icons below:

sagas-icon     maps-icon     rímur-icon

But wait, what’s a saga? It is true that not everyone knows what they are, unfortunately. The word itself comes from the Old Nose world saga (pl. sǫgur), meaning ‘what is said,’ or even ‘the events which gave rise to the story.’[1] But, most simply, the word means ‘story’ or ‘history’. But when I use the word ‘saga’, I tend to refer to a fairly specific genre of saga literature: the so-called ‘family’ sagas. Here’s a short description of what those are (beyond just what the word means), though I do also recommend listening to Saga Thing’s podcast episode on that topic (because it’s fantastic):

The sagas reflect a complex society filled with feuds, heroism, and aspects of everyday life, bringing Iceland’s Viking Age past back to life. Although written primarily during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, these Icelandic works of literature reflect the collective memory of later medieval authors looking back to their own past. And while they are not straightforward historical accounts of the events they claim to represent, they still contain valuable information about the social processes and concerns of the society that wrote them and later copied them.

That description should get you started, but there’s much more to learn about them. Feel free to rummage around through these sections here under ‘Sagas’ to learn more, but I also have a library with a few books that might be of interest—but don’t forget to check out Saga Thing, or even my own podcast, which often talks about these wonderful works of medieval literature! Also, this page is always growing (as I work hard to write more content and find more resources), so do be sure to come back and give it plenty of love and support, if you become a fan of saga literature like myself!

Skál! 🍻


Endnotes:

1 | Geir T. Zoëga, A Concise Dictionary of Old Icelandic (Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 2004), 346. ^


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