An Icelandic Pilgrim amid the Crusades: Nikulás Bergsson

During the mid-twelfth century, an Icelander named Nikulás Bergsson went on a pilgrimage that took him over 4,000 miles away from his home in northern Iceland to Jerusalem in the Holy Land. We don't know much about him, but it is clear that he was a lettered Benedictine monk.[1] Around the year 1153, however, Nikulás …

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“All Waters Flow to Dyrafjord”

This quote comes at a pivotal movement of Gisli's Saga, when a man named Vestein decides to face his fate despite warnings from his friends. At this point, those friends (who were sent by Gisli himself) had ridden tirelessly to catch up to Vestein, and they implored him to turn around before riding into the …

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07 – Njal's Saga: A Medieval Best-Seller Most People Haven’t Heard of

Meet Njal's Saga, a medieval best-seller that most people haven't heard of. But despite its relative obscurity today, it stands out as an epic story fused with both archetypal heroes and the tragic social realities of the 'Viking' world, which have become a cage trapping them and plunging them into a endless tide of human violence beyond …

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Resources for Njal’s Saga

Never heard of Njal's Saga? Don't worry, you're not alone---it's actually a medieval best-seller most people haven't heard of. But luckily, all you have to do is read this post to get yourself acclimated, and then you're all set to enjoy one of medieval Iceland's finest sagas (as so many saga-enthusiasts proudly proclaim)! That introductory …

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Njal’s Saga: A Medieval Best-Seller Most People Haven’t Heard of

If you want to experience a medieval Icelandic 'family' saga at peak performance, then this is the saga to read. [...]

Feuding, I: What is Feud? Solving Problems with an Axe

Many of the great sagas and ancient lore from the medieval North recount endless, bloody feuds between generations of prominent families: a conflict ends, peace...

Land-Spirits, III: Dealing with New Neighbors

☞ Before reading: This is part III of the (slightly modified) written form of the Fjörn's Hall Podcast episode titled "Landvættir: The Land-Spirits of the Medieval North." You may listen to it here, or you may enjoy it in written form below! Looking for part II? Dealing with New Neighbors: Iceland's Settlers Encounter the Land-Spirits …

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