It was around the year 1019 when we traveled eastwards into Sweden with our cloaks tightly bound in search for warmth, Sigvat the Poet and I. Winter's icy grip was strengthening over the land as summer faded with the leaves, but King Olaf II of Norway (now known as St. Olaf) had sent Sigvat there … Continue reading Álfablót: Sacrificing to the Elves
When you look at gold, what color do you see? Probably some shade of yellow. Why, then, do Old Norse texts often mention 'red gold'? Is it different from normal gold? If so, what is it? I was asked this question on Tumblr recently, so I took a moment to dig up an answer. Here's … Continue reading Concerning ‘Red Gold’
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. Around the year 1153, however, Nikulás … Continue reading An Icelandic Pilgrim amid the Crusades: Nikulás Bergsson
In recent years, the popularity of the Norse myths has grown exponentially. With bestselling books such as Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology and History Channel’s award-winning television series Vikings, the stories of the Norse gods and their human heroes have become a part of our modern cultural life. The thousand-year-old deities that encompassed a rich oral … Continue reading The Poetic Edda: Studying a Source for Norse Mythology
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 … Continue reading Njal’s Saga: A Medieval Best-Seller Most People Haven’t Heard of [♪]
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 … Continue reading Resources for Njal’s Saga
Jónas Hallgrímsson (1807-1845) is still frequently regarded as the most loved and admired poet of Modern Iceland. He grew up on a rural farm in North Iceland (Hraun in Öxnadalur), where he learned and lived the oral traditions of Icelandic folklore, poetics, and saga reading; but, when he was sixteen, he spent six years studying … Continue reading Selections of Poetry by Jónas Hallgrímsson
Behold! a modern Viking's poem! Hear a skald recite the first part of an epic poem inspired by Gisli Sursson's Saga, a work of medieval Icelandic literature written during the 13th century. This part of the poem recounts the first chapter of that saga, which takes place in Norway just a few generations before Gisli’s time. Quick … Continue reading Rímur: Reciting Part I of Gisli Sursson’s Epic
Part I of my epic poem based off of Gisli Sursson’s Saga, a work of medieval Icelandic literature composed during the 13th century! It has been composed by me and therefore should not be mistaken for a historical source. Please consider reading the ‘original’ prose story before (or after) enjoying this poetry.
In this gathering by the hearthside, we’re sharing the stories of three legendary swords from the sagas of the medieval North: Gramr, Sköfnungr, and Grásíða! And while we do, we’re going to find them plunged into trees by a strange old man, stolen from burial mounds by Icelandic Vikings, and manhandled by a headstrong poet. But if that’s not interesting enough, we’re also going to slay a dragon, cut off someone’s back end, introduce ourselves to a sword-dwelling snake, and fix a broken blade with some sorcery. By the end, we’ll not only have cool stories to tell our friends, but also learn a thing or two about what these swords meant for the people telling their tales. Honestly, what’s not to like? It’s a great deal! So tune in to Fjörn’s Hall, if you’d like to hear more!