Álfablót: Sacrificing to the Elves

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

Concerning ‘Red Gold’

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’

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 …

Continue reading An Icelandic Pilgrim amid the Crusades: Nikulás Bergsson

The Poetic Edda: Studying a Source for Norse Mythology

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

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 …

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

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 …

Continue reading Resources for Njal’s Saga

Selections of Poetry by Jónas Hallgrímsson

Jónas Hallgrímsson (1807-1845) is still frequently regarded as the most loved and admired poet of Modern Iceland.[1] 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