[Sca-cooks] Sagas and Gragas-OT

H Westerlund-Davis yaini0625 at yahoo.com
Thu Jan 28 15:05:07 PST 2010

Don't discredit the Sagas and the lack written information as proof that the Vikings didn't write. The term Viking is a broad term anyhoo.
Many of the surviving manuscripts related to the sagas that do exists are basically in two places. One is at the University of Iceland in Reykjavik at the Arni Magnusson Institute and in Denmark at the National Archives. There are also surviving documents at the Vatican... but that thread starts in the 10th century......

<personal notes from Prof. Torfi H. Tulinius lecture Sagas about Early Icelanders > 
After the Christian conversion of Iceland in 1000 A.D the native born Bishop Klaeng of Skalholt, as his first act decreed that anyone and everyone who had a manuscript of the sagas, eddics and skaldic poems and records were to send them to the King of Denmark as a gift. Many of the manuscripts were secured in this manner but many were also destroyed. It is not known how much was destroyed out of ignorance or political editing. It is documented that Irish monks were in Iceland writing down the sagas. Since it was laborious to write in runic form many educated "Vikings" wrote in Latin or had the monks scribe for them......
Further information can be found at the Icelandic Saga Museum and the Arni Magnusson Institutue in Reykjavik, Iceland-The Univeristy of Iceland. 

Also on hand are documents related to feasts, meals and drinks served and the gift exchanges....

Bless Bless
Aelina the Saami


Duct Tape is like the Force: It has a light side & a dark side
and it holds the universe together.

From: David Friedman <ddfr at daviddfriedman.com>
To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>
Sent: Thu, January 28, 2010 10:15:16 AM
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Sagas (was Re:  Questions on coffee)

>> and someone had to write- and read- all of those sagas.
> The sagas were not written by Vikings, but were oral tales, which their descendants wrote down up to several hundred years later.

There has long been a scholarly controversy as to whether the family sagas were an oral literature composed in the tenth and early eleventh century, when the events described occurred, transmitted orally, and written down in the late 13th and 14th century, or whether they were composed by the people who wrote them down, based on oral traditions of earlier events. One piece of evidence for the latter theory is that they are prose, not verse, which would make it harder for them to stay more or less unchanged for three hundred years. One piece of evidence for the former theory is Byock's old Scientific American article on Egilsaga, which offers evidence that the saga describes Egil, his father, and his grandfather with quite a lot of details, all of which fit their suffering from a heritable defect (Padgett's syndrome) not identified until the 19th century.

But in any case, I think it is clear that the people who wrote and read the sagas weren't vikings, although some of those who composed them and first listened to them might have been.
-- David/Cariadoc
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