Orkneyinga saga

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The Orkneyinga saga (also called the History of the Earls of Orkney) is an unique historical narrative of the history of the Orkney Islands from their capture by the Norwegian king in the 9th century onwards until about 1200 AD.

The saga was written around 1200 AD by an unknown Icelandic author and, as was generally the case with Icelandic language writing of this period, the saga is as much a fictional story as an historic document. It is thought to have been compiled from a number of sources, combining oral legends with historical facts. The saga begins with the semi-mythical capture of the islands by the King of Norway before moving on to more factual matters. The first three chapters covers text that provide the supposed origins for the Swedish and Norwegian (January/February) thorsmonth after Thorri and (February/March) goimonth after Gói. For this tradition see Nór.

Throughout the story, a number of characters who are both historical and legendary are introduced: Sigurd the Powerful, Hakon Paulsson, Sigurd the Stout, Ragnvald, Earl of Moer and St Earl Magnus the Martyr. All these characters are still a part of Orcadian folklore today.

External links and references

  • English translation:
    • Orkneyinga Saga: The History of the Earls of Orkney. Trans. Pálsson, Hermann and Edwards, Paul (1978). London: Hogarth Press. ISBN 0701204311. Republished 1981, Harmondsworth: Penguin. ISBN 0140443835.
    • The Orkneyingers Saga (Icelandic Sagas, and other historical documents relating to the settlements and descents of the Northmen on the British Isles, Volume III). Trans. Dasent, Sir George W. (1894). London: Her Majesties Stationery Office. Reprinted 1964 by Kraus Reprint. Text available at Sacred Texts (http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/ice/is3) and Northvegr (http://www.northvegr.org/lore/orkney).
    • "Fundinn Noregr" ('Discovery of Norway'), opening portion of The Orkneyingers Saga. Trans. Chappell, Gavin (2004) Northvegr: The Discovery of Norway (http://www.northvegr.org/lore/oldheathen/064.php).
  • Original text:
    • Saganet: Orkneyinga saga (http://saga.library.cornell.edu/saganet/?MIval=/ManuscriptSagasB&language=english&STitle=Orkneyinga%20saga)

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