Icelanders in the Viking Age
The People of the Sagas
William R. Short
A companion to the Sagas of Icelanders and an introduction to the people of the sagas.
|The Sagas of Icelanders are enduring and entertaining stories from Viking-age Iceland and are filled with love and romance, battles and feuds, comedy and tragedy. Yet these tales are little read today. Why don't more people read these stories for enjoyment and pleasure today?|
Part of the problem is that modern readers are not familiar with the people of the sagas, their lives, and the times in which they lived, so the stories make no sense to modern readers.
The behavior of the characters in the sagas is confusing and irrational, though the audience for whom the tales were intended would have had an intimate understanding of the material.
This book introduces the modern reader to the daily lives and material culture of the Viking-age Icelanders of the sagas. Topics covered include religion, law, social customs, the settlement of disputes, and major milestones in the lives of these people. Issues of dispute among scholars, such as the nature of settlement and the division of land, are addressed in the text. Additionally, the text provides a detailed overview of Iceland's Viking-age history and concludes with a précis of the history of Iceland after the Viking age and of the impact of the sagas on modern culture. The book is illustrated with maps and photographs that show the physical landscape of the sagas, and with images of historical artifacts from the Viking age.
Icelanders in the Viking Age serves as a companion to the sagas, allowing a modern reader to share some of the enjoyment and delight that captivated medieval audiences of these engrossing tales.
60 B/W photographs, illustrations, and maps
notes, appendix, glossary, index