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24. Sagas of Contemporary History (Sturlunga saga): Texts and Research

Úlfar Bragason


Subject Literature » Medieval Literature

Place Northern Europe » Scandinavia

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631235026.2004.00027.x


Extract

Sturlunga saga is a compilation of many sagas by different authors. The sagas deal with events which took place in Iceland in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. These sagas have been termed secular contemporary sagas, in contradistinction to the sagas of Icelandic bishops, which are set in the same period. They are distinguished from the Icelandic family sagas, on the other hand, by the fact that they were put into writing shortly after the events they recount. It is thus fair to say that the sagas of the Sturlunga saga compilation are differentiated by the period of their events, and by their secular content, from other sagas set in Iceland. The distinction between secular contemporary sagas and sagas of bishops is not clear cut in Sturlunga saga , however, as Prestssaga Guðmundar góða , which is the first part of a saga of a bishop, is included. Árna saga biskups Þorlákssonar is included in one of the principal manuscripts of the compilation, as is Jarteinasaga Guðmundar biskups , but Arons saga , which recounts events of the thirteenth century, is not a part of the compilation. Geirmundar þáttr heljarskinns takes place in the Age of Settlement, and Haukdœla þáttr begins with the settlement of Iceland. As the sagas were not defined in separate categories during the Middle Ages, and as they have many similarities, the different types of saga should be regarded as ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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