Every country has its history written down, either on paper, parchment scrolls or rock. Some use some artsy hieroglyphic and some others use one of the most beautiful written way: poems. Whichever way each civilization chose, we cannot deny the importance and impact such histories have in each nation. Iceland is a tiny remote island, but here, some of the most important medieval literature was produced. Want to know about the story of Iceland in the Sagas? Then get comfy, we are about to start to dig into the Iceland Viking Sagas.
As you may already know (and if you do not, go and check our Viking settlement article) , Iceland was founded by Vikings. These people came directly from Norway back around the 830 B.C. but of course, this was not the very moment when the Sagas where written. But what are exactly the Sagas?
A saga is a narrative story or legend of heroic deeds. In the case of the Iceland Viking Sagas, it tells the story of the Norse settlers coming to our country in the late 9th century. They amazingly depict what happened in the early years of the Icelandic history. The Iceland Viking Sagas are full of adventures, heroes and quarrels. It is the perfect book for an action-adventure novel lover. Nowadays, there is still much debate about whether these stories are real or just an imaginative, fantastical tale.
So, why are the Iceland Viking Sagas so important for the story of the country? Well the first Saga seems to have been written down in the 13th century. This means that at least 300 years passed by after the original settlements. Not all of the sagas have the same topic, so the modern classification is by theme. There are sagas about the Scandinavian kings, about heroes, Gods and Religion. This last topic seems to be quite important for historians as by that time, Iceland was under a dramatic change. The arrival of Christianism.
Also, there are sagas about the settlements, not only the story of Iceland, but in North America as well. Something that later on, in our modern times, shook up the history of the western civilization. Sorry not sorry Christopher Columbus!
Back to the story of Iceland in the sagas, we get plenty information on how the political,social and liguistic structure was like back then. They also depict how inhabitable and tough the land was and how men manage to survive in such places. The most numerous Sagas are the Family Songs, there are about 40 Sagas. Here we learn about the main Chieftains and how they ruled and managed the politics of the country.
For those Viking culture lovers, be sure to check the Saga of the Völsunga. It is not exactly about the story of Iceland but it has plenty of Norse mythology and drama! It could totally pass for fantasy literature. It is quite entertaining; I highly recommend it.
There are some sagas that are easily available at bookshops around the world. They are the Sagas or Eddas of Snorri Sturluson. So if you want to get in contact with medieval literature, this can be a good way. It has been translated to thousands of languages all around the globe.
The Ancient Stories Written in The Iceland Viking Sagas
No wonder why the Sagas are so fascinating and important! It basically narrates how our country was born. Who our ancestors were, our background and why we are the way we are as Icelanders.