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͍slendingabók and Kristni Saga * translated by Siān Grønlie (2006)

The book of the Icelanders and The story of the conversionThere are some texts that I still need(ed) to read. The ͍slendingabók was one of them, the Landnámabók is another (currently reading), the Flateyjarbók yet another. Grønlie presents translations of both The book of the Icelanders and The story of the conversion with a (too) lengthy introduction, a great many notes, a massive bibliography and a large index. Two short texts make a booklet of about a hundred pages. The first story is mostly about the colonisation of Iceland and the coming of Christianity, the second of course about the second subject. Both are really stories, more than the Landnamabók, which is mostly a long list of names and historical facts, but there are fewer clues in the texts than I hoped. A quote from both texts so you get an idea:

A great lawsuit arose at the assembly between Þórðr gellir, son of Í“leifr feilan from Breiðafjorðr, who was called Tunga-Oddr; he was from Borgarfjorðr. His son Þorvaldr was with HÅ“sna-Þórir at the burning of Þorkell Blund-Ketilsson in Ornólfsdalr. And órðr gellir was the leader of the prosecution, because Hersteinn, son of Þorkell Blund-Ketilsson, was married to Þórunn, his sister’s daughter. She was the daughter of Helga and Gunnarr, and the sister of Jófriðr, who was married to Þorsteinn Egilsson.

(͍slendingabók, p. 6)

Gizurr and Hjalti held another meeting with the Christians, and they said that also wished to hold a sacrifice of as manh people as the heathens. They said this:
‘Heathens sacrifice the worst people, and push them over cliffs and crags, but we shall make our selection on the basis of people’s virtues and call it a victory offering to our Lord Jesus Christ. We must therefore live better and be more carefull to avoid sin than before, and Gizurr and I will come forward as the victory offerign for our Quarter.’

(Kristni Saga, p. 49)

There are some things to be found here and I still advice you to read such texts yourselves, but the sagas are more enjoyable to read!

2006 Viking Society For Northern Research, university college London; isbn 0903521717

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