Saga Thing

A medieval history and literature podcast reviewing all the Sagas of the Icelanders by two professors with beards.

June 18th, 2018    

Episode 26b - The Saga of the People of Kjalarnes (Part 2)

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In this episode, John and Andy continue to follow the adventures of the increasingly unlikable Bui Andridsson. We begin with a much needed change of scenery as Bui flees Iceland. I turns out that some people still hold a grudge for Bui's slaying of Thorstein. In Norway, Bui meets with a somewhat hostile King Harald Fairhair and his foster-father, King Dofri. Oh, and he happens to be a giant who lives in a mountain. What kind of shenanigans will Bui get up to this time? Will Bui reunite with his beloved Olof? And will he ever reconcile with the powerful family of Thorgrim the goði? And who is the striking young stranger wrestling with Bui at the end of the saga? Find out as we wrap up our summary of Kjalnesinga Saga.

Thanks to Matt Smith for sharing his talents. This original drawing shows Bui meeting the imposing, but strangely seductive Frið. As you'll hear, she proves to be a bit more woman than Bui can handle. Matt wrote and illustrated Barbarian Lord, a graphic novel heavily inspired by the Icelandic Sagas.  You can see more of his work here: matt-illustrations.com. Again, if you like what he's doing for Saga Thing, drop him a line and express your appreciation on Twitter, where he's @barbarianlord.

Be sure to listen through to the end, because we finally announce the winners of our Promote Saga Thing Contest. Winners should get in touch with us at sagathingpodcast@gmail.com with info on where to send the Saga Thing t-shirt.

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Music Credits:

Intro Music "Prelude and Action" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Review Music - "Snake Rag" by King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band

Outro Music - "Stormfront" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Selections from music by Kevin MacLeod licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNQx3KPxifQ

June 4th, 2018    

Episode 26a - The Saga of the People of Kjalarnes (Part 1)

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As we have mentioned recently on social media, the great Matt Smith has agreed to join the Saga Thing team and provide us with an original drawing for each saga episode. We’re excited to be working with him. You’ll get a fuller appreciation of each image he creates for us by listening to the episode. I don’t think you’ll be surprised to hear that this image was inspired by one of the climaxes of the saga. One of the climaxes? Yes. Just one of many.  Thanks again to Matt for donating his time and talents. Matt wrote and illustrated Barbarian Lord, a graphic novel heavily inspired by the Icelandic Sagas.  You can see more of his work here: matt-illustrations.com. Welcome to the team, Matt! If you like what he's doing for Saga Thing, drop him a line and express your appreciation on Twitter, where he's @barbarianlord.

In this episode, we discuss the first half of Kjalnesinga saga (The Saga of the People of Kjalarnes). You’re not alone if the name doesn’t ring a bell. This saga isn’t widely read or commented upon, despite being full of interesting tidbits for further discussion. For example, Kjalnesinga saga is the only saga whose action takes place within the modern boundaries of Reykjavík.  If you’ve been to Iceland’s capital, then you’ve no doubt seen the impressive Mount Esja (Esjan) looming across the bay. This saga offers some clues about where the mountain and the places around it got their names, at least according to the saga author.  In addition to some fascinating toponomy, Kjalnesinga saga looks into the lives of the first two generations of settlers in Kjalarnes, starting with Helgi Bjolan and a group of Irish immigrants that he graciously welcomes into his land. The majority of the action concerns the children of these initial settlers.  Here’s a quick key for those of you who have trouble keeping track of all the names.

Kjalnesinga_Genealogy.jpg

As if a genealogical tree wasn’t enough, we’ve also got a map of Kjalarnes for you, generously prepared for us by Rob from Totalus Rankium podcast, using Emily Lethbridge's Icelandic Saga Map.  to get a sense of the region and who lives where. Rob is an unofficial/official member of the Saga Thing team. We look forward to more awesome maps from Rob for future episodes. If you find these maps helpful, let Rob know on Twitter, where he's @TotalusRankium.

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When you've finished digesting all this great info, give the episode a listen. Kjalnesinga saga features a vivid description of a pagan temple, rising tensions between Irish Christian immigrants and the just-a-little-less-recently-immigrated pagan Icelanders, one of our more violent slayings (which is really saying something), an official holmgang, and our first ever love quadrangle…or square, if you will. There’s plenty here for everyone.

Because we promised a link to our Saga Brief on the holmgang, as if you haven't already heard it, I'm providing it. John put no effort or time into providing this link, just as I suspected.

Music Credits:

Intro Music "Prelude and Action" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Summary Music - "Galway" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Outro Music - "Stormfront" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Selections from music by Kevin MacLeod licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

April 16th, 2018    

Saga Brief 13 - The Repton Viking Burials: An Interview with Cat Jarman

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In this special episode of Saga Thing, John sits down with Cat Jarman, bio-archaeologist at University of Bristol, for a Saga Brief about the Viking burials near Wystan's church at Repton in Derbyshire. The graves, containing roughly 300 individuals, have long been associated with the Viking Great Army that wintered in Repton in AD 873-74. While radiocarbon dating should have confirmed that link between these graves and the 9th century Viking invaders, results from select skeletons have been frustratingly inconsistent. That's where Dr. Jarman and her colleagues come in. Find out how Dr. Jarman helped to resolve the problem by taking into account the "marine reservoir effect." 

You can read Dr. Jarman's article "The Viking Great Army in England: New Dates from the Repton Charnel" in Antiquity vol. 92, no. 361, pp. 183-199.

Antiquity is an open access journal, so everyone can read this one.

Also check out these sites recommended by Dr. Jarman:

lidarfinder.com - This site lets you explore Lidar (Light Detection and Ranging) images of England.

finds.org.uk - The Portable Antiquities Scheme website. You can search the database there for artifacts, Viking or otherwise, found by amateur archaeologists and detectorists.

Music Credits:

Opening song - “Rúnatal” by An Danzza

Introduction - from Icelandic Folk Music: Tröllaslagur

 

 

 

March 27th, 2018    

Episode 25b - The Saga of Ref the Sly (Judgments)

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Which of Ref's many killings will be awarded Best Bloodshed? Where are all the Notable Witticisms? Will our protagonist survive the outlawry section? And how does this saga rank against the greats? There's only one way to find out. Join us as we pass judgment on The Saga of Ref the Sly.

Picture: adapted from MS Stowe 17, “The Maastricht Hours”

Music Credits:

Intro Music "Prelude and Action" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Outro Music - "Stormfront" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Selections from music by Kevin MacLeod licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

March 16th, 2018    

Episode 25a - The Saga of Ref the Sly (Summary)

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Saga Thing returns with the wild adventures of Ref the Sly. Follow us as we track this wily character as he travels all throughout medieval Scandinavia leaving piles of wood shavings and bodies in his wake. 

Picture: Taken from Grayson del Faro's recap of Ref the Sly on the Reykjavik Grapevine

Music Credits:

Intro Music "Prelude and Action" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Summary Music - "Industrial Cinematic" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Outro Music - "Stormfront" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Selections from music by Kevin MacLeod licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

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