Saga Thing

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

April 16th, 2018    

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



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



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 (

Outro Music - "Stormfront" by Kevin MacLeod (

Selections from music by Kevin MacLeod licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

March 16th, 2018    

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



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 (

Summary Music - "Industrial Cinematic" by Kevin MacLeod (

Outro Music - "Stormfront" by Kevin MacLeod (

Selections from music by Kevin MacLeod licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

March 9th, 2018    

Saga Brief 12 - Catching Up with Saga Thing (Now With a Listener Contest!)



John and Andy return from a short break to update listeners on all the stuff that's been happening, what we've got planned for the immediate future, and to kick off the Saga Thing listener promotion contest. Yes, that's right, we're asking our loyal listeners to help us promote the podcast by spreading the word through creative expression. Evan Quinlan got the ball rolling without even realizing we were planning this. You can see his handywork in the image above. He's the first entry into the contest and the current leader. Do you have what it takes to unseat him?

Winners of the contest will receive fabulous prizes! How exciting. Listen to the episode for more details.

January 16th, 2018    

Saga Brief 11 - The Lesser Ragnarssons



Before we get back to the sagas of the Icelanders, we're pausing once again to provide you with some of the more interesting history and stories behind the History Channel's Vikings. We've got two lengthy Saga Briefs for you chock full of Vikings goodness ripped straight from the medieval sources that inform the show. We've already covered The Saga of Ragnar Lothbrok, his death poem, Rollo and the Vikings in Paris, and the mythology surrounding the blood-eagle. This time around we've got our eyes on the Ragnarssons. As you'll learn, there are a lot of them. So many, in fact, that we don't even get to your favorites in this episode. That's right, you'll have to wait until next time to hear all about Ivar the Boneless, Ubbe, Bjorn, and Hvitserk. But never fear, there's plenty here to keep you entertained. Learn all about the origins of Sigurd's Snake-in-the-Eye. Discover the daring deed of Rognvald Ragnarsson. Ooh and aah over Ulvi's brief moment in the sun. Hear all about Hastein Ragnarsson, one of Ragnar's greatest and most trusted sons. And then there's Eirik and Agnar, Fridleif, Radbard, Dunwat, and even a few daughters to consider. There's also a good bit in here about Lagertha. We hope you enjoy!


Intro - VioDance cover of "If I Had A Heart" by Fever Ray with Hardanger Violin 

Closing Music - Logan Kendell's folk cover of "If I Had A Heart" by Fever Ray. To purchase a copy of the song, visit Logan Kendell's bandcamp page. Be sure to check out his other music while you're there. I highly recommend his cover of Cruzados' "La Flor de Mal."  

- Older Posts »