Saga Thing

A podcast reviewing the sagas of the Icelanders with some medieval Scandinavian history, a dash of scholarship, and plenty of nonsense.

March 19th, 2017    

Episode 20k - Njal’s Saga (Part 11)

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The epic journey through Njal's Saga finally comes to an end.  In this episode, we follow Kari Solmundarson on his quest to avenge the deaths of everyone he was forced to leave behind in the burning house.  His targets are Flosi and the Burners.  With so many against him, the odds aren't in his favor.  But Kari is known throughout Iceland for his unmatched bravery and fearlessness.  His pursuit of the burners carries him from Iceland to the British Isles and then on to Rome.  Along the way, we'll take a brief detour to Ireland for a glimpse at the historic Battle of Clontarf.  Though this may be the end for our little summer saga, there's plenty here for everyone to enjoy.  In addition to the revenge, the battles, and the blood, you'll want to keep listening for the world's strangest mathematics word problem and a brief discussion on Entish naming practices.  Enjoy!

Promised References from this episode:

The Icelandic Saga Map

The Irish History Podcast - Episode 11: Brian Boru, The Battle of Clontarf, and the Aftermath

William Ian Miller's Why Is Your Axe Bloody?

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Music Credits:

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

Previous Episode Review - "Whispering" by Paul Whiteman

Episode Summary - "Satiate - Percussion" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Hrafn's Clontarf Report Poem - "Teller of Tales" 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 3rd, 2017    

Episode 20j - Njal’s Saga (Part 10)

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In this, the penultimate episode in the Njal's Saga summary, we follow Flosi and the Burners as they bounce around the region seeking support for the inevitable legal case against them.  Meanwhile, a slightly singed, but recovered Kari Salmundarson prepares his own case against the burners.  And who better to help him than Thorhall Asgrimsson, the young protégé of Njal himself.  Unfortunately, Thorhall’s got a nasty infection in his leg and the case falls to Morð Valgardsson.  The threat of violence permeates the proceedings as Morð and Eyjolf trade legal barbs and try to out maneuver one another.  Will justice be served as cooler heads prevail?  Or will the hallowed site of the Alþing be desecrated with the blood of those too slow to dodge an incoming spear?  Find out as Saga Thing takes on Njal’s Saga, chapters 133-145.

This episode is full of interesting scholarly tidbits and legal minutiae.  We've also got the usual nonsense, like old movie references and bad jokes.  

Thanks to George Hook for the picture of the Althing from his trip to Iceland. This image is on the information sign for Snorri's Booth.

Music Credits:

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

Previous Episode Review - "My Sin" by Ben Selvin and his Orchestra

Episode Summary -  Drums of the Deep 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/

 Links:

Check out The Viking Answer Lady Website for lots of fun facts about medieval Scandinavia.  

Here's her page on measurements that John references.

We've also got a select bibliography for Njal's Saga for all the books and articles we reference.

January 13th, 2017    

Episode 20i - Njal’s Saga (Part 9)

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Saga Thing returns after a not so brief holiday hiatus.  When last we left you, the settlement for the slaying of Hoskuld Thrainsson had been disrupted by insults and threats of violence.  We pick the story up as Flosi gathers his forces to surprise the Njalssons at home.  When the surprise attack is spoiled by a wishy-washy conspirator, Flosi is left with the difficult task of finishing what he started regardless of the consequences.  In this episode, we finally discover how the Saga of Burnt Njal got its name.

For an interesting read about the burning of Bergþórshváll, check out Emily Lethbridge's account of her visit to the site.

Music Credits:

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

Previous Episode Review - Fletcher Henderson's "Down South Camp Meeting

Episode Summary -  “Despair and Triumph” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Poems - "Bittersweet" 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/

 

November 20th, 2016    

Episode 20h - Njal’s Saga (Part 8)

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In this episode, we leave the conversion behind and get back to Njal's Saga. Tensions are running high yet again thanks to the careful plotting of your favorite villain, Morð Valgardsson.  Despite their troubled history with Morð, the Njalssons accept his friendship and quickly find themselves on the wrong side of the law.  With a major lawsuit pending and most of Iceland turning against them, the Njalssons seek help from some of Iceland’s most powerful men, including such notable figures as Guðmund the Powerful, Thorkel the Bully, and the inestimable Snorri Goði.  Will Skarpheðin lead his brothers to glory? Or will fate finally catch up with Njal and his sons?  Find out as Saga Thing takes on Njal’s Saga (again).

Music Credits:

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

Previous Episode Review -  “Don’t Be That Way” by Chick Webb Orchestra

Episode Summary -  “Hitman” 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/

October 9th, 2016    

Saga Brief 7 - The Conversion of Iceland (Part 2)

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In the second part of our Saga Brief on the conversion of Iceland, we discuss the conversion tactics of King Olaf Tryggvason, the Icelanders' controversial decision at the Althing of 1000, and the effects of Christianity on Icelandic culture.  You might notice that Andy is a bit more subdued than usual in this one. He was sick during recording. 

Music: 
Intro to Saga Brief - from Icelandic Folk Music: Tröllaslagur
Poem Song - Moorland by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Outro - 
Ólafur Liljurós


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