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155Episodes
Category: History

Discover what Vikings did when they were at home in this fun medieval history and literature podcast about the Icelandic sagas. Hosted by two medieval literature professors with beards.

September 6, 2022

Episode 36f - Laxdaela Saga (chapters 31-36)

Foust_-_Laxdaela_Saga_-_Gudrun_s_Dream_9-4-22...It's time to dive back into Laxdaela Saga! This time we're going to wander away from Olaf Peacock and his family for just a little while. Why? Because it's time to introduce Guðrún Ósvífsdóttir, one of the central figures of the saga! In this episode, we discuss Guðrún's dreams, her troubled marriage, and some interesting scholarship on gender identity in the saga age.

Music Credits

Intro Music - "Prelude and Action" by Kevin MacLeod
Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4236-prelude-and-action
License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

Review Music - "The Royal Vagabond Medley" by Jocker's Dance Orchestra

Outro Music - "Stormfront" by Kevin MacLeod
Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4421-stormfront
License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

August 15, 2022

Saga Brief 25: Saga Manuscripts and the Árni Magnússon Institute: An Interview with Svanhildur Óskarsdóttir

While Andy's away, John will play...a recording of his interview with Svanhildur Óskarsdóttir of the Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies in Reykjavik. Join us for a discussion of Árni Magnússon's status as the savior of saga literature and the work of the Institute still carrying on in his name. How important is Árni to Iceland? Well, we found this picture of him:

Arni_on_the_100_Kronur_bill8suyu.jpg

If that's not enough, learn how a fire in Copenhagen nearly wiped out the sagas, how vellum pages "wander" from one library to another, who upset a sixteenth-century reader so much that they wrote "damn him!" in a manuscript's margin, and why missing white gloves causes call-in complaints to Icelandic television.

Our thanks to Svanhildur for her time, expertise, and good humor. Enjoy the conversation, and we'll be back to Laxdæla saga as soon as John can convince Andy to come home...

 

Check out the Árni Magnússon Institute's website here.

 

Episode intro: Kent, “Då som nu för alltid”

Intro: Icelandic Folk Music: Tröllaslagur

OutroÓlafur Liljurós

July 25, 2022

Episode 36e - Laxdaela Saga (chapters 24-31)

In this episode, Olaf Peacock takes center stage as Hoskuld's life comes to a peaceful close. But don't think Hoskuld shuffles off this mortal coil before getting one last jab in at his estranged brother Hrut. This episode features an impressive parade, a somewhat lackluster haunting, a trip to Norway, and funeral and wedding feasts. If that's not enough for you, then you'll want to stay tuned to hear how Egil Skallagrimsson's daughter handles a disagreement with her husband.

Foust_-_Laxdaela_Saga_-_Olaf_Peacock_and_Hrap...

Thanks again to Jacob Foust (aka @skarphedin_illustrator) for providing us with an original illustration of Olaf's encounter with Hrapp. You can find more of his work here on Instagram.

Music Credits

Intro Music - "Prelude and Action" by Kevin MacLeod
Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4236-prelude-and-action
License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

Review Music - "The Royal Vagabond Medley" by Jocker's Dance Orchestra

Outro Music - "Stormfront" by Kevin MacLeod
Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4421-stormfront
License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

July 13, 2022

Episode 36d - Laxdaela Saga (chapters 20-24)

Foust_-_Laxdaela_Saga_-_Olaf_and_Myrkjartan1a...

In this episode, little Olaf Peacock travels to Norway and then to Ireland on a journey to meet his grandfather Myrkjartan. But how will he pay for it? Traveling overseas in the 10th century isn't cheap (it still isn't). How will King Myrkjartan and the Irish welcome the Icelandic son of the long lost Melkorka? And what familiar figure from Saga Thing past pops in for a visit and a quick marriage arrangement? There's only one way to find out!

We also discuss the presumed burial mounds of Thord Goddi and Skallagrim Kveldulfsson. We explore John's fascination with the Campbell's monomyth and similarities between Olaf Peacock and Anakin Skywalker (yes, you read that correctly).  For the runesack, we address a funny little stick with strange scratches on it that leads us into yet another conversation about Celtic influences on medieval Icelandic culture and a chat about the origins of our names. There's a lot going on here!

As promised, here's a pictures of Andy's great-grandfather, Andrew Kormos:

Andrew_Kormos7rfwc.png

And a picture of John's namesakes:

[forthcoming???]

As always, thank you to Jacob Foust (aka @skarphedin_illustrator) for another original illustration. You can find more of his work here on Instagram.

And finally, some promised bibliography, including works we referenced and some that were used while prepping the episode:

Clover, Carol J. The Medieval Saga. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1987.

Gísli Sigurđsson. Gaelic Influence in Iceland: Historical and Literary Contacts: A Survey of Research. Reykjavík: Bókaútgáfa Menningarsjóđs. 1988.

Hastrup, Kirsten. Culture and History in Medieval Iceland: An Anthropological Analysis of Structure and Change. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1985.

Kellogg, Robert. “Introduction.” In The Sagas of Icelanders: A Selection, edited by Robert Kellogg, pp. xv-lvii. New York: Viking, 2001.

Kress, Helga, “‘You Will Find It All Rather Monotonous’: On Literary Tradition and the Female Experience in Laxdaela saga.” The Nordic Mind: Current Trends in Scandinavian Literary Criticism. F. E. Andersen and John Weinstock, eds. University Press of America, 1986. 181-195.

Kristjánsson Jónas, and Peter Foote. Eddas and Sagas: Iceland's Medieval Literature. Reykjavík: Hiđ íslenska bókmenntafélag, 1997.

Morris, William. The Lovers of Gudrun. A Poem. Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1870.

Robinson, Peter. “Vikings and Celts.” In Introductory Essays on Egils saga and Njáls saga, edited by John Hines and Desmond Slay, pp. 125-139. London: Viking Society for Northern Research, 1992.

 

Music Credits

Intro Music - "Prelude and Action" by Kevin MacLeod
Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4236-prelude-and-action
License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

Review Music - "The Royal Vagabond Medley" by Jocker's Dance Orchestra

Outro Music - "Stormfront" by Kevin MacLeod
Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4421-stormfront
License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

June 23, 2022

Episode 36c - Laxdaela Saga (chapters 14-19)

We're back with the third installment of Laxdæla saga! In this episode, we meet a bunch of minor characters who play a role in the developing tensions in Laxárdalur (the Salmon River Valley). This surprisingly fun section starts with a little disagreement between two former friends over a stack of fish. That disagreement erupts into a violent altercation that drags in the major power players of the district, puts a husband and wife at odds, and eventually leads to an opportunity that Hoskuld Dalla-Kollsson simply can't pass up.

If that's not enough for you, we've got Hrut's arrival in Iceland and a suspicious (and frankly rude) seal giving unasked for advice to a helpless family. Not since "whack-a-ghost-seal" have we laughed this hard!Foust_-_Laxdaela_Saga_-_Hrut_Going_Berserk_6-...

Thanks as always to @skarphedin_illustrator for bringing the text to life. Here we see Hrut fully "aroused" into a frenzy battling for his inheritance. If you're looking to get one of his illustrations on a shirt or in a print, visit his Etsy page.

Music Credits

Intro Music - "Prelude and Action" by Kevin MacLeod
Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4236-prelude-and-action
License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

Review Music - "The Royal Vagabond Medley" by Jocker's Dance Orchestra

Outro Music - "Stormfront" by Kevin MacLeod
Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4421-stormfront
License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license