Icelanders in the Viking Age: The People of the Sagasby William R. Short
Pub. Date: 03/01/2010
Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
The Sagas of Icelanders are enduring stories from Viking-Age Iceland filled with love and romance, battles and feuds, tragedy and comedy. Yet these tales are little read today, even by lovers of literature. The culture and history of the people depicted in the Sagas are often unfamiliar to the modern reader, though the audience for whom the tales were intended… See more details below
The Sagas of Icelanders are enduring stories from Viking-Age Iceland filled with love and romance, battles and feuds, tragedy and comedy. Yet these tales are little read today, even by lovers of literature. The culture and history of the people depicted in the Sagas are often unfamiliar to the modern reader, though the audience for whom the tales were intended would have had an intimate understanding of the material. This text introduces the modern reader to the daily lives and material culture of the Vikings. Topics covered include religion, housing, social customs, the settlement of disputes, and the early history of Iceland. Issues of dispute among scholars, such as the nature of settlement and the division of land, are addressed in the text.
Table of Contents
1 The Land 9
2 The Settlement 14
3 Government and Law 22
4 Social Structure and Gender 32
5 Feuds, Honor, and the Culture of Combat 40
6 Milestones in Life 58
7 Farm, Food Production, and Home Life 74
8 Manufacture and Trade 110
9 Transportation and Navigation 128
10 Art and Leisure 163
11 Religion, Myth, and Cult 186
12 Exploration and Settlement to the West 202
13 Iceland's Heritage 208
Appendix. Sagas for Outlanders 223
Chapter Notes 227
Selected References 264
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This book is an excellent source for anyone interested in Icelandic vikings. Not only does this book explain how Iceland was founded and how their government worked, but it also explains everything about their daily lives. Everything is included: diet, shelter, weapons, marriage, trade, transportation, art, religion, and even social structure and gender roles. Everything about their culture is included in this one book, giving a well rounded view in a writing style that's easy to follow. Pictures and illustrations are even included to help give a better mental view of this society. It's good for anyone looking for a source on Icelandic viking life for writing or just for a good read.
As someone who has previously only been slightly interested in Viking history this book has provided me with a basic knowledge base that has peaked my interest and showed me why Viking history is important to other subjects I am interested in such as medieval history and Arthurian legend.
This book changes your ideas about Vikings. It is so well researched. The pictures are fantastic. If you want to know the true story of where the Vikings settled, their government, their culture, what they ate, food production, how they navigated to other countries and traded, combat techniques, games they played, and honor codes, then read this book. You will be surprised at how advanced the Vikings were. It is an amazing book.