One of the most arresting stories in the history of exploration, these two Icelandic sagas tell of the discovery of America by Norsemen five centuries before Christopher Columbus. Together, the direct, forceful twelfth-century Graenlendinga Saga and the more polished and scholarly Eirik's Saga, written some hundred years later, recount how Eirik the Red founded an Icelandic colony in Greenland and how his son, Leif the Lucky, later sailed south to explore - and if possible exploit - the chance discovery by Bjarni Herjolfsson of an unknown land. In spare and vigorous prose they record Europe's first surprise glimpse of the eastern shores of the North American continent and the natives who inhabited them.
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About the Author
Magnus Magnusson is an Icelander who has been resident in Scotland for most of his life, and is well-known for his presentation of the BBC's Mastermind. He is also chairman of the Scottish National Heritage. He studied English and Old Icelandic at Oxford University. Hermann Palsson studied Icelandic at the University of Iceland and Celtic at University College, Dublin. Formerly Professor of Icelandic at the University of Edinburgh and General Editor of the New Saga Library, he has written many books on the history and literature of medieval Iceland. He died in 2003.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The Vinland Sagas: The Norse Discovery of America based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
This is the Penguin Classics version of the Vinland Sagas, which includes a very interesting introduction as well as both Graenlendinga Saga & Eirik's Saga. The introduction describes the Vikings' exploration and settlement of the islands of the North Atlantic, showing just how feasible it was that they could have reached America once they had settled the west coast of Greenland. This is followed by a discussion of why the Icelanders became such prolific saga writers and about the differences between the Greenland Saga and Eirik's Saga, both of which concern the same events.The sagas themselves are very interesting and the Skraelings encountered by the Greenlanders certainly sound like Native Americans. There are also some interesting supernatural encounters, outbreaks of disease and a lot of trading voyages, to Norway and Iceland as well as Vinland. The differences between the stories mostly concern who went on which voyage and which order things happened.And finally, there is a very useful index of names in the back to help with all those confusing thornames.