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Rank #126 in Books category

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Saga Thing

Updated 8 days ago

Rank #126 in Books category

Arts
Society & Culture
Books
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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.

Read more

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.

iTunes Ratings

202 Ratings
Average Ratings
191
9
1
1
0

Wonderful

By Blár - Sep 07 2019
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John and Andy have an immense talent for making the sagas fun and accessible.

Great sagas and great guys!

By csmithlmt - Jul 03 2018
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These guys have a fun way to look at really fun and interesting historical works.

iTunes Ratings

202 Ratings
Average Ratings
191
9
1
1
0

Wonderful

By Blár - Sep 07 2019
Read more
John and Andy have an immense talent for making the sagas fun and accessible.

Great sagas and great guys!

By csmithlmt - Jul 03 2018
Read more
These guys have a fun way to look at really fun and interesting historical works.

Listen to:

Cover image of Saga Thing

Saga Thing

Updated 8 days ago

Read more

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.

Rank #1: Episode 29a - Egil's Saga (Part 1)

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A few months ago we once again put the fate of Saga Thing in your hands. You had the option to choose our next saga, selecting between two of Iceland's greatest literary monuments and The Saga of the Foster-Brothers. The will of the people was made manifest and we got to work. You've been waiting patiently. Join us now for the first of many episodes on our listener selected saga of 2019, Egil's Saga.

In this episode, we cover chapters 1-6. Here the dramatic tension revolves around King Harald Tangle-Hair's rise to power as he seeks to become sole ruler of Norway. One by one, the best men of Norway fall like dominoes before him, dying in battle, fleeing to new lands, and even burying themselves in mounds to avoid submitting to King Harald. Some embrace the seemingly inevitable and join the swelling ranks of King Harald's supporters. 

You won't run into Egil Skallagrimsson in this episode. This one is all about setting up the world into which he will be born. But you will meet Egil's grandfather, Kvelduf, his father, Grim, and his uncle, Thorolf. You'll also meet Kari of Berle, Kveldulf's best friend, and his sons Eyvind Lamb and Olvir Hump. How will these men respond to calls to either join Harald or risk their lives fighting against him? There's only one way to find out (assuming you can't read the saga yourself for some reason). 

Please feel free to submit any questions or comments you'd like us to address from this episode. We'll set aside some time at the end of each episode going forward to tackle those. You can send them to us via email, twitter, or facebook.

When you're finished, be sure to check out our Select Bibliography for Egil's Saga on our blog site. There you'll find citations for all the articles and books we mention throughout our journey through Egil's Saga. We'll be adding to it as we go.

As always, a special thanks to our Saga Thing illustrator, Matt Smith for the portraits of Kveldulf and his sons.  We look forward to seeing what he does with the rest of Egil's Saga. If you like the work Matt's been doing for us, check out his latest project Metal Quest, a collaboration with Tom Pappalardo. You can keep up with Matt's latest doodles, drawings, and progress on Twitter.

Music Credits:

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

Preview Music - A blend of "Procession of the King" and "Mountain Emperor" 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/

Feb 04 2019

1hr 22mins

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Rank #2: Episode 2: Hrafnkel's Saga

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Our grand quest to place the sagas of the Icelanders on
trial begins with an acknowledged classic–the relatively brief (but totally
epic) Hrafnkels saga Freysgoði. The story of a harsh chieftain who
falls from power and rises again, the men who band together against him, and
the horse at the center of it all,Hrafnkels saga offers a
listener-friendly introduction to the complex and blood-drenched world of the
Icelandic sagas. And it comes with torture! 

Hrafnkel’s
Saga and Other Icelandic Stories (Penguin Classics)

But is that enough to earn it a top score from John and Andy, or will the saga be judged harshly for its lack of scope and poor treatment of animals? Find out now!

Sep 13 2013

1hr 15mins

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Rank #3: Saga Brief 11 - The Lesser Ragnarssons

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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!

Credits:

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."  

Jan 16 2018

1hr 45mins

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Rank #4: Episode 28 - The Saga of Ale-Hood

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In this episode, Thorhall Ale-Hood burns down his woodlands making charcoal. Unfortunately for him, he also burns down the neighboring woods that belong to 6 of Iceland's most powerful chieftains. The woods aren't terribly important to them, but when Iceland's bully chieftains see a financial opportunity, they take it. This short saga tells the story of Ale-Hood's attempt to defend himself against the chieftains. If you liked Bandamanna Saga, then you'll love The "Saga" of Ale-Hood. It's a quick one, but it's full of laughs.

Thanks, as always, to Matt Smith for another original drawing. This one depicts Thorkel Fringe, one of the saga's bad guys, in a compromising position. Listen to the episode to find out more. You can visit Matt's webpage and follow him on Twitter to see more of his work.

We managed to do both the summary and the judgments for this one. It's been a while since that happened. Judgments start at 1:03:31.

Music Credits:

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

Summary Music - "Crowd Hammer" 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/

Jan 16 2019

1hr 47mins

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Rank #5: Episode 1c: What is a saga?

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Now that you're an expert in medieval Icelandic history, you're probably wondering about Icelandic literary expression.  And why wouldn't you?  In this episode, John and Andy answer the question they probably ought to have covered right away . . . what is a saga, exactly?  Strap yourself in for a whirlwind introduction to the genre of saga literature.  Expect to hear an overview of the different kinds of sagas medieval Icelanders produced.  Along the way, you'll find out the difference between a family saga and a lying saga, discover the wonders of bookprose and freeprose theory, and learn a little something about a guy named Njal.  All in all, it's good clean fun for the whole family.

Sep 13 2013

27mins

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Rank #6: Saga Brief 5: The Story of Rollo the Viking

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In this episode, we celebrate the
life and accomplishments of the historical Rollo.  Known to many as the envious brother of the
incomparable Ragnar Loðbrok in the History Channel’s Vikings.  While the historical Rollo may not have been
Ragnar’s brother, Vikings gets a lot of things right.  As an exile from his homeland, Rollo earned
the nickname “the Walker” by wandering throughout northern Europe raiding and
conquering everything in his path.  Among
his most significant conquests would come to be known as Normandy, a territory
in northern France named for the Northmen led by Rollo in the late 9th or early
10th century.  Fearing further Viking
aggression, the French King Charles the Simple turned over the city of Rouen over
to Rollo and his men.  This simple act
(get it?) provided the French with a buffer against future Viking attacks from
the north.  Or so they hoped.  In this case, it worked out nicely.  Rollo and his fellow Vikings quickly rebuilt
the territories they had ravaged and assimilated into French culture.  Rollo’s descendants would go on to play a
very significant role in European history. 
As the great-great-great-grandfather of William the Conqueror, Rollo’s
blood flows through many veins of later European royalty.

 

If you’re interested in learning
more about that part of the story, we recommend the following episodes of Rex
Factor, our very favorite podcast:

http://rexfactor.podbean.com/e/17-william-the-conqueror/

http://rexfactor.podbean.com/e/18-william-rufus/

Looking for more Vikings and Saga Thing cross-over?  We've got a few episodes that might interest you:

The Saga of Ragnar Loðbrok and His Sons - where we review the medieval stories behind the Vikings hero.

The Blood Eagle - where we discuss the Viking practice of splitting a man open and its historical veracity.

The Krákumál - a detailed look at the famous death song of Ragnar

Feb 19 2016

1hr 34mins

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Rank #7: Saga Brief 13 - The Repton Viking Burials: An Interview with Cat Jarman

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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:

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

finds.org.uk - 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

Outro – Ólafur Liljurós

Apr 17 2018

53mins

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Rank #8: Episode 20a - Njal's Saga (Part 1)

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In this first part of our epic summer saga, we introduce Njal's Saga and the initial section where marriage, gender roles, and female independence are the central themes.  We begin with the story of Hrut Herjolfsson, who leaves his bride-to-be in Iceland to fetch an inheritance in Norway.  Along the way, the handsome young Hrut finds himself more involved in the royal family than is proper.  Scandal!  After getting ensnared in the web of the Norwegian queen mother, Gunnhild, Hrut will bring home a curse that will set the whole action of Njal's Saga into motion.  We also meet Hrut's lovely and dynamic niece, Hallgerd Hoskuldsdottir, a fiercely independent woman who will play a significant role in the development of this saga. When we first meet her, we learn that she has the eyes of a thief, which never bodes well.  This episode covers Hallgerd's first two marriages, both of which involve domestic violence followed by a visit from Hallgerd's vengeful foster-father Thjostolf.  Hallgerd may be beautiful, cunning, and seductive, but she's hardly the passive female of most medieval literature.  We look forward to spending some time with her this summer and hearing how you all feel about her character.  
Don't forget to check out our blog for links to the scholarship we discuss in this episode.

Jun 03 2016

1hr 19mins

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Rank #9: Episode 29b - Egil's Saga (Part 2)

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Our journey through Egil's Saga continues with chapters 7-15. This time, we're following the meteoric rise of Thorolf Kveldulfsson. Against his father's better judgment, Thorolf makes his way to the court of King Harald soon-to-be Fairhair. It's no surprise to anyone when Thorolf distinguishes himself and becomes Harald's most trusted and successful follower. But like Icarus, Harald flies too close to the sun. With all his success, he's managed to gather extensive landholdings, abundant wealth, and a lot of followers. Before long, rivals at court are working to undermine him and sully his good name with King Harald. Who are these rivals? What cause do they have to hate this paragon of Norwegian virtue? And will King Harald fall under their spell? There's only one way to find out!

This episode includes the famous and decisive Battle of Hafrsfjord, where King Harald vanquishes his enemies and unites Norway (at least a significant portion of it) under a single crown (or so legendary history would have us believe). The battle places Thorolf, Olvir Hump, Eyvind Lamb, and their new fried Bard Brynjolfsson at the prow of King Harald's ship. We've covered this battle before, but never from this perspective. Perhaps you'll encounter a familiar face on the enemy side if you pay attention.

Sverd i Fjell monument in Stavanger, Norway

If you'd like to dive into the scholarship used to prepare this and other Egil's Saga episodes, visit the bibliography page on our blog site.

Thanks again to Matt Smith for another original illustration. If you enjoy Matt's work for Saga Thing, you'll want to keep up with his latest doodles, drawings, and projects on Twitter.

Music Credits:

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

Summary Music - "April Showers" by Eddie Elkins' Orchestra

Preview Music - "Black Vortex" 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/

Feb 18 2019

1hr 43mins

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Rank #10: Episode 20b - Njal's Saga (Part 2)

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In this episode, we introduce Gunnar Hamundarson and his wise friend Njal Thorgeirsson.  We'll follow Gunnar on a few adventures before he settles down with the lovely, but dangerous Hallgerd Hoskuldsdottir.  If you thought Hallgerd was harsh in Part 1 of our summer saga, just wait until you see what she's up to this time around.  Will the friendship of Njal and Gunnar survive the escalating violence spurred on by their wives, or will they be consumed by it and destroyed?  There's only one way to find out.  
For anyone who's interested, we've put together a select bibliography for Njal's Saga.  We have mentioned a few of these, but there's plenty more here for your perusal. Obviously, you'll need a good library to access most of these.
Music Credits:
Intro Music Prelude and Action by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ Previous Episode Review Iron Horse by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ Episode Summary Voces Thules - Varizk ér Ok Varizk ér Outro Music Stormfront by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Jul 08 2016

1hr 27mins

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Rank #11: Episode 25a - The Saga of Ref the Sly (Summary)

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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 (incompetech.com)

Summary Music - "Industrial Cinematic" 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/

Mar 16 2018

1hr 55mins

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Rank #12: Episode 3a - Eyrbyggja Saga

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In Episode 3a, John and Andy discuss the difficulties of
trying to cover Eyrbyggja Saga in one episode…which they then totally fail to
do successfully.  So we present the first
of a two-part episode! Never fear, there’s plenty here to enjoy.  You’ll meet Snorri the goði and his rival
Arnkel Thorolfsson.   Listen as they
battle for control of Snæfellsnes Peninsula. 
This is a tale of fortunes and misfortunes, sweeping conflicts between
huge kin-groups, the rise and fall of chieftains, and the little people that
get swept up in the mess.  But it also
features a steamy love affair, a dispute over fine linens, and the exploits of
a spectral seal.  Don’t miss a moment!!!

Eyrbyggja Saga (Penguin Classics)

Sep 24 2013

56mins

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Rank #13: Episode 16b - Grettir's Saga (Part 2)

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In this episode we follow Grettir through three of his most famous battles against an undead Kar the Old, a giant Norwegian bear, and Iceland's most famous draugr, Glam.  We also catch Grettir stumbling in a clumsy fight for fire that will eventually seal his fate as an outlaw forever.  This one runs a little longer than the average episode of Saga Thing, but with so much excellent material to cover, we just couldn't resist.

Aug 13 2015

1hr 31mins

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Rank #14: Episode 12a - The Saga of Bjorn Champion of the Hitardal People

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The title is a mouthful, but some might call this saga an
underappreciated gem of medieval Iceland. 
Like the other warrior poet's sagas, we’ve got a love triangle.  This time Bjorn, a dashing swashbuckler who
sports the impressive title “Champion of the Hitardal People,” loses the girl
to his conniving rival, Thord Kolbeinsson. 
But this isn’t your average warrior poet saga.  Rather than a series of duels and fights,
these men trade verbal barbs in some of the raunchiest poetry saga literature
has to offer.  It isn’t all taunts and
insulting verses, however.  This saga has
some depth and strong characterizations that make it an instant favorite for
the men of Saga Thing.

Jan 30 2015

1hr 27mins

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Rank #15: Saga Brief 15 - Ivar the Boneless

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In this episode, we tackle the life of Ragnar’s fiercest and most complex son, Ivar the Boneless. We begin with an investigation into Ivar’s birth and enigmatic nickname. From there we trace the path of his illustrious military career. Our journey will take us from Denmark to Ireland, where Ivar conquers Dublin and goes head to head with the High King of Ireland, Mael Sechnaill. From Dublin, we’ll follow Ivar to Anglo-Saxon England with the Great Heathen Army. There Ivar and company topple kingdom after kingdom with ruthless efficiency. Join us as we dive deep into the medieval chronicles, legends, and tales to uncover the stories behind Vikings’ most compelling character, Ivar the Boneless, King of the Vikings in Ireland and Britain.

Previous Vikings Related Episode Links:

Saga Thing 7: The Saga of Ragnar Loðbrok and His Sons

Saga Brief 1: The Blood-Eagle

Saga Brief 3: Krákumál

Saga Brief 5: The Story of Rollo the Viking

Saga Brief 11: The Lesser Ragnarssons

Interested in learning more about Mael Sechnaill and the Irish side of the Viking invasions? Check out this episode of the Irish History Podcast – Vikings in 9th century Ireland.

Select Bibliography for this Episode:

Æthelweard. Chronicon Æthelweardi. Edited and Translated by Alistair Campbell. New York: Oxford University Press, 1962.

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Translated by Michael Swanton. New York: Routledge, 1998.

The Annals of Ulster. Edited and Translated by Pádraig Bambury and Stephen Beechinor. Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition. Cork: Ireland, 2000.

Asser, John. Alfred the Great: Asser’s Life of King Alfred and Other Contemporary Sources. Edited and Translated by Simon Keynes and Michael Lapidge. New York: Penguin Books, 1983.

Brink, Stefan and Neil Price. The Viking World. New York: Routledge, 2008.

Clarke, Howard B. and Ruth Johnson. The Vikings in Ireland and Beyond: Before and After the Battle of Clontarf. Dublin, Ireland: Four Courts Press, 2015.

Crawford, B. E. Scandinavian Scotland. Leicester: Leicester University Press, 1987.

Downham, Clare. Viking Kings of Britain and Ireland: The Dynasty of Ívarr to A.D. 1014. Edinburgh: Dunedin, 2007.

Fragmentary Annals of Ireland. Edited and Translated by Joan Newlon Radner. Dublin: Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 1978.

Jones, Gwynn. A History of the Vikings. New York: Oxford University Press, 1968.

McTurk, Rory. Studies in Ragnars Saga Loðbrokar and its Major Scandinavian Analogues. Medium Ævum Monographs. New Series XV. Exeter: Short Run Press,  1991.

Saxo Grammaticus. The History of the Danes. Edited and Translated by Peter Fisher and H. R. Ellis Davidson. Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 1996.

Smyth, Alfred P. Scandinavian Kings in the British Isles, 850-880. New York: Oxford University Press, 1977.

Stenton, Frank M. Anglo-Saxon England. 2nd edition. New York: Oxford University Press, 1989.

Valante, Mary A. The Vikings in Ireland: Settlement, Trade, and Urbanization. Portland, OR: Four Courts Press, 2008.

Waggoner, Ben. The Sagas of Ragnar Lodbrok. New Haven, CT: 2009.

Episode Credits:

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. As a big fan of outlaws, I recommend his cover of "Not in Nottingham" from Disney's Robin Hood

Dec 14 2018

1hr 53mins

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Rank #16: Saga Brief 6 - The Conversion of Iceland (Part 1)

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In the first part of this Saga Brief, we look at the story behind the conversion of Iceland.  
Music: 
Opening -  Rúnatal” by An Danzza with selections from History Channel's Vikings Intro to Saga Brief - from Icelandic Folk Music: Tröllaslagur Outro - Ólafur Liljurós

Oct 01 2016

1hr 8mins

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Rank #17: Episode 23a - The Saga of Droplaug's Sons

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In this episode, we continue our series of stories from the Northeast of Iceland.  This time around, Helgi Droplaugarson goes head to head with the powerful chieftain Helgi Asbjarnarson.  While Helgi D. makes life difficult for his rival by undercutting him at every chance he gets, Helgi A. takes it all with patience.  Does Helgi A. have a good reason for holding back?  Or is he just biding his time as he waits for the right moment to attack?  There's only one way to find out.  Listen, as Saga Thing presents The Saga of Droplaug's Sons!

The first part of this episode provides a bit more information on family connections and genealogies than usual.  Please use Andy's handy genealogy to help you through it.

Music Credits:

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

Episode Summary - "All This" 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/

Jul 14 2017

1hr 25mins

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Rank #18: Episode 4 - Eirik the Red's Saga

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It’s time to strike out for the west in the latest
installment of Saga Thing. Join us as we sail through stormy and unpredictable
seas in the Saga of Eirik the Red!

The
Vinland Sagas: The Norse Discovery of America: “Graenlendinga Saga” and
“Eirik’s Saga” (Classics)

The first of the two so-called Vínland sagas to be reviewed,
Eiriks saga offers up a story that’s part travelogue, part bloodbath, and part
confusing as heck. In this episode, we’ll learn all about Eirik the Red’s bad
habit of killing almost everyone he meets, his son Leif’s discovery of Vínland
through the magic of pure navigational incompetence, the volatile natives of
this dangerous new land, and another round of hauntings (much to Andy’s
delight).

Will Eirik ever meet a nice neighborhood and settle down
(without killing anyone who lives there)? Why does a Greenland seeress need
such fancy seat-cushions? Is that a Uniped hopping through the
Vínland woods? And just whereare Helluland and Markland, anyway?

Nov 07 2013

1min

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Rank #19: Episode 22a - The Saga of the People of Vopnafjord

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The Saga of the People of Vopnafjord picks up where The Saga of Thorstein the White left off.  It tells the story of two friends, Brodd-Helgi Thorgilsson and Geitir Lytingsson, and their rise to power.  The two men share everything in the beginning, including a desire to have that which is not theirs.  Their friendship only deepens when Brodd-Helgi marries Geitir's sister, Halla.  Later, their son Bjarni is given to Geitir as foster-son.  Things really couldn't be better between the two leading men of Vopnafjord. 

But things fall apart, as they do in these stories, after Brodd-Helgi and Geitir begin to mistrust one another after a plot to rob a hapless Norwegian merchant crumbles.  Their relationship suffers further when Halla becomes ill and Brodd-Helgi wastes no time arranging another marriage for himself, this time to Thorgerd Silver.  The resulting animosity between Geitir and Brodd-Helgi proves too much for the district to bear.  Men from both sides are drawn into the conflict and some even lose their lives.  Though Geitir is reluctant to act as the aggressor, he is finally put on the offensive after some prodding by his thingmen.  What happens next is lost in the great gap left to us in the manuscript.  The saga picks things up again with the next generation from each family trying to pick up the pieces.  Here we find Bjarni, the son of Brodd-Helgi, going head-to-head with Thorkel, Geitir's son.  The two are not only kinsmen, they had also grown up together at Krossavik.  Though Bjarni attempts to make peace with Thorkel, there's little that can be done to assuage the thirst for vengeance.  Will Bjarni succeed in putting an end to this bloody and unfortunate feud? Or will Thorkel continue the cycle of violence and pass it on to the next generation?  There's only one way to find out.  

The Stone Armor Defense

The above image comes from Hurstwic's recreation of Brodd-Helgi's clever use of a stone slab to protect himself from Svart in chapter 2 of Vápnfirðinga saga.  Read all about this and other creative battle tactics here.

For some more on this saga and its background, check out:

Chapter 13 of Jesse Byock's Viking Age Iceland - "Friendship, Blood feud, and Power: The Saga of the People of Weapon's Fjord"

Alan Berger's "Lawyers in the Old Icelandic Family Sagas: Heroes, Villains, and Authors" in Saga Book XX (1978-79): 70-79

And if you're interested in traveling to Vopnafjord and taking in all the sights yourself, maybe take a gander at a waterfall or two and pause for some fishing, then start here at https://www.visitvopnafjordur.com/en

Music Credits:

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

Episode Summary - "Clash Defiant" 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/

Jun 12 2017

1hr 43mins

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Rank #20: Saga Brief 9 - Thor: The Intersection of Viking Mythology and Popular Culture (Live)

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 In this Saga Brief, John and Andy visit Seminole State College to talk about Thor in all his incarnations, from the Proto-Germanic god of thunder to the hammer throwing stud of the Marvel Comic Universe.  You can access the PowerPoint slides here: Thor Presentation.

Special thanks to Michael Mendoza for inviting us and organizing this event. We are also grateful to Aaron Hanlin and the Grindle Honors Insitute at Seminole State College for generously funding our travel. And thank you to the students of Seminole State for your kind attention and enthusiasm. 

If you're interested in having Saga Thing come to your university, contact us at sagathingpodcast@gmail.com.

Music: 
Intro to Saga Brief - from Icelandic Folk Music: Tröllaslagur Outro - Ólafur Liljurós

Nov 17 2017

1hr 11mins

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