Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
How the Past was UsedHistorical cultures, c. 750-2000$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Peter Lambert and Björn Weiler

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266120

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266120.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM BRITISH ACADEMY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.britishacademy.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright British Academy, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in BASO for personal use.date: 21 September 2021

The Present and the Past in the Sagas of Icelanders

The Present and the Past in the Sagas of Icelanders

(p.69) 3 The Present and the Past in the Sagas of Icelanders
How the Past was Used

Haki Antonsson

British Academy

This chapter examines how the Sagas of Icelanders (Íslendingasögur), which were mostly written in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, reflected their present in a particularly period of the past, the so-called ‘Saga-Age’ which roughly covers the period between the Settlement of Iceland in the late ninth century to the second half of the eleventh century. Iceland’s peculiar constitutional arrangement during the Commonwealth period (930–1262/64), most notably the absence of kingship, freed authors from following a clearly demarcated narrative arch that focused on a single royal dynasty (as, for instance, in Denmark and Norway). Though predominantly concerned with disputes, saga writers could address issues of contemporary relevance, such as the nature of lordship and role of law, through stories set in a society similar, but not identical, to their own.

Keywords:   Iceland, sagas, saga writers, Settlement of Iceland, lordship, law

British Academy Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.