pdf Orkneyinga Saga: The History of the Earls of OrkneyAuthor Joseph Anderson – Schematicwiringdiagram.co

Written around ADby an unnamed Icelandic author, the Orkneyinga Saga is an intriguing fusion of myth, legend and history The only medieval chronicle to have Orkney as the central place of action, it tells of an era when the islands were still part of the Viking world, beginning with their conquest by the kings of Norway in the ninth century The saga describes the subsequent history of the Earldom of Orkney and the adventures of great Norsemen such as Sigurd the Powerful, St Magnus the Martyr and Hrolf, the conqueror of Normandy Savagely powerful and poetic, this is a fascinating depiction of an age of brutal battles, murder, sorcery and bitter family feuds


10 thoughts on “Orkneyinga Saga: The History of the Earls of Orkney

  1. Jan-Maat Jan-Maat says:

    At the back of this edition there is a map And you can see that if you start from Bergen and take a big step to the west you stand on Shetland view spoiler is you are wearing your 100 league wading boots with extra thick platform heels hide spoiler , a further half step to the south west and you are on the Orkneys, from there you can step directly on to northernmost Scotland Caithness, off to the west are the Hebrides and from there you can skip down the coast as far as Wales or over to At the back of this edition there is a map And you can see that if you start from Bergen and take a big step to the west you stand on Shetland view spoiler is you are wearing your 100 league wading boots with extra thick platform heels hide spoiler , a further half step to the south west and you are on the Orkneys, from there you can step directly on to northernmost Scotland Caithness, off to the west are the Hebrides and from there you can skip down the coast as far as Wales or over to Ireland and that broadly speaking is the world of this book, it shows the Orkneys in a web of contacts, densely interwoven with the Shetlands, Caithness and Norway, some connections with the Hebrides and intermittently Viking Dublin, over time there areandconnections with the rest of Scotland but the most respected crowned head is the one in Bergen , there are limited connections with Denmark and Sweden, as Christianity takes hold Jerusalem comes on to the mental horizon of the participants of these stories, but when a party goes to the Holy Land in addition to swimming in the river Jordan we see Viking Pilgrim Tourists getting drunk and pushed over or even murdered in a manner reminiscent of contemporary cases The basis of their way of life was not much like that of typical twenty somethings today, raiding was a crucial supplement to the farming and fishing, given the frequent fighting I imagine that slave raiding was particularly important to maintain a labour force to do the ploughing, manuring, milking, sheering and fish gutting.Curiously the saga is said to have been composed in Iceland, yet Iceland is noticeable by it s absence, nobody in the sage sails north for cod, whale, narwhal tusk, or gyrfalcons In common with Icelandic stories there is an intense emphasis on names and family connections so I expected some relationship to a patron or the composer of this work, but none was made explicit A common technique of the author is to dump all the names and interrelationships of an entire generation of Orcadian power players into the text and then slowly fold them into the saga with a long spoon over the following dozen pages.Mostly the saga is the sorry tale of the Earls of Orkney They hold their title from the King of Bergen, their obligations to him seem to be none and for the most part the Kings of Norway are not terribly fussed about who is knitting what in Fair isle or whether a cathedral is built in Kirkwall or not For the first half of the saga we mostly have an unfolding intergenerational conflict, Earls of Orkney will have children and will insist on dividing their territory between them, occasionally there is fraternal peace, but mostly there is fraternal violence, or uncles versus nephews, with three earls battling for mastery over Scapa Flow etc This stage of the book moves quickly fight, botched house burnings view spoiler like a nightmare version of Njall s saga you set the house on fire and the intended victims escape unseen through the smoke hide spoiler , skirmish, flee to Norway, beg the King for a couple of ships and men, rapidly repeated About the middle of the book there is the makings of a life of saint Magnus who gets caught up in conflict surprise, surprise with his second cousins We know he is a saint because a he never consummates his marriage and b he prays as an athlete trains with pre prayers in place of warm ups We also know that he is a saint because he is caught out by a cousin and martyred by the cousin s cook no one else can be persuaded to murder so holy a man and thereafter there are miracles associated with his grave despite the disapproval of his cousins and the Bishop The remainder of the book is taken up by the life of Saint Magnus nephew, Earl Rognvald Kali, shortly after which the saga ends abruptly.For the most part it is a watery saga of men who drink too much and quarrel even , particularly with their relatives The arrival of Christianity seems to make no difference, though afterwards we are occasionally told of odd men who still worship spirits and tell fortunes or say soothes Doorways we learn are narrow so take your shield off your back first or else you will get stuck going into a church There are tricks and traps and lots of poetry


  2. E. G. E. G. says:

    Introduction Orkneyinga Saga The History of the Earls of Orkney Genealogy of the Earls of OrkneyGlossary of Personal NamesGlossary of Place NamesMaps


  3. Paul Paul says:

    Well, what to say about this It s difficult to review.I d have to start by saying I enjoyed it much less than other Icelandic Sagas that I ve read There again, I recognise its importance as a quasi historical document and to the Orcadians sense of their identity, and their Norse inheritance in particular Certainly, in Hermaan Palsson and Paul Edwards translation the former is surely not the son of the latter , it read well enough From a modern reader s perspective, though, there was plen Well, what to say about this It s difficult to review.I d have to start by saying I enjoyed it much less than other Icelandic Sagas that I ve read There again, I recognise its importance as a quasi historical document and to the Orcadians sense of their identity, and their Norse inheritance in particular Certainly, in Hermaan Palsson and Paul Edwards translation the former is surely not the son of the latter , it read well enough From a modern reader s perspective, though, there was plenty to object to.Firstly, it was incredibly repetitive In essence, two Norse earls would somehow end up ruling half of Orkney each, having visited either the King of the Scots or the King of Norway first Before long, they would fight each other over the remaining half, the result depending on who was first to put an axe through the other s skull Repeat ten times over Sometimes, Caithness would be thrown in for good measure as something else to fall out about Did nothing else happen in the Orkneys during the centuries of Norse occupation Secondly, I know it s judging the past by modern standards, but it s hard to accept the characters presented here as tragic heroic saintly as the anonymous hagiographer would have us believe They spend their time terrorising innocent yeomen and peasants and killing each other in the most brutal fashion, living off the proceeds of looting and their tenants hard work It s equivalent to being asked to think of terrorists or armed bank robbers as admirable There again, I suppose some of our contemporaries try to persuade us of just this Thirdly, it was pretty incoherent in terms of its chronology and genealogy Scores of names were bandied around, characters coming and going to meet their maker then re appearing again This made it hard to follow at times and difficult to remember who was who between one reading session and another And fourthly, as much as I love Norse history, theI read, the less sympathetic I find myself towards its main characters The society the Sagas describe is elitist and hierarchical, one where heritage is everything and those without it count for nothing The narratives deal in Manichean simplicities, the actors either presented either as out and out treacherous villains or men of holy virtue though not averse to the odd skull splitting I m going to read George Mackay Brown s Magnus next, a novel drawing directly on these accounts Hopefully, it ll proveentertaining


  4. Karen Karen says:

    Bought this during a holiday as a student at the St Magnus Festival, where I fell for the place and the cheeky, chunky owner of the music shop in Kirkwall , but been putting it off for twenty years because I feared, deep down, it d be really boring It truly was Despite my adoration for Orkney and lust for Vikings, I m no historian I suspect I should ve tried to find a picture book version Two stars, though, because its deadpan gore threw up some unintentionally hilarious passages, such as Bought this during a holiday as a student at the St Magnus Festival, where I fell for the place and the cheeky, chunky owner of the music shop in Kirkwall , but been putting it off for twenty years because I feared, deep down, it d be really boring It truly was Despite my adoration for Orkney and lust for Vikings, I m no historian I suspect I should ve tried to find a picture book version Two stars, though, because its deadpan gore threw up some unintentionally hilarious passages, such as The night was pitch dark, and it was hard frost During the night he came to another farm His feet were very much frostbitten, and some of his toes fell off.P.S I recently took another trip to Orkney, and was just as enchanted by it I was gutted, however, to find that the music shop is no , let alone run by its previous owner


  5. Annette Annette says:

    Extraordinary insight into Viking Life Written in the 1200s by an Icelandic poet skald I am related to most of the Viking Earls of Orkney so reading this was an amazing experience.


  6. Alyssa Alyssa says:

    3.5 Orkneyinga Saga is an interesting read, however, it is not one of my favorite Norse sagas.In general I would probably not suggest Orkneyinga Saga to someone who has never read a Norse saga before Like with other sagas, the first half of the book sets up the events of the second half That it takes so long to get to the primary characters may be frustrating to many modern readers There are also a lot of characters with the same or similar names which can be confusing, especially since ch 3.5 Orkneyinga Saga is an interesting read, however, it is not one of my favorite Norse sagas.In general I would probably not suggest Orkneyinga Saga to someone who has never read a Norse saga before Like with other sagas, the first half of the book sets up the events of the second half That it takes so long to get to the primary characters may be frustrating to many modern readers There are also a lot of characters with the same or similar names which can be confusing, especially since characters tend to only last a few pages before they are killed off My edition of this book had a family tree, and it was much needed Orkneyinga is a little different from other sagas most of it takes part in Orkney and other parts of modern day Scotland, it takes place later than most of the other sagas, when Christianity has started to be established, and it is very focused on warring, rather than mixing fighting with domestic issues Unlike in most of the other sagas, women hardly have a role except to be mentioned as the wife, mother, or sister of someone This gives Orkneying a unique perspective, showing the transition in their culture, and giving readers an idea of the harsh life the Norse men lived there is lots of betraying, house burning, and, of course, killing Unfortunately for me, what Orkneying lacks is what generally interests me most in Norse sagas While the battling is interesting it can get repetitive Wile it is interesting to see a culture in transition, the elements of the original Norse religion are really interesting to me, and I missed it There are a few hints of it, such as in a scene where a women and her sister make a beautiful shirt for one of her two sons Against protest the other son puts the shirt on and dies That is the scene in which both the old religion and women are most prominent in the book, and it was probably my favorite Other hints of the old religion can be found in small elements, such as the man who is missing and eye and has a connection with crows Sadly these are very small hints, however There are also small peeks at the men s domestic lives, such as how they would schedule their raids to fit between the planting and harvesting of their farms Here again, the reader only gets to see small bits and pieces of this element of the Norse life.Overall, fans of Norse sagas will probably find interest in Orkneyinga Saga However, it is different from other sagas, and it wasn t my favorite


  7. John Adams John Adams says:

    Orkneyinga SagaOrkneyinga Saga is the only medieval chronicle that takes place predominantly in the Orkney Islands of Scotland, although some of the action takes place in the nearby Caithness mainland Its authorship is unclear although scholars believe that the writer lived and worked at Oddi in southern Iceland There was an intellectual centre there that had links to Orkney.I bought a copy when our family was planning a holiday to the islands because I wanted to get an idea of the history of Orkneyinga SagaOrkneyinga Saga is the only medieval chronicle that takes place predominantly in the Orkney Islands of Scotland, although some of the action takes place in the nearby Caithness mainland Its authorship is unclear although scholars believe that the writer lived and worked at Oddi in southern Iceland There was an intellectual centre there that had links to Orkney.I bought a copy when our family was planning a holiday to the islands because I wanted to get an idea of the history of the place and of the people who had lived there in centuries past I wasn t disappointed A handy family tree at the back helps to make sense of who s who.The book consists of numerous tales ranging from a couple of paragraphs to several pages in length Each is interlinked so it really feels like you are reading one unified story The saga was only written down after centuries of being told orally around the fireside during the long winter months, with the storytellers receiving plenty of no holds barred feedback from their audiences As a result, each tale is very polished and had certainly been road tested before it made the cut and medieval monks thought it worth copying each one out, time and again, by hand It s good to know that quality control and focus group testing aren t modern inventions War was never far away Titles include A poisoned tooth , Troublemakers from Norway and Murder of an earl In other respects, men haven t changed at all We follow Kali when he goes Drinking in Bergen and Thorfinn as he takes Revenge on the English.The Vikings were never happier than when they were searching out new lands to explore Rognvald Brusason visits Russia and we later travel south with his cousin Earl Rognvald to Galicia, Gibraltar and Byzantium The early Viking pilgrims travelled to the Holy Land but some of their trips were simply for pleasure Earl Rognvald spends a very pleasant afternoon in France with Ermingerd, Queen of Narbonne, sitting on his knee.Men like Einar Hard Mouth and Arni Pin Leg led lives that were full of danger and often cut brutally short It is perhaps appropriate that the writer tells their stories economically The saga made these figures come alive for me and visiting the islands achieved the same result a few months later Both the saga, and a trip to Orkney, are highly recommended.Enjoy


  8. Margaret Margaret says:

    Loved this book, a fascinating insight to the Earls of Orkney.


  9. Laura Laura says:

    Vikings are the best Reading about Vikings is even better You have it all adventure, the high seas, plunder, pilgrimages, romance Ermergarde of Narbonne is apparently quite the pretty lady , you have feuds and battles and poetry Once the wine serving wench understood me the touches of my tongue I was content I loved that good lady but lime bound stones crumble now I cram the hawk with carrion Picturesque, don t you think The Orkneyinga is prime storytelling I love the simplicity of it Vikings are the best Reading about Vikings is even better You have it all adventure, the high seas, plunder, pilgrimages, romance Ermergarde of Narbonne is apparently quite the pretty lady , you have feuds and battles and poetry Once the wine serving wench understood me the touches of my tongue I was content I loved that good lady but lime bound stones crumble now I cram the hawk with carrion Picturesque, don t you think The Orkneyinga is prime storytelling I love the simplicity of it, the strait to the facts, the foreboding and the idea that nothing is out of your reach as long as your ship is strong, winds are at your back, and you have the bigger axe There is humor Amundi so arranged things that Earl Harald and Svein had to use the same bed I really liked that my main man, Macbeth aka Thorfinn Sirgurdsson is a major player in this book and showcases to be one of the most powerful Earls of Orkney He is my all time fave and I loved reading his stories Earl Thorfinn ruled all his lands till he died, and it s said on good authority that he was the most powerful of all the Earls of Orkney It is like most Viking sagas go, where no man lives long and fights from the moment of his birth to the end of his life They tell of his sons, sometimes of their daughters There is magic and miracles and it is so easy to read these stories and imagine them spoken out loud by bards by firelight with a mug of mead in hand There is a luster of adventure and blood lust in every story and it was difficult to put these characters away There is brutality yes, but there is friendship and high seas, and these stay with you


  10. Duntay Duntay says:

    I can t really rate this on it s readability I ll be the first to admit there is no real plot and I have difficulty keeping all of the names straight.But I started reading this in Orkney and it is given extra cache to know that Viking ships hid in the bay we could see from our window waiting to attack passing boats on the way to Caithness. There are also some classic literary scenes the post mortem revenge of the Earl of the Scots on the cheating Earl Sigurd..poisoned cloaks and fatal banne I can t really rate this on it s readability I ll be the first to admit there is no real plot and I have difficulty keeping all of the names straight.But I started reading this in Orkney and it is given extra cache to know that Viking ships hid in the bay we could see from our window waiting to attack passing boats on the way to Caithness. There are also some classic literary scenes the post mortem revenge of the Earl of the Scots on the cheating Earl Sigurd..poisoned cloaks and fatal banners, and a blood eagle We travel not only around the Northern Isles and mainland Scotland, but to Ireland, France, Russia and Constantinople