Saga Brief 17 – Vinland and the Vikings in the New World (Live at the Scandinavian Cultural Center in West Newton, MA)

What happens when a few 19th century scholars, a baking powder magnate, a transcendental poet, and a pair of Norwegian archaeologist explorers start looking for the real site of Vinland? John and Andy spoke at Bridgewater State University and the Scandinavian Cultural Center in West Newton, MA to answer that question. In this live episode, we review the Vinland sagas and then explore the efforts of prominent 19th century gentlemen to locate Vinland in the Boston area. If you’ve never visited Norumbega Tower, Dighton Rock, or “Krossanes beach” in Duxbury, you’ll want to after this.

Our thanks to Bridgewater State University’s English department for helping Andy travel from Oxford, Mississippi. And to the Scandinavian Cultural Center in West Newton, MA for hosting this live event.

The presentation we used and some photos we took follow:

Norumbega Tower
Norumbega Tower plaque
Krossanes in Duxbury, MA???
Dighton Rock
Dighton Rock inscription

Music Credits

Opening song – Icelandic Folk Music: Tröllaslagur

Outro – Ólafur Liljurós

Episode 24b – Second Quarter Court Results

Smirk Image

The Second Quarter of our Saga Thing comes to a close with the results episode. In this special episode, John and Andy review your choices for Best Bloodshed, Nicknames, Notable Witticisms, Outlawry, Thingmen, and Final Ratings. Will Skarpheðin emerge as the poster boy for Saga Thing’s Best Bloodshed and Notable Witticism categories?  What role might the Russians have played in the Thingmen voting? Does Njal’s Saga maintain its position on the throne of saga literature? Or will another contender leave Njal’s Saga in the dust on the way to the Fifth Court?  Along the way, we answer listener questions on a variety of fun topics.

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References for Grettir and servant girl discussion:

Aðalheiður Guðmundsdóttir. “‘How Do You Know if it is Love or Lust?’ On Gender, Status, and Violence in Old Norse Literature.” Interfaces 2 (2016): 189-209.

Karras, Ruth Mazo. Sexuality in Medieval Europe: Doing Unto Others. 3rd ed. New York: Routledge, 2017. Grettir’s Saga discussion at 155-56.

Ljungqvist, Fredrik Charpentier. “Rape in the Icelandic Sagas: An Insight in the Perceptions about Sexual Assaults on Women in the Old Norse World.” Journal of Family History 40, no. 4 (2015): 431-47.

Scudder, Bernard. Introduction to The Saga of Grettir the Strong, ix-xxxviii. New York: Penguin Classics, 2005.

Short, William R. “The Role of Women in Viking Society.” Hurstwichttp://www.hurstwic.org/history/articles/society/text/women.htm (accessed October 10, 2017).

References for discussion of literacy in medieval Iceland:

Hermann, Pernille. “Literacy.” In The Routledge Research Companion to the Medieval Icelandic Sagas, edited by Ármann Jakobsson, Sverrir Jakobsson, 34-47. New York: Routledge, 2017.

Quinn, Judy. “From Orality to Literacy in Medieval Iceland.” In Old Icelandic Literature and Society, edited by Margaret Clunies Ross, 30-60. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000.

Sigurðsson, Gísli. “Orality and Literacy in the Sagas of Icelanders.” In A Companion to Old-Norse-Icelandic Literature and Culture, edited by Rory McTurk, 285-301. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2005.

Music Credits:
Intro Music – “Prelude and Action” 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/

The Second Quarter Court

cropped-law-rock.jpg

From 2015-2017 we covered a grand total of 10 sagas.  You listened.  You laughed.  You cried.  And when each saga was finished, you heard John and Andy pass judgment on the characters and their actions.  Now it’s your turn to be heard.

As always, the Quarter Court reviews the winners from the past 10 judgment episodes.  The polls will be open until September 30th.  At that time, John and I will close them down and review the results in the judgment section of the Second Quarter Court.

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Remember to send your questions for that special judgment episode.  You can reach us via email at sagathingpodcast@gmail.com or on Facebook and Twitter.

And now the voting!

Remember, voting closes on September 30th. Get in while you can.

Music Credits:
Intro Music – “Prelude and Action” 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/

Episode 17b – The Saga of the Greenlanders (Judgments)

John and Leif

John surveys the land with Leif Eiriksson at L’Anse aux Meadow

The Saga of the Greenlanders might be the shortest saga John and Andy have tackled, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a lot to say about it.  In this episode, your stalwart hosts run through the usual categories and discuss the motivations behind Freydis’ attack on Helgi and Finnbogi, debate the quality of Thorfinn Karlsefni’s character, review some competing theories on Norse settlements in the North America, and share some recent scholarship that challenges our understanding of the conditions the Vikings dealt with in Greenland. There’s a fair amount of nonsense as well.  Join us as we conclude our trip through the Vinland sagas.


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Episode Notes:

Click here if you’re interested in reading the article “Glacier Maxima in Baffin Bay during the Medieval Warm Period coeval with Norse settlement

If you’ve got a picture of yourself with a statue or relevant landmark from the world of saga literature, remember to post it on Twitter, Facebook, or send it to our sagathingpodcast@gmail.com.

And lastly, there’s this picture.   My microsoft paint skills are pretty impressive.  It won’t make sense until you finish the episode.

John Hall and Andy Oates

Saga Brief 4: The Norse in Vinland (Interview with Loretta Decker of L’Anse aux Meadows)

Lanse aux Meadows

In this episode, John interviews Loretta Decker of L’Anse aux Meadows.  They discuss the archaeological history of the Vikings in Newfoundland, the challenges of constructing Viking turf houses, and the relationship of the Vinland sagas to the history of the site.

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The opening song for this episode is “Rúnatal” by An Danzza.

Other music featured includes:

Selections from Icelandic Folk Music (Among the best of these is a gem called Krummavísur)

“Suonatore di Liuto” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/