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Ephemera From The Middle Ages

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Thursday, August 18, 2022, at 16.30Lögberg 101

While medieval manuscripts were generally produced for posterity, not everything written down in the Middle Ages was intended to be kept forever. Some written text was regarded disposable and acted as a sort of short-term memory. Such ephemeral material makes for exciting research, because it shows a side of medieval life not witnessed in manuscripts or official documentary sources such as charters and account books. This lecture introduces three different kind of ephemeral artifact from medieval culture: scrap parchment with scholarly notes, paper slips with domestic messages sent within a household, and name tags worn by orphans. While highlighting the context in which these transitory objects were used, the lecture engages with their materiality, querying how the brevity of their lifespan is reflected in their physical features.

Erik Kwakkel is Director and Professor in the History of the Book at the School of Information at The University of British Columbia . His research interests are related to the design of medieval manuscripts, and he has published several monographs and edited volumes devoted the culture of the medieval book, including The European Book in the Twelfth Century , Books Before Print , a textbook for undergraduate teaching, and Medicine at Monte Cassino . In 2015, Kwakkel was appointed to the Comité International de Paléographie Latine .

The talk will be delivered in English. All are welcome to attend.

Medieval Fixers: History Politics Literature

Thursday, May 19, 2022, at 16.30Lögbergi 101

Ever since the western involvement in Afghanistan, Iraq, and then Syria, the term fixer became commonplace. It designates almost exclusively men who perform a range of services for foreign journalists and armies. Acting as interpreters, local informants, guides, drivers, mediators, brokers, these men are intermediaries, enablers who posess multiple skillls and bodies of knowledge. Fixers existed already in the Middle Ages, in situations of multilingual encounter, such as crusades, pilgrimages, proselytization, trade, translation. Fixers are the invisible men and women of history, then as now. This talk aims to restore their presence in a productive conversation between the fixers of the past and of the present. To look at history, literature and politics through the lens of fixers changes our relationship to the world and how we structure it.

Zrinka Stahuljak is Director of the CMRS Center for Early Global Studies and Professor of French and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Los Angeles . Her most recent books are Les Fixeurs au Moyen Âge: Histoire et littérature connectées and a forthcoming book Fixers: Agency, Translation, and Literature in the Middle Ages .

This talk is also part of the The Fifth Icelandic History Congress.

The talk will be delivered in English. All are welcome to attend

Saturday August 27 2022 Hskli Slands Oddi 101

11.00 11.15


11.30 12.00Did Icelandic authors of Latin hagiography draft their texts in Icelandic? The case of Gunnlaugr Leifssons Vita S. JohannisGOTTSKÁLK JENSSON

Girl, Interrupted: Revision and Reduction of the Magdalen in Jón Þorsteinsson píslarvotturs IðrunardikturNATALIE M. VAN DEUSEN


The Aura of Vellum: Calfskin, Antiquity and Magic in Post-Paper Manuscript ProductionKATELIN PARSONS

15.30 16.00Þessa bók á Þuríður Þorleifsdóttir, því hún hefur erft hana eftir föður sinn: Eigendasaga AM 657 ab 4toVÉDÍS RAGNHEIÐARDÓTTIR

Heilagatún and other holy and unholy place-names / Heilagatún og önnur helg og vanhelg örnefniEMILY LETHBRIDGE

The symposium will be in Icelandic and English. All are welcome to attend.

Styrkt af Stofnun Árna Magnússonar í íslenskum fræðum og Miðaldastofu Háskóla ÍslandsMyndir: Heilög Margrét í Kaupmannahöfn, Den Arnamagnæanske Samling, AM 429 12mo

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Peculiarities Of The Flateyjarbk Version Of Lfs Saga Tryggvasonar En Mesta

Thursday, March 17, 2022, at 16.30Lögberg 101

Flateyjarbók preserves a version of the younger redaction of the so-called longest saga of the Norwegian king Óláfr Tryggvason. Compared with the older redaction and also AM 62 fol., another manuscript of the younger redaction, the Flateyjarbók version differs with regard to two aspects: First, interpolations related to the retainers who fight with King Óláfr in the decisive sea battle at Svlðr. Second, the last part of the saga, which covers the subsequent period of the kings alleged survival until his death in a monastery.

Concerning the second aspect, modifications in the last part of the saga, one can, for example, note that chapters on Saint Óláfr and Haraldr harðráði were omitted. Moreover, the position of chapters related to the rule of Eiríkr Hákonarson was changed: placed after Óláfs saga Tryggvasonar en mesta, they create a transitional passage to Óláfs saga helga. In this transitional passage, one can find further interpolations. One of these is Orms þáttr Stórólfssonar, the eponymous hero of which participates in a re-enactment of the fight on Ormrinn langi.

Annett Krakow works at the University of Silesia in Katowice . She holds an MA in English and Scandinavian Studies and a Ph.D. in Scandinavian Studies from Humboldt University, Berlin . Currently, her research focuses on Yngvars saga víðfrla and its reception in studies on Yngvarrs expedition.

The talk will be delivered in English. All are welcome to attend

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Morality And Its Links With Old Norse Religion

Thursday, March 3, 2022, at 16.30Lögberg 101

For all that researchers over the last sixty years have carefully highlighted the industry, intellect and artistry of early Scandinavians and Icelanders, the word viking remains associated with activities like violence, theft and murder. To some onlookers, it has appeared impossible that the situation could be otherwise, given the dominance of paganism in contemporary society, while the majority of handbooks on Old Norse religion and culture do not consider a relationship between morality and religion at all.

In this talk, I will question that rough consensus and emphasize links between Old Norse religion, morality and social structure. My discussion will be split into two sections. The first will consider several episodes from mythological and legendary poetry, in particular from Skírnismál, which appear to reflect and build on contemporary moral norms. Here, I am chiefly interested in how far the gods are implicated in monitoring, rewarding and punishing human activity and the types of conduct with which the gods are believed to concern themselves.

Live stream on Zoom: Key: 840504

The talk will be delivered in English. All are welcome to attend

Evolving Strategies Of Elite Legitimisation In The Variants Of The Fr Fornjti Origin Myth

Thursday, March 24, 2022, at 16.30Lögberg 101

The origin myth Frá Fornjóti ok hans ættmönnum survives in two variants, Fundinn Noregr and Hversu Noregr byggðist, both of which are preserved in Flateyjarbók. Both variants describe the descent from a primordial being named Fornjótr to the siblings Nórr, Górr, and Gói and the brothers quest to find their sister after she is abducted. Along the way, Nórr conquers the mainland of northwestern Scandinavia and creates the kingdom of Norway, which he bequeaths to his sons. Górr conquers Norways coastal islands, becoming a sækonungrsea-king. Despite this shared narrative core, significant differences in detail between the two variants attest to their differing histories. Fundinn Noregr survives as the preface to Orkneyinga saga, and is thus dated to, at the latest, that sagas second production phase in the 1220s or 30s. Hversu Noregr byggðist is attested much later, and in the form preserved in Flateyjarbók shows signs of extensive expansion in the fourteenth century.

Ben Allport is a researcher on the ELITES-project at the University of Oslo. He was among the first cohort to study the Viking and Medieval Norse MA at the University of Iceland and University of Oslo and received his Ph.D. from Cambridge in 2018. His research focuses on the creation of community in medieval narrative sources

The talk will be delivered in English. All are welcome to attend

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Thursday, January 13, 2022, at 16.30Lögberg 101

Íslendinga saga er hryggjarstykkið í Sturlungusamsteypunni þótt fræðimenn hafi greint á um hversu langt sagan nær og hvaða hluta samsteypunnar megi telja til hennar. Í greinargerð samsteypuritstjórans með verki sínu segir að Sturla skáld Þórðarson hafi sagt fyrir Íslendinga sögur . Um heimildir Sturlu að frásögn sinni segir ritstjórinn: hafði hann þar til vísindi af fróðum mönnum, þeim er voru á öndverðum dögum hans, en sumt eptir bréfum þeim er þeir rituðu er þeim voru samtíða er sögurnar eru frá. Marga hluti mátti hann sjálfr sjá, þá er á hans dögum gerðust til stórtíðinda. Nú vitum við ekki hvers vegna ritstjórinn talar um Íslendinga sögur í fleirtölu þótt ef til vill megi fara nærri um það. Við vitum heldur ekki hvað fólst í notkun hans á orðinu bréf í sambandi við heimildir Sturlu. Þar fyrir utan getum við aðeins nálgast minningar Sturlu og heimildarmanna hans í frásögninni sjálfri.

Í fyrirlestrinum verður fjallað um heimildir Íslendinga sögu og hvað megi marka af greinargerð samsteypuritstjórans hvernig samtíðarsögur urðu til. Hverjir gætu hafa verið heimildarmenn Sturlu? Hverju mundu þeir eftir eða hvers konar frásagnir hefur sagan eftir þeim? Hverju er sleppt eða gleymt? Hvernig voru þessar frásagnir varðveittar og hversu traustar eru þær?

The talk will be delivered in Icelandic. All are welcome to attend .

Fimmtudaginn 9. desember 2021 kl. 16.30 FRESTAÐLögbergi 101

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A New Reading Of The Old Norse Kings Sagas

Thursday, March 10, 2022, at 16.30Lögberg 101

The Sturlungaöld is construed by scholars as a time of sociopolitical crisis, an assumption essentially built on the interpretation of saga literature. This crisis thus appears as something imaginary, fed by desires and fears the experience of a break in continuity, stimulating the narrative construction of meaning, which reacted upon society. From this point of view, contradictions and ambiguities in the Old Norse sagas can be understood as tokens of time-conditioned instability.

It is against this assumption that my book Kontingenz und Zufall in den altisländischen Königssagas focuses on the three grand compilations of Old Norse kings sagas: Fagrskinna, Heimskringla, and Morkinskinna. The most important novelty of this study is the radical shift of the theoretical foundation: whereas earlier interpretations of the kings sagas have argued against the premise of an outstanding competence of the saga characters , my interest lies in the framework conditions and thus the bounds of human action. Focusing on relevant histories of mentality, both scholarly and everyday attitudes of the 12th, 13th, and 14th centuries are taken into account: sweeping events and developments such as the crusades, the rediscovery of Aristotelian writings, the division of philosophy and theology, as well as the establishment of a new type of fictional literature.

Streymi/Stream: https://eu01web.zoom.us/j/61490557702

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