Medieval sagas

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

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Ármann Jakobsson (University of Iceland)

The prose literature of medieval Iceland blossomed from the early twelfth century well into the fifteenth century and most prose narratives are referred to as sagas [sögur in Icelandic]. They include hagiographic narratives such as saints’ lives, romances such as tales about the knights of King Arthur, histories and legends about Nordic kings and heroes, accounts of contemporary power struggles in Iceland and, last but not least, the sagas of Icelanders, which concern the settlers of Iceland and their descendants in the period between 930 and 1030. 

The Icelandic word saga [plural sögur] is general in meaning and can be used to refer to any story or tale, oral or written. It has been …

1817 words

Citation: Jakobsson, Ármann. "Medieval sagas". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 03 October 2022 [, accessed 30 January 2023.]

19652 Medieval sagas 2 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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