The Orkneyinga Saga

9 Jun, 2024 940 History of Europe

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Saga of the Earls of Orkney, as told in the 13th Century by an unknown Icelander. This was the story of arguably the most important, strategically, of all the islands in the British Viking world, when the Earls controlled Shetland, Orkney and Caithness from which they could raid the Irish and British coasts, from Dublin round to Lindisfarne. The Saga combines myth with history, bringing to life the places on those islands where Vikings met, drank, made treaties, told stories, became saints, plotted and fought.

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  • Judith Jesch 2 episodes
    Professor of Viking Studies at the University of Nottingham
  • Jane Harrison No other episodes
    Archaeologist and Research Associate at Oxford and Newcastle Universities
  • Alex Woolf 3 episodes
    Senior Lecturer in History at the University of St Andrews

Reading list

  • The Growth of Medieval Icelandic Sagas, 1180-1280
    Theodore M. Andersson (Cornell University Press, 2012)
  • The Cambridge Introduction to the Old Norse-Icelandic Saga
    Margaret Clunies Ross (Cambridge University Press, 2010) Google Books →
  • Njals Saga
    Robert Cook (trans.) (Penguin, 2001) Google Books →
  • The Northern Earldoms: Orkney and Caithness from AD 870 to 1470
    Barbara E. Crawford (John Donald Short Run Press, 2013) Google Books →
  • Kings' Sagas and Norwegian History: Problems and Perspectives
    Shami Ghosh (Brill, 2011) Google Books →
  • Vikings in Scotland
    J. Graham-Campbell and C. E. Batey (Edinburgh University Press, 2002) Google Books →
  • Beside the Ocean: Coastal Landscapes at the Bay of Skaill, Marwick, and Birsay Bay, Orkney: Archaeological Research 2003-18
    David Griffiths, J. Harrison and Michael Athanson (Oxbow Books, 2019) Google Books →
  • Building Mounds: Orkney and the Vikings
    Jane Harrison (Routledge, forthcoming)
  • The Routledge Research Companion to the Medieval Icelandic Sagas
    Armann Jakobsson and Sverrir Jakobsson (eds.) (Routledge, 2017) Google Books →
  • The Viking Diaspora
    Judith Jesch (Routledge, 2015) Google Books →
  • Earl Rognvaldr of Orkney, a Poet of the Viking Diaspora
    Judith Jesch (Journal of the North Atlantic, Special Volume 4, 2013) Google Books →
  • The Poetry of Orkneyinga Saga
    Judith Jesch (H.M. Chadwick Memorial Lectures, University of Cambridge, 2020)
  • A History of Norway and the Passion and Miracles of the Blessed Olafr
    Devra Kunin (trans.) (Viking Society for Northern Research, 2001)
  • A Companion to Old Norse-Icelandic Literature and Culture
    Rory McTurk (ed.) (Wiley-Blackwell, 2004) Google Books →
  • Orkney in the Sagas
    Tom Muir (Orkney Islands Council, 2005) Google Books →
  • Dating the Sagas: Reviews and Revisions
    Else Mundal (ed.) (Museum Tusculanum Press, 2013) Google Books →
  • Old Norse-Icelandic Literature: A Short Introduction
    Heather O'Donoghue (John Wiley & Sons, 2004) Google Books →
  • The Cambridge History of Old Norse-Icelandic Literature
    Heather O'Donoghue and Eleanor Parker (eds.) (Cambridge University Press, 2024) Google Books →
  • Domination and Lordship, Scotland 1070-1230
    Richard Oram (Edinburgh University Press, 2011) Google Books →
  • The World of Orkneyinga Saga: The Broad-cloth Viking Trip
    Olwyn Owen (ed.) (Orkney Islands Council, 2006) Google Books →
  • Orkneyinga Saga: The History of the Earls of Orkney
    Hermann Palsson and Paul Edwards (trans.) (Penguin Classics, 1981)
  • Heimskringla, vol. I-III
    Snorri Sturluson (trans. tr. Alison Finlay and Anthony Faulkes) (Viking Society for Northern Research, 2011-2015) Google Books →
  • The New History of Orkney
    William P. L. Thomson (Birlinn Ltd, 2008) Google Books →
  • From Pictland to Alba, 789-1070
    Alex Woolf (Edinburgh University Press, 2007) Google Books →

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