Mánaðarskipt færslusafn fyrir: október 2019

Fyrirlestrar Miðaldastofu

Massimiliano Bampi

The Dynamics of Texts and Genres in Manuscript Transmission

Fimmtudaginn 31. október 2019 kl. 16.30
Lögbergi 101

Massimiliano Bampi

In medieval Europe, various types of texts were often collected in large manuscripts, customarily referred to as either compilations or collections. Such collections are of great interest for a number of reasons:

  • They give us insight into the kind of textual materials that were collected in certain contexts, thus allowing for comparison both within the same culture (i.e., in different manuscripts from different social contexts) and across cultures.
  • They provide evidence for the study of the interaction (a) between various literary genres and (b) between original literature and translated literature.
  • They provide evidence for assessing hypotheses about how texts belonging to different genres and originating from various cultural and linguistic backgrounds were possibly used, both for the purpose of entertainment and instruction as well as for the purpose of discussing relevant themes (e.g., social and political ones) of the time in which the manuscripts were produced.

In this talk I will discuss a few examples from medieval Sweden and Iceland to illustrate how an interdisciplinary and comparative approach to manuscript studies can help throw new light on the complex and multifaceted dynamics of texts and genres within various manuscript contexts, especially with regard to the relevance of such dynamics for the study of generic hybridity.

Massimiliano Bampi is Associate Professor of Germanic Philology at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. His main research interests include the definition of genre in saga literature, the role of translation in the development of vernacular literatures in the medieval North, and intertextual reading in Icelandic and Swedish manuscripts.

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á ensku og er öllum opinn.

Fyrirlestrar Miðaldastofu

Vicki Szabo

Reassessing Whale Use in the Medieval North Atlantic

History, Archaeology, DNA, and New Species Stories

Þriðjudaginn 22. október 2019 kl. 16.30
Lögbergi 101

Vicki Szabo

Marine mammals fueled life and livelihood through much of the North Atlantic Middle Ages. Their meat sustained sailors and settlers, their travels and migrations aided navigation, and their skin and bones housed, supplied, and provided for countless households. Reliance upon marine mammals across the Norse North Atlantic is documented from the early Viking Age and beyond, from Norway all the way to North America. From the settlement of Iceland through the early modern period, Norwegian and Icelandic authors documented whales in great detail in sagas, laws, and illuminations, offering cultural and economic descriptions and natural histories related to each species. As our recent study has also revealed, the bones of whales left behind on Icelandic archaeological sites offer important new evidence for the history of whale use in the medieval North Atlantic.

This lecture looks at historical, literary, and visual data on whales from the premodern North Atlantic as a valuable form of environmental proxy data. Authors and texts surveyed will include Old Norse literary, historical, and legal sources reflecting marine mammal use and division. Comparison of northern authors’ accounts of marine mammals from the tenth through the sixteenth century offers a broad look at perceptions about whales, but also a unique source of proxy data that could reflect changing whale populations and habitats. Descriptions of species, in their presence, absence, quantities, qualities or behaviors could signal an early recognition of maritime change, as salinity, currents, temperatures, and prey patterns shifted across the North Atlantic in the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age. In short — whales can be seen as marine sentinels of climate change. Norse or Icelandic accounts are juxtaposed with more well-known medieval and classical authors’ descriptions of marine mammals, especially Pliny, Strabo, the Physiologus and Bestiary traditions. The lecture will conclude with a brief discussion of other transdisciplinary approaches to medieval marine mammal exploitation and premodern animal biogeographies, namely through the use of ancient DNA and other forms of molecular analysis of medieval marine mammal bones from archaeological contexts. An interdisciplinary approach to the medieval environment reveals a hitherto unappreciated depth of knowledge of marine species but also more realistic approximation of the value of marine resources in medieval economies.

Vicki Szabo received her Ph.D. in Medieval Studies at Cornell University and currently serves as an Associate Professor of History at Western Carolina University. Her research focuses on medieval environmental history, the medieval North Atlantic, and the history of whaling.

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á ensku og er öllum opinn.

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Fyrirlestrar Miðaldastofu

Ingunn Ásdísardóttir

Ein saga eða tvær? Fyrra og síðara dæmi Óðins í nýju ljósi

Fimmtudaginn 10. október 2019 kl. 16.30
Lögbergi 101

Ingunn Ásdísardóttir

Í erindinu setur Ingunn fram nýja túlkun á þeim vísum Hávamála sem nefndar hafa verið Fyrra og Síðara dæmi Óðins, þ.e. vísur 104–110 (heimsókn Óðins til Suttungs jötuns) og vísur 138–141/2 (sjálfsfórn Óðins); byggir hún á því í fyrsta lagi að þessi kvæðisbrot eigi saman og í öðru lagi að þau séu staðsett í kvæðinu í öfugri röð. Með þessari túlkun verður annars vegar til samhangandi og skiljanlegur söguþráður og hins vegar koma fram náin tengsl við ákveðin tilvik eða kringumstæður í nokkrum öðrum eddukvæðum, einkum að því er varðar hlutverk jötunkonunnar.

Samkvæmt viðtekinni heimildarýni skyldu menn ekki hringla í heimildunum eins og þær birtast í handritinu, þ.e. hvorki breyta vísnaröð í kvæðum né leiðrétta texta. Viðurkennt er aftur á móti að sum goðakvæða eddukvæðanna eru að öllum líkindum samsafn tveggja eða fleiri kvæða eða stakra vísna og að upprunakvæðið/kvæðin sé/u óþekkt. Þetta á, til dæmis, við um Hávamál sem talið er vera ósamstætt samsafn nokkurra kvæða eða kvæðahluta. Hér er litið svo á að í þessum tilfellum geti nálgun heimildarýninnar hugsanlega verið of ströng og í erindi verða færð rök fyrir því út frá ofannefndum vísum í Hávamálum.

Ingunn Ásdísardóttir, bókmennta- og þjóðfræðingur varði doktorsritgerð sína í norrænni trú vorið 2018 en þar fjallar hún um jötna hins norræna goðaheims og setur fram nýstárlegar kenningar um þá, sem ganga gegn viðteknum hugmyndum um að jötnar séu alfarið andstæðingar goðanna í Ásgarði. Ingunn er sjálfstætt starfandi fræðimaður í ReykjavíkurAkademíunni.

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á íslensku og er öllum opinn.