Monthly Archives: October 2016

Centre for Medieval Studies Lecture Series 2016–2017

Guðrún Ingólfsdóttir

„Fögur þykir mér hönd þín“

Skrifkúnst kvenna fyrr á tíð

Þriðjudaginn 1. nóvember 2016 kl. 16.30
Lögbergi 101

gudrun-ingolfsdottir
Guðrún Ingólfsdóttir

Í fyrirlestrinum verður fjallað um bókmenningu kvenna á fyrri öldum, bækur sem konur lásu, bækur sem konur áttu og bækur sem konur skrifuðu. Lengi framan af stóð konum ekki til boða að verma skólabekk. Lærðu þær þrátt fyrir það að lesa og skrifa? Hvað segja sögulegar heimildir? Má finna spor eftir konur á spássíum handrita? Skrifuðu þær handrit? Þjálfaðan skrifara þurfti til slíks, voru þær færar um að skrifa bréf? Hafi konur mundað fjöðurstafinn, hvaða tilgangi þjónaði þá ritfærni þeirra? Í fyrirlestrinum fæst nasasjón af efni nýútkominnar bókar, Á hverju liggja ekki vorar göfugu kellíngar. Bókmenning íslenskra kvenna frá miðöldum fram á 18. öld.

Guðrún Ingólfsdóttir Ph.D. er sjálfstætt starfandi fræðimaður með aðsetur á Stofnun Árna Magnússonar í íslenskum fræðum. Guðrún hefur einkum fengist við rannsóknir á handritamenningu, miðaldabókmenntum og bókmenntum 18. aldar. Bók hennar, Á hverju liggja ekki vorar göfugu kellíngar. Bókmenning íslenskra kvenna frá miðöldum fram á 18. öld, kemur út hjá Háskólaútgáfunni nú í október.

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

A world in fragments: GKS 1812 4to and medieval encyclopedic literature

A world in fragments: GKS 1812 4to and medieval encyclopedic literature

Viðey Island
October 20–21, 2016

gks_1812_4to_0002r___4_360The conference is held to celebrate the centennial anniversary of the publication of Icelandic medieval encyclopedic texts under the title Alfræði íslenzk I–III. The three volumes were published in 1908–1918 by Samfund til udgivelse for gammel nordisk litteratur. The main editor was the Danish scholar Kristian Kålund, but the second volume, which contains calendars, was edited jointly by Kålund and Natanaël Beckman.

One of the most important manuscripts which Kålund and Beckman based their edition on is GKS 1812 4to — the focal point of this conference. The manuscript was for a long time preserved in the Royal library in Copenhagen, but was transferred to Iceland in 1984.

GKS 1812 4to, which may have been kept in the monastery in Viðey for a time, is one of the most important Icelandic medieval encyclopedic manuscripts extant. It consists of 36 folios which are the remains of at least three vellum books. The oldest part of the manuscript dates from around 1190–1200 and includes e.g. an Icelandic–Latin glossary, texts on the reckoning of time and a chapter from The Book of Icelanders. The second-oldest part consists of four folios from a manuscript dating from the second quarter of the 13th century. It includes, among other things, a mappa mundi, cosmological drawings, a calendarium and writings on time-reckoning. The youngest parts are fragments of a 14th-century manuscript and mainly contain writings on astronomy and calendar studies, including drawings of nine signs of the Zodiac and the division of philosophy.

Thirteen speakers from different fields within medieval studies are invited to the conference. They will discuss the manuscript and its topics from a wide range of perspectives.

Conference registration

Conference program

Thursday, 20 October 2016

9.30–10.15 The Edition

  • Ragnheiður Mósesdóttir (University of Copenhagen) – Icelandic encyclopaedic literature in the hands of Kristian Kålund & Natanael Beckmann

10.15–10.30 Coffee

10.30–11.45 The Manuscript

  • Svanhildur Óskarsdóttir (Institute of Árni Magnússon) – Fragments United: The Codicology of GKS 1812 4to
  • Haraldur Bernharðsson (University of Iceland) – GKS 1812 4to: Scribes and scribal practice

12.00–12.45 Latin Glosses

  • Åslaug Ommundsen (University of Bergen) – Latin memory aids in GKS 1812 4to

13.00–14.00 Lunch

14.15–15.30 Computus and Astronomy

  • Þorsteinn Vilhjálmsson (University of Iceland) – Indigenous Observations or Imported Texts: The Origins of Medieval Icelandic Manuscripts on Science
  • Christian Etheridge (University of Southern Denmark) – From Carolingian star maps to Arabic astronomical instruments: Assessing the different types of astronomy represented by the hands of GKS 1812 I 4to and GKS 1812 II 4to

15.30–16.00 Coffee

16.00–17.15 Medieval Mathematics

  • Abdelmalek Bouzari (École normale supérieure, Algiers) – Le Calculus dans al-Khwârizmî (d. 850): une example de circulation.
  • Kristín Bjarnadóttir (University of Iceland): Algorismus – Hindu-Arabic arithmetic in GKS1812 4to

17.30–18.15 Icelandic Astronomers in the Middle Ages

  • Marteinn H. Sigurðsson (Íslenzk fornrit) – The Homecoming of Sæmundr and Stjörnu-Oddi’s Dream: Star-gaziong Lore in Medieval Iceland

18.30 Reception and conference dinner

Friday, 21 October 2016

9.30–10.45 Mapping the World

  • Alfred Hiatt (Queen Mary University of London) – Time and the map
  • Dale Kedwards (Centre for Medieval Literature, SDU) – An Icelandic world map and the Ark treatises of Hugh of Saint Victor

10.45–12.00 Fragments of Medieval Learning

  • Gunnar Harðarson (University of Iceland) – Medieval Encyclopedias and Icelandic Manuscripts
  • Guðrún Nordal (Institute of Árni Magnússon) – The long shadow of Ari Þorgilsson: The learned context of the earliest sections of GKS 1812

12.00–13.00 Lunch

Conference closing

Conference program (pdf)

Centre for Medieval Studies Lecture Series 2016–2017

Guðmundur J. Guðmundsson

Íslenskir innflytjendur í Englandi 
1438 til 1524

Thursday October 13, 2016, at 16.30
Lögberg 101

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Guðmundur J. Guðmundsson

Í Englandi hefur á undanförnum árum verið byggður upp gríðarmikill gagnagrunnur yfir þá erlendu innflytjendur sem settust að á Englandi á síðmiðöldum og fram á árnýöld og heimildir finnast um í gögnum The National Archives. Í þessum gagnagrunni er að finna upplýsingar um um það bil 155 Íslendinga sem fluttu til Englands á árunum 1438–1526. Í þessum fyrirlestri verður fjallað um þennan Íslendingahóp eftir því sem heimildir leyfa, greint frá hvar þeir bjuggu, hvað þeir fengust við í nýjum heimkynnum og hvernig þeim vegnaði þar. Stærstu Íslendingahóparnir settust að í Hull og nágrenni og svo í verslunarborginni Bristol en kaupmenn og sæfarar frá báðum þessum borgum voru áberandi í Íslandssiglingum á Ensku öldinni sem svo hefur verið nefnd. Íslendingahóparnir í Hull og Bristol verða síðan bornir saman við tvo aðra hópa innflytjenda sem einnig hösluðu sér völl á sömu slóðum, franska og hollenska innflytjendur.

Guðmundur J. Guðmundsson er cand. mag. í sagnfræði frá Háskóla Íslands og kennari við Menntaskólann í Reykjavík. Helstu rannsóknarsvið hans í sagnfræði eru samtímasaga, einkum þorskastríð Íslendinga og Breta, og svo íslensk miðaldasaga. Hann hefur einnig fengist við fornleifafræði og rannsakað manngerða hella og önnur neðanjarðarmannvirki, svo sem námur. Hann er einnig höfundur kennslubóka í Íslands- og mannkynssögu fyrir grunn- og framhaldsskóla.

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

Centre for Medieval Studies Lecture Series 2016–2017

Patricia Pires Boulhosa

The Writing of the Icelandic Laws ca. 1250–1300 or Scribes as Law-Makers

Tuesday October 11, 2016, at 16.30
Lögbergi 101

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Patricia Pires Boulhosa

The famous account in Íslendingabók of how Hafliði Másson and other ‘learned men’ had the laws written down in a book for the first time in 1117 has often supported the idea that Icelandic laws were, to some extent, codified earlier on, and that the numerous and variant texts of the laws recorded in the thirteenth century were ‘private’ books. These law-books did not have the firm authority of Hafliði’s book, which would have remained the main textual reference to all agents involved in law-making. Variance in the Icelandic laws is often seen as problematic: Peter Foote, for instance, speaks of the “legal confusion caused by the number of written sources with competing claims to authority”. Icelanders, according to this view, would have striven to preserve the unity and synthesis of their laws, which was presumably inherent to Hafliði’s laws.

The recording of the Icelandic laws in ca. 1250-1300, including the production of the two best known manuscripts of Grágás (GkS 1157 fol and AM 334 fol), has complex connections to the submission to the Norwegian king. The recording was an effort not only of unity and synthesis, but also a desire to display that unity and synthesis. However, the nature of the Icelandic laws (and I think specially of the way the laws were created) made this effort difficult to realize. This difficulty, I will argue, can be seen on the pages of the manuscripts.

In this lecture, I will explain how a comparison of different Grágás texts and the material evidence of their manuscripts (initials, page layout, revisions, corrections) allows us to understand the nature of Icelandic laws and how they were made. I would also like to question whether the legal texts make claims to authority, and if they do, how this is visible on the written page. I will discuss how people gathered and wrote texts, decorated and displayed them, and how these acts made the scribes and those involved in the making of manuscripts into law-makers too.

Patricia Pires Boulhosa is Honorary Research Associate in the Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic, University of Cambridge. She works on medieval Icelandic law, its social, economic and historical circumstances, its immediate material circumstance — the manuscript — and the interpretative context of scribes and their readers.

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