Fyrirlestrar Miðaldastofu 2016–2017

Dagskrá í öfugri tímaröð (nýjast efst):

Balázs Nagy

Residences and Urban Development in Medieval East Central Europe

Patterns and Tendencies

Fimmtudaginn 27. apríl 2017 kl. 16.30
Odda 101

Balázs Nagy

The presentation will discuss the urbanisation of the East Central Europe region from the 11th century, when after the Christianisation of Bohemia, Poland and Hungary a new take-off started, which was principally based on the emergence of early bishoprics and royal centres. The comparison of the development of residence cities offers a good way to demonstrate various factors which influenced the urbanisation in the region. Prague, Cracow and the royal residences in the so-called Medium Regni of Hungary, Esztergom, Visegrád and Buda offer good examples for the significance of environmental conditions in the rise of early centres. There are several parallel elements in the topographical development of these cities also. The presence of the royal residences contributed significantly to the urban development of Prague, Cracow and royal centres in Hungary. Both Prague and Cracow played a role as a monarchical residence from the early period, but in Hungary, the royal residences were situated in various locations. Buda finally got the position of permanent royal residence only in early 15th century, comparatively much later than its Central European counterparts. The conscious building activity of both Sigismund of Luxemburg (1387-1437) and Matthias Corvinus (1458-1490) of Hungary finally made Buda a coequal example of Central European residence cities.

Balázs Nagy is Associate Professor of Medieval History at the Eötvös Loránd University from where he holds his doctoral degree (1995) and visiting faculty at the Department of Medieval Studies at the Central European University, Budapest. His main research interest is medieval economic and urban history of Central Europe.

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á ensku og er öllum opinn.

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Alaric Hall

Medievalism and a Microstate

Medievalism in Icelandic Literature since 2007

Fimmtudaginn 6. apríl 2017 kl. 16.30
Odda 101

Alaric Hall

With the rise of populist right-wing politics in the West and beyond, the long-standing role of medievalism in white-supremacist thought is again in the spotlight. In Iceland, the role of the medieval in recent national discourses has partly conformed to these wider white-supremacist patterns, yet partly developed in distinctive directions—not least due to Icelandic writers responding to the 2008 financial crisis and to the growing fetishisation of Iceland as a tourist destination. Thus Icelandic literature of the last decade offers a useful case-study both of trends elsewhere and of the alternative political potentials of medievalist rhetoric.

Hopefully steering more towards profundity than banality, the paper will explore how Iceland has traditionally managed to be included in the West’s canonical Middle Ages despite in many ways fitting this temporal construction very poorly, while, for example, North Africa is traditionally excluded. It will ask what effects the globalisation (or perhaps ‘reworlding’) of Medieval Studies which is now underway may have, and what Iceland’s place in this process may be.

The paper will consider how recent writers have adapted medieval texts, arguing that their choices show how deeply constrained much current literary writing is in form, and how this limits novels’ potential to interrogate the realities which we inhabit. Yet it will also show how the Europeanising, post-nationalist, and postcolonial intellectual movements which have characterised academic medieval studies since the Second World War have been influential on Icelandic novellists’ handling of the Middle Ages. The paper will also touch on whether novellists’ handling of the Middle Ages suggests that the medieval can or should currently offer any useful potential for utopian political thought.

Alaric Hall is a senior lecturer in medieval literature at the University of Leeds. Recent work has focused on romance-sagas, the post-medieval copying of sagas, and medievalism in Icelandic literature about the 2008 financial crisis.

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á ensku og er öllum opinn.

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Anita Sauckel

“A man is mortified naked”

Clothing and Fashion in Íslendingasögur

Fimmtudaginn 30. mars 2017 kl. 16.30
Odda 101

Anita Sauckel

Although the last ten years have witnessed a number of relevant publications, a broader scholarly discussion of the literary significance of clothing in Icelandic saga literature is still due. In an attempt at stimulating further debate, my paper will focus on the complex narrative of clothing in Íslendingasögur.

Exclusive, fashionable garments made from costly woollens and even silk play an important role within the saga-plot: at European royal courts they serve as gifts to enhance young Icelander’s social rank; young women of Iceland’s leading families show themselves exclusively dressed at the thing assemblies to find a suitable husband; chieftains like Egill Skalla-Grímsson demonstrate their power by appearing in elaborately dyed coats at the local thing sites.

However, the depiction of clothing does not simply serve the characterisation of high-status protagonists: it influences the plot’s outcome, reflects social norms within the “saga-society” and expresses emotions like love, aggression and sorrow.
In my paper I will present these manifold notions of clothing in Íslendingasögur from different points of view. To what extent does clothing influence the plot? How are the different kinds of fabrics connoted? Does clothing as depicted in the sagas correspond to historical garments from the Viking age?

Anita Sauckel is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Iceland. She has worked as a lecturer in the Department of Scandinavian Studies at the University of Greifswald (Germany), where she taught courses on Old Norse language, literature and culture. Anita studied in Munich (Germany) and Bergen (Norway), and holds a Dr. phil. from the LMU Munich. Her areas of research include Íslendingasögur, narratology, medieval clothing and textiles, and archaeology.

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á ensku og er öllum opinn.

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Massimiliano Bampi

Approaching generic hybridity in saga literature

The case of Víglundar saga

Fimmtudaginn 23. mars 2017 kl. 16.30
Odda 101

massimilio-bampi
Massimiliano Bampi

A relevant number of sagas from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries have been defined in international scholarship as generic hybrids as they combine stylistic traits and fictional worlds that are held to characterize different genres, according to the taxonomy of saga literature currently employed. If viewed from the perspective of a systemic approach, this kind of generic hybridity is by and large the result of movements within the system of genres in the late Middle Ages, both synchronically and diachronically. An analysis of such movements may help us explain the forms of contamination that involve most saga genres. Quite interstingly, manuscript evidence suggests that the Icelandic literary system in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries is characterized by a prominence of genres such as the riddarasögur and the fornaldarsögur (especially the more fantastic Abenteuersagas), which come to exert an influence even on the younger Íslendingasögur (e.g., Grettis saga, Bárðar saga Snæfellsáss, and Víglundar saga). This change in the centre of the system of saga genres — which determines which genres are most influential, and can therefore exert an influence both on the writing of new sagas and on the copying of older ones — is coeval with and related to a shift in ideology that occurred when Iceland became part of the territories of the Norwegian Crown, from 1262-64 on, and an Icelandic service aristocracy began to arise. It is therefore clear that the dynamics that operate within the social and political systems have a bearing on the development of the literary system in the late Middle Ages in Iceland, and should thus be taken into proper consideration.

In this talk I will discuss how we can approach the question of generic hybridity in late medieval Iceland by analyzing Víglundar saga as a late ĺslendingasaga, in which the combination of two fictional worlds can be read as illustrating the clash of different world views.

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.

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Shaun F. D. Hughes

‘The Never-Ending Story’

Saga Writing from Ari Þorgilsson to Bergsveinn Birgisson

Fimmtudaginn 16. mars 2017 kl 16.30
Odda 101

shaun-hughes-2
Shaun F. D. Hughes

For much of the twentieth century, scholarship on the Íslendingasögur was focused largely on arguing that these works were fiction rather than history. Now that a consensus seems to have been reached that this is in fact the case, perhaps the time has come to reconsider the sagas again as history, not “History” as contemporary historians understand it, but “Saga” as it was understood in the thirteenth and subsequent centuries. Such re-evaluation consists of two parts. The first is to analyse the writing of sögur in the light of recent French scholarship on the writing of “Histoire” which addresses such questions as “what does it mean to create the past” and “why does one ‘construct’ history?” Scholars drawn upon here include: Catherine Croizy-Naquet, Écrire l’histoire romaine au début du xiiie siècle (1999); Aimé Petit, L’anachronisme dans les romans antiques du xiie siècle (2002); Francine Mora-Lebrun, “Metre en romanz” (2008); and Pierre Courroux, L’Écriture de l’histoire dans les chroniques françaises (2016).

But there is a major difference between French “histoire” and Icelandic “Saga.” Saga-writing did not come to a halt in the 14th century as some literary histories suggest, but continues down to the present as witness the appearance of Geirmundar saga heljarskinns in 2015. The period of Icelandic history before the conversion to Christianity in the year 1000, I argue, was imagined as a collective “subcreation” in Tolkien’s sense as developed in his essay “On Fairy-stories.” Nor is this a modern phenomenon. I would argue that this collective subcreation is already very much evident in the thirteenth century when the classical family sagas were composed. This subcreation or secondary World, the world of pre-Christian Iceland, like Middle-earth or Westeros, is a consistent imaginative world, into which Icelandic authors of the thirteenth century and later could insert their narratives.

The fifteenth-century Víglundar saga og Ketilríðar and Gunnars saga Keldugnúpsfífls are given a place in the prestigious Íslensk fornrit series even though the latter involves characters found nowhere else. Guðni Jónsson was sufficiently far-sighted to include in his Íslendingasagnaútgáfan edition Ármanns saga ok Þorsteins gála, Ásmundar saga Atlasonar, Helga saga Hallvarðssonar, Illuga saga Tagldarbana, Þjóstólfs saga hamramma, and Þorsteins saga Geirnefjufóstra but his precedent has been ignored by subsequent editors. As Halldór Kiljan Laxness noted back in 1945, the Íslendingasögur are more a reflection of the time they were written rather than the time they were writing about. Even the earliest sagas are unreliable as a record of settlement Iceland. Therefore I argue that we should open up the canon to include all sögur and in the process open up our understanding how of the past continued to live in the present for successive generations of Icelanders, and why this past continued to be so immediate that they never ceased writing about it.

Shaun F. D. Hughes (Ph.D., University of Washington, 1972) is Professor of English at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, where he is Director of Literary Studies and former Director of English Language and Linguistics
(2010-2016). He also serves as Director of Medieval and Renaissance Studies in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies, College of Liberal Arts. His research areas include Old Norse and early Modern Icelandic Studies.

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á ensku og er öllum opinn.

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Astrid Ogilvie

Sagas and Science

Documentary Evidence of Changes in Climate and Sea-Ice Incidence in Iceland from the Settlement to the late 1800s

Fimmtudaginn 9. mars 2017 kl 16.30
Odda 101

Astrid Ogilvie

Iceland is well known for its rich literary tradition that includes a wealth of historical records containing accounts of climate and weather. In this presentation, some of these sources will be described and evaluated, and the information gathered from them will be used to cast light on variations in the climate of Iceland over the last 1000 years or so. Prior to AD 1600 the data are fairly sporadic, but after that time it is possible to re-construct temperature and sea-ice indices. A scrutiny of the sources indicates that there has been a great deal of climatic variability from early settlement times to the present day. From ca. 1640 to ca. 1680 there appears to have been little sea ice off Iceland’s coasts. During the period 1600 to 1850, the decades with most ice present were probably the 1780s, early 1800s and the 1830s. From 1840 to 1855 there was virtually no ice off the coasts. From that time to 1860 there was frequent ice again, although the incidence does not seem to have been as heavy as in the earlier part of the century. Further clusters of sea-ice years occurred again from ca. 1864 to 1872. Several very heavy sea-ice years occurred during the 1880s. From 1900 onwards sea-ice incidence falls off dramatically. As regards temperature variations, a cooling trend may be seen around the beginning and end of the seventeenth century. However, these periods are separated by a mild period from ca. 1640 to 1670. The early decades of the 1700s were relatively mild in comparison with the very cold 1690s, 1730s, 1740s and 1750s. The 1760s and 1770s show a return to a milder regime in comparison. The 1780s are likely to have been the coldest decade of the century, but this was compounded by volcanic activity. The 1801s, 1830s and 1880s were also comparatively cold.

Astrid Ogilvie’s PhD thesis was on climate and society in Iceland. Her current research includes both climate history and current Arctic issues. She was the 2014 Nansen Professor of Arctic Studies at the University of Akureyri. She is a Senior Scientist at the Stefansson Arctic Institute in Akureyri and a Fellow of Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR) at the University of Colorado.

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á ensku og er öllum opinn.

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Luke John Murphy

Between Unity and Diversity

Articulating Pre-Christian Nordic Religion and its Spaces in the Late Iron Age

Fimmtudaginn 2. mars 2017 kl 16.30
Odda 101

Luke John Murphy

There is a growing acceptance that pre-Christian religion in the Nordic region was not a single monolithic cultural system, but rather varied along a range of geographic, social, temporal, and even cognitive axes. Despite this, relatively little scholarly attention has yet been paid to distinct articulations of Late Iron Age Nordic religion, with both the physical and social settings of religious praxis notably understudied. This talk presents the findings of a recent doctoral dissertation at University of Aarhus, which sought to contribute to the emerging discourse of diversity and variation in pre-Christian religion in the Germanic Nordic cultural area during the Late Iron Age (c. 500-1200 AD).

Drawing on medieval textual accounts, archaeological evidence, and toponymic data, the tension between the twin tendencies towards unity and diversity in a range of Late Iron Age religious contexts are explored. Models of pre-Christian religion\s in a range of settings — from public cult at Gotlandic þing-sites to household religion in settlement-age Iceland — are analysed with tools and methods developed in the wider History of Religions, leading to the conclusion that pre-Christian Nordic religion was practiced in a range of physical and social settings, and exhibited remarkable diversity over the course of the Late Iron Age.

It is therefore argued that while we can meaningfully speak of “pre-Christian Nordic religion” in the singular, to do so is best done when comparing or contrasting Nordic paganism to other religions. A number of more or less distinct pre-Christian Nordic religion\s are also identified, including those that appear to have been particular geographic articulations of the wider religion; those that employed different sacrally-charged spaces in their pursuit of hierophany and kratophany; and those that appear to have been the religious output of a distinct social unit. It is hoped that these findings will prove relevant not only to scholars and students of Late Iron Age religion, but also to fields including the Study of Religion, Scandinavian History, and Viking Studies.

Luke John Murphy has recently submitted his PhD dissertation at Aarhus University. He is presently teaching Pre-Christian Nordic Religion at Háskóli Íslands, and will take up a Bernadotte Post-Doctoral Fellowship at Stockholm University in autumn 2017. His research interests include religious variation, female supranatural beings, and method and theory in the study of Pre-Christian Nordic religion.

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á ensku og er öllum opinn.

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François Lachaud

Warriors, Monks, and Angry Ghosts

The World of Japanese Medieval Epics (950-1450)

Þriðjudaginn 21. febrúar 2017 kl 16.30
Lögbergi 101

François Lachaud

Japanese medieval epics—also known as “war chronicles” (J. gunki monogatari)—have remained the most popular works of Japanese literature. No other genre exerted such a considerable influence on Japanese culture. To this very day, the legacies of medieval chronicles can be observed in countless plays, visual adaptations (from painted scrolls to animation movies), in the genesis of modern historiography, and in controversial debates on national identity. Compared to Classical Court literature (950-1150)—often considered as the perfect embodiment of a remote Japanese Golden Age—medieval epics are still widely read and performed in their original language. The (partial) adaptation of the Heike monogatari in a romanised transcription published in 1592 by the Jesuit mission press at Amakusa, known today as the first work of Japanese literature to appear in print, confirms that, even “under Western eyes”, medieval epics were the works in which the most elevated style was to be found.
After a brief introduction to representative works in chronological sequence—i.e. Shōmonki (Chronicle of [Taira no] Masakado), Hōgen monogatari (The Tale of [the]Hōgen Rebellion), Heike monogatari (The Tale of the Heike), Taiheiki (Chronicle of the Great Peace), and “individual epics” such as Gikeiki (A Chronicle of [Minamoto no] Yoshitsune) and Soga monogatari (Tales of the Soga Brothers)—the presentation focuses on central themes including performance and textuality (intertextuality), warrior-ethos and representations of war, vengeful spirits and Buddhist salvation. Epic chronicles have often been read as the most significant source of information on medieval warrior culture, sometimes overlooking the differences between them and so-called historical tales (rekishi monogatari), especially “mirror-literature” (kagami mono). Current research projects emphasise the importance of comparative studies to reach a better understanding of their role in shaping Japanese national consciousness. Using a wide array of sources (both written and visual), the aim of this talk is to provide a general overview of the genre and to present new lines of approach.

François Lachaud is professor at the École française d’Extrême-Orient (Buddhism and Japanese Civilisation) and teaches at the École Pratique des Hautes Études (Department of Religious Studies). He is trained in philology and in art history, and he is currently studying medieval Japanese epics their legacies.

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András Vadas

Little Ice Age and East Central Europe

Sources, results, and limitations

Fimmtudaginn 16. febrúar 2017 kl 16.30
Odda 101

andras-vadas-copy
András Vadas

In most parts of Western and West Central Europe, the period from the early fourteenth century onward is considered to be an important period of medieval climate and environmental history. The fourteenth century is usually referred to as the beginning of the transition from the Medieval Climatic anomaly to the Little Ice Age, followed by a more or less constant colder period ending in the nineteenth century. These climatic fluctuations have been demonstrated in Western Europe by both historical sources and scientific means. Due to the relative scarcity of written sources and scientific studies, the validity of the climatic epochs in East Central Europe is, however, far less evident.

The presentation aims at showing the research possibilities of climate history in East Central Europe with special attention to the potential of historical and archaeological sources both in identifying long-term trends and short-term weather events. Some individual weather events will be discussed. On the one hand, the weather events of the 1310s, the period of the so-called great famine in NW-Europe, as well as the impact of the eruption of the Laki in 1783 to the weather of East Central Europe.

András Vadas is Assistant Professor at the Department of Medieval European History at the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest. His main research interests are the climate and environmental history of the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Times.

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á ensku og er öllum opinn.

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Jan Alexander van Nahl

“I never use minted coins”

Andreas Heusler in 21st-century medieval studies

Fimmtudaginn 9. febrúar 2017 kl. 16.30
Odda 101

Jan Alexander van Nahl
Jan Alexander van Nahl

Andreas Heusler III (1865–1940) ranks among the most influential scholars in medieval studies, and his manifold publications cover linguistics, poetics, literary and cultural history, and law, as well as saga translations; twice he visited Iceland. The impact of Heusler’s oeuvre on twentieth-century scholarship (and thus likewise scholarship today) can hardly be overestimated. Repeatedly it has been suggested that a critical re-reading of Heusler’s most successful studies was overdue, as it would enable scholars to reflect upon the present state and future capabilities of Scandinavian Studies in particular.

However, beyond German-language borders, Heusler’s far-sighted thoughts have been adopted only to a small degree. In an attempt at explaining this strange disregard, in 2005, Margaret Clunies Ross claimed that “in order to be aware of what Heusler wrote, one has to be able to understand his German in its distinctively Heuslerian prose”. Heusler’s stylistically unvarnished way of putting thoughts down in writing has often been highlighted as a crucial aspect of his success within German scholarship. Thus it does not come as a surprise that attempts at translating key aspects of Heusler’s ideas into English fell short. Yet, as Heusler in his many surviving letters pointed out himself, his gnarled style was above all the result of careful considerations and – Heusler’s well-known musicality.

It is against this background that my lecture seeks to illustrate challenges of both a re-reading of Andreas Heusler’s oeuvre and, thereby, an intensified debate among medievalists beyond language borders.

Jan Alexander van Nahl studied in Bonn/Germany and Uppsala/Sweden, and holds a Dr. phil. from the university of Munich. He is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Iceland and the Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies. Jan has published on Old Norse literature, History of Science, Theology, Modern Literature, and the Digital Humanities.

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á ensku og er öllum opinn.

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Hjalti Snær Ægisson

Lollardar og brauðslíking herrans

Kruðerí úr kirkjusögu 15. aldar

Fimmtudaginn 2. febrúar 2017 kl. 16.30
Odda 101

Hjalti Snær Ægisson

Lollardar voru trúarhópur í Englandi á 15. öld sem átti upphaf sitt í fylgismönnum John Wyclif (1320–1384). Meginmarkmið lollarda var að stuðla að umbótum innan kirkjunnar og hefur Wyclif lengi verið túlkaður sem einn af táknrænum forverum Lúthers í hefðbundinni söguskoðun. Kenningar og viðhorf lollarda lúta einkum að framkvæmd messunnar og kirkjulegra sakramenta. Framlag þeirra til alþýðufræðslu í Englandi er jafnframt mikilvægt og ensk biblíuþýðing Wyclifs hlaut töluverða útbreiðslu. Ótvíræð tengsl hreyfingarinnar við bændauppreisnina 1381 áttu eftir að reynast afdrifarík og enska kirkjan afgreiddi hugmyndir lollarda sem villutrú.

Síðustu þrjá áratugi hefur orðið mikil vakning í rannsóknum á lollördum, menningarsköpun þeirra og trúarviðhorfum. Allmargir fræðimenn í hinum enskumælandi heimi hafa tekið þátt í frjórri og lifandi umræðu um upphaf og eðli lollardanna, tengslin við Wyclif og áhrif og útbreiðslu þeirra skoðana sem þeir aðhylltust. Afstaða veraldlegra og kirkjulegra yfirvalda í Englandi til lollarda hafa verið könnuð í þaula, framhaldslíf kennisetninga þeirra á meginlandi Evrópu og hugsanleg áhrif á siðbreytingu 16. aldarinnar. Stiklað verður á stóru um þessa fræðilegu umræðu og gerð grein fyrir helstu álitaefnum sem verið hafa í forgrunni.

Loks verður fjallað um hugsanlega snertifleti lollarda við íslenska kirkjusögu. Engar beinar heimildir hafa varðveist um lollarda á íslensku en ekki er óhugsandi að meðvitundin um þá hafi skilað sér í þeim ritheimildum sem rekja má til Englands. Ísland hafði umtalsverð tengsl við England á 15. öld, jafnt á sviði verslunar og kirkju, og sátu enskir biskupar á báðum biskupsstólunum um árabil. Horft verður sérstaklega til Jóns Vilhjálmssonar Craxton sem sat á Hólum 1426–1435 og reynt að geta í nokkrar af eyðunum sem finna má í sögu hans með hliðsjón af umbótastarfi lollarda.

Hjalti Snær Ægisson er doktorsnemi í almennri bókmenntafræði við Háskóla Íslands. Hann vinnur að rannsókn á norrænum ævintýrum og tengslum þeirra við prédikunarhefð 13. aldar.

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á íslensku og er öllum opinn.

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Már Jónsson

Creativity or clumsiness?

Scribal discrepancy in seventeenth and eighteenth century Iceland

Fimmtudaginn 26. janúar 2017 kl. 16.30
Odda 101

mar-jonsson-02
Már Jónsson

Post-medieval manuscripts containing medieval texts are currently the subject of increased scholarly attention as a means, firstly, of extending our understanding of the development of Icelandic literary culture, and, secondly, as possible witnesses to vellums that are no longer extant. In both instances, scholars need to determine the relationship between extant manuscripts, making use of appropriate methodologies based on current and earlier research on stemmatic affiliations. Such an approach requires an understanding of the nature of scribal innovation, error, and other voluntary or involuntary variations. In this lecture, I will address these issues by means of (1) some general reflections on the principles of textual criticism developed by Paul Maas over some thirty years from 1927, and (2) three relevant and (hopefully) illuminating case studies. The benchmark will be several copies of Ari fróði’s Íslendingabók, all of which certainly derive from two copies (AM 113 a fol., AM 113 b fol.) made in 1651 by Rev. Jón Erlendsson, who had access to an early vellum text that inexplicably disappeared soon afterwards. The second case study will be a group of manuscripts that appear to derive from Vatnshyrna, a vellum that was destroyed in the 1728 Great Fire of Copenhagen, and that contained several Sagas of Icelanders, including Laxdæla, Eyrbyggja, Vatnsdæla, Hænsa-Þóris saga and the shorter version of Flóamanna saga. The third case study involves the manuscript progeny of a lost vellum of Njála, the so-called Gullskinna, which was copied in several locations between 1640 and 1680, but which then vanished without trace.

Már Jónsson er prófessor í sagnfræði við Háskóla Íslands. Hann hefur skrifað um Árna Magnússon og handrit hans, yngri sem eldri, og fjallað í ræðu og riti um félags- og menningarsögu Íslands frá lokum 13. aldar til loka 19. aldar.

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á ensku og er öllum opinn.

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Pernille Hermann

Memory, Space, and Narrative in Saga Literature

Fimmtudaginn 12. janúar 2017 kl. 16.30
Odda 101

pernille-hermann
Pernille Hermann

Many parts of Old Norse-Icelandic literature, especially the sagas of Icelanders, are immensely preoccupied with spatial anchoring. This talk will deal with literary spaces in the context of memory, and it will be discussed how spatial anchoring can be connected to mnemonic techniques, such as the method of loci, used by the saga authors. The talk will also address how mnemonic spaces offer important background structures that serve as organising narrative units. The focus of the talk will be on man-made spatial constructions, such as buildings and their interior; examples will be taken from the sagas of Icelanders, and Eddic material will be included as a comparative framework.

Pernille Hermann is associate professor of Scandinavian literature at Aarhus University. Her research interest centres on Old Norse literature and culture. Her research addresses such areas as literary criticism and theory in the Middle Ages, orality and literacy, memory culture, genre and human geography.

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Magdalena Schmid

A periodization of Iceland’s Landnám in light of new archaeological data

Fimmtudaginn 8. desember 2016 kl. 16.30
Askja 132 — athugið breyttan stað! 

Magdalena Schmid
Magdalena Schmid

The Landnám (‘settlement’) of Iceland has been vigorously discussed for centuries. It is known that the Norsemen successfully colonized Iceland in large numbers, but crucial details about the timing and patterns of settlement are still unclear. Was the colonization rapid and complete, or gradual? Did the colonization follow the same pattern across Iceland or were there regional differences?
From an archaeological perspective, we can only know the detailed structure of the pattern and timing of settlement by applying robust chronological models. The key dating methods in the North Atlantic area are tephrochronology, radiocarbon dating and typology. Nevertheless, radiocarbon dates from the earliest archaeological contexts in Iceland have been a matter of fierce contention since the 1980s. This study, therefore, aims to reassess the temporal sequence of the Norse colonization of Iceland through a rigorous synthesis of empirical data and a new application of Bayesian statistics. More precisely, 500 radiocarbon dates as well as volcanic ash layers (tephra) from well-defined archaeological contexts of 300 settlement sites are systematically quantified.
The reassessed data permit a countrywide comparison and the first classification of archaeological sites into four periods:

1. Pre-Landnám (A.D. pre-877),
2. Landnám (A.D. 877–939),
3. Post-Landnám (A.D. 939–1104) and
4. Viking Age (A.D. ~800–1100).

The periods show a rapid incline of settlement establishments, as well as regional differences in settlement patterns in four key areas in Iceland, the southwest, northwest, north and east. The data summarized here for the first time indicate that it will be possible to reconstruct the tempo and development of the colonization process in decadal resolution by more systematically utilizing the dating potential of tephrochronology and radiocarbon dates at archaeological sites. It is hoped that future data may provide information about population movements and demography in Iceland, as well as answer questions why people settled in particular areas.

Magdalena Schmid is Ph.D. candidate at the University of Iceland. Her research focuses on the chronology of the Viking-Age settlement of Iceland. She is currently Visiting Fellow at the University of Edinburgh where she is writing up her dissertation.

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á ensku og er öllum opinn.

—o—

Sveinbjörn Rafnsson

Um Snorra Eddu og Munkagaman

Nokkur atriði úr menningarsögu íslenskra miðalda

Fimmtudaginn 1. desember 2016 kl. 16.30
Lögbergi 101

Sveinbjörn Rafnsson
Sveinbjörn Rafnsson

Rætt verður um Snorra Eddu sem talin er meðal höfuðrita íslenskrar menningar á miðöldum, texta hennar, hugmyndir um erkirit og gerðir hennar og innskot úr sögum í þeim. Þá verður drepið á byggingu Gylfaginningar og Skáldskaparmála í Eddu og heimildir sem ekki eru beinlínis nefndar í textum þeirra. Áður hefur verið bent á Trójumanna sögu og Elucidarius, en miklar líkur eru til þess að þar sé stuðst við fleiri rit sem tínd verða til, meðal annars Jórsalaferð Karlamagnúsar, Leiðarvísi Nikulásar ábóta, Munkagaman (Joca monachorum) og Þiðreks sögu af Bern.

Forsendur Eddu virðast einnig vera í fornri rím- og stjörnufræði. Rímbegla frá 12. öld er höfuðrit í fornum íslenskum tímatalsreikningi. Fornar þýðingar úr stjörnufræðiritum, sem verið hafa heimildir Rímbeglu, sýna að að dýrahringurinn (zodiacus) og grísk-rómverskar goðsögur hans hafa verið vel kunnar á 12. og 13. öld. Þá eru Trójumanna sögur og grísk-rómverskar goðsögulegar heimildir þeirra órækur vitnisburður um latínulærdóm og goðsögulega þekkingu. Allt sýnir þetta, ásamt Eddu sjálfri, að meðal forsendna hennar eru grísk-rómverskar goðsögur. Í Eddu virðast m.a. vera skopstældar (paródískar) goðsögur af norrænum og suðrænum toga, gerðar undir ægishjálmi kristindóms.

Munkagaman (Joca monachorum) virðist vera ein af mörgum ónefndum heimildum Eddu. Það er safn gátna eða fróðleiks frá ármiðöldum í gátuformi, um heiminn, sköpun hans og náttúru, viðburði í ritningunni og trúarleg og siðferðileg efni. Íslensk gerð Munkagamans, þýdd úr latínu á miðöldum, er til í ungum handritum, sem lítillega verður rætt um.

Sveinbjörn Rafnsson er prófessor emeritus í sagnfræði frá Háskóla Íslands. Hann hefur ritað margt um forna íslenska sögu, m.a. bækur um Landnámu, forna sagnaritun og fornar minjar auk fjölda greina um sama efni, íslenskar miðaldaheimildir og forn lög.

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á íslensku og er öllum opinn.

—o—

Sverrir Jakobsson

Gerendur í pólitísku rými Sturlungaaldar

Fimmtudaginn 24. nóvember 2016 kl. 16.30
Lögbergi 101

Sverrir Jakobsson
Sverrir Jakobsson

Stjórnmálasaga Íslands á 12. og 13. öld er dramatísk og hefur gegnt miklu hlutverki í sögulegu minni þjóðarinnar. Í aðdraganda lýðveldisstofnunar var algengt að vitnað væri í Sturlungu í þingræðum og mikill áhugi var á þeim kringumstæðum sem leiddu til endaloks sjálfstæðis Íslendinga á 13. öld. Undanfarna áratugi hefur almennur áhugi á þessu tímabili farið minnkandi. Orðræða þjóðfrelsisbaráttunnar er úr sögunni en í stað hennar hefur ekki myndast ný söguskoðun. Samtímis hefur þetta tímabil fengið mikla athygli erlendra fræðimanna þannig að Íslandssaga miðalda er orðin alþjóðleg fræðigrein. Gjá virðist ríkja á milli fræðilegrar orðræðu og almennrar söguskoðunar.

Hér er ætlunin að ræða þessa sögu með nýjum hætti með áherslu á pólitíska gerendur. Valdabarátta höfðingja byggðist á klókindum, hörku og forsjálum ákvörðunum í hjónabandsmálum. Ástir og ættartengsl blönduðust inn í pólitíska refskák og blóðsúthellingar. Að lokum stóðu fáir eftir sem sigurvegarar við nýjar aðstæður. Þetta er spennandi atburðarás og oft ekki síður æsileg heldur en í skáldsögum.

Rætt verður hvernig hægt er að meta pólitíska þróun á þessu tímabili í ljósi eftir- eða síð-þjóðernishyggju (post-nationalism). Meðal þess sem verður til umræðu er hvernig íslenskt samfélag þróaðist frá upptöku tíundar 1096 sem leiddi af sér nýja hugsun um vald. Reynt verður að rýna í upphaf og þróun valdasamrunans og hvernig átök höfðingja við kirkjuna í upphafi 13. aldar tengdust honum. Sérstaklega verður litið á átök Sturlungaaldar og þá m.a. fjallað um hvernig varðveittar heimildir sýna þau í vissu sjónarhorni þar sem framgangur sumra einstaklinga og fjölskyldna verður fegraður. Einnig verður rýnt í hvernig konur hafa verið skrifaðar út úr þessari sögu og bent á hvernig þær voru virkir þátttakendur í pólitísku plotti og átökum.

Sverrir Jakobsson er prófessor í miðaldasögu við Háskóla. Hann hefur rannsakað og ritað um heimsmynd Íslendinga á miðöldum, samskipti Íslendinga við konungsvald, orðræðu um rými og vald og átakasögu Sturlungaaldar, auk ótal annarra efna.

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á íslensku og er öllum opinn.

—o—

Gottskálk Jensson

Antiquitates Danicae: Vísindi og pólitík í norrænum fræðum í Kaupmannahöfn 1600 til 1900

Fimmtudaginn 17. nóvember 2016 kl. 16.30
Lögbergi 101

gottskalk-jensson-2016
Gottskálk Jensson

Í erindinu hyggst ég svipast um í sögu norrænna fræða í Kaupmannahöfn frá öndverðri 17. öld og fram til einveldiskreppunnar á síðari hluta 18. aldar, og þaðan áfram til gróskunnar miklu í móðurmálsfræðum á gullöld fílólógíu og þjóðlegrar sagnfræði á 19. öld. Fræðigreinin sem um ræðir er ekki ómerkilegri en svo að hún hefur mótað að töluverðu leyti þjóðerni og sjálfsmynd Dana og Íslendinga, og raunar Norðurlandabúa allra. Þegar saga fræðanna í Kaupmannahöfn er skoðuð af fjarlægum sjónarhóli 21. aldar má greina, að ég tel, ákveðnar útlínur og uppákomur, sem sýna að drifkraftur þessara vísinda hefur ekki einvörðungu verið akademísk þekkingarþrá. Síst veigaminni þáttur var smíð sögulegra raka sem rennt gætu stoðum undir menningar- og utanríkispólitík danska konungsríkisins, svo ekki sé minnst á viðleitni fræðimannanna til að styrkja í sessi ákveðin lútersk viðhorf til kristni og konungsvalds. Danska konungsveldið var, sem kunnugt er, leiðandi stjórnmálaafl á Norðurlöndum frá stofnun Kalmarsambandsins á ofanverðri 14. öld og nokkuð fram á 16. öld. Með siðaskiptunum klofnaði sambandið og sænska konungsveldið tók mjög að eflast undir forystu Gustavs Vasa. Þótt stórveldistími Svía stæði aðeins yfir í rúmlega eina öld náðu sænskir að koma sér upp heimasmíðaðri fornöld sem að nokkru leyti byggði á Danasögu Saxa málspaka (u.þ.b. 1200) en yfirbauð hana stórkostlega í smíð glæstrar fornaldar fyrir Svía. Lærðum mönnum í Danmörku þótti skorta mjög á sögulegar heimildir sem undirbyggðu trúverðugleika hinnar nýju sænsku fornaldar. En svipuðum mótbárum hafði raunar verið hreyft gegn sjálfum Saxa málspaka, þar til dönsku fjölfræðingunum Ole Worm og Stephen Stephanius tókst, með aðstoð lærðra presta á Íslandi, að finna nokkrar af frumheimildum Saxa í íslenskum handritum, rúnakvæði á „danskri tungu“, sem þeir prentuðu með rúnaletri (og latneskum þýðingum til hægðarauka). Þessar útgáfur urðu upphafið að nýrri háskólagrein, Antiquitates Danicae, sem síðar fékk heitið norræn fræði. Frá sjónarhóli 21. aldar fólust þessi 17. aldar vísindi í athugunum á ímyndaðri fornmenningu Dana, sýndarheiðnu rúnasamfélagi stríðsmanna sem líktust furðu mikið rétttrúuðum siðbótarmönnum í hollustu sinni gagnvart konungsvaldinu sem meginstoð samfélagsins. Í erindinu mun ég rekja áfram til 19. aldar þróun þessarar fræðigreinar í ljósi umbrotanna í sögu Norðurlanda, sem verða næstu aldirnar, og freista þess að skýra að einhverju marki hið flókna samhengi fræða og pólitíkur.

Gottskálk Jensson er gestaprófessor við Íslensku- og menningardeild Háskóla Íslands og rannsóknardósent á Árnasafni í Kaupmannahöfn. Hann er doktor í klassískum fræðum frá University of Toronto. Undanfarin ár hefur hann einkum rannsakað latínuskrif í íslensku samhengi fyrr á öldum.

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á íslensku og er öllum opinn.

—o—

Susanne M. Arthur

Relationship status: “It’s complicated”

The struggles of revising Njáls saga’s stemma

Fimmtudaginn 10. nóvember 2016 kl. 16.30
Lögbergi 101

susanne-arthur-2016-01
Susanne M. Arthur

In 1883, Lehmann and Schnorr von Carolsfeld published a stemma codicum for Njáls saga in Die Njálssage insbesondere in ihren juristischen Bestandtheilen. Jón Þorkelsson used this stemma as the basis for the one he published in the second volume of Konráð Gíslason’s and Eiríkur Jónsson’s 1875-1889 edition of the saga. His stemma was supported later by Einar Ól. Sveinsson (1954), the editor of the Íslenzk fornrit edition. As was common at the time, these scholars based their stemma primarily or exclusively on medieval parchment codices, establishing three major branches, related to the medieval manuscripts Reykjabók and Kálfalækjarbók (X-branch), Möðruvallabók (Y-branch), as well as Gráskinna and Skafinskinna (Z-branch).
Post-medieval manuscripts were considered of little value for stemmatological research, and so the task of studying the post-medieval manuscript transmission of Njáls saga and of revisiting and revising the saga’s stemma lay dormant for about 60 years. For the past few years, however, various researchers—including Ludger Zeevaert, Svanhildur Óskarsdóttir, Margrét Eggertsdóttir, and Alaric Timothy Hall—and participants of the International Arnamagnæan Summer Schools in Manuscript Studies have taken very important steps towards establishing a new comprehensive stemma for Njáls saga, which includes the neglected post-medieval manuscript transmission.
This presentation explores a small number of variants among the Njáls saga manuscripts, which aid in solidifying some and revising other parts of the stemma established by Zeevaert et al. Some of the chosen variants exemplify aspects of manuscript transmission, such as censorship, scribal errors, and restructuring of the text. Susanne’s focus lies on the seventeenth-century manuscripts NKS 1220 fol. (Vigursbók). Vigursbók is suggested to be related to both the so-called Oddabók-branch (named after a fifteenth-century Njáls saga manuscript) as well as the *Gullskinna-branch. *Gullskinna refers to a lost medieval codex, whose text survives in a large number of post-medieval manuscripts. However, due to the aforementioned lack of interest in post-medieval manuscript transmission by earlier scholars, the *Gullskinna-branch has barely been researched; this is a gap that recent Njáls saga research is trying to fill.

Susanne M. Arthur was awarded a three-year postdoc grant (2016–2019) from the Recruitment Fund of the University of Iceland after having received her Ph.D. in Scandinavian Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She focuses on material aspects as well as textual variance of Icelandic medieval and post-medieval manuscripts.

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á ensku og er öllum opinn.

—o—

Judith Jesch

The literary history of Skáld-Helgi

Rímur and a lost saga between Iceland and Greenland

Þriðjudaginn 8. nóvember 2016 kl. 16.30
Lögbergi 101

judith-jesch-2016
Judith Jesch

The cycles of narrative poems kown as rímur were inordinately popular in late medieval Iceland and the genre continued to be productive well into modern times. The late medieval rímur are best characterised as a highly derivative genre. While all literature is derivative of other literature in some way or other, rímur are explicitly and obviously so. The medieval rímur of Iceland are almost always reworkings of sagas, sometimes quite slavish ones. In most cases, they are based on the more popular late medieval genres such as riddarasögur or lygisögur, but there are a couple of examples of rímur based on sagas of Icelanders, such as Grettisrímur and Króka-Refs rímur. The rímur of Skáld-Helgi, ‘the most remarkable man in Greeland’, however, have no surviving source. They are difficult to date: the oldest surviving manuscripts are from the 16th century but those who have thought about the question have concluded that the rímur might be somewhat older, perhaps from the 15th century. Scholars also tend to agree that the rímur were based on a lost saga about Skáld-Helgi, a saga that is generally classified as an Íslendingasaga and is described as ‘late’.

Although the rímur-poets were highly dependent on their saga-sources, they had different literary interests, and the change from prose to poetry also enforced different literary strategies on them. It is interesting to speculate on the ways in which the lost saga might have differed from the surviving rímur, particularly since they belong to this very small group of rímur based on Sagas of Icelanders. The paper will explore the ways in which the story of Skáld-Helgi is adapted and appropriated for different contexts using the very different conventions of sagas and rímur – was the lost saga really a typical Íslendingasaga, and what aspects of it did the rímur-poet appropriate for his narrative, and what might he have left out? Finally, what indications might there be of the time and place in which both saga and rímur were produced and enjoyed by their audiences?

Judith Jesch (PhD University of London) is Professor of Viking Studies at the University of Nottingham. She is interested in and has published on many different topics in Old Norse-Icelandic Literature and Viking Age and Medieval Scandinavian Studies.

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á ensku og er öllum opinn.

—o—

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.

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á íslensku og er öllum opinn.

—o—

Guðmundur J. Guðmundsson

Íslenskir innflytjendur í Englandi 
1438 til 1524

Fimmtudaginn 13. október 2016 kl. 16.30
Lögbergi 101

gudmundur-j-gudmundsson-2016-02
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.

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á íslensku og er öllum opinn.

—o—

Patricia Pires Boulhosa

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

Þriðjudaginn 11. október 2016 kl. 16.30
Lögbergi 101

patricia-boulhosa
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.

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á ensku og er öllum opinn.

—o—

Lena Rohrbach

The Textuality of Law

Modes of Rewriting in Late-Medieval Icelandic Legal Manuscripts

Fimmtudaginn 29. september 2016 kl. 16.30
Lögbergi 101

lena-rohrbach-2016-02
Lena Rohrbach

Virtually all medieval Icelandic legal manuscripts contain more than one legal text, beginning with the 13th-century Staðarhólsbók, AM 334 fol., one of the two manuscripts of Grágás, that also contains the only medieval text of Járnsíða. Many of the codices from 1300 onwards contain both Jónsbók and Bishop Árni’s Church Law, and most of them also feature royal amendments, archiepiscopal statutes, historiographical notes and theological material in varying compilations. These texts are presented as material units in the manuscripts: The individual texts in the codices are arranged, connected and conjoined by means of different types of paratexts. Many manuscripts feature extracts and conflations of several texts with a notable peak of retextualisations of this kind in the latter half of the fourteenth century.

In this paper I will explore these compilations and rearrangements of texts in the medieval Icelandic legal manuscript tradition in the period 1300 to 1500 as they manifest themselves in individual manuscripts. I will discuss how the scribes formed coherent corpora of ‘the law’ by means of making use of the material qualities of the medium of the book. I will identify and discuss different modes of rewriting at work in the manuscripts. These modes are not exclusive to the legal textual tradition, but they unfold specific effect in these codices because of the administrative and at the same time highly political and ideological quality of legal texts. Drawing on media-theoretical and discursive notions of the archive, I will suggest to approach the codices as textual archives that claim—and unfold—normative status. These normative archives can be interpreted as material endeavours and strategies to inscribe the Icelandic legal community into different political discourses and entities over time.

Lena Rohrbach is professor of Medieval Scandinavian studies at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. She holds a Dr. phil. in Scandinavian Studies from the university of Erlangen (published in 2009 as Der tierische Blick. Mensch-Tier-Relationen in der Sagaliteratur) and worked as a postdoctoral researcher in the Swiss NCCR Mediality — Historical Perspectives at the university of Zurich in the years 2006-09. Her research in the Nordic medieval tradition is informed by cultural narratology, as well as mediality and literacy studies, with a special focus on the Icelandic contemporary sagas and administrative textual culture. She is currently working on a book on new textual and paratextual forms in the late medieval Icelandic legal manuscript tradition

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á ensku og er öllum opinn.

—o—

Elizabeth Walgenbach

Outlawry as Secular Excommunication in Medieval Iceland

Fimmtudaginn 15. september 2016 kl. 16.30
Lögbergi 101

elizabeth-walgenbach-2016
Elizabeth Walgenbach

This talk argues that the sentence of outlawry in Old Norse-Icelandic sources from the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries was a sentence derived from and continually influenced by the ecclesiastical sanction of excommunication. In the first part of this talk I offer an account of the legal phenomenon of excommunication with special reference to its presentation in Icelandic sources. I next give an account of the legal concept of outlawry, the assumptions that are often made about it, and present a detailed examination of the evidence that directly documents how full and lesser outlawry were defined in medieval Iceland.

One of my key arguments is that the notion of outlawry that we have access to is the outlawry of the thirteenth century and later. This chronology is based on the dating of the manuscripts that survive to document the idea, most of which are from the thirteenth century and later, even if some of the narrative material refers to the tenth and eleventh centuries.

I then consider the often-observed similarities between excommunication and outlawry in northern sources from the Middle Ages. I argue that these similarities are best explained by viewing outlawry as an outgrowth or adaptation of Christian excommunication into secular justice systems. It is difficult to prove this argument but possible to support it by making recourse to a variety of evidence from legal materials, the dating of manuscripts, and the examination of common assumptions about outlawry.

Elizabeth Walgenbach earned her Ph.D. in Medieval Studies from Yale University in May 2016. Her research focuses on canon law in the northern European Middle Ages. She is currently working to turn her dissertation into a book while studying Icelandic at the University of Iceland.

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