Mánaðarskipt færslusafn fyrir: október 2018

Fyrirlestrar Miðaldastofu

Haki Antonsson

Damnation and Salvation in Old Norse Literature

Fimmtudaginn 8. nóvember 2018 kl. 16.30
Lögbergi 101

Haki Antonsson

The lecture will introduce the author’s recently published monograph Damnation and Salvation in Old Norse Literature. Studies in Old Norse Literature (Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, 2018). The hope of salvation and the fear of damnation were fundamental features of medieval life. Surprisingly therefore this topic has received relatively limited attention in Old Norse study. Damnation and Salvation in Old Norse Literature addresses this gap in the scholarship by adopting two main principal investigative approaches. One involves examining how the twin theme interacts with more familiar strands such as disputes and outlawry. The second explores how the theme shapes texts at the level of individual scenes and whole works. The study is less occupied with whether the twin theme holds the ‘key’ to unlock the meaning of certain texts and more with how it combines with other themes to reveal structural features and narrative patterns. It is argued that similar patterns and features reoccur throughout the corpus, albeit in a variety of ways reflecting the historical and literary contexts of a given text. The examined corpus includes Njáls saga, Laxdæla saga, Gísla saga Súrssonar, Grettis saga Ásmundarsonar, Sturlunga saga, the texts on King Óláfr Tryggvason, as well as the poems Sólarljóð and Harmsól.

Haki Antonsson is Associate Professor in Medieval Scandinavian Studies at University College London. His research focuses on the history and literature of Scandinavia in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Previous publications include St Magnús of Orkney: A Scandinavian Martyr-Cult in Context (Leiden: Brill 2007) and (with Ildar Garipzanov) Saints on the Periphery: Veneration of Saints in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe (c. 1000-1200) (Turnhout: Brepols, 2010).

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á ensku og er öllum opinn.

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Fyrirlestrar Miðaldastofu

Silvia Hufnagel

Title Pages in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century Icelandic Manuscripts

Fimmtudaginn 25. október 2018 kl. 16.30
Lögbergi 101

Silvia Hufnagel

The new medium of print came around 1530 to Iceland but it was mostly religious and liturgical works that were printed due to the ecclesiastical ownership of the island’s sole printing press. This situation led to a certain dichotomy between the choices of medium in relationship to content.

Even though this division of media according to text type existed in Iceland, the two media influenced each other. The earliest printed books were strongly influenced by handwritten manuscripts, but as time went on, books developed their own design and layout and in turn influenced manuscripts. In post-medieval Icelandic manuscripts we thus find features of printed books, for example title pages, which were a novelty of print.

In this presentation, Silvia Hufnagel will present some of the results from her Marie Skłodowska Curie Project on title pages in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Icelandic manuscripts, conducted from 2015 to 2017 at the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna. She will focus on, first, the distribution of title pages over time, in different textual genres and within the book block of manuscripts, second, on the earliest title pages in the sixteenth century and, third, on title pages in both hymn manuscripts and saga manuscripts.

Most title pages, and all of the earliest title pages, are found in non-fictional genres, particularly computistic, religious-edifying and scientific texts and are a testament to the close connections between print and manuscript. The innovation of the title page came furthermore “top down”, as the scribes of the earliest title pages belonged to or were affiliated with the highest echelons of society. A surprisingly large number of title pages is found in the middle or towards the end of the book block, dividing either different parts of a compilation or text from register.

Hymn manuscripts often contain title pages. They hardly ever refer to the printed medium, though, even if they were copied from books, but rather mention the medium of reception. Although the – much rarer – title pages of saga manuscripts often mention the entertainment value of the sagas, they often invoke the glorious past that is depicted in the texts. They contain many rhetorical elements, such as accumulatio. As such, they are proof of the scribes’ and patrons’ learned environment, an environment that most certainly included printed works, even though the saga title pages do not mention them directly.

Silvia Hufnagel conducts research in the sociology of literature, manuscript studies and paper history. After her Marie Skłodowska Curie scholarship in Austria, she is now part of the project “Paper Trails: A Material History of 16th and 17th Century Icelandic Books from Paper Production to Library Collection” at the Stofnun Árna Magnússonar í íslenskum fræðum.

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á ensku og er öllum opinn.

Fyrirlestrar Miðaldastofu

Sabine Heidi Walther

Romancing Troy in Iceland?

On the Ormsbók Version of Trójumanna saga

Þriðjudaginn 23. október 2018 kl. 16.30
Lögbergi 101

Sabine Heidi Walther

Translated texts play an important role at the beginning of literacy in the vernaculars in the European Middle Ages. The process towards literacy is initiated by the arrival and then propagation of Christianity. Translation, however, did not only serve as a means to promote the new religion, it kept being an important tool for the import of cultural goods. In my talk, I will present some of the results of my Marie Skłodowska-Curie project that was hosted by the Arnamagnæan Institute in Copenhagen (2015-2017). The project focuses on the Old Norse Trójumanna saga, a historiographical text on the fall of Troy translated from Latin into Old Norse.

While it seems plausible to assume that translations might have had a function as literary models, one might also ask about the socio-cultural motivations and functions: Were the Icelanders only interested in importing the common matters which were in fashion everywhere in Europe? Or did they also import new concepts that came with the texts? And if so, how were they translated and transformed for the audience? Is it possible that some people even used certain texts to promote their political agenda? Who were those people? Where and who were their contacts?

The Ormsbók version of Trójumanna saga will serve as an example in my talk. This version can be considered the ‘romance version’ of the saga. How was this chivalric text achieved? Are secondary French sources responsible for it? Is it possible to place this text in Iceland? Who would be interested in it? Whose political agenda would it serve?

Sabine Heidi Walther is teaching and researching as “wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin” at the University of Bonn. She earned an MA in Medieval Latin and Classics from the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg and a Ph.D. in Scandinavian Studies from the University of Bonn. She recently finished a Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellowship at the Arnamagnæan Institute in Copenhagen. She is interested in the cultural and literary transfer to Scandinavia, in historiography and mythology, in cultural memory and narratology.

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á ensku og er öllum opinn.

Fyrirlestrar Miðaldastofu

Viðar Pálsson

Der König ist tot, es lebe der König!

Konungur í tvennum líkama og á faraldsfæti

Fimmtudaginn 18. október 2018 kl. 16.30
Lögbergi 101

Viðar Pálsson

Á hámiðöldum klæddist konungur tvennum líkama og tóku fjárreiður hans mið af því. Í fyrirlestrinum verður fjallað um fjárhagsgrundvöll konungs, hvernig hann gerðist stórjarðeigandi sem þó réði næsta minnstu um meðferð jarðeigna sinna, og hvernig hann át upp skatta sína á ferð um konungdæmið ásamt hirð sinni. Hinn tvöfaldi líkami konungs kom reyndar fram í nánu samhengi við vöxt og viðgang ríkisvalds og varð snar þáttur í þróun sem leiddi til þess að konungur tók að ferðast minna um konungdæmi sitt en áður og innheimta skatta með öðrum hætti. Áberandi þættir þessarar þróunar verða ræddir í fyrirlestrinum, t.d. eignarréttur á há- og síðmiðöldum, upphaf krúnugóss konunga, sem svo var kallað, og hlutverk formlegra valdasambanda sem birtust í merkingarbærum athöfnum, ritúölum, í vitna viðurvist.

Noregskonungar eru í brennidepli en einnig Frankakonungar og Þýskalandskeisari. Reifaðar verða rannsóknir á evrópsku konungsvaldi sem gagnast við lestur á konungasögum og túlkun konungsvalds í Noregi á miðöldum.

Viðar Pálsson er dósent í sagnfræði við Háskóla Íslands. Rannsóknarsvið hans er evrópsk og norræn miðaldasaga, einkum há- og síðmiðalda. Hann er höfundur bókarinnar Language of Power: Feasting and Gift-Giving in Medieval Iceland and Its Sagas (2016), þar sem meðal annars er fjallað um konungsvald.

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á íslensku og er öllum opinn.