Sturlunga saga

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Sturlunga saga or in short Sturlunga is the name of a compilation of Icelandic sagas . The Sturlungasaga is counted among the samtíðasögur (Eng. "Contemporary sagas"). Samtíðasögur stand out from other sagas mainly in that their content is secular, and the time difference between action and writing is small.


It is about the power struggle of some of the most famous Icelandic families of the Middle Ages, but above all the family of the poet and politician Snorri Sturluson . The relationship with the Norwegian king and the role of the church are described as well as the end of the Icelandic free state period and the incorporation into the Kingdom of Norway. The events described cover the epoch from 1117 to 1264.


The title comes from the family of the Sturlungar , the descendants of Sturla Þórðarson (1116–1183) from the Hvammur í Dölum estate .


The questions about the compiler of the Sturlunga saga have not yet been clearly clarified. Sturla Þórðarson (1214–1284) and Þórðr Narfason are considered likely .


The saga is regarded as an important source of the history of medieval Iceland and offers insights into the way of thinking and living of Icelanders in the 13th century.

Like some of the most important Icelandic sagas , it was written at this time. On the other hand, however, the events from the 12th and 13th centuries described in the Sturlunga are much more timely for the authors than the events described in the Icelandic Sagas, which mostly relate to the time of settlement or shortly afterwards, i.e. H. refer to events in the 9th and 10th centuries, which, moreover, were very likely only passed down orally and were evidently heavily embellished with inventions such as folk legend elements (cf. e.g. the saga of Grettir the Strong ).

Most of the sources of secondary literature describe the presentation of events as very factual, but some authors also see partisanship in favor of the current power constellation at the time of the resignation, namely in favor of the (Norwegian) king and church and thus against the Goden oligarchy.

Creation of the compilation

This is a compilation that was put together from set pieces of various sagas, some of which have not survived. It has come down to us in various manuscripts.

The Sturlunga saga did not exist in this form from the start.

On the other hand, individual sagas were written in the 13th century, which around 1300 were combined into a coherent story. In the secondary literature Þórður Narfason (d. 1308), a lawyer from Skarð á Skarðsströnd , is named as the editor. With the composition of the work he obviously wanted to show how Iceland was annexed to the Kingdom of Norway in 1262.

Single sagas

The most important sagas contained are: The " Íslendinga saga " written by Sturla Þórðarson, the saga of Þorgil and Hafliði , the prestage of Guðmundar Arasonar , Þórður kakali , Þorgils skarði and the Svínfellinga saga . Also to be mentioned are the Sturla saga , Geirmundur heljarskinn , Guðmundar saga dýra and the saga of Hrafn Sveinbjarnarson .

The individual sagas of the volume differ significantly in style. Some of them were also published individually, around 1946.


The most important surviving manuscripts of the Sturlunga saga are Króksfjarðarbók and Reykjafjarðarbók , both from the 14th century.

See also


  • Baetke, Walter (translator) and Felix Niedner (ed.): Stories from the Sturlung sex . Düsseldorf / Cologne: Diederichs, 1967 (= Thule Collection; 24).
  • Guðrún Nordal: The contemporary sagas and their social context . In: Margaret Clunies Ross: Old Icelandic literature and society . Cambridge: University Press, 2000, pp. 221-241.
  • Úlfar Bragason: Sagas of Contemporary History (Sturlunga saga): Texts and Research. In: Rory McTurk: A Companion to Old Norse Icelandic literature an culture. Malden MA: Blackwell, 2005, pp. 427-446.

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Atli Harðarson - Sturlunga, goðaveldið og sverðin tvö. ( Memento of the original from November 9, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. - Atli Harðarson: Sturlunga, goðaveldið og sverðin tvö, accessed on July 20, 2010 (PDF file; 279 kB) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  2. Guðrún Nordal: Íslensk bókmenntasaga. Reykjavík, Mál og menning, 1992, p. 313
  3. Guðrún Nordal: To Dream or Not to Dream: A Question of Method . To Dream or Not to Dream: A Question of Method - Guðrún Nordal ( Memento from August 15, 2011 in the Internet Archive )

Web links