Sagas of Icelanders
They are the best-known specimens of Icelandic literature. They are focused on history, especially genealogical and family history and they reflect the struggle and conflict that arose within the societies of the early generations of Icelandic settlers. Eventually many of Icelandic sagas were recorded, mostly in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, the authors, or rather recorders of these sagas are unknown. One saga, Egils saga, is believed by scholars to have been written by Snorri Sturluson, a descendant of the sagas hero. The standard modern edition of Icelandic sagas is known as Íslenzk fornrit, the saga – set in the anthology of sagas known as Möðruvallabók between Njáls saga and Egils saga Skalla-Grímssonar – tells of a man named Gaukur Trandilsson who lived in the 10th century. Gaukur is mentioned in chapter 26 of Njáls saga, Icelandic professor and poet Jón Helgason managed to decipher a line that read Let Trandilssons story be written here. I am told that Grim knows it, the story was never put to paper.
The Grim mentioned in the manuscript is believed to have been Grímur Þorsteinsson, Gaukur is reported to have been an exceptionally brave and gentle man. He was the brother of Ásgrimur. However, it is said that he had an out with his foster brother. Gaukur must have been a figure in Icelandic folklore as he is mentioned in not only Njáls Saga but the Íslendigadrápa. The south of the land refers to Iceland, Icelanders produced a high volume of literature relative to the size of the population. Leaders from old and established principalities did not produce any Sagas, as they were already cohesive political units, the production of literature was a way for chieftains to create and maintain social differentiation between them and the rest of the population. It has proposed that the Icelandic settlers were so prolific at writing in order to capture their settler history. Historian Gunnar Karlsson does not find that explanation reasonable though, given that other communities have not been as prolific as the early Icelanders were.
It has been argued that a combination of readily available parchment, norse Saga Family saga Örnólfur Thorsson. The Sagas of the Icelanders, a selection, Edwin Mellen Press Karlsson, Gunnar. Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press Liestol, the Origin of the Icelandic Family Sagas
Icelandic independence movement
The Icelandic Independence movement was the collective effort made by Icelanders to achieve self-determination and independence from the Kingdom of Denmark throughout the 19th and early 20th century. Iceland received a constitution and limited home rule in 1874, a minister for Icelandic affairs was appointed to the Danish cabinet in 1904. Full independence was granted in 1918 through the Danish-Icelandic Act of Union and this was followed by the severance of all ties to Denmark with the declaration of the republic in 1944. Through the signing of the Old Covenant in 1262, following the strife of the Age of the Sturlungs, Icelanders had relinquished sovereignty to Haakon IV. Iceland remained under Norwegian kingship until 1380, when the death of Olav IV of Norway extinguished the Norwegian male royal line, Norway became part of the Kalmar Union with Sweden and Denmark, in which Denmark was the dominant power. Unlike Norway, Denmark did not need Icelands fish and homespun wool and this created a dramatic deficit in Icelands trade, and as a result, no new ships for continental trading were built.
In the ensuing centuries, Iceland became one of the poorest countries of Europe, while attempts have been made to find evidence of pre-19th century nationalist sentiments, not much comprehensive evidence has been found of nationalism as we understand it today. The most notable of these were the so-called Fjölnismenn—poets and writers for the journal Fjölnir— Brynjólfur Pétursson, Jónas Hallgrímsson, Konráð Gíslason, meanwhile, an independence movement developed under Jón Sigurðsson. In 1843, a royal decree re-established a national parliament, the Althing and it claimed continuity with the Althing of the Icelandic Commonwealth, which had remained for centuries as a judicial body and had been abolished in 1800. The advocates of Icelandic independence pursued their aims peacefully, soliciting Danish officials via legal means, the struggle for independence reached its height in 1851 when the Danes tried to pass new legislation, the requests of which the Icelanders ignored. The Icelandic delegates, under the leadership of Jón Sigurðsson, passed their own proposal, much to the displeasure of the Kings agent and this caused Sigurðsson to rise up with his fellow delegates and utter the phrase Vér mótmælum allir.
Icelandic farmers worried that various social restrictions in Icelandic society would be abolished, the Icelandic independence movement was peaceful from its start in the post-Napoleonic period to the accomplishment of independence in 1944. Common explanations for the nature of Icelands independence struggle include. The accommodating responses of Denmark to Icelandic demands, the unwillingness of Denmark to respond violently, in part due to a respect for Icelandic culture but an unwillingness to shoulder the costs of quelling the Icelandic independence movement. The peaceful trends in the Nordic region after the Napoleonic Wars, in 1874, a thousand years after the first acknowledged settlement, Denmark granted Iceland home rule. By the end of the 19th century, the efforts made on behalf of Iceland had their desired result. The constitution, written in 1874, was revised in 1903, hannes Hafstein served as the first Minister of Iceland from 31 January 1904 until 31 March 1909. The Act of Union, signed on 1 December 1918 by Icelandic and Danish authorities, recognized Iceland as a sovereign state
The aim of one side may be to take control of the country or a region, to achieve independence for a region or to change government policies. The term is a calque of the Latin bellum civile which was used to refer to the civil wars of the Roman Republic in the 1st century BC. A civil war is a high-intensity conflict, often involving regular armed forces, Civil wars may result in large numbers of casualties and the consumption of significant resources. Most modern civil wars involve intervention by outside powers, according to Patrick M. Civil wars since the end of World War II have lasted on average just over four years, a dramatic rise from the one-and-a-half-year average of the 1900–1944 period. For example, there were no more than five civil wars underway simultaneously in the first half of the 20th century while there were over 20 concurrent civil wars close to the end of the Cold War. Since 1945, civil wars have resulted in the deaths of over 25 million people, ann Hironaka further specifies that one side of a civil war is the state.
The intensity at which a civil disturbance becomes a war is contested by academics. Some political scientists define a civil war as having more than 1000 casualties, the Correlates of War, a dataset widely used by scholars of conflict, classifies civil wars as having over 1000 war-related casualties per year of conflict. Based on the 1000 casualties per year criterion, there were 213 civil wars from 1816 to 1997,104 of which occurred from 1944 to 1997. If one uses the less-stringent 1000 casualties total criterion, there were over 90 civil wars between 1945 and 2007, with 20 ongoing civil wars as of 2007. The Geneva Conventions do not specifically define the term civil war and this includes civil wars, however no specific definition of civil war is provided in the text of the Conventions. That the legal Government is obliged to have recourse to the military forces against insurgents organized as military. That the insurgents have an organization purporting to have the characteristics of a State and that the insurgent civil authority exercises de facto authority over the population within a determinate portion of the national territory.
That the armed forces act under the direction of an authority and are prepared to observe the ordinary laws of war. That the insurgent civil authority agrees to be bound by the provisions of the Convention, scholars investigating the cause of civil war are attracted by two opposing theories, greed versus grievance. Scholarly analysis supports the conclusion that economic and structural factors are more important than those of identity in predicting occurrences of civil war, a comprehensive study of civil war was carried out by a team from the World Bank in the early 21st century. A second source of finance is national diasporas, which can fund rebellions, the study found that statistically switching the size of a countrys diaspora from the smallest found in the study to the largest resulted in a sixfold increase in the chance of a civil war. Opportunity cost of rebellion Higher male secondary school enrollment, per capita income, the study interpreted these three factors as proxies for earnings forgone by rebellion, and therefore that lower forgone earnings encourage rebellion
According to the 12th century Kievan Primary Chronicle, a group of Varangians known as the Rus settled in Novgorod in 862 under the leadership of Rurik. Before Rurik, the Rus might have ruled an earlier hypothetical polity, Ruriks relative Oleg conquered Kiev in 882 and established the state of Kievan Rus, which was ruled by Ruriks descendants. Engaging in trade and mercenary activities, Varangians roamed the river systems and portages of Gardariki and they controlled the Volga trade route, connecting the Baltic to the Caspian Sea, and the Dnieper and Dniester trade route leading to the Black Sea and Constantinople. Attracted by the riches of Constantinople, the Varangian Rus initiated a number of Rus-Byzantine Wars, at least from the early 10th century many Varangians served as mercenaries in the Byzantine Army, constituting the elite Varangian Guard. Eventually most of them, both in Byzantium and in Eastern Europe, were converted from paganism to Orthodox Christianity, culminating in the Christianization of Kievan Rus in 988.
Coinciding with the decline of the Viking Age, the influx of Scandinavians to Rus stopped. Some scholars seem to assume a derivation from vár with the common suffix -ing, the reduction of the second part of the word could be parallel to that seen in Old Norse foringi leader, correspondent to Old English foregenga and Gothic
Settlement of Iceland
The settlement of Iceland is generally believed to have begun in the second half of the 9th century, when Norse settlers migrated across the North Atlantic. The reasons for the migration may be traced to a shortage of land in Scandinavia. Unlike the British Isles, Iceland was unsettled land and could be claimed without conflict with existing inhabitants, on the basis of Íslendingabók by Ari Thorgilsson, and Landnámabók, the years 870 and 874 have traditionally been considered the first years of settlement. Historian Gunnar Karlsson notes that these sources are unreliable in terms of dating settlement. Almost everything known about the first settlers comes from Íslendingabók, and Landnámabók, estimates of the number of initial settlers range between 311 and 436. The Íslendingabók of Ari Thorgilsson claims that the Norse settlers encountered Gaelic monks from a Hiberno-Scottish mission when they arrived in Iceland, there is some archaeological evidence for a monastic settlement from the British Isles at Kverkarhellir cave, on the Seljaland farm in southern Iceland.
Sediment deposits indicate people lived there around 800, and crosses consistent with the Hiberno-Scottish style were carved in the wall of a nearby cave. The oldest known source which mentions the name Iceland is an 11th-century Gothic rune carving, the first written source to mention the existence of Iceland is a book by the Goidelic monk Dicuil, De mensura orbis terrae, which dates back to 825. Dicuilus claimed to have met some monks who had lived on the island of Thule and they said that darkness reigned during winter but that the summers were bright enough to pick lice from ones clothing. While the veracity of this source may be questioned, there is doubt that the inhabitants of the British Isles were aware of a sizeable land mass far up north. Additionally, Iceland is only about 450 kilometres from the Faroes which had visited by Irish monks in the 6th century. A cabin in Hafnir was abandoned between 770 and 880, showing that it was well before the traditional settlement date of 874. It is thought to have been an outpost only inhabited part of the year, the Landnámabók claims that the first Norseman to rest his feet on Icelandic soil was a viking by the name of Naddoddr.
Naddoddr stayed for only a period of time, but gave the country a name. He was followed by the Swede Garðar Svavarsson, who was the first to stay over winter, at some time around 860, a storm pushed his ship far to the north until he reached the eastern coast of Iceland. Garðar approached the island from the east, sailed westward along the coast and up north and he completed a full circle, circumnavigating the island and establishing that the landmass in question was indeed an island. He departed the following summer, never to return but not before giving the island a new name -- Garðarshólmur, one of his men, Náttfari, decided to stay behind with two slaves. Náttfari settled in what is now known as Náttfaravík, close to Skjálfandi, Landnámabók maintains that Náttfari was not a permanent settler
Iceland in the Cold War
In 1986, Iceland hosted a summit in Reykjavík between United States President Ronald Reagan and Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev, during which they took significant steps toward nuclear disarmament. Five years later, in 1991, Iceland became the first country to recognize the independence of Estonia, Latvia. Early in World War II, the neutral Kingdom of Iceland had declined an offer of British protection. A month after the occupation of Denmark by Nazi Germany in 1940, in 1941, the British arranged for the United States to take over occupation of the country so that British troops could be used in other arenas of the war. After pressure from the British, the Icelandic government eventually agreed to US occupation, the United States supported the founding of the Republic of Iceland in 1944 and promised to withdraw its troops once the war ended, but failed to do so when Nazi Germany was defeated in 1945. As World War II was winding down, the United States tried to persuade Icelandic statesmen to agree to permanent American military basing in Iceland, the pro-Western Icelandic Prime Minister Ólafur Thors considered such an agreement impossible at the time due to public opposition.
When the Americans made a formal basing request in October 1945, in September 1946, the United States and Iceland negotiated over a more moderate basing agreement. These negotiation concluded on 7 October 1946, as the so-called Keflavík Agreement was signed, the US would be allowed to keep civilian staff in the country to oversee military shipping to mainland Europe. The agreement was passed into law by the Althing with 32 votes against 19, all 20 MPs from the Independence Party supported the agreement along with six each from the Progressive Party and the Social Democratic Party. These latter two had MPs who voted against the agreement. Every MP from the Socialist Party voted against the agreement,500 people protested against this agreement. The headquarters for the Independence Party was attacked with rocks and protesters tried to storm the building while the Independence Party held a meeting indoors, in the wake of this rift, the Cold War shaped Icelandic politics for the next decades. A sense of global turmoil and internal threat led Icelandic statesmen to reconsider Icelands security arrangements.
The Czechoslovak coup détat in February 1948 made the world seem less peaceful, the Icelandic coalition government of the Independence Party, the centrist Progressive Party and the Social Democrats began to look for security guarantees for Iceland. Basing US military on Icelandic soil was domestically unfeasible at the time, when negotiations for a Scandinavian Defense Union fell apart, Iceland followed Denmark and Norway into NATO. The Althing approved Icelands NATO membership on 30 March 1949 with 37 votes against 13, the Socialist Party was the only Icelandic political party opposed to NATO membership. Large protests occurred outside of Parliament on Lækjartorg and Austurvöllur in downtown Reykjavík, fighting broke out and soon escalated into a riot, police assaulted dispersed them with tear gas. 12 persons needed medical care, including six seriously injured policeman,20 individuals were sentenced for their part in the riots but none of them sentenced to prison
The cosmos in Norse mythology consists of Nine Worlds that flank a central cosmological tree, Yggdrasil. Units of time and elements of the cosmology are personified as deities or beings, various forms of a creation myth are recounted, where the world is created from the flesh of the primordial being Ymir, and the first two humans are Ask and Embla. These worlds are foretold to be reborn after the events of Ragnarök, there the surviving gods will meet, and the land will be fertile and green, and two humans will repopulate the world. Norse mythology has been the subject of scholarly discourse since the 17th century, by way of comparative mythology and historical linguistics, scholars have identified elements of Germanic mythology reaching as far back as Proto-Indo-European mythology. In the modern period, the Romanticist Viking revival re-awoke an interest in the subject matter, the myths have further been revived in a religious context among adherents of Germanic Neopaganism. The majority of these Old Norse texts were created in Iceland and this occurred primarily in the 13th century.
The Prose Edda was composed as a manual for producing skaldic poetry—traditional Old Norse poetry composed by skalds. Originally composed and transmitted orally, skaldic poetry utilizes alliterative verse, the Prose Edda presents numerous examples of works by various skalds from before and after the Christianization process and frequently refers back to the poems found in the Poetic Edda. The Poetic Edda consists almost entirely of poems, with some prose narrative added, in comparison to skaldic poetry, Eddic poetry is relatively unadorned. Numerous further texts, such as the sagas, provide further information, the saga corpus consists of thousands of tales recorded in Old Norse ranging from Icelandic family histories to Migration period tales mentioning historic figures such as Attila the Hun. By way of historical linguistics and comparative mythology, comparisons to other attested branches of Germanic mythology may lend insight, wider comparisons to the mythology of other Indo-European peoples by scholars has resulted in the potential reconstruction of far earlier myths.
Of the mythical tales and poems that are presumed to have existed during the Middle Ages, Viking Age, Migration Period, numerous gods are mentioned in the source texts. In the mythology, Thor lays waste to numerous jötnar who are foes to the gods or humanity, the god Odin is frequently mentioned in surviving texts. One-eyed and raven-flanked, and spear in hand, Odin pursues knowledge throughout the worlds, Odin has a strong association with death, Odin is portrayed as the ruler of Valhalla, where valkyries carry half of those slain in battle. Odins wife is the powerful goddess Frigg who can see the future but tells no one, and together they have a beloved son, Baldr. After a series of dreams had by Baldr of his death, his death is engineered by Loki, and Baldr thereafter resides in Hel. Odin must share half of his share of the dead with a powerful goddess and she is beautiful, wears a feathered cloak, and practices seiðr. She rides to battle to choose among the slain, and brings her chosen to her afterlife field Fólkvangr, Freyja weeps for her missing husband Óðr, and seeks after him in far away lands
The Icelandic Reformation took place in the middle of the 16th century. Iceland was at time a territory ruled by Denmark. The Icelandic Reformation ended with the execution of Jón Arason, Catholic bishop of Hólar, Christian III became king of Denmark in 1535. That same year, on October 30,1536, he established the Danish Lutheran Church. The Catholic bishops in Iceland at the time were Ögmundur Pálsson of Skálholt and they were both powerful leaders who had originally been bitter enemies, but with the approaching threat of Lutheranism, they found common cause as allies against religious reform. Denmark had been embroiled in war during the dissolution of the Kalmar Union. Luthers influence had already reached Iceland before King Christians decree, the Germans fished near Icelands coast, and the Hanseatic League engaged in commerce with the Icelanders. These Germans raised a Lutheran church in Hafnarfjörður as early as 1533, through German trade connections, many young Icelanders studied in Hamburg.
Ögmundur Pálsson, bishop of Skálholt, was at this point old and he had in his service several young men who had been educated in Germany and introduced to Protestantism. Many of them were in favour of reform, although they kept such views from the bishop. In 1538, when the decree of the new Church ordinance reached Iceland, bishop Ögmundur and his clergy denounced it. In 1539, the King sent a new governor to Iceland, Klaus von Mervitz, with a mandate to introduce reform, von Mervitz seized a monastery in Viðey with the help of his sheriff, Dietrich of Minden, and his soldiers. They drove the monks out and seized all their possessions, for which they were excommunicated by Ögmundur. Later, that summer, the sheriff and his men stopped in Skálholt. His supporters gathered forces and attacked Dietrich, killing him, one of the young men in the service of bishop Ögmundur was Oddur Gottskálksson, son of Gottskálk Nikulásson, a former bishop of Hólar. Oddur returned to Iceland from his studies in Germany in 1535, aged 20 and he is said to have done the bulk of the translation in the barn of the farm adjoining the Skálholt see.
Oddurs New Testament was printed in Roskilde in 1540, and is the oldest preserved printed work in the Icelandic language, another of these German-educated young men was Gissur Einarsson, who was secretly in favour of religious reformation. In 1539, bishop Ögmundur, who was almost blind now, made him his successor, the old bishop came to regret his decision when his protégés Lutheran views surfaced
History of Iceland
The recorded history of Iceland began with the settlement by Viking explorers and their slaves from the east, particularly Norway and the British Isles, in the late ninth century. Iceland was still uninhabited long after the rest of Western Europe had been settled, recorded settlement has conventionally been dated back to 874, although archaeological evidence indicates Gaelic monks had settled Iceland before that date. The land was settled quickly, mainly by Norwegians who may have been fleeing conflict or seeking new land to farm, by 930, the chieftains had established a form of governance, the Althing, making it one of the worlds oldest parliaments. Towards the end of the tenth century Christianity came to Iceland through the influence of the Norwegian king Olaf Tryggvason. During this time Iceland remained independent, a known as the Old Commonwealth. Norway, in turn, was united with Sweden and Denmark, eventually all of the Nordic states were united in one alliance, the Kalmar Union, but on its dissolution, Iceland fell under Danish rule.
The subsequent strict Danish–Icelandic Trade Monopoly in the 17th and 18th centuries was very detrimental to the economy, Icelands subsequent poverty was aggravated by severe natural disasters like the Móðuharðindin or Mist Hardships. During this time the population declined, Iceland remained part of Denmark, but in keeping with the rise of nationalism around Europe in the nineteenth century an independence movement emerged. The Althing, which had suspended in 1799, was restored in 1844. However Iceland shared the Danish Monarchy until World War II, although Iceland was neutral in the Second World War, the United Kingdom peacefully occupied it in 1940 to forestall a Nazi occupation, after Denmark itself was overrun by the German Wehrmacht. Because of the strategic position in the North Atlantic, the allies occupied the island until the end of the war. In 1944, and declared itself an independent nation. Following the Second World War Iceland was a member of both the United Nations and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
Its economy grew rapidly due to fishing, although this was marred by conflicts with other nations like the Cod Wars. Following rapid financial growth, the 2008–11 Icelandic financial crisis occurred, Iceland continues to remain outside the European Union. Icelands history has marked by a number of natural disasters. Iceland is a young country in the geological sense. The oldest stone specimens found in Iceland date back to ca.16 million years ago, in geological terms, Iceland is a young island
Age of the Sturlungs
The Age of the Sturlungs or the Sturlung Era was a 42–44 year period of internal strife in mid-13th century Iceland. It may have been the bloodiest and most violent period in Icelandic history and it is documented in the Sturlunga saga. This period is marked by the conflicts of powerful chieftains, goðar, who amassed followers and did battle, and is named for the Sturlungs, at the end of the era, the Icelandic Commonwealth ceased to exist and Iceland became a vassal of Norway. Historians generally regard the year 1220 as the first year of the Age of the Sturlungs, Power in the country had consolidated within the grasp of a few family clans. Many Icelandic chieftains became his vassals and were obliged to do his bidding—in exchange they received gifts, consequently, the greatest Icelandic chieftains were soon affiliated with the King of Norway in one way or the other. In the Icelandic Commonwealth, power was mostly in the hands of the goðar, Iceland was effectively divided into farthings. Within each farthing were nine Goði-dominions, the North farthing had an additional three dominions due to its size.
The Goði-chieftains protected the farmers in their territory, and exacted compensation or vengeance if their followers rights were violated, in exchange, the farmers pledged their support to the Goði, both by voting in his favor in the Alþingi parliament and by taking up arms against his enemies. The powers of the Goði-chieftains, were neither permanent nor inherited and this status came about by a combination of respect, honour and wealth. The chieftains constantly had to demonstrate their qualities as leaders, either by giving gifts to their followers or by holding great feasts, if the chieftain was seen as failing in any respect, his followers could simply choose another, more qualified Goði to support. The greatest chieftains of the 12th and 13th century started amassing great wealth and this may be one of the causes of the civil war. The Age of Sturlungs began in 1220, when Snorri Sturluson, chieftain of the Sturlung clan and one of the great Icelandic saga writers, the king insisted that Snorri help him bring Iceland under the sovereignty of Norway.
Snorri returned home, and although he became the countrys most powerful chieftain. According to one historian, we do not know whether inactivity was due to lack of will or his conviction that the case was hopeless, in 1235, Snorris nephew Sturla Sighvatsson accepted vassalage under the king. Sturla was more aggressive, He sent his back to Norway. However and his father Sighvatur were soundly defeated by Gissur Þorvaldsson, the chief of the Haukdælir, the Battle of Örlygsstaðir was the largest armed conflict in the history of Iceland—the Sturlungs had 1000 armed men and the Ásbirningar had 1200 armed men. More than 50 people were killed, after this crushing defeat and Kolbeinn became the most powerful chieftains in the country. Snorri Sturluson returned home to Iceland, having fallen out of favor with the due to his support for Earl Skúli in an attempted coup