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The Vinland Sagas (Penguin Classics) Paperback – July 29, 2008
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About the Author
Hermann Palsson studied Icelandic at the University of Iceland and Celtic at University College, Dublin. Formerly Professor of Icelandic at the University of Edinburgh and General Editor of the New Saga Library, he has written many books on the history and literature of medieval Iceland. He died in 2003.
Top Customer Reviews
The two sagas included here are The Saga of the Greenlanders and The Saga of Eirik the Red. Both tell of the Norse discovery of and attempts (there were more than one) to settle in North America. They differ in focus and emphasis, but tell essentially the same stories. First, Eirik the Red settled himself in Greenland. Then, when Norse sailors were blown off course and sighted more land even farther west, Eirik's son Leif decided to check it out for himself. Leif, later known as "the Lucky" after rescuing wrecked sailors, discovered a land where wild grapes and "self-sown wheat" grew and named it Vinland. He and others explored up and down the coast of Canada and New England, perhaps as far south as Manhattan. They settled in several places all along the coast and even traded with the natives. Then things turned sour.
The Vikings, many are shocked to learn, actually fought wars with the Indians. Of course, the Norse settlers won handily in every engagement, but the fighting was enough to convince them that the sheer numbers of the natives would eventually wear them down, and after several years of exploration, settlement, and farming, they packed up and returned to Iceland and Greenland. But Vinland was never forgotten.
The book is short, and the sagas even shorter--the two combined take up only 48 pages in this edition. But the book is rounded out with an informative--if sometimes dry--introduction and notes by Gisli Sigurdsson.Read more ›
It was fun to finally read these sagas. I always knew that "Leif Landed First" -- that Scandinavians were the first to discover North America and interact with the indigenous people of North America back in 1000 A.D. However, actually reading the sagas really drives home just how comfortable the Vikings must have been with sea travel. It was nothing for them to constantly move about year to year from Norway to Iceland to Ireland to Greenland to Vinland etc., and various combinations thereof. I am duly impressed.
Their influence was great and lasting( Dublin meaning Black or deep Water in their language).
America before Columbus, I found this book to be somewhat difficult to follow and therefore disappointing to read. I am happy I bought it, but I wanted more information. It seems to fulfill its advertised point of presenting the Sagas.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great little book. I thought the Saga's were longer than what is in the book.Published 16 months ago by Betty
the sagas about the discovery of the americas, the tale of leif and eric the red. great tales that are now proven to be truePublished on October 15, 2013 by Matthew Aseltine