Gunnars þáttr Þiðrandabana

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Gunnars þáttr Þiðrandabana (The Short Saga of Gunnar, Thidrandi's Killer) is a short saga (or þáttr) written in Old Norse in medieval Iceland. The events of the story take place in the Viking Age and concern Gunnar, a Norwegian merchant, who avenges his host's death in Iceland's Eastern Region, and must elude his enemies until he can safely escape the country.

Classification[edit]

The Short Saga of Gunnar, Thidrandi's Killer has traditionally been classified as a þáttr (a short saga in English, but often translated as a tale) based on the short length of the text.[1] The story, however, identifies itself as a saga with the concluding line "Here ends The Saga of Gunnar, Thidrandi's Killer.[2] For this reason, some scholars prefer to group it with the Sagas of Icelanders instead.[3]

Content[edit]

The conflict in this story begins with an irresponsible farmhand named Asbjorn Cliff, who defaults on his debts and flees his creditors. He takes shelter with Ketil Thrym of Njardvik.[4] His creditors come to Njardvik with Ketil Thrym's foster-son, Thidrandi, and attack Asbjorn. In the fight, Asbjorn is killed and Ketil Thrym avenges his death. Ketil Thrym is then killed in turn.[5] Gunnar, a Norwegian merchant who was staying as a guest in Njardvik is brought into the fight. He avenges Ketil's death by killing Thidrandi, and this ends the fight. He is thereafter known as "Thidrandi's Killer" (Old Norse Þiðrandabani).[6]

Gunnar is later pursued by Thidrandi's kinsmen who seek vengeance. Gunnar hides out with the help of various protectors and eventually escapes back to Norway.[7]

Other Sagas[edit]

The events of this story are told in the following other medieval texts:

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jón Johannesson, Íslenzkt Fornrit XI, Reykjavík: hið íslenzka bókmenntafélag, 1950, introduction.
  2. ^ The Short Saga of Gunnar, Thidrandi's Killer, ch. 7
  3. ^ Gísli Sigurðsson, The Medieval Icelandic Saga and Oral Tradition: A Discourse on Method, trans. Nicholas Jones, Publications of the Milman Parry Collection of Oral Lieterature, 2. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004
  4. ^ The Short Saga of Gunnar, Thidrandi's Killer, ch. 1
  5. ^ The Short Saga of Gunnar, Thidrandi's Killer, ch. 2
  6. ^ The Short Saga of Gunnar, Thidrandi's Killer, ch. 3
  7. ^ The Short Saga of Gunnar, Thidrandi's Killer, ch. 4-7