Saga of Erik the Red

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The different sailing routes to Greenland, Vinland (Newfoundland), Helluland (Baffin Island) and Markland (Labrador) travelled by different characters in the Icelandic Sagas, mainly Saga of Erik the Red and Saga of the Greenlanders. The names are the common modern English versions of the old Norse names
A sheet of Eiríks saga rauða.

Eiríks saga rauða (About this sound listen ) or the Saga of Erik the Red is a saga on the Norse exploration of North-America. The saga chronicles the events that led to Erik the Red's banishment to Greenland as well as Leif Ericson's discovery of Vinland the Good after his longship was blown off course. By geographical details, this place is thought to be present-day Newfoundland, and is likely the first European discovery of the American mainland, some five centuries before Christopher Columbus's journey.

The saga is preserved in two manuscripts in somewhat different versions; Hauksbók (14th century) and Skálholtsbók (15th century). Modern philologists believe the Skálholtsbók version to be truer to the original. The original saga is thought to have been written in the 13th century.

Sites mentioned[edit]

The saga mentions the following sites beyond Greenland: Helluland, Markland, Bjarney, Kjalarnes, Furdustrandir, Straumfjörð, Straumey, Vinland, Hóp, Einfœtingjaland, Hvítramannaland and the "Irish Ocean".

Translations into English[edit]

There have been numerous translations of the saga, some of the most prominent of which are:

  • Jones, Gwyn (trans.), 'Eirik the Red's Saga', in The Norse Atlantic Saga: Being the Norse Voyages of Discovery and Settlement to Iceland, Greenland, and North America, new edn (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986), pp. 207–35. Based on Skálholtsbók, showing some variants from Hauksbók.
  • Kunz, Keneva (trans.), 'Erik the Red's Saga', in The Sagas of Icelanders: A Selection (London: Penguin, 2001), pp. 653–74. Apparently translates the Skálholtsbók text.
  • Reeves, Arthur Middleton (ed. and trans.), 'The Saga of Eric the Red, also Called the Saga of Thorfinn Karlsefni and Snorri Thorbransson', in The Finding of Wineland the Good: The History of the Icelandic Discovery of America (London: Henry Frowde, 1890), pp. 28–52, available at http://www.archive.org/details/winelandthegood00reevrich. Based on the Hauksbók text (which Reeves refers to in the apparatus as ÞsK), though the text does draw some readings from Skálholtsbók (which Reeves refers to as EsR). Variants from both Hauksbók and Skálholtsbók are thoroughly listed. Editions and facsimiles of both manuscripts also included (Hauksbók pp. 104–21, Skálholtsbók pp. 122–39).
  • Sephton, J. (trans.), Eirik the Red's Saga: A Translation Read before the Literary and Philosophical Society of Liverpool, January 12, 1880 (Liverpool: Marples, 1880), available at http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/17946 and http://www.sagadb.org/eiriks_saga_rauda.en (the former version, made by Project Gutenberg, is the closer to the printed version). Passages in square brackets are based on Hauksbók; other passages are based on Skálholtsbók, but with some readings from Hauksbók.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]