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pictures: Guðrún Ósvífursdóttir
films: Útlaginn (1981) also known as: "Outlaw: The Saga of Gisli" (1981), Gísla saga Súrssonar


  • Participants: ...

Norse or not, pause for thought[edit]

These supposed Norse sagas were, written by Icelanders, in Iceland, in Icelandic (Icelanders can pick up the original texts and read them). The sagas are Icelandic and even though they are sometimes referred to as Norse it is erroneous to do so. (talk) 14:18, 29 March 2008 (UTC)In Lithuanian language Saga is Saka/sakme/sakai/sakmes from the word 'sekt' which means to tell stories...and Vikings or Variags (in russian) in Lithuanian language comes from the word 'vaikytis/varyt/vytis' and that means to drive/pursue/hunt/chase/be after...Pagan in Lithuanian language 'Pa-ganyti/pa-ginti' means to herd/depasture/drive...from the same word english have the word to hunt and one Empire was bearing the same name Huns meaning 'Ganiai/ganytojai'...moreover even the word to defent in Lithuanian language is the same 'ginti' (talk) 14:18, 29 March 2008 (UTC)

Talking about that the sagas were written by Icelanders, in Iceland, in Icelandic is anachronistic. No concept of nation states existed at the time and I think you are letting your nationalistic feelings carry you away. The correct adjective is without doubt Norse. I find it funny that you even claim the word "saga" as being from Icelandic. Do you really believe English imported any words from Icelandic? They imported most of them from Norse due to the Viking settlements in England, just look up the origins of the word "saga" in the Oxford dictionary. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:15, 5 September 2011 (UTC)

Implying here of course that Norse refers to the "Scandinavians" in (early) medieval times, not the Norwegians. Perhaps that is the source of the misunderstanding? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:02, 5 September 2011 (UTC)

In the Sagas they clearly differenced between the nations although not always by modern terminology but saying that the concept of a nation did not exist at the time is hilarious, the concept of the artificial nation is modern (the USA being the first, probably) and the concept of nationalism for an artificial nation is newish but the concepts of a nation and nationalism are old (þjóð, dansk, deutch etc), since we are on the subject of the sagas there are nationalistic concepts to be found in them and other much older literature.

Anyhow all the sagas are written in Iceland and they clearly refer to Icelanders as Icelanders at the time despite the ramblings of, why are they not referred to as such on Wikipedia ? Is the Norwegian tourist board still actively trying to maintain that Norway, despite being closer to Italy than Iceland was the same cultural zone as Iceland in the 12th century despite the 2 languages being different and a completely different set of runes for instance being used by the 2 at the time? It should be pointed out that the oldest habitation by "the Norse" found in Iceland date from around 500 and the sagas were written 6 to 700 years later. The first English speaking settlers came to the Americas in 1620, will we be referring to the inhabitants of the modern USA or Canada as the "Brits" in 2312 ? Given that the language is largely the same that would make some sense, which is actually more than can be said about the languages of Scandinavia and Iceland at the time. The distance from the UK to America is similar to the distance from Norway to Iceland BTW.

Here in the UK at the least I find it really odd to see references to Norse or "Norwegian Sagas" that were actually written in a different part of the world, in a different; if related language, by people that had no concept of "the Norse" (in addition nothing much of note was written in Norwegian until the 1980's, Ibsen et al. wrote in Danish, a language that is still used in Norway as a writing language or "Bokmal"), the "Arabic literature of Iran" (Not Arabs) and fantasy fiction classified as "science" fiction (surely opposite terms?), but your mileage may vary ......

Norse BTW is not a nordic term, there was a tendency to use dansk for the nordic language group as a whole and for runic writing but not for the "Scandinavians" as a whole, they actually do not appear to have had a concept of the Norse nations as a whole. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:05, 12 April 2012 (UTC)

Very nice work here.[edit]

I'd suggest, though, that some thought be given to merging Sagas with this one. Sagas in the plural is a nonstandard title in any case. Saga, apparently, may require a disambiguation page. -- IHCOYC 14:08, 20 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Quite nice work on this page, but I think the article exaggerates the importance of the word 'fate' in the sagas. The line 'noone questions fate' bothers me, since this is not always true in Old Nordic litterature. I can not give concrete examples, since I do not know how to translate the titles of certain texts properly. My point is, the Vikings were not as fatalistic as the article may suggest; they were intelligent, free individuals too and were not ruled by some unquestionable fate, like the article seemingly states.

A question for native speakers of English:[edit]

Can saga really mean an epic poem? For instance, can Beowulf be called a saga? It is out of the question in, say, Icelandic or Danish, but English is not my first language, so I'd be curious to know. Io 15:41, 27 May 2004 (UTC)

  • "Saga" in English can mean any rambling, long story. However, when used as a technical term, I have never seen applied to anything other than than the Scandivian sagas. Beowulf is not called a saga by any medievalist or literary scholar that I know of.Dsmdgold 01:06, 21 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Also, could you call Snorra-Edda a saga? It's a poetic manual, not a coherent tale, and its parts consist of, in essence, a mythological overview, a dictionary and a list of meters. Io 16:33, 27 May 2004 (UTC)

  • Again, not to the best of my knowledge.Dsmdgold 01:06, 21 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I removed Beowulf[edit]

for two reasons: It is not Norse and it is not a saga. I also have problems with the following:

There are plenty of tales of kings (e.g. Heimskringla), every-day people (e. g. Bandamanna saga) and larger than life characters (e. g. Egils saga). It covers history of all Nordic countries where some groups, especially the pre-historic country Kvenland, have questionaried researchers for a long time and still do. It also covers e.g. England and North America, where it is not until recently (start of 20th century) the latter tale has been found to be authentic through archeological evidence.

What does this actually mean? Especially, what does questionaried mean?

Cheers Io 23:53, 20 Aug 2004 (UTC)

  • That's a really good question. "Questionaried" is not an English word. The rest of the paragraph appears to have been written by a non-native speaker of English. Dsmdgold 01:06, 21 Aug 2004 (UTC)

--Yst 01:50, 10 Feb 2005 (UTC)

  • Although I can't say I hold a really strong opinion on it, from what I understand about it, it's quite arguable that the Skjoldunga/Scyldinga Saga (the main narrative substance of the Beowulf text) belongs in a comprehensive article on the Norse Saga, given that it is indeed known to have been formerly attested in a (now lost) Icelandic version, and survives in a synopsis by Arngrímur Jónsson. Regardless, the Beowulf manuscript is the best surviving exemplar for the saga, so it's inclusion would seem warranted.

Beowulf should appear under Norse mythology, but not under Norse saga (which is a much more well-defined corpus). But we can link it at as a 'see also', of course. dab () 08:11, 10 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Oh, cr**.[edit]

One should always read before one edits. Beowulf plays a larger role in the article than I thought. I'll remove him altogether at a later date, if nobody objects. Io 00:14, 21 Aug 2004 (UTC)

  • Please do. Dsmdgold 01:06, 21 Aug 2004 (UTC)

To Dino:[edit]

I'm glad to make your acquaintance (that goes for Dsmdgold as well, of course :-). There's nothing wrong with Beowulf. It is a fine poem. It's just that it is neither Norse nor a saga and this article is entitled Norse saga. Could you tell me, why Beowulf should be here?

To Dsmdgold: I will, provided that I don't get involved in any kind of war. There are a lot of things to be remedied in the article (and part of the paragraph I asked about is mine, so I plead guilty on some charges :-).

Cheers Io 01:23, 21 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I filled in the names of two categories of sagas.[edit]

More to follow. Listing the entire canon may seem excessive, but this should be the place to do it, if at all. Io 17:55, 21 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I removed the following:[edit]

It is easy, in our "enlightened" 21st century world to criticize. But how different are we?

It sounds more programmatic than encyclopedic.

Also, should the section

The saga as a literary technique

be kept as it is? As it stands, it is a list of a variety of genres with little in common, except that stories are told in all. It seems way too inclusive. Io 22:13, 22 Aug 2004 (UTC)

reworking / verifying the page[edit]

Dear friends, in bugzilla:660 I have explained some problems related to Norse saga. Would be happy to be in contanct with you. Regards Gangleri 20:48, 2004 Oct 7 (UTC)

The cases Gangleri mentions are no problems, really. There were two ligatures in Old Norse, and the spelling in Norse Saga and other articles on related subjects usually follows the standard. There may be problems regarding the entry of the special characters, but any decent browser should display them correctly. Mozilla does, and IE will probably too in time. That, in any case, is a technical problem, not a linguistic one. There are exceptions in spelling, of course, where the original author has used whichever spelling he is used to. For instance Wiglaf tends to use Swedish conventions, but I to use normalized Old Norse or Icelandic. In those cases it is accepted practice, if you so desire, to put standard or alternate spellings in parentheses. I do not believe a robot should alter the spellings as they are. It would be too contentious. Cheers Io 22:59, 7 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Dear Io, you are perfectly right. I have not enough knowledge to recomend one spelling or the other. I want to poin out here some problems with the character code as it is NOW. Brion stated in bugzilla:660 that the characters do not produce legal links. bugzilla:579 relates to a similar problem in romanian language. Beeing a new Wikipedian I understand that using transliteration for naming of the articles and using Unicode (?) inside the article is a temporary work around . Maybe the "O," and "o," characters can be found also in the Unicode used now by Wikipedia. Inside the article [[transliterated_saga_name|original_unicode_saga_name]] could be used.
Another issue I want to point out is NOT to use multiple redirects as was the case before. For Vo,lsunga saga this was changed today. Maybe you have the time to check if it is fine for all your other existing references. Regards Gangleri 03:19, 2004 Oct 8 (UTC)
Hi again, Gangleri. First off, I'm taking a semi-break from Wikipedia at the moment, so I won't be editing much for a while. But my opinion, for what it's worth, is that it doesn't really matter which addresses are given to the pages, as long as the text appears correctly. After all, it is the text people read, not the addresses. However, redirects are probably unavoidable to some extent. Various authors follow various conventions. Personally, I was brought up on normalized Old Icelandic (in this case, not Old Norse, Wiglaf :), and that is the version I prefer. You are German, so a German example might be in order. There is a lovely little stanza, which you almost certainly know, from the early middle ages. In my version it goes:
Du bist min, ich bin din:
des solt du gewis sin.
du bist beslozzen
in minem herzen:
verlorn ist das sluzzelin:
du muost och immer darinne sin.
Don't you think this would lose some of its charm if it were written in contemporary German? That is, at least, how I feel about the old texts. Others have different opinions, of course.
Still, I'll admit that the orthography of Old Norse/Icelandic does present difficulties. The most serious is, that a letter is missing from Unicode (we should have an o-ogonek-acute accent, but Unicode provides only o-ogonek-macron.) All in all, I don't think we need to worry about how the browsers display special characters. Browsers are required to be able to deal with the entire code, and even Microsoft will eventually do what is required - it makes marketing sense. As for solving the problem now, well, Wikipedia is in for the long haul. The obvious solution is to switch to a better browser. Mozilla, or Firefox for that matter, are both free and more secure than IE. If switching browsers is not an option (I can't see why, but never mind), then the best you can do is wait for improvement. For my part, I would be very much against watering Wikipedia down just because one firm provides a crappy browser.
And, to Gangleri, I forgot to mention it, but welcome to Wikipedia. May you enjoy it as much as I do. :) Io 15:47, 8 Oct 2004 (UTC)
PS: Reading the above again, it appears to me, that we are more or less in agreement. Cheers Io 16:02, 8 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Dear friends, Thanks for the feedback. reworking / verifying the page was ment (?) mainly about technical issues and avaoidance of invalid links inside en.wikipedia and of course also about invalid InterWiki links between the wikipedias in different languages. I tried (?) to write down some remarks about this at meta:User:Gangleri/remarks here, here ... I do not have enough knowledge to recomend specific content issues. I would only talk about issues I agree / disagree. Thanks again! Gangleri 23:35, 2004 Oct 12 (UTC)

Norse Saga comparision with w:is:Íslendingasögurnar ...[edit]

  • P.S.:Please note that at is.wikipedia the article (in Plural) is used too Íslendingasögurnar. This usages applies also to other articles as Íslenski fjárhundurinn see here. I think that is their decision. Regards Gangleri 00:53, 2004 Oct 13 (UTC)

Characters "Ǫ" == >& # 4 9 0 ;< and "ǫ" == >& # 4 9 1 ;<[edit]

  • Dear friends, regarding the old Icelandic characters "Ǫ" == >& # 4 9 0 ;< and "ǫ" == >& # 4 9 1 ;< I have more remarks and questions:
  • a) No doubt! Inside articles it is legitimate to use these characters.
  • b) Please help me to understand how to use these characters
    • in article names,
    • in reference links.
  • c) Is anybody there able to systematicaly look at:
    • How the sagas are refered in Norse saga?
    • What links are generated and what is the "final destination article name? Is this realy the most suitable? Please modify the links at Norse saga to piped links. Thanks!
    • If the name of the saga as mentioned in Norse saga is in the related article.

  • Other actions:
    • You may check witch category would be the most suitable for the articles you can follow from that particular saga and add whatever you find those categories. Thanks!

See also: Wikipedia:Invalid article names Regards [[User:Gangleri|Gangleri | T | Th]] 20:23, 2004 Nov 11 (UTC)

feedback from Jallan[edit]

moved here from User talk:Gangleri#On Norse Saga Thanks Jallan!

An attempt to arrive at a consensus on spelling of Old Norse names appears at Wikipedia:Naming conventions (Old Norse/Old Icelandic/Old English). However only three people turned up who were intrested in discussing the matter, and though we mostly agreed, that is not enough to enforce a Wikipedia rule. But I have been mostly following those rules in edits since September 1, and no-one has yet complained. But I have not tried to enforce them on all articles. Mostly I have followed the conventions in new articles I have writen and have erratically made some changes in accordance with the consenus in articles where I have cause to make some other change.

Since this is the English Wikipedia, we are supplosed to follow common English practice in rendering foreign names. But there really isn't one for Old Norse names. In some texts, for example in Rudolf Simek's Dictionary of Northern Mythology, trans. by Angela Hall, full Norse spellings are retained throughout. But other works, such as Kevin Crossley-Holland's The Norse Myths (also available as The Penguin Book of Norse Myths: Gods of the Vikings), use ultra-anglicized forms with case endings removed, with þ replaced by th, ð replaced by d, æ and œ both replaced by ae, and all diacritics dropped.

The convention tentatively decided on was an intermediate convention, used in John Lindow's Norse Mythology and Andy Orchard's Cassell's Dictionary of Norse Myth & Legend. See again the discussion at Wikipedia:Naming conventions (Old Norse/Old Icelandic/Old English). This really applies to mythology only. Icelandic saga translations in English generally omit all diacritics. And Wikipedia's rule is to follow English conventions. Inconsistantly however, diacritics and ð are often retained on modern Icelandic names. It is hideous mess.

The hooked oǫ ) is almost always rendered as ö or simply o in English texts except when the genuine Old Norse forms with case endings are being presented, which excuses us from having to worry overmuch about it. It is also rendered as ö in all genuine Old Norse texts that I have found on the web, not distinguished from the rarer, genuine Old Norse ö. So Wikipedia articles should mostly do the same. The hooked o and œ are the only characters which cannot be included in article titles (until eventually the English Wikipedia moves to Unicode). But even after a move to Unicode, the hooked o should probably only appear as the title of an alternate redirect to an article with title containg ö or o instead. The letters Œ and œ can be used now on Windows machines in article titles by entering the Windows 1252 characters directly into the Wikipedia editor (at least on some systems). However, the character values are not legal values for printable characters in the Latin-1 character set currently used by Wikipedia and are likely to cause problems on non-Windows systems. Therefore Œ and œ should never be used in titles and always rendered by HTML entities in text rather than typing them in directly. Whoever has placed the new special characters line at the bottom of the edit window seems not to know this.

On the grounds that the Fornaldarsögur belong to legend, I have used the conventions suggested for mythology in articles discussing those sagas and characters that appear in them. However in sagas dealing with the historical period, particularly with Icelandic sagas, current English practice (and most older English practice that I know about) is almost overwhelmingly against using diacritics. See the index to the recently released The Sagas of the Icelanders at [9]. The forms that appear in that book are mostly identical to those found in other commonly available medieval Icelandic sagas, except that a minority of translators insist on rendering ð by th instead of by d. Another difference is that many render æ and even œ directly rather than as ae as this book does. I prefer keeping the ligature letters. When two forms of a foreign name are found in common use, it makes sense to use the more pedantically accurate of the two as the norm in a reference work (though acknowledging the more simplified forms).

I have begun the practice of including the genuine Old Norse form in parentheses and in italics on the first appearance of a name in an article. I also include other variant forms at the bottom of an article to enable search engines to find references to articles mentioning the names in variant spellings and variant translations of surnames. I also always create ASCII redirects without diacritics to article names containing diacritics. See Halfdan the Old for how I currently manage things. I used the spelling Halfdan rather than Hálfdan because the name is rendered without the acute accent by both Andy Orchard and John Lindow. They drop diacritics from names that are very familiar in English without them, which is a common practice: use the most familiar form for commonly known names. Most English writers use the spellings Odin and Thor, rather than Ódin and Thór, for the same reason. I realize now that I should also have rendered the Old Norse name Óláfr as Olaf rather than Óláf and will make that change at some time.

Jallan 04:08, 12 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Thank you Jallan! I wished I would have found these informations earlier. Regards [[User:Gangleri|Gangleri | T | Th]] 05:06, 2004 Nov 12 (UTC)
  • I laud any effort towards consistency (e.g. Saga names). Much could be improved!
  • I am pro-Unicode ;o) certainly the o-hook may have legitimate uses in articles, but
  • since The hooked o ( ǫ ) is almost always rendered as ö or simply o in English texts except when the genuine Old Norse forms with case endings are being presented I don't see any immediate need to use it in article titles (apart from the fact that on en: this is still technically impossible...) -- dab 14:24, 12 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Unicode characters in En: article titles[edit]

Since the English Wikipedia doesn't currently support Unicode in article names, and since there's a request pending on WP:RfD to delete one of these "non-legible" redirects (see above), I would really appreciate it you all could come to a definite decision on whether you want to keep or delete them. Noel (talk) 13:37, 18 Nov 2004 (UTC)


I am thinking of writing an article on the Gutasaga. It is a Norse saga, but it is not Icelandic. Any opinions about its possible mention in this article?--Wiglaf 18:54, 2 Jan 2005 (UTC)

OK. Since my question has not received an answer I have included the Gutasaga in the article.--Wiglaf 10:58, 5 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Since this is "Norse saga", not "Icelandic saga", I don't see a problem with that. dab () 11:00, 5 Apr 2005 (UTC)


According to the 1989 Dictionary of the Middle Ages, Volume 4 (of 12), page 289, article by author Peter A. Jorgensen (University of Georgia):

"Drauma-Jons Saga is a short narrative preserved in five Icelandic vellum manuscripts, the oldest from around 1400, in some 45 manuscripts. It was probably first written down at the start of the 14th century, but whether it was a translation from a foreign source or a native product employing foreign (including oriental) motifs is not certain."

He goes on to give further bibliographical references in German academic journals should you desire those. My question is, since the Icelandic version is the only one known to exist, if this does not go under Iceland, where would it go? Given that there does not seem to be a consensus on its origins, I see no reason it should not be listed here. --Stbalbach 01:38, 25 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Even if it's written in Iceland by an Icelander it still isn't necessarily an Icelandic saga in the sense of this list. It would have to deal with Icelandic people in the period between the settlement and c.a. 1100 AD. Does it? -- Haukurth 02:03, 25 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  • Why do you assume it isn't? It was written down in the early 14th century, right in line with when other Sagas were writen down (according to our very own article here). In the Biography of the Dictionary.. article there is reference to it by Margaret Schlauch in Romance in Iceland (1934, reprint 1974) pg.71-73 .. it is also listed as one of 53 sagas in the book Bibliography of the Old Norse - Icelandic Romances (1985) by Marianne Kalinke (if you have JSTOR access, a review including mention of Drauma is available online here [10] Speculum, Vol. 62, No. 1. (Jan., 1987), pp. 141-143.
According to your previous quote it is unknown whether Drauma-Jóns saga is a translation or not. That makes it fairly clear that it isn't an Icelandic saga (Íslendingasaga) in the narrow sense of this list. Many things were written in Iceland in this period and some of them have titles that end with 'saga' (which, after all, simply means "story" in Icelandic). There is, for example, an Alexanders saga. Haukurth 10:09, 25 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Which list do you suggest Drauma-Jons belongs to? Clearly it belong in a "Icelandic Romances" category since Marianne Kalinke listed it as such in her book. I'm not sure what the difference is between a Romance and a Story. --Stbalbach 23:04, 25 Jan 2005 (UTC)
The current article on 'saga' is misleading. The term is actually used (in English) to refer to a specific thing. In the narrow sense of this list we're discussing Drauma-Jóns saga is not (as far as I know) a saga. There wouldn't be anything wrong with putting it on a list of old Icelandic literary works but it belongs with others of its kind (translations, if it is a translation, the Fornaldarsögur if it is one of those, et cetera). The works under the Icelandic sagas list are by no means an exhaustive list of Old Icelandic literary works. There's another list on the same page for Legendary sagas. Maybe Drauma-Jóns saga is one of those, though it sounds more like it belongs with such works as Alexanders saga. -- Haukurth 23:56, 25 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Entering hooked o with acute[edit]

Although hooked-o-acute = o-ogonek-acute does not exist precomposed in Unicode, the Unicode standard does provide for combinations of characters and accents. This particular combination would be Vǫ́lsung (V&#x01EB;&#x0301;lsung). This renders correctly (though not beautifully) on Firefox, but to force correct rendering across all browsers including Internet Explorer, you should use the IPA template: Vǫ́lsung ({{IPA|V&#x01EB;&#x0301;olsung}}). (This is just technical information—I have no opinion on orthographic conventions for Old Norse.) --Macrakis 17:01, 23 Mar 2005 (UTC), corrected 19:23


....and what about the Biskupasögur? This is a bit of a glaring omission.

Re-write to shorten long lists[edit]

I did a somewhat bold re-write, splitting off long lists of sagas into smaller articles. They were getting tedious.

dino 20:03, 9 September 2005 (UTC)

Aaargh. It's now very difficult to find the one you're looking for if you don't know which list it is in... On another front, I want to write about the Saga of Einar Sokkason, but don't know how it fits in with this system... Help!


Is there any sort of chronological order in which to read the sagas? Just read and enjoyed the Penguin edition of the Vinland Sagas and wondering where I should go next. Thanks! Cardinal Wurzel 10:39, 21 October 2006 (UTC)

Was that a stupid question or does nobody know the answer? Cardinal Wurzel 21:50, 20 June 2007 (UTC)


Norse saga seems a bit redundant to me. Wouldn't it be better to call the article saga? It would be more logical and consistent with most of the other wikis. Sigo 16:17, 25 December 2006 (UTC)

Yes, the title is a bit annoying. Is there anything on the disambiguation page which would be unfairly treated if we moved this to saga? Haukur 13:44, 18 April 2007 (UTC)
I don't think so. Sigo 09:27, 19 April 2007 (UTC)
Since the very word "saga" is North Germanic, it would seem logical. If somebody insists on calling other types of stories "sagas" (which imo is incorrect), rename those articles "Saga (something)". --dllu 17:04, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

All right, the deed is done. Note that the good thing about having the 'Norse' prefix in the title was that it discouraged people from adding discussion of all sorts of non-Norse literature. Now we'll have to be more vigilant in keeping the article on topic; i.e. the academic sense of 'saga'. Haukur 17:18, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

True. I would rather have a properly named article that requires constant watching, though. :o)
I think the opening paragraph states clearly enough that this article is about the real sagas, and not other stuff that people might want to call "sagas" (although for the Norse texts the definition is of course not so simple either). --dllu 19:10, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

A few different points[edit]

Several important points have been raised on this page, but I'll post my comments here at the bottom for convenience:

  • No, the sagas are not Icelandic, they are Norse. Even if most of them were written by Icelanders, not all of them were written in Iceland or for an Icelandic audience, nor do they take place there. And modern Icelanders can't "just pick the old texts up and read them". They will have at least as much difficulty as a 21st century British or American reader with an "original" Shakespeare manuscript, perhaps even more.
  • "Sagas" are usually defined as narratives of a certain length in Old Norse. That means Latin texts and short stories (þættir which have their own article) should not be included here - and definitely not the Old English Beowulf.
  • There are some important sub-categories missing, most prominently Bishops' sagas and Contemporary sagas (the latter are not the same as Sagas of Icelanders, although there are some similarities)
  • As for spelling, I think that normalized versions of Old Norse should be used, i.e. the only "special" letters used should be thorn and ed (Þ and Ð/ð). O-ogonek should be transcribed as ö etc.

--dllu 13:14, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

Different meanings of the word 'saga'[edit]

There was a section in this article summarizing the meanings of the word 'saga' in the various modern Scandinavian languages. I removed it because Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a dictionary. (see WP:NOT) An encyclopedia treats concepts, not words. When we say 'saga' in English, we're referring specifically to the Old Norse epics. What the word 'saga' means in the modern Scandinavian languages (or even in Old Norse) is irrelevant (except to clarify the etymology). Along the same lines, the article ulna talks specifically about that particular bone, not about the elbow in general, though "ulna" in Latin means "elbow"; the article chef talks about professional cooks, though the French word means any "head" i.e. boss. --Macrakis (talk) 16:28, 1 September 2008 (UTC)

Maybe there should be a Disambiguation link or something, for the more general usage (meaning "epic tale"). [It's tempting to put "This page is for actual sagas; for other uses, just go away."] ~Eric F (talk) 14:55, 1 March 2012 (UTC)


twilight is the meaning of many things but the most used meaning is:Example The period after sunset and before sunrise ; any faint light; a period of waning glory, decline in achievements, etc —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:43, 17 July 2009 (UTC)


Most people believe saga means the stuff in ARTICLE.

But saga means vampire things like a 4-part saga between vampires and werewolves or vampires and wizards —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:36, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

Ugh, if you are referring to this atrocity of a book named Twilight - It's not a saga. Ribbedebie (talk) 16:03, 25 October 2009 (UTC)

'Prose' in introduction[edit]

"The texts are epic tales in prose, ...often with stanzas or whole poems" - sorry I'm ignorant on these matters, but isn't this sentence contradictory? It's either prose, or it's poetry - or am I wrong? Plus this doesn't carry a reference and what's with the '...'? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:14, 19 October 2011 (UTC)

Not really; it is prose with poetry. Just like books with illustrations. [Note: somebody already removed the errant ellipsis.] ~Eric F (talk) 15:12, 1 March 2012 (UTC)

Citations needed[edit]

There are many places where citations are needed, but I for one would like to see one for this (in Background section): However, most scholars now believe the sagas were conscious artistic creations, based on both oral and written tradition. -- In fact, this article relies heavily on anonymous "scholars". This is not a moot point; I'm trying to evaluate reliability for information in Icelandic saga. ~Eric F (talk) 14:12, 1 March 2012 (UTC)

I agree, there should be a reference to back up that quote. It's also not entirely true: more and more scholars (myself included) believe that most sagas are essentially written versions of the oral tales that they were based upon. dllu (talk) 08:08, 2 March 2012 (UTC)

Could use a section on modern English useage[edit]

At the moment there's one line, which almost looks like vandalism: "A modern example of a saga is George Lucas's classic film trilogy, The Star Wars Saga. The Lord of the Rings novels by J.R.R. Tolkien are also a saga."

I agree with both of those as examples but it would be nice to have a definition too. My understanding is that the modern English useage, when refering to modern literature, is a story that covers a long period of time (several years at least, more often several human generations) and is mainly about events on a very large, epic scale (usually along the lines of a fight between good and evil that threatens the entire world, universe, realm or whatever). But that's just my understanding, I have no idea if it's accurate. Ideally someone somewhere will have given an 'official' authoritive definition we could include, but again I have no idea if that's the case. As you may have guessed by now I don't think I have remotely enough knowledge on the subject to make the edit myself, which is why I'm asking here instead. But I think it would be helpful to acknowledge and address the modern useage. (If only as a more encyclopedic alternative to a section entitled "Why Twilight is NOT a Saga, no matter what the advertising says".) Danikat (talk) 22:17, 12 July 2012 (UTC)

Saga as literary genre[edit]

I would have liked to see something in here about Saga as a literary genre to add to the current text about Saga as a historic artefact. Some of the points that an editor might like to consider discussing or including are as follows:

  • which types of characters are found in saga, fully human, gods, anthropomorphic animals, elves, goblins, trolls, forces of nature, inanimate objects (teapot from Alice in Wonderland) etc
  • are magical, marvellous, or miraculous elements like spells, potions, and so on included
  • are abstract ideas, principles, or concepts represented by characters, as allegory for example
  • are stories only told in chronological order or is flashback, memory, and so on employed
  • are they set in identifiable historic locations, or in a mythic land that may not have existed
  • are they set in a historically identifiable time, in simply an ancient time, or in a mythic or fabulous age
  • do they convey a moral or normative lesson or ideal, or are they just "this is what happened" stories
  • are they meant to be or thought to be true or realistic to some extent
  • do they employ story structures like quest or are they only about historical events like battles
  • do they all have happy or fairy tale endings or are there genre such as tragedy, romance, etc
  • do gods either appear in the stories or influence events or characters behaviour
  • is kenning employed, calling the sea the whale road, or calling ships sea-horses etc
  • are humans truly human or do any of them have super-human or heroic powers or abilities
  • anything else you think makes them either unique or distinct from myth, legend, fable etc. Cottonshirtτ 15:10, 19 October 2012 (UTC)

Black bearberry ink?[edit]

Were the sagas written in black bearberry ink as author Michael Ridpath writes in his novel Where the Shadows Lie? (talk) 07:51, 2 June 2013 (UTC)

strange edit comment[edit]

This edit comment makes me suspicious about the change made, especially because the person made a more substantial edit to the Sagas of Icelanders page that was reverted. Can someone review?--Duesouthfan (talk) 19:33, 6 January 2017 (UTC)