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Erik the Red's Saga

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Erik the Red's Saga


Eiríks saga rauða (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.

See also: Vinland sagas, Grœnlendinga saga.

Sites mentioned

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

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.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.

External links

  • Saga of Erik the Red English translation at the Icelandic Saga Database
  • Eiríks saga rauða The saga with standardized Old Norse spelling from heimskringla.no
  • Arthur Middleton Reeves, North Ludlow Beamish and Rasmus B. Anderson, (1906)
  • The text of the saga according to Hauksbók; with manuscript spelling
  • A part of the saga with the manuscript spelling and English and Danish translations
  • The saga with standardized modern Icelandic spelling
  • A treatment of the nationality of Leifr Eiríksson
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