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Page 3-4

Herjolf was the son of Brad Herjolfsson and kinsman of Ingolf, the settler of Iceland. Ingolf gave to Herjolf the land between Vog and Reykjanes.

At first, Herjolf farmed at Drepstokk. His wife was named Thorgerd and their son was Bjarni; he was a promising young man. While still a youthful age he longed to sail abroad. He soon earned himself both a good deal of wealth and a good name, and spent his winters alternately abroad and with his father. Soon Bjarni had his own ship making trading voyages. During the last winter Bjarni spent at Norway, Herjolf decided to accompany Eirik the Red to Greenland and left his farm. One of the men on Herjolf's ship was from Hebrides, a Christian, who composed the drape of the Sea Fences (Beakers). It has this refrain:

"I ask you, unblemished monks' tester (Christ),

to be ward of my travels;

may the lord of the peaks' plane (heavens)

shade my path with the hawks perch (hand).


Herjolf farmed at Herjolfsness (Herjolf's point.) He was the most respected of men. 

Eirik the Red farmed at Brattahild. There he was held in the highest esteem, and everyone deferred to his authority. Eirik's children were Leif, Throvald, Thorstein, and a daughter, Freydis. She was married to a man named Throvard, and they farmed at Gardar, where the bishop's seat is now. She was a domineering woman,but Throvard was a man of no consequence. She had been married to him mainly for his money. 

Heathen were the people of Greenland at the time. 

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The was a warrior king named Oleif who was called Oleif the White. He was the son of King Ingjald, who was the son of Helgi, who was the son of Olaf, who was son of Gudrod, who was the son of Halfdan White-leg, king of the people of Oppland.

Olief went on Viking expeditions around Britain, conquering the shire of Dublin, over which he declared himself king. As his wife he took Aud the Deep-minded, the daughter of Ketil Flat-nose, son of Bjorn Buna, an excellent man from Norway. Their son was named Thorstein the Red. 

After Oleif was killed in battle in Ireland, Aud and Thorstein went to the Hebrides. There Thorstein married Thurid, the daughter of Eyvind the Easterner and sister of Helgi the Lean. They had a large number of children. 

Thorstein became a warrior king, throwing in his lot with Earl Sigurd the Powerful, the son of Eystein Glumra. They conquered Caithness and Sutherland, Ross and Moray, and more than half of Scotland. Thorstein became king there until the scots betrayed him and he was killed in battle. 

And was at Caithness when she learned of the death of Thorstein. She had a knorr built secretly in the forest and, when it was finished set out for the Orkneys. There she arranged the marriage of Gora, Thorstein the Red's daughter. Gora was the mother of Grelod, who was married to Earl Thorfinn the Skull-splitter.

After this Aud set out for Iceland. On her ship she had a crew of twenty free-born men. And reached Iceland and spent the first winter in Bjarnarhofn with her brother Bjorn. Afterwards Aud claimed all the land in the Dales between the Dagverdara and Skraumuhlaupsa rivers and settled at Havamm. She used to pray on the Krossholar hill, where she had crosses erected, for she was baptized and a devout Christian. 

Continuity and Tension

These two passages were chosen because they are the first two passages to open the different sagas in this text. In these passages you can see the differences in violence and war culture between the two sagas. The second saga focuses on violence and war: Olief conquers the shire of Dublin and declares himself king before he is killed in battle; Thorestein becomes a warrior king until he is eventually betrayed by the Scotts and killed in battle; and Earl Thorfinn is known as the "Skull-splitter". This can be contrasted with the opening of the first saga which has a more peaceful tone accompanied by the fact that the characters are mostly farmers. Fro example, Herjolf farms at Drepstokk, he is described as a promising young man and he earns himself both a good deal of wealth and a good name. He goes onto farm at Herjoiffsness, and Freydis's daughter is married to Throied and they farm together at gardar. Each beginning paragraph starts the sagas on a completely different note, setting the narrative in a completely different direction. One culture is war and violence oriented, while the other is peaceful and mostly deal with farms. 

The continuity between the two, is the theme of Christianity. In the first, although it states that the people of Greenland as "heathen," there are characters on Herjolf's ship that are Christian. In the second a character is described to be a devout Christian who was baptized and prays on a hill. 

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1 Comment

  1. Great idea to compare the starts of these two sagas. You're doing some good work recognizing important differences in focus, differences it would be interesting to explore throughout the texts, although I'd be careful about over-emphasizing the difference in the texts as a whole. It's also important to notice the continuity, and it'd be great to see more specifics and more analysis: what is the significance of praying on a hill, for instance, or the kenning-prayer? What do you make of the difference ways the two texts figure Christianity, and the tensions over Christianity in both.

    Pay a little more attention, too, to your prose-style: in addition to typographical errors (Fro, Throied) you could clarify your points with stronger sentences that make clear their subjects and arguments; notice the way I've edited the third sentence in your response, and consider making similar edits yourself. Try to avoid unnecessary uses of "it" and "this" as vague pronouns.