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Main page » Fiction literature » Saga of the Men of Salmon-River Dale (Laxdaela)

Saga of the Men of Salmon-River Dale (Laxdaela)


Laxdœla saga is the saga of the clan/family of Laxárdalur. It is one of the most important Icelanders' sagas, originally written in medieval Icelandic (a dialect of Old Norse); probably in western Iceland sometime around the year 1245 AD. It is noted for its mention of the first known Norseman in the Varangian Guard: the Icelander Bolli Bollason. The author is unknown, although some scholars believe through textual evidence that the author was probably a woman.

The protagonist is Guðrún Ósvífursdóttir, who is famous for her beauty, and who was courted by the two foster-brothers Kjartan Ólafsson and Bolli Þorleiksson. Guðrún preferred Kjartan, but she gave herself to Bolli, because of a false rumour that Kjartan was engaged to Ingibjörg, the sister of King Ólafur Tryggvason. The two foster-brothers engaged in hostilities which ended with Bolli killing Kjartan, and Bolli being killed by Kjartan's kinsmen.

The saga has a high reputation for its literary qualities, consistent storyline and character description. However, its historic accuracy is criticised. There were probably real events behind the saga, but their order has been rearranged and there are anachronisms concerning clothes and armour.

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Tags: probably, author, Bolli, Bollason, Icelander, Laxdaela