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Iceland Mag

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Interactive map helps you trace your steps through the Sagas as you travel around Iceland

By Staff

  • Icelandic Saga Map Where are Hvítárvellir, where Egill Skallagrímsson killed his first man, at the age of six? Or where was the farm of Hlíðarendi where Gunnar Hámundarson of the Saga of Burnt Njáll lived? Photo/Screenshot.

A new interactive map allows users to look up every single place named in the Icelandic Sagas. The map is the creation of Emily Diana Lethbridge, a post-doc at the University of Iceland, and a team of programmers and graduate students at the universities of Iceland and Umeå.

Seeing the sagas in the landscape
The map which is called “The Icelandic Saga Map” is accessible online in its beta version. Users can look up individual sagas, seeing every single identifiable place name in the saga, along with references to the full text of the saga. Alternatively users can enter a place name, looking up all references to that place in the sagas. While the major sagas have been entered into the database, there are still some sagas left out.

The Icelandic Saga Map is intended as a resource to guide specialists and non-specialists alike around the Íslendingasögur from a spatial perspective. On it, places named in the sagas are hyper-linked to their occurrences in the saga texts. There are also links to images of places and to other sources of information concerning them (e.g. problems with respect to their identification in modern-day Icelandic landscapes, details about archaeological excavations).

Award winning project to encourage the reading of the sagas
According to the web page of the map, the purpose of the project is to encourage reading of the sagas, but it can obviously also come in handy for travellers who want to trace their steps through the literary world of Viking Age Iceland.

The text of the sagas is in its original Icelandic, but an interested reader should have little trouble finding the relevant passages in one of the many translations of the sagas.

Read more: Revisiting the Viking era: Four particularly interesting excavated sites around Iceland

The “Icelandic Saga Map” was recently awarded the first price for practical utilization by the University of Iceland. The price, which has been awarded for nearly two decades, is intended to award projects which show particular potential for practical utilization. Twelve projects were named for the prize.

Read more: Map: The Viking Age settlement remains in downtown Reykjavík

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