During the course we shall read three sagas that not only will serve as an introduction to Old Norse literature (prose and poetry), but also bring first-hand information about the socio-historical aspects of the Viking Age. The sagas have been chosen for their literary qualities and because they create a natural progression, both geographically and chronologically. These sagas will also provide the background for a broader discussion of Norse literature and the problems involved in using literature as historical sources. The pertinent sections in Roesdahl's The Vikings will be read in conjunction with the lectures and the sagas.
A series of 10 videotapes (BBC's The Vikings) has been incorporated into the courses and will be shown with regular intervals (approximately every 2 weeks). The grade will be based on two shorter position papers and a final, longer paper (7-10 pp.). Required Readings: The Vikings, Else Roesdahl; The Saga of the Jornsvikings, tr. Lee M. Hollander; Egill's Saga, tr. Hermann Palsson and Paul Edwards; The Vinland Sagas, tr. Magnus Magnusson and Hermann Palsson; King Harald's Saga, tr. Magnus Magnusson and Hermann Palsson.