Egils Saga

As promised, I’ll begin the updates from my most recent field trip.  You’re right to notice that I have not actually finished posting all of the pictures from the fall yet, but I’ve abandoned any hope of maintaining chronological order in these posts.

This field trip was longer than the others I’ve reported.  We were away for about three days (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday), and covered territory from Reykjavík to Bolungarvík.  The leader of our company was Cambridge scholar, Emily Lethbridge, who has spent the last year or so traveling Iceland and gathering local legends pertaining to the sagas, and was now kind enough to show us around some of the more crucial sites from the sagas.

Our first stop was Borgarnes, which has strong ties to Egils Saga.  Egils Saga is the story of Egil Skallagrimsson, an Icelandic poet who got on the wrong side of Eirikr Bloodaxe, the king of Norway, and served fought on behalf of Athelstan, the king of England.

Here is a statue showing the saga’s protagonist, Egil Skallagrimsson, carrying his son, Böðvarr to Borgarnes, where he buried him alongside his father, Skallagrim.  I’m sorry the trees have obscured the details, but hopefully you can still tell what it is.  The grandfather’s and grandson’s shared burial mound is pictured here:

As you can see, the locals have done their best to preserve it.  The modern cemetery is right next to it.

Here is a statue.  I took this picture from the angle that made the objects look most like they could be human figures of some kind.  It’s modern art, so the fact that it actually represents something would never have occurred to me had I not been told.  It’s supposedly Egil’s daughter, Þorgerðr, trying to help her father through the depression that gripped him after his son’s death.  You’ll be glad to know she was more or less successful, and that she talked her father into composing more poetry.

This is the church at Borgarnes.  Egil died before Iceland’s conversion to Christianity, but his body is said to have been buried underneath the local church (presumably the predecessor of this one) a few years after the conversion.

Here is the inside of the church.  I like the blue ceiling.

More  updates will come.  Thanks for reading.


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