105 episodes

Saga Thing is a podcast for people who love history, literature, Vikings and all things medieval. In each episode, the hosts review a saga from medieval Iceland and then dig in to categories for discussion, including: Best Bloodshed, Body Count, Notable Witticisms, Nicknames, Outlawry, Thingmen, and Ratings.

Saga Thing Saga Thing

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Saga Thing is a podcast for people who love history, literature, Vikings and all things medieval. In each episode, the hosts review a saga from medieval Iceland and then dig in to categories for discussion, including: Best Bloodshed, Body Count, Notable Witticisms, Nicknames, Outlawry, Thingmen, and Ratings.

    Episode 29o - Egil's Saga (Part 15)

    Episode 29o - Egil's Saga (Part 15)

     
     In this episode, we finally put Egil Skallagrimsson to rest. But before he goes, Egil still has a few tricks up his gold-embroidered sleeve. He's got plans for those two chests of silver given to him by King Athelstan of England. Then, after shuffling off this mortal coil, Egil's bones leave a lasting legacy that has people of the 12th century and modern archaeologists, physicians, and medievalists talking. We discuss those bones and the now popular theory that Egil may have suffered from Paget's Disease of the Bone. John the possibility of Egil's impairment from a disability studies perspective and even makes a noteworthy addition to the theory. Andy remains skeptical of a diagnosis based on a 13th century literary character and the reported assumptions of 12th century Icelanders after finding some bones they thought a bit odd looking. Finally, in true saga fashion, we take a brief look at Egil's descendants. They're a worthy bunch who leave their mark on medieval Iceland's history.
    If you're interested in reading more about Egil and Paget's Disease, we recommend the following open access articles:
    "Egil's Bones" by Jesse Byock
    "Egill Skallagrímsson: The first case of Van Buchem disease?" by P Stride
    Music Credits:
    Intro Music - "Prelude and Action" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
    Review Music – "Pepper Pot One Step" by National Promenade Band
    Poetry Music - "Valravn" by Danheim
    Outro Music - "Stormfront" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
    Selections from music by Kevin MacLeod licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

    • 1 hr 21 min
    Episode 29n - Egil's Saga (Part 14)

    Episode 29n - Egil's Saga (Part 14)

    In this episode of Saga Thing, John and Andy celebrate the penultimate summary episode…again. Things got out of hand when Andy took over preparations and he made a whole episode out of the story of Egil’s son, Thorstein. Never fear, it’s a great episode all the same. This one will feel more like a family saga than what we’ve had so far in Egil’s Saga. We’ve got property disputes, arguments over who can graze their cattle where, slaves doing bad things in the name of their master, bloodshed, lawsuits, and regional politics. All the things you’ve been missing since we started Egil’s adventures in Norway. We promise you won’t be disappointed with this one.
    And, we've got a special announcement. Come see Saga Thing Live at the Scandinavian Cultural Center in West Newton, MA on Friday, January 31st at 7pm. John and Andy are uniting live and in person to revisit the subject of The Vikings in the New World. It's free! Register now:

    Music Credits:
    Intro Music - "Prelude and Action" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
    Review Music – "Who's Sorry Now?" by Memphis Five
    Preview Music -  "Gungnir" by Danheim
    Poetry Music - "Floki's Last Journey" by Danheim
    Outro Music - "Stormfront" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
    Selections from music by Kevin MacLeod licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
     
     

    • 1 hr 36 min
    Episode 29m - Egil's Saga (Part 13)

    Episode 29m - Egil's Saga (Part 13)

    In this episode, we turn from Egil's exciting adventures abroad to more serious matters back home. After the tragic deaths of his sons Bodvar and Gunnar, Egil descends into a pit of despair. Cutting himself off from society and family, Egil locks himself in his room to await death. After a clever trick by his daughter foils his plans to end it all, Egil finds solace in poetry once again. In an effort to eulogize his sons and come to terms with his grief, Egil composes what might be his very best and most famous poem, the Sonatorrek (Loss of Sons).
    With the mead of poetry once again flowing, Egil composes a praise poem to his best friend Arinbjorn. The Arinbjarnarkviða may not be as powerful as the Sonatorrek, but it's a great poem in its own right. As you'd expect, we spend most of our time discussing these two incredible poems.

    If you'd like to hear the Sonatorrek sung, Wardruna has recorded the lament. It's worth listening to, especially if you read along with the Old Norse original and a good translation.
    For those of you who want to go deep with the Arinbjarnarkviða, you can access the Old Norse version here. I also recommend you consult Þorgeir Sigurðsson's recent dissertation, The Unreadable Poem of Arinbjorn: Preservation, Meter, and a Restored Text. It's an invaluable resource for anyone interested in the poem.
    Music Credits:
    Intro Music - "Prelude and Action" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
    Summary Music – "The Vamp" by the Rega Dance Orchestra
    Preview - "Fornheim" by Danheim
    Poetry Music - "Valravn" by Danheim
    Outro Music - "Stormfront" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
    Selections from music by Kevin MacLeod licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
     

    • 1 hr 34 min
    Episode 29l - Egil's Saga (Part 12)

    Episode 29l - Egil's Saga (Part 12)

    Put down the curds and loosen your belt. There's fancier fair on the menu today, friends. This episode provides a hearty feast of adventure and in-your-face surprises as Egil accepts an impossible mission to collect some long overdue tribute from Earl Arnvid in Varmland. After the king's men abandon him in hostile territory, Egil is forced to make his own way through the harshest of winter conditions toward the court of Earl Arnvid. Along the way, he'll make a few new friends and plenty of new enemies. Egil will also expose the dangers of playing with runes and make a little magic of his own.
    At the end of the episode, we dip into the Rune Sack to share a few observations and insights from our devoted listeners.
    Music Credits:
    Intro Music - "Prelude and Action" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
    Summary Music – "The Great One Step" by The Victor Dance Orchestra
    Preview - "Jotunheim" by Danheim
    Poetry Music - "Fornheim" by Danheim
    Outro Music - "Stormfront" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
    Selections from music by Kevin MacLeod licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

    • 1 hr 44 min
    Episode 29k - Egil's Saga (Part 11)

    Episode 29k - Egil's Saga (Part 11)

    This is our action packed dueling episode! Egil suits up for battle against a pale-skinned Swedish berserker hell bent on destroying the family of Arinbjorn’s sister. Then he tackles Atli the Short, whose magical invulnerability to weapons forces Egil to get creative in battle. And if the duels weren't enough, Egil and Arinbjorn go on a series of Viking raids in Saxony and Frisia.
     
    Want to know more about the holmgang? Listen to our Saga Brief "Holmgang, Or the Icelandic Art of Dueling" and check out our further reading bibliography.
    The image above is a sketch found in the 14th century Möðruvallabók (AM 132 fol. 61v). It reads: Hér berjast þeir Egill Skallagrímsson og Ljótur inn bleiki. [Here Egil Skallagrimson and Ljot the Pale fight.]
    Music Credits:
    Intro Music - "Prelude and Action" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
    Summary Music – "On the Mississippi" by The Prince's Band
    Preview and Poetry Music - "Valravn" by Danheim
    Outro Music - "Stormfront" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
    Selections from music by Kevin MacLeod licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

    • 1 hr 40 min
    Episode 29j - Egil's Saga (Part 10)

    Episode 29j - Egil's Saga (Part 10)

     In this episode, we welcome Hákon Aðalsteinsfóstri Haraldsson (aka King Haakon the Good) to the throne of Norway. And with the deposed Eirik trying to find a new life for himself in Northumbria, you'd think there wouldn't be time to mess around with ol' Egil Skallagrimsson anymore. But Gunnhild holds a grudge. Cursing Egil to a restless life until he crosses paths with her once more, Gunnhild makes sure that she'll get the chance to avenge her son's death. Of course, she'll have to accomplish this vengeance through her husband, Eirik, and things don't always go as planned when Gunnhild puts Egil's head in Eirik's hands. Find out what happens when Egil meets Eirik and Gunnhild in York.
    You can read Egil's "head ransom" poem here in the original. Pick up a copy of Egil's Saga in translation here and read along with us.
    You've probably noticed that our latest episodes have been lacking the brilliant illustrations of our pal Matt Smith. That's because Matt's a success. He's got plenty of paid work to do with real deadlines. We're excited to see all the stuff he's been working on and look forward to his eventual return to Saga Thing illustration. In the meantime, we'd love to see more illustrations of the saga scenes and characters we encounter here at Saga Thing. If you feel inspired to illustrate something you've heard on the podcast, please send it to us through social media or our email address. Use the hashtag #SagaThingArt when posting on social media. If we get enough, I'll put together a special gallery on our website organized by saga. Any scene or character from any saga we've covered is fair game.
    Finally, for those of you looking for a deeper dive into what we're talking about, check out our updated bibliography page here.
    Music Credits:
    Intro Music - "Prelude and Action" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
    Summary Music – “Rainy Day Blues” by Joseph C. Smith Orchestra
    Preview Music - "Floki's Last Journey" by Danheim
    Poetry Music - "Fornheim" by Danheim
    Outro Music - "Stormfront" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
    Selections from music by Kevin MacLeod licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

    • 1 hr 41 min

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