HISTORY 447 - The Icelandic Sagas: Vikings, Women, and Vengeance
Winter 2023, Section 001
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: History (HISTORY)
Department: LSA History
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Waitlist Capacity:
Advisory Prerequisites:
Upperclass standing or permission of instructor.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:
Start/End Date:
Full Term 1/4/23 - 4/18/23 (see other Sections below)
NOTE: Drop/Add deadlines are dependent on the class meeting dates and will differ for full term versus partial term offerings.
For information on drop/add deadlines, see the Office of the Registrar and search Registration Deadlines.


The Icelandic Sagas are unique literary documents from medieval Iceland. They inform us about the cultural, political, and religious currents of land in tumult and transition. Unlike many contemporary texts, these are not inherently moralistic or celebratory — instead they are dark, matter-of-fact inquiries into the way individuals respond to often unresolvable situations. In this course, we will encounter vindictive women, treacherous kings, heroes and anti-heroes, lawyers, berserkers, and poets.

Texts include Njál's Saga, Egil’s Saga, The Saga of Gísli the Outlaw, The Saga of King Hrolf Kraki, selections from Snorri Sturluson’s Heimskringla, and several shorter sagas such as Hrafnkel’s Saga and Thorstein Staff-Struck. Key themes engaged in the class include vengeance and feuds, magic and religion, conversion, and gender roles.

Course Requirements:

Discussion of the readings, short papers, presentations, and a term paper

Intended Audience:

This class is suitable for students interested in the Viking Age, Medieval studies, and History of World Literature.

Class Format:

The class is structured as a seminar. All texts are in English.


HISTORY 447 - The Icelandic Sagas: Vikings, Women, and Vengeance
Schedule Listing
001 (REC)
 In Person
MWF 1:00PM - 2:00PM
1/4/23 - 4/18/23

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