Diversitate si Identitate Culturala in Europa (Nov 2017)

Memory, genealogy and power in íslendingabók

  • Costel COROBAN

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 14/2, no. 2017
pp. 129 – 144


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The aim of this study is to reveal the manner in which memory and genealogy are employed in Íslendingabók with the purpose of legitimizing the power and promoting the prestige of chieftains (goði), bishops and kings. This source is probably one of the best known literary production of Medieval Iceland and one of the earliest vernacular prose works (also known as Saga of the Icelanders or Libellus Islandorum). It was written in Old Norse by Ari fróði Þorgilsson (1067–1148) during the early 12th century (circa 1122-1133), and is regarded by most scholars as the first history of Iceland and the foundation of Icelandic literature. The manuscripts are preserved at the Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies in Reykjavik in two documents (AM 113 a fol and AM 113 b fol) copied in the 17th century by priest Jón Erlendsson at the indications of Bishop Brynjólfur Sveinsson (14th September 1605 – 5th August 1675) of Skálholt from an original copy from the 12th century that had been lost afterwards.