Völsunga saga PDF â Paperback

Based on Viking Age poems The Saga of the Volsungs combines mythology legend and sheer human drama At its heart are the heroic deeds of Sigurd the dragon slayer who acquires magical knowledge from one of Odin's Valkyries Yet it is also set in a very human world incorporating strands from the oral narratives of the fourth and fifth centuries when Attila the Hun and other warriors fought on the northern frontiers of the Roman Empire One of the great books of world literature the saga is an unforgettable tale of princely jealousy unrequited love greed and vengeance With its cursed treasure of the Rhine sword reforged and magic ring of power it was a major influence for writers including William Morris and J R R Tolkien and for Wagner's Ring cycle


10 thoughts on “Völsunga saga

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    ”Now Sigurd rode away His ornamented shield was plated with red gold and emblazoned with a dragon Its top half was dark brown and its bottom half light red and his helmet saddle and buffcoat were all marked in this way He wore a mail coat of gold and all his weapons were ornamented with gold In this way the dragon was illustrated on all of his arms so that when he was seen all who had heard the story would recognize him as the one who had killed the great dragon called Fafnir by the Vaerings” Move over St George Step aside St Michae And save some of that ale and meat Beowulf For there is another dragon slayer in town and his name is Sigurd Most of us have heard of these other dragon slayers but few have heard of Sigurd Maybe of us has heard of him by his German name Siegfried from the tales of the Nibelungenlied Some people might know the name of this hero from the composer Richard Wagner who drew from both the Icelandic and German sagas for inspiration while creating his grand musical dramas Unless you are from one of the cold Nordic countries you probably have not had much of an opportunity to hear about the exploits of the warrior Sigurd Sigurd is descended from the Volsung family and let me tell you this is one crazy brutal blood to the shoulder kind of family Any perceived slight is a cause for violence odds such as 10 to 1 or 100 to 1 are never calculated More men just means skulls to crack arms to lob off and spleens to split A Volsung sword once unsheathed is a weapon that will not be put away without blood dripping from the tip A lot of these old sagas would be lost except for the diligent interest and meticulous work shown by Icelandic writers ”It is not by chance that in Scandinavia so much of the narrative material about the Volsungs was preserved in Iceland Fortunately for posterity writing became popular among the Icelanders in the thirteenth century when interest in old tales was still strong Almost all the Old Norse narrative material that has survived whether myth legend saga history or poetry is found in Icelandic manuscripts which form the largest existing vernacular literature of the medieval West”After reading that my mind just kind of goes KABLOOEYThe tiny sparsely populated volcanic churning bitter cold country of Iceland is where the Northern oral traditions were best preserved? Still to this day Icelanders are intense readers who have a wonderful reading tradition that is a part of their Christmas holiday It is no surprise that they are one of the most literate countries in the world ”The Nordic countries dominated the top of the charts with Finland in first place and Norway in second and Iceland Denmark and Sweden rounding out the top five Switzerland followed in sixth with the US in seventh Canada in 11th France in 12th and the UK in 17th place” Hey United Kingdom what gives? Let me introduce Sigurd’s father ”Sigmund had a much smaller force A fierce battle commenced and although Sigmund was old he fought hard and was always at the front of his men Neither shield nor mail coat could withstand him and again and again that day he went through the ranks of his enemies and no one could foresee how it would end between them Many a spear and arrow was cast in the air Sigmund’s spaewomen female spirits however shielded him so well that he remained unscathed and no one could count how many men fell before him Both his arms were bloody to the shoulder” You thought I was kidding about the bloody to the shoulder thing didn’t you?Sigmund has many rather bizarre encounters in his lifetime including this French snogging action with a she wolf ”She licked his face all over with her tongue and then reached her tongue into his mouth He did not lose his composure and bit into the wolf’s tongue She jerked and pulled back hard thrusting her feet against the trunk so that is split apart”Patooeywolf slobbersBehind all of these circumstances is that shifty one eyed bastard Odin who appears out of the mist to offer his “help” and then disappears into the mouth of the chaos he has left behind him There are numerous Lady Macbeth characters sprinkled throughout this saga Women who are ambitious and in many ways vicious than their men They goad their husbandslovers into rash usually violent actions It goes well beyond Eve tempting Adam with an apple as war or revenge are the usual objective There is also a healthy dose of betrayal jealousy incest sorcery gore greed unrequited love fratricide and filicide One shudder worthy moment was a mother serving a father wine in the skulls of his sons There are stories in this saga that would make Quentin Tarantino turn a paler shade of white Michael Ridpath’s intriguing Icelandic mystery Where the Shadows Lie turned me onto The Saga of the Volsungs which now that I’ve read that story has encouraged me to pursue even ancient tales such as Njal’s Saga The Saga of Grettir the Strong Egil’s Saga The Vinland Sagas The Nibelungenlied The Saga of King Hrolf Kraki and The Sagas of Ragnar Lodbrok These will of course lead to sagas and as I gain a working knowledge of these tales my enjoyment of them will continue to grow as well If you wish to see of my most recent book and movie reviews visit also have a Facebook blogger page at