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Old 08-10-2008, 06:42 PM   #1
Madam Broshkina
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Unknown: Njal’s Saga or THE STORY OF BURNT NJAL, v1 10 Aug 2008

This Icelandic epic from the 13th century describes the progress of a series of blood feuds. Its author is believed to have lived in southeast Iceland, but little more is known. It has a deservedly high reputation as the greatest Icelandic saga. The breadth of its subject matter and the references within the text indicate that the author must have been extremely well read.

The events occur between 960 and 1020, as evidenced from the historical reference to King Harold Grayfell (961-976) in chapter three, the Christian conversion of Iceland in 999 covered in chapters 94-101, and the Battle of Clontarf outside Dublin in 1014 in the second-to-last chapter.

Although the work broadly agrees with known history and refers to many locations which can still be found along southern Iceland, scholars continue to search for clues to indicate which parts of the saga accurately reflect events and which reflect the art of storytelling. The site of the central event the saga, the attack and burning of Njáll's farmhouse, has been confirmed by archeological work at a site matching the physical description of the locale, in which evidenced of a burned structure was uncovered.

The saga conveys the self-sustaining nature of blood-feuds, and the methods used by the Icelandic Commonwealth to try to resolve them. It extends beyond Iceland, including a brief and not-very-historic description of the Battle of Clontarf and the death of Brian Boru.

The name is Gaelic in origin, coming from "Niall", which is often anglicised as "Neil".
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