The Saga of the Volsungs (with The Viking History Podcast)
Join Jesse Byock and Noah Tetnzer as they discuss one of the most legendary of the legendary sagas (fornaldarsögur): the Saga of the Volsungs (Völsunga Saga). We’ve collected some of the best parts of their conversation here, but you can listen to the full podcast here.
Who were the Vikings?
Vikings sailed over one-third the globe and were the first northern Europeans to harness the technology of long-distance seafaring. Wherever they went, Vikings brought their myths, legends, and sagas. The term ‘Viking’ is not a modern invention. Early Scandinavians employed the word víkingr, although they did not, as is done today, use it in an ethnic sense. Almost surely they would have understood the concept of a Viking Age, but calling Scandinavian society a ‘Viking society’ would have been a misnomer to them. Throughout medieval Scandinavia, víkingr (singular) meant ‘pirate’ or ‘freebooter,’ and víkingar (plural) were bands who raided from ships. The term applied to those who sailed the seas to steal and conquer as well as to mariners who robbed neighbors at home in Scandinavia. Víkingar also referred to non‐Norse pirates, such as the Slavic Wends and tribal groups who from the southern shores of the Baltic Sea harassed shipping…