САГА ЗА ФАРЬОРЦИТЕ. Færeyínga saga

Иванов, Ивелин (2017) САГА ЗА ФАРЬОРЦИТЕ. Færeyínga saga Велико Търново: УИ " Св. св. Кирил и Методий", 2017, 97 с. ISBN 9786192081164

 „Сага за фарьорците” (Færeyínga saga) е открита в голям исландски ръкопис, датиран от края на XIV в. (Codex Flatey’ensis). Най- вероятно е била написана в Исландия в началото на XIII в. и описва конфликти между силни местни водачи и събития около налагането на християнството на Фарьорските острови в периода 940 - 1047 г. Историческата достоверност на много от описаните в сагата герои и събития е спорна, но от художествена гледна точка „Сага за фарьорците" е сред шедьоврите на средновековната исландска книжнина. Тя представя личности и събития на прехода от езичеството към новата християнска епоха, като разкрива драматични промени, дълбоки човешки страсти, стремеж към власт, богатство и надмощие. Ето защо сагата е както разказ за конкретни хора на конкретно място, така и притча за престъплението и наказанието, за неизбежността на съдбата и за тленността на човека. Историческият предговор и преводът на тази сага са дело на Ивелин Аргиров Иванов - професор по средновековна обща история при Исторически факултет на ВТУ „Св. св. Кирил и Методий”. This translation and commentary on the Faroese saga (Færeyínga saga) is the first in the Bulgarian language, and it is the result of a genuine interest and years of research on Nordic sagas as a source of historical information. Despite the obvious historical figures and facts described in Norse and Icelandic sagas, their use as a historical source remains controversial. Quite different approaches can be found in the debate about the historicity of the Icelandic sagas, starting with the revival of interest in the 19th century, and reaching to current critical and comparative approach. Despite the disputes, the sagas are among the important sources for the history of Scandinavia and the North Atlantic at the time of the high Middle Ages, and continue to attract the interest of researchers in reconstructing the historical past. The importance of the Icelandic sagas as a source of historical information is also determined by the lack of comprehensive written accounts on the history of Scandinavian societies in the North Atlantic by the end of the 12th century. Among the impressive titles in this medieval genre is the Færeyínga saga (Saga of the Faroese people). This saga, or rather much of it, was found in a large Icelandic manuscript dating back to the end of the 14thcentury, and known as the Codex Flateyensis (Flateyjarbók). The text of the Færeyínga saga describes clashes and bloody conflicts between powerful local leaders, and also events relating to the Christianization of the Faroe Islands at the end of the first and the beginning of the second millennium (940 – 1047). It is assumed that the Færeyínga saga was written in Iceland at the beginning of the 13th century. The saga can be assigned to works that stand between the family sagas – on the one hand, and the royal sagas – on the other. The Orkneyinga Saga and Jómsvíkinga Saga can also be assigned to this specific group. All these three sagas were written in Iceland, but their stories were based on personalities and events from 94 other countries. This is particularly obvious in the Færeyínga saga. In its present form the Færeyínga saga is a compilation of various texts that reveal the early history of the Scandinavian settlers in the Faroes. Although it seems like a complete story, the present saga is a collection of ten separate parts which were assembled into a booklet in 1832. In this sense the present text is a work of modern, and not of medieval times. As a result of a detailed textual analysis, the Faroese Saga has been restored in its entirety, but the stylistic difference between chapters is palpable. This Bulgarian translation is after an English edition of the saga (Thrand of Gotu: Two Icelandic Sagas from the Flat Island Book. Transl. By George Johnston. Porcupine’s Quill, 1994. ). Also, the translation was consulted with an Icelandic edition of the saga of 1987 (Halldórsson, Ó. Færeyinga Saga. Reykjavík: Stofnun Árna Magnússonar á Íslandi, 1987.) The transcription of personal and geographical names was consulted with Professor Sverrir Jacobsson of the University in Reykjavik, Iceland. Geographical descriptions and tags in the Faroese Saga need a careful and critical analysis. The text of the saga indicates that the author knew the names, but only partly the geography of several of the seventeen inhabited islands of the archipelago. At the same time, the compiler of the saga was wrong in many of his reports about the geography of the Faroese islands, although certain parts of the storytold sound plausible. The impressive story of the “Marathon” swimming of Sigmund (Chapter Thirty-Nine), who was forced to seek refuge from his pursuers in the ocean can be given as an example. The critical analysis leads to a conclusion that, contrary to the description in the saga, he could not have jumped from Thorarenni (a cliff described in the saga), since it is too high. Also, Leiv’s night tour of the island of Eysturoy (described in chapter Fifty-Seven), in which he damaged all boats on the island, would have been quite an impossible task. The chronology in the saga can be defined as a compromise between two fundamental principles for recording time and its running: the absolute, primordial Christian chronology, and the sagas’ chronology as a specific genre in medieval historiography. In most cases, the author of the Faroese Saga did not place the events in particular years, but in a direct or indirect connection with other events. If we draw a parallel with Bulgarian history, 95 the Færeyínga saga describes events from the times that followed the campaigns of the Kievan ruler Svyatoslav in Bulgaria (968 – 971), the violent Byzantine-Bulgarian Wars (976 – 1014), and the fall of Bulgaria under Byzantine rulein 1018. All these events coincide directly or indirectly with the Viking Invasions which ravaged many European countries in the 8 th – 11th century period. The Varangians of Kievan Prince Svyatoslav invaded northeast Bulgaria at the time of the first events described in the Faroese Saga, and this marked the beginning of a long-lasting political crisis that led to the imposition of Byzantine rule over Eastern Bulgaria in 971. Also, the descriptive slashing of brothers Breste and Beine in the saga coincides with the year of the uprising, which rejected the Byzantine rule over part of the Bulgarian lands in 976. Last but not least, some events in the saga are close in time with the uprising of Peter Delyan of 1040 –1041 AD, in the suppression of which Scandinavian mercenaries led by a Norwegian royal ancestor and the future Norwegian King Harald Hardrada took part. Is there a true story there, were the realities of life and history in the 10th – 11th century period the same as the ones represented in the saga, or weren’t they? On the one hand, the text shows the efforts of the compiler to select reliable sources and information from his point of view, and according to the criteria and tradition typical of the period. In the medieval Icelandic literary tradition, history was just a story about what happened in the past through a description of the main characters and their heroic deeds. The life of the author, namely the age in which he lives, can explain the obvious and tangible bias and personal views. On the one hand, he is favourably disposed towards yarls, konnungs and kings, but on the other he does not spare descriptions of violence and tyranny. In this sense, the attitude of the compiler of the saga towards his characters can be defined as subjective. Most probably, the information in the saga about the two central characters – Thrond and Sigmund, about their conflicts and their relationship with Norwegian kings, and about the Christianization of the Faroes, are of a reliable nature. The reliability of the data concerning other characters is questionable, and some names sound quite exotic. The saga describes the evolution of the conflict between Thrond and Sigmund figuratively and fascinatingly, reaching a climax with a bloody vengeance for the death of Sigmund which happens years after his death. 96 At the end of the saga the author emphasizes on the ensuing peace and tranquility that are in a stark contrast with the described conflicts, violence and bloodshed. But does this match the realities in the Faroese Islands in the mid 11th century, or not? It is difficult to answer properly, but from an artistic point of view the saga is among the masterpieces of medieval Icelandic literature. It represents the personalities and events of the transition from paganism to the new Christian era, revealing to the reader dramatic and deep human passions, a bloody strife for power, wealth, and domination. Therefore, the Færeyínga saga is not just a story about life and death in some remote and lonely islands, but also a parable about crime and punishment, the inevitability of fate and the transience of human life.
 Færeyínga saga, Icelandic sagas, Faroe islands, Middle ages

 Ивелин Иванов

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