САГА ЗА ФАРЬОРЦИТЕ.
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
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,
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
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.
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
Færeyínga saga, Icelandic sagas, Faroe islands, Middle ages