Neha Patil (Editor)

Sigrgarðs saga frœkna

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit

Sigrgarðs saga frœkna (modern Icelandic Sigurgarðs saga frækna, the saga of Sigrgarðr the Valiant) is a medieval Icelandic romance-saga, described by Finnur Jónsson as 'all in all ... one of the best and most worthy of reading' of the Icelandic 'stepmother-sagas'.


Plot and literary character

The plot of the saga was summarised by Marianne E. Kalinke and P. M. Mitchell:

Notwithstanding Kalkinke and Mitchell's summary, most manuscripts of the saga set Ingigerðr's kingdom not in 'Taricia' but 'Tartaria' (i.e. Tartary), and it has been argued that the lost original manuscript of the saga must likewise have read Tartaria.

While the saga 'has a lot of rough edges' in its style and plotting, it has nonetheless been characterised as 'tightly and powerfully structured', 'throw[ing] itself with unswerving commitment into a wonder-tale of stepmothers and foster-brothers, curses, flying carpets, deception, disguise, shape-shifting, trolls, and bedroom antics'.

The saga has attracted particular critical commentary because of its handling of gender and sexual politics: it is particularly noteworthy amongst romance-sagas because the moral standing of the main male character is questionable. Before beginning to woo Ingigerðr, Sigrgarðr has previously developed a habit of seducing and discarding women; the degradations which he suffers at her hands can, therefore, be understood as comeuppance for his immorality.

Manuscripts and date

The saga is attested in at least 53 manuscripts, dating from the fifteenth century through to the early twentieth, mostly from Iceland, apparently all descended from a lost common original.

The earliest surviving manuscript is Rekjavík, Stofnun Árna Magnússonar, AM 556a-b 4to, from the later fifteenth century, known as Eggertsbók. Peter Jorgensen found that the saga must originally have been composed around 1450×75.

Editions and translations

  • Einar Þorðarson (ed.), Sagan af Sigurgarði frœkna (Reykjavík: Einar Þorðarson, 1884), [A popular reading edition.]
  • Agnete Loth (ed.), Late Medieval Icelandic Romances, Editiones Arnamagæanae, series B, 20–24, 5 vols Copenhagen: Munksgaard, 1962–65), V 39–107. [The principal scholarly edition.]
  • Alaric Hall, Steven D. P. Richardson, and Haukur Þorgeirsson (ed. and trans.), ‘Sigrgarðs saga frækna: A Normalised Text, Translation, and Introduction’, Scandinavian-Canadian Studies/Études Scandinaves au Canada, 21 (2013), 80-155, [A normalised Old Icelandic text, and English translation, based on Loth's edition.]
  • References

    Sigrgarðs saga frœkna Wikipedia

    Similar Topics
    Meghan Archer
    Napoleon (actor)
    Suzanne Riccio Major