Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Mapping the Icelandic Folktales & Sagas

The official population of Iceland is only around a third of a million. However official population figures tend not to include the huldufólk, or the hidden people. The huldufólk are a race of elves that live in the rocks and hillsides of Iceland.

Much of what we know about the huldufólk comes from the Icelandic folk tales which were recorded and written down by 18th and 19th century storytellers. These Icelandic folk tales can now be explored in a new interactive map. The Sagnagrunnur interactive map allows you to explore the locations mentioned in Icelandic folk legends and discover more about the legends and the storytellers associated with those locations.

The map shows all the places mentioned in the Icelandic folk tales and also shows where the storytellers and legend collectors lived. The map includes an extensive search engine which allows you to search the map for the legends of a particular storyteller, legends from a particular collection and for legends that take place in a particular county.

The medieval Icelandic family sagas are prose histories describing the lives of the first few generations of settlers in Iceland in the late 9th, 10th, and 11th centuries. The Icelandic Saga Map allows you to read each of the Icelandic Sagas alongside an interactive map showing the locations of all the places mentioned in these historic tales.

When you select an individual saga from the Icelandic Saga Map homepage you are presented with the text of the story alongside an interactive map. Locations in the saga are hyperlinked to the map. Therefore as you read the saga you can select place-names mentioned in the text to view its location on the interactive map. Alternatively you can click on the locations tagged on the map to jump to the parts in the texts where they are mentioned in the Sagas.

When reading an individual saga you can use the Sagas menu (top right) to also overlay the locations mentioned in any of the other Sagas on the interactive map.

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