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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Excerpt from Njáls saga in the Möðruvallabók (AM 132 folio 13r) circa 1350.

The sagas (from Icelandic saga, plural sögur), are stories about ancient Scandinavian and Germanic history, about early Viking voyages, about migration to Iceland, and of feuds between Icelandic families. They were written in the Old Norse language, mainly in Iceland.

The texts are epic tales in prose, often with stanzas or whole poems in alliterative verse embedded in the text, of heroic deeds of days long gone, tales of worthy men, who were often Vikings, sometimes Pagan, sometimes Christian. The tales are usually realistic, except legendary sagas, sagas of saints, sagas of bishops and translated or recomposed romances. They are sometimes romanticised and fantastic, but always dealing with human beings one can understand.



The term saga originates from the Icelandic saga (pl. sögur), and refers to (1) "what is said, statement" or (2) "story, tale, history". It is cognate with the English word "say", and the German sagen. Icelandic sagas are based on oral traditions and much research has focused on what is real and what is fiction within each tale. The accuracy of the sagas is often hotly disputed. Most of the manuscripts in which the sagas are preserved were taken to Denmark and Sweden in the 17th century, but later returned to Iceland.

Snorri Sturluson, perhaps the greatest saga recorder; portrait by Christian Krohg.

There are plenty of tales of kings (e.g. Heimskringla), every-day people (e.g. Bandamanna saga) and larger than life characters (e. g. Egils saga). The sagas describe a part of the history of some of the Nordic countries (e.g. the last chapter of Hervarar saga). The British Isles, northern France and North America are also mentioned. It was only recently (start of 20th century) that the tales of the voyages to America were authenticated.

Most sagas of Icelanders take place in the period 930–1030, which is actually called söguöld (Age of the Sagas) in Icelandic history. The sagas of kings, bishops, contemporary sagas and so on, of course have their own time frame. Most were written down between 1190 to 1320, sometimes existing as oral traditions long before, others are pure fiction, and for some we do know the sources: The author of King Sverrir's saga had met the king and used him as a source.


Norse sagas are generally classified as:

Kings' sagas (Konungasögur)

These tell of the lives of Scandinavian kings. They were composed in the 12th to 14th centuries.

Icelanders' sagas (Íslendinga sögur)

These are heroic prose narratives written in the 12th to 14th centuries of the great families of Iceland from 930 to 1030. These are the highest form of the classical Icelandic saga writing. Some well-known examples include Njáls saga, Laxdœla saga and Grettis saga.

Short tales of Icelanders (Íslendingaþættir)

The material of these sagas is similar to Íslendinga sögur, just shorter.

Contemporary sagas (Samtíðarsögur or Samtímasögur)

These narratives are set in 12th and 13th century Iceland, and were written soon after the events they describe. Most are preserved in the compilation Sturlunga saga.

Legendary sagas (Fornaldarsögur)

These blend remote history with myth or legend. The aim is on a lively narrative and entertainment. Scandinavia's pagan past was a proud and heroic history for the Icelanders.

Chivalric sagas (Riddarasögur)

Queen Ragnhild's dream.

These are translations of Latin pseudo-historical works and French chansons de geste as well as native creations in the same style.


External links and references

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Saga (佐賀) [1] is the eponymous capital of Saga prefecture on the Japanese island of Kyushu.

Get in

By plane

Saga Airport is small but has daily flights to Tokyo (Haneda) and Osaka (Itami). From the city it takes about 30mins by bus and costs 600 Yen.

Buses also connect Fukuoka Airport to Saga (70 minutes, ¥1000).

By train

Saga is a stop on the JR Nagasaki Line.

Limited express train services run from Hakata station in Fukuoka twice each hour (usually :02 and :22 past the hour), including the Kamome and Midori train services. Trains run directly to Saga in about 40 minutes at a cost of ¥2300.

Local trains from Hakata cost only ¥1080, but you will have to change trains in Tosu and the travel time will be about 75 minutes or more, depending on the timing of the connection.

From Nagasaki to Saga it takes 75-90 minutes on the limited express (¥3740), or about 2 1/2 hours on the local service (¥2070). From Sasebo it is about 65 minutes by limited express (¥2470) or about 100 minutes by local (¥1250).

Routes through Saga
TosuKanzaki  N noframe S  KohokuNagasaki
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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From LoveToKnow 1911

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also saga, säga, såga, and saĝa



Proper noun




  1. Saga Prefecture - a prefecture in the Western island, Kyushu, Japan
  2. Saga - a city in Saga Prefecture, Japan




Proper noun


  1. A female given name derived from the Swedish noun saga, used since the 19th century.

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