Sunday, October 6, 2013

Study - Icelandic Sagas more historically accurate than previously thought

Several websites are reporting on a study by Coventry University that analyzes social networks described in the Icelandic Sagas and concludes that the Vikings, far from the rapacious barbarians they are portrayed as, were in fact possessed of complex social, family, and community ties and interactions that belie their beserker image. It also calls into question the prospect, often stated dismissively, that the Sagas themselves are mere invention. Such coherent descriptions of complex social networks would be difficult indeed to come up with intentionally, especially in a corps as diverse in terms of authorship as the Sagas of Icelanders.

From the study:
To summarise, network analysis indicates that the Íslendinga sögur comprise a highly interlinked set of narratives, the structural properties of which are not immediately distinguishable to those of real social networks.
In other words, the Sagas of Icelanders should not be written off as mere fiction, but collectively portray a complex interwoven society that was governed by specific rules rather than endemic lawlessness.

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