Ari Thorgilsson

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Ari Þorgilsson (Ari Thorgilsson) (1067–1148 AD) was Iceland's most prominent medieval chronicler. He is the author of Íslendingabók , which details the histories of the various families who settled Iceland. He is typically referred to as Ari the Wise (Ari hinn fróði), and according to Snorri Sturluson was the first to write history in Old Norse. [1] [2]

Iceland Island republic in Northern Europe

Iceland is a Nordic island country in the North Atlantic, with a population of 360,390 and an area of 103,000 km2 (40,000 sq mi), making it the most sparsely populated country in Europe. The capital and largest city is Reykjavík, with Reykjavík and the surrounding areas in the southwest of the country being home to over two-thirds of the population. Iceland is volcanically and geologically active. The interior consists of a plateau characterised by sand and lava fields, mountains, and glaciers, and many glacial rivers flow to the sea through the lowlands. Iceland is warmed by the Gulf Stream and has a temperate climate, despite a high latitude almost entirely outside the Arctic Circle. Its high latitude and marine influence keep summers chilly, with most of the archipelago having a tundra climate.

Íslendingabók is a historical work dealing with early Icelandic history. The author was an Icelandic priest, Ari Þorgilsson, working in the early 12th century. The work originally existed in two different versions but only the younger one has survived. The older contained information on Norwegian kings, made use of by later writers of kings' sagas.

Snorri Sturluson Icelandic historian, poet and politician (1179–1241)

Snorri Sturluson was an Icelandic historian, poet, and politician. He was elected twice as lawspeaker to the Icelandic parliament, the Althing. He was the author of the Prose Edda or Younger Edda, which consists of Gylfaginning, a narrative of Norse mythology, the Skáldskaparmál, a book of poetic language, and the Háttatal, a list of verse forms. He was also the author of the Heimskringla, a history of the Norwegian kings that begins with legendary material in Ynglinga saga and moves through to early medieval Scandinavian history. For stylistic and methodological reasons, Snorri is often taken to be the author of Egil's saga.

Ari was a part of the Haukdælir family clan and studied in the school in Haukadalur as a student of Teitur Ísleifsson (the son of Ísleifur Gissurarson, first bishop of Iceland). There he became acquainted with Classical education. His writings clearly indicate that he was familiar with Latin chronicler traditions, but at the same time he is widely regarded as excelling in the Icelandic oral storytelling tradition.

Haukadalur (Hawkdale) is the name of a valley in Iceland. It lies to the north of Laugarvatn lake in the south of Iceland at 64°18′40″N20°17′2″W.

Ísleifur Gissurarson, an Icelandic clergyman, became the first bishop of Iceland, following the adoption of Christianity in 1000 AD.

Classical education movement pedagogical philosophy that advocates exposing students to historically important works

The classical education movement advocates a form of education based in the traditions of Western culture, with a particular focus on education as understood and taught in Classical antiquity and the Middle Ages. The curriculum and pedagogy of classical education was first developed during the Middle Ages by Martianus Capella and systematized during the Renaissance by Petrus Ramus. Capella's original goal was to provide a systematic, memorable framework to teach all human knowledge. The term "classical education" has been used in Western culture for several centuries, with each era modifying the definition and adding its own selection of topics. By the end of the 18th century, in addition to the trivium and quadrivium of the Middle Ages, the definition of a classical education embraced study of literature, poetry, drama, philosophy, history, art, and languages.

It is believed that Ari later became a Christian priest in Staður by Ölduhryggur, now known as Staðastaður, but otherwise little is known about his life, despite the fact that he is one of the very few medieval writers who wrote down his family history. [3] [4]

Christians people who adhere to Christianity

Christians are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. The words Christ and Christian derive from the Koine Greek title Christós (Χριστός), a translation of the Biblical Hebrew term mashiach (מָשִׁיחַ).

Íslendingabók is the only work that is absolutely proven to have been written by him, but he is accredited with numerous articles of knowledge and is believed to have had a major part in the writing of Landnámabók , which chronicles the settlement of Iceland.

<i>Landnámabók</i> Medieval Icelandic written work

Landnámabók, often shortened to Landnáma, is a medieval Icelandic written work which describes in considerable detail the settlement (landnám) of Iceland by the Norse in the 9th and 10th centuries CE.

Ari was early on regarded as an important author. In Iceland's First Grammatical Treatise, written around 1160 AD, he is referred to with respect as an exceptional man, since the tradition of writing was not firmly established at the time.

The First Grammatical Treatise is a 12th-century work on the phonology of the Old Norse or Old Icelandic language. It was given this name because it is the first of four grammatical works bound in the Icelandic manuscript Codex Wormianus. The anonymous author is today often referred to as the "First Grammarian".

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Icelandic Commonwealth republic in the North Atlantic Ocean between 930–1262

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Eystein Halfdansson semi-legendary Norwegian petty king

Eystein Halfdansson was the son of Halfdan Hvitbeinn of the House of Yngling according to Norse tradition. He inherited the throne of Romerike. Ari Thorgilsson in his Íslendingabók calls him Eystein Fart, without comment, in his king list, just naming his father and his son. Snorri does not call him by this nickname, but does give us a colorful story of his life.

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Hænsa-Þóris saga is one of the sagas of Icelanders.

Kristni saga is an Old Norse account of the Christianization of Iceland in the 10th century and of some later church history. It was probably written in the early or mid-13th century, as it is dependent on the Latin biography of King Olaf Tryggvason written by the monk Gunnlaugr Leifsson around the last decade of the 12th century. This results in Latinate forms of some names. The author also used work by Ari Þorgilsson, probably the now lost longer version of the Íslendingabók, and Laxdæla saga. Based on the region of Iceland with which the text indicates the greatest familiarity, it was probably not written at Skálholt.

History of Christianity in Iceland aspect of history

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Crymogæa is a book in Latin written by the Icelandic scholar Arngrímur Jónsson and published in Hamburg in 1609 and again in 1610. It was the first historical description of Iceland since Íslendingabók and the first comprehensive book about the history of Iceland.


  1. Mark Nuttall Encyclopedia of the Arctic -2012 Page 926 "The settlement of Iceland started around AD 870. An early Icelandic historian, Ari Þorgilsson, wrote in his Islendingabók (Book of the Icelanders) from 1122 to 1133 that the first settlers encountered a few Irish monks."
  2. Lonely Planet Iceland -Lonely Planet, Fran Parnell, Brandon Presser - 2010 Page 32 1742203469 "Iceland Saga, by Magnús Magnússon, offers an entertaining introduction to Icelandic history and literature, and explains ... scholar Ari Þorgilsson (Ari the Learned), and the detailed Landnámabók, a comprehensive account of the settlement."
  3. Rory McTurk A Companion to Old Norse-Icelandic Literature and Culture 2008 -- Page 302 "Much of what we know about the conversion of Iceland is drawn largely from the account written by the priest and historian Ari Þorgilsson in the first half of the twelfth century "
  4. Mark F. Williams -The Making of Christian Communities: In Late Antiquity and Middle Ages - 2005 Page 95 "Several sources contain information about the process of Christianity in Iceland, the oldest being the Book of the Icelanders (Íslendingabók) by Ari þorgilsson, from 1125-30."