Landnámabók (Icelandic pronunciation: [ˈlantnaumaˌpouk] , "Book of Settlements"), 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.
Landnámabók is divided into five parts and over 100 chapters. The first part tells of how the island was found. The later parts count settlers quarter by quarter beginning with west and ending with south. It traces important events and family history into the 12th century. More than 3,000 people and 1,400 settlements are described. It tells where each settler settled, and it provides a brief genealogy. Sometimes short anecdote-like stories are also included. Landnámabók lists 435 men as the initial settlers, the majority of them settling in the northern and southwestern parts of the island. It remains an invaluable source on both the history and genealogy of the Icelandic people. Some have suggested a single author, while others have believed it to have been put together when people met at things (assemblies).
The very first copy has not survived; the oldest surviving examples are copies made in the second half of the 13th century or a little later. The initial settlement of Iceland largely took place during the Viking Age between 870 and 930, but Landnámabók mentions descendants significantly later than the actual settlement period, at least into the 11th century.
There are five surviving medieval versions of Landnámabók.
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The recorded history of Iceland began with the settlement by Viking explorers and their slaves from the east, particularly Norway and the British Isles, in the late ninth century. Iceland was still uninhabited long after the rest of Western Europe had been settled. Recorded settlement has conventionally been dated back to 874, although archaeological evidence indicates Gaelic monks from Ireland, known as papar according to sagas, had settled Iceland before that date.
Erik Thorvaldsson, known as Erik the Red, was a Norse explorer, described in medieval and Icelandic saga sources as having founded the first settlement in Greenland. According to Icelandic sagas, he was born in the Jæren district of Rogaland, Norway, as the son of Thorvald Asvaldsson. He therefore also appears, patronymically, as Erik Thorvaldsson. The appellation "the Red" most likely refers to the color of his hair and beard. Icelandic explorer Leif Erikson was Erik's son.
The Icelandic Commonwealth was the state existing in Iceland between the establishment of the Alþingi (Althing) in 930 and the pledge of fealty to the Norwegian king with the Old Covenant in 1262. With the probable exception of hermitic Irish monks or Papar, Iceland was an uninhabited island until around 870.
The Danes were a North Germanic tribe inhabiting southern Scandinavia, including the area now comprising Denmark proper, and the Scanian provinces of modern southern Sweden, during the Nordic Iron Age and the Viking Age. They founded what became the Kingdom of Denmark. The name of their realm is believed to mean "Danish March", viz. "the march of the Danes" in Old Low German, referring to their southern border zone between the Eider and Schlei rivers, known as Danevirke.
Icelanders are a North Germanic ethnic group and nation who are native to the island country of Iceland and speak Icelandic.
Snorri Thorfinnsson probably born between 1004 and 1013, and died c. 1090) was the son of explorers Þorfinnur Karlsefni and Guðríður Þorbjarnardóttir. He is considered to be the first white child to be born in the Americas, apart from Greenland. He became an important figure in the Christianisation of Iceland.
Naddod was a Norse Viking who is credited with the discovery of Iceland.
Náttfari was a crew member who escaped his master, Garðar Svavarsson, and may have become the first permanent resident of Iceland in the 9th century.The earliest account of his story is found in the 9th–10th century Icelandic Book of Settlements (Landnámabók).
The Papar were, according to early Icelandic sagas, Irish monks who took eremitic residence in parts of what is now Iceland before that island's habitation by the Norsemen of Scandinavia, as evidenced by the sagas and recent archaeological findings.
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.
Ketill Björnsson, nicknamed Flatnose, was a Norse King of the Isles of the 9th century.
Great Ireland, also known as White Men's Land (Hvítramannaland), and in Latin similarly as Hibernia Major and Albania, was a land said by various Norsemen to be located near Vinland. In one report, in the Saga of Eric the Red, some skrælingar captured in Markland described the people in what was supposedly White Men's Land, to have been "dressed in white garments, uttered loud cries, bore long poles, and wore fringes." Another report identifies it with the Albani people, with "hair and skin as white as snow."
Gunnbjörn Ulfsson, also Gunnbjörn Ulf-Krakuson, was a Norwegian settler in Iceland. He was reportedly the first European to sight Greenland. A number of modern place names in Greenland commemorates Gunnbjörn, most notably Gunnbjørn Fjeld.
The Norse–Gaels were a people of mixed Gaelic and Norse ancestry and culture. They emerged in the Viking Age, when Vikings who settled in Ireland and in Scotland adopted Gaelic culture and intermarried with Gaels. The Norse–Gaels dominated much of the Irish Sea and Scottish Sea regions from the 9th to 12th centuries. They founded the Kingdom of the Isles, the Kingdom of Dublin, the Lordship of Galloway, and a Norse-Gaelic family briefly ruled the Kingdom of York. The most powerful Norse–Gaelic dynasty were the Uí Ímair or House of Ivar.
The settlement of Iceland is generally believed to have begun in the second half of the ninth century, when Norse settlers migrated across the North Atlantic. The reasons for the migration are uncertain: later in the Middle Ages Icelanders themselves tended to cite civil strife brought about by the ambitions of the Norwegian king Harald I of Norway, but modern historians focus on deeper factors, such as a shortage of arable land in Scandinavia. Unlike Britain and Ireland, Iceland was unsettled land and could be claimed without conflict with existing inhabitants.
Ari Þorgilsson 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, and according to Snorri Sturluson was the first to write history in Old Norse.
Cerball mac Dúnlainge was king of Ossory in south-east Ireland. The kingdom of Ossory (Osraige) occupied roughly the area of modern County Kilkenny and western County Laois and lay between the larger provincial kingdoms of Munster and Leinster.
The history of the Icelandic language began in the 9th century when the settlement of Iceland, mostly by Norwegians, brought a dialect of Old Norse to the island.
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.
Vatnahverfi was a district in the Norse Greenlanders’ Eastern Settlement (Eystribyggð) and is generally regarded by archaeologists and historians as having the best pastoral land in the colony. The Norse settled Vatnahverfi in the late 10th century and farmed there for nearly 500 years before mysteriously disappearing from the district and the entirety of Greenland, likely at some point in the latter 15th century. Its name is roughly translated as “Lake District."