Sagas in the Classroom: Teaching Literature Through Viking Stories

Sagas in the Classroom: Teaching Literature Through Viking Stories

The Vikings have a more significant influence on modernity than we realize.

It's interesting how seafarers from the 8th-11th centuries are still crucial in the 21st.

That era had a direct impact on the formation of Europe, especially in the area of trade and the formation of countries. You need to understand their contribution to understand history in full.

But it's not just history that you need knowledge of, but also literature. Several topics about the Vikings and probably even essays will be discussed during your student life.

Let's look at how you can learn literature through sagas and what to be prepared for.

Here is an extract from Viking literature, click here to view it.


Let's start with the most famous one you've probably heard of.

These stories combine family, heroic, and political aspects, but they are simple.

Despite their serious subject matter, the sagas are written in an accessible and straightforward way.

They were transmitted orally, but skalds (mercenary writers) put them down on paper. The events may be somewhat inaccurate, but they still convey Viking life's traditions and everyday details.

So, the events and characters are actual but supplemented by artistic devices. You can study sagas as part of fiction.

If the specialty is related to Scandinavian mythology, it's a must.

Such stories are definitely worth reading, but if you want to explore the topic in more depth and are still waiting to be ready to write an essay, use the appropriate platforms.

For a detailed look at their offerings, read the review.


The sagas are about real people-families, heroes, and those in power, while the Eddas are about the gods. Who wouldn't be interested in Viking mythology ?

Especially when they have such a coherent system and a detailed description of each creature.

Interestingly, the Eddas can be both in the form of poetry and prose. A good example is the Poetic Edda from the Codex Regius manuscript.

Or the Prose Edda by Snorri Sturluson. Both works give a complete picture of the Viking beliefs.


Rune Inscriptions

Here's a book that reveals the secret of the runes. Click here to discover it.

Of course, these are incomplete works, but they tell even more. Scandinavian peoples, including the Vikings, used this writing system during the Middle Ages.

The analysis reveals the themes of war, travel, tribal affairs, magic, and mythology. Plus, the Vikings recorded historical events; we know most of the information from runes.

Additionally, runic inscriptions reflect the linguistic features of the Old Norse language, which helps study linguistics and linguistic connections between the Scandinavian peoples.

The most exciting thing about them is that we don’t see the data of writers but people simply describing their everyday life, concerns, feelings, etc.

These short references have been preserved in their original form; the literate elite made no adjustments.

Research of Viking Literature

Of course, the first step is to familiarize yourself with the work. It may be enough to analyze and make a good assessment.

But for in-depth research and, for example, a term paper, you need more.

Here are some valuable sources:


  • Academic journals. Many are devoted to medieval literature and history, publishing articles about the Vikings and their literature.

Some of the most popular include the Journal of English and Germanic Philology, Scandinavian Studies, The Medieval Review, and Saga-Book of the Viking Society.

They often contain analyses of the sagas and articles about the Vikings and their culture, and that’s a must for students.


  • Academic books. Consider the works of Jan Christensen, Michael Klein, and Jun Hildebrandt. You may find them in the university library, but more often in online bookstores.


  • Internet resources. Many websites are dedicated to this topic, and you’ll definitely find the information you need here. Try the Viking Society for Northern Research, The Viking Answer Lady, and The Medieval Texts Collection.

But basically, it's enough to type a query into the search bar and do a little searching.


  • Archives and museums. That’s perhaps the most exciting source for the most curious. Some museums and libraries, particularly in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, have a significant collection of Viking artifacts and documents.

They often have online collections that are freely available. For students of history and literature, that’s the best opportunity to learn more about the culture.


  • Professors' advice. Professors will tell you the best about the life of the Vikings and their influence on literature.

Don't hesitate to ask; they’ll be pleased with your interest. Take advantage of every opportunity during your student years.

When writing term papers, you’ll have a supervisor who knows the topic better than anyone.

So, yes, it’ll make learning more effective. And much more enjoyable.

The Vikings are fascinating in their influence and bring a lot to the curriculum - the main thing is the desire to learn.

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