Morkinskinna is an Old Norse kings' saga, relating the history of Norwegian kings from approximately 1025 to 1157. The saga was written in Iceland around 1220, and has been preserved in a manuscript from around 1275.
The name Morkinskinna means "mouldy parchment" and is originally the name of the manuscript book in which the saga has been preserved. The book itself, GKS 1009 fol, is currently in the Royal Danish Library in Copenhagen. It was brought to Denmark from Iceland by Þormóður Torfason (Tormod Torfæus) in 1662.
The saga was published in English in 2000 in a translation by Theodore M. Andersson and Kari Ellen Gade. The Íslenzk fornrit edition appeared in 2011.
- 1 Contents
- 2 Notes
- 3 Primary sources
- 4 Further reading
- 5 External links
The saga starts in 1025 or 1026 and in its received form, ends suddenly in 1157, after the death of King Sigurðr II. Originally, the work may have been longer, possibly continuing until 1177, when the narratives of Fagrskinna and Heimskringla, which use Morkinskinna as one of their sources, end. Apart from giving the main saga, the text is lavishly interspersed with citations from skaldic verse (about 270 stanzas) and includes a number of short Icelandic tales known as þættir. The following is an overview of the chapters in Morkinskinna, chronologically subdivided by the reigns of the kings of Norway:
Magnús I (r. 1035-1047)
- 1. Here begins the saga of Magnús and Haraldr [his uncle]
- 2. Concerning Sveinn
- 3. Concerning King Magnús's feasts
- 4. Concerning King Magnús
- 5. Concerning the declaration of war against Magnús and concerning the Duke
- 6. King Magnús in Jutland
- 7. King Magnús's stay in Jutland
- 8. How King Haraldr set sail when he came to Skáney
- 9. Concerning Haraldr's travels
- 10. Concerning Norðbrikt [=Haraldr]'s travels
- 11. Concerning a declaration of war
- 12. Concerning the raids of Norðbrikt and jarl Gyrgir
- 13. Haraldr's journey to Jerusalem
- 14. Concerning King Magnús's meeting with Haraldr
- 15. The slandering of Þorkell
- 16. Concerning King Magnús
- 17. How King Magnús bestowed a jarldom on Ormr
- 18. On the dispute between the kings
- 19. Concerning the kings
- 20. Concerning Þorsteinn Hallsson
- 21. Concerning the kings
- 22. The good counsels of King Haraldr
- 23. Concerning King Magnús and Margét
- 24. Hreiðars þáttr ["The tale of Hreiðarr"]
- 25. How the kings harried and how the king's mother granted a captive his life
- 26. King Magnús dies 
- 27. Haraldr's thingmeeting
- 28. King Magnús's funeral voyage
Haraldr III (r. 1047-1066)
- 29. Haraldr's thingmeeting
- 30. Halldórs þáttr Snorrasonar
- 31. [On King Haraldr's campaign in Denmark]
- 32. Concerning King Haraldr
- 33. Concerning the disagreement between the king and Einarr Þambarskelfir
- 34. Concerning an Icelander
- 35. Concerning King Haraldr's wise counsels
- 36. How Auðunn from the Westfjords brought King Sveinn a bear [Auðunar þáttr vestfirzka]
- 37. Concerning King Haraldr and the Upplanders
- 38. Concerning King Haraldr and Brandr örvi (the Open-Handed)
- 39. Concerning King Haraldr
- 40. Concerning the storytelling of an Icelander [Íslendings þáttr sögufróða]
- 41. Concerning Þorvarðr krákunel's gift of a sail to King Haraldr
- 42. Concerning King Haraldr and Hákon
- 43. Sneglu-Halla þáttr.
- 44. [The king encounters a man in a boat]
- 45. [Concerning King Haraldr and a dear friend of Tryggvi Óláfsson]
- 46. [Concerning Gizurr Ísleifsson]
- 47. Concerning Stúfr enn blindi
- 48. Concerning Oddr Ófeigsson
- 49. How it came about that King Haraldr journeyed to the West
- 50. The treachery against King Haraldr
- 51. Óláfr Haraldsson's return to Norway
- 52. The death of King Harold Godwinson 
Óláfr III (r. 1067-1093)
- 53. The saga of King Óláfr kyrri "the Quiet"
- 54. Concerning King Óláfr and the Kráku-karl (Crow Man)
Magnús III (r. 1093-1103)
- 55. The Saga of King Magnús berfœttr
- 56. Concerning King Magnús and Sveinki Steinarsson
- 57. Concerning King Magnús's harrying
- 58. Concerning King Magnús
- 59. Concerning King Magnús's death
Sigurðr I, Óláfr and Eysteinn I (r. 1103-1130)
- 60. The beginning of the rule of King Magnús's sons
- 61. The story of King Sigurðr's adventures
- 62. Concerning the gifts of Emperor Kirjalax (Alexius I Konnenos)
- 63. Concerning King Sigurðr's feast
- 64. Concerning King Eysteinn
- 65. Concerning King Eysteinn and Ívarr
- 66. Concerning the king's genealogies
- 67. Concerning King Sigurðr's dream
- 68. The dealings of King Eysteinn and Ingimarr with Ásu-Þorðr
- 69. The death of King Óláfr Magnússon 
- 70. An account of legal dealings between King Sigurðr and King Eysteinn (Þinga saga)
- 71. The contest of the kings
- 72. Concerning Þórarinn stuttfeldr
- 73. Concerning the death of King Eysteinn 
- 74. Concerning King Sigurðr and Óttarr
- 75. Concerning King Sigurðr and Erlendr
- 76. Concerning Haraldr gilli
- 77. Concerning King Sigurðr and Áslák hani (Rooster)
- 78. Concerning King Sigurðr
- 79. Concerning the bet between Magnús and Haraldr
- 80. Concerning King Sigurðr and Bishop Magni
- 81. The Death of King Sigurðr 
Haraldr IV (r. 1130-6) and Magnús IV (r. 1130-5, 1137-9)
- 82. Concerning Haraldr and Magnús
- 83. The gifts of King Haraldr to Bishop Magnús
- 84. The story of Sigurðr slembidjákn
- 85. Concerning Sigurðr slembir
- 86. The slaying of King Haraldr [by Sigurðr slembidjákn in 1136]
- 87. Concerning King Sigurðr slembir
Sigurðr II (1136-1155)
- 88. Concerning King Haraldr's sons
- 89. Concerning Sigurðr
- 90. Concerning King Sigurðr slembir
- 91. King Ingi's letter
- 92. Concerning Sigurðr slembir
- 93. Concerning King Sigurðr slembir
- 94. The slaying of Óttarr birtingr
- 95. [no title]
- 96. Concerning King Sigurðr
- 97. Concerning King Eysteinn
- 98. The slaying of Geirsteinn
- 99. [no title]
- 100. Concerning the death of King Sigurðr 
- Den gamle kongelige Samling.
- For these texts, see Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages.
- On the nature and function of these þættir in Morkinskinna, see Ármann Jakobsson, "The Amplified Saga."
- The following chapter headings are based on Andersson's and Gade's translation of the text.
- Finnur Jónsson (ed.). Morkinskinna. Copenhagen: Samfund til udgivelse af gammel nordisk litteratur, 1932. Available online from Septentrionalia.
- Ármann Jakobsson and Þórður Ingi Guðjónsson (ed.). Morkinskinna I-II. Íslenzk fornrit 23–24. Reykjavík: Hið íslenzka fornritafélag, 2011.
- Andersson, Theodore Murdock and Kari Ellen Gade (trs.). Morkinskinna: The Earliest Icelandic Chronicle of the Norwegian Kings (1030-1157). Islandica 51. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2000. With introduction. ISBN 0-8014-3694-X
- Ármann Jakobsson, "Den kluntede afskriver: Finnur Jónsson og Morkinskinna." Opuscula 11 (2003): 289–306.
- Ármann Jakobsson, Staður í nýjum heimi. Konungasagan Morkinskinna. Reykjavík: Háskólaútgáfan, 2002.
- Ármann Jakobsson, "The Amplified Saga: Structural Disunity in Morkinskinna." Medium Ævum 70.1 (2001): 29-46.
- Ármann Jakobsson, "The Individual and the Ideal: The Representation of Royalty in Morkinskinna." Journal of English and Germanic Philology 99.1 (2000): 71-86.
- Ármann Jakobsson, "Rundt om kongen. En genvurdering af Morkinskinna." Maal og Minne 1 (1999): 71-90. Available online.
- Ármann Jakobsson, "King and Subject in Morkinskinna." Skandinavistik 28 (1998): 101-117.
- Indrebø, Gustav, "Harald haardraade in Morkinskinna." In Festskrift til Finnur Jónsson, ed. Johs. Brøndum-Nielsen et al. Copenhagen: Levin & Munksgaard, 192. 173-80.
- Kalinke, Marianne, "Sigurðar saga jórsalafara: The Fictionalization of Fact in Morkinskinna." Scandinavian Studies 56.2 (1984): 152-67.
- Sandaaker, Odd, "Ágrip og Morkinskinna. Teksthistoriske randnotar." Maal og Minne (1996). 31-56.
- Finnur Jónsson. (Ed.) (1932). Morkinskinna. Copenhagen: Samfund til udgivelse af gammel nordisk litteratur. Available in pdf format at septentrionalia.net.
- New Íslenzk fornrit edition 
- Comprehensive list of skaldic poetry cited in Morkinskinna, Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages.
- Proverbs and proverbial materials in Morkinskinna