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The Norwegian account of Haco's expedition against Scotland, A.D. MCCLXIII.

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This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery.


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This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery.

12 review for The Norwegian account of Haco's expedition against Scotland, A.D. MCCLXIII.

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ian

    This was mentioned as a source text in a history book I recently finished (The Kingdom of the Isles). One of the great things about the Web is the way it provides easy access to these previously rare texts. I understand this is an 18th century translation of a small part of a 13th century Norse poem, "The Saga of Hákon Hákonarson". This particular text is in prose form although it retains some poetic aspects, such as in the description of the Norwegian ships. When I was a school pupil in Scotland This was mentioned as a source text in a history book I recently finished (The Kingdom of the Isles). One of the great things about the Web is the way it provides easy access to these previously rare texts. I understand this is an 18th century translation of a small part of a 13th century Norse poem, "The Saga of Hákon Hákonarson". This particular text is in prose form although it retains some poetic aspects, such as in the description of the Norwegian ships. When I was a school pupil in Scotland in the 60s and 70s we were told about how the Western Isles were annexed by Norway and recovered by Scotland after the Battle of Largs in 1263. The battle was presented as a glorious VICTORY for the Scots. My romantic notions about this event were punctured on reading "The Kingdom of the Isles" where the same battle was described as a series of inconclusive skirmishes with few casualties on either side. The Saga takes the opposite approach from my school textbooks, claiming the battle as a Norwegian victory. This is unsurprising since the Saga was commissioned by Hákon's son upon the death of his father, and it was the saga-singer's job to heap extravagant praise upon his subject. Nevertheless, this is a fascinating document with much that is valuable to the historian. It details how ambassadors from Scotland initially sought to purchase the islands, but were sent away by King Hákon who "knew no such urgent want of money as would oblige him to sell his inheritance." After this the Scots increase the pressure, raiding the Isle of Skye and demanding that island kings hand over castles. To reassert his control Hákon gathers a great fleet and sails from Bergen, but is unable to force the Scottish King to come to terms and returns to Orkney, where he dies. Three years later the Western Isles (though not at this stage the Northern Isles) were ceded to Scotland. One of the most telling points of the Saga is when it reports how the Scots refused an agreement with Hákon, with the comment "The Scots purposely refused an accommodation, because summer was drawing to a close and the weather was becoming bad." The Scots clearly realised the facts of geography worked in their favour. Most of the islands of the Inner Hebrides are only a few miles off the Scottish mainland, and Hákon could only defend them by maintaining a permanent fleet in the area, which he did not have the resources to do. This is a quick and easy read and well worth it for anyone interested in Scottish history. A big thank you to the volunteers who converted this to digital format, and a posthumous thank you to Mr Johnstone for his excellent translation. Also, from what I can tell, Sturla þorðason must have been a great saga-singer!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Moira Bue

  3. 4 out of 5

    Bjorgvin Kemp

  4. 4 out of 5

    Anders

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lori

  6. 5 out of 5

    Elena Carpenter

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lori

  8. 4 out of 5

    Efar

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mitchell Elliott

  10. 5 out of 5

    Krzysiek (Chris)

  11. 4 out of 5

    Teresa

  12. 5 out of 5

    Amy

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