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Independent Farmers, Greedy Kings

Economic Life in Egils saga Skallagrímssonar

by Santiago Barreiro

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Title: Independent Farmers, Greedy Kings: Economic Life in Egils saga Skallagrímssonar
Author: Santiago Barreiro
Series: Literature and Culture
Series number: 4
Place of publication: Leeds
Publisher: Kısmet Press
Date of publication: Forthcoming
ISBN 978-1-912801-17-6 (hbk)
ISBN 978-1-912801-18-3 (pbk)
ISBN 978-1-912801-19-0 (ebk)

About the book

Independent Farmers, Greedy Kings: Economic Life in Egils saga Skallagrímssonar provides an in-depth study of the main aspects of economic activity (production, consumption, accumulation and exchange) as represented in the well-known early-thirteenth-century Icelandic text, Egils saga Skallagrímssonar. The book analyses the ways in which the saga imagines economic interaction amongst men of different social and cultural origins in the Viking age, and the possible ideological meanings at the time of its composition, especially in the context of the formation of concentrated territorial power structures during the Age of the Sturlungar in the first half of the thirteenth century. The portrayal of economic life in the saga is heavily driven towards the diverse forms of exchange and accumulation of wealth, while activities of consumption and production are underrepresented. In particular, the saga focuses on activities which yield strong political messages, such as gift-giving, raiding and the creation and transference of landed property. Ultimately, Independent Farmers, Greedy Kings argues that the saga portrays the founders of the lineage later known as the Mýramenn, the Icelandic farmers at Borg, as successful due to their skill as estate managers and their ability to remain independent from the power and wealth networks of continental monarchies.

About the author

Santiago Barreiro is a researcher in the Area of Ancient and Medieval History at the IMHICIHU-CONICET, and a lecturer in the MA program of Medieval Studies at the University of Buenos Aires. He holds a PhD in Medieval History from the University of Buenos Aires and an MA in Medieval Icelandic Studies from the University of Iceland. His research focuses on the social history of medieval Iceland as seen through its literary sources. He has published and edited a number of articles and books, including the first translation of Hoensa-Þóris saga into Spanish.