1. The sagas are stories written about families who lived in Iceland.
2. Most of the historical events mentioned in the sagas point towards them being set in the 9th – 11th centuries. This time period is often known as ‘the saga age’.
3. They are the best known specimens of Icelandic literature.
4. The sagas tell the tales of the struggles and conflicts that arose within the societies of early Icelandic settlers.
5. For a long time they were passed down through the generations orally, until they were eventually written in the 13th and 14th centuries.
6. The authors of the written sagas are unknown, although it is widely believed that Egils Saga was written by his descendant – Snorri Sturluson.
7. The modernized edition is known as Íslenzk Fornrit.
8. There are around 40 sagas in total, although the saga of Gaukar á Stöng is believed to have existed (but is now considered lost).
9. It is believed that they were written in order to maintain/reconnect links with the Nordic countries, from whence the majority of Icelanders are descended, even today.
10. Another reason could have been that a combination of long winters and readily available parchment (due to cattle farming) could have encouraged Icelanders to take up writing.