Archive for July, 2008

Kalamazoo 2009: Scandinavian Sessions

The Call for Papers has gone out for next year’s International Congress on Medieval Studies at dear old Kalamazoo, MI. Scandinavian interest among the sponsored/special sessions seems a bit slight, which is a shame after this year’s bumper crop of well-attended Norse presentations, but the following highlights jump out: Read more »

Saga Conference Abstracts Due

A quick and all too last-minute reminder that abstracts for papers at next year’s Saga Conference in Uppsala are due in on Friday. As Agneta Ney writes:

Dear colleagues and friends, we would like to remind you that abstracts of proposed papers must be submitted no later than 1st August 2008 to be considered. They should be either uploaded to the conference’s web server (see login information below) or e-mailed to Since the abstracts will be placed on our web site, we appreciate if they can be submitted in an editable text-format (e.g. .doc, .rtf, .txt etc; no pdf-files) without formatting other than bold, italics and underlined. Special fonts should be avoided, but if that is not possible, please use Reykjavík Times ( We have great pleasure in announcing that there are already more than 200 participants (180 with paper) and 35 guests registered at the Conference.

We wish you all a pleasant summer,

Agneta Ney for the organizing committee

You can upload your abstract and revise your registration here.

As the conference is still a whole year away, personally I’m finding it rather difficult to formulate a concrete paper proposal — does the Saga Conference need to be quite so well-organized? — but I’ll come up with something, since it’s undoubtedly going to be the highlight of next summer!

Gods and Worshippers in the Viking and Germanic World

Gods and WorshippersThor Ewing writes to let us know that his brand new book, Gods and Worshippers in the Viking and Germanic World, is out now. The following description comes from Thor’s website:

What was paganism really like? Who were the gods and how were they worshipped? These are the questions Thor Ewing addresses in this fresh perspective on the pagan beliefs and rituals of the Viking and the Germanic world, a world which encompasses not only Scandinavia and Germany, but also Anglo-Saxon England.

Gods and Worshippers explores ancient cult sites and religious gatherings, as well as burial customs and the rites of the dead, and it reveals the intimate links between religious and secular power. Using the surviving archaeological evidence as well as the recorded myths and poetry from the various regions, Ewing explores the realities of day-to-day worship, such as sacrifices and sacred space, as well as arguing that traditional magical-religious societies operated in parallel to mainstream society, according to their own distinctive morality and laws.

The picture that emerges is that of a complex pattern of powers which are respected, honoured, propitiated or even cajoled. It is in this relationship between powers and people that the religion exists, and though it takes many forms it is fundamentally one of respect, honour and worship – a relationship between gods and worshippers.

It sounds like a timely new approach to the subject with many interesting and original angles, and I’m looking forward to seeing a copy.

Website Watch: Septentrionalia and Sagnanet

Septentrionalia is a not-for-profit re-publisher of out-of-print works on medieval northern Europe, with special emphasis on Old Norse. Their scans, which are generally of very high quality, are available to download for free, and they also make some of them available in tangible book-form, at surprisingly reasonable cost. As some of the most seminal works of Norse scholarship are now out-of-copyright (and have never been replaced), this means that it’s suddenly become much easier to track down, and even to own, Sveinbjörn Egilsson/Finnur Jónsson’s Lexicon Poeticum, or the three-volume Arnamagnæan edition of Snorra Edda, for example. It’s a really great initiative, a very accessible site, and a most impressive labour of love by its creators. Read more »

Welcome to Old Norse News!

About this site

Old Norse News is a new website that provides a hub for information relating to the academic study of medieval Scandinavia. Its aims are to provide a regularly updated overview of new developments in the field; to collate and link to useful resources elsewhere on the internet; to act as a notice board for news and announcements. Medievalists in Scandinavian Studies are a very disparate bunch, international and interdisciplinary, and often working in relative isolation. Over time, we hope also, therefore, to create a sort of virtual community for all scholars, students, and others who share an interest in the Old North. Read more »

Journal Round-Up: July 2008

From time to time, we’ll be surveying the latest periodicals in the field to help people keep their bibliographical information up-to-date. We will also be building up a list of journals that publish on Norse topics, to give authors an idea of where they might submit articles, and readers an idea of what might be worth their subscribing to / tracking down in libraries.

Today we have the latest issues of Maal og Minne, Speculum, JEGP and the 2008 edition of Gripla. Read more »