Sagas are stories mostly about ancient
Germanic life. Some are entirely invented, and some have an historical basis.
They tell about early
Viking voyages, the
battles that took place during the voyages, about migration to
Iceland and of
feuds between Icelandic families. They were written in the
Old Norse language, mainly in
The texts are tales in
prose which share some similarities with the
epic, often with stanzas or whole poems in
alliterative verse embedded in the text, of heroic deeds of days long gone, "tales of worthy men," who were often
Christian. They are sometimes romanticised and fantastic, but always dealing with human beings one can understand.
The best sagas are recognised as fine literature.
Njál's Saga, or the Saga of Burnt Njál, is one of the most famous.
Old English (Anglo-Saxon),
Beowulf is a saga written in
England, and so is the later
Gawain and the Green Knight, written in a West Midlands
dialect. These are both works of the imagination, but Layamon's Brut (about 1200
AD) is based on English history since the