Óláfs saga Tryggvasonar en mesta. Edited by Ólafur Halldórsson.

Editiones Arnamagnæanæ, Series A, Vol. 3.

Redactor: Britta Olrik Frederiksen.

2000. cccl + 156 pp.

This large volume completes the critical edition of the Great Saga of Olaf Tryggvason (ÓlTr) with which the series Editiones Arnamagnæanæ was inaugurated more than 40 years ago. The two main text volumes, published in 1958 and 1962, are based on the fourteenth-century codex AM 61 fol. with a lacuna in that source filled out from AM 54 fol., and with an exhaustive variant apparatus from AM 54 fol. and ten other manuscripts including Flateyjarbók (GKS 1005 fol.); additional variants are given to selected passages as found in a further two manuscripts, as well as in two short sections of Flateyjarbók where the text in question has been transcribed twice.

The present volume prints a number of supplementary texts: (1) additional passages introduced into the text of ÓlTr in the D-redaction as represented in AM 62 fol., with variants inter alia from Flateyjarbók, pp. 1-66; (2) various indirect witnesses to the text of ÓlTr in the lost Codex Resenianus, pp. 67-82; (3) a brief seventeenth-century notice about the earliest history of Iceland and Greenland, stated in one of its five extant manuscripts to be derived from ÓlTr, pp. 83-85; (4) two þættir offering parallels to texts in ÓlTr, viz. Þorvalds þáttr víðförla and Rögnvalds þáttr ok Rauðs, pp. 85-102; and (5) chs. 7-9 as interpolated in two manuscripts of Óláfs saga helga, pp. 103-05.

The introduction provides codicological and other information on both primary and secondary manuscripts of the saga, and a thorough critical assessment of the relationship between its versions. Of the primary textual witnesses, AM 61 fol. (A), AM 53 fol. (B), AM 54 fol. (C1), and the lost Codex Resenianus can all be assigned to one large class, here called the A group. Outside this group fall AM 62 fol. (D1) and Flateyjarbók (D2), which represent a revision of ÓlTr and go back to a secondary archetype designated *D. Within the A group a clear differentiation can be made between A and BC1 (and Cod. Res.); the latter seem to descend from a sister manuscript of A that is better represented in C1 than in B or Cod. Res. Within the D group a distinction can be drawn between D1, which represents the original revision of the saga, and D2 which, as is well known, has been further interpolated by the clerical scribe, Jón Þórðarson (at the end of the introduction there is an analysis of the redactional changes made in *D and D2 respectively). Finally, the interpolated chapters in Óláfs saga helga, no. (5) above, either derive independently of all other manuscripts from the common archetype of groups A and D, or are excerpted from one of the sources of ÓlTr and were never part of the saga proper (see pp. cccvii-cccviii).

The introduction is in Danish with an English summary; the volume also includes extensive indexes.

About the Editor

The Icelandic philologist Ólafur Halldórsson (b. 1920) was affiliated with The Arnamagnæan Institute in Copenhagen from its foundation until 1962, when he returned to Iceland to take up a position at The Manuscript Institute of Iceland (later The Arnamagnæan Institute in Iceland). His work on the text of the present edition was done in Copenhagen under the direction of Professor Jón Helgason, while the introduction was for the most part written much later; it represents the fruits of lifelong study of the problems connected with the textual transmission of the Icelandic sagas in general and of ÓlTr in particular. Attention should be drawn to the fact that a facsimile of AM 61 fol., text A in the edition, was published by Ólafur Halldórsson already in 1982 (Early Icelandic Manuscripts in Facsimile, vol. 14). A companion facsimile of AM 62 fol., text D1 in the edition, followed in 1993 (EIMF, vol. 20).