Saints' sagas

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Saints' sagas (Old Norse heilagra manna sögur) are a genre of Old Norse sagas comprising the prose hagiography of medieval western Scandinavia.

The corpus of such sagas and their manuscript attestations was surveyed by Ole Widding, Hans Bekker-Nielsen, L. K. Shook in 1963.[1] Their work revealed over 100 different saints' lives, mostly based on Latin sources. Few are of Icelandic saints, with only Jón Ögmundarson (d. 1121), Þorlákr Þórhallsson (d. 1193), and Guðmundr Arason (d. 1237) being candidates.[2]


  • Unger, C. R. (1877). Heilagra manna søgur: fortællinger og legender om hellige mænd og kvinder. 2 volumes. Christiania. (Link is to Vol. 1. Vol. 2 here.)
  • Unger, C. R. (1877). Heilagra manna sögur: fortællinger og legender om hellige mænd og kvinder. Christiania. (Link to the text version on
  • Unger, C. R. (1871). Mariu saga: Legender om jomfru Maria og hendes jertegn. 2 volumes. Christiania: Brögger & Christie. (Link is to Vol. 1. Vol. 2 here.)
  • Unger, C. R. (1874). Postola sögur: legendariske fortællinger om apostlernes liv, deres kamp for kristendommens udbredelse samt deres martyrdød. Christiania.
  • Unger, C. R. (1869). Thomas Saga Erkibyskups. Christiania.


  1. ^ Widding, Ole; Bekker-Nielsen, Hans; Shook, L. K. (1963). "The Lives of the Saints in Old Norse Prose: a Handlist". Mediaeval Studies. 25: 294–337. doi:10.1484/J.MS.2.306819.
  2. ^ 'Saints' Lives', in Medieval Scandinavia: An Encyclopedia, ed. by Phillip Pulsiano (New York: Garland, 1993).
  • Wolf, Kirsten (2013). The legends of the saints in Old Norse-Icelandic prose. Toronto, Buffalo, London: University of Toronto Press. ISBN 9781442646216.

Further reading

  • Collings, Lucy Grace (1969) The Codex Scardensis: studies in Icelandic hagiography; doctoral dissertation, Cornell University, 1969
  • Codex Scardensis; edited by D. Slay. ((Early Icelandic Manuscripts in Facsimile; vol. 2.) Copenhagen: Rosenkilde and Bagger, 1960 (includes "Postola sögur")

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