Guta saga: The History of the Gotlanders

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Christine Peel, 1999, ISBN 978 0 903521 44 4

Gotland is the largest of Sweden’s Baltic islands. Originally independent, the island was at some date incorporated into the Swedish kingdom. During the Middle Ages Gotland’s main town, Visby, became an important trading town in the Hanseatic league. In 1361 the island was taken over by the Danish crown, after a violent invasion by Valdemar Atterdag. Guta saga, a short legendary history of the island, was written in the thirteenth or perhaps the fourteenth century. It survives in the Gutnish language in a single mid-fourteenth-century manuscript, held in the Royal Library in Stockholm. The text is heterogeneous, covering the legendary discovery and settlement of Gotland, conflicts between the Gotlanders and other nations ending in negotiations with the king of Sweden, the visit of St Olaf and the conversion to Christianity. The final section, in a different style, sets out the rights and duties of the bishop of Linköping and levy obligations to the king of Sweden.

The 1800-word text is set out here alongside a facing-page translation into English, with full annotation and an extensive introduction by Christine Peel.

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