Heimild um Heiðarvíga sögu

  • Sveinbjörn Rafnsson


Heiðarvíga Saga is supposed to be among the oldest family sagas. The only known manuscript was brought to Sweden around 1683. From that time the saga was only known in Iceland from references in other works; see also on Jón Halldórsson below. Árni Magnússon got the manuscript in question on loan in 1725. However, owing to some misunderstanding in Stockholm he only received the first part of the manuscript, 2 quires consisting of 12 leaves. His secretary, Jón Ólafsson, transcribed the manuscript in 1727-28, making at the same time some annotations on old and rare words in the saga. In October 1728 the fire of Copenhagen destroyed both the manuscript and the transcription. To make up for the loss Árni Magnússon made two provisions. Firstly, Jón Ólafsson wrote down the lost part of the saga as he remembered it, 'Breviarium' of the saga of Víga-Styr, making use of his annotations on old and rare words. Obviously he used other sources as well. Secondly, Árni Magnússon wrote to Jón Halldórsson of Hítardalur asking for a new copy of the latter's relations on Víga-Styr, the first having been destroyed in 1728. Apparently Jón Halldórsson never complied with this wish. But a copy of this work in his hand is preserved in Landsbókasafn. In this relation the author makes use of various works, but the central part of the narrative is obviously based upon whatever had been preserved in memory of Heiðarvíga saga in the vicinity of Hítardalur. This relation is published here for the first time. Jón Ólafsson's reconstruction of the first part of Heiðarvíga saga and his sources have been the subject of much speculation in the past. It is argued here that one additional source has to be taken into consideration, namely Jón Halldórssons relation. This Jón Ólafsson had evidently read before October 1728 and it is possible that he was considerably influenced by it in some parts of his reconstruction.