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Icelandic Online Dictionary and Readings

Carry On Icelandic: Culture [selections] (2004)

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Handritin heim - Bringing the Manuscripts Home

Handritin heim

┴rni Magn˙sson (1663-1730) var fornfrŠ­ingur og handritasafnari. Hann safna­i ÷llum ■eim handritum og skj÷lum sem hann komst yfir. Hann flutti safn sitt til Kaupmannahafnar en hluti ■ess glata­ist Ý eldi Ý Kaupmannah÷fn 1728. ┴rni ßnafna­i Hafnarhßskˇla safn sitt og vi­ hann eru kenndar Stofnun ┴rna Magn˙ssonar ß ═slandi og ArnamagnŠanske Institut Ý Kaupmannah÷fn.

Stofnun ┴rna Magn˙ssonar starfar innan vÚbanda Hßskˇla ═slands. Stofnunin var­veitir og hefur umsjˇn me­ ■eim handritum og skj÷lum sem flutt hafa veri­ til ═slands frß Danm÷rku.

Color photograph

═slendingar hafa n˙ fengi­ flest÷ll handritin heim frß Danm÷rku (Icelanders have now received all the manuscripts back from Denmark).

═slendingar t÷ldu handritin Ýslenska ■jˇ­ardřrgripi og beittu sÚr fyrir a­ fß ■au aftur heim til ═slands. Danir tˇku ■vÝ fjarri Ý fyrstu en samningar um skil handritanna tˇkust milli landanna 1961. Afhending handritanna hˇfst me­ ■vÝ a­ freigßta ˙r danska flotanum sigldi til ═slands 1971 me­ tvŠr h÷fu­gersemar Ýslenskra handrita; Flateyjarbˇk og Konungsbˇk eddukvŠ­a. Ůau eru n˙ var­veitt ß Stofnun ┴rna Magn˙ssonar ß ═slandi ßsamt ÷­rum Ýslenskum handritum sem flutt hafa veri­ heim frß Danm÷rku.

Konungsbˇk eddukvŠ­a eru var­veitt kvŠ­i af fornum go­um og hetjum. Fremst er kvŠ­i­ V÷luspß, veraldarsaga sem segir frß sk÷pun heims og manna. KvŠ­i­ er lagt Ý munn v÷lvu (spßkonu) sem segir frß sk÷puninni, ˇfri­i Ý heimi go­anna og atbur­um sem lei­a til ragnaraka, en ■au nß hßmarki er heimur allur brennur. ═ lokakafla kvŠ­isins segir frß ■vÝ hvernig heimurinn rÝs ß nř. NŠst V÷luspß er hi­ mikla heilrŠ­akvŠ­i Hßvamßl. Fyrsti hluti kvŠ­isins hefur veri­ nefndur Gesta■ßttur. Ůar segir frß manni sem kemur ˇkunnugur Ý heimsˇkn og hvernig hyggilegast sÚ fyrir hann a­ haga sÚr. Ůß er fjalla­ um mikilvŠgi visku og vinßttu o.fl.

┌r Hßvamßlum

Ungur var eg for­um,
fˇr eg einn saman,
■ß var­ eg villur vega.
Au­igur ■ˇttumst
er eg annan fann,
ma­ur er manns gaman.

Afhendingu handrita lauk 1997. Me­ farsŠlli lausn handritamßlsins hvarf ˇvild Ý gar­ Dana a­ mestu leyti ß ═slandi. Handritamßli­ hefur haft fordŠmisgildi Ý al■jˇ­asamskiptum fyrir ■jˇ­ir sem reynt hafa a­ sŠkja eigin fornminjar Ý hendur fyrrum nřlenduherra.

Bringing the Manuscripts Home

┴rni Magn˙sson (1663-1730) was an antiquarian, an historian interested in Iceland's past, and a collector of manuscripts. He collected every manuscript and text which he came across. He moved his collection to Copenhagen, part of which was lost in the fire of Copenhagen in 1728. ┴rni bequeathed his collection to the University of Copenhagen. Stofnun ┴rna Magn˙ssonar ß ═slandi (The ┴rni Magn˙sson Institute in Iceland) and the ArnamagnŠanske Institut in Copenhagen are named after him.

Stofnun ┴rna Magn˙ssonar works in connection with Hßskˇli ═slands (The University of Iceland). The Institute preserves and has the supervision of the manuscripts and texts which have been brought back to Iceland from Denmark.

Icelanders considered the manuscripts to be Icelandic national treasures and have worked hard to get them back to their home in Iceland. At first, the Danish refused completely but negotiations between the countries about the return of the manuscripts took place in 1961. The delivery of the manuscripts began in 1971, when a frigate from the Danish fleet sailed to Iceland with two of the most prized Icelandic manuscripts, Flateyjarbˇk and Konungsbˇk eddukvŠ­i. these manuscripts are now preserved at Stofnun ┴rna Magn˙ssonar in Iceland, together with other Icelandic manuscripts which have been returned home from Denmark.

Konungsbˇk eddukvŠ­i preserves poems about the ancient gods and heroes. The first of them is the poem (in Icelandic, kvŠ­i) V÷luspß, a saga of the world which describes the fate of the world and of man. The poem is spoken through the words of a prophetess who tells of the creation of the world, of war in the world of the gods, and the events which lead to the destruction of the gods and the world, the so-called Ragnar÷k which reaches its climax when the world burns. The final chapter of the poem describes how the world rises anew. After V÷luspß comes the great ethical poem Hßvamßl. The first part of the poem has been called the Gesta■ßttur, (literally the guests' story), which describes a man who makes a unannounced visit and how best he should behave. Then the poem discusses the importance of wisdom and friendship, and other things.

From Hßvamßl

Young was I once,
I walked alone,
and bewildered seemed in the way;
then I found me another
and rich I thought me,
for man is the joy of man.

(The Elder or Poetic Edda, commonly known as SŠmund's Edda, part I: The Mythological Poems, edited and translated by Olive Bray (London: Printed for the Viking Club, 1908), pp. 61-111.)

The delivery of the manuscripts ended in 1997. With the successful release of the manuscripts, animosity towards the Danes did, for the most part, disappear. The manuscript issue has created a precedence for nations who have tried to get their own cultural artefacts and relics out of the hands of former colonial rulers.

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