Icelandic Sagas and Other Historical Documents Relating to the Settlements and Descents of the Northmen of the British Isles Rolls Series, Gudbrand Vigfusson. Published by Her Majesty’s Stationary Office, London, 1887-1894. First Edition. Complete Four Volume Set. 4to up to 12″ tall. Bound in quarter pebbled cloth over black boards; gilt spine titles. Each volume includes a 40pp. HMSO rear catalogue of England, Scotland and Ireland history publications. Volume 1: The Orkneyingers’ Saga and Magnus Saga. 426pp. with fold out color facsimile of original text; index; appendices. Volume 2: Hakonar Saga, and a Fragment of Magnus Saga. 473pp. with index; appendices. Volume 3: The Orkneyingers’ Saga. 470pp. with appended extracts from relevant texts and the life of St Magnus of Orkney. Volume 4: Dasent’s translation, The Saga of Hacon, Fragment of the Saga of Hákon’s son Magnús, 485pp. with appended texts and index.
Contents are clean without markings except for period presentation labels front endpapers; boards have moderate wear. Volume 2 hinges are cracked but holding; Volume 3 has browning to front pages with loose pages to first signature. An exceedingly rare set.
These volumes of Icelandic sagas with English translations was prepared between 1887 and 1894 by the celebrated Icelandic scholar Gudbrand Vigfusson (1827-89) and the foremost translator of the day, Sir George Webbe Dasent (1817-96). It includes Orkneyinga saga, a history of the jarls of Orkney from the late ninth century to about 1200, composed in Iceland around 1230 but preserved complete only in the fourteenth-century Flateyjarbók; and Hákonar saga Hákonarsonar, the life of the king of Norway from 1217 to 1263 and the principal source for Norwegian history over this period, in which Hákon’s reign put an end to a long civil war. It was written soon after his death by the Icelandic chieftain and historian Sturla Þórðarson at the instigation of the king’s son