Bandamanna saga

Bandamanna saga (Icelandic pronunciation: ​[ˈpantamanːa saɣa]About this soundlisten ) is one of the sagas of Icelanders. It is the only saga in this category that takes place exclusively after the adoption of Christianity in the year 1000.[1]

The saga starts with the relationship between Odd son of Ofeig (Oddr Ófeigsson) and Ospak son of Glum (Óspakr Glúmsson). Odd leaves home and becomes a wealthy merchant and landowner. Ospak asks to live with Odd at the latter's home at Mel in Miðfjörður. Odd agrees because of Ospak's connections even though he is aware of the man's difficult character and reputation. Things go well until Odd wants to make a trading trip. He talks Ospak into becoming his steward. Ospak woos a rich woman named Svala and moves to her lands after a falling-out with Odd over his stewardship.[2]

Although everything went fine for a while after Ospak moves out, Odd's livestock start to go missing. Váli, who was raised by Odd's father and now lives with Odd, promises to find out if Ospak stole them as Odd suspects. Váli tells Ospak that he is suspected and is killed later when he and Odd visit Ospak's home. Odd tries to bring Ospak to trial at the Thingvellir (Þingvellir) but makes a legal mistake and fails. [3]

Going home disappointed, Odd meets his father, who promises to take on the case if paid what Odd would have paid anybody else who could have fixed things. Ofeig gets the jurymen to agree to do what they want to do, condemn somebody as infamous as Ospak, and get paid into the bargain. The bribe is suspected by Thorarin, father of Ospak's wife, and his friend Styrmir. They form a band of six men known as the banded men (bandamönnum) who swear an oath to take Odd to court and hopefully fine him for all his money.[2]

The rest of the tale is about Ofeig's cunning and guile in handling of the case and its outcome. Very skillfully Ofeig convinces two of the six men conspiring against Odd into helping them instead with even more bribery and promises one of them that Odd will marry one of his daughter. He convinces them that they will get no money because Odd is already gone, that they will look like embarrassed fools when they are caught. They agree and Ofeig convinces the court that he should select two of the six jurymen who will decide the case and levy punishment. As previously agreed by Ofeig and the two men, they find him guilty but charge him an insignificant fine. Thus the two do not break their oaths with the others and still reap a reward. The story ends with Odd reconciled with his father and marrying the daughter of one of the jurymen.[2]


  1. ^ Børge Nordbø. "Bandamanna saga". Store norske leksikon. Retrieved November 1, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c translation by William Morris and Eiríkr Magnússon (1891). "The Story of the Banded Men". Retrieved November 1, 2019.
  3. ^ "Bandamanna Saga". Retrieved November 1, 2019.

External linksEdit


Ellison, Ruth C., trans. "The Saga of the Confederates." in The Sagas of Icelanders: A Selection, edited by Örnólfur Thorsson and Bernard Scudder, 463-95. New York: Penguin,2001.