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Um Hrafnkels sögu Freysgoða: heimild til íslenskrar sögu.

Sveinbjörn Rafnsson
Birtist í
Saga: Tímarit Sögufélags 1996 XXXIV
Í þessari grein er fjallað um Hrafnkels sögu Freysgoða sem sögulega heimild. Raktir eru fáeinir þættir úr mikilli rannsóknarsögu hennar og reynt að gera grein fyrir nokkrum almennum forsendum til ritunar sögunnar. Þá er sagan borin saman við íslenskar og norskar lögbækur 13. aldar. Reynt er að finna ritunartíma hennar sem nákvæmlegast og greina það sem greina má um höfund hennar. Loks er drepið á það söguskyn og þá meðferð á sannindum sem birtist í sögunni og tæpt á nokkrum túlkunarmöguleikum. Sagan verður með þessum hætti drjúg heimild til íslenskrar sögu.
This article deals with Hrafnkels Saga Freysgoða. The aim is to date the Saga as closely as possible and to indicate some of the saga's traits and tendencies in order to place it in its specific historical context. A very selective survey of the history of research of the Hrafnkels Saga reveals the significance and importance of O. Opet's article, published in 1894. He discussed the reliability of the saga's information regarding lega l history and dated the saga to the late 13th century. Opet’s approach was somewhat negative, i.e. if the saga did not adhere to the laws of the Commonwealth, Grágás, it was to be regarded as unreliable. A more positive approach is taken here and the legal proceedings and cases as described in Hrafnkels Saga are compared to the lawcodes instigated by King Magnús of Norway in the late 13th century. It is shown beyond any doubt that the saga is written after the acceptance of the lawcode Jónsbók in Iceland in 1281. Also it is clear that the saga must be dependent on Hirðskrá, the laws of the Norwegian royal court, issued by King Magnús in the 1270s. It can also be concluded that the author of the saga is well versed in law and he seems to be accustomed to judicial activities. He might have been in the service of a mighty sheriff of courtier in eastern Iceland. A reasonable date of the saga’s origin seems to be no earlier than the last decade of the 13th century. The political tendentiousness in Hrafnkels Saga is shortly discussed along with the question of its fraudulent of deceptive character as its written in the late 13th century but purports to describe events taking place in the 9th and 10th centuries. Arguments and disputations contemporary with the saga’s time of origin are apparently projected back to an earlier historical period and laws only valid in Iceland in the late 13th century are purported to be in force in the early Commonwealth period. Similar anachronistic tendencies are displayed in Jóns Saga Baptista, probably written in 1284-1295, where the Canon Law of the 12th and 13th centuries is put in the mouth of John the Baptist. It is argued that the anachronistic transference of the saga’s arguments to the ancient time of the settlement of Iceland as well as to Biblical times was intended to provide them with weight and warranty in the interest of contemporary institutions, namely the secular authorities and the church of late 13th century Iceland.