The Sagas of Icelanders are a mixture of fact and fiction. This means that it is difficult to connect events and characters with descriptions of society. We must accept defeat on the question of whether characters and events in the sagas are real or fictitious. Instead we ought to focus on the picture of society that the sagas present us with; the social structure may well be historical even where characters and dialogues are invented.
Chieftains and power in the Icelandic commonwealth is an English translation of Jon Vidar Sigurdssons 1993 doctoral dissertation. The aim of this study is to write the history of the chieftaincy system from the beginning to end when the Sagas of Icelanders, along with all their attendant problem as sources, are drawn into the discussion of political developments in the Commonwealth period.
The Viking Collection was founded by the late Gerd Wolfgang Weber and Preben Meulengracht Sørensen to provide students and scholars in the field of Scandinavian studies, especially Old Norse and other Medieval areas, with a library of books on central topics of Northern civilization. It was -- and is -- the editors' hope that this selection of studies will appeal also to the general reader with an interest in the Scandinavian past. The Viking Collection contains mainly original works, but a few translations are also included. English is the language of the series. Vol. 1-12 were edited by the founding editors. From vol. 13 the series is edited by Preben Meulengracht Sørensen and Margaret Clunies Ross.