Checkpoint #1
Erik the Red's Saga


Checkpoint #2
Summary
Keneva Kunz's translation of the 13th century Icelandic tale Eirik the Red's Saga details various Icelandic and Greenlandic heroes and warriors that had a role in the development of Iceland, Greenland, and the discoveries of various parts of North America. Many different Norse men and women are introduced to the reader, including Olaf, Thorvald, Gudrid, Thorbjorn (both male and female), Erirk the Red's sons Leif and Thorstein, Thorhall, Karlsefni, and many others. The most prominent character, Eirik the Red, plays a large role in the beginning of the saga by discovering and helping to inhabit Greenland. Lineage plays a large role in each of these characters, and the author often details parentage throughout many generations. A major theme of the text is the introduction of Christianity to the Norse culture. In the fifth chapter of the saga the author depicts how the Norway king Olaf Tryggvason asks Leif, Eririk the Red's son, to attempt to bring Christianity to his people. The king says to Leif, "you will go as my envoy and convert Greenland to Christianity", and Leif obliges out of respect for the king (661). Later in the text this development of conversion comes to fruition when Thorstein and others in his camp are killed by an illness. When Thorstein returns from the dead he tells Gurdid that she must bury the dead in consecrated grounds at a church so their spirits may rest in peace (664). Another major aspect of the saga is the apparent accidental discovery of different areas of North America. As a group of men depart from Greenland,led by Thorhall and Karlsefni, they chance upon islands and forests around Greenland. They also come across native people of these lands and at first have a friendly relationship with them but the relationship soon turns. In one dramatic scene the men are attacked by the natives and a battle ensues. This prompts Thorhall and Karlsefni to travel in different directions with Thorhall heading north and Karlsefni heading south. While Thorhall perishes along with his small crew, Karlsefni discovers more land to the south of Greenland. Overall, this saga shows various cultural elements, religious evolution, and histories of the Norse people from Iceland and Greenland.

Annotated Bibliography
#1
Delucenay Leon, G. (1989). Explorers of the Americas Before Christopher Columbus . London: Franklin Watts
George Deluceany Leon's book Explorers of the Americas Before Christopher Columbus outlines the different people who may have discovered parts or North America before Columbus claimed to have. The most compelling chapter is titled "The Vikings" and discusses Norse people like Lief Erikson, Bjarni Herjolfsonn, and most notably Erik the Red. The author gives some background to the Norse people including Erik the Red and his discovery of Greenland and how was able to bring people to the island. Delucenay write that Erik was from a long line of mariners and was also a skilled warrior (32). While this entire passage on the vikings most relates to my research, the passage on Erik the Red offers a concise summary of the man's life and what he meant to the people of Iceland and later Greenland. This summary allows for a better understanding of the sagas as well. Very little information can be found on the author but because Franklin Watts is a notable publishing company one can be ensured that Delucenay Leon's research is authoritative.
#2
Holand, H. R. (1958). Explorations in America Before Columbus . New York : Twayne Publishers.
Holand's book Explorations in America Before Columbus explores the possibilities of which Norse men may have discovered America and where exactly they landed. Holand argues that Norsemen undoubtedly discovered the Americas before Columbus did but he is not convinced that others scholars who suggest these explores never went past the coastline of the continent. Holand writes, "A more important controversy... concerns Norse penetration of the inner continent by way of the Hudson Bay and into central Minnesotta. The author points to different artifacts like the Kensington stone and the stone tower at Newport to back up his research (7). Holand claims himself to be the only writer on Norse exploration of America to have a detailed field of study in his book's preface. He also wrote many books on Norse exploration and received a BA from Wisconsin in 1898 and earned his masters the next year. Most notably, Holand received the the Guggenheim Fellowship in Anthropology in 1950 further cementing his place as an expert in the field during the 20th century. Because Holand has a broad range of research and content the entire book may not be as valuable for my research but will still be of interest.
#3
Middelton Reeves, A. F. (1895). The Finding of Wineland the Good. New York : Burt Franklin .
Reeves' book The Finding of Wineland the Good further discusses the Norse explorers who had discovered the Americas before Columbus but mostly focuses on Lief Erikson and his search for "Wineland". This area was thought to be laden with grapes and would have made a fruitful place to settle for the Norse people. However, he also has an extensive chapter on Erik the Red and his saga. Reeves discusses the original manuscript that the saga was published on and how it is one of the most complete manuscripts from this era. Reeves praises the saga for giving a detailed perspective of the search for Wineland and what happened when it was discovered. He writes, "The saga of Eric the Red presents a clear and graphic account of the discovery and exploration of Wineland the Good (25). Because this is such a vital episode in the discovery of America as well as Norse history, this book offers a brilliant perspective of the overlap of these topics. This book also contains more information about explorations of other Norsemen which may be useful in finding other outlets for research. While Reeves' work is certainly dating, going back to the late 19th century, his authoritative voice still stands tall. Reeves personally translated countless Norse texts and spent his time as a researcher and writer on the topic before his death.

Quotation/ Close Reading
#1 "These practices will not do which have been followed here in Greenland after the coming of Christianity: burying people in unconsecrated ground with little if any service said over them. I want my corpse taken to a church" (Kunz 664).
This quote said by Thorstein, a farmer on Greenland who fell ill along with many of the other first settlers, shows the grip that Christianity was taking over the Norse people.In previous chapters the pagan religion that these people previously held is mentioned. For example, in chapter four a "seeress" is called upon during difficult times in Greenland to bring hope to its people. Only Gudrid seems to object but eventually helps the woman perform her pagan ritual (659). However, after some time we see Thorstein all but denounce the old pagan ways and fully embrace Christianity by wanting himself and other to be buried in holy grounds. This shows that Leif's original mission of converting the Norse people to Christianity was accomplished and these people embraced their new religion.

#2 "Freeing one of her breasts from her shift, she smacked the sword with it. This frightened the natives who turned and ran back to their boats and rowed away" (671).
This quote recalls the ideas of the place of females in this society. While Freydis was originally dismissed by the men around her, whom she implored to fight and claimed she could outfight any of them, she is not passive in her position and fights without the leave of the men anyways. This quote also shows the fierceness of the Norse women. Gurdid, like Freydis, also shows leadership qualities and an ability to garner respect from the men around her. While other Middle Ages societies tend to objectify females and only see them as home makers and mothers, the Norse have a different view on women. While they are certainly not equals, these still are held to a respectable position and have the ability to offer their own opinions and ideas to men who sometimes consider these ideas.This quote illustrates this point nicely.

#3 "Karlsefni and Gurdrid had a son named Thorbjorn, whose daughter Thorunn was the mother of Bishop Bjorn" (674).
These lines of the end of the saga provoke different ideas about the Norse culture. First, the frequent mention of lineage and family history shows that these people hold ancestors in high regard. The fact that they can recall generation after generation shows the emphasis and importance of parentage. Even people who did not rank highly in society still held their ancestors in high regard. Secondly, this quote again shows the power that Christianity would have over these people. The end of the line mentions Bishop Bjorn who was of high birth, being born to Karsefni and Gurdrid, and would have to have been a devout Christian to reach the rank of Bishop. This again proves that Christianity spread far and wide among the Norse people, and it had a strengthening grip on their society and culture.

Checkpoint #3
Annotated Bibliography
#1
Andrén, Anders. "Behind Heathendom: Archaeological Studies of Old Norse Religion." Scottish Archaeological Journal, vol. 27, no. 2, Sept. 2005, pp. 105-138.
Anders Andrén's article "Behind Hearthnendom: Archaeological Studies of Old Norse Religion" is the author's exploration of the Pagan religion of Old Norse ociety. Viewing the research and literature while keeping in mind the archaeological aspect of the project allowed Andrén to determine the kinds of religious practices used by the Norse people before the spread of Christianity. Crude structures, such as open air temples, shift over time to Bronze Age inspired places of worship help to prove the shift in religious practices for the Norse people. This research provides me with a professional's view on the implications of a shifting religion on the Norse society. The article can be found in the Scottish Archaeology Journal which has been in existence since 1969. The author has written two articles for this particular journal and was also a member on the "Road to Midgard" project which is mentioned in the article as being a project centered around the literature, religion, culture, and archaeology of the Old Norse world. This particular article has also been cited 34 times proving its scholarly value to others as well as myself. Overall, this article will be valuable to me as I continue to search for a specific topic regarding my research.

#2
Carol J. Clover , "Regardless of Sex: Men, Women, and Power in Early Northern Europe," Speculum 68, no. 2 (Apr., 1993): 363-387.
Carol J. Clover, a leading expert in the field of women in medieval studies, discusses the roles of men and women in Old Norse society in her article "Regardless of Sex: Men, Women, and Power in Early Northern Europe". Clover points to the Icelandic Sagas that depict women as housekeepers and men as hunters and warriors. However, she also discusses instances where Norse women dismissed these roles became much more than Homemakers. Clover points to female warriors such as the "red girl" and others who fought as vikings alongside men or even led men into battle (367). This relates to the character of Freydis in Erik the Red's Saga when she took charge during an attack from enemies when the men in her group did not. This shows that Freydis is not an anomaly in Icelandic Literature and that women often take over as something other than a homemaker. Clover is considered a prolific researcher in this field and this particular article has been cited over 200 times. She has also written many pieces on females and the female role in medieval literature. Speculum, the medieval studies journal where this article is found, has been publishing since 1926 and was the first journal in North America with a sole focus on medieval studies. This article's topic, as well as the reliability of the author and journal, make this piece vital to my research.

#3
Jochens, Jenny. Women in Old Norse Society. Cornell University Press, 1998.
Jenny Jochens' book Women in Old Norse Society offers another perspective on the role of women during the age of Old Norse literature. Jochens' details the lives of women in regards to their work, relationships, sexual behaviors, and religious practices. Especially relevant to my expanding research, the author explores the differences between women in a pagan society and the budding Christian society of later years. This book will likely be the cornerstone to my research because it discusses the crossroads of women and shifting religious practices of Old Norse society. Jochens is currently a professor of medieval studies at Towson University and is a prolific researcher of women in Norse society. She has produced many different articles on these subjects and this particular article has been cited by fellow scholars 203 times. Her notoriety in the field along with her extensive work on this subject makes her one of the most credible researchers in this field.

Trends
Throughout the exploration of Norse Literature, many different things seem to be discussed by the leading researchers in the field. Some of these items include the role of women and religion, and their effects on this society. While these trends may be caused by specific research directions, these do seem to be more apparent than things like warriors, vikings, agriculture, or other trends that one might expect. Perhaps the most prevalent trend of this particular research is the role of women in Norse society. Many scholars, including Jochens and Clover, discuss at length the evolving role of the female in this society. This research includes the daily lives of women, their roles in marriage, sex, and housekeeping and instances of women becoming more involved in leading this culture. Scholars seem to be pointing to different females in the sags and explore how those females deviate from each other, or other females from different medieval societies. Scholars also seem to utilize the shifting religion during this time to further examine the role of women. Because Norse society went from practicing a pagan religion to Christianity, there is much to be observed in terms of how this shift impacted the Norse people. Scholars note things like religious practices, like burial and worshiping exercises, as well as the Norse's view on sacrifice and praising of the gods. This theme is also apparent in Erik the Red's Saga where the introduction of Christianity has both pros and cons to the characters in the saga. Both the role of women and the implications of a shifting religion are trends that have been observed while researching Norse society and the Icelandic Sagas.

Query
During the research process of Icelandic texts and Norse society, many different topics have caught my eye as something that might be interesting and well stocked with research. Of these topics, the role of women and religion have become increasingly apparent and interesting. However, deciding between these topics is a difficult choice. Therefore, the best option for research practices, thesis development, and overall production of the paper seems to be to merge these two topics. How to further explore these two topics in connection with each other may also leaves options. These options include looking at the differences between the roles of women in the Norse pagan society compared to the later Christian society. Another option may be to view how Christianity either help or inhibited the roles of Norse women. A third option could be to examine if women had an impact on the Norse deciding to convert from a pagan religion to Christianity. Overall, the idea of combining the themes of women's roles and religion in Norse society offers many different tracks of research and something that will be frequently discussed by scholars and of interest to those concerned with Norse society. Erik the Red's Saga also contains aspects of both of these topics. The varying roles of women and the impact of shifting religions is something found in multiple parts of the saga. Researchers like Jochens and Clover have also discussed these topics but independently from each other.

Checkpoint #4
Abstract
The intention of this research paper is to prove that females in Old Norse society had varying standards, expectations, and roles depending on the religious practices of Norse people. Through thorough examination of Erik The Red's saga, Norse rituals, and the research of scholars of the field, it is apparent that females had more freedom and power when the Norse observed a pagan religion. Females lost much of this power during the conversion to a Christian led society during the 10th century. This conversion affected women's social standing, freedom, and overall influence of the Norse people. This change can most closely be observed in Keneva Kunz's translation of Erik the Red's saga. This saga is abundant with prominent women and seems to show conflicting roles depending on the current religious beliefs. While some scholars seem to believe that there is not enough information, textual or otherwise, to make this determination on the roles of women, this paper will prove that there is enough evidence and that there is a striking contrast in the female social standing. It is important to examine this topic for multiple reasons. First, this inquiry shows the effects that Christianity has on women in the Norse society as well as other societies who followed Christian practices. This paper will also examine how this civilization responded to conversion and whether or not the conversion was successful. There also seems to be questions from various scholars who discuss the implications of Christianity on females and if it allows for a more submissive role for women. Because scholars tend to disagree on these implications, this paper will offer another voice to the argument and hopefully provide some answers to these questions. Overall, this paper will specifically address the roles of women in two major eras of Norse society using the Icelandic sagas and the research of other scholars.

Annotated Bibliography
#1
Borovsky, Zoe. “Never in Public: Women and Performance in Old Norse Literature.” The Journal of American Folklore, vol. 112, no. 443, 1999, pp. 6–39. JSTOR. www.jstpr.org.
Zoe Borovsky's article "Never in Public: Women and Performance in Old Norse Literature" found in The Journal of American Folklore discusses the differences in societal expectations for men and women in Old Norse culture. These differences include how women are viewed in and out of the household and the frequency of which females disregarded these roles and the subsequent reactions. Increasingly pertinent to my research, Borovsky looks at the "emerging Viking patriarchy" that grows as the conversion of the Norse people spreads . The author looks at scholars who believe that women lost societal standing with the rise of Christianity, and those that do not believe that there is enough evidence to support that argument. However, this article directly ties in with my own research on the shifting roles of women in old Norse Society. Borovsky's article has been cited over 30 times and the author herself cites experts in the field such as Jenny Jochens and Carol J. Clover. As for The Journal of American Folklore, it is an established and long standing publication that has been producing work since 1888, thus proving its worth as a credible outlet for research. Overall, this article will undoubtedly help to further my research and help to focus my thesis.

#2
Jochens , Jenny. “Late and Peaceful: Iceland's Conversion through Arbitration in 1000.”Medieval Academy of America, vol. 74, no. 3, July 1999, pp. 621–655. JSTOR.
Jenny Jochen's article "Late and Peaceful: Iceland's Conversion through Arbitration" gives a history of Icelandic conversion from paganism to Christianity. Jochens calls the conversion, "voluntary, peaceful, formal, and immediate" in comparison with other conversions during the period (621). The author also points out that the Icelanders never had a pagan "relapse" and that the conversion was nearly wholly accepted by this society (622). This begs the questions of why it was so simple and easy for the Icelanders to change religions and if any conflict was created by the conversion. Of the various points of conversion that Jochens discusses, one recalls the fast changing burial rituals, something related to Erik the Red's Saga . Jochens appears to be a leading contributor in the field of medieval studies, particularly regarding gender roles in these societies. Not only have I used another of her sources for this article, but she has been more than 30 times for this article alone and has many other articles on these subjects. Jochens can surely be considered a credible and knowledgeable source regarding women and religion in Old Norse society. As for The Medieval Academy of America journal, has been producing scholarly work since 1925 and is one of the largest contributors to the medieval conversation according to its website. Overall, this source will be used when discussing the transition from paganism to Christianity in my own paper, as well as the discussion of burial rituals.

#3
Sawyer, Birgit, and Peter H. Sawyer. Medieval Scandinavia: from Conversion to Reformation, circa 800-1500. Univ. of Minnesota Press, 2003.
Brigit and Peter Sawyer's book Medieval Scandinavia is similar to that of Jenny Jochens article in that it offers a history of Scandinavian religious conversion. However, this text goes into more detail and provides more of the complications conversion created for the people of this society. This is particularly true for females. Zoe Borovsky's article cites the Sawyers when they write that there is not enough information to determine if women had "higher status or greater freedom" in a pagan versus Christian society. Borovsky argues against this idea. The Sawyer, however, simply state that there is not enough information to make this determination(212). This debate will be the crux of my own argument. I intend to prove that women, in fact, had more freedom and a higher standing in the pagan society, rather than the Christian one. This book still offers a helpful counter argument as well as other important factors pertaining to conversion and gender roles in Old Norse society. This particular book has been cited 150 times and is written by some of the leaders in the medieval Scandinavian discussion. Brigit Sawyer has written 12 books and many other articles relating to medieval studies and taught at the University of Science and Technology in the History and Classical studies department. Not only will this book offer a counter argument to my own, but it will also give me more context of the Scandinavian conversion.

Argument Against a Scholarly Article
According to Brigit and Peter Sawyer's book Medieval Scandinavia: from Conversion to Reformation, circa 800-1500 there is not enough information that would lead scholars to believe that the social standing and overall freedom of women changed between the period of pagan religion and the shift to Christianity. While the authors do point out that women may have lost a voice as "transmitters of tradition" they do not comment on the social aspect of the religion ramifications writing, "It is not possible to give a clear answer to the question... regarding whether Scandinavian women had higher status and greater freedom of action in pre-Christian times that later" (212) . I believe that there is in fact information found in the Icelandic sagas, particularly in Erik the Red's saga, that would point to women having more freedom and higher social standing during the pagan era of Norse society. For example, when Thorhall and Karlsefni look for new lands to inhabit, they are seen questioning the new religion when Thorhall says, "Didn't Old Redbeard prove to be more help than your Christ?" (668). Later in this context of questioning Christianity, Freydis admonishes the men for not fighting the local native people and instead rises up against them on her own in a powerful scene of feminism (670). It is in this scene that Freydis appears to literally shed her Christian expectations as a women and embrace her old pagan ways of independence. This is just one scene that shows the contrast of the pagan female character and the Christian female character in Erik the Red's saga . While I concur that there is not overwhelming information to prove that women were seen differently from paganism to Christianity, I believe that there is enough information to make to this determination and that Brigit and Peter Sawyer are not entirely correct.