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"volcanoes, geysers and glaciers"

* The Libertarian Futurist Society, the organization behind The Prometheus Awards, has a new LiveJournal here.

* Later this week I will be heading out to Tucson to serve as the discussion leader at a colloquium on "Liberty and Responsibility in the Literature of Frontiers: Sagas and Westerns." The common texts that we will be discussing include the following:
1. Njal's Saga (13th century)
2. The Saga of the People of Laxardal (13th century)
3. A Texas Cowboy: or, Fifteen Years on the Hurricane Deck of a Spanish Pony by Charlie Siringo (1885)
4. The Virginian by Owen Wister (1902)
5. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)
6. Lone Star (1996)

* Which reminds me, I have some Icelandic links to share:
- Professor Jesse Byock's Viking Site, including information on The Mosfell Archaeological Project
- Icelandic Sagas Page, including links to online texts
- Icelandic Sagas Archive
- Icelandic Lore from the Internet Sacred Text Archive
- "Private Creation and Enforcement of Law: A Historical Case" by David Friedman
- "Privatization, Viking Style: Model or Misfortune?" by Roderick T. Long

And, more generally...

- The Online Medieval and Classical Library (OMACL)
- Luminarium, a general online library filled with online texts divided into Medieval, Renaissance, and 17th Century categories

Iceland is known to men as a land of volcanoes, geysers and glaciers. But it ought to be no less interesting to the student of history as the birthplace of a brilliant literature in poetry and prose, and as the home of a people who have maintained for many centuries a high level of intellectual cultivation. It is an almost unique instance of a community whose culture and creative power flourished independently of any favouring material conditions. and indeed under conditions in the highest degree unfavourable. Nor ought it to be less interesting to the student of politics and laws as having produced a Constitution unlike any other whereof records remain and a body of law so elaborate and complex, that it is hard to believe that it existed among men whose chief occupation was to kill one another.
-James Bryce, Studies in History and Jurisprudence 263 (1901)



( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 30th, 2007 04:46 pm (UTC)
If you are interested in Icelandic culture, may I recommend another source that I found extremely valuable? Bloodtaking and Peacemaking, by William Ian Miller, is a detailed study of the Icelandic legal system, based both on the law codes and on the accounts in the sagas (which Miller compares to pulp hardboiled detective novels). I found it very informative and clearly presented.
Apr. 30th, 2007 07:31 pm (UTC)
Excellent! Thank you so much for the recommendation. I appreciate it.
Apr. 30th, 2007 05:05 pm (UTC)
Thank you for those Medieval resources - Finding some family stuff...
Apr. 30th, 2007 07:31 pm (UTC)
You're most welcome! I'm so glad they're turning out to be useful to you.
Apr. 30th, 2007 06:21 pm (UTC)
The observation in that quote is most interesting. Thanks for the links, gonna make myself some coffee and wander around in them.
Apr. 30th, 2007 07:32 pm (UTC)
You're most welcome! I hope the links prove interesting/useful to you.
May. 1st, 2007 02:45 am (UTC)
When I think Iceland, Smilla's feeling for Snow always comes to mind.

Unlike the quote states, I do no think it strange that a warrior society develops complex laws to govern behaviour. It makes a lot of sense that in a society where your likely to be brained if you offend someone else that you make laws to prevent that happening. It would also develop a code of manners and courtesy. That's no bad thing!

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )