Specimen Lexici Runici was the first dictionary of Old Icelandic, compiled in the early seventeenth century by the Icelandic clergyman Magnús Ólafsson and printed in Denmark in 1650. It contains over a thousand entries, and the majority include illustrative quotations, sometimes of considerable length (two or more pages) from Old Icelandic sagas and other kinds of writing, including many poems, none of which were printed until after Magnús’s time. The head words were transcribed into runes, as it was believed at the time that in the Middle Ages Icelandic books had been written in runes.


The edition offers scanned images of the pages of the printed work with a transcription of the only surviving manuscript (not an autograph) parallel. The introduction contains a short biography of the author and the history of the work, which was revised for publication after the author’s death, and a summary of the sources of the quotations. There are extensive notes to each dictionary entry, which identify the source of each quotation (where possible) and attempt to identify the version, or even the actual manuscript, used by the compiler for his quotations from each work. Where an entry lists a word or words without any illustrative quotation, the note mentions chief occurences of these words in texts from the time of the compiler or earlier (if any).


The dictionary throws valuable light on the history of Icelandic words and the knowledge of and attitudes to Old Icelandic literature in the Renaissance period in Iceland and Denmark, and in some cases preserves readings and vocabulary from Old Icelandic manuscripts which have since been lost.


ISBN: ISBN 9780903521802

Price: £60 (£30 for members of the Viking Society)



Ágrip af Nóregskonungasogum

Edited and translated by Matthew Driscoll
Viking Society Text Series Volume X
Second edition


Ágrip is a short ‘synoptic history’, written probably in Norway about 1190, summarising the history of Norway from about 880 to 1136. As an important source for later texts such as Fagrskinna and Snorri Sturluson’s Heimskringla, it may be said to have launched the writing of vernacular history in Scandinavia. In Matthew Driscoll’s edition, first published in 1995, the Old Norse text is presented with a facing English translation, full introduction, textual notes and commentary. In this revised edition some errors are corrected and readings revised. 2008. xxv + 126 pp.

ISBN 978 0 903521 75 8.

 Price: £6 for members of the Society, £12 for others.                  




Edited and translated by Clive Tolley

Grottasongr (‘The Song of Grotti’) is a poem in 24 stanzas, considered part of the Poetic Edda corpus although it occurs not in the Codex Regius manuscript but in various manuscripts of Snorra Edda. It takes the form of a work-song chanted by two giant maidens forced by the legendary Danish king Fróði to grind out, on the mill called Grotti, first riches and happiness, and then an army. The present edition was originally to be included in the fourth volume of The Poetic Edda, edited by Ursula Dronke, with the assistance of the present editor, for Oxford University Press. The poem is presented with a facing translation, textual notes, full commentary and introduction.

2008. iv + 64 pp. ISBN 978 0 903521 78 9.

Price: £4 for members of the Society, £8 for others.



Old Norse Made New image



Edited by David Clark and Carl Phelpstead
Viking Society for Northern Research
Published 1st December 2007
ISBN 978-0-903521-76-5
Price £10 (£5 for members of the Society)


These eight essays investigate the reinvention of Old Norse-Icelandic literature and culture by writers in English from the eighteenth century to the present day, from Thomas Gray to Tolkien and beyond. Earlier versions of most of the essays in this collection were delivered at the Viking Society Student Conference on the theme of ‘Old Norse Made New' held at the University of Oxford on 25 February 2006 (Clark, Fimi, Finlay, O'Donoghue, Phelpstead, and Townend). Following the conference it was felt that the papers could be published alongside others on medievalist topics from previous Viking Society Student Conferences (Ashurst and Larrington). We hope that the resulting volume will appeal to students and others with an interest in the ways in which Old Norse literature and the medieval culture of Iceland and Scandinavia have influenced writers, especially writers in English, after the Middle Ages. In recent years the study of medievalism, the post-medieval reception and influence of medieval literature and culture, has become an increasingly productive field of research as scholars have realized that interrogating past constructions of the medieval is a valuable way of reflecting on their own relationship to the material they study. The essays collected here cover a wide chronological span (from the eighteenth century to the twenty-first) and a range of literary genres (poetry, novel, libretto, children's literature, fantasy fiction); we very much hope that the variety of subject matter examined in this collection will inspire others to pursue further research in this rich field.


To order: Contact the Society’s distributors, Gazelle Book Services Ltd, High Town, Lancaster, LA1 4XS ( for cost including postage; members should ask for the discount price.