Slaves in “Egil’s Saga”

Chapter 39


Skallagrim had a servant woman [ambátt which means female slave] named Thorgerd Brak, who had fostered Egil when he was a child. She was an imposing woman, as strong as a man and well versed in the magic arts.

Chapter 83


Early in the winter, Steinar went out to Snaefellsstrond and spent some time there. He saw a slave named Thrand there, a very large and strong man. Steinar offered a high price to buy the slave; his owner valued him at three marks of silver, which was twice the value of an ordinary slave. The deal was made and he took Thrand home with him.

Source: Bernard Scudder, trans., "[Slavery in] Egil's Saga" in The Sagas of Icelanders: A Selection, preface by Jane Smiley, introduction by Robert Kellogg, (New York, London, Victoria (Australia), Toronto, Auckland: The Penguin Group, 2000), 3-184. Notes: Probably by Snorri Sturluson c. 1220-1240 about events 850-1000. Snorri was a descendant of Egil. Translations first published in "The Complete Sagas of Icelanders," volumes I-V (forty-nine tales), Leifur Eiriksson Publishing, Ltd., Iceland, 1997.

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