Bishop Brynjolf Sveinsson (1605-1675)

Bishop Brynjolf Sveinsson (1605-1675)

In 1656, the Danish king Frederik 3. received Flateyjarbok. Before he brought it back to the Royal library in Copenhagen, the Icelandic bishop and intellectual Brynjolf Sveinsson gave the king a strong admonition to translate and publish the sagas across the known to be read and studied so that the tradition wouldn't pass into oblivion as museum relics collecting dust in hidden corners.

We believe that Bishop Brynjolvs admonition is as poignant today as it was then, and have adopted it as our creed in our work. Thus our work becomes a part of a historical timeline going back to the creation of Flateyjarbok with its clear political intent, to influence the young King Olav 4. to create a just and good society.

HISTORICAL TIMELINE FOR THE FLATEYJARBOK PROJECT

1380–87:  The first part of Flateyjarbók (the royal gift) is written down under the supervision of Jon Håkonsson.
1387: The young king Olav IV Håkonsson dies, just 17 years old.
1387–ca. 1400: The second part of Flateyjarbók is written down under the supervision of Jon  Håkonsson.
1647:  The farmer Jon Finnsson (ca. 1592) of Flatey Island turns Flateyjarbók, a family treasure, over to Brynjolv Sveinsson, Bishop of Skålholt.
1656: Brynjolv Sveinsson informs the Allting that the king of Denmark/Norway, Fredrik III, is collecting old manuscripts for his library in Copenhagen, announcing that he himself is giving Flateyjarbók to the king.
1662: Flateyjarbók is rapidly translated into Danish by the Icelandic historian Tormod Torfæus.
1682: Torfæus is appointed royal “historiographer” by King Christian V, and gets the king’s blessing for the project of writing a comprehensive Norwegian history. Flateyjarbók  is loaned to Torfæus, who lives at Avaldsnes on Karmøy. There it is preserved in a fireproof cellar for 22 years. The book is an important source for Torfæus’ various historical works.
1704: Flateyjarbók is returned to Copenhagen in connection with King Fredrik IV’s visit to Avaldsnes.
1857:  Norwegian state archivist Christian C. A. Lange begins an initiative to have  Flateyjarbók published in Old Norse under the national budget.
1860–68: The first printed edition in Old Norse (3 vols.), edited by Guðbrandur Vigfússon (1827-1889) and Carl Richard Unger (1817-1897) is published in Oslo.
1893: A facsimile of the portion of Flateyjarbók dealing with the Vinland voyages is exhibited at the Chicago World’s Fair in Chicago, USA.
1930:  Flateyjarbók is published in a special facsimile edition edited by Finnur Jónsson (1858-1934), in Copenhagen. The facsimile edition serves as a gift to the representatives of the Icelandic Allting.
1944–45: Another printed edition in Old Norse (four vols., called the Akranes edition), edited by Sigurður Nordal, is published in Reykjavik, Iceland.
1971: Flateyjarbók and Codex Regius are returned to Iceland on board a Danish war ship, and received with great celebration.
1990s: The outstanding Icelandic scholar Ólafur Halldórsson proposes the theory that the first part of Flateyjarbók was originally intended as a gift for King Olav         IV.
2005:    The American scholar Eizabeth Ashman Rowe follows up Ólafur Halldórsson’s research in her dissertation, Development of Flatejarbók: Iceland and the dynastic crisis of 1389.
2012:  The Flateyjarbók project is announced.
2014–18:    The first translated edition of Flateyjarbók, edited by Torgrim Titlestad, is pub-
    lished in Stavanger.
2017: The international Flateyjarbok project is started.