We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham Research Online
You are in:

Arctic frontiers : rethinking Norse-Sámi relations in the old Norse sagas.

Barraclough, E. R. (2017) 'Arctic frontiers : rethinking Norse-Sámi relations in the old Norse sagas.', Viator., 48 (3). pp. 27-51.


In recent years, scholars from across the disciplines have moved towards a more nuanced consideration of frontier and marginal zones in terms of cross-cultural encounters and hybrid identities. This study focuses on the medieval Arctic borderlands, and particularly the relationship between the Norse and the Finnar (broadly equated with today's Sámi). The traditional stereotype ascribed to the Finnar was of a nomadic, pagan, magical people. Much of the scholarship concerning literary representations of the Finnar—particularly in the Old Norse-Icelandic sagas—has focused on the "otherness" of the Finnar in relation to the Norse. Yet as historical and archaeological studies now demonstrate, relations between the two groups were far more complex and interconnected than this stereotype suggests. Here we shift the focus away from the perceived Norse-Finnar dichotomy in Norse literary texts, arguing for a more fluid, flexible understanding of the northern margins of the Norse world. These texts have much to say about the negotiation and perception of cross-cultural identities on the medieval Arctic frontier, particularly through interactions between the Finnar and the Norse Hálogalanders from northern Norway.

Item Type:Article
Full text:Publisher-imposed embargo
(AM) Accepted Manuscript
File format - PDF
Publisher Web site:
Publisher statement:This manuscript is available under a Creative Commons CC-BY–NC licence.
Date accepted:28 February 2017
Date deposited:13 March 2020
Date of first online publication:01 November 2018
Date first made open access:No date available

Save or Share this output

Look up in GoogleScholar