Reconstructing Recension 2 of Mágus saga jarls, ca. 1400: AM 590 a 4to, AM 152 fol. and the earliest fragments

Ralph O'Connor* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mágus saga jarls survives in at least three mediaeval recensions, and in several later recensions and mixed recensions preserved only in paper manuscripts. These recensions vary in length, structure and style. In this article the second recension is discussed. It is best known from the text in the sixteenth-century parchment-book AM 152 fol., but scholars agree that this recension was first composed in the fourteenth century. Fragments of the second recension of Mágus saga are also preserved as AM 567 XVII β and γ 4to. J. Brian Dodsworth argued that these parchment-fragments were written by the same scribe, and he suggested that they originally formed part of the same parchment-manuscript. The text of Mágus saga in the fragments is considerably fuller than the text in AM 152 fol., which (it is argued here) has been compressed. It is here suggested that the text in the seventeenth-century paper manuscript AM 590 a 4to is a copy of the lost parchment-book that now survives only in fragments β and γ, and that AM 590 a 4to therefore gives a more accurate picture than AM 152 fol. of the second recension in its fourteenth-century form. In order to demonstrate this, a text-critical comparison of passages from the fragments, AM 590 a 4to and AM 152 fol. is here presented with a parallel-text edition, and variant readings from other witnesses of the second recension written before 1700 and from mediaeval texts of the other two recensions. In conclusion, the implications of this evidence for the transmission history and stemma of the second recension of Mágus saga will be discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2023


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