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'These people were high-born and thought well of themselves': The family of Moddan of Dale

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Chapter Summary

One of the distinctive features of the sagas is a tendency to include genealogies of central characters, especially where particular families play an important part in the saga over several generations. The saga also provides details of various other family relationships, although over fewer generations than in some of the Family Sagas. This notably occurs with two main groups in the twelfth century, by which time most scholars have accepted that the saga is somewhat more historically reliable. The first of these groups is a listing of the leading families of Orkney, and their landholdings. The other is an extraordinary family which, after the death of St. Magnús, plays almost as central a role in the saga as the direct earldom line. This is the family of Moddan of Dale, described as a rich and honoured man.

Keywords: Moddan of Dale; Orkney; sagas



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