Gutarnas Krönika eller Gutasagan

The History of the Gotlanders

Translated by Peter Tunstall

© 2004

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Gotland upptäcks och befolkas Discovery & Settlement of Gotland

Gutland hitti fyrsti mathr than sum thieluar hit. tha war gutland so eluist at thet daghum sanc Oc natum war uppj. En thann mathr quam fyrsti eldi a land Oc sithan sanc thet aldri.

thissi thieluar hafthi ann sun som hit hafthi. En haftha cuna hit huita stierna thaun tu bygthu fyrsti agutlandi fyrstu nat som thaun saman suafu tha droymdi hennj draumbr. So sum thrir ormar warin slungnir saman j barmj hennar Oc thytti hennj sum thair scrithin yr barmi hennar. thinna draum segthi han firi hastha bonda sinum hann riath dravm thinna so.

 

 

Alt ir baugum bundit

bo land al thitta wartha

oc faum thria syni aiga.

 

 

thaim gaf hann namn allum o fydum.

 

 

guti al gutland

aigha graipr al annar

haita Oc gunfiaun thrithi.

Gotland was first discovered by a man called Thielvar. At this time Gotland was bewitched so that it sank by day and [only] surfaced at night. But that man brought fire to the land for the first time, and after that it never sank.
This Thielvar had a son called Hafthi. And Hafthi's wife was called Whitestar. Those two were the first to settle on Gotland. The first night they slept together she dreamt that three snakes were coiled in her lap. And it seemed to her that they slid out of her lap. She told her dream to her husband Hafthi. He interpreted it thus:

"All is bound with bangles,
it will be inhabited, this land,
and we shall have three sons."

While still unborn, he gave them all names:

"Guti will own Gotland,
Graip will be the second,
and Gunfiaun third."

Utvandring Emigration

thair sciptu sithan gutlandi i thria thrithiunga. So at graipr thann elzti laut northasta thrithiung oc guti mithal thrithiung En gunfiaun thann yngsti laut sunnarsta sithan af thissum thrim aucathis fulc j gutlandi som mikit um langan tima at land elptj thaim ai alla fytha tha lutathu thair bort af landi huert thrithia thiauth so at alt sculdu thair aiga oc mith sir bort hafa som thair vfan iorthar attu. Sithan wildu thair nauthugir bort fara men foru innan thors borg Oc bygthus thar firir. sithan wildi ai land thaim thula vtan racu thaim bort thethan. Sithan foru thair borth i faroyna. Oc bygthus thar firir thar gatu thair ai sic vppi haldit Vtan foru j aina oy withr aistland sum haitir dagaithi. Oc bygthus thar firir Oc gierthu burg aina som enn synis. thar gatu thair oc ai sic haldit. Vtan foru vpp at watnj thi sum haitir dyna

Oc vpp ginum ryza land so fierri foru thair at thair quamu til griclanz. thar baddus thair byggias firir af grica kunungi. vm. ny. oc nithar kunungr thann lufathi thaim Oc hugthi at ai mith ann manathr wari. sithan gangnum manathi wildi hann thaim bort wisa En thair annsuarathv at ny oc nithar wari e oc e Oc quathu so sir wara lufat. thissun thaira withratta quam firir drytningina vm sithir tha segthi han. Minn herra kunungur thu lufathi thaim byggia vm ny. oc nithar. tha ir thet e oc e tha matt thu ai af thaim taka. So bygthus thair thar firir. oc enn byggia oc enn hafa thair sumt af waru mali

These then divided Gotland into three parts, so that Graip the eldest got the northern third, Guti the middle third, and Gunfjaun the youngest had the south. Then, over a long time, the people descended from these three multiplied so much that the land couldn't support them all. Then they draw lots, and every third person was picked to leave, and they could keep everything they owned and take it with them, except for their land. Then they were unwilling to leave, but went to Torsburgen and settled there. Then the country [Gotland] would not tolerate them, but drove them away.
Then they went away to Fårö and settled there. They couldn't support themselves in that place, so they went to a certain island off the coast of Estland, called Dagö, and settled there and built a town that can still be seen. But they couldn't support themselves there either, so they went up the river Dvina, up through Russia. They went so far that they came to the land of the Greeks. They asked leave of the Greek king to stay there for the waxing and waning of the moon. The king granted that, thinking it was just for one month. Then after a month, he wanted to send them away, but they answered that the moon waxed and waned for ever and always, and so they said they were allowed to stay. Word of this dispute of theirs reached the queen. She said, "My lord king, you granted them permission to dwell for the waxing and waning of the moon; now that's for ever and always, so you can't take it off them." So they settled there, and live there still, and still have something of our language.
Hedendom       Heathendom

Firi than tima oc lengi eptir sithan. Trothu menn a hult, oc a hauga. wi. oc. stafgartha. oc a haithin guth. blotathu thair synnum oc dydrum sinum Oc filethi. mith matj oc mundgati. thet gierthu thair eptir wantro sinnj. land alt. hafthi sir hoystu blotan mith fulki. ellar hafthi huer thrithiungr. sir. En smeri thing hafthu mindri blotan meth filethi. matj. Oc mungati. sum haita suthnautar. thi et thair suthu allir saman.

 In those days, and for long afterwards, men believed in holt and howe (grove and grave-mound), sanctuaries and sacred enclosures, and in the heathen gods. They made offerings of their sons and daughters and cattle, with feasting and drinking. They did that in their error. The chief sacrifice among the people was the one for the whole land, but each Third had its own sacrifice, and the smaller assemblies had lesser sacrifices with cattle, food and ale. They were called suth-nautar, that is 'Brethren of the Boiling', because they cooked [the sacrificial feast] together.
Inträdet i Sverige The Entry into Sweden
Mangir kunungar stridu agutland mithan hathit war. thau hieldu gutar e iemlica sithri Oc ret sinum. Sithan sentu gutar sendumen manga tjl suiarikis En engin thaira fic frith gart fyr than awair strabain af alfha socn hann gierthi fyrsti frith withr suja kunung.
tha en gutar hann til bathu at fara. tha suarathi hann. Mik witin ir nu faigastan oc fallastan giefin tha mir en ir wilin et iec fari innan slikan watha thry wereldi. att mir sielfum. annat burnum synj minum. Oc thrithia cunu. thy et hann war senieldr. Oc fiel kunnungur so sum saghur af ganga gicc hann a staggathan ret withr suia kunung. Siextighi marca silfs vm arr huert. thet ier scattr guta so at suiarikis cunungr fiauratighi marcr silfs af thaim siextighi. En ierl hafi tiughu marcr silfs. thinna stathgath gierthi hann mith lanz rathj. fyr en hann haiman fori.
So gingu gutar sielfs wiliandi vndir suia kunung thy at thair mattin frir Oc frelsir sykia gutland firir vtan cornband eller annur forbuth. hegnan oc hielp sculdi kunungr gutum at waita. En thair withr thorftin. oc kallathin. sendimen al oc kunungur oc ierl samulaith a gutnal thing senda. Oc latta thar taka scatt sinn. thair sendibuthar aighu frith lysa gutum alla stethi til sykia yfir haf sum upsala kunungi til hoyrir. Oc so thair sum than wegin aigu hinget sykia
Many kings made war on Gotland while it was heathen, but the Gotlanders always maintained their own religion and law. Then the Gotlanders were sending many messengers to Sweden, but none of them succeeded in negotiating a peace, till Awair Strawlegs from Alva parish. He was the first to make peace with the king of the Swedes.
When the Gotlanders asked him to go, he answered, "You know that I am now very old and close to death, so if you want me to go into such peril, then give me three wergilds: one for me, one for my boy, and one for my wife. As he was a smooth-tongued man, wise indeed and artful, as the stories of him go, he established a fixed treaty with the Swedish king: 60 marks of silver a year - that is the tax for the Gotlanders - with 40 for the king, out of that sixty, and the jarls to get 20. This amount had already been decided by agreement of the whole land before he left.
So the Gotlanders submitted to the king of the Swedes of their own free will, that they might go anywhere in Sweden freely and unfettered by tolls or any duties. So too the Swedes could come to Gotland with no ban on the import of corn, or any other restrictions. The king was to give aid and help whenever they needed it and asked. The king would send messengers to the Gotland national assembly, and the jarls likewise, to collect their tax. These messengers must proclaim freedom to the Gotlanders to travel in peace over the sea, to all places where the Swedish king held sway. And the same went for anyone travelling there to Gotland.
Kristendom Christianity

Thaut gutar hainir waru. thau silgdu thair mith caupmanna scap innan all land bathi cristin oc haithin. tha saghu caupmenn cristna sithi j cristnum landum tha litu sumir sic thar cristna Oc fyrthu til gutlanz prestj botair af acubeck hit thann sum fyrstj kierchiu gierthi j thann stath sum nu haitir kulastethar. thy wildi ai land thula vtan brendu hana thy callar thar en kulastethar.

tha eptir than tima war blotan j wj thar gierthi kirchiu athra. tha samu kirchiu wildi land oc brenna tha for hann sielfr wp a. kirchiu. tha. oc segthi. wilin ir brenna tha sculin ir brenna mik meth kirciu thissi hann war ricr sielfr oc ricasca manz dotur hafthi hann sum hit liccair sniellj boandi thar sum kallar stainkirchiu hann reth mest vm than tima hann halp borairj magi sinum Oc segthi so herthin ai brenna mann ella kirchiu hanns thy et han standr i wi. firj nithan clintu. mith thy ficc thaun kirchia standa obrend han war sett thar mith aldra helguna namnj innan than stath sum nu kallar petrs kirchiu. han war fyrsti kirchia j gutlandi sum standa ficc Sithan vm nequan tima eptir lit suer hans lickair snelli sic crisna. Oc husfoyu sina. barn sinn oc hiskep sin allan oc gierthi kirchiu j garthj sinum. thar nu kallar stainkirchiu han war fyrsti kirchia a landi uppi j northasta thrithiungj

Sithan gutar sagu crisna manna sithi tha lydu thair guz buthi oc lethra manna kennu tocu tha almennilica withr cristindomj mith sielfs wilia sinum vtan thuang so et engin thuang thaim til cristnur... Sithan en menn orthu almennilica cristnjr tha gierthis kirchia annur alandi j altinga bo han war fyrstj j mithalthrithiungi ... Sithan warth thrithi gar a landi j farthaim j sunnarnasta thrithiungi af thaim briscathus kirchiur allar j gutlandi thy et menn gierthu sir kirchiur at mairu maki

Although the Gotlanders were heathens, they sailed with merchants' wares to all lands, Christian and heathen. Then the merchants saw the Christian ways in Christian lands. Then some had themselves baptised, and brought priests to Gotland. Botair of Akebäck was the name of the first to build a church in that place which is now called Kulstäde. This the country would not tolerate, but burnt it. So the place is called Kulstäde even now.
For a time afterwards there was sacrifice at the sanctuary. He had another church built there. The land wanted to burn this church too. Then he himself climbed up onto the church, and said, "If you want to burn her, then you'll have to burn me, with this church."
He was an important man and married to the daughter of the most important man, who was called Lickair Snielli. He was a farmer there at the place called Stenkyrka. He deliberated much at this time. He helped his kinsman Botair and said, "Don't go burning this man or his church, because it stands on holy ground, in the temple sanctuary under Kinten."
And so the church stood unburnt. It was consecrated in the name of all the saints at that place now called Saint Peter's Church. It was the first church to remain standing in Gotland.
Some time afterwards, Botair's father-in-law, Lickair had himself baptised along with his wife, his child and his whole household, and built a church at his own farm, which is now called Stenkyrka (Stonechurch). That was the first church to go up in the Northern Third of Gotland.
When they saw the ways of the Christians, the Gotlanders hearkened to God's word and the teaching of learned men. The people as a whole received Christianity, of their own free will without being forced in any way, so no-one forced them to be Christians. As the people all became Christian, another church was built on the island, at Atlingbo. That was the first one in the Middle Third. Then a third church was built in the South Third, at Fardhem. After that, churches sprang up all over Gotland, because people built churches for greater convenience.
Olav den helige Olaf the Saint

Eptir thet sithan quam olauir kunungr flyandi af nerweigi mith schipum oc lengthis j hamn. tha sum callar acrgarn thar la helgi olaujr lengi. tha for ormica af hainaim oc flairj rikir menn till hanns mith giefum sium thann ormica gaf hanum tolf wethru mith andrum clenatum tha gar helghi olauir kunungr hanum atr agin tua bulla oc aina braithyxi. tha tok ormica withr cristindomj eptir helga olafs kennjdomi Oc gierthi sir byna hus j sama steth sum nu standr acrgarna kirchia thethan for helghi olauir til ierzlafs j hulmgarthj

A while after that, King Olaf the Holy came fleeing Norway with his ships and put in to the harbour of Akergarn. Saint Olaf stayed a long time there. Then Ormica of Hejnum and many other important men came to him with gifts. Ormica gave him twelve rams and other valuables. In return, holy King Olaf gave Ormica two bowls and a broad-axe. Then Ormica received Christianity after the teaching of Saint Olaf, and he built a chapel house there where Akegarn church now stands. Then Saint Olaf went to Yaroslav in Holmgard (Novgorod).
Biskopen i Linköping The Bishop in Linköping

Fyr en gutland toki stethilica withr necrum biscupi tha quamu biscupar til gutlanzs pilagrimar til helga lanz ierusalem Oc thethan haim foru than tima war wegr oystra vm ryzaland oc gricland fara til eirusalem thair wigthu fyrst kirchiur Oc kirchiugartha Mith byn thaira sum giera litu kirchiur

Sithan en gutar wendus withr cristindom tha sentu thair sendibutha til hoygsta biscups i leoncopungi thy et hann war thaim nestr. so at mith stethdum ret quami hann til gutlanz thann raithschep giera mith thaim forschielum at biscuper wildi cuma af leoncopungj thrithia huert ar til gutlanz mith tolf mannum sinum sum hanum sculdin fylgia vm land alt mith bonda hstum so mangum ai flairum .

So a biscupr vm gutland fara til kirchiu wigsla. Oc gingerth sinna taka thry borth oc ai maira at kirchiu wigsl. heurri mith. thrim marcum. at alteris wigsl. at borth mith tolf oyrum En alteri ainsamt scal wigias tha en bathi iru o wigth alteri oc kirchia saman tha sculu bathi wigias firj thry borth Oc thriar marcar penninga

Af presti andrum huerium a biscupr gingerth taka vm tilquemda sith thry borth Oc ai maria af andrum huerium prestj sum au gierthi gingerth a thy ari. taki biscupr af huerium lausn So sum kirchiur iru til scurathar. thair sum ai gingerth gierthu at thy bragthi. thair sculu gingerth giera thegar biscupr cumbr atr at thrithia ari. En hinir aigu loysa sum fyrra bragthi gingerth gierthu

... Cunnu dailur wartha sum biscupr a dyma thaar sculu lendas j sama thrithiungi et thair menn wita mest af sannundum sum thar nest boa varthr ai thar thaun daila lent tha scal han schiautas til aldra manna samtalan. Oc ai af thrithiungi j annan Cunnu hetningar etha dailu mal wartha sum biscupi til hoyra at retta. tha a hier bitha biscups quemdar. oc ai yfir fara vtan thuang reki til. oc mikil synd ser at ai ma proastr loysa. tha scal yfir fara millan walborga messur oc helguna messur. En ai thar eptir vm wintr tima til walborga messur Biscup sac. j gutlandi ier ai hoythri than thriar marcr.

 If there are disagreements for the bishop to judge, they should be settled in the same Third, because those who live nearest will know most about the truth of the matter. If the disagreement is not dealt with there, then it shall be transferred to the national assembly, and not moved from one Third to another. If strife or disagreements arise, which pertain to the bishop to settle, then the parties must await the bishop's arrival, and not go over the sea, unless compelled - and that would be a great sin, too great for a provost to absolve. Between the Feast of Saint Walpurga and the Feast of All Saints, they can go over, but no later than that. From then, over the winter time till Walpurgis Night, the case belongs to the bishop.

In Gotland, an episcopal fine is no fine higher than three marks. Before Gotland had a proper bishop of its own, bishops came to Gotland on their way to the Holy land, as pilgrims to Jerusalem, or on their way home. At that time there was a route to Jerusalem through Russian and Greece. At first, it was they who consecrated the churches and churchyards and on whose insistence churches were built.
After the Gotlanders had converted to Christianity, they sent messengers to the chief bishop in Linköping, as he was the nearest to them, to arrange a special agreement whereby the bishop would attend to them. It was then decided that the bishop should come from Linköping every third year with twelve of his men who would accompany him all over the island on horses supplied by the farmers, twelve and no more.
So the bishop would travel round Gotland consecrating churches. And in payment he could take three meals for each consecration, but no more, and also three marks. For consecrating an alter: one meal and twelve oyrar, but only the altar should be consecrated. When both an altar and a church are consecrated together, then both shall be consecrated for three meals and three marks in coin.
From each priest, the bishop may receive, in return for his visit, a payment of three meals, and no more. For each priest who does not pay that year, the bishop shall receive a fine from everyone, so that all the churches are taxed. Those who did not pay their dues that time, must pay when the bishop returns after three years, and recompense those who paid the fine last time.

Ledung Levies

Sithan gutar toku sir biscup oc presti oc withr fulcumnum cristindomi tha toku thair Oc withr at fylgia suia kunungi i herferth mith siau snieckium. vfan a haithin land oc ai vfan cristin. So thau at cunungr. a biavtha gutum laithing eptir wittr Oc manatha frest firi lithstemnu dag oc thau scal lithstemnu dagr wara firi missumar oc ai sithar. tha ir laglica buthit oc ai ellar tha hafa gutar wal vm at fara en thair wilia mith sinum snieckium oc atta wichna wist en ai maira tha en gutar efla ai fylgia tha gialdin fiauratigi marca penninga firi hueria snieckiu Oc thau at andru ari. Oc ai ath thy sama ari sum buthit war. thet haitir laithings lami j thaim manathi tha scal aina wiku buth cafli vm fara oc thing nemnas. tha en mannum sembr at laithingir scal ut ganga tha scal sithan halfan manth til ferthar boas En sithan siau netr firi lithstemnu sculu laithings menn garlakir wara Oc byriar bitha tha en so cann wartha. et ai cumbr byr j thairi wicu tha sculu thair en bitha siau netr eptir lithstemnu dag. tha en ai cumbr byr j thairi frest. tha aigu thair haimfara at saclausu mith thy et ai gatu thair roandi yfir haf farit vtan siglandi Cuma laithings buth j minnum frestum than manathar. tha a ai fara vtan haima sitia at sac lausu Jer so et cunungr wil ai troa at buth quamin olaglica etha byr hindrathi at retum frestum tha aigu sendimen kunungs sum scat taka a thy thingi sum nest ir eptir sanctj petrs messu taka tolf nemda manna aith. Svm sendimen kunungs nemna wilia et thair mith laglicum forfallum haima satin. ... Engin gief nemda aithir j gutlandi vtan kunungs aithir

Cann so illa att bieras at crunathr kunungr warthr mith nequaru waldi bort rekinn af sinu riki tha aigu ai gutar scatt vt giefa vtan haldi hanum vm thry ar oc thau aigu thair e huert ar scatt saman giera oc liggie lata. En tha vt giefa than thry ar iru vt gangin. thaim sum tha rathir suia riki ... Lyct bref mith kunungs insigli scal at allum kunungs ret sendas. oc ai vpit

When Gotlanders received bishop and priest, and completely accepted Christianity, they also undertook to accompany the king of the Swedes into battle with seven warships against heathen lands, but not against Christian ones. It had to be done thus: the king must call the Gotlanders to muster after winter, with a month's notice, and the mustering day must be before midsummer and not after. Such is a legal summons, and nothing else. Then the Gotlanders have a choice to go if they want, with their ships and eight weeks' supplies, but no more. If they decide not to accompany [the king], they much pay 40 marks in coin for each ship - but only on the following year, not the same year as they were called. That is called the mustering-tax. In that month [when the summons goes out], during the first week, the summons-stick shall be send around and an assembly called. If it is agreed that the expedition is to go ahead, then half a month shall be given over to further preparations. And then, for seven days before the mustering day, the men must stand ready, and wait for a fair wind. But if a wind does not come that week, they must wait seven more days after the mustering day. If a fair wind still does not come in that time, they have the right to go home without penalty, because they can't cross the sea rowing, but only sailing. If the summons comes at shorter notice than a month, they needn't go, but have the right to remain at home without penalty.   
If it so happens that the king will not believe that the summons was given unlawfully, or that the wind hindered at the time specified by law, then the king's messengers, who come to receive the tax at the next assembly after Saint Peter's Day, must demand an oath off twelve nominated men - the king's men to nominate who is to swear - that they stayed for lawful reasons. No oaths of nominated men are given in Gotland, expect for oaths to the king.  
If the worst happens, and a crowned king is driven by force from his kingdom, the Gotlanders shall pay no tax, but hold onto it for three years. They should however gather tax every year, but let it lie - and then give it to whoever is ruling the Swedish kingdom then. A letter sealed with the king's seal, shall be sent as proof of his legitimacy, but not an open letter.
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The Original Text can be found at
Projekt Runeburg
The History of the Gotlanders (Gutasaga) dates to the 13th century, and survives in a manuscript c. 1350, Codex Holm. B 64 (Royal Library at Stockholm) along with the Gotland legal code, the Gutalag. It was written in the Old Gutnish language, the Norse dialect of the island.