A skald is a poet and story teller associated with the courts of Scandinavian and Icelanic leaders during the viking age, spanning the late 8th to 11th centuries. Skaldic poetry can be traced back to the 9th century with Bragi Boddason and his 'Ragnarsdrappa', the oldest surviving Norse poem. By the 11th century, with the christianisation of Scandinavia, the professional skald becomes extinct but survives in Iceland untill the 13th century.
Most nordic verse in the viking age came in one of two forms; Eddic or Skaldic. Eddic verse was simple in terms of content and style, usualy mythological or heroic content, however, skaldic verse was more complex, composed as a tribute to a particular Jarl or King. Perfomance of skaldic poetry was spoken, not sung or chanted.
The oral tradition of the skald evolved into a written form now known as a 'Saga'. The term saga comes from the Icelandic S'o'gur meaning 'what is said'.
The sagas are stories about early viking voyages, the battles that took place during the voyages, about migration to Iceland and of feuds between Icelandic families. They are tales of heroic deeds of days long gone, tales of worthy men, pagan and christian.
By using the side menu you can read some modern skaldic poems about members of the group, written by Mannathien Ormstunga, Wryngwyrm's very talented Skald.
For a comprehensive list of the sagas you can visit the Icelandic saga database