The Icelandic Scriber Jón Erlendsson


Elena V. Litovskikh

State Academic University of the Humanities

Financing: state assignment of the Ministry of Sciences and Higher Education of the Russian Federation: topic FZNF-2023-0003 “Traditions and values of society: mechanisms of formation and transformation in the context of global history” No. 1022040800353-4-6.1.1; 5.9.1 (at the State Academic University for the Humanities)


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For citation: Litovskikh, Elena V. The Icelandic Scriber Jón Erlendsson // Graphosphaera. 2023. Vol. 3. № 1. P. 117–141. URL: 

DOI: 10.32608/2782-5272-2023-3-1-117-141

Abstract: The article analyzes the activity of the Icelandic copyist of the mid-17th century, the priest Jón Erlendsson from Villingaholt. He had copied over 60 ancient Icelandic manuscripts, many of which have survived only in the lists made by Jón. Two-thirds of the lists of his manuscripts include historical works and sagas, so they are constantly attracted by scholars of the Icelandic Middle Ages. Most of them are kept in the Arnamagnæan Manuscript Collection in Reykjavik. We have analyzed the characteristic features of the design of the manuscripts and Jón’s handwriting. He was distinguished by attention to the spelling of the original and a small number of stamps. However, his lists cannot be attributed to the illuminated “ceremonial” manuscripts (so typical for frakturing writing), which belonged to the pen of other scribes of his time. Due to the lack of ruled lines, as Jón’s “arm fatigue” increased, the number of lines on the sheet and the number of abbreviations and pronunciations increased. However, since the dates of most of his lists are very broad, it is not possible to find out how Jón’s handwriting changed over time.

Key words: Brynjólfur Sveinsson (1605–1675); Jón Erlendsson (1600/10–1672); paleography; fraktur variant; The Arnamagnæan Manuscript Collection (Handritasafn Árna Magnússonar, Reykjavík)


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Published on  December 14th, 2023