Om jäg var en viking…
Om jäg var en viking…
Another essential outbuilding is the latrine or privy (salerni, kamarr). The saga texts are quite explicit in stating that privies were located outside the main dwelling house:
Í .ann tíma váru útikamrar á boejum. En er .eir Snorri gengu frá eldinum, ætlu.u .eir til kamarsins…’
‘In that time there were external privies on farms. And when Snorri and his men went from the fire, they headed for the privy…’ (Eyrbyggja saga, Ch. 26)
The necessity to leave the main house to answer the call of nature is politely and euphemistically alluded to as accomplishing one’s ‘necessary business’ or literally, ‘necessities’: .at var eina nótt, at .órir vi.leggr gekk út nau.synja sinna… (‘It happened one night, that .órir wood-leg went out to his necessities…’, Eyrbyggja saga, Ch. 53).8 That Snorri and his companions all venture to the privy together in the evening at the farm of Helgafell in Eyrbyggja saga suggests that privies could be large enough to accommodate several people (Ch. 26). This is supported by the magnificently well-described privy at .orfinnr’s farm in Norway, in Grettis saga (Ch. 19). This large privy
is combined with a storehouse (which includes a wardrobe), and also represents one of the most descriptive passages in terms of building construction, and needs to be considered in its entirety:
Berserkir kómu fram í þessu. Grettir mælti: “Gǫngum út, ok mun ek sýna yðr fatabúr Þorfinns.” Þeir létu þat leiðask; kómu þeir at útibúri ákafliga stóru. Þar váru á útidyrr ok sterkr láss fyrir, þat var allsterkt hús. Þar var hjá salerni mikit ok sterkt ok eitt skjaldþili milli húsanna; húsin stóðu hátt, ok var nǫkkut rið upp at ganga. Berserkir gerðusk nú umfangsmiklir ok skotruðu Gretti. Hann fór undan í fleymingi, ok er þeim var minnst ván, hljóp hann ut ór húsinu ok greip í hespuna ok rekr aptr húsit ok setr lás fyrir. Þórir ok hans félagar ætluðu fyrst, at svarfazk myndi aptr hafa hurðin, ok gáfu sér ekki at. Þeir hǫfðu ljós hjá sér, þvi at Grettir hafði sýnt þeim marga gripi, þá er Þorfinnr átti; litu þeir þar á um stund… Hlaupa þeir á hurðina ok finna, at hon var læst; treysta nú á timbrveggina, svá at brakar í hverju tré. Hér kemr um síðir, at þeir fá brotit skjaldþilit, ok kómusk svá fram í gangrúmit ok þar út á riðit…
‘The berserkers came forward at that [statement]. Grettir said: “Let us go out, and I will show you .orfinnr’s store of clothes.” At that they let themselves be led, and they came to an exceedingly large outbuilding. There was also a strong lock on the outer door; it was a very sturdy house. Next to it was a large and sturdy privy, and there was a wooden partition wall between these houses. The houses9 stood high, and there were some steps to go up to them… [Grettir] ran out of the house, seized the latch, slammed the door and set the lock on it. .órir and his comrades thought at first that the door must have been knocked back, and they paid it no mind. They had a light with them, because Grettir had been showing them many treasures that .orfinnr owned, and they looked around there for a while… They [the berserkers] ran to the door and found that it was locked. They now tried the strength of the timber [partition] wall, so that every board creaked. In the end, they managed to break down the partition wall, and so they came forward into the gallery and from there out to the stairs…’ (Grettis saga Ch. 19)
Here we see that the outbuilding is built ‘high’, most likely on pillars, requiring steps (rið) to access it (there is no mention of a ground floor). These lead up to a kind of entrance passage (gangrúm), probably an exterior gallery or porch. Both the storage room and the privy have doors which lead onto this
passage, the storage room’s door being equipped with a latch and a lock (hespa, láss). The privy, described as large, is separated from the storage room by a partition of wooden planks (skjald.ili). The entire building appears to be made of wood, and is described as sturdy (sterkr).
FRA TEVA VIDAL 2013 (phd) side 39 – 41… jeg må kunne fidne citaterne i sagaoversættelsen?!