Christmas Book Flood | Recommending reading

Book of the Settlement of Iceland

1 Book of SettlementsStand-alone book

This book is included in The Icelanders Cometh crowdfunding campaign run by the Jolabokaflod Book Campaign to raise money for UK libraries to spend on titles translated into English by Icelandic authors to mark World Book Night and UNESCO’s World Book and Copyright Day.


Iceland was the last country in Europe to become inhabited, and we know more about the beginnings and early history of Icelandic society than we do of any other in the Old World.

This world was vividly recounted in The Book of Settlements, first compiled by the first Icelandic historians in the thirteenth century. It describes in detail individuals daily life during the Icelandic Age of Settlement.

The original book – Landnámabók – is divided into five parts and over 100 chapters. The first part tells of how the island was found. The later parts count settlers via compass points, beginning with West and ending with South.

The book traces important events and family history from discovery and settlement through to the twelfth century. More than 3000 people and 1400 settlements are described. It tells where each settler settled, and provides a brief genealogy and occasional short anecdote-like stories. Landnámabók lists 435 men as the initial settlers, the majority of them settling in the northern and southwestern parts of the island. An early version is thought to have be compiled by Iceland’s most prominent medieval chronicler, Ari Thorgilsson (also known as Ari the Wise).

The book remains an invaluable source on both the history and genealogy of the Icelandic people. Some have suggested a single author, while others have believed it to be put together when people met at thing assemblies.

Leopold logoPublisher: Leopold Classic Library

Leopold publishes this classic book as part of its extensive Classic Library collection.

Many of the books in the Leopold collection have been out of print for decades, and therefore have not been accessible to the general public.

The aim of the Leopold publishing program is to facilitate rapid access to this vast reservoir of literature, and their view is that this is a significant literary work, which deserves to be brought back into print after many decades.

The contents of the vast majority of titles in the Classic Library have been scanned from the original works. To ensure a high quality product, each title has been meticulously hand curated by staff. This means that they checked every single page in every title, making it highly unlikely that any material imperfections – such as poor picture quality, blurred or missing text – remain. When staff observed such imperfections in the original work, these have either been repaired, or the title has been excluded from the Leopold Classic Library catalogue.

As part of Leopold’s on-going commitment to delivering value to the reader, within the book they also provide a link to a website, where readers may download a digital version of this work for free.

Leopold’s philosophy is guided by a desire to provide the reader with a book that is as close as possible to ownership of the original work. They hope that readers will enjoy this wonderful classic work as an enriching experience.

If you would like to learn more about the Leopold Classic Library collection please visit their website.