Before Dante’s time, Iceland was an independent state for more than three centuries, but in the 13th century cracks became apparent in the government of the country which brought about a period of serious struggles for power.
This prompted the Norwegian King Håkon IV to get involved in the island in 1262, at a time when his very long reign was about to come to an end, imposing on the Icelanders a sort of confederation agreement (theGamli sáttmáli, which in Icelandic means Ancient Pact), which was mainly submission to the Norwegian crown. The Icelanders had to put a good face on a bad deal, the local government was disestablished and the Icelanders had to swear fealty to that crown.
Visit the web page of Áslaug Torfadóttir, who has lent her voice to Francesca da Rimini and read the relevant verses of Dante in the prose translation into Icelandic by Erlingur E. Halldórsson.
To see the beginning of the Hell translated into Icelandic tercets by the poet Guðmundur Böðvarsson click here.