saga, in Old Norse literature, especially Icelandic and Norwegian, narrative in prose or verse, centering on a legendary or historical figure or family. Sagas may be divided into sagas of the kings, mainly of early Norwegian rulers; Icelandic sagas, both biographical and historical; contemporary sagas, which were also Icelandic and were written about living persons; legendary sagas of the distant past; and sagas that were translations of foreign romances. Sagas were composed from about the early 11th to the mid-14th cent. and were first written down c.1200. Scholars disagree as to the extent to which written versions borrowed from earlier oral compositions. The sagas vary greatly in length. The greatest attention has been given to the history sagas (e.g., Sturlungasaga), the family sagas (e.g., Njála, tr. by G. W. Dasent, 1861; M. Magnusson and P. Palsson, 1960), and the mythical heroic sagas (e.g., Völsungasaga, tr. by William Morris, 1870). In all these the epic element is strong, and the milieu of a heroic society is made vivid. Historical accuracy was often a major aim of the saga, although reworking, interjection of the supernatural, and other changes caused distortion. The historical approach is felt in the careful selection of events and the great emphasis on cause and effect. Among other noted sagas are the Heimskringla of Snorri Sturluson (tr. by L. Hollander, 1964); the Laxdɶla, translated in Earthly Paradise by William Morris; the Grettla, translated by the same author; the Frithjof, translated by Esaias Tegnér; and Gisli, translated by R. B. Allen.

See The Sagas of the Icelanders (2000) for a selection of the sagas. See also S. Einarsson, A History of Icelandic Literature (1957); P. Hallberg, The Icelandic Saga (tr. 1962); L. Lönnroth, Njáls Saga (1976); C. Clover, The Medieval Saga (1982); P. Schach, Icelandic Sagas (1984).

Emperor Go-Saga (後嵯峨天皇 Go-Saga-tennō) (April 1, 1220March 17, 1272) was the 88th emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession. This reign spanned the years 1242 through 1246.

This 13th century sovereign was named after the 8th century Emperor Saga and go- (後), translates literally as "later;" and thus, he is sometimes called the "Later Emperor Saga". The Japanese word "go" has also been translated to mean the "second one;" and in some older sources, this emperor may be identified as "Saga, the second," or as "Saga II."


Before his ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne, his personal name (his iminia) was .

He was the second son of Emperor Tsuchimikado, and second cousin of his predecessor Emperor Shijō.

  • Empress: Saionji (Fujiwara) ?? (西園寺(藤原)姞子)
    • Fourth son: Imperial Prince Hisahito (久仁親王) (Emperor Go-Fukakusa)
    • First daughter: Imperial Princess ?? (綜子内親王)
    • Seventh son: Imperial Prince Tsunehito (恒仁親王) (Emperor Kameyama)
    • Eleventh son: Imperial Prince ?? (雅尊親王)
    • Thirteenth son: Imperial Prince ?? (貞良親王)
  • Lady-in-waiting: Taira ?? (平棟子)
  • Handmaid?: Fujiwara ?? (藤原博子)
    • Eighth son: Prince ?? (覚助法親王) (Buddhist Priest)
    • Second daughter: ??? (柳殿)
    • Sixth daughter: Imperial Princess ?? (懌子内親王)

Events of Go-Saga's life

He ruled from February 21, 1242 to February 16, 1246.

When Emperor Tsuchimikado moved to Tosa Province (on Shikoku), he was raised by his mother's side of the family.

Because of the sudden death of Emperor Shijō at the age of 10, the question of succession arose. Because the expectations of the court nobility and the Bakufu conflicted, the issue was bitterly contested. Kujō Michiie and the court nobility supported Prince Tadanari (忠成王), a son of Retired Emperor Juntoku, but the shikken Hōjō Yasutoki was opposed to the sons of Juntoku because of his involvement in the Jōkyū War. Michiie instead supported Tsuchimikado's son Prince Kunihito as a neutral figure for Emperor. During the pendency of these negotiations, there was a vacancy on the throne of 11 days.

  • Ninji 3, on the 10th day of the 1st month (1242): In the 10th year of Shijō-tennō's reign (四条天皇10年), the emperor died suddenly; and despite a dispute over who should follow him as sovereign, contemporary scholars then construed that the succession (‘‘senso’’) was received by the second son of former Emperor Tsuchimikado.
  • Ninji 3, in the 5th month (1242): Emperor Go-Saga is said to have acceded to the throne (‘‘sokui’’).

In 1242, Prince Kunihito became emperor. In 1246 he abdicated to his son, Emperor Go-Fukakusa, beginning his reign as cloistered emperor. In 1259, he compelled Emperor Go-Fukakusa to abdicate to his younger brother, Emperor Kameyama. Imperial Prince Munetaka became shōgun instead of the Hōjō regents. Henceforth, the shōguns of the Kamakura Bakufu came from the imperial house. Still, the Hōjō regents increased their control of the shogunate, setting up the system of rule by regents.

In 1272, Go-Saga died. The descendants of his two sons contested the throne between them, forming into two lines, the Jimyōin-tō (Go-Fukakusa's descendants) and the Daikakuji-tō (Kameyama's descendats).


Kugyō (公卿) is a collective term for the very few most powerful men attached to the court of the Emperor of Japan in pre-Meiji eras. Even during those years in which the court's actual influence outside the palace walls was minimal, the hierarchic organization persisted.

In general, this elite group included only three to four men at a time. These were hereditary courtiers whose experience and background would have brought them to the pinnacle of a life's career. During Go-Saga's reign, this apex of the ''Daijō-kan included:

Eras of Go-Saga's reign

The years of Go-saga's reign are more specifically identified by more than one era name or nengō.


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