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INDEX 397 

From an Icelandic MS., fourteenth century 




A CONFIRM ATION of the identity of Wineland and the Insulae chapter 
Fortunatae, which in classical legend lay to the west ^^. 
of Africa, occurs in the Icelandic geography (in MSS. of the ^J^e 
fourteenth and fifteenth centuries) which may partly be the African 
work of Abbot Nikulas of Thverd (ob. 1159) (although perhaps '^^""^^ 
not the part here quoted), where we read : 

" South of Greenland is ' Helluland/ next to it is ' Markland/ and then it 
is not far to ' Vinland hit G6tSa,' which some think to be connected with Africa 
(and if this be so, then the outer ocean [i.e., the ocean surrounding the disc of 
the earth] must fall in between Vinland and Markland)."^ 

This idea of the connection with Africa seems to have 
been general in Iceland ; it may appear surprising, but, as 
will be seen, it finds its natural explanation in the manner 
here stated. It also appears in Norway. Besides a reference 
in the " King's Mirror," the following passage in the " Historia 
Norwegiss ** relating to Greenland is of particular importance : 

" This country was discovered and settled by the Telensians [i.e., the Ice- 
landers] and strengthened with the Catholic faith ; it forms the end of Europe 
towards the west, nearly touches the African Islands (' Africanas insulas '], 
where the returning ocean overflows " [i.e., falls in]. 

^ Of. Gronl. hist. Mind., iii. pp. 216, 220 ; G. Storm, 1888, p. 12. The latter 
part (in parenthesis) does not occur in the oldest MS. 




It is clear that ** Africans Insulse ** is here used directly 
as a name instead of Wineland, in connection with Markland 
and Hellulandy as in the Icelandic geography. But the 
African Islands (i.e., originally the Canary Islands) were in 

fact the Insulse 
F,o rt u'n a t ae,' i n 
connection with 
the Gorgades and 
the Hesperides ; 
and thus we have 
here a direct proof 
that they were 
looked upon as the 

G. storm [1890] and 
A. A. Bjornbo [1909, 
pp. 229, ff.] have sought 
to explain the connection 
of Wineland with Africa 
as an attempt on the 
part of the Icelandic 
geographers to unite 
new discoveries of 
western lands with the 
classical-mediaeval con- 
ceptions of the continents as a continuous disc of earth with an outer surround- 
ing ocean. But even if such " learned " ideas prevailed in Iceland and Norway 
(cf. the " King's Mirror "J, it would nevertheless be unnatural to unite Africa and 
Wineland, which lay near Hvitramanna-land, six days' sail 'west of Ireland > 
unless there were other grounds for doing so. Although agreeing on the main 
point, Dr. Bjornbo maintains (in a letter to me) that the Icelanders may have 
got their continental conception from Isidore himself, who asserted the dogma 
of the threefold division of the continental circle ; and the question whether 
Wineland was African or not depended upon whether it ceime south or north of 
the line running east and west through the Mediterranean. But the same Isidore 
also described the Insulse Fortunatae and other coimtries as islands in the Ocean, 
and his dogma could not thus have hindered Wineland from being regarded as 
an island like other islands (cf. Adam of Bremen's islands}, but why then precisely 
African ? Besides, the Icelandic geography and the Historia Norwegiae represent 
two different conceptions, one as a continent, the other as islands. It cannot, 

The conception of the northern and western lands 
and islands in Norse literature 


therefore, have been Isidore's continental dogma that caused them both to assume CHAPTER 
the country to be African, It seems to me that no other explanation is here IX 
possible than that given above. 

It might be objected to the view that **Vinland hit The vine 
G6tSa " originally meant ** Insulae Fortunata,'* that several ^^*^^,^ 
sorts of wild grape are found on the east coast of North 
America ; it might therefore be believed that the Green- 
landers really went so far and discovered these. Storm, 
indeed, assumed that the wild vine grew on the outer east 
coast of Nova Scotia ; but he is unable to adduce any certain 
direct evidence of this, although he gives [1887, p. 48] a 
statement of the Frenchman Nicolas Denys in 1672, which 
points to the wild vine having grown in the interior of the 
country. 1 He also mentions several statements of recent 
date that wild-growing vines of one kind or another have 
been observed near Annapolis and in the interior of the 
country, but none on the south-east coast. Professor N. Wille 
informs me that in the latest survey of the flora of North 
America Vitis vulpina is specified as occurring in Nova 
Scotia ; but nothing is said as to locality. The American 
botanist, M. L. Fernald [1910, pp. 19, f.], on the other hand, 
thinks that the wild vine (Vitis vulpina) is not certainly known 
to the east of the valley of the St. John in New Brunswick 
(see map, vol. i. p. 335), where it is rare and only found in the 
interior. From this we may conclude that even if it should 
really be found on the outer south-east coast of Nova Scotia, 
it must have been very rare there, and could not possibly 
have been a conspicuous feature which might have been 
especially mentioned along with the wheat. But even if we 
might assume that the saga was borne out to this extent, it 
would be one of those accidental coincidences which often occur. 
It must, of course, be admitted to be a strange chance that 
the world of classical legend should have fertile lands or 
islands far in the western ocean, and that Isidore should 

* Storm thinks that Sir William Alexander's " red wineberries " from the 
south-east coast of Nova Scotia (in 1624) would be grapes, but this is ixncertain. 



The wild 


describe the self-grown vine and the unsown cornfields in these 
Fortunate Isles, and that long afterwards fertile lands and 
islands, where wild vines and various kinds of wild corn grew, 
should be discovered in the same quarter. Since we have the 
choice, it may be more reasonable to assume that the 
Icelanders got their wine from Isidore, or from the same 
vats that he drew his from, than that they fetched it from 
America. Again, even if the Greenlanders and Icelanders had 
found some berries on creepers in the woods — is it likely that 
they would have known them to be grapes? They cannot 
be expected to have had any acquaintance with the latter.^ 
The author of the '* Gr6nlendinga-]?dttr " in the Flateyjarbok 
is so entirely ignorant of these things that he makes grapes 
grow in the winter and spring (like the fruits all the year 
round on the trees in the myth of the fortunate land in the 
west), and makes Leif's companion Tyrker intoxicate himself 
by eating grapes (like the Irishmen in the Irish legends), and 
finally makes Leif cut down vine-trees (** vinvi6 ") and fell 
trees to load his ship, and at last fill the long-boat with grapes 
(as in the Irish legends) ; in the voyage of Thorvald Ericson 
they also collect grapes and vine-trees for a cargo, and Karls- 
evne took home with him *' many costly things : vine- trees, 
grapes and furs." It is scarcely likely that seafaring Green- 
landers about 380 years earlier had any better idea of the vine 
than this saga- writer, and we hear nothing in Eric's Saga about 
Leif or his companions having ever been in southern Europe. 
No doubt it is for this very reason that the " Gronlendinga- 
)?dttr " makes a ** southman," Tyrker, find the grapes. 

Wheat is not a wild cereal native to America. It has 
therefore been supposed that the * * self-sown wheat-fields ' ' 
of Wineland might have been the American cereal maize. 

^ ** Vinber " (grapes) are mentioned in the whole of Old Norse literature 
only in the translation of the Bible called **Stj6rn," in the '* Gronlendinga- 
]?4ttr,'* and in a letter (Dipl. Norv.) where they are mentioned as raisins or dried 
grapes. In addition, " vinber jakongull " (a bunch of grapes) occurs in the Saga 
of Eric the Red. 

As this proved to be untenable, Professor Schiibeler i proposed CHAPTER 


that it might have been the * ' wild rice, ' ' also called * * water 
oats" (Zizania aquatica), an aquatic plant that grows by 
rivers and lakes in North America. But apart from the 
fact that the plant grows in the water and has little 
resemblance to wheat, although the ripe ear is said to be 
like a wheat-ear, there is the difficulty that it is essentially 
an inland plant, which is not known in Nova Scotia. * * Though 
it occurs locally in a few New England rivers, it attains its 
easternmost known limit in the lower reaches of the St. John 
in New Brunswick, being apparently unknown in Nova Scotia ' ' 
[Fernald, 1910, p. 26]. For proving that Wineland was Nova 
Scotia it is therefore of even less use than the wine. 

It results in consequence that the attempts made hitherto 
to bring the natural conditions of the east coast of North 
America into agreement with the saga's description of 
Wineland ^ have not been able to afford any natural explana- 

1 Schiibeler, Christiania Videnskabs-Selskabs Forhandlinger for 1858, pp. 21, 
ff. ; Viridarium Norvegium, i. pp. 253, f. 

^ It should be mentioned that the American botanist, M. L. Fernald, has recently 
[1910] made an attempt to locate the Icelanders' Wineland the Good in southern 
Labrador, explaining the " vinber " of the Icelandic sagas as a sort of currant 
or as whortleberry, the self-sown wheat as the Icelanders' lyme-grass (Elymus 
arenarius), and the " masurr " as " valbirch." By assuming " vinber " to be 
whortleberries he even thinks he can explain how it was that Leif in the " Gronlen- 
dinga-l?attr ' ' was able to fill the ship with ' ' grapes ' ' in the spring (and what of the 
vine-trees that he cut down to load his ship, were they whortleberry-bushes ?). 
Apart from the surprising circumstance of the Icelanders having called a country 
Wineland the Good because whortleberries grew there, the explanation is inad- 
missible on the ground that whortleberries were never called * ' vlnber ' ' (wine- 
berries) in Old Norse or Icelandic. Currants have in more recent times been called 
" vinbaer " in Norway and Iceland, but were not known there before the close 
of the Middle Ages. In ancient times the Norse people did not know how to make 
wine from any berry but the black crowberry ; but there are plenty of these in 
Greenland, and it was not necessary to travel to Labrador to collect them. Fernald 
does not seem to have remarked that the sagas most frequently use the expression 
" vinviSr," or else " vinvit5r " and " vinber " together, and this can only mean 
vines and grapes. His explanation of the self-sown wheat-fields does not seem any 
happier. That the Icelanders should have reported these as something so remark- 
able in Wineland is not likely, if it was nothing but the lyme-grass with which 



with the 
in Wine- 


tion of the striking juxtaposition of the two leading features 
of the latter, the wild vine and the self-sown wheat, 
which are identical with the two leading features in the 
description of the Insulse Fortunatse. If it were permis- 
sible to prove in this way that the ancient Norsemen 
reached the east coast of North America, then it might be 
concluded with almost equal right that the Greeks and 
Romans of antiquity were there ; for they already had the 
same two features in their descriptions of the fortunate isles 
in the west. It should be remembered that wheat was not 
a commonly known cereal in the North, where it was not 
cultivated, and it would hardly be natural for the Icelanders 
to use that particular name for a wild species of corn. Both 
wheat and grapes or vines were to them foreign ideas, and the 
remarkable juxtaposition of these very two words shows that 
they came together from southern Europe, where, as has 
been said, we find them in Isidore, and where wine and wheat 
were important commercial products which one often finds 
mentioned together. 

If we now proceed further in the description of the Wine- 
land voyages in the Saga of Eric the Red, we come to the 
encounters with the Skraelings. These encounters are, of 
course, three in number : first they come to see, then to 
trade, and then to fight; this again recalls the fairy-tale. 
The narrative itself of the battle with the Skraelings has 
borrowed features. The Skraelings' catapults make one think 
of the civilised countries of Europe, where catapults (i.e.. 

they were familiar in Iceland. On the other hand, it is possible that the " mAsurr " 
of the sagas only meant valbirch. But apart from this, how can the sagas' descrip- 
tion of Wineland— where no snow fell, where there was hardly any frost, the grass 
scarcely withered, and the cattle were out the whole winter — be applied to Lab- 
rador ? Or where are Markland or Helluland to be looked for, or FurSustrjmdir 
and Kjalames ? Nor do we gain any more connection in the voyage as a whole. It 
will therefore be seen that, even if Professor Fernald had been right in his interpre- 
tation of the three words above mentioned, this would not help us much ; and 
when we find that these very features of the vine and the wheat are derived from 
classical myths, such attempts at explanation become of minor interest. 



engines for throwing stones, mangonels) and Greek fire (?) CHAPTER 

were in use. 


Icelandic representation 'of the northern and western lands 
as connected with one another, by Sigurd Stefansson, circa 
1590 (Torfseus, 1706). Cf. G. Storm, 1887, pp. 28, ff. 

^ Professor Alexander Bugge has pointed out to me that Schoolcraft [1851, i. 
p. 85, pi. 15] mentions a tradition among the Algonkin Indians that they had 
used as a weapon of war in ancient times a great round stone, which was sewed 
into a piece of raw hide and fastened thereby to the end of a long wooden shaft. 



CHAPTER Catapults, which are also mentioned in the " King's Mirror," had a long beam 

IX or lever-arm, at the outer end of which was a bowl or sling, wherein was laid 

a heavy round stone, or more rarely a barrel of combustible material or the like 
[cf . O. Blom, 1867, pp. 103, f .]. In the " King's Mirror " it is also stated that mineral 
coal (" jarSkol ") and sulphur were thrown ; the stones for casting were also 
made of baked clay with pebbles in it. When these clay balls were slung out 
and fell, they burst in pieces, so that the enemy had nothing to throw back. The 
great black ball, which is compared to a sheep's paunch, and which made such 
an ugly sound (report ?) when it fell that it frightened the Greenlanders, also 
reminds one strongly of the ** herbrestr " (war-crash, report) which Laurentius 
Kdlfsson's saga [cap. 8 in "Biskupa Sogur," i. 1858, p. 798] relates that Prindr 
Fisiler,^ from Flanders, produced at the court of Eric Magnusson in Bergen, 
at Christmas 1294. I* " gives such a loud report that few men can bear to hear 
it ; women who are with child and hear the crash are prematurely delivered, 
and men fall from their seats on to the floor, or have various fits. Thrand told 
Laurentius to put his fingers in his ears when the crash came. . . . Thrand showed 
Laurentius what was necessary to produce the crash, and there are four things : 
fire, brimstone, parchment and tow.^ Men often have recourse in battle to such 
a war-crash, so that those who do not know it may take to flight." Laurentius 
was a priest, afterwards bishop (1323-30) in Iceland ; the saga was probably 
written about 1350 by his friend and confidant, the priest Einar HafliSason. It 
seems as though we have here precisely the same notions as appear in the descrip- 
tion of the fight with the Skraelings. It is true that this visit of Thrand to Bergen 
would be later than the Saga of Eric the Red is generally assumed to have been 
written ; but this may have been about 1300. Besides, there is no reason why 
the story of the *' herbrestr " should not have found its way to Iceland earlier.^ 

The resemblance between such a weapon with a shaft for throwing and the Skrsl- 
ings' black ball is distant ; but it is not impossible that ancient reports of some- 
thing of the sort may have formed the nucleus upon which the *' modernised " 
description of the saga has crystallised ; although the whole thing is uncertain. 
This Algonkin tradition has a certain similarity with some Greenland Eskimo 
fairy-tales [cf. Rink, 1866, p. 139]. 

1 As arquebuses or guns had not yet been invented at that time, this strange 
name may, as proposed by Moltke Moe, come from " fusillus " or ** fugillu« " 
(an implement for striking fire] and mean "he who makes fire," "the fire- 
striker. ' ' 

2 Evidently saltpetre has been forgotten here, and so we have gunpowder, 
which thus must have been already employed in war at that time, and perhaps 
long before. 

3 Moltke Moe has found a curious resemblance to the description of the 
" herbrestr " given above in the Welsh tale of Kulhwch and Olwen [Heyman : 
Mabinogion, p. 78], where there is a description of a war-cry so loud that " all 
women who are with child fall into sickness, and the others are smitten with 
disease, so that the milk dries up in their breasts." But this ** herbrestr " may 



In any case this part of the tale of the Wineland voyages has quite a European CHAPTER 
air. ^^ 

For the rest, this feature too seems to have a connection 
with the "Navigatio Brandani." It is there related that 
they approach an island of smiths, where the inhabitants are 
filled with fire and darkness. Brandan was afraid of the 
island ; one of the inhabitants came out of his house ' * as 
though on an errand of necessity ' ' ; the brethren want to 
sail away and escape, but 

" the said barbarian runs down to the beach bearing a long pair of tongs in his 
hand with a fiery mass in a skin ^ of immense size and heat ; he instantly throws 
it after the servants of Christ, but it did not injure them, it went over them about 
a stadium farther off, but when it fell into the sea, the water began to boil as 
though a fire-spouting mountain were there, and smoke arose from the sea as 
fire from a baker's oven." The other inhabitants then rush out and throw their 
masses of fire, but Brandan and the brethren escape [Schroder, i87i,p. 28]. 

In the narrative of Maelduin's voyage a similar story 
is told of the smith who with a pair of tongs throws a fiery 
mass over the boat, so that the sea boils, but he does not 
hit them, as they hastily fly out into the open sea [cf. Zimmer, 
1889, PP« 163, 329]. The resemblances to Karlsevne and 
his people flying with all speed before the black ball of the 

also be compared with the " vabrestr " spoken of in the Fosterbrothers* Saga 
[Gronl. hist. Mind., ii. pp. 334, 412], which M. Haegstad and A. Torp [Gamal- 
norsk Ordbog] translate by "crash announcing disaster or great news" [cf. 
I. Aasen, " vederbrest "). Fritzner translates it by "sudden crash causing 
surprise and terror," and K. Maurer by " Schadenknall. " It would therefore 
seem to be something supernatural that causes fear [cf. Gronl. hist. Mind., ii. 
p. 198]. The " Gronlandske historiske Mindesmserker " mention in the same ' 
connection " isbrestr " or " jokulbrestr " in Iceland. I have myself had good 
opportunities of studying that kind of report in glaciers, and my opinion is that 
it comes from a starting of the glacier, or through the latter skrinking from changes 
of temperature ; similar reports, but less loud, are heard in the ice on lakes and 
fjords. Burgomaster H. Berner tells me that the small boys of Krodsherred make 
what they call "kolabrest," by heating charcoal on a fiat stone and throwing 
water upon it while simultaneously striking the embers with the back of an axe, 
which produces a sharp report. 

^ Scorium (slag) is also used in mediaeval Latin for " corium," animal's skin, 


CHAPTER Skraelings, like a sheep's paunch, which is flung over them 
'^ from a pole and makes an ugly noise when it falls, is 

obvious ; but at the same time it looks as though this 
incident of the Irish myth — which is an echo of the classical 
Cyclopes of the ^neid and Odyssey (cf. Polyphemus and the 
Cyclopes), and the great stones that were thrown at Odysseus 
— had been ** modernised " by the saga- writer, who has 
transferred mediaeval European catapults and explosives to 
the Indians. 

The curious expression — used when the Skraelings come 
in the spring for the second time to Karlsevne's settlement 
— that they came rowing in a multitude of hide canoes, 
*' as many as though [the sea] had been sown with coal 
before the H6p " [i.e., the bay], seems to find its explanation 
in some tale like that of the " Imram Brenaind '* [cf. 
Zimmer, 1889, p. 138], where Brandan and his companions 
come to a small deserted land, and the harbour they entered 
was immediately filled with ** demons in the form of pygmies 
and dwarfs, who were as black as coal." 

The * ' hellustein ' ' (flat stone) which lay fixed in the skull 
of the fallen Thorbrand Snorrason is a curious missile, and 
reminds one of trolls (cf. Arab myth, chapter xiii.). Features 
such as that of the Skraelings being supposed to know that 
white shields meant peace and red ones war have an 
altogether European effect.^ 

^ The poles that are swung the way of the sun or against it seem incompre- 
hensible, and something of the meaning must have been lost in the transference 
of this incident from the tale from which it was borrowed. It may be derived 
from the kayak paddles of the Greenland Eskimo, which at a distance look like 
poles being swung, with or against the sun according to the side they are seen 
from. It may be mentioned that in the oldest MS. of Eric the Red's Saga, in the 
Hauksb6k, the reading is not ** trjdnum " as in the later MS., but ** triom '* 
and ** trionum." Now " tri6nimi " or " trj6num " might mesm either poles or 
snouts, and one would then be led to think of the Indians' animal masks, or 
again, of the trolls' long snouts or animal trunks, which we find again in fossil 
forms in the fairy-tales, and even in games that are still preserved in Gudbrandsdal, 
under the name of " trono " (the regular Gudbrandsdal phonetic development of 
Old Norse *' trj6na "), where people cover their heads with an animal's skin 


Another purely legendary feature in the description of the chapter 
fight is that of Freydis frightening the Skraelings by taking ^^ 
her breasts out of her sark and whetting the sword on them 
C ok slettir d sverdit "). As it stands in the saga this 
incident is not very comprehensible, and appears to have 
been borrowed from elsewhere. Possibly, as Moltke Moe 
thinks, it may be connected in some way with the legend of 
the wood-nymph with the long breasts who was pursued by 
the hunter. The mention of Unipeds and ** Einfotinga- 
land ** shows that classical myths have also been adopted. 
The idea was, moreover, widely current in the Middle Ages. 
Thus in the so-called Nancy map of Claudius Clavus (of about 
1426) we find " unipedes maritimi " in the extreme north- 
east of Greenland. In the " Heimslysing ** in the Hauksbdk 
[F. J6nsson, 1892, p. 166] and in the **Rymbegla" [1780] 
** Einfotingar " are mentioned with a foot "so large that 
they shade themselves from the sun with it while asleep ** 
(cf. also Adam of Bremen, vol. i. p. 189). But in the Saga 
of Eric the Red the incident of the Uniped and the pursuit of 
him are described as realistically as the encounters with the 
Skrselings. Einfotinga-land is also mentioned in the same 
manner as Skraelinga-land in its vicinity. 

In reading the Icelandic sagas and narratives about Wine- TheSkrael- 

land and Greenland one cannot avoid being struck by the ^"?^*^® 

** "^ originally 

remarkable, semi-mythical way in which the natives, the mythical 
Skraelings, are always spoken of ; ^ even Are Frode's mention ^«i"gs 

and put on a long troll's snout with two wooden jaws. But that snouts were 
waved with or against the sun does not give any better meaning ; there may 
be some confusion here. 

1 It is worth remarking that Gustav Storm, although he did not doubt that 
the Skraelings of Wineland were really the natives, seems nevertheless to have 
been on the track of the same idea as is here put forward, when he says in his 
valuable work on the Wineland voyages [1887, p. 57, note i] : "It should be 
remarked, however, that this inquiry [into ' the nationality of the American 
Skraelings '] is rendered difficult by the fact that in the old narratives the Skraelings 
are everywhere enveloped, wholly or in part, by a mythical tinge ; thus even here 
[in the Saga of Eric the Red] they are on the way to becoming trolls, which they 
really become in the later sagas. No doubt it is learned myths of the outskirts 




of them appears strange. Through finding the connection 
between Wineland the Good and the Fortunate Isles, and 
between the latter again and the lands of the departed, the 
" huldrelands, " fairylands, and the lands of the Irish " sid," 
I arrived at the kindred idea that perhaps Skraeling was 
originally a name for those gnomes or brownies or mythical 
beings, and that it was these that Are Frode meant by the 

people who " were 
inhabiting Wineland" 
— and further, that 
when the Icelanders 
in Greenland found 
a strange, small, 
people, with hide 
canoes and imple- 
ments of stone, bone 
and wood, which also 
looked strange to 
them, they naturally 
regarded them as 
these same Skrael- 
ings ; and then they 
may afterwards have found similar people (Eskimo, and 
perhaps Indians) on the coast of America. It agrees with 
the view of the Skraelings as a small people that elves and 
brownies in Norway were small, often only two or three 
feet high, and that the underground or huldre-folk in 
Skane were called " Pysslingar " (dwarfs). This idea that 

of the inhabited world that have here been at work." In a later work [1890a, 
P- 357] ^^ says that it is " certain enough that in the Middle Ages the Scandi- 
navians knew no other people in Greenland and the American countries lying 
to the south of it than ' Skraelings,' who were not accounted real human beings 
and whose name was always translated into Latin as * Pygmaei.' " If Storm had 
remarked the connection between the classical and Irish legends and the ideas 
about Wineland, the further step of regarding the Skraelings as originally mythical 
beings would have been natural. 

Eskimos cutting up a whale. Wood-cut from 

Greenland, illustrating a fairy-tale ; drawn 

and engraved by a native 


the Skraeling was originally a brownie was strengthened chapter 
by the discovery of the above-mentioned probable con- 
nection between many features in the description of the 
Skraelings' appearance in Wineland and the demons, like 
pygmies and dwarfs, that Brandan meets with in a land ih 
the sea (see p. lo), and the smiths (or Cyclopes) in another 
island who throw masses of fire at Brandan and Maelduin 
(see p. 9). That Unipeds and Skraelings are both men- 
tioned as equally real inhabitants of the new countries, and 
that a Uniped even kills Thorvald Ericson near Wineland, and 
is pursued, points in the same direction. 

I then asked Professor Alf Torp whether he knew of any- 
thing that might confirm such an interpretation of the word 
Skraeling ; he at once mentioned the German word * * walt- 
schreckel " for a wood-troll, and afterwards wrote to me as 
follows : 

" The word I spoke about is found in modem German dialects : * schrahelein ' 
* ein zauberisches Wesen, Wichtlein ' ; cf. Middle High German ' walt- 
schreckel,' which is translated by * faunus.' This ' schrahelein ' (from the 
Upper Palatinate) agrees entirely both in form and meaning with * skraelingr ' : 
the only difference is that one has the diminutive termination ' *-ilin ' (primary 
form * * skrahilin '), the other the diminutive termination ' -iling ' (primary 
form * * skrahiling '). The primary meaning was doubtless * shrunken figure, 
dwarf.' From a synonymous verbal root come the synonymous M.H.G. words 
' schraz ' and ' schrate,' ^ ' Waldteufel, Kobold.' This seems greatly to 
strengthen your interpretation of * skraelingr ' as * brownie ' or the like. 
Now, of course, ' skraeling ' means ' puny person ' or the like, but it is to 
be remarked that we do not find that meaning in the ancient language." 

It seems to me that this communication is of great 
importance. It is striking that the word Skraeling is never 
used in the whole of Old Norse literature as a term of 
reproach or to denote a wretched man, and there must have 
been plenty of opportunity for this if it had been a word of 

^ This is the same word as the Old Norse " skratti " or *' skrati " for troll 
(poet.) or wizard. " Skraea," "sickly shrunken and bony person," in modem 
Norwegian, from north-west Telemarken [H. Ross], is evidently the same word 
as Skraeling; cf. also " skraealeg " and "skraeleg"; further, "Skreda" 
(Skreeaa), ** sickly, feeble person, poor wretch," from outer Nordmor [H. Ross]. 



CHAPTER common application with its present meaning, and not a 
IX special designation for brownies. It only occurs there as applied 

to the Skraelings of Wineland, Markland and Greenland. 
Again, the Skraelings in Greenland are called "troll" or 
** troUkonur *' in the Icelandic narratives, and in the descrip- 
tions of the Wineland voyages demoniacal properties are 
attributed to them as to the underground folk. In the fight 
with the Skraelings they frightened Karlsevne and his people 
not only with the great magic ball,^ but also by glamour. 
And in the *' Gr6nlendinga-]?attr *' it is related that when 
the I Skraelings came for the second time to trade with 

"his wife Gudrid was sitting within the door by the cradle of her son Snorre, 
and there walked in a woman in a black gown, rather low in stature, and she 
had a band on her head, and light-brown hair, was pale and big-eyed, so that no 
one had seen such big eyes in any human head. She went up to where Gudrid 
sat, and said : What is thy name ? says she. My name is Gudrid, and what is 
thy name ? My name is Gudrid, says she. Then Gudrid, the mistress of the house, 
stretched out her hand to her, and she sat down beside her ; but then it happened 
at the same time that Gudrid heard a great crash [* brest mikinn,* cf. the noise 
or crash of the great ball in the Saga of Eric the Red] and that the woman dis- 
appeared, and at the same moment a Skraeling was slain by one of Karlsevne 's 
servants, because he had tried to take their weapons, and they [the Skraelings] 
went away as quickly as possible ; but they left their clothes and wares behind 
them. No one had seen this woman but Gudrid. "^ 

This phantasmal Gudrid is obviously a gnome or under- 
ground woman ; and as she makes both her appearance and 
disappearance together with the Skraelings it is reasonable 
to suppose that they too were of the same kind, like the 
illusions in the battle with the Skraelings. It is further to 
be remarked that she is short, and has extraordinarily large 
eyes, exactly as is said of the Skraelings and of huldre- and 
troll-folk (cf. vol. i. p. 327), and also of pygmies. 

^ It is, perhaps, of importance, as Professor Torp has mentioned to me, that the 
word " bid " is more often used than "svart " (black J, when speaking of trolls 
and magic, as an uncanny colour. This may have been a common Germanic 
trait ; cf. Rolf Blue-beard. 

2 Gronl. hist. Mind., i. p. 242 ; G. Storm, 1891, p. 68. 



On account of the identity of name one might perhaps be chapter 
tempted to think that it was Gudrid's ** fylgja ' ' (fetch) coming to ^^ 
warn her. But she does nothing of the kind in the saga, nor was 
there any reason for it, as the Skraelings came to trade with 
peaceful intentions, and fled as soon as there was disagree- 
ment. But the story is obscure and confused, and it is 
probable that this is a borrowed incident, and that something 
of the meaning or connection has dropped out in the transfer. 
Another remarkable feature (which Moltke Moe has pointed 
out to me) is that while in 
Eric's Saga Karlsevne pays 
for the Skraelings' furs and 
red cloth, in the "Gron- 
lendinga-]?dttr ' ' he makes 
* * the women carry out 
milk -food (* bunyt ') to 
them " (it was placed out- 
side the house or even 
outside the fence), "and as 
soon as the Skrslings saw 

milk-food they would buy that and nothing else." Now the 
natives of America cannot possibly have known milk-food ; 
but on the other hand it happens to be a characteristic of 
the underground folk that they are fond of milk and por- 
ridge (cream-porridge), which is put out for the mound- 
elves and the ** nisse." Another underground feature comes 
out in the incident of the five Skraelings in Markland, three 
of whom ** escaped and sank into the earth " ("ok sukku 
i jor$ niSr"). Possibly the statement that the people in 
Markland "lived in rock-shelters and caves " may have a 
similar connection. 

As the Skraelings of Greenland were dark, it was quite 
natural that they should become trolls, and not elves, which 
were fair. 

It may also be supposed that the troll-like nature of 
the Skraelings is shown in the curious circumstance that 


Fight with mythical creatures 
[From an Icelandic MS.) 


CHAPTER Are Frode, speaking of them in Greenland, only mentions 
^ dwelling-places and remains of boats and stone implements 

that they had left behind (see vol. i. p. 260), as a sign that they 
had been both in the east and west of the country, while the 
people themselves are never mentioned ; this is like troll- 
folk, who leave their traces without being seen themselves. 
One might suppose that such a mode of expression agreed 
best with the current Icelandic view of them as trolls. In 
a similar way it might be related of the first discoverer of an 
earlier Norway, inhabited only by supernatural beings, that 
he found traces both in the east and the west of the land 
which showed that the kind of folk (*' ]?j6S ") had been there 
that inhabit Risaland, and that the Norwegians call giants. 
In this way possibly this passage in Are may be understood 
(but cf. p. 77) ; it might be objected that this expression ; 
who ** inhabited Wineland " (" hefer bygt ") does not 
suggest troll-folk, but real human beings ; if, however, the 
existence of these troll-folk is supported by the actual finding 
of natives, in any case in Greenland (and doubtless also in 
Markland), then such an expression cannot appear unreason- 
able. Besides, there would be a general tendency on the part 
of the rationalising Icelanders, with their pronounced sense 
of realistic description, to make these trolls or brownies or 
" demons " into living human beings in Wineland, while 
the designation of troll still persisted for a long time in 
Greenland, side by side with Skrseling — as a name approxi- 
mately synonymous therewith. The realistic description of 
the Uniped affords a parallel to this. One is inclined to think 
that the Skrselings of the saga have come about through a 
combination of the original mythical creatures (like the 
sid-people in the Irish happy lands) to whom at first the 
name belonged with the Eskimo that the Icelanders found 
in Greenland, and perhaps the Eskimo and Indians that 
they found on the north-east coast of North America. It is, 
as in fact Moltke Moe has maintained in his lectures, by the 
fusing of materials taken from the world of myth and from 


reality that the human imagination is rendered most fertile CHAPTER 
and creative in the formation of legend. The points of ^^ 
departure may often be pure accidents, resemblances of one 
kind or another, which have a fructifying effect. 

That the Skraelings, from being originally living natives, 
should later have become trolls or brownies, is an idea that 
Storm among others seems to have entertained (cf. note, 
p. ii); but this would be the reverse of what usually 
happens. That the Eskimo should have made a strange 
and supernatural impression on the superstitious Norsemen 
when they first met them is natural, and so it is that this 
impression should have persisted so long, until it gradually 
wore off through more intimate acquaintance with them in 
Greenland ; but the contrary, that the supernatural ideas 
about them should only have developed gradually, although 
they were constantly meeting them, is incredible. 

In Scandinavian literature also we find mythical ideas 
attached to the Skraelings of Greenland. In the Norwegian 
" Historia Norwegiae " (thirteenth century) it is said that 
when ** they are struck with weapons while alive, their 
wounds are white and do not bleed, but when they are dead 
the blood scarcely stops running." The Dane Claudius 
Clavus (fifteenth century) relates that there were pygmies in 
Greenland two feet high (like our elves and brownies), and 
the same is reported in a letter to Pope Nicholas V. (circa 
1450), with the addition that they hide themselves in the 
caves of the country like ants (see next chapter) ; that 
is, like underground beings, although this trait may well 
be derived from knowledge of the Eskimo. Mythical tales 
about the Greenland Eskimo also appear in Olaus Magnus, 
and in Jacob Ziegler's Scondia (sixteenth century) [cf. Gronl. 
hist. Mind., iii. pp. 465, 501]. 

A little touch like that of Thorvald Ericson drawing the Borrowed 
Uniped's arrow out of his intestines and saying : " There is ^^**"^®^ 
fat in the bowels, a good land have we found . . .'' shows 
how the saga-writer embroidered his romance : Thorvald was 
II B 17 


CHAPTER ^^^ ^^^ °^ ^ chief and naturally required a more honourable 
IX death than other men. The Fosterbrothers' Saga and Snorre 

have the same thing about Thormod Kolbrunarskald at the 
battle of Stiklestad, when he drew out the arrow and said, 
*' Well hath the king nourished us, there is still fat about 
the roots of my heart." But of course there had to be a 
slight difference ; while Thormod receives the arrow in the 
roots of his heart and has been well treated by the king, 
Thorvald gets it in his small intestines and has been well 
nourished by the country. Similar features are found in 
other Icelandic sagas. 

It is a characteristic point that both in the '* Navigatio 
Brandani " and in the " Imram Maelduin " three of the 
companions perish, or disappear, either through demons or 
mythical beings. With this the circumstance that in Karls- 
evne's voyage three of his companions fall, two by the 
Skrselings and one by a Uniped, seems to correspond. We 
may also compare the incident in the " Imram Brenaind " 
where Brandan and his companions come to a large, lofty 
and beautiful island, where there are dwarfs (" luchrupdn ") 
like monkeys, who instantly fill the beach and want to swallow 
them, and devour one of the men (the ** crosan ") (cf. the 
circumstance that in the fight with the Skraelings two men 
fell, of whom only one is mentioned by name). 

When it is related first that Karlsevne found five Skraelings 
asleep near Wineland, whom they took for exiles (!) and 
therefore slew, and that in the following year they again found 
five Skraelings, of whom, however, they only took two boys, 
while the others escaped, we may probably regard these as 
two variants of the same story. This feature also has an air 
of being borrowed in its dubious form, especially in the 
former passage ; but I have not yet discovered from whence 
it may be derived. 

In the " Gr6nlendinga-J>attr " there is yet another variant. There Thorvald 
Ericson and his men see three hide-boats on the beach, and three men under each. 
" Then they divided their people, and took them all except one who got away 



with his boat. They killed the eight. . . ." This is altogether improbable. Since CHAPTER 
one man could run away with his boat, the hide-boats must be supposed to be xx 
kayaks, and the men Eskimo ; but in that case only one man would have been 
lying under each ; if they were larger boats (women's boats ?) it would be unlike 
the Eskimo for three men to lie under each, and in any case one man could not 
run away with a boat. 

The tale of the kidnapped Skraeling children also shows 
incidents and ideas from wholly different quarters that have 
been introduced into this saga. That the grown-up Skraeling 
was bearded (" skeggja^r ") agrees, of course, neither with 
Eskimo nor Indians, but it agrees very well with trolls, 
brownies and pygmies, and also with the hermits of the Irish 
legends who were heavily clothed with hair. That this 
man, with the two women who escaped, " sank down into 
the earth " has already been mentioned as an underground 
feature. That the Skrslings of Markland had no houses, 
but lived in caves, does not sound any more probable ; 
unless indeed this feature is taken from underground gnomes, 
it may come from the hermits in Irish legends. Thus the 
holy Paulus [Schroder, 1871, p. 32] dwelt in a cave and was 
covered with snow-white hair and beard (cf. the bearded 
Skrsling), whom Brandan met on an island a little while 
before he came to the Terra Repromissionis (cf. the cir- 
cumstance that Markland lay a little to the north of Wine- 
land). The myth of Hvitramanna-land is derived from 
Ireland, and has of course nothing to do with the Skrsling 
boys. Storm, it is true, thought they might have told of a 
great country (Canada or New Brunswick) with inhabitants 
in the west, which later became the Irish mythical land ; 
but this too is not very credible. The names they gave are 
obviously not to be relied on : they may be later inventions, 
from which no conclusion at all can be drawn as to the 
language of the Skr slings, as has been attempted by earlier 
inquirers.^ The two kings' names, " Avalldamon '* and 

^ W. Thalbitzer's attempt [1905, pp. 190, ff.] to explain the words, not as 
originally names, but as accidental, misunderstood Eskimo sentences, which are 



CHAPTER " Avalldidida " (or " Valldidida "), which are attributed to 

^^ them, may be supposed to be connected with " Ivaldr '* or 

" ivaldi." He was of elfin race, was the father of Idun, 

who guarded the apples of rejuvenation, and his sons, 

" ivalda synir," were the elves who made the hair for Sif, 

the spear Gungner for Odin, and Skit5blat5nir for Frey. 

In Bede he is called " Hewald,*' and in the Anglo-Saxon 

translation " Hedvold." ^ The name *' Vaetilldi " (nom. 

** Vaetilldr " ?) of the mother of the Skraeling boys recalls 

Norse names ; it might be a combination of * * vaetr ' ' or 

"vaettr " (gnome, sprite, cf. modern Norwegian '* vaett," a 

female sprite) and " -hildr " (ace, dat. *' -hildi *') ; the word 

is' also written in some MSS. ** Vaetthildi," "Vetthildi," 

"Vethildi," "Veinhildi." 

The The last tale of Bjarne Grimolfsson who got into the 

maggot-sea maggot-sea (" ma^k-sjdr ") bears a stamp of travellers* 

tales as marked as those of the Liver-sea. But even this 

feature seems to have prototypes in the Irish legends ; it 

resembles the incident in the tale of the voyage of the three 

sons of Ua Corra (twelfth century ?), where the sea-monsters 

gnaw away the second hide from under the boat (which 

originally had three hides) [cf. Zimmer, 1889, pp. 193, 199]. 

It will therefore be seen that the whole narrative of the 

supposed to have survived orally for over 250 years, does not appear probable (see 
next chapter). 

^ Moltke Moe has called my attention to the possibility of a connection between 
" Avalldamon " and the Welsh myth of the isle of " Avallon " (the isle of apple- 
trees ; cf. vol. i. pp. 365, 379), to which Morgan le Fay carried King Arthur. It is 
also possible that it may be connected with " daemon " and " vald " ( = power, 
might}. The possibility suggested above seems, however, to be nearer the mark. 

The Skraelings of Markland having kings agrees, of course, neither with 
Indians nor Eskimo, who no more had kings than the Greenlanders and Ice- 
landers themselves. On the other hand, it exactly fits elves and gnomes. The 
Ekeberg king and other mountain kings are well known in Norway. The elves 
of Iceland had a king who was subject to the superior elf-king in Norway. The 
sid-people in Ireland, the pygmies and gnomes in other lands (such as Wales) 
also have kings. This feature again points, therefore, in the direction of the fairy- 
nature of the Skraelings, like the name " Vatthildr." 


Wineland voyages is a mosaic of one feature after another chapter 


gathered from east and west. Is there, then, anything left 
that may be genuine ? To this it may be answered that narrative a 
even if the romance of the voyages be for the most mosaic 
part invented — to some extent perhaps from ancient lays — 
the chief persons themselves may be more or less historical. 
It is nevertheless curious that it should be reserved to father 
and son first to discover and settle Greenland, and then 
accidentally to discover Wineland. That to Leif, the 
young leader, should further be attributed the introduction 
of Christianity, and that he should thus represent the new 
faith in opposition to his father, the old leader, who repre- 
sented heathendom, may also seem a remarkable coincidence, 
but it may find an explanation in the probability of a new 
faith being introduced by men of influence, and just as in 
Norway it was done by kings, so in Greenland it was 
naturally the work of the future chief of the free state. 
Although it is strange that such a circumstance should not be 
mentioned when Leif 's name occurs in the oldest authorities 
(** Landnama "), this may thus appear probable. On the other 
hand, no such explanation can be found for the circumstance 
that he of all others should accidentally discover America. It 
would be somewhat different if, as in the ** Gronlendinga- 
]?attr," Leif had of set purpose gone out to find new land, like 
his father. It is also curious that in the saga we hear no 
more either of Leif or his ship on the new voyages, after his 
accidental discovery, while it is another, Karlsevne, who 
becomes the hero. It looks as though the tale of Leif had 
been inserted without proper connection. In the "Gron- 
lendinga-]?attr, " too, this discovery is attributed to another 
man, Bjarne Herjolfsson, which shows that the tradition 
about Leif was not firmly rooted. It may be supposed that 
there was a tradition in Iceland of the discovery of new land 
to the south-west of Greenland, and this became connected 
with the legends of the fortunate "Wineland the Good." 
Popular belief then searched for a name with which to 



CHAPTER connect the discovery, and as it could not take that of the 
^^ discoverer of Greenland itself, the aged Eric who was estab- 

lished at Brattalid, it occurred to many to take that of his 
son ; whilst others chose another. It is doubtless not 
impossible that Leif was the man ; but what is suggested 
above, coupled with so much else that is legendary in connec- 
tion with the voyages of him and the others, does not 
strengthen the probability of it. 

But however this may be, it may in any case be regarded 
as certain that the Greenlanders discovered the American 
continent, even though we are without any means of deter- 
mining how far south they may have penetrated. The 
statements as to the length of the shortest day in Wineland, 
which are given in the Flateyjarbdk's "Gr6nlendinga-]?dttr," 
are scarcely to be more depended upon than other statements 
in this romantic tale. 

* It might be objected that when it is so distinctly stated that " it was there 
more equinoctial [i.e., the day and night were more nearly equal in length] than 
in Greenland or Iceland, the sun there had * eykt ' position and ' dagmal * 
position [i.e., was visible between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.] on the shortest day " 
[cf. Gr. h. Mind., i. p. 218 ; G. Storm, 1891, p. 58 ; 1887, pp. i, ff.], this 
shows that the Greenlanders were actually there and made this observa- 
tion. In support of this view it might also be urged that it was not so 
very long (about forty years) before the Flateyjarb6k was written that the 
ship from Markland (see later) arrived at Iceland in 1347, and through the 
men on board her the Icelanders might have got such information as to the 
length of days. This can hardly be altogether denied ; but it would have been 
about Markland rather than Wineland that they would have heard, and Markland 
is only once mentioned in passing in the " Gr6nlendinga-)>attr.' ' Moreover, it was 
common in ancient times to denote the latitude by the length of the longest or shortest 
day (cf. vol. i. pp. 52, 64), and the latter in particular must have been natural to 
Northerners (cf. vol. i. p. 133). The passage quoted above would thus be a general 
indication that Wineland lay in a latitude so much to the south of Greenland 
as its shortest day was longer ; they had no other means of expressing this in a 
saga, nor had they perhaps any other means of describing the length of the day 
than that here used. It appears from the Saga, of Eric the Red that Kjalames was 
reckoned to be in the same latitude as Ireland (see vol. i. p. 326) ; as a consequence 
of this we might expect that Wineland would lie in a more southern latitude than 
the south of Ireland, the latitude of which (i.e., the length of the shortest day] 
was certainly well known in Iceland. If, therefore, in a tale of the fourteenth 



Incidents such as the bartering for skins with the Wineland chapter 
Skraelings, and the combat with unfortunate results, seem to ^^ 
refer to something that actually took place ; they cannot that atmear 
easily be explained from the legends of the Fortunate Isles, genuine 
nor can representations of fighting in which the Norsemen 
were worsted be derived from Greenland. They must rather 
be due to encounters with Indians ; for it is incredible that 
the Greenlanders or Icelanders should have described in this 
way fights with the unwarlike Eskimo, or at all events with 
the Greenland Eskimo, who, even if they had been of a warlike 
disposition, cannot have had any practice in the art of war. 
This in itself shows that the Greenlanders must have reached 
America, and come in contact with the natives there. 

The very mention of the countries to the south-west : 
first the treeless and rocky Helluland (Labrador ?), then the 
wooded Markland (Newfoundland ?) farther south, and then 
the fertile Wineland south of that, may also point to local 
knowledge. It must be admitted that this could be explained 
away as having been put together from the general experience 
that countries in the north are treeless, but become more 
fertile as one proceeds southward ; but the names Helluland 
and especially Markland have in themselves an appearance 
of genuineness, as also has Kjalarnes. The different saga- 
writers, in the Saga of Eric the Red and in the Flateyjarbok's 
** Gr6nlendinga-]?attr, " give different explanations of the reason 
for the name of Kjalarnes, which shows that the name is an 
old one and that the explanations have been invented later 
(cf. vol. i. p. 324). A point which agrees remarkably well 
with the trend of the Labrador coast and may point to 
a certain knowledge of it, is that Karlsevne steers well to 
the south-east from Helluland ; but this may possibly be 

century, the position of Wineland is to be described, it is natural that its shortest 
day should be given a length which according to Professor H. Geelmuyden [see G. 
Storm, 1886, p. 128 ; 1887, P- 6] would correspond to 49° 55' N. lat. or south of 
it ; in other words, the latitude of France, and that was precisely the land that 
the Icelanders knew as the home of wine, and that they would therefore naturally 
use in the indication of a Wineland. 


^APTER connected with the idea mentioned later in the saga, that 
Wineland became broader towards the south, and the coast 
turned eastwards, which was evidently due to the assumption 
that it was connected with Africa (cf. vol. i. p. 326). 

The oldest and most original part of Eric's Saga, as of 
most other sagas, is probably the lays. Of special interest 
are the lays attributed to Thorhall the Hunter ; they give an 
impression of genuineness and do not harmonise well with 
the prose text, which was evidently composed much later. 
One of the lays, which describes the poet's disappointment 
at not getting wine to drink in the new country instead of 
water, shows that a notion was current that wine was 
abundant there, and this notion must have come from 

Felling trees. Marginal decoration of the J6nsb6k (fifteenth century) 

the myth of the Fortunate Land or Wineland ; for, if we 
confine ourselves to this one saga, the notion cannot have 
been derived from the single earlier voyage thither that is 
there mentioned — namely, Leif's : during his short visit he 
cannot possibly have had time to make wine, even if he had 
known how to do so. The lay seems therefore to show that 
men had really reached a country which was taken to be 
the ** Wineland,*' or Fortunate Isles, of legend, but which 
turned out not to answer to the ideas which had been formed 
of it. The second lay attributed to Thorhall (see vol. i. p. 326) 
may also point to the country they had arrived at not being so 
excessively rich, for they had to cook whales' flesh on 
FurSustrandir (and consequently were obliged to support 
themselves by whaling). This gives us an altogether more 
sober picture than the prose version of the saga ; the latter, 
moreover, says nothing of whales except the one that made 
them ill and was thrown out. 

The surest historical evidence that voyages were made to chapter 


America from Greenland is the chance statement, referred to ^ 


later, in the Icelandic Annals : that in 1347 a ship from historical 
Greenland bound for Markland was driven by storms to evidence 
Iceland. This reveals the fact that, occasionally at any 
rate, this voyage was made ; and if the sagas about the 
Wineland voyages must be regarded as romances, or as a 
kind of legendary poetry — which therefore made no attempt 
whatever to give a historical exposition of the communication 
with the countries to the south-west — then many more 
voyages may have been made thither than the sagas had 
use for. A prominent feature of the different tales is that of 
the Greenlanders bringing timber from thence ; this appears 
already in the story of Leif's discovery of the country — he 
found various kinds of trees and *' mpsurr," and brought 
them home with him — and still more in the tales of the 
Flateyjarb6k, where on each voyage it is expressly stated 
that they felled timber to load their ships, as though that 
were their chief object. In the Icelandic geography men- 
tioned on p. I, there is an addition, probably of late date : 

". . . It is said that Thorfinn Karlsevne felled wood [in Markland ?] for a ' husa- 
snotra,' and then went on to seek for Wineland the Good, and arrived where 
this land was thought to be, but was not able to explore it, and did not settle 
there. ..." 1 

In the Flateyjarbdk's ** Gr6nlendinga-]?attr " it is stated 
that Karlsevne, in Wineland, cut down timber to load his 

^ Cf. Gronl. hist. Mind., iii. p. 220 ; Storm, 1887, p. 12. ** Hiisa-snotra " is 
explained as a vane or similar decoration on the gable of a house or a ship's 
stem [cf. V. Gut5mundsson, 1889, pp. 158, ff.]. The statement given above shows 
that a ** hi!isa-snotra " was something to which great importance was attached, 
otherwise attention would not have been called to it in this way. And in the 
" Gr6nlendinga-]?attr " [Gr. hist. Mind., i. p. 254] we read that Karlsevne, when he 
was in Norway, would not sell his " husa-snotra " (made of " mausurr " from 
Wineland) to the German from Bremen, until the latter offered him half a mark 
of gold for it. One might suppose that this ornament (vane-staff) on the prow 
of a ship or the gable of a house was connected with religious or superstitious 
ideas of some kind, like the posts of the high seat within the house, or the totem- 
poles of the North American Indians, which stood before the house. 



CHAPTER ship, and that he had a " hiisa-snotra ' * of ** masur ** from 
^^ Wineland. Both accounts show how highly timber was 

prized in Greenland and Iceland. It is likely enough that 
this was so, since they had no timber in Greenland but 
driftwood, dwarf birch and osiers. But in order to find 
timber the Greenlanders need have gone no farther south 
than Markland (Newfoundland ?) ; and this name (perhaps 
also Helluland) may therefore have the surest historical 

If Adam of Bremen (circa 1070) mentions no more than 
Wineland, this is doubtless because he has only heard of that 
legendary country ; the belief in its existence may already 
have been confirmed in his time by the discovery of new 
lands. More remarkable is the statement of the sober Are 
AreFrode's Frode (circa 1 130) as to the Skrselings who "inhabited 
evidence Wineland " (** Vinland hefer bygt "). This looks as if Wine- 
land was familiar to him ; it may be the mythical name that 
has passed into a common designation for the countries dis- 
covered in the south-west (cf. vol. i. pp. 368, 384). But there is 
also a possibility that only the mythical country is in question, 
and that, as suggested above (vol. i. p. 368 ; vol. ii. p. 16), its 
inhabitants are merely the Skraelings of myths, since this 
mythical land and its inhabitants were the best known and most 
talked of. If this be so, it does not exclude the possibility of 
Are's having heard of other, less well known, but actually dis- 
covered countries in the south-west, which he does not mention. 
To make use of a parallel, let us suppose that Utrost with 
its fairy people was better known in Nordland than the 
islands to the north with their semi-mythical Lapps. If 
then we had read of a discovery of Finmark that traces had 
been found there of the same kind of folk (" ]?j6t5 ") who 
inhabit Utrost, then we should no more be able from this 
to conclude that Utrost was a real land than that Vesteralen 
and Sen j en, for instance, had not been discovered. It must 
be remembered that it does not appear with certainty from Are's 
words where he got his Wineland from (cf. vol. i. p. 367). 


Another document of a wholly different nature, wherein chapter 
possibly the name of Wineland is mentioned, has been 
found — namely, the runic stone of Honen. 

On the estate of Honen, in Ringerike, there was found at J^^^^c stone 
the begmnmg of last century a runic stone, which was still Honen 
to be seen there in 1823, when the inscription was copied. 
Afterwards the stone disappeared/ The drawing made in 
1823 is now only known from a somewhat indistinct copy ; 
but from this Sophus Bugge [1902] has attempted to make 
out the runic inscription, and he reads it thus : 

'* Ut ok vitt ok furia 
]?erru ok 4ts 
Vinlandi A isa 
i libyg^ at k6mu ; 
aut$ md illt vega, 
[at] doyi dr.*' 

- 4_ . 


The existing drawing of the runic stone from Honen, Ringerike 
(S. Bugge, 1902) 

In prose this verse may, according to Bugge, be rendered 
somewhat as follows : 

" They came out [into the ocean] and over wide expanses (* vitt *), and needing 
(' ]7urfa ') cloth to dry themselves on (* J>erru ') and food (*4ts'), away 

^ On the initiative of Professors Sophus Bugge and Gustav Storm, a thorough 
examination of the spot was made in 190 1, the first-named being himself present ; 
but the stone was not to be found. 



CHAPTER towards Wineland, up into the ice in the uninhabited country. Evil can take 
IX away luck, so that one dies early." 

Bugge regards this reading of this somewhat difficult 
inscription as doubtful ; but if it is correct, this verse may 
be part of an inscription cut upon one or more stones in 
memory of a young man (or perhaps several) from Ringerike, 
who took part in an expedition by sea. According to his 
explanation, they were then driven far out into the ocean in 
the direction of Wineland, and were lost, perhaps in the ice 
on the east coast of Greenland (which in the sagas is generally 
called the uninhabited country, " ubygS ") ; they abandoned 
their ship and had to take to the drift-ice. He (or they) to 
whom the inscription refers thereby met his death at an 
early age, while at any rate some one must have made his 
way back and brought the tale of the voyage. Probably 
there was a commencement of the inscription, now lost, 
giving the name of the young man, who must certainly have 
been of good birth ; for otherwise, as Bugge points out, a 
memorial with an inscription in verse would hardly have 
been raised to him. He or his family belonged to Ringerike, 
and to the neighbourhood in which the stone was put up. 

The form of the runes makes it probable, according to 
Bugge, that the inscription dates from the eleventh century, 
and perhaps from the period between looo and 1050 ; 
scarcely before that, though it may be later. The inscription 
would thus acquire a value as possibly the earliest document 
in which Wineland is mentioned. What kind of expedition 
the inscription records we cannot tell ; there is nothing to 
show that it was a real Wineland voyage ; the words seem 
rather to point to their having been driven against their will 
out to sea in the direction of *' Wineland," whether we are to 
regard this as the Wineland of myth or as a historical 
country ; it might well be used figuratively in an epitaph 
to describe more graphically how far they went from the 
beaten track. It may equally well have been on a voyage 
to Ireland, the Faroes, Iceland, or merely to the north of 


Norway that the disaster occurred, and they were driven by chapter 
storms to the Greenland ice ; but since it cannot be denied that, '^ 
as the verse has been translated, the expressions appear 
somewhat unnatural, it is difficult to form any opinion as 
to this.^ 

If this runic inscription from Ringerike has been cor- 
rectly copied and interpreted — which, as has been said, is 
uncertain — then this and Adam of Bremen's information 
from Denmark would show that Wineland was known and 
discussed in various parts of the North in the eleventh century, 
long before Icelandic literature began to be put into writing. 
But strangely enough, in the Norwegian thirteenth-century 
work, ** Historia Norwegiae," no mention is made of Wine- 
land, although in other respects the author has made exten- 
sive use of Adam of Bremen's work ; he merely states that 
Greenland approaches the African Islands, by which, as 
pointed out above (p. i), he shows clearly enough that 
Wineland was regarded as belonging to the African Islands, 
or Insulae Fortunatae. The "King's Mirror,'"^ which gives a 
detailed description of Greenland, does not mention Wine- 
land, although the author evidently held the view that 
Greenland approached the universal continent (i.e., Africa) 
on the south. The knowledge of it must soon have been 
forgotten in Norway, or it was regarded as a mythical 
country, while the tradition persisted longer in Iceland. 

The last time we meet with the name of Wineland in Bishop Eric 

connection with a voyage is in the ** Islandske Annaler," ^ seeks Wme- 

where it is related in the year 1121 that " Eirikr, bishop of 

Greenland [also called Eirikr Upsi], went out to seek 

(leita) Wineland." But we are not told anything more of 

this expedition. The use of * ' leita ' ' shows that Wineland 

^ I cannot accept the conjectures that Professor Yngvar Nielsen thinks may be 
based upon this inscription [1905]. 

* It is true that only a portion of this work has been preserved, and that 
Wineland may have been mentioned in the part that has not come down to us 
(if indeed the work was ever finished) ; but this is not likely. 

3 Cf. Storm's edition, 1888, pp. 19, 59, H2, 252, 320, 473. 



CHAPTER was not a known country, it can only apply to lands about 
IX which legends or reports are current ; just in ^the same 

way Gardar in the Sturlubok ** went to seek (* for at leita ') 
Snselandz ' ' on the advice of his mother, who had second sight 
(vol. i. p. 255), or Ravna-Floki "f6r at leita Gardarshdlms " 
(vol. i. p. 257), and Eric the Red '' aetla^i at leita lands )?ess " 
which Gunnbjorn had seen, etc. (vol. i. p. 267). As soon as the 
way was known, it was no longer necessary to " leita " 
countries. If the voyage is historical, it may have been to 
seek for the mythical country, the happy Wineland that 
Bishop Eric set out, as St. Brandan in the legend sought 
for the Promised Land, and as, 359 years later, the city of 
Bristol actually sent men out to look for the happy isle of 
Brazil ; but as the coast of America seems to have been 
known, it may apply to a country there, of which reports 
had come, and to which the name of the mythical country 
had been transferred. As Eric is called a bishop, it has been 
thought that this was a missionary voyage, which met with 
disaster [cf. Y. Nielsen, 1905, p. 8] ; but who was there 
to be converted in an unknown land, for which one had 
first to '' seek " ? It would have to be the unknown 
Skraelings ; but is this really likely, when we hear of no 
mission to the Skrselings of Greenland ? There must have 
been enough of the latter to convert for the time being, if it 
had been thought worth the trouble. Nor do we know much 
more about this Eric Upsi.^ Probably he was the same 
man who is called in the Landnamabok *' Eirikr Gnupssonr 
Gronlendinga-byskup." It is possible that the see of Green- 
land was founded as early as 11 10,^ and that Eric was the 
first bishop of Greenland, and went out there in 1112,^ but 
he cannot have been solemnly consecrated at Lund, like 
later bishops after 11 24. It is possible that Eric was lost, 

^ '* Upsi " (or ** ufsi "i would mean " big coalfish " or " coalfish." 

2 It has been generally considered that it was not until 1x24, when Bishop 
Arnaldr was consecrated at Lund. In any case this is the first ordination of which 
we have any information. 

3 Cf. G. Storm, 1887, p. 26 ; Reeves, 1895, p. 82. 



for^ we^ hear no more of him, and in 1122 and 11 23 the chapter 
Greenlanders made efforts to obtain a new bishop, who was IX 
consecrated at Lund in 11 24; but it is curious that nothing 
is then said about any earlier bishop ; moreover, the entry 
in the annals about Eric dates at the earliest from the 
thirteenth century. 

Some years ago it was asserted that a stone with a runic inscription had been 
found in Minnesota, the so-called Kensington stone. On this is narrated a journey 
of eight Swedes and twenty-two Norwegians from Wineland as far as the country 
west of the Great Lakes. But by its runes and its linguistic form this inscription 
betrays itself clearly enough as a modern fo.gery, which has no interest for us 
here [of. H. Gjessing, 1909 ; K. Hoegh, 1909 ; H. R. Holand, 1909 ; O. J. 
Breda, 1910]. 

The name of Wineland occurs extremely rarely in mediaeval vvineiand 
literature and on maps outside Iceland, and as a rule it is in mediaeval 
confused with Finland, as already mentioned (vol. i. p. 198), ^^t^"^^*""^^ 
or again with Vindland (Vendland). Ordericus Vitalis (1141) 
gives " The Orkneys and Finland, together with Iceland and 
Greenland " as islands under the king of Norway.^ As the 
passage seems to be connected with Adam of Bremen, who also 
erroneously mentions these islands and Wineland as subject 
to the Norwegians (see vol. i. p. 192), this Finland may be 
Wineland. It was pointed out m vol. i. p. 198, that the Latin 
** vinum " was translated into Irish as " fin." Ordericus 
(1075-1143), who lived in England until his tenth year, and 
wrote in an abbey in Normandy, may well have had com- 
munication with Irishmen. In Ranulph Higden's '' Poly- 
chronicon " (circa 1350) the following are described as 
islands in the outer ocean (surrounding the disc of the earth) : 
first the '* Insulae Fortunatae " (see vol. i. p. 346), imme- 
diately afterwards "Dacia" (= Denmark), and to the <west 
of this island ' ' Wyntlandia, ' ' besides ' ' Islandia, ' ' which has 
Norway to the south and the Polar Sea to the north, ** Tile " 
(Thule) the extreme island on the north-west, and ' ' Nor- 
uegia " (Norway). As this " Wyntlandia," which in the 

^ Cf. Ordericus Vitalis, Hist. Eccles., iii. i, x. c. 5 ; Gronl. hist. Mind., iii. 
p. 428 ; Rafn, 1837, pp. 337, 460, ff. ; A. A. Bjornbo, 1909, p. 206, ^ 



CHAPTER various editions of Higden's map is called Witland, Wint- 

^^ landia, Wineland, etc., is placed out in the ocean on the 

west, it is possibly connected with the old Wineland 

which was an oceanic island ; but as it is mentioned together 

with Dacia, it may also be confused with Vindland (Vend- 

land),^ and the circumstance that the inhabitants are supposed 

to have sold winds to sailors who came to them may have 

contributed to this. This may be connected with what Mela 

[iii. 6] says about the island of Sena in the British Sea, 

off Brittany (see vol. i. p. 29), where the nine priestesses of 

the oracle of the Gaulish deity 

" set seas and winds in motion through their incantations, change themselves 
into what animal they please, cure sickness . . . know the future and foretell 
it, but they only assist those sailors who come to ask counsel of them." 

But the wind-selling wizards of the Polychronicon have 
also evidently been confused with the Finns (Lapps) of 
Finmark, whom Adam of Bremen had already described as 
particularly skilled in magic. The Polychronicon is a free 
revision of an earlier English work, the ** Geographia 
Universalis," of the thirteenth century. In this ** Win- 
landia " (or " Wynlandia ") and its inhabitants, who sell 
winds, are described at greater length ; it is there placed on 
the continent on the sea- coast and borders on the mountains 
of Norway on the east.^ It is therefore Finland, or perhaps 
rather the country of the Lapp wizards, Finmark. Thus 
through similarity of sound three countries may have been 
confused in the Polychronicon : Wineland, Vindland, and 
Finland (Finmark). Evidently the " Vinland " to be found 
on the continent in the map of the world in the * * Rudimentum 
Novitiorum " of Liibeck (1475) refers to Finland, and likewise 
the *' Vinlandia " mentioned in a Liibeck MS. of i486- 1488, 
which is an extensive island reaching as far as Livonia.^ 

* In a similar fashion Torfxus [1705] confused Vinland and Vindland. 

^ Cf. Polychronicon Ranulphi Higden, etc. Rerum Britanicarum Medii 
^vi Scriptores, London, 1865, i. p. 322 ; Eulogium Historiarum, etc. Rer. 
Brit. Script., i860, ii. pp. 78, f. ; W. Wackernagel, 1844, pp. 494, f. 

* Cf. Nordenskiold, 1889, p. 3 ; A. A. Bjornbo, 1909, pp. 197, 205, 240. 


Whether we regard Wineland as merely a mythical country, CHAPTER 
or as a country actually discovered to which the name of the ^^ 
mythical land was transferred, this limited dissemination of 
it in literature and on maps is striking. It shows that 
knowledge of the myth, or of the country with the mythical 
name, belonged to older times, was not very widely spread 
outside the Scandinavian countries and Ireland, and was 
afterwards forgotten, in spite of the frequent communica- 
tion that existed between the intellectual world of the North 
and that of the South [cf. Jos. Fischer, 1902, pp. 106, ff.]. 

While probably the name of Hvitramanna-land is still Wineland 
preserved in the fairy-tale of Hvittenland, it is possibly the name j" Faroese 
of Wineland that has been preserved in that " Vinland " 
which is mentioned in the Faroese lay of ** Finnur hinn 
FriSi " ; ' but if so, it is the only known instance of its 
occurrence in popular poetry. The Norwegian jarl's son, 
Finnur hinn FriSi (Finn the Fair), courts Ingebjorg, the 
daughter of an Irish king ; she is beautiful as the sun, and 
the colour of her maiden cheeks is like blood dropped upon 
snow.^ She makes answer : " Hadst thou slain the Wine- 
kings, then shouldst thou wed me." To Wineland is a far 
voyage, with currents and mighty billows. But Finn begs 
his brother, Halfdan, to go with him over the Wineland sea. 
They hoist their silken sail, and never lower it till they arrive 
at Wineland. There they found the three Wine-kings. 
Thorstein, the first, came on a black horse, but Finn tore him 
off at the navel ; the second, Ivint, also came on a black 
horse. But the third transformed himself into a flying 
dragon ; arrows flew from each of his feathers, and he killed 
many of their men. The worst was that he shot venom from 
his mouth under Finn's coat of mail, who, though he could 
not be killed by arms, had to die. He then drew a golden 
ring from his arm and sent it by Halfdan to Ingebjorg, 

^ Cf. Hammershaimb, 1855, pp. 105, ff. ; Rafn, Antiqu. Americ, pp. 330, ff. 
^ This image of blood upon snow is taken from Irish mediaeval texts, as Moltke 
Moe informs me. 

II C 33 


CHAPTER bidding her live happily. But Halfdan sprang into the air» 

^ seized the third Wine-king, and tore him off at the navel. 

Halfdan sailed back to Ireland, brought Ingebjorg these 

Map by the Icelander J6n Gudmundsson, bom 1574 (Torfaeus, 1706) 

tidings and the ring, and slept three nights with her, but on 
the fourth she dies of grief, since she can love no chieftain 
after Finn. Halfdan had a castle built for himself and passed 
his years in Ireland, but all his days he mourned for his 
brother. Although the whole of this legend seems to have 
no connection with what we know about Wineland, it is 



most probable that it is the same name, but that — like the CHAPTER 
tale itself of the Irish king's daughter whose cheek was as ^^ 
blood upon snow — it came from Ireland. The name may 
thus be a last echo of the Irish mythical ideas from which 
the Wineland of the Icelanders arose. 

Curiously enough Helluland is the only one of the names Helluland 
of the western lands that has been widely adopted in *" ^^^^^ 
Icelandic fairy-tales and legendary sagas. It has to some 
extent become a complete fairyland, with trolls and giants, 
and it is located in various places, usually far north, even to 
the north of Greenland, and sometimes on its north-east 
coast. In this fairyland was the fjord " Skuggi " (shadow) ; 
it is mentioned in Orvarodds Saga (circa 1300), where the 
hero departs to seek his enemy, the wizard Ogmund, in 
Helluland, and again in Bdr^arsaga Snaefellsdss (fifteenth 
century), in the ** Mttr " of Gunnari Keldugmipsfifl, in the 
Hdlfdanarsaga Bronufdstra, in the Saga of Hdlfdani Eysteins- 
syni, and in Gest Bardsson's Saga.i 

In the geography which under the name of ** Gripla *' 
was included in Bjorn J6nsson*s "Gronland's Annaler," it is 
said of the countries opposite Greenland : 

" FurtSustrandir is the name of a land, where is severe frost, so that it is not 
habitable, so far as people know ; south of it is Helluland, which is called Skrae- 
lingja-land ; thence it is a short distance to Wineland the Good, which some 
people think goes out from Africa. ..." 

With this may be compared another MS. of the seventeenth 
century, where we read : 

"West of the great ocean from Spain, which some call Ginnungagap, and 
which goes between lands, there is first towards the north Wineland the Good, 
next to it is called Markland farther north, thereafter are the wastes [i.e., the 
wastes of Helluland] where Skraelings live, then there are still more wastes to 
Greenland." [Cf. Gronl. hist. Mind., iii. pp. 224, 227.] 

From this it looks as if Helluland was regarded as 
inhabited by Skraelings, which agrees with the reality, if it 

1 Cf. Gronl. hist. Mind., iii. pp. 516, ff. ; Storm, 1887, pp. 37, ff. 



Voyage to 


is Labrador. But these MSS. belong to the seventeenth 
century, and may be influenced by the geographical know- 
ledge of later times. In Gripla there is evident confusion, 
as Fur^ustrandir has been confounded with Helluland, and 
the latter with Markland.^ 

No record is found of any voyage to Wineland after 
1 121 ; but on the other hand there is mention more than 
two hundred years later of the voyage, referred to above, to 
Markland from Greenland in 1347. Of this we read in the 
Icelandic Annals (Skalholts- Annals) for that year : " Then 
came also [i.e., besides ships from Norway already mentioned] 
a ship from Greenland, smaller in size than the small vessels 
that trade to Iceland. It came to Outer Straumfjord [on the 
south side of Snaefellsnes] ; it was without an anchor. There 
were seventeen men on board [in the Flatey-annals there are 
eighteen men], and they had sailed to Markland, but after- 
wards [i.e., on the homeward voyage to Greenland] were 
driven hither." 

As the Skalholts- Annals were written not many years 
after this (perhaps about 1362), it must be regarded as quite 
certain that this ship had been to Markland ; but on the 
homeward voyage, perhaps while she lay at anchor, was 
overtaken by a storm, so that the cable had to be cut, and 
was driven out to sea past Cape Farewell right across to the 
west coast of Iceland. It is not likely that they sailed so far 
as Markland simply to jish, which they might have done off 
Greenland ; the object was rather to fetch timber or wood 
for fashioning implements, which was valuable in treeless 

1 G. Storm [1890, p. 347] thinks that something is omitted in Gripla and that 
it should read : " suSr fra er Helluland, }»a er Markland, }>at er kallat Skrselinga- 
land " (to the south is Helluland, then there is Markland, which is called Skrse- 
lingaland). But this seems doubtful ; it would not in any case explain why 
FurSustrandir is placed to the north of Helluland. When Storm alleges as a 
reason that Helluland is never mentioned as a place of human habitation, but 
only for trolls (in the later legendary sagas), he forgets that the Skraelings were 
trolls, or, as he himself puts it elsewhere [1890a, p. 357], that the Skraelings 
were not accounted " true human beings." 



Greenland ; the driftwood which came on the East Green- CHAPTER 
land current did not go very far. It is true that they could 
not carry much timber on their small vessel ; but they had to 
make the best of the craft they possessed, and they could 
always carry a sufficient supply of the more valuable woods 
for the manufacture of tools, weapons and appliances. They 
must for instance have had great difficulty in obtaining wood 
for making bows ; driftwood was of little use for this. 

But if this voyage took place in 1347, and we only hear of 
it through the accident of the vessel getting out of her course 
and being driven to Iceland, we may be sure that there were 
many more like it ; only that these were not the expeditions 
of men of rank, which attracted attention, but everyday 
voyages for the support of life, like the sealing expeditions to 
Nordrsetur, and when nothing particular happened to these 
vessels, such as being driven to Iceland, we hear nothing about 
them. We must therefore suppose that, even if they had to 
give up the idea of forming settlements in the west, the 
Greenlanders occasionally visited Markland (Newfoundland 
or the southernmost part of Labrador ?), perhaps chiefly to 
obtain wood of different kinds. 

In the so-called Greenland Annals, put together from 
old sources by Bjorn Jonsson of Skardsa (beginning of the 
seventeenth century), it is said of the districts on the west 
coast of Greenland, to the north of the Western Settlement, 
that they * * take up trees and all the drift that comes from 
the bays of Markland ' ' (cf . vol. i. p. 299). This shows that it was 
customary to regard Markland as the region from which wood 
was to be obtained. The name itself ( = woodland) may have 
contributed to this view ; but the fact that it survived long 
after all mention of Wineland had ceased may probably be 
due to communication with the country having been kept 
up in later times, and to this name being the really historical 
one on the coast of America. 

According to the Icelandic Annals the voyagers from 
Markland who came to Iceland in 1347, proceeded in the 




CHAPTER following year (1348) to Norway. This was no doubt with 
the idea of getting back to Greenland, as there was no sailing 
to that country from Iceland, and they would not trust their 
vessel on another ocean voyage. But in Norway, where 
they arrived at Bergen, they had a long while to wait. 
*' Knarren," the royal trading ship, seems to have been the 
only vessel that kept up communication with Greenland at 
that time. We know that ** Knarren " returned to Bergen 
in 1346, and did not sail again until 1355. From a royal 
letter of 1354, which has been preserved, it appears that 
extraordinary preparations were made for the fitting- out and 
manning of this expedition, to prevent Christianity in Green- 
land from *' falling away." Perhaps the presence in Norway 
of these Markland voyagers from Greenland had something 
to do with the awakening of interest in that distant country, 
and perhaps it is not altogether impossible that the intention 
was not only to secure and strengthen the possessions in 
Greenland, but also to explore the fertile countries farther 
west. It cannot be remarked, however, that it brought about 
any change in the fading knowledge of these valuable regions, 
and we hear no more of them until their rediscovery at the 
close of the fifteenth century. 

Ebbe Hertzberg, Keeper of the Public Records of Norway, 
has shown [1904, pp. 210, ff.] that there is a remarkable and 
interesting similarity between the game of lacrosse, which 
is played by the Indians of the north-east of North America, 
and the ancient Norse game, " knattleikr " (i.e., ball-game), so 
far as we know it from the sagas. It was greatly in favour 
in Iceland. If Hertzberg is right in his supposition that the 
Indians may have got this game from the Norsemen, this 
would lend strong support to the view that the latter had 
considerable intercourse with America and its natives. 

Norse ball- 
game in 

According to Hertzberg 's acute interpretation of the accounts of " knattleikr " 
in the various sagas, it was played on a large level piece of ground (" leikvpUr, " 
i.e., playing-ground), or on the ice, usually by many players. These were 
divided into two sides, in such a way that those most nearly equal in 



strength on each side were paired as opponents and stood near to each CHAPTER 

other, and the two teams were thus spread in pairs over the whole ground. IX 

Each player had a club with which he either struck or caught and " carried " 

the ball. The club had a hollow or a net in which the ball could be 

caught and lie. When the ball was set going, the game was for the one who 

was nearest to seize or catch it, preferably with his club, and to run off with it 

and try to "carry it out," i.e., past a goal or mark ; but in this his particular 

opponent tried to hinder him with all his strength and agility. The other players 

might not interfere directly in the struggle of the two opponents for the ball. 

If the one who had the ball was so hard pressed by his opponent that he had to 

give it up, he tried to throw it to one of his own side, who then again had to reckon 

with his own opponent in his attempt to " carry it out." This game was much 

The game of Lacrosse among the Menomini Indians (after W.J.Hoffmann, 
1896). On the left, a "crosse," about a yard long 

played by the Icelanders ; it was apt to be rough, and men were often disabled, 
or even killed, by their opponents. 

Hertzberg shows how the Canadian Indians' game of lacrosse, which 
has become the national game of Canada, completely resembles in all essentials 
this peculiar Norse ball-game from Iceland. The game of lacrosse is, as Professor Y. 
Nielsen has pointed out [1905], more widely diffused among the Indian tribes of 
North America than Hertzberg was aware. Dr. William James Hoffman ^ has 
described it among the Menomini Indians in Wisconsin, the Ojibwa tribe in 
northern Minnesota, the Dakota Indians on the upper Missouri, and among the 
Chactas, Chicksisaws and kindred tribes farther south. Hoffmann also mentions 

^ The Menomini Indians, Fourteenth Ann. Rep. of the Bureau of Ethnology, 
1892-1893. Washington, 1896, vol. i. pp. 127, ff. ; cf. also ** American Anthro- 
pologist," vol. iii. pp. 134, f., Washington, 1890. 



CHAPTER that opponents are picked and that the game is played in pairs [1896, i. p. 132]. 

IX Among the Ojibwas, he says, the player who is carrying the ball is often placed 

hors de combat by a blow on the arm or leg ; serious injuries only occur 
when the stakes are high, or when there is enmity between some of the players. 
Among the more southern tribes, on the other hand, the game is much more 
violent, the crosse is longer, made of hickory, and it is often sought to disable 
the runner. This, then, is even more like the Icelandic game. 

Hoffmann thinks that the game is undoubtedly derived 
from one of the eastern Algonkin tribes, possibly in the 
valley of the St. Lawrence. Thence it reached the Huron 
Iroquois, and later it spread farther south to the Cherokees, 
etc. In a similar way it was carried westwards and adopted 
by many tribes. This then points to its having originated in 
just those districts where one would have expected it to come 
from, if it was brought by the Norsemen, as Hertzberg thinks. 
That the game is so widely diffused in America and has 
become so much a part of the Indians' life, even of their 
religious life, shows that it is very ancient there, and this too 
supports Hertzberg's assumption that it is derived from the 
Norsemen. It is true that Eug. Beauvois ^ has pointed out 
the possibility of the game having been introduced into 
Canada by people from Normandy after the sixteenth century ; 
but before such an objection could carry weight, it would 
have to be made probable that the characteristic Norse game 
was really played in Normandy ; but this is not known. In 
support of Hertzberg 's view it may also be adduced — a point 
that he himself has not noticed — that the Icelanders appear 
to have introduced the same ball-game to another American 
people with whom they came in touch, namely, the Eskimo 
of Greenland. Hans Egede [1741, p. 931 says : 

" Playing ball is their most usual game, especially by moonlight, and they 
have two ways of playing : When they have divided themselves into two sides, 
one throws the ball to another who is on his own side. Those of the other side 
must endeavour to get the ball from them, and thus it goes on alternately among 
them. ..." (The other way of playing mentioned by Egede is more like foot- 

^ " Journal de la Soci4t§ des Am6ricanistes de Paris," 1905, No. 2, p. 319. 


This description, together with Egede's drawing, from CHAPTER 
which it appears, amongst other things, that the opponents ^^ 
are arranged in pairs, seems to show that the Eskimo game 
was very like the Icelanders' ''knattleikr " and the Indians' 
" lacrosse " ; but with the difference that according to 
Egede's account the Eskimo did not use any club or crosse ; 
moreover, from Egede's drawing it looks as if both men 
and women took part, as with certain Indian tribes. That 
there is a connec- 


appears =^K 

Game of ball among the Eskimo of 
. Greenland (Hans Egede, 1741) 

natural. The most 
probable explanation 
may be that the 
Eskimo as well as 
the Indians got this 
ball-game from the 
Norsemen. That the 
Eskimo should have 
learnt it from the 
whalers after the 
rediscovery of Green- 
land in the sixteenth 

century is unlikely, as also that it should have come to 
the Indians from the Eskimo round the north of Baffin 
Bay and through Baffin Land and Labrador ; nor is it 
any more likely that the Icelanders should have learnt it of 
the Eskimo in Greenland, who again had it from America. 

It is in itself a strange thing that the discovery of a Difficulties 
country like North America, with conditions so much more ^" coioni^^ 
favourable than Greenland and Iceland, should not have led sation 
to a permanent settlement. But there are many, and in my 
judgment sufficient, reasons which explain this. We must 
remember that such an outpost of civilisation as Greenland 
offered poor opportunities for the equipment of such settle- 
ments ; the settlers would have to be prepared for continual 
conflicts with the Indians, who with their warlike capacity 




and their numbers might easily be more than a match for a 
handful of Greenlanders, even though the latter had some 
advantage in their weapons of iron — and of these too the 
Greenlanders never had a very good supply, as appears from 
several narratives. There would also be need of ships, which 
were costly and difficult to procure in Greenland ; the few 
that were there certainly had enough to do, and could hardly 
manage more than an occasional trip to Markland for timber. 
Moreover, as the Greenland settlements themselves and 
their oversea communications declined after the close of the 
thirteenth century, so also of course did their communication 
with America decrease, until it finally ceased altogether. 


It would thus appear, from all that has been put forward 
in this chapter, that Wineland the Good was originally a 
mythical country, closely connected with the happy lands of 
Irish myths and legends — ^which had their first source in the 
Greek Elysium and Isles of the Blest, in Oriental sailors' 
myths, and an admixture of Biblical conceptions. The 
description of the country has acquired important features 
from Isidore's account of the Insulae Fortunatse and from 
older classical literature. This mythical country is to be 
compared with **Hvitramanna-land" (the white men's land), 
*' which some call Ireland the Great (* Irland hit Mikla ')." 
Of this the Landnama tells us (cf. vol. i. p. 353) that it lay 
near Wineland, in the west of the ocean, six ** doegr's " 
sail west of Ireland (according to the Eyrbyggja Saga it lay 
to the south-west) ; the Icelandic chief Are Marsson was 
driven there by storms, was not allowed to depart, but was 
baptized there and held in great esteem. Furthermore, the 
same land is mentioned in the Saga of Eric the Red as lying 
opposite Markland (cf. vol. i. p. 330). Finally, in the Eyrbyggja 
Saga there is a tale of a voyage (see later) which evidently 
had the same country as its object, though it is not 
mentioned by name. Since Thorkel Gellisson is given as 
the authority for the story in the Landndma, the legend 



may have reached Iceland about the close of the eleventh CHAPTER 
century. « 

This Irish land may also be derived from an adaptation 
of the ancients' myth of the western Isles of the Blest/ and 
it evidently corresponds to one of the mythical countries of 
the Christianised Irish legends. It bears great resemblance 
in particular to ** the Island of Strong Men" ('* Insula 
Virorum Fortium ") in the Navigatio Brandani, which is 
also called there ** the Isle of Anchorites" [Schroder, 1871, 
pp. 24, 17]. Three generations dwelt there : the first genera- 
tion, the children, had clothes white as driven snow, the 
second of the colour of hyacinth, and the third of Dalmatian 
purple. The name itself, which in Old Norse would become 
*' Starkramanna-land, " shows much similarity of formation ; 
besides which it is the Isle of Anchorites that is in question, 
and one of the three generations wears white garments ; 
we are thus not far from the formation of a name " Hvitra- 
manna-land." There is yet another point of agreement, in 

1 Storm's explanation [1887, pp. 68, ff.] : that it was Dicuil's account of the 
discovery of Iceland by Irish monks (see vol. i. p. 164) which formed the basis of the 
myth of Hvitraraanna-land, may appear very attractive and simple ; but Storm 
does not seem to have noticed the connection that exists between the Irish mythical 
islands in the west and those of classical literature. When he points out the 
similarity between the six days' voyage west of Ireland and Dicuil's statement 
of six days* voyage to Iceland (Thule) northward from Britain, it must be remem- 
bered that in Dicuil this is merely a quotation from Pliny, and, further, that the 
six days' voyage has Britain and not Ireland for its starting-point. In the Saga 
of Eric the Red Wineland lies six " doegr's " sail from Greenland. Cf. that in 
Plutarch ["De facie in orbe Lunae," 941] Ogygia lies five days' voyage west 
of Britain, and to the north-west of it are three islands, to which the voyage 
might thus be one of six days. Let us suppose, merely as an experiment, that 
Ogygia, the fertile vine-growing island of the " hulder " Calypso, was Wine- 
land, then the other three islands to the north-west might be Hvitramanna-land, 
Markland and Helluland, which would fit in. The northernmost would then have to 
be the island on which the sleeping Cronos is imprisoned, with "many spirits about 
him as his companions and servants " (cf. vol. i. pp. 156, 182). Dr. Scisco [1908, 
PP" 379» ^M S^Si ff 'land Professor H. Koht [1909, pp. 133, ff.] think that Are Marsson 
may have been baptized in Ireland and have been chief of a Christian tribe on 
its west coast, where Hvitramanna-land may have been a district inhabited by 
fair Norsemen. 



Origin of 
the name 


that, just as Are Marsson was not allowed to leave Hvitra- 
manna-land, so one of Brandan's companions had to stay 
behind on the Isle of Anchorites. It may also be supposed 
that the name of the White Men's Land is connected with 
the White Christ and with the white garments of the 
baptized ; the circumstance of Are Marsson being baptized 
there points in the same direction.^ But to this it may be 
added that various myths and legends show it to have been 
a common idea among the Irish that aged hermits and holy 
men were white. The old man who welcomes Brandan to 
the promised land in the ** Imram Brenaind " [cf. Zimmer, 
1889, p. 139 ; Schirmer, 1888, p. 34] has no clothes, but his 
body is covered with dazzling white feathers, like a dove 
or a gull, and angelic is the speech of his lips. In the 
Latin account of Brandan's life (** Vita sancti Brandani ") 
the man is called Paulus, he is again without clothes, but his 
body is covered with white hair,^ and in both tales the man 
came from Ireland [cf. Schirmer, 1888, p. 40]. The cave- 
dweller Paulus on an island in the Navigatio Brandani 
[Schroder, 1871, p. 32] is without clothes, but wholly covered 
by the hair of his head, his beard and other hair down to the 
feet, and they were white as snow on account of his great 
age. It is evident that the whiteness is often attributed, as 
in the last instance, to age ; but it is also the heavenly 

1 Since the above was printed in the Norwegian edition of this book, Professor 
Moltke Moe has found a " Tir na Per Finn," or the White Men's Land, mentioned 
in Irish sagas of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The white men (fer finn) 
are evidently the same as the " Albati " (i.e., the baptized dressed in white). 
Tir na Fer Finn and Hvitramanna-land are consequently direct renderings of 
the " Terra Albatorum " (i.e., the land of the baptized dressed in white), which 
is mentioned in earlier Irish literature. The origin of the Icelandic legend about 
Hvitramanna-land seems thus to be quite clear. 

2 Hermits like this, covered with white hair, also occur outside Ireland. Three 
monks from Mesopotamia wished to journey to the place where heaven and 
earth meet, and after many adventures, which often resemble those of the Brandan 
legend, they came to a cave, where dwelt a holy man, Macarius, who was com- 
pletely covered with snow-white hair, but the skin of his face was like that of a 
tortoise [cf. Schirmer, 1888, p. 42]. The last feature might recall an ape. 



colour, and the white clothing of hair (or feathers) may also CHAPTER 
have some connection with the white lamb in the Revelation. 
In the tale of Maelduin's voyage, which is older than 
those of Brandan's, Maelduin meets in two places, on a 
sheep-island and on a rock in the sea, with hermits wholly 
covered with the white hair of their bodies — they too were 
both Irish — and on two other islands, the soil of one of 
which was as white as a feather, he meets with men whose 
only clothing was the hair of their bodies ^ [cf. Zimmer, 
1889, pp. 162, 163, 169, 172, 178]. In the Navigatio 
Brandan also meets on the island of Alibius an aged man 
with hair of the colour of snow and with shining countenance. 
(Cf. Christ revealing himself among the seven candlesticks 
to John on the isle of Patmos : " His head and his hairs were 
white like wool, as white as snow ; and his eyes were as a 
flame of fire " [Rev. i. 14].) 

Among the Irish the white colour again forms a conspicuous feature in the 
description of persons, especially supernatural beings, in ancient non-Christian 
legends and myths. The name of their national hero Finn means white. To Finn 
Mac Cumaill there comes in the legend a king's daughter of unearthly size and 
beauty, " Bebend " (the white woman), from the Land of Virgins ('* TIr na-n- 
Ingen ") in the west of the sea, and she has marvellously beautiful white hair 
[cf. Zimmer, 1889, p. 269]. The corresponding maiden of the sea-people, in the 
*' Imram Brenaind," whom Brandan finds, is also whiter than snow or sea-spray 
(see vol. i. p. 363). The physician Libra at the court of Manannan, king of the 
Promised Land, has three daughters with white hair. When Midir, the king 
of the sid (fairies), is trying to entice away Etain, queen of the high-king of 
Ireland, he says : ' * Oh, white woman, wilt thou go with me to the land of marvels ? 
. . . thy body has the white colour of snow to the very top," etc. etc.^ [cf. Zimmer, 

^ The resemblance to the hairy women (great apes ?) that Hanno found on an 
island to the west of Africa and whose skin he brought to Carthage (cf. vol. i. p. 88) 
is doubtless only accidental. The hair-covered hermits may be connected with 
stories of hermits and the hairy wild man, "wilder Mann," "Silvanus," who, 
in the opinion of Moltke Moe, is the same that reappears in the Norwegian tale 
of " Villemand og Magnhild " ( = der wilde Mann and Magdelin). 

2 White and snow-white women and maidens are, moreover, of common 
occurrence also in Germanic legends [cf. J. Grimm, 1876, ii. pp. 803, ff.]. Expres- 
sions like white or snow-white to depict the dazzling beauty of the female body also 



CHAPTER 1889, pp. 273, 279]. A corresponding idea to that of the Irish sid-people, 
IX especially the women, being white, is perhaps that of the Norse elves being thought 

light (cf. " lysalver," light-elves], or even white. The elf -maiden in Sweden is 
slender as a lily and white as snow, and elves in Denmark may also be snow- 
white (cf. also the fact that elves are described as white njrmphs, '* albae 
nymphse "j. 

It seems natural that these ideas — of whiteness as 
specially beautiful, and mostly applied to the " sid " or 
elves, to the garments of baptism, and to holy men 
and hermits — led to a name which, in conformity with the 
Strong Men's Island of the Navigatio, would become the 
White Men's Land, for the mythical western land oversea, 
where Are Marsson was baptized, but which he could not 
leave again, and where, according to the Eyrbyggja Saga, 
the language resembled Irish. This, then, is precisely the 
" Isle of Anchorites." The country may have originated 
through a contact of ideas from the religious world and the 
profane, original conceptions from the latter having become 
Christianised. Doubtless the white garments, which were 
connected with the other world, and which became the 
heavenly raiment of the Christians, have also played a part. 
In Plato a white-clad woman (i.e., one from the other world) 
comes to Socrates in a dream and announces to him that in 
three days he is to depart. During the transfiguration on 
the mountain Jesus' face " did shine as the sun, and his 
raiment was white as the light " [Matt. xvii. 2], or ** his 
raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow " [Mark ix. 
3]. On the basis of this Christian conception the image of 
the world beyond the grave has taken the form of a fair, 
shining land, as in the immense literature of visions ; and 
thus too in the Floamanna Saga [Gronl. hist. Mind., ii. p. 103], 
where Thorgils's wife Thorey sees in a dream a ** fair country 
with shining white men " (** menn bjarta "), and Thorgils 

occur in Icelandic literature, just as the lily-white arms are already found in 
Homer. Cf. further such names as Snj6friSr, Snelaug, Schneewitchen (Snow- 
white), etc. [Cf. Moltke Moe's commxmications in A. Helland, 1905, ii. pp. 641 , f.] 



interprets it to mean " another world " where " good awaits chapter 
her " and '* holy men would help her." ^^ 

There is further a possibility that some of the conceptions 
attached to Hvitramanna-land may be connected with ancient 
Celtic tales which in antiquity were associated with the 
Cassiterides (in Celtic Brittany) ; in any case there is a 
remarkable similarity between the mention in Eric the Red's 
Saga of men who went about in white clothes, carried poles 
before them, and cried aloud (see vol. i. p. 330), and Strabo's 
description (see vol. i. p. 27) of the men in the Cassiterides 
in black cloaks with kirtles reaching to the feet, who wander 
about with staves, like the Furies in tragedy. That Strabo 
should see a resemblance to the Eumenides (Furies) and 
therefore make his men black, while the Northern author 
has the Christian ideas and in agreement with the name of 
Hvitramanna-land gives them white clothes, need not surprise 
us. Even if Storm [1887] is correct in his supposition that 
the white men's banners, or ** poles to which strips were 
attached " (see vol. i. p. 330), are connected with ecclesiastical 
processions, this may be a later popular modification, just as 
the white hermits out in the ocean may be a modification of 
pre-Christian, or at any rate non-religious, conceptions in 

Reference has been made (p. 32J to the resemblance between the accounts 
of the inhabitants of Wyntlandia ( = Wineland), who were versed in magic, 
and of the Celtic priestesses in the island of Sena off Brittany. One might be 
tempted to think that here again there is some connection or other between 
these Breton priestesses and, on the one hand the Irishmen in Hvitramanna-land, 
on the other the men of the Cassiterides (near Sena) who were like the Furies. 
Dionysius Periegetes [510 ; cum Eustath. i] relates that on this island of Sena 
women crowned with ivy conducted nocturnal bacchanals, with shrieks and 
violent noise (cf. the men in white clothes in Hvitramanna-land, who carried 
poles and cried aloud). No male person might set foot on the island, but the 
women went over to the men on the mainland, and returned after having had 
intercourse with them (cf . vol. i. p. 356). Exactly the same thing is related by Strabo 
[iv. 198] of the Seunnite women on a little island in the sea, not far from the 
mouth of the Liger (Loire) ; inspired by Bacchus they honour that god in 
mysteries and other unusually holy actions. The druids had their sanctuaries 
on islands, and Mona (Anglesey) was their headquarters. Tacitus [Ann. 



CHAPTER xiv. 30] tells of their fanatical women who, in white clothes (grave-clothes), with 
IX dishevelled hair and flaming torches, conducted themselves altogether like Furies 

on the arrival of the Romans. 

The circumstance of Hvitramanna-land being, according 
to the Eyrbyggja Saga, a forbidden land may correspond to 
that of men being prohibited from setting foot on the 
priestesses* island, or again to the way to the Cassiterides being 
kept secret and to the precautions taken to prevent people 
from reaching them (cf. vol. i. p. 27). Something similar, it may 
be added, is told of the rich, fertile island which the 
Carthaginians discovered in the west of the ocean, and which, 
under pain of death, they forbade others to visit [Aristotle, 
Mir. Auscult., c. 85 ; cf. also Diodorus, v. 20]. That in 
late classical times there was a confusion between the Cas- 
siterides and the mythical isles in the west appears further 
from Pliny's saying [Hist. Nat., iv. 36] that the Cassiterides 
were also called " Fortunatae," and from Dionysius Perie- 
getes making tin, the product of the Cassiterides, come from 
the Hesperides. 
The name It was mentioned above (vol. i. p. 357) that the name of the 

f^T\ promised land, *' the Land of Marvels," was also called in 
Irish legend the "Great Strand" (" Trag Mor "), or the 
"Great Land" (" Tir Mor"); "two or three times as 
large as Ireland ' ' (vol. i. p. 355) . It does not seem unlikely that 
the Icelanders, hearing from Ireland of this great land, should 
come to call it " Irland hit Mikla " (Ireland the Great) ; 
and this seems to be a more natural explanation than 
Storm's [1887, p. 65] interpretation of the name as meaning 
* * the Irish colony, ' ' like * ' Magna Graecia ' ' (the Greek 
colony in Italy) and " Svi]?j6d it Mikla " (the Swedish colony 
in Russia, the name of which may however have been 
derived from the name of the latter: " Scythia Magna ") ; 
on the other hand, he gives an obvious parallel in " Great 
Han," the mythical land in the Great Ocean beyond China 

In the Eyrbyggja Saga we read of Bjorn Asbrandsson, 



called Breidvikinge-kjaempe, and his exploits. He bore illicit CHAPTER 
love to Snorre Code's sister, Thurid of Fr6tSd, the wife of ^^ 
Thorodd, and had by her an illegitimate son, Kjartan. 
Finally he had to leave Iceland on account of this love ; but 
his ship was not ready till late in the autumn. They put to 
sea with a north-east wind, which held for a long time that 
autumn. Afterwards the ship was not heard of for many a 

Gudleif Gudlaugsson was the name of a great sailor and merchant ; he owned a Gudleif 's 
large merchant vessel. In the last years of St. Olaf 's reign he was on a trading voyage 
voyage to Dublin ; "when he sailed westward from thence he was making for Ice- 
land. He sailed to the west of Ireland, encountered there a strong north-east wind, 
and was driven far to the west and south-west in the ocean," until they finally 
came to a great land which was unknown to them. They did not know the people 
there, " but thought rather that they spoke Irish." Soon many hundred men 
collected about them, seized and bound them, and drove them up into the country. 
They were brought to an assembly and sentence was to be pronounced upon 
them. They understood as much as that some wanted to kill them, while others 
wanted to make slaves of them. While this was going on, a great band of men 
came on horseback with a banner, and under it rode a big and stately man of 
great age, with white hair, whom they guessed to be the chief, for all bowed 
before him. He sent for them ; when they came before him he spoke to them 
in Norse and asked from what country they came, and when he heard that most 
of them were Icelanders, and that Gudleif was from Borgarfjord, he asked after 
nearly all the more important men of Borgarfjord and Breidafjord, and particu- 
larly Snorre Gode, and Thurid of Fr6Sa, his sister, and most of all after Kjartan, 
her son, who was now master there. After this big man had discussed the matter 
at length with the men of the country, he again spoke to the Icelanders and gave 
them leave to depart, but although the summer was far gone, he advised them to 
get away as soon as possible, as the people there were not to be relied upon. He 
would not tell them his name ; for he did not wish his kinsmen such a voyage 
thither as they would have had if he had not helped them ; but he was now so old 
that he might soon be gone, and moreover, said he, there were men of more influ- 
ence than he in that country, who would show little mercy to foreigners. After this 
he had the ship fitted out, and was himself present, until there came a favourable 
wind for them to leave. When they parted, this man took a gold ring from his 
hand, gave it to Gudleif, and with it a good sword, and said : " If it be thy lot 
to reach Iceland, thou shalt bring this sword to Kjartan, master of FrdSa, and 
the ring to Thurid, his mother." When Gudleif asked him who he was to say 
was the sender of these costly gifts, he answered : " Say he sent them who was 
more a friend of the mistress of Fr6Sa than of the * gode *• of Helgafell, her 
brother. ..." Gudleif and his men put to sea and arrived in Ireland late in 

II D 49 



and Leifr 

the autumn, stayed that winter at Dublin, and sailed next summer to Iceland 
[cf. Gronl. hist. Mind., i. pp. 769, ff.]. 

It is clear that Bjorn Breidvikinge-kj aempe here is the 
same as Are Marsson in the Landnama, who was also driven 
by storms to Hvitramanna-land, had to stay there all his 
life, and according to the report of Thorfinn earl of Orkney 
(ob. circa 1064) had been recognised (by travellers like 
Gudleif ?), and was much honoured there. This incident of 
the travellers coming to an unknown island and there finding 
a man who has been absent a long while has parallels in 
many Irish legends. Thus it may be mentioned that Brandan, 
in the Navigatio, comes to the convent-island of Alibius, 
with the twenty-four Irish monks of old days, and meets 
there the old white-haired man who was prior of the convent 
and had been there for eighty years, but who does not tell 
his name. Brandan asks leave to sail on, but this is not 
permitted until they have celebrated Christmas there 
[Schroder, 1871, pp. 15, ff.].^ 

The resemblance between the two names ** Gu6-Leifr " 
(Gudleif = God-Leif) and "Leifr hinn Heppni" (Leif the 
Lucky) also deserves notice, as perhaps it is not merely 
accidental. One sails during the last years of St. Olaf from 
Ireland to Iceland and is carried south-westwards to Hvitra- 
manna-land ; the other sails during the last years of Olaf 
Tryggvason from Norway to Greenland and is carried south- 
westwards to Wineland the Good. 

It might also be thought to be more than a mere coincidence that, while Leif 
Ericson is given the surname of "hinn heppni," a closely related surname is 
mentioned in connection with Gudleif in the Eyrbyggja Saga, where he is called 
" GutSleifr GuSlaugsson hins auSga " (i.e., son of Gudlaug the rich). In the one 
case, of course, it is the man himself, in the other the father, who bears the sur- 
name. " AuSigr " means rich, but originally it had the meaning of lucky, 

1 Before the convent on this island Brandan and his companions were met 
by the monks " with cross, and cloaks [white clothes ?], and hymns " ; cf. the 
men in white clothes who cried aloud and carried poles in Eric the Red's Saga. 
On the *' Strong Men's Island " they also sang psalms, and one generation wore 
white clothes. 



and the rich man is he who has luck with him (cf. further " autJna " = luck, CHAPTER 

*' auSnu-maSr " = favourite of fortune). Gudleif Gudlaugsson also occurs in the IX 

Landnamabok, but this surname is not mentioned, nor is anything said about this 

voyage, in exactly the same way as Leif Ericson is named there, but without 

a surname and without any mention of a voyage or a discovery ; in both cases 

this is an addition that occurs in later sagas. In spite of the difference alluded to, 

one may suspect that there is here some connection or other. Possibly it might 

be that, as GuSriSr is the Christian woman among all the names beginning with 

Thor- and FreySis, so the name of GuSleifr, which was placed in association 

with the Christian Hvitramanna-land, was used because it had a more religious 

stamp than " happ " and •* heppen," which in any case are as nearly allied to 

popular belief as to religiosity, and which were associated with the non-Christian 


The following tale in Edrisi, the Arabic geographer, Voyage of 
whose work dates from 1154, bears considerable resemblance ^^s^* 
to the remarkable story of Gudleif 's voyage.^ in Edrisi 

Eight "adventurers " from Lisbon built a merchant ship and set out with 
the first east wind to explore the farthest limits of the ocean. They sailed for 
about eleven days [westwards] and came to a sea with stiff (thick] waves [the 
Liver-sea] and a horrible stench,^ with many shallows and little light (cf . precisely 
similar conceptions, vol. i. pp. 38, 68, 181, 182, note i). Afraid of perishing 
there, they sailed southward for twelve days and reached the Sheep-island (" Djazi- 
rato '1-Ghanam "), with innumerable flocks of sheep and no human beings (cf. 
Dicuil's account of the Faroes, and Brandan's Sheep-island, vol. i. pp. 163, 362}. 
They sailed on for twelve days more towards the south and found at last an inhabited 
and cultivated island. On approaching this they were soon surrounded by boats, 
taken prisoners, and brought to a town on the coast. They finally took up their 
abode in a house, where they saw men of tall stature and red complexion, with 
little hair on their faces, and wearing their hair long (not curled], and women 
of rare beauty. Here they were kept prisoners for three days. On the fourth day 
a man came who spoke to them in Arabic and asked them who they were, why 
they had come, and what country they came from. They related to him their 
adventures. He gave them good hopes, and told them that he was the king's 
interpreter. On the following day they were brought before the king, who asked 
them the same questions through the interpreter. On their replying that they 
had set out with the object of exploring the wonders of the ocean and finding 
out its limits, the king began to laugh and told the interpreter to explain that 
his father had once ordered one of his slaves to set out upon that ocean ; this 

1 Cf. Dozy anddeGoeje, 1866, p. 223, ff. ; deGoeje, i89i,pp. 56, 59. Moltke 
Moe has called my attention to this resemblance. 

2 The stench may be connected with ideas like those in the " Meregarto,"i 
tha sailors stuck fast and rotted in the Liver-sea, see vol. i. p. x8i. 



CHAPTER man had traversed its breadth for a month, until the light of heaven failed them 
IX and they were obliged to renounce this vain undertaking. The king further caused 

the interpreter to assure the adventurers of his benevolent intentions. They then 
returned to prison and remained there until a west wind came. Then they were 
blindfolded and taken across the sea in a boat for about three days and three 
nights to a land where they were left on the shore with their hands tied behind 
their backs. They stayed there till sunrise in a pitiable state, for the cords were 
very tight and caused them great discomfort. Then they heard voices, and upon 
their cries of distress the natives, who were Berbers, came and released them. 
They had arrived on the west coast of Africa, and were told that it was two months' 
journey to their native land. 

Resem- As points of similarity to Gudleif's voyage it may be 

between pointed out that the Portuguese sail for thirty-five days 
Edrisi'staie altogether, to the west and afterwards to the south, and 
andGud- arrive at a country which thus lies south-south-west, 
voyage Gudleif is carried before a north-east wind towards the 
south-west and reaches land after a long time. Both the 
Portuguese and the Icelanders are taken prisoners shortly 
after arrival ; the former are surrounded by boats, the latter 
by hundreds of men. The Portuguese saw red-complexioned 
men of tall stature with long hair, the Icelanders saw a tall, 
stately man with white hair coming on horseback. They 
had to wait awhile before they were addressed in a language 
they could understand ; the Portuguese being first spoken to 
by an interpreter in Arabic ^ who gave them good hopes, and 
afterwards brought them before the king, who assured them of 
his benevolent intentions ; while the Icelanders were sent 
for by the great chief, who, when they came before him, 
spoke to them in Norse and was friendly towards them, and 
after long deliberations spoke to them again, and gave them 
leave to depart. The Portuguese had to wait in prison for 
a west wind before they could get away ; the Icelanders had 
to wait for a favourable wind, which was again a west wind. 
The Portuguese were led away blindfold, obviously in order 
that they should not find their way back ; when the 
Icelanders left it was enjoined upon them never to return. 

^ As Portugal was at that time under the Moors, Arabic must be regarded as 
these men's mother- tongue. 



The Portuguese came to the west coast of Africa, from whence CHAPTER 
they afterwards had to sail northward to Lisbon ; the ^^ 
Icelanders arrived in Ireland, and sailed thence the next 
summer northward to Iceland. It seems reasonable to 
suppose that there is some connection between the two 
tales ; the same myth may in part form the foundation of 
both, and this again may be allied to the myth alluded to 
above of the Carthaginians' discovery of a fertile island out 
in the ocean to the west of Africa. But there are also 
striking resemblances between Edrisi's tale and the descrip- 
tion in the Odyssey of Odysseus 's visit to the Phaeacians in the 
western isle of Scheria. On his arrival there Athene warns 
Odysseus to be careful, as this people is not inclined to tolerate 
foreigners, and no other men come to them. Odysseus is 
brought before the king, Alcinous, who receives him in 
friendly fashion, and tells him that no Phaeacian shall '^ hold 
him back by force," and Odysseus relates his many adven- 
tures. Finally the Phaeacians convey him while asleep across 
the sea in a boat, carry him ashore at dawn, and go away 
before he awakes [Od. xiii. 79, ff.] ; this corresponds to the 
Portuguese being taken blindfold across the sea and left 
bound on the shore, until they are released at sunrise. The 
promise of the Phaeacians, after Poseidon's revenge for their 
helping Odysseus, never again to assist any seafarer that 
might come to them, may bear some resemblance to the 
incident of Bjorn Breidvikinge-kjaempe trying to prevent 
Icelanders from seeking a land which ' ' would show little 
mercy to foreigners." 

Moreover, the tales, both of Gudleif's voyage and of 
Edrisi's Portuguese adventurers, resemble ancient Irish 

In the " Imram Snedgusa acus meic Riagla " [of the tenth or close of the Irish myth 
ninth century, cf. Zimmer, 1889, pp. 213, f., 216], the men of Ross slay King 
Fiacha Mac Domnaill for his intolerable tyranny. As a punishment, sixty couples 
of the guilty were sent out to sea, and their judgment and fate left to God. The 
two monks, Snedgus and Mac Riagail, afterwards set out on a voluntary 
pilgrimage on the ocean— while the sixty couples went involuntarily — and, after 



CHAPTER having visited many islands,^ reached in their boat a land in which there were 
IX generations of Irish, and they met women who sang to them and brought them 

to the king's house (cf. Odysseus's meeting first with the women in the Phaeacians' 
land, and their showing him the way to the palace of Alcinous). The king received 
them well and inquired from whence they came. " We are Irish," they replied, 
" and we belong to the companions of Columcille." Then he asked : " How 
goes it in Ireland, and how many of Domnaill's sons are alive ? " They answered : 
" Three Mac Domnaills are alive, and Fiacha Mac Domnaill fell by the men of 
Ross, and for that deed sixty couples of them were sent out to sea." " That is 
a true tale of yours ; I am he who killed the King of Tara's son [i.e., Fiacha], 
and we are those who were sent out to sea. This commends itself to us, for we 
will be here till the Judgment [i.e., the day of judgment] comes, and we are glad 
to be here without sin, without evil, without our sinful desires. The island we 
live on is good, for on it are Elijah and Enoch, and noble is the dwelling of 
EUjah. . . ." 

The similarity to the meeting of Gudleif and the Ice- 
landers with the likewise exiled great man and chief, who 
did not give his name but hinted at his identity, is evident. 
If we suppose that the island Gudleif reached was originally 
the white men's, or the holy (baptized) men's land, then it 
may be possible that the great man's words to Gudleif about 
there being men on the island who were greater (" rikari ") 
than he is connected with the mention of Elijah and Enoch. 

Thus we see a connection between Gudleif 's voyage (and 
the exiled Breidvikinge-kjaempe on the unknown island) 
and Irish myths and legends, the Arabic tale, and finally the 

^ They first drifted to the north-west in the outer ocean, and after three days 
suffered intolerable thirst ; but Christ took pity on them and brought them to a 
current which tasted like tepid milk. Zimmer's explanation [1889, p. 216] of 
this current as the Gulf Stream to the west of the Hebrides is due to modern maps, 
and is an example of how even the most acute of book-learned inquirers may be 
led astray by formal representations. That the Irish should have possessed such 
comprehensive oceanographical knowledge as to regard this ocean-drift as a 
definitely limited current is not likely, and still less that they should have regarded 
it as so much warmer than the water inshore as to be compared to tepid milk. 
The difference in temperature on the surface is in summer (August) approximately 
nil, and in spring and autumn perhaps three or four degrees ; and of course 
the Irish had no thermometers. Last summer I investigated this very part of 
the ocean without finding any conspicuous difference. The feature may be derived 
from Lucian's Vera Historia, where the travellers come to a sea of milk [Wie- 
land, 1789, iv. p. 188]. 



Odyssey. What the mutual relationship may be between chapter 

Edrisi's tale and the Irish legends is to us of minor import- ^^ 

ance. As the Norse Vikings had much communication with 

the Spanish peninsula ^ it might be supposed that the Norse 

tale, derived from Irish myths, had reached Portugal ; but 

as the Arabic tale has several similarities to the voyages of 

Brandan and Maelduin, and to Dicuil's account of the 

Faroes (with their sheep and birds), which are not found in 

the Norse narrative, it is more probable that the incidents 

in the experiences of the Portuguese adventurers are derived 

directly from Ireland, which also had close connection with 

the Spanish Peninsula, chiefly through Norse ships and 

merchants. We must in any case suppose that the Icelandic 

tale of Gudleif's voyage came from Ireland ; but it may 

have acquired additional colour from northern legends. 

There is a Swedish tale of some sailors from Getinge who were driven by storms Northern 
over the sea to an unknown island ; surrounded by darkness they went ashore tales 
and saw a fire, and before it lay an uncommonly tall man, who was blind ; 
another equally big stood beside him and raked in the fire with an iron rod. The 
old blind man gets up and asks the strangers where they come from. They answer 
from Halland, from Getinge parish. Whereupon the blind man asks : ** Is the 

^ It is doubtless due to this communication that an unknown Arabic author 
(of the twelfth century) relates that the ** Fortunate Isles " lie to the north of 
Cadiz, and thatthence come the northern Vikings (" Magus "), who are Christians. 
" The first of these islands is Britain, which lies in the midst of the ocean, at a 
great distance to the north of Spain. Neither mountains nor rivers are found there ; 
its inhabitants are compelled to resort to rain-water both for drinking and for 
watering the ground " [Fabricius, 1897, p. 157]. It is clear that there is here a 
confusion of rumours of islands in the north — of which Britain was the best 
known, whence the Vikings were supposed to come — with Pliny's Fortunate Isles : 
" Planaria " (without mountains) and ** Pluvialia " (where the inhabitants had 
only rain-water). That the Orkneys in particular should have been intended, as 
suggested by R. Dozy [Recherches sur I'Espagne, ii. pp. 317, ff.] and Paul Riant 
[Expeditions et Pelerinages des Scandinaves en Terre Sainte, Paris, 1865, p. 236] 
is not very probable. We might equally well suppose it to be Ireland, which through 
Norse sailors (** Ostmen ") and merchants had communication with the Spaniards 
from the ninth till as late as the fourteenth century [cf. A. Bugge, 1900, pp. i, f.]. 
The Arabic name "Magus" for the Norman Vikings comes from the Greek 
HayoQ (Magian, fire- worshipper), and originally meant heathens in general. 





white woman still alive ? " They answered yes, though they did not know what 
he meant. Again he asks : " Is my goat-house still standing ? " They again 
answered yes, though ignorant of what he meant. He then said : "I could not 
keep my goat-house in peace because of the church that was built in that place. 
If you would reach home safely, I give you two conditions." They promised to 
accept these, and the blind old man continued : " Take this belt of silver, and 
when you come home, buckle it on the white woman ; and place this box on the 
altar in my goat-house." When the sailors were safely come home, the belt was 
buckled on a birch-tree, which immediately shot up into the air, and the box 
was placed on a mound, which immediately burst into flame. But from the church 
being built where the blind man had his goat-house the place was called Getinge 
[in J.Grimm, ii. 1876, p. 798, after Bexell's "Halland,"G6teborg, 1818, ii.p. 301]. 
Similar tales are known from other localities in Sweden and Norway. The old 
blind man is a heathen giant driven out by the Christian church or by the image 
of Mary (the white woman) ; sometimes again he is a heathen exile. 

Here we have undeniable parallels to the storm-driven 
Icelanders' meeting with the exiled Breidvikinge-kjaempe, 
who asks after his native place and his woman, Thurid,^ and 
who also sends two gifts home, though with very different 
feelings and objects. It may be supposed that the Swedish- 
Norwegian tale is derived from ancient myths, and the 
Icelandic narrative may have borrowed features, not, of 
course, from this very tale, but from myths of the same 

Remarkable points of resemblance both to the voyages of 
the Irish (Bran's voyage) to the Fortunate Isles in the west, 
and to those of Gudleif and of the eight Portuguese (in 
Edrisi), are found in a Japanese tale of the fortunate isles 
of ** Horaisan," to which Moltke Moe has called my attention.^ 

This happy land lies far away in the sea towards the east ; there on the moun - 
tain Fusan grows a splendid tree which is sometimes seen in the distance over 
the horizon ; all vegetation is verdant and flowering in eternal spring, which 
keeps the air mild and the sky blue ; the passing of time is unnoticed, and death 
never finds the way thither, there is no pain, no suffering, only peace and happi- 
ness. Once on a time Jofuku, body physician to a cruel emperor of China, put to 

^ In one of his lays Bjom Breidvikinge-kjaempe also, as it happens, speaks 
of Thurid as the snow-white (" fannhvit ") woman. 

' See D. Brauns : Japanische Marchen und Sagen. Leipzig, 1885, p. 146, ff. 



sea on the pretext of looking for this country and seeking for his master the plant CHAPTER 
of immortality which grows on Fusan, the highest mountain there. He came first *^ 
to Japan ; but went farther and farther out into the ocean until he really reached 
Horaisan ; there he enjoyed complete happiness, and never thought of returning 
to prolong his tyrant's life. 

The old Japanese wise man, Vasobiove, who had withdrawn from the world 
and passed his days in contemplative peace, was one day out fishing by himself 
(to avoid many trivial visits), when he was driven out to sea by a violent storm ; 
he then rowed about the sea, keeping himself alive by fishing. After three months 
he came to the '* muddy sea," which nearly cost him his life, as there were no 
fish there. But after a desperate struggle, and finally twelve hours* hard rowing, 
he reached the shore of Horaisan. There he was met by an old man whom he 
understood, for he spoke Chinese. This was Jofuku, who received Vasobiove in 
friendly fashion and told him his story. Vasobiove was overjoyed on hearing 
where he was. He stayed there for a couple of hundred years, but did not know 
how long it was ; for where all is alike, where there is neither birth nor death, 
no one heeds the passing of time. With dancing and music, in conversation with 
wise and brilliant men, in the society of beautiful and amiable ladies, he passed 
his days. 

But at last Vasobiove grew tired of this sweet existence and longed for death. 
It was hopeless, for here he could not die, nor could he take his own life, there 
were no poisons, no lethal weapons ; if he threw himself over a precipice or ran 
his head against a sharp rock, it was like a fall on to soft cushions, and if he 
threw himself into the sea, it supported him like a cork. Finally he tamed a 
gigantic stork, and on its back he at last returned to Japan,i after the stork had 
carried him through many strange countries, of which the most remarkable was 
that of the Giants, who are immensely superior to human beings in everything. 
Whereas Vasobiove was accustomed to admiration wherever he propounded his 
philosophical views and systems, he left that country in humiliation ; for the 
Giants said they had no need of all that, and declared Vasobiove 's whole philosophy 
to be the immature cries of distress of the children of men. 

A connection between the intellectual world of China 
and Japan and that of Europe in the Middle Ages may well 
be supposed to have been brought about by the Arabs, who 
penetrated as far as China on their trading voyages, and who, 
on the other hand, had close communication with Western 
Europe. Furthermore, it must be remembered how many 
of our mythical conceptions and tales are more or less 
connected with India, just as many of the Arabian tales 

^ Cf. the resemblance to the second voyage of Sindbad, to the tales in Abtt 
Hamid, Qaswini, Pseudo-Callisthenes' romance of Alexander, Indian tales, etc. 
[cf. E. Rohde, 1900, p. 192]. 


CHAPTER evidently had their birthplace there [cf. E. Rohde, 1900, 


pp. 191, ff.] ; while on the other side there was, of course, a 
close connection between India and the intellectual world of 
China and Japan, as shown by the spread of Buddhism. 
A transference of the same myths both eastward to Japan 
and westward to Europe is thus highly probable, whether 
these myths originated in Europe or in India and the East. 
It is striking, too, that even a secondary feature such as the 
curdled, dead sea (cf. ** Morimarusa," see vol. i. p. 99; the 
stinking sea in Edrisi, vol. ii. p. 51) is met with again here as the 
** muddy sea " without fish (cf. resemblances to Arab ideas, 
chapter xiii.). 

Retrospect If we now look back upon all the problems it has 

been sought to solve in this chapter, the impression may 
be a somewhat heterogeneous and negative one ; the 
majority will doubtless be struck at the outset by the 
multiplicity of the paths, and by the intercrossing due to 
this multiplicity. But if we force our way through the 
network of by-paths and follow up the essential leading lines, 
it appears to me that there is established a firm and powerful 
series of conclusions, which it will not be easy to shake. 
The most important steps in this series are : 

(i) The oldest authority,^ Adam of Bremen's work, in 
which Wineland is mentioned, is untrustworthy, and, with 
the exception of the name and of the fable of wine being 
produced there, contains nothing beyond what is found in 

(2) The oldest Icelandic authorities that mention the 
name of ** Vinland," or in the Landnama ** Vindland hit 
Go^a," say nothing about its discovery or about the wine 
there ; on the other hand. Are Erode mentions the Skraelings 
(who must originally have been regarded as a fairy people). 

* The Ringerike runic stone is not given here, as its mention of Wineland is 


The name of Leif Ericson is mentioned, unconnected with chapter 


Wineland or its discovery. 

(3) It is not till well on in the thirteenth century that Leif 's 
surname of Heppni, his discovery of Wineland ( ' * Vinland ' * 
or ** Vindland "), and his Christianising of Greenland are 
mentioned (in the Kristni-saga and Heimskringla), but still 
there is nothing about wine. 

(4) It is not till the close of the thirteenth century that 
any information occurs as to what and where Wineland 
was, with statements as to the wine and wheat there, and 
a description of voyages thither (in the Saga of Eric the 
Red). But still the accounts omit to inform us who gave 
the name and why. 

(5) The second and later principal narrative of voyages 
to Wineland (the Flateyjarbok's Gr6nlendinga-]?attr) gives 
a very different account of the discovery, by another, and 
likewise of the later voyages thither. 

(6) The first of the two sagas, and the one which is 
regarded as more to be relied on, contains scarcely a single 
feature that is not wholly or in part mythical or borrowed 
from elsewhere ; both sagas have an air of romance. 

(7) Even among the Greeks of antiquity we find myths 
of fortunate isles far in the western ocean, with the two 
characteristic features of Wineland, the wine and the 

(8) The most significant features in the description of 
these Fortunate Isles or Isles of the Blest in late classical 
times and in Isidore are the self-grown or wild-growing 
vine (on the heights) and the wild-growing (uncultivated, 
self-sown or unsown) corn or wheat or even cornfields 
(Isidore). In addition there were lofty trees (Pliny) and mild 
winters. Thus a complete correspondence with the saga's 
description of Wineland. 

(9) The various attempts that have been made to bring 
the natural conditions of the North American coast into 
agreement with the saga's description of Wineland are more 




CHAPTER or less artificial, and no natural explanation has been offered 
of how the two ideas of wine and wheat, both foreign to the 
Northerners, could have become the distinguishing marks of 
the country. 

(id) In Ireland long before the eleventh century there 
were many myths and legends of happy lands far out in the 
ocean to the west ; and in the description of these wine and 
the vine form conspicuous features. 

(ii) From the eleventh century onward, in Ireland and 
in the North, we meet with a Grape-island or a Wineland, 
which it seems most reasonable to suppose the same. 

(12) From the Landnamabok it may be naturally 
concluded that in the eleventh century the Icelanders had 
heard of Wineland, together with Hvitramanna-land, in 

(13) Thorkel Gellisson, from whom this information is 
derived, probably also furnished Are Frode with his state- 
ment in the Islendingab6k about Wineland ; this is therefore 
probably the same Irish land. 

(14) The Irish happy lands peopled by the sid correspond to 
the Norwegian huldrelands out in the sea to the west, and 
the Icelandic elf-lands. 

(15) Since the huldre- and sid-people and the elves are 
originally the dead, and since the Isles of the Blest or the 
Fortunate Isles of antiquity were the habitations of the happy 
dead, these islands also correspond to the Irish sid-people 's 
happy lands, and to the Norwegian huldrelands and the 
Icelandic elf-lands. 

(16) The additional name of " hit G6tSa " for the happy 
Wineland and the name ** Landit G6t5a " for huldrelands in 
Norway correspond directly to the name of " Insulae Fortu- 
natae," which in itself could not very well take any other 
Norse form. And as in addition the huldrelands were 
imagined as specially good and fertile, and the underground, 
huldre- and sid-people or elves are called the * * good people, ' ' 
and are everywhere in different countries associated with the 


idea of " good," this gives a natural explanation of both the CHAPTER 
Norse names. 

(17) The name *' Vinland hit G6^a " has a foreign effect 
in Norse nomenclature ; it must be a hybrid of Norse and 
foreign nomenclature, through " Vinland " being combined 
with '* Landit G6tSa," which probably originated in a trans- 
lation of " Insulae Fortunatse." 

(18) The probability of the name of Skraelings for the 
inhabitants of Wineland having originally meant brownies or 
trolls — that is, small huldre-folk, elves or pygmies — entirely 
agrees with the view that Wineland was originally the fairy 
country, the Fortunate Isles in the west of the ocean. 

(19) The statement of the Icelandic geography, that in 
the opinion of some Wineland the Good was connected with 
Africa, and the fact that the Norwegian work, Historia 
Norwegiae, calls Wineland (with Markland and Helluland) the 
African Islands, are direct evidence that the Norse Wineland 
was the Insulae Fortunatae, which together with the Gor- 
gades and the Hesperides were precisely the African Islands. 

(20) Even though the Saga of Eric the Red and the 
Gronlendinga-^^dttr contain nothing which we can regard as 
certain information as to the discovery of America by the 
Greenlanders, we yet find there and elsewhere many features 
which show that they must have reached the coast of America, 
the most decisive amongst them being the chance mention of 
the voyagers from Markland in 1347. To this may be added 
Hertzberg's demonstration of the adoption of the Icelandic 
game of " knattleikr " by the Indians. The name of the 
mythical land may then have been transferred to the country 
that was discovered. 

(21) Hvitramanna-land is a mythical land similar to the 
wine-island of the Irish, modified in accordance with Christian 
ideas, especially perhaps those of the white garments of the 
baptized — as in the Navigatio Brandani in reference to the 
Isle of Anchorites or the " Strong Men's Isle " (= Starkra- 
manna-land) — and of the white hermits. 



CHAPTER (22) Finally, among the most different people on earth, 

from the ancient Greeks to the Icelanders, Chinese and 
Japanese, we meet with similar myths about countries out 
in the ocean and voyages to them, which, whether they be 
connected with one another or not, show the common 
tendency of humanity to adopt ideas and tales of this kind. 

But even if we are obliged to abandon the Saga of Eric 
the Red ^ and the other descriptions of these voyages as 
historical documents, this is compensated by the increase 
in our admiration for the extraordinary powers of realistic 
description in Icelandic literature. In reading Eric's Saga 
one cannot help being struck by the way in which many of 
the events are so described, often in a few words, that the 

% whole thing is before one's eyes and it is difficult to believe 
that it has not actually occurred. This is just the same 
quality that characterises our Norwegian fairy-tales : all 
that is supernatural is made so natural and realistic that it 
is brought straight before one. The Icelanders created the 
realistic novel ; and at a time when the prose style of 
Europe was still in its infancy their prose narrative often 
reaches the summit of clear simplicity. In part this may 
doubtless be explained by their not being merely authors, 
but men of action ; their presentment acquired the stamp of 
real life and the brevity that belongs to the narrator of 
things seen. And to this, of course, must be added the 

^. fact that as a rule the tales were sifted and abridged by 
generations of oral transmission. In later times this style 
became corrupted by European influence. 

Postscript After I had given, on October 7, 1910, the outlines 

of this examination of the sagas of the Wineland voyages 
before the Scientific Society of Christiania, attention 

1 It should be remarked that the beginning of this saga, dealing with the 
discovery of Greenland by Eric the Red, is taken straight out of the Landnamab6k, 
and is thus much older. 



was called in Sweden, by Professor F. Laffler, to the fact CHAPTER 
that the Swedish philologist, Professor Sven Soderberg, ^^ 
whose early death in 1901 is much to be regretted, had 
announced views about Wineland similar to those at which 
I have arrived. The manuscript of a lecture that he delivered 
on the subject at Lund in May 1898, but which was never 
printed, was then found, and has been published in the 
" Sydsvenska Dagbladet Snallposten " for October 30, 1910. 
As I have thus become acquainted with this interesting 
inquiry too late to be able to include it in my examination, 
I think it right to mention it here. 

Professor Soderberg thinks, as I do, that there can be no 
doubt about the Norsemen having discovered a part of North 
America ; but he looks upon the tales of the wine and 
everything connected therewith as later inventions. He 
maintains that the name of " Vinland " originally meant 
grass-land or pasture-land (from the old Norse word ,^ 
** vin " = pasture), therefore something similar to the 
meaning of Greenland, and that it may have been the 
name of a country discovered in the west. Curiously enough, 
I took at first the same view, and thought too that Adam of 
Bremen might have misunderstood such a word, just as 
Soderberg thinks ; but I allowed myself to be convinced by 
the linguistic objection that the word ** vin " (pasture) seems to 
have gone out of use before the eleventh century (cf. vol. i. 
P- 367)' However, Soderberg's reasons for supposing that 
the word was still in use appear to have weight ; and he also 
makes it probable that the name formed thereby might be 
Vinland and not Vinjarland. (In support of this Mr. A. 
Kisr gave me as an example the Norwegian name Vinas.) 
Professor Soderberg then thinks that Adam of Bremen heard 
this name in Denmark, and, misinterpreting it as a foreigner 
to mean the land of wine, himself invented the explanation 
of the country's being so called. Soderberg gives several 
striking examples to show how this kind of '* etymologising " 
was just in Adam's spirit (e.g., Sconia or Skane is derived 



CHAPTER from Old German " sconi " or " schon " ; Greenland comes 
^^ from the inhabitants being bluish-green in the face, etc.). 

An example from a country lying near Denmark, which 
appears to me even more striking than those given by 
Soderberg, is Adam's explanation of Kvsenland as the Land 
of Women (cf. vol. i. pp. i86, f., 383), the Wizzi as white people, 
or Albanians, the Huns as dogs, etc. Soderberg has difficulty 
in explaining the statement about the unsown corn in Wine- 
land ; but if he had noticed Isidore's description of the 
Insulas Fortunatae with the self-grown vine and the wild- 
growing corn, he would have found a perfectly natural 
explanation of this also. If Adam had misunderstood a 
* * Vinland " ( = grass-land), and then perhaps Finland (Fin- 
mark, cf. vol. i. p. 382), as meaning the land of wine, it would be 
just in his spirit to transfer thither Isidore's description of 
the Insuls Fortunatse ; a parallel case is that in interpreting 
Kvaenland as Womanland he transfers thither the myth of the 
Amazons and its fables, and this in spite of its being a country 
on the Baltic about which it must have been comparatively 
easy for him to obtain information. In the same way he 
transfers to the " island " of Halagland, mentioned imme- 
diately before Wineland, an erroneous account of the mid- 
night sun and the winter night taken from older writers 
(cf . vol. i. p. 194, note 2). But one reason for thinking that * * Vin- 
land ' ' really meant the land of wine as early as that time is 
the circumstance put forward above (vol. i. p. 365), that at 
about the same time there occurs a Grape-island in the 
Navigatio Brandani. 

Professor Soderberg then goes through the Icelandic 
accounts of Wineland, and points out, in the same way as 
has been done in this chapter, that the oldest authorities 
^ have nothing remarkable to report about the country, and do 
not mention wine there, and he rightly lays stress on this 
being particularly significant in the case of Snorre Sturlason, 

" knowing as we do how prone Snorre is to digress from his proper subject, when 
he has anything really interesting to communicate. The reason must be that he 



did not know anything particularly remarkable about Wineland ; and without CHAPTER 
doubt this is due to his not having known Adam of Bremen. It has, in fact, IX 
been shown that Snorre has not a single statement from Adam." 

Later, Soderberg thinks, Adam of Bremen's fourth book 
became known in Iceland, and on the foundation of that the 
tale of Leif's discovery of the country with the wine and 
corn arose, and the later sagas developed, especially that of 
Thorfinn Karlsevne's voyage, which he thinks in the main 
** rests on a truthful foundation," though he points out 
that a particular feature like that of the two Scottish runners 
must be ** pure invention, or rather . . . borrowed from 
another saga." If Professor Soderberg had remarked how 
most of the incidents in this saga are spurious, he would 
have found even stronger support for his views in this fact. 

n t 6f 






,F all the races of the earth that of the Eskimo is the one 
that has established itself farthest north. His world 
is that of sea-ice and cold, for which nature had not intended 
human beings. In his slow, stubborn fight against the 
powers of winter he has learnt better than any other how to 
turn these to account, and in these regions, along the ice- 
bound shores, he developed his peculiar culture, with its 
ingenious appliances, long before the beginning of history. 
As men of the white race pushed northward to the " highest 
latitudes " they found traces of this remarkable people, who 
had already been there in times long past ; and it is only 
in the last few decades that any one has succeeded in 
penetrating farther north than the Eskimo, partly by learning 
from him or enlisting his help. In these regions, which are 
his own, his culture was superior to that of the white race, 
and from no other people has the arctic navigator learnt 

so much. 

The north coast of America and the islands to the north 
of it, from Bering Strait to the east coast of Greenland, is 



the territory of the Eskimo. The map (below) shows his chapter 
present distribution and the districts where older traces of 
him have been found. Within these limits the Eskimo 
must have developed into what they now are. In their 
anthropological race-characteristics, in their sealing- and 
whaling- culture, and in their language they are very different 

S^ Distribution at the present day. ^i . " 1 Former distribution. 
Distribution of the Eskimo (after W. Thalbitzer, 1904) 

from all other known peoples, both in America and Asia, 
and we must suppose that for long ages, ever since they 
began to fit themselves for their life along the frozen shores, 
they have lived apart, separated from others, perhaps for a 
long time as a small tribe. They all belong to the same 
race ; the cerebral formation, for instance, of all real Eskimo 
from Alaska to Greenland is remarkably homogeneous ; 
but in the far west they may have been mixed with 
Indians and others, and in Greenland they are now mixed 
with Europeans. They are pronouncedly dolichocephalic ; 
but have short, broad faces, and by their features and 
appearance are easily distinguished from other neighbouring 



CHAPTER peoples. Small, slanting eyes ; the nose small and flat, 
^ narrow between the eyes and broad below ; cheeks broad, 

prominent and round ; the forehead narrowing compara- 
tively above ; the lower part of the face broad and powerful ; 
black, straight hair. The colour of the skin is a pale brown. 
The Eskimo are not, as is often supposed, a small people 
on an average ; they are rather of middle height, often 
powerful, and sometimes quite tall, although they are a good 
deal shorter, and weaker in appearance, than average Scan- 
dinavians. In appearance, and perhaps also in language, they 
come nearest to some of the North American Indian 
Original From whence they originally came, and where they 

home developed into Eskimo, is uncertain. The central point of 

the Eskimo culture is their seal-hunting, especially with 
the harpoon, sometimes from the kayak in open water and 
sometimes from the ice. We cannot believe that this sealing, 
especially with the kayak, was first developed in the central 
part of the regions they now inhabit ; there the conditions of 
life would have been too severe, and they would not have 
been able to support themselves until their sealing- culture 
had attained a certain development. Just as in Europe we 
met with the "Finnish" sea-fishing on a coast that was 
connected with milder coasts farther south, where seaman- 
ship was able first to develop, so we must expect that the 
Eskimo culture began on coasts with similar conditions, 
and these must be looked for either in Labrador or on 
Bering Strait. 

As the coasts of Labrador and Hudson Bay are ice- 
bound for a great part of the year, it is not likely that traffic 
by sea began there at any very early time ; and consequently 
no particularly favourable conditions existed there for an 
early development of seamanship. Nor is this the case to 
any great extent on the east coast of North America farther 
south, which, with the exception of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, 
has little protection from the sea, and offers few facilities 


for coastal traffic.^ Nor has it produced any other maritime CHAPTER 
people or any similar fishing-culture. Again, if the Eskimo ^ 
culture had arisen there, it would be impossible to under- 
stand how they learned to use dogs as draught-animals. It 
is otherwise on the northern west coast of North America, 
which is indented by fjords and has many outlying islands, 
with protected channels between them and the land. Here 
seamanship might be naturally developed and form the 
necessary basis for a higher sealing-culture like that of the 
Eskimo. In addition there is abundance of marine animals 
which afforded excellent conditions for hunting. Here too we 
have many different peoples with maritime habits : on the 
one side the Eskimo northwards along the coast of Alaska ; 
on the other side the Aleutians on the islands extending out 
to sea, besides Indian tribes along the coast of southern 
Alaska and British Columbia. Until, therefore, research has 
produced sufficient evidence for a different view, it must 
seem most natural that in these favourable regions with a 
rich supply of marine animals of all kinds we must look for 
the cradle of the culture that was to render the Eskimo 
capable of distributing themselves over the whole Arctic 
world of America. To this must be added that in these 
regions, by intercourse with people on the Asiatic side of 
Bering Strait, the seafaring Eskimo may have learnt the 
use of the dog as a draught-animal, which is an Asiatic, and 
not an American invention, and which is also of great 
importance to the whole life and distribution of the Eskimo 
in the ice-bound regions. We cannot here pursue further 
the inquiry into the still open question of the origin of the 
Eskimo and the development of their culture.^ 

^ It would be otherwise on the west coast of Greenland, with its excellent 
belt of skerries ; but as the Eskimo could not reach this coast without having 
developed, at least in part, their peculiar maritime culture, it is, of course, out 
of the question that this can have been their cradle. 

2 Cf. on this subject H. Rink [1871, 1887, 1891] ; F. Boas [1901] ; cf. also 
H. P. Steensby [1905], Axel Hamberg [1907] and others. These authors hold 
various views as to the origin of the Eskimo, which, however, are all different 





One might get the impression from the map, which shows 
where older traces of the Eskimo have been found, that they 
were more numerous and more widely distributed in former 
times. This is probably a mistake. They are hunters and 
fishermen who are entirely dependent on the supply of game, 
and who therefore frequently become nomadic and search 
for fishing-grounds where they think the prospects are good. 
Sometimes they settle in a good district for a considerable 
time, and then they may move again ; but sometimes, if 

Kayak-fishers and a women's boat ("umiak"). Woodcut from 
Greenland, drawn and engraved by a native 

exceptionally severe winters chance to come, they may 
succumb to famine or scurvy. But everywhere they leave 
behind them their peculiar sites of houses and tents and other 
traces, and thus these must always be found over larger 
areas than are actually inhabited by the Eskimo them- 
selves. It might be objected that on the American Arctic 
Islands they no longer live so far north as older traces 
of them are found ; thus Sverdrup found many relics of 

from that set forth here. While Rink thought the Eskimo came from 
Alaska and first developed their sea-fishing on the rivers of Alaska, Boas thinks 
they come from the west coast of Hudson Bay, and Steensby that they developed 
on the central north coasts of Canada. Since the above was written W. Thal- 
bitzer has also dealt with the question [i 908-1 910]. 


Eskimo in the new countries discovered by him, especially CHAPTER 
along the sound by Axel Heiberg Land. But these people ^ 
may, for instance, have migrated eastward to Greenland. 
If we suppose the reverse to be the case, that the most 
northerly Eskimo tribe now known, on Smith Sound, had 
moved westward to Sverdrup's new islands or to the Parry 
Islands, then we should have found numerous traces of 
them in the districts about Smith Sound and Cape York, 
and might thus have concluded that the Eskimo were 
formerly more widely distributed towards the north-east. 

How early the Eskimo appeared, and came to the most 
northern regions, we have as yet no means of determining. 
All we can say is that, as they are so distinct in physical 
structure, language and culture from all other known races 
of men, with the exception of the Aleutians, we must assume 
that they have lived for a very long period in the northern 
regions apart from other peoples. It would be of special Period of 
interest here if we could form any opinion as to the date of ^^"^jg'^a- 
their immigration into Greenland. It has become almost a Greenland 
historical dogma that this immigration on a larger scale did 
not take place until long after the Norwegian Icelanders had 
settled in the country, and that it was chiefly the hordes of 
Eskimo coming from the north that put an end, first to the 
Western Settlement, and then to the Eastern. But this is 
in every respect misleading, and conflicts with what may be 
concluded with certainty from several facts ; moreover, the 
whole Eskimo way of life and dependence on sealing and 
fishing forbids their migration in hordes ; they must travel 
in small scattered groups in order to find enough game to 
support themselves and their families, and are obliged to 
make frequent halts for sealing. They will therefore never 
be able to undertake any migration on a large scale. 

There can be no doubt that the Eskimo arrived in Green- 
land ages before the Norwegian Icelanders. The rich finds 
referred to, amongst others, by Dr. H. Rink [1857, vol. ii.], 
of Eskimo whaling and sealing weapons and implements of 




CHAPTER stone from deep deposits in North Greenland show that the 
Eskimo were living there far back in prehistoric times.^ 
They must originally have come by the route to the north of 
Baffin Bay across Smith Sound, and must have had at the 
time of their first immigration much the same culture in the 
main as now, since otherwise they would not have been able 
to support themselves in these northern regions.^ Their 
means of transport were the kayak and the women's boat in 
open water, and the dog-sledge on the ice. Their whaling 
and sealing were conducted in kayaks in summer, but with 
dog-sledges in winter, when they hunted the seal at its 
breathing-holes in the ice, the walrus, narwhale and white 
whale in the open leads, and pursued the bear with their 
dogs. In winter they usually keep to one place, living in 
houses of stone, or snow, but in summer they wander about 
with their boats and tents of hides to the best places for 
kayak fishing. In this way they came southward from 
Smith Sound along the west coast of Greenland to the 
districts about Umanak-fjord, Disco Bay, and south to the 
present Holstensborg (the tract between 72° and 68° N. lat.). 
Here they found an excellent supply of seal, walrus, small- 
whale and fish, there was catching from kayaks in summer 

^ This has been definitely and finally proved by the researches of Dr. O. Solberg 
[1907]* referred to in vol, i. (p. 306). It results from these that the oldest stone 
implements of the Eskimo from the districts round Disco Bay must be of very 
great age — far older, indeed, than I was formerly [1891, pp. 6, f. ; Engl, ed., 
pp. 8, ff.] inclined to suppose. It results also from Solberg's researches that, 
while the Eskimo occupied the districts from Umanak-fjord southward to 
Egedesminde and Holstensborg (from 71° to 68° N. lat.) during long prehistoric 
periods, they do not appear to have settled in the more southern part of Green- 
land until much later. As will be pointed out later (p. 83), it was especially in the 
districts around Kroksfjar^arheidr that according to the historical authorities 
the Skraelings were to be found. Since we may assume, as shown in vol. i. 
p. 301, that this was Disco Bay, the conclusion from historical sources agrees 
remarkably well with the archaeological finds. 

^ Solberg, however, in the researches referred to, has been able to show some 
development in Eskimo sealing appliances in the course of the period since 
their first arrival in Greenland, but perhaps chiefly after they had come in contact 
with the Norsemen and learnt the use of iron. 


and on the ice in winter : altogether rarely favourable CHAPTER 
conditions for their accustomed life, and it is therefore 
natural that they settled here in large numbers.^ Some 
went farther south along the coast ; but they no longer 
found there the same conditions of life as before, the ice was 
for the most part absent, the walrus became rare, seal- 
hunting became more difficult in the open sea, and winter 
fishing from the kayak was not very safe. Southern Green- 
land therefore had no great attraction, so long as there was 
room enough farther north. When they came round Cape 
Farewell to the east coast they found the conditions more 
what they were used to, although the sealing and whaling were 
not so good as on the northern west coast. 

It has been assumed by several inquirers that the Eskimo immigrated to Routes of 
Greenland by two routes. One branch is supposed to have come southward along immigra- 
the west coast from Smith Sound, as suggested above, while the other branch tion 
went northward from Smith Sound and Kaiie Basin along the coast, where 
relics of Eskimo are found as far north as 82° N. lat. They thus gradually worked 
their way round the north of Greenland and turned southward again along the 
east coast. The Eskimo who formerly lived on the northern east coast, and 
whom Clavering found there in 1823, are supposed to have come by that route 
and possibly also the tribe that still lives at Angmagsalik. But in the opinion of 
some they may have travelled farther south, right round Cape Farewell, and 
have populated the south-west coast as far north as Ny-Herrnhut by Godthaab. 
The Dane Schultz-Lorentzen [1904, p. 289] ^ thinks that support may be found 
for this theory of the southern immigration from the east coast in the sharp line 
of demarcation that exists between the dialect spoken by the Eskimo in Godthaab 
and northward along the whole west coast, and that spoken to the south and on 
the east coast ; furthermore, there are other points of di^erence : in the build 
and fitting together of the kayaks, in the use of partitions between the family 
compartments on the couches in houses and tents, etc. Although in an earlier 
work [1891, pp. 8, f. ; Engl.ed. pp. 12, H.] I put forward reasons that are opposed 
to such an immigration round the north of Greenland, I must admit that there is 
much in favour of the Eskimo who formerly lived on the northern east coast having 
come that way ; on the other hand, it does not appear to me very likely that this 
should have been the case with the Eskimo of the southern east coast and of the 

^ As will be seen (cf. p. 72), this agrees surprisingly well with the conclusions 
which Dr. Solberg has reached in another way in the work already mentioned 
[1907], which was published since the above was written. 

2 Cf. also William Thalbitzer's valuable work on the Eskimo language [1904]. 



CHAPTER west coast. The difference alluded to, at Godthaab, may be accounted for by a later 
X immigration from the north to the northern west coast, which did not come any 

farther south than this. That the boundary-line between the two kinds of Eskimo 
should be so sharp just between Ny-Herrnhut and Godthaab, which lie close 
together on the same peninsula, is easily explained by the fact of the former 
settlement having always belonged to the recently abandoned German Moravian 
mission, while the latter was the seat of Egede's and the later Danish mission. 
There is always the essential objection to be made against the Eskimo having 
migrated to the southern east coast round the north of Greenland, that the 
conditions of life for Eskimo, who live principally by sealing and whaling, were 
poor on the north coast of Greenland, where there are no seals worth mentioning 
and few bears ; and they can scarcely have got enough musk-oxen to support 
themselves. Their diffusion to the east coast could not have gone on rapidly. 
In the ice-bound regions they may have forgotten the use of the kayak, as the 
Eskimo of Smith Sound had done until thirty years ago, when they became 
acquainted with it again through a chance immigration from the west. In any 
case their practice in building and using kayaks must have greatly fallen off. 
But when the Eskimo came southward on the east coast they again had use 
for both the kayak for sealing and the women's boat for travelling, and it is 
scarcely likely that the craft they produced after such a break in the development 
should be so near to the women's boats and handsome kayaks of the northern 
west coast as we now find them ; unless, indeed, we are to suppose that they 
improved them again through contact with the Eskimo of the northern west 
coast, but in that case the whole theory appears somewhat strained. 

Meeting of We will now look at what the known historical authorities 

Eskimo have to tell us about the Eskimo in Greenland during the 
peans " early days of the Norse settlement. I have already stated 
(pp. 12, ff.) that the Norse name " Skraeling " for Eskimo 
must originally have been used as a designation of fairies 
or mythical creatures. Furthermore, there is much that 
would imply that when the Icelanders first met with the 
Eskimo in Greenland they looked upon them as fairies ; 
they therefore called them "trolls,** an ancient common 
name for various sorts of supernatural beings. This view 
persisted more or less in after times. Every European who 
has suddenly encountered Eskimo in the ice-covered wastes 
of Greenland, without ever having seen them before, will 
easily understand that they must have made such an impres- 
sion on people who had the slightest tendency to superstition. 
The mighty natural surroundings, with huge glaciers, floating 



icebergs and drifting ice-floes, all on a vaster scale than chapter 
anything they had seen before, might in themselves fur- ^ 
nish additional food for superstition. Such an idea must 
from the very beginning have influenced the relations 
between the Norsemen and the natives, and is capable of 
explaining much that is curious in the mention of them, 
or rather the lack of mention of them, in the sagas, since 
they were supernatural beings of whom it was best to say 

In connection with what has been said earlier (pp. 12, ff.) The fairy 
as to the Skraelings being regarded as fairies (of whom the ^h^^skrsi- 
name was originally used), it may be adduced that, as Storm ings 
pointed out, the word was always translated in Latin by 
" Pygmaei " in the Middle Ages (cf. above, p. 12). But 
the Pygmies were precisely " short, undergrown people of 
supernatural aspect " — that is, like fairies — and the Middle 
Ages inherited the belief in them from the Greeks and 
Romans, and, as Moltke Moe has pointed out, the northern 
Pygmies (Bo/o«oi nvyfialoi) were already spoken of in 
classical times as inhabiting the regions about Thule. But 
authors like Apollodorus and Strabo denied their existence, 
and consigned them, together with Dog-headed, One-eyed, 
One-footed, Mouthless, and other similar beings, to the 
ranks of fabulous creatures in which classical tradition was 
so rich. Through St. Augustine the enumeration of these 
creatures reached Isidore ; and from him the knowledge of 
the Pygmies was disseminated over the whole of mediaeval 
Europe — partly in the same sense, that of a more or less 
fabulous people from the uttermost parts of the earth ; and 
partly in the sense of a fairy people [cf. the demons in the 
form of Pygmies in the * * Imram Brenaind, ' ' see above, 
p. 10]. Supported by popular belief in various countries, 
the latter meaning soon became general. Of this Moltke 
Moe gives a remarkable example from the Welshman Walter 
Mapes (latter half of the twelfth century), who in his curious 
collection of anecdotes, etc. (called ** De nugis curialium "), 



CHAPTER has a tale of a prehistoric king of the Britons called 
^ Herla.^ 

To him came a fairy- or elf-king, ** rex pygmaeorum," with a huge 
head, thick hair and big eyes ; the pygmy-king foretells to King Herla 
something that is to happen, and when this is fulfilled King Herla promises as a 
mark of gratitude to be present at his wedding. The moment the pygmy-king 
turns his back he vanishes. Herla comes to the wedding of the fairy-king. Enter- 
ing a vast cave he comes through darkness to the banqueting-hall inside the 
mountain, lighted by a multitude of lamps, where he is splendidly entertained. 
When he returns, believing he has been away for three days, he discovers that 
he has been absent for several hundred years. 

This is a typical elf-myth, with many of the features 
characteristic of elves and fairies : the low stature, the big, 
hairy head with large eyes, the gift of prophecy, and the 
power of making themselves invisible in an instant, their 
dwelling in caves and mountains far from the light of day, 
the way thither through darkness and mist, the rapid dis- 
appearance of time in the fairy world, etc. But we recognise 
most of these, and even more fairy features, precisely in the 
Icelandic descriptions of the Skrselings in Wineland, Markland 
and Greenland, as appears from what is said about them on 
pp. 12, ff. ; and when, for instance, ugly hair (" ilt hdr") 
and big eyes are expressly attributed to the Skrselings, this 
applies neither to Indians nor Eskimo, but it applies exactly 
to fairies. Further, we may point to the Skraelings of Mark- 
land being governed by kings (cf. p. 20), which again does 
not apply either to Indians or to Eskimo, while the elves 
and huldre-folk have kings. It was mentioned earlier (p. 20) 
that the name " Vaetilldi '» or " Vethilldi " may be Vaetthildr, 
compounded of the word " vaettr *' or " vettr " (fairy). 

Everything points in the same direction, that the 
Skrslings of Wineland, Markland and Greenland were 
regarded as a kind of fairy people. Nor can this surprise us 
when we consider that even the Lapps of Finmark, who lived 
so near to and were so well known by the Norwegians, were 

1 Cf. Gualteri Mapes, De nugis curialium. Ed. by Thomas Wright, 1850, 
pp. 14, ff. 



regarded as a half-supernatural people, and had various chapter 
magical properties attributed to them. 

From the statement quoted earlier from Are Frode's The oldest 
islendingabdk (circa 1130) it appears that the Skraelings, or authorities 
Eskimo, had been in South Greenland before Eric the skrsUngs 
Red and his men, and that the latter found dwelling-sites 
and other traces of them, from which they could tell that the 
same kind of people had been there who ** inhabited Wine- 
land and whom the Greenlanders call Skraelings (' Vinland 
hefer bygt oc Gronlendingar calla Scraelinga *)." These 
words of Are have generally been understood to imply that 
he did not know of any meeting of Norsemen and Skraelings 
in Greenland, but only in Wineland, and that consequently 
it must have been after his time that the Norsemen 
encountered the Eskimo in Greenland. I am unable to 
read Are's meaning in this way. He uses the present tense : 
** calla,** and what one *' calls Skraelings ** must presumably 
be a people one knows, and not one that one's ancestors had 
met with more than a hundred years ago. In that case we 
should rather expect it to be those ancestors who *' called ** 
them by this nickname.^ I have already suggested (p. 16) 
the possibility of a connection between this statement and 
the view of the Skrae'ings as trolls ; but we have besides a 
remarkable parallel to Are*s whole account of the first coming 
of the Icelanders to Greenland and the natives there in his 
account of the Norwegians' first settlement of Iceland, where 
he says that there were Christian men before they came, 
"whom the Norwegians call (* calla*) Papar '* (i.e., priests). 
They left behind them traces ** from which it could be seen 
that they were Irish men.*' From these words it might be 
concluded, with as much justification as from the statement 
about the traces of Skraelings, that the newcomers did not 

^ If it was the tradition of Karlsevne's encounter with the Skraelings that 
was referred to, then of course neither he nor the greater part of his men were 
Greenlanders, but Icelanders, so that it might equally well have been said that 
the Icelanders called tk^m Skraelings. 



CHAPTER come in contact with the earlier people ; but in the latter 
^ case this is incredible, and moreover conflicts with Are's own 

words in the passages immediately preceding, according to 
which the Christians left after the heathen Norsemen 
arrived. Three kinds of traces are mentioned in each case : 
the Papar left Irish books, bells and croziers ; the Skrselings 
left dwelling-places, fragments of boats, and stone implements. 
This may have somewhat the look of a turn of style in the 
sober Are, who thought it of more value to lay stress on 
visible signs of this kind than to give a possibly less trust- 
worthy statement about the people themselves. We must 
also bear in mind how terse and condensed the form of the 
islendingabdk is. I therefore read Are's words as though he 
meant to say something like the following : "As early as Eric's 
first voyage to Greenland they found at once dwelling-places 
both in the Eastern and Western Settlements, and fragments 
of boats, and stone implements, so that from this it can be 
seen that over the whole of that region there had been present 
the same kind of people who also live in Wineland, and who 
are the same as those the Greenlanders call Skrselings." 
Nothing is said about the waste districts of Greenland, where 
the Skrselings especially lived, and it is only in passing that 
Wineland is mentioned in this one passage. Are's Islendinga- 
bok cannot therefore be used as evidence that the Norsemen 
had not yet met with the Skrselings of Greenland in Are's 
time. As he expressly says that they found ** manna vistir 
b3B]?e austr oc vestr a lande " (human dwelling-places both 
east and west in the land — i.e., both in the Eastern and 
Western Settlements), this, too, shows that the stay of the 
Eskimo in south Greenland cannot have been merely a short 
and cursory summer visit ; but there must have been many 
of them who stayed there a long time, for otherwise they 
would hardly have left remains so conspicuous and distributed 
over so wide an area as to be mentioned with such emphasis 
as this. 

That Eskimo were living on the south coast of Greenland when the Icelanders 



arrived there may also possibly be concluded from the mention, in the list of CHAPTER 

fjords of the Eastern Settlement in Bjom Jdnsson's " Vetus chorographia," of X 

an " Utibliks fjord " [Gronl. hist. Mind., iii. p. 228 ; F. Jdnsson, 1899, p. 319], 

which does not sound Norwegian and may recall the Eskimo *' Itiblik," a tongue 

of land. As Finnur J6nsson [1899, P* ^7^] points out, the name of the fjord in 

Amgrim J6nsson's copy of the same list is *' MakleiksfjorSr," and both names 

may be misreadings of a man's name ending in " -leikr," from which the fjord 

was called (in the same way as Eiriks-fjorSr, etc.) ; but as " Utiblik " has such 

a pronounced Eskimo sound, it appears to me more probable that " Makleik-'* 

may have arisen through a misreading of this name, which was incomprehensible 

to Amgrim J6nsson and may have been indistinctly written, rather than that 

both names should be corruptions, of what ? In that case it would afford strong 

evidence, not only that there were Eskimo in the Eastern Settlement when the 

Icelanders established themselves there, but also that they had intercourse with 


The " Historia Norwegiae ** (thirteenth century) shows 
that a hundred years later the Skraelings of Greenland were 
known in Norway, and perhaps it is because they there 
seemed stranger that the Norwegian author mentions them. 
He says [Storm, 1880, pp. y6f 205] : 

" On the other side of the Greenlanders towards the north [i.e., on the northern 
west coast of Greenland] there have been found by hunters certain small people 
whom they call Skrselings ; when these are struck while alive by weapons, their 
wounds turn white without blood, but when they are dead the blood scarcely 
stops running. But they have a complete lack of the metal iron ; they use the 
tusks of marine animals [' dentibus cetimes,' here walrus and narwhale tusks] 
for missiles and sharp stones for knives." 

The curiously correct mention of the Skraelings' weapons 
must be derived from a well-informed source, and the 
statement established the fact that the Norsemen met with 
the Eskimo of Greenland at any rate in the thirteenth 
century, while at the same time it may imply that at that 
time the Skraelings were not generally seen in the settle- 
ments of Greenland. The statement as to their wounds, 
although connected with myth, may further point to there 
having been conflicts between them and the Norse hunters, who 
in Viking fashion dealt with them with a heavy hand ; but 
at the same time it discloses the view of the Skraelings as 
troll-like beings (see p. 17). 




in Icelandic 

A valuable piece of evidence of the Norsemen having 
early had intercourse with the Skraelings in Greenland is a 
little carved walrus, of walrus-ivory, which was found during 
excavations on the site of a house in Bergen, and which 
appears to be of Eskimo workmanship.^ Unfortunately the 
age of the find has not been determined, nor has it been 
recorded at what depth it lay ; but as it was amongst the 
deepest finds *' right down in the very foundations," and so 
far as can be made out from the description 
much deeper than ** a burnt layer, which lay 
under the remains of the fire of 1413," this 
walrus may be of the twelfth, or at the latest 
of the thirteenth, century. It might, no doubt, 
have been accidentally found by Greenlanders 
in a grave or dwelling-site of Skraelings, and 
afterwards accidentally found on the site of 
this house in Bergen ; but this is assuming a 
good many accidents, and it is most natural 
to suppose that the Greenlanders obtained it 
from the Skraelings themselves, and that it is 
thus an evidence of intercourse with the latter 
at that time. 

It is striking that the Skraelings are scarcely 
ever mentioned in the descriptions of the 
Norsemen in Greenland in the Icelandic saga 
literature, and that it is only in one or two 
places that Greenland Skraelings are mentioned in passing 
in Icelandic narratives ; but at the same time there are 
detailed descriptions of both peaceful and warlike encounters 
with the Skraelings in Wineland, and also in Markland (see 
vol. i. pp. 327, ff.). This is like what we found in Are 
Frode. The explanation must be that, while the saga-teller 
could bring out the distant Skraelings of Wineland in large 

1 Cf. Christian Koren-Wiberg : " Bidrag til Bergens Kulturhistorie," Bergen, 
1908, pp. 151, £. I owe it to Professor A. Bugge that my attention was drawn 
to this interesting find. 


Carved walrus 
of Eskimo 
work, of the 
twelfth cen- 
tury (?I; 
found on the 
site of a house 
in Bergen 
(after Koren- 
Wiberg, 1908) 


bodies and as dangerous opponents, quite worthy of mention CHAPTER 
even for nobles, the harmless and timorous Skraelings of ^ 
Greenland were too well known to be used as interesting 
material ; they were met with in small, scattered bands, 
and could be maltreated without any particular danger. 
They belonged to the commonplace, and commonplace was 
what a saga-writer had to avoid above all ; it is for the 
same reason that we scarcely hear anything about the 
Greenlanders' and other Norsemen's whaling and sealing 
and their expeditions for this purpose (e.g., to Nordrsetur) ; 
only here and there a few words are let fall about these 
things, which to us would be of so much greater value than 
all the tales of fighting and slaughter. But as regards 
the Skraelings of Greenland there was the additional circum- 
stance that they were heathens ; consequently intercourse 
with them was forbidden by the laws of the Church, and it 
was therefore best to say nothing about it. Besides, they 
were always regarded in Iceland as fairies or trolls, and, as 
we have said, their name was translated by " pygmsei," and 
it has been the same with them as with huldre-folk and 
goblins, who as a rule are not mentioned in the sagas either 
in Iceland or Norway, though of course they were believed 
in, and there can have been no lack of " authentic " stories 
about them. In several passages of Icelandic literature the Allusions to 
Skraelings are alluded to as trolls ; to kill them was perhaps Skraelings 

... t^ . .. < . « . , < in Icelandic 

meritorious, but it was nothing to boast about. In the literature 
Floamanna-saga it is related that Thorgils Orrabeinsfostre, 
on his wonderful voyage along the east coast of Greenland, 
one morning saw a large sea-monster stranded in a creek, 
and two troll-hags (in skin-kirtles) were tying up big bundles 
of it ; he rushed up, and as one of them was lifting her 
bundle he cut off her hand so that her burden fell, and she 
ran away. They may be regarded as Eskimo. It is true that 
this saga is so full of marvels and inventions (cf. vol. i. p. 281) 
that we cannot attribute much historical value to it, but it 
shows nevertheless the way in which they were looked upon. 
II F 81 


CHAPTER In another passage of this description Thorgils saw two 
•^ ** women," which must mean the same. It is stated that 

*' they vanished in an instant " ("]?aer hurfu skjott "), just 
like the underground beings. In the description of the 
voyage of Bjorn Einarsson Jorsalafarer (given in Bjorn 
Jonsson's Annals of Greenland) it is related that when in 
1385 the same Bjorn (together with three other vessels) on 
his way to Iceland was driven out of his course to Greenland, 
and had to stay there till 1387, he rescued on a skerry two 
" trolls," a young brother and sister, who stayed with him 
the whole time [Gronl. hist. Mind., iii. p. 438]. These, then, 
were Skraelings in the Eastern Settlement ; but the designa- 
tion troll is here used as a matter of course, although nothing 
troll-like is related of them. 

It may further be mentioned that in legendary tales and in many of the fan- 
ciful sagas we hear of trolls in Greenland, who may originally have been derived 
from the Skraelings, but who have acquired more of the troll- or giant-nature 
of fairy-tale. In the tale of the shipwreck of the Icelandic chief Bjorn Thorleifsson 
and his wife on the coast of Greenland,^ the two were saved by a troll man and 
a hag who each took one of them in panniers on their shoulders and carried them 
to the homestead enclosure at Gardar. In the *' pattr af Jokli Biiasyni " Jokul 
is wrecked in the fjord ** Ollum Lengri " on the east coast of Greenland, which 
was peopled by trolls and giants, and where a friendly troll woman helps him to 
slay King Skramr, etc. [Gronl. hist. Mind., iii. p. 521]. It will be seen that here 
there is nothing left of the Skraelings* nature, but the usual Norse ideas of trolls 
and giants predominate. 

The most important records of Skraelings in Greenland in older times, in 
addition to the works named above and the Islendingab6k, are: the "Icelandic 
Annals," where they are mentioned in one year, 1379, besides the allusion to 
the voyage from Nordrsetur in 1267 (cf. vol. i. p. 308), Ivar Bardsson's description 
of Greenland [Gronl. hist. Mind., iii. p. 259], and finally Gisle Oddsson's 
Annals, where they are called " the people of America " [Gronl. hist. Mind., iii. 
p. 459 ; G. Storm, 1890a, p. 355]. 

As the Norsemen, at all events during early days in 
Greenland, were to a great extent dependent on keeping 
cattle, as they had been in Iceland, they must have stayed a 
good deal at their homesteads within the fjords ; while the 
Eskimo, being engaged in fishing and sealing, kept to the 

^ J6n Egilsson's continuation of Hiingurvaka, Gronl. hist. Mind., iii. p. 469. 


outer coast. And even if the latter, after the arrival of the chapter 
Icelanders in the country, had lived scattered along the ^ 
southern part of the coast, there may thus have been little 
contact between them and the Norsemen. 

From the statements cited earlier (vol. i. pp. 308, f.) about 
the Nordrsetur expeditions we may conclude that the Green- 
landers came across Skrselings in those northern districts. 
It is true that the expression " Skraelingja vistir " has 
usually been interpreted as Skrseling sites or abandoned 
dwelling-places ; but in this account a distinction is made 
between " Skraelingja vistir " and " Skraelingja vistir forn- 
ligar.'* The latter are old dwelling-places that have been 
abandoned, while the former must be dwelling-places still in use. 
In the account of the voyage to the north, about 1267, we read 
that at the farthest north there were found some old 
Skraeling dwelling-places ("vistir fornligar "), while farther 
south, on some islands, were found some " Skraelingja 
vistir " — that is, inhabited ones. In agreement with this it is 
also stated of the men who came from the north in 1266 that 

" they saw no ' Skraelingja vistir ' except in [i.e., farther north than in] 
Kroksfjardarheidr, and therefore it is thought that they [the Skraelings] must 
by that way have the shortest distance to travel wherever they come from. 
From this one can hear [adds Bjorn J6nsson] how carefully the Greenlanders 
took note of the Skraelings' places of abode at that time." 

It is clear enough that this refers to dwelling-places in 
use and not to old sites, for this is absolutely proved by the 
expression that " they have the shortest distance to travel 
. . .*' ; and we thus see that the Skraelings were found in 
and in the neighbourhood of Kroksfjord,^ but on the other 
hand not in the extreme north, where only old sites left by 
them were found ; ' and from this the conclusion was drawn 

1 It is striking how accurately this agrees with what we have arrived at in 
an entirely different way with regard to the places inhabited by the Eskimo in 
ancient times (see p. 73). 

2 From this it cannot, of course, be concluded that they were not living there 
too at that time ; it only shows that the voyagers did not meet with them in the 



CHAPTER that they could not come from the north, but by the route 
^ through Kroksfjord, wherever their original home may have 

been. As they cannot well have come from inland, nor 
from out at sea either, this statement may give one the 
impression of something semi-supernatural. It is significant 
that the Skraelings themselves are not spoken of here 
either ; this may be due to the fact that there was nothing 
remarkable in meeting with them ; what, on the other 
hand, was interesting was their distribution in the unknown 
regions farther north. 

It was remarked in an earlier chapter (vol. i. p. 297) that 
the runic stone, found north of Upernivik, shows that Norsemen 
were there in the month of April, perhaps about 1300, and 
possibly it may also point to intercourse with the Eskimo. 
It was further mentioned (vol. i. p. 308) that the finding in 1266 
** out at sea " of pieces of driftwood shaped with " small 
axes" (stone axes?) and adzes (i.e., the Eskimo form of 
axe), and with wedges of bone imbedded in them, shows 
that there were Eskimo on the east coast of Greenland at 
that time. It is true that nothing is said as to what part 
of the sea the driftwood was found in ; but from the context 
it must have been between the west coast of Greenland and 
Iceland ; so that in any case it was within the region of 
the East Greenland current, and it cannot very well be 
supposed that these pieces of driftwood came from any- 
where but the east coast of Greenland, unless indeed they 
should have come all the way from Bering Strait or Alaska. 
The way in which they are spoken of shows that they were 
regarded as something out of the common, which was not 
due to Norsemen. 
Allusions to The brevity of Icelandic literature in all that concerns 
Eskimo m ^j^^ Skraelings is again striking when we compare it with 
literature the information about the Eskimo that appears in the maps 

most northerly regions, although they saw empty sites. As the Eskimo leave 
their winter houses in the spring and lead a wandering life in tents, this need 
not surprise us. 



and literature of Europe in the fifteenth century. Claudius chapter 
Clavus in his description of the North (before the middle of ^ 
the fifteenth century) speaks of Pygmies (" Pigmei ") in the 
country to the north-east of Greenland ; they were one 
cubit high, and had boats of hide, both short and long 
(i.e., kayaks and women's boats), some of which were hanging 
in the cathedral at Trondhjem (see further on this subject 

Eskimo playing ball with a stuffed seal. Woodcut from Greenland 
illustrating a fairy-tale, drawn and engraved by a native 

under the mention of Claudius Clavus). He further speaks 
of " the infidel Karelians," who " constantly descend upon 
Greenland in great armies." i The name may be derived, 
as shown by Bjornbo and Petersen, from the Karelians to the 
north-east of Norway on older maps and have been trans- 
ferred to the west, and it may then perhaps also have been 
confused with the name of Skrseling. 

Michel Beheim, who travelled in Norway in 1450, gives in his poem about the 
journey [Vangensten, 1908, p. 18] a mythical description of the Skraelings 
(" schrelinge "), who are only three "spans " high, but are nevertheless dangerous 
opponents both on sea and land. They live in caves which they dig out in the 
mountains, make ships of hides, eat raw meat and raw fish, and drink blood with 

^ Cf. Bjornbo and Petersen, 1904, pp. 179, 236. 



CHAPTER it. This points to his having found in Norway ideas about the Skraelings as super- 
X natural beings of a similar kind to those already mentioned. 

In a letter to Pope Nicholas V. (1447-1455) it is related [cf. G. Storm, 1899] : 
*' And when one travels west [from Norway] towards the mountains of this 
country [Greenland], there dwell there Pygmies in the shape of little men, only a 
cubit high. When they see human beings they collect and hide themselves in 
the caves of the country like a swarm of ants. One cannot conquer them ; 
for they do not wait until they are attacked. They live on raw meat and boiled 
fish." This resembles what is said about the Pygmies in Clavus, but as additional 
information is given here, it is probable that both Clavus and the author of this 
letter, and perhaps also Beheim, have derived their statements from older sources, 
perhaps of the fourteenth century, which either were Norwegian or had obtained 
information from Norway. The description of the Pygmies and how they fly on 
the approach of strangers points to knowledge of the Eskimo and their habits. 
The idea about caves is, perhaps, more likely to be connected with pixies and 
fairies, who lived in mounds and caves (cf. pp. 15, 76) ; but reports of the 
half-underground Eskimo houses may also have had something to do with it. 
It is possible that the common source may be the lost work of the English author 
Nicholas of Lynn, who travelled in Norway in the fourteenth century (cf. chapter 
xii. on Martin Behaim's globe). 

Archbishop Erik Walkendorf (in his description of Finmark of about 1520) 
has a similar allusion to the Eskimo, which may well have the same origin. 
He transfers them to the north-north-west of Finmark, like the Pygmies on 
Claudius Clavus' map. He says: "Finmark has on its north-north-west a 
people of short and small stature, namely a cubit and a half, who are commonly 
called ' Skrslinger ' ; they are an unwarlike people, for fifteen of them do 
not dare to approach one Christian or Russian either for combat or parley. They 
live in underground houses, so that one can neither examine them nor capture 
them. They worship gods " [Walkendorf, 1902, p. 12].^ 

We thus see that while Icelandic literature, subsequent to 
Are Frode, affords scarcely any information about the Green- 
land Skraelings themselves, it is a Norwegian author, as early 
as the thirteenth century, who makes the first statements 
about them and their culture ; and a Danish author of the 
fifteenth century, whose statements may originally have 

^ Jacob Ziegler (circa 1532], who probably made use of statements from 
Walkendorf, confuses the Norsemen and Eskimo in Greenland together into 
one people, who breed cattle, have two episcopal churches, etc. ; but " on account 
of the distance and the difficulty of the voyage the people have almost reverted 
to heathendom, and are . . . especially addicted to the arts of magic, like the 
Lapps. ..." They use light boats of hides, with which they attack other ships 
[cf. Gronl. hist. Mind., iii. p. 499]. 



been derived from Norway (like those in the letter to the chapter 
Pope and in Walkendorf), mentions no other inhabitants of 
Greenland but the Eskimo (Pygmies and Karelians) ; ^ but 
they are still referred to as semi-mythical and troll-like beings. 

The explanation must doubtless be sought in a fundamental 
difference in the point of view. To the Icelandic authors, 
brought up as they were in saga-writing (and for the most 
part priests), the life and struggles of their ancestors in 
Greenland were the only important thing, while ethno- 
graphical interest in the primitive people of the country, the 
heathen, troll-like Skraelings, was foreign to them. To this 
must be added the reasons already pointed out (p. 8i). In 
Norway, on the other hand, kinship with the Icelandic 
Norsemen in Greenland was more distant, and interest in 
the strange, outlandish Skraelings was correspondingly 
greater. Here also different intellectual associations, and 
intercourse with a variety of nationalities, caused on the 
whole a greater awakening of the ethnographical sense. 

A remarkable exception is the "King's Mirror" (circa Silence of 
1250), which makes no mention of the Skraelings, although ^.®"^/,"^'* 
a good deal of space is devoted to Greenland and the Green- about the 
landers. But this, as it happens, throws light upon the Skraelings 
curious silence on the Skraelings in Icelandic literature. 
From the " Historia Norwegiae,'* which seems to have been 
written approximately at the same time as or soon after the 
" King's Mirror " (perhaps between 1260 and 1264), it appears, 
as we have said, that the Greenland Skraelings were known 
in Norway at that time ; and in that case it is incredible 
that the well-informed author of the ** King's Mirror," who 
shows such intimate knowledge of conditions in Greenland, 
should not have heard of them. If he, nevertheless, does 
not allude to them, it appears that this must be for a similar 
reason to that which caused them to be so little mentioned in 
Icelandic literature. That the Skraelings should have been 

^ In the account attributed to Ivar Bardsson, first written down in Norway, 
the Skraelings also receive a good deal of attention. 



CHAPTER spoken of in a missing portion of the "King's Mirror," which 
^ perhaps was never finished by the author, is improbable, as 

the account of Greenland and its natural conditions seems 
to be concluded. 1 

Concerning the "King's Mirror" as a whole one ought to 
be cautious in drawing conclusions from its silence on 
various subjects ; from its mentioning whales in the Iceland 
sea and seals in Greenland but not in Norway one might 
conclude that neither whale nor seal occurred in Norway ; 
and the same is the case with the aurora borealis, which is 
only mentioned in Greenland. 
Summary of If we attempt to sum up what we may conclude from the 
the allu- historical sources as to the Eskimo or Skraelings of Green- 
Skraelings land during the first centuries of the Norse settlement there, 
in Green- something like the following is the result : When Eric the 
Red arrived in Greenland he found everywhere along the 
west coast traces left by the Skraelings, but whether and to 
what extent he met with the people themselves we do not 
hear. The probability is that the primitive people retired 
from those parts of the coast, the Eastern and Western 
Settlements, where the warlike and violent Norsemen estab- 
lished themselves ; while they continued to live in the 
"wastes" to the north. The Historia Norwegiae (besides 
the accounts of the voyages to the north from Nordrsetur 
in 1266 and 1267) shows that the Norsemen met with them 

1 William Thalbitzer, the authority on the Eskimo, has lately [1909, p. 14] 
adduced the silence of the " King's Mirror ** and of the Icelandic Annals on the 
subject of the Skraelings of Greenland as evidence that the Norsemen had not 
met with them on their northern expeditions to Nordrsetur ; but what has been 
brought forward above shows that nothing of the kind can be concluded from 
the silence of the "King's Mirror" (which, moreover, says nothing about theNordr- 
setur expeditions) ; and why in particular the Icelandic Annals should allude 
to the Skraelings in Greenland seems difficult to understand. This is no evidence, 
especially as we see that the Skraelings are mentioned in other contemporary 
authorities, such as the Historia Norwegiae, Ivar Bdrdsson's description, the 
account of the voyages in 1266 and 1267, etc. Besides, in the last authority it 
is expressly stated that there were Skraelings in Nordrsetur (Kroksfjardarheidr, 
of. p. 83). 


there, but at the same time speaks of immediate fighting, chapter 
The mythical tale of Thorgils Orrabeinsfostre (p. 8i) also ^ 
points in the latter direction, as does the myth in Eric the 
Red's Saga of the Greenlanders in Markland stealing Skraeling 
children. We have further the stories in Claudius Clavus 
and Olaus Magnus of hide-boats and Eskimo (Pygmies) 
that were captured at sea. This points to the Norsemen of 
that early time having looked upon the Skraelings as legitimate 
spoil, wherever they met them. Doubtless upon occasion the 
latter may have offered resistance or taken revenge, as may 
be shown by the statement in the Icelandic Annals of the 
" harrying " in 1379 ; but as a rule they certainly fled, as 
is their usual habit. I have myself seen on the east coast 
of Greenland how the Eskimo take to their heels and leave 
their dwellings on the unexpected appearance of strangers, 
and this has been the common experience of other travellers 
in former and recent times. It is not likely that the ancient 
Norsemen, when they came upon a dwelling-place thus 
suddenly abandoned, had any hesitation about appropriating 
whatever might be useful to them ; unless indeed a super- 
stitious fear of these heathen ** trolls " restrained them 
from doing so. It is therefore natural that the Skraelings 
avoided that part of Greenland where the Norsemen lived in 
large numbers. But where they came in contact we may 
suppose that friendly relations sometimes arose between 
Eskimo and European at that time, as has been the case 
since ; nor can the Norsemen of those days have been so 
inhuman as to make this impossible ; and gradually as time 
went by the relations between them probably became alto- 
gether changed, as will be discussed in the next chapter, 
particularly when imports from outside ceased and the 
Norsemen were reduced to living wholly on the products of 
the country ; they then had much to learn from the Eskimo 
culture, which in these surroundings was superior. 

In course of time the Eskimo of North Greenland grew 
in numbers, partly by natural increase — which may have 



CHAPTER been constant there, where their catches were assured for 
^ the greater part of the year, and they were free from famine 

and ravaging diseases — and partly perhaps through a fresh 
gradual immigration from the north. They therefore slowly 
spread farther to the south, and gradually the whole of the 
southern west coast received a denser Eskimo population, 
probably after the Norsemen of the Western and Eastern 
Settlements had declined in prosperity and numbers, so that 
they no longer appeared so formidable, and at the same time 
they undoubtedly behaved in a more peaceful and friendly 
fashion, in proportion as their communication with Europe 
fell off, and their imaginary superiority to the Skraelings 
proved to be more and more illusory. 
The Skrae- "vVe have Still to speak of the Skraelings whom the 

Whfeland Greenlanders, according to the sagas, are said to have met 
with in Wineland. G. Storm [1887] maintained that 
they must have been Indians, which of course seems natural 
if we suppose, with him, that the Greenlanders reached 
southern Nova Scotia ; but in recent years several authors 
have endeavoured to show that they were nevertheless 
Eskimo. 1 From what has been made out above as to the 
romantic character of these sagas it may seem a waste of 
time to discuss a question like this, since we have nothing 
certain to go by ; especially when, as already mentioned, 
the name of Skraeling may originally have been used of the 
pixies who were thought to dwell in the Irish fairyland, the 
land of the ** sid," which was called Wineland. But even 
if this origin of the name be correct, it does not prevent later 
encounters with the natives of America (besides those of 
Greenland) having contributed to make the Skraelings of 
Wineland more realistic, and given them features belonging 
to actual experience. 

The description of them in these ** romance-sagas " may thus be considered 
of value, in so far as it may represent the common impression of the natives 

1 £. Beauvois, 1904, 1905 ; Y. Nielsen, 1904, 1905 ; W. Thalbitzer, 1904, 


of the western countries, with whom the Greenlanders may^ have had more inter- CHAPTER 

course than appears from these tales ; but even so we cannot in any case draw X 

any conclusions from it with regard to the distribution of Indians or Eskimo 

on the east coast of America at that period. If it could really be established, as it 

cannot, that the Wineland Skrselings of the saga were Eskimo, then this alone 

would lead to the conclusion that the Greenlanders on their voyages had not 

been so far south as Nova Scotia, but at the farthest had probably reached the 

north of Newfoundland. If the authors mentioned have thought themselves 

justified in concluding that the Greenlanders found Eskimo in Nova Scotia, 

because the natives of Wineland are called Skraelings and are consequently 

assumed to be the same people with the same culture as those in Greenland, 

they cannot have been fully alive to the difficulty involved in its being impossible 

for the Skraelings of Nova Scotia, with its entirely different natural conditions, 

to have had the same arctic whaling and sealing culture as the Skraelings of 

Greenland, even if they belonged to the same race. For we should then have to 

believe that they had reached Nova Scotia from the north with their culture, 

which was adapted for arctic conditions. They would have to have dislodged the 

tribes of Indians who inhabited these southern regions before their arrival, although 

they possessed a culture which under the local conditions was inferior, and were 

doubtless also inferior in warlike qualities. In addition, these Eskimo with 

their Eskimo culture in Nova Scotia must have completely disappeared again 

before the country was rediscovered 500 years later, when it was solely inhabited 

by Indian tribes. We are asked to accept these various improbabilities chiefly 

because the word " Skraeling " — ^which, it must be remembered, was not originally 

an ethnographical name, but meant dwarf or pixy — is used of the people both 

in Wineland and Greenland, because the word " keiplabrot " is used by Are 

Erode (see vol. i. p. 260), and because in two passages of Eric the Red's Saga, 

written down about 300 years after the "events," the word "huSkeipr " is 

used of the Skraelings' boats in Wineland, while in four passages they are called 

** skip " (i.e., vessel), and in another merely " keipana." It appears to me that 

this is attributing to the ancient Icelanders an ethnographical interest which 

Icelandic literature proves to have been just what they lacked (see above, pp. 

80, ff.). In any case there is no justification for regarding these tardily recorded 

traditions as ethnographical essays, every word of which has a scientific meaning ; 

and for that they contain far too many obviously mythical features. It is not 

apparent that any of the authors mentioned has decided of what kind of hide 

the Skraelings in southern Nova Scotia, or even farther south (" where no snow 

fell "), should have made their hide-boats. 

Opportunities of supporting themselves by sealing cannot have existed on 
these southern coasts. The species of seal which form the Eskimo's indispensable 
condition of life farther north are no longer found. The only species of seal which 
occurs frequently on the coast of Nova Scotia is, as Professor Robert CoUett 
informs me, the grey seal (Halichcerus grypus), which is also found on the 
coast of Norway and is caught, amongst other places, on the Fro Islands. But 
this seal cannot have been present in sufficiently large numbers in southern 



CHAPTER Nova Scotia or farther south to fulfil the requirements of the ordinary Eskimo 
X sealing culture. They must therefore have adopted hunting on land as their chief 

means of subsistence, like the Indians ; but what then becomes of the similarity 
in culture between the Skraelings of Greenland and Wineland, which is just 
what should distinguish them from the Indians ? The very foundation of the 
theory thus disappears. Professor Y. Nielsen [1905, pp. 32, f.] maintains that 
the Skraelings of Nova Scotia need only have had *' transport boats " or " women's 
boats " of hides, and that *' what is there related of them does not even contain 
a hint that they might have used kayaks. ' ' This makes the theory even more 
improbable. If these Skraelings were without kayaks, which are and must be 
the very first condition of Eskimo sealing culture on an open sea-coast, then they 
cannot have had seal-skins for women's boats or clothes or tents either. They 
must then have covered these boats with the hides of land animals ; but what ? 
True, it is known that certain Indian tribes used to cover their canoes with double 
buffalo hides, a fact which the authors mentioned cannot have remarked, since 
they regard hide-boats as decisive evidence of Eskimo culture ; moreover, the 
Irish still cover their coracles with ox-hides ; but neither buffaloes nor oxen 
were to be found in Nova Scotia ; are we, then, to suppose that the natives used 
deer-skin ? The whole line of argument thus leads us from one improbabiUty to 
another, as we might expect, seeing it is built up on so flimsy a foundation. 

The Greenlanders may well have called the Indians' birch-bark canoes " keipr" 
or '* keipuU " (a little boat) ; but it is still more probable that as the details of 
the tradition became gradually obliterated in course of time, the designation of 
the Skraeling boat came to be that which was used for the only boats known 
in later times to be peculiar to the Skraelings, namely, the hide-boats of Green- 
land. In addition to this, hide-boats were also known from Ireland, while the 
making of boats of birch-bark was altogether strange to the Icelanders. Besides, 
if we are to attach so much importance to a single word, " huSkeipr," which 
plays no part in the narrative, what are we to do with the Skraelings' catapults 
(*' valslongur ") and their black balls which made such a hideous noise that 
they put to flight Karlsevne and his men ? — these are really important features 
of the description, to say nothing of the glamour. If these, like many other inci- 
dents of the saga, are taken from altogether different quarters of the world, it 
is scarcely unreasonable to suppose that a word like "huSkeipr" is borrowed 
from Greenland and from Irish legend. 

The names which according to the saga were communicated by the two Skrae- 
ling children captured in Markland, and which are supposed to have lived in 
oral tradition for over 250 years, have no greater claim to serious consideration. 
Everything else that these children are said to have related is demonstrably 
incorrect ; the tale of Hvitramanna-land is a myth from Ireland (cf. pp. 42, ff.) ; 
the statement attributed to them that in their country people lived in caves is 
improbable and obviously derived from elsewhere (cf. p. 19) ; ^ is it, then, 

* As so much weight has been attached to single words in order to prove the 
similarity of culture between the Skraelings in Wineland and Markland and those 


likely that the names attributed to them should be any more genuine ? W. Thai- CHAPTER 
bitzer [1905, pp. 190, ff.] explains these names as misunderstood Eskimo sen- X 
tences, and supposes them to mean: VxtiUdi, "but do wait a moment"; 
Vxgi, "wait a moment"; Av^ltdamon, "towards the uttermost"; Aval- 
didida, "the uttermost, do you mean ? " As we are told that the two Skraeling 
boys learned Icelandic, Thalbitzer must suppose the men to have mis- 
interpreted these sentences as names during the homeward voyage from Mark- 
land to Greenland, and then he must make the Skraelings die shortly afterwards, 
before the misunderstanding could be explained. After that these meaningless 
names must have lived in practically unaltered form in oral tradition for several 
hundred years, until they were put into writing at the close of the thirteenth 
century. It appears to me that such explanations of the words as are attempted 
on p. 20 have a greater show of probability. In addition, as pointed out in the 
same place, the " bearded " Skraeling and their " sinking into the earth " are 
mythical features which are associated with these Skraelings. 

While the points that have been mentioned are incapable of proving anything 
about Eskimo, there are other features in the saga's description of the Skraelings 
of Wineland which would rather lead us to think of the Indians : that they 
should attack so suddenly in large numbers without any cause being mentioned 
seems altogether unlike the Eskimo, but would apply better to warlike Indians. 
We are told that the Skraelings attacked with loud cries ; this is usual in Indian 
warfare, but seems less like the Eskimo. During the fight with the Skraelings 
Thorbrand Snorrason was found dead with a " hellustein " in his head. Whether 
this means a flat stone or a stone axe (as Storm has translated it [1887, 1899]), 
it is in any case not a typical Eskimo weapon ; while a stone axe used as a missile 
might be Indian. But, as stated above, there is too much romance and myth 
about the whole tale of the Wineland voyages to allow of any certain value being 
attached to such details. I have already (p. 23] maintained that the descrip- 
tion of hostilities with the natives, in which the Greenlanders were worsted, 
cannot be derived from Greenland, but may be due to something actually 
experienced. In that case this, too, points rather to the Indians.^ 

William Thalbitzer [1904, pp. 20, f.] has adduced, as a possible evidence of the 
more southerly extension of the Eskimo in former times, the fact that the name 

in Greenland, it is strange that no notice has been taken of points of difference 
such as this, that the Skraelings in Markland are said to dwell in caves, while 
the Greenlanders must have known, at any rate from the dwelling-sites they 
had found, that the Skraelings in Greenland lived in houses and tents. 

^ If we might suppose (which is not probable J that the missile mentioned on 
p. 7, note, from a myth of the Algonkin Indians has any connection with 
the Skraelings' black ball which frightened Karlsevne's people, this would be 
another feature pointing to knowledge of the Indians. Hertzberg's demonstration 
that the Indian game of lacrosse is probably the Norse "knattleikr " (pp.38, ff.J 
may point in the same direction ; for it seems less probable that the transmission, 
if it occurred, should have been brought about by the Eskimo. 



fate of the 


" Nipisiguit," of a little river in New Brunswick (46° 40' N. lat.], bears a strong 
resemblance to the Eskimo place-name " Nepisait " in Greenland, and he also 
mentions another place-name, "Tadoussak," which has a very Eskimo look. 
But in order to form any opinion we should have to know the language of the 
extinct Indian tribes of these parts, as well as the original forms of the names 
given. They are now only known from certain old maps ; but we cannot tell 
how they got on to those maps. 

The Eskimo are one of the few races of hunters on the 
earth who with their peculiar culture have still been able to 
hold their own fairly well in spite of contact with European 
civilisation ; the reason for this is partly that they live so far 
out of the way that the contact has been more or less 
cursory, partly also, as far as Greenland is concerned, that 
they have been treated with more or less care, and it has 
been sought to protect them against harmful European 
influences. In spite of this it has not been possible to 
prevent their declining and becoming more and more 
impoverished. The increase of their population in recent 
years might doubtless give a contrary impression ; but here 
other factors have to be reckoned with. When the Eskimo 
first came in contact with European culture, it was, as will 
be shown in the next chapter, their own culture which in 
these surroundings gained the upper hand as soon as com- 
munication with Europe was cut off. This would happen 
again if European and Eskimo could be left to themselves, 
entirely cut off from the outer world. But as this is impos- 
sible, the Eskimo culture is doomed to succumb slowly to our 
trivial, all-conquering European civilisation. 




THE Eastern and Western Settlements in Greenland seem, chapter 
as we have said, to have grown rapidly immediately ^^ 
after the discovery of the country and the first settlement P^^^i"® °^ 
there. Their flourishing period was in the eleventh, twelfth, land settie- 
and part of the thirteenth centuries ; but in the fourteenth ments 
they seem to have declined rapidly ; notices of them become 
briefer and briefer, until they cease altogether after 1410, 
and in the course of the following hundred years the Norse 
population seems to have disappeared entirely. The causes 
of this decline were many.^ It has been thought that it 
was chiefly due to an immigration into Greenland on a 
large scale of Eskimo, who gradually overpowered and ex- 
terminated the Norsemen ; but, as will be shown later, 
there is no ground for believing this ; even if hostile en- 
counters took place between them, these cannot have 
been of great importance. 

1 That it was due to changes in the climate, as some have thought, is not 
the case. The ancient descriptions of the voyage thither and of the drift-ice (cf. 
for instance, the " King's Mirror,' ' vol. i. p. 279} show exactly the same conditions 
as now. 




Decline in 

In the first place the decline must be attributed to changes 
in the relations with Norway. From the ** King's Mirror '* 
(cf. vol. i. p. 277), amongst other authorities, we see that 
the Greenlanders doubtless had to manage to some extent 
without such European wares as flour and bread ; they 
lived mainly by sealing and fishing, and also by keeping 
cattle, which gave them milk and cheese. But there were 
many necessary things, such as iron for implements and 
weapons, and to some extent even wood ^ for larger boats 
and ships, which had to be obtained from Europe, besides 
the encouragement and support which were afforded in many 
ways by communication with the outer world. This was not 
of small moment to people who lived in isolation under such 
hard conditions, at the extreme limit at which a European 
culture was possible ; it wanted little to turn the scale. It 
is therefore easy to understand that as soon as communica- 
tion with the mother country declined, the conditions of 
life in Greenland became so unattractive that those who 
had the chance removed elsewhere, and doubtless in most 
cases to Norway. 

But at the same time there was certainly a physiological 
factor involved. For the healthy nourishment of a European 
cereals (hydro-carbons) are necessary, and there can be no 
doubt that a prolonged exclusive diet of meat and fat 
will in the case of most Europeans reduce the vital force, 
and not least the powers of reproduction. This agrees with 
my own experience and observation under various conditions, 
as, for instance, during ten consecutive months' exclusive 
diet of meat and fat. It is also confirmed by physiological 
experiments on omnivorous animals. The Greenlanders were 
reduced to living by sealing, fishing, and keeping cattle ; 
milk, with its sugar of milk, was their chief substitute for 
the hydro-carbons in cereals ; besides this, they no doubt 

^ The driftwood that was washed ashore along the coasts could not possibly 
suffice for shipbuilding ; but they doubtless obtained timber also from Markland 
(cf. pp. 25, 37). 


collected crowberries, angelica and other vegetables ; but CHAPTER 
even during the short summer this cannot have been sufficient 
to counterbalance the want of flour. It is therefore probable 
that their powers of reproduction underwent a marked 
decrease, and they became a people of small fecundity. The 
Eskimo have had thousands of years for adapting them- 
selves through natural selection to their monotonous flesh-diet, 
since those among them who were best fitted for it had the 
better chance of producing offspring ; there is certainly a 
great difference between individuals in this respect ; some of 
us are by nature more vegetarian, while others are more 
carnivorous. It is therefore natural that the present-day 
Eskimo should be better suited for this diet ; but it is 
none the less striking that the rate of productiveness among 
them is also low. 

As, then, the Greenlanders' communications with Norway 
fell off more and more, their imports of corn and flour finally 
ceased altogether. Their cattle-keeping must then have 
declined as well, since they would have little opportunity of 
renewing their stock or getting other kinds of supplies, when 
bad years intervened and the greater part of the stock had 
to be slaughtered or died of hunger. Consequently the people 
became still more dependent on sealing ; and thereby the 
cattle must have been neglected. In this way their diet 
would become even less varied, since milk would be lacking, 
and their reproduction would be further restricted. Add 
to this that their average proficiency in sealing, at first in 
any case, was doubtless not to be compared with that of 
the Eskimo, and that they were without salt for preserving 
their catch, which therefore had to be dried or frozen. They 
were thus not able to lay up a large provision, and were 
always more and more dependent on occasional catches. It 
is easy to understand that their power of resistance was not 
great, when bad seasons for sealing occurred, or when 
they were ravaged by disease, and it is not surprising 
if the population decreased. 

II G 97 

CHAPTER The cessation of the communication of Greenland with 


Iceland and Norway came about in the following way : 
communi- between 1247 and 1261, during the reign of Hakon Hakons- 
cation with son, Greenland voluntarily became subject to the Norwegian 
urope crown, whilst before this it had been a free State like 
Iceland. In 1294, trade with the tributary countries of Nor- 
way, Greenland among them, was declared a sort of royal 
monopoly or privilege, which the king could farm out to 
Norwegian subjects. The result of this was that only the 
king's ships — and of these there was as a rule only one, called 
** Knarren," for the Greenland traffic — were permitted to 
sail there for the purposes of trade, ^ and this was the 
beginning of the end. Even before that time communication 
with Greenland was rare. Thus we read in the "King's 
Mirror ' * that people seldom went there. But now, when the 
royal trading ship was practically the only one that made 
the voyage, things were to be much worse. Frequently 
several years were occupied on one trip. As some time 
elapsed also between each voyage, it will be understood that, 
at the best, the communication was not lively. But when 
it occasionally happened that ** Knarren " was wrecked, 
things were still worse. That the communication may have 
been defective as early as the beginning of the fourteenth 
century is seen from a letter from Bishop Arne, of Bergen, 
to Bishop Tord in Greenland, of June 22, 1308, wherein it 
is taken for granted that the death of King Eric nine years 
before, in 1299, was not yet known in Greenland. In the 
middle of the fourteenth century, for instance, " Knarren " 
returned to Bergen in 1346 safe and sound and with a 
very great quantity of goods ; but perhaps did not sail 
again until 1355, and we hear nothing of her return before 
1363 (?). In 1366 we hear that "Knarren" was again 
fitted out ; but she was wrecked north of Bergen in the 

^ Existing royal documents show that the prohibition of trade with these 
tributary countries was again strictly enforced by Magnus Smek in 1348, and 
by Eric of Pomerania in 1425. 



following year, probably on the outward voyage. In the chapter 
year following a new trading ship must actually have ^^ 
arrived with the new bishop, Alf ; but it is stated that 
Greenland had then been without a bishop for nineteen 
years. In 1369 the Greenland ship seems again to have 
been sunk oif Norway.^ 

It looks as if these voyages of " Knarren '* became rarer 
and rarer, until at the begininng of the fifteenth century 
(1410) they presumably ceased altogether ; in any case, we 
hear no more of them. Even though the Greenland traffic 
may have paid, it cost money to fit out " Knarren," and 
when there was so much doing in other quarters, it was not 
always easy to procure the necessary funds. Another reason 
for the decline was the growing influence and power of the 
Hanseatic League over trade and navigation in Norway. 
Together with the Victualien Brethren and the adherents of the 
captive King Albrekt of Sweden, the Leaguers took and sacked 
Bergen in 1393. In 1428 the town was again taken by the 
Hanseatic League. It may easily be understood that events 
of this kind had a disturbing and perhaps entirely paralysing 
effect on the Greenland traffic, which had its headquarters in 
this town. Moreover, Norway had before this been much 
weakened by the Black Death, which visited the country in 
1349. It raged with special virulence in Bergen ; but there 
is no notice of the disease having spread to Greenland ; 
perhaps that country was spared through " Knarren " not 
having sailed there before 1355, and probably no other ship 
having made the voyage in the interval. In 1392 there was 
again a severe pestilence throughout Norway, and many 
people died. In that year too a great many ships were 
wrecked. There were thus a number of misfortunes at 
that time, and the people of Norway had enough to occupy 
them in their own affairs. Another circumstance unfavour- 
able to the communication with Greenland was the union 
of Norway with Denmark, and for a time with Sweden. The 

^ Cf. Islandske Annaler, ed. by Storm, z888, p. aaS. 



CHAPTER seat of government was thereby removed to Copenhagen, 
^^ and interest in Norway, and especially in its so-called 

tributary countries, was further greatly diminished by the 
larger claims of Denmark and Sweden. 

It is reasonable to suppose that under such conditions 
the settlements in Greenland, which were almost entirely 
cut off, must have decayed ; comparatively few, perhaps, were 
able to get a passage, and left the country by degrees ; but 
the people declined in numbers; they adopted an entirely 
Eskimo mode of living, and mixed with the Eskimo, who 
perhaps at the same time spread southwards in greater 
numbers along the west coast of Greenland. It was remarked 
in the last chapter that the Norsemen, when they arrived in 
the country, evidently looked down upon the stone-age, 
troll-like Skraelings, whom they could hunt and ill-use with 
impunity ; with their iron weapons, their warlike pro- 
pensities, and their larger vessels, they may perhaps have 
been able to maintain this imaginary superiority in the early 
days, so long as they still had some kind of supplies from 
abroad. But it is obvious that these relations must have 
been fundamentally changed when this communication 
gradually ceased, and they were reduced, without any support 
from Europe, to make the best of the country's resources ; 
then the real superiority of the Eskimo in these surroundings 
asserted its full rights, and the Greenlanders had to begin 
to look upon them in a very different light. It is therefore 
perfectly natural that from this very fourteenth century a 
fundamental change in the relations between Norsemen and 
Skraelings set in. And that such was the case seems to 
result^in many ways from the meagre information we 
Gisle In the Annals of Bishop Gisle Oddsson, written in 

annak'on Iceland in Latin before 1637, we read under the year 1342 
the decline [G. Storm, 1 890a, pp. 355, f. ; Gronl. hist. Mind., iii. p. 459] : 

of the 

Green- "The inhabitants of Greenland voluntarily forsook the true faith and the 

landers religion of the Christians, emd after having abandoned all good morals and true 



virtues turned to the people of America (* ad Americae populos se conver- CHAPTER 
terunt 'J ; some also think that Greenland lies very near to the western lands of XI 
the vyorld. From this it came about that the Christians began to refrain from 
the voyage to Greenland." 

It is not known from whence Gisle Oddsson took this 
statement. As the expression " the people of America " 
(" Americae populi ") is a curious one, and as the state- 
ments in the bishop's annals following that quoted above 
are entirely myths and inventions taken from Lyschander's 
" Gronlands Chronica " (but originally derived from Saxo 
and Adam of Bremen), Storm regarded the whole account 
as spurious and lacking any mediaeval authority. Inter- 
preting, curiously enough, " ad Americae populos se con- 
verterunt " to mean that the Greenlanders had emigrated to 
America, Storm supposes that this may be a hypothesis 
** formed to explain the disappearance from Greenland of 
the old Norwegian-Icelandic colony." But the meaning of 
the passage can scarcely be interpreted otherwise than as 
translated above, that the Greenlanders had forsaken Chris- 
tianity, given up good morals and virtues, and had been 
converted to the belief and customs of the American people 
(i.e., the Skraelings). The people of America must be a 
strained expression the bishop has used to denote the heathen 
Skraelings (who inhabited Greenland and the American lands) 
in contradistinction to the Christian Europeans. Greenland 
was frequently regarded in Iceland in those times as a part 
of America (cf. the map, p. 7). Hans Egede, for example, 
thought the natives of Greenland were " Americans." In 
other words, the statement simply means that in 1342 a 
report came that the Greenlanders were associating amicably 
with the heathen Skraelings (which was forbidden by the 
ecclesiastical law of that time), and had begun to adopt 
their mode of life ; which, in fact, is extremely probable. 

The question is, then, from whence Gisle Oddsson may 
have derived this, which is not known from any other source. 
Storm thought it out of the question that it was taken from 



CHAPTER Lyschander (from whom the same annals have borrowed 

^^ so much else) ; but we cannot be so sure of this. After 

having related the volcanic eruption and disasters in Iceland 

in 1340 (also recorded by Gisle Oddsson)^ Lyschander continues : 

" Norway and Sweden and Greenland also 
They were hereafter well able to perceive 
That such things boded ill to them. 
These kingdoms they came into the hands of the Dane, 
And Greenland went astray on the strand, 
Not long after these times." 

Whatever may be meant by this strained, obscure expres- 
sion about Greenland (is " strand " a misprint for " stand " 
— "went astray in its condition"?), it might at any rate be 
interpreted to mean that its inhabitants had been converted 
(gone astray) to a heathen religion (the people of America) ; 
" not long after these times " (i.e., after 1340) may thus 
have been made into 1342. But the mention of a definite 
date — which, it may be remarked, would suit very well for 
the time when the Greenlanders passed into Eskimo in 
larger numbers, at any rate in the Western Settlement (cf. 
Ivar Bdrdsson's description, see below, p. 108) — may possibly 
indicate that some ancient authority or other is really the 
foundation for the statement, and perhaps also for the lines 
quoted from Lyschander. Finn Magnussen [Gronl. hist. 
Mind., iii. p. 459] thinks that Gisle Oddsson may have derived 
much information from the archives and library of Skdlholdt 
cathedral, which was burnt in 1630. 
Conversion Whether genuine or not, this statement may correctly 

of the describe the fate of the Greenland settlements. Deserted by 

landers into the mother country, and left to their own resources, the 
Eskimo Greenlanders were forced to adopt the Eskimo mode of 
life, and became absorbed in them. This took place first in 
the more northerly and more thinly populated Western 
Settlement, and later in the Eastern Settlement as well. The 
Eskimo with their kayaks and their sealing appliances were 
the superiors of the Greenlanders in sealing (as appears from 

the account of Bjorn Jorsalafarer), and their mode of life CHAPTER 


was better suited to the conditions of Greenland ; it is there- 
fore incredible that their culture should not gain the upper 
hand in an encounter, under conditions otherwise equal, 
with that of Europeans, even though there were certain 
things that they might learn of the Europeans, especially 
the use of iron/ Furthermore, the Greenlanders' stock of 
cattle, goats and sheep had, as we have seen (p. 97), greatly 
declined owing to the long severance from Europe, and for 
this reason also they were obliged to adopt more of the 
Eskimo way of life. 
But then their places 
of residence within 
the fjords, far from 
the sealing-grounds, 
were no longer ad- 
vantageous, and by 
degrees they entirely 
adopted the Eski- 
mo's more migratory 
life along the outer 
coast. Then, again^ 
the Eskimo women 

were probably no less attractive to the Northerners of that 
time than they are to those of the present day, and thus 
much mixture of blood gradually resulted. The children 
came to speak the Eskimo language, and took at once to a 
wholly Eskimo way of life, just as at the present day the 
children of Danes and Eskimo in Greenland do. As the 
Norsemen at that time must also have been very inferior to 
the Eskimo in numbers, they must by degrees have become 
Eskimo both physically and mentally ; and when the country 
was rediscovered in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries 
there were only Eskimo there, while all traces of the 
Norwegian-Greenland culture seemed to have disappeared. 

^ It is shown by Solberg's [1907] researches that they did so. 


Ruins of church at Kakortok in the Eastern 
Settlement (after Th. Groth) 


Norse traces 
among the 


Let us suppose that we could repeat the experiment and 
plant a number of European sealers in Baffin Land, for 
instance, with their women, together with a greater number of 
Eskimo, and then cut off all communication with the 
civilised world. Can we have any doubt as to the kind of 
culture we should find there if we could come back after 

two hundred 
years ? All the 
inhabitants would 
be Eskimo, and 
we should find few 
traces of Euro- 
pean culture. 

It would 
doubtless seem 
reasonable to ex- 
pect that the de- 
scendants of the 
ancient Norsemen 
of Greenland and 
of the Eskimo 
with whom they 
became absorbed 
should have 
shown signs in their external appearance of this descent, 
when discovered in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries ; 
but unfortunately we have no descriptions of them from 
that time which allow of any conclusions being drawn on 
the subject. It is true that Hans Egede says [1741, p. 66] 
that the Eskimo of Greenland ** have broad faces and thick 
lips, are fiat-nosed and of a brownish complexion ; though 
some of them are quite handsome and white " ; but nothing 
definite can be concluded from this, and in the period after 
Egede 's arrival the natives on the west coast became so 
mixed that it is now hopeless to look for any of the original 
race. It is, however, remarkable that Graah found in 

Salmon-fishing in Vazdalby Ketils-f jord in the East- 
ern Settlement (see map, vol. i, p. 265), where the 
" birch forest " is as high as 20 ft. From a photo- 
graph by Dr. T. N. Krabbe (A. S. Jensen, 19 10) 


1829-1831 Eskimo on the east coast of Greenland, many of chapter 
whom struck him as resembling Scandinavians in appearance ^^ 
— a fact which he sought to explain by European sailors 
having perhaps been wrecked there. 

But if it is now difficult to prove in this way the partially 
Norse descent of the natives on the southern west coast of 
Greenland, it is to be expected that there should be many 
vestiges in their myths and fairy-tales which would give 
evidence of this. And this is precisely what we find. In 
an earlier work [1891, pp. 207, £f. ; Engl, ed., pp. 248, ff.] I 
think I have pointed out numerous features in their tales that 
bear a resemblance to the Norse mythical world, and that must 
have been derived from thence ; and many more might be 
adduced. The similarities are sufficiently numerous to bear 
witness to a quite intimate intellectual contact, and are in full 
agreement with what we should expect. But it may seem 
strange that their religious ideas did not show more Christian 
influence, especially when we see that even so late as 1407 
Christianity was powerful enough in the Eastern Settlement 
for a man to be burnt for having seduced another's wife by 
witchcraft. There are, however, many features in their 
conceptions of another world, of which Egede speaks, 
which appear to be necessarily of Christian origin ; we must 
suppose, too, that Christian education was at a very low ebb 
in Greenland at the close of the fourteenth century, and soon 
ceased altogether. 

Only a few words in the language of the Greenland Norse words 
Eskimo on the southern west coast have been shown to be j?*^® 
of Norse origin. Hans Egede himself pointed out the following : language 
" kona " (= wife. Old Norse kona), " sava " or " savak " 
(= sheep, O.N. sau^r, gen. sau(5a), " nisa " or ** nisak '* 
(= porpoise, O.N. hnisa), ** kuanek " (= angelica, O.N. 
hvonn, plur. hvannir). Some of these words recur in 
Labrador Eskimo, but may have been introduced by the 
Moravian missionaries from Greenland. We may also men- 
tion the name the Eskimo of southern Greenland apply to 



CHAPTER themselves, " karalek " or ** kalalek," which may come 

^^ from the word Skraeling (which in Eskimo would become 

** sakalalek "). This, as the Eskimo told Egede, was the 

name the ancient Norsemen had called them by ; otherwise 

the Eskimo call themselves * * inuit " ( = human beings) ; 

and curiously enough ** kalalek " is not used by the Eskimo 

of northern Greenland ; on the other hand, it is known to 

the Labrador Eskimo, but may have been brought by the 

missionaries, although the latter asserted that it was known 

when they came. It is perhaps of more importance that, 

according to H. Rink, a similar word (** kallaluik," " katla- 

lik " or " kallaaluch," for chief or shaman) occurs in the 

dialects of Alaska. 

Complaints Through all the notices of Greenland and its condition, 

of apostasy especially those from religious sources, there runs after the 

in notices of *^ ■' ** ' 

Greenland fourteenth century a cry of apostasy, which is ominous of 
this mixture of the Norsemen with the Skrslings : we see it 
in the doubtful statement from 1342 about their conversion 
to " the people of America " ; a little later, according to 
Ivar Bardsson's account (see p. 108), the heathen Skraelings 
were predominant in the Western Settlement ; furthermore, 
the trading ship was fitted out in 1355 to prevent the 
** falling away " of Christianity [Gronl. hist. Mind., iii. 
p. 122] ; Bjorn Einarsson's account (see below, p. 112) 
concludes with the statement that when he was there (1386) 
" the bishop of Gardar was lately dead, and an old priest 
. . . performed all the episcopal ordinations " [Gronl. hist. 
Mind., iii. p. 438] ; after that time no bishop came to Green- 
land ; and finally the papal letter of 1492-93 describes the 
Greenlanders as a people abandoned by bishop and priest, 
for which reason most of them had fallen from the Christian 
faith, although they still preserved a memory of the Christian 
church service (see later). ^ This may all point in the same 

^ As stated on p. 86, Jacob Ziegler (circa 1532) also says that the people 
of Greenland "have almost lapsed to heathendom," etc. Although mythical, 
this shows a similar tradition. 


direction : that the Norsemen in Greenland became more and chapter 
more absorbed by the Eskimo. ^^ 

Of course there may have been occasional hostile en- War of ex- 
counters between the Eskimo and Norsemen in Greenland, termination 

' improbable 
especially as the latter, as pointed out in the last chapter, 

must frequently have acted with a heavy hand when they 

had the power. But that the Eskimo should have carried 

on a regular war of extermination, which resulted in the 

complete destruction first of the Western and then of the 

Eastern Settlement, as has been generally assumed until 

quite recently — this is incredible to any one who knows the 

Eskimo and considers what their conditions of life were. 

Where should they have developed this warlike propensity 

which was afterwards foreign to them, and where should they 

have had training in the art of war ? This idea of the 

destruction of the settlements by hostilities is the result 

mainly of three statements about Greenland, of which one is 

very improbable and on many points impossible, another 

deals possibly with an actual attack, and the third is 

demonstrably false. We must here examine these notices a 

little more closely. 

In 1 341 Bishop Hdkon of Bergen sent a priest, Ivar IvarB6rds- 

Bardsson, to Greenland. He was for a number of years fo"o"the 

steward of the bishop's residence at Gardar, and is said also Settlement 

to have visited the Western Settlement. We do not know 

for certain how long he was in Greenland, but in 1364 he 

again appears in Norway [cf. G. Storm, 1887, p. 74]. There 

exists in Danish a description of the fjords, more especially 

of the Eastern Settlement, which, according to its own words, 

must to a great extent be derived from oral communications 

of this Ivar (see below). These must originally have been 

taken down by another Norwegian, in Norwegian, and were 

thence translated into Danish [cf. F. Jonsson, 1899, p. 279]. 

There is thus a double possibility that the third-hand version 

we possess may contain many errors and misconceptions, 

of which, in fact, it bears evident marks. After speaking of 



CHAPTER the fjords in the Eastern Settlement, it says of the Western 
^^ Settlement and of the journey thither : ^ 

" Item from the Eastern Settlement to the Western is a dozen sea- leagues and 
all is uninhabited, and there in the Western Settlement stands a great church 
which is called Stensness Church ; this church was for a time a cathedral and the 
see of a bishop.^ Now the Skraelings possess the whole Western Settlement ; there 
are indeed horses, goats, cattle and sheep, all wild, and no people either Christian 
or heathen. 

" Item all this that is said above was told us by Iffuer bort [or Bardsen], a Green- 
lander, who was steward of the bishop's residence at Gardum in Greenland for 
many years, that he had seen all this and he was one of those who were chosen 
by the * lagmand ' to go to the Western Settlement against the Skraelings to 
expel the Skraelings from the Western Settlement, and when they came there 
they found no man, either Christian or heathen, but some wild cattle and sheep, 
and ate of the wild cattle, and took as much as the ships could carry and sailed 
with it home [i.e., to the Eastern Settlement], and the said Iffuer was among 

"Item there lies in the north, farther than theWestern Settlement, a great moun- 
tain which is called * Hemelrachs felld ' [or ' HiminraSz fjall,' cf. vol. i. p. 302], 
and farther than to this mountain must no man sail, if he would preserve his life 
from the many whirlpools which there lie round the whole sea." 

Strangely enough no author has expressed a doubt of the 
credibility of this description, although as usually interpreted 
it contains an impossibility, which must strike any one on 
a closer examination. It is still commonly interpreted as 
though Ivar Bardsson had found the whole Western Settle- 
ment destroyed by Eskimo.^ But if this was so, how could 
he have found there wild cattle, sheep, horses and goats ? 
The whole Western Settlement must then have been destroyed 
the summer that he was there ; for the wild cattle could 
not possibly have supported themselves through the winter 

1 Cf. Gronl. hist. Mind., iii. p. 258 ; F. J6nsson, 1899, p. 328. 

^ This seems very doubtful, as it is not known that a bishop ever resided in 
the Western Settlement. 

^ It is true that this is not stated in the narrative ; it is only said that the 
Skraelings possessed the whole Western Settlement, and that Ivar and his com- 
panions found no people there, either Christian or heathen, but only wild cattle ; 
and it may, of course, be doubtful whether the meaning was that the whole settle- 
ment had been destroyed by a predatory incursion. 


in Greenland ; evidently the author, who was unacquainted chapter 
with the conditions in Greenland, did not think of this. ^^ 
Besides, can any one who knows the Eskimo imagine that 
they slaughtered the men, but not the cattle ? This repre- 
sented food to them, and that is what they would first have 
turned their attention to. It is not stated which fjord of the 
Western Settlement it was that Ivar visited ; but in any 
case it is hardly to be supposed that it was all the fjords, 
which thus would all have been destroyed at the same time. 
The conclusion that Ivar found the whole Western Settlement 
laid waste is therefore in any case unfounded ; it can at the 
most have been one fjord, or perhaps only one homestead (?). 

From an Iceleindic MS. of the fourteenth century 

If there should really be some historical foundation for the 
description of Ivar Bdrdsson's voyage, then it may perhaps 
be interpreted in an altogether different way. The people of 
the Western Settlement, where the conditions for keeping 
cattle were far less favourable than farther south in the 
Eastern Settlement, undoubtedly became earlier absorbed 
among the Eskimo and went over to their mode of living. 
This may also be what is alluded to in the perhaps approxi- 
mately contemporary statement of 1342, already quoted 
(p. 1 01), which says that the Greenlanders ** turned to the 
people of America." It is possible that it was just this same 
state of things that was the cause of Ivar's being sent to 
expel the Skraelings from the Western Settlement. When he 
arrived in the summer at the fjord which he possibly visited, 
the people may therefore, in Eskimo fashion, have been 



CHAPTER absent on sealing expeditions somewhere out on the sea- 
^^ coast and living in tents, while the cattle were turned out at 

pasture round the homesteads, i This would explain how 
they came to be found alive. The men of the Eastern 
Settlement then, with or against their better conscience, 
stole and carried off the property of the half-Eskimo men of 
the Western Settlement during their absence, and when the 
latter returned they found their homesteads plundered, not 
by Eskimo but by Greenlanders. But it is perhaps very 
questionable whether the whole account of this voyage is 
particularly historical. The statement about the whirlpools, for 
one thing, is mythical, pointing to an idea that this was near 
the end of the earth, and in the description immediately 
following like and unlike are mixed together in a way that is 
calculated to arouse doubt. We read thus : 

" Item in Greenland there are silver-mines [which are not found there], white 
bears having red spots on the head [sic I]. . . . Item in Greenland great tempests 
never come. Item snow falls much in Greenland, it is not so cold there as in Ice- 
land and Norway, there grows on high mountains and down below fruit as large 
as some apples and good to eat, the best wheat that can be grows there." ^ 

As will be seen, one absurdity succeeds another. It may 
be objected that as it is not stated that this last paragraph is 
due to Ivar the Greenlander, it may have been added later ; 
but it contains an admixture of statements that must come from 
Greenland — e.g., about the white bears, whales' tusks (i.e., of 
walrus or narwhale), walrus hides, soapstone (steatite), of which 
they make pots, and large vessels ; it is also stated that 
" there are many reindeer," and it seems probable that it is 
all derived from the same untrustworthy source. 

To what has here been said some will object that, even if 
this description ascribed to Ivar Bdrdsson bears evident 

* This explanation offers, of course, the difficulty that it would not be appli- 
cable to dairy cattle ; but in this way of life the settlers may have had to 
give up milking. 

' These last ideas may well be supposed to have originated in a confusion with 
the tales about Wineland. 


marks of being inexact, it shows at any rate that in Norway, chapter 
when it was taken down, the view prevailed that the ^^ 
Western Settlement had been destroyed by an attack of the 
Skraelings. But nothing of the kind is really stated in the 
account (cf. above, p. io8, note 3) ; and the possibly con- 
temporary statement (of 1342 ?) which has already been 
given (p. 100) shows that in Iceland, at any rate in the 
seventeenth century, the contrary view prevailed, unless 
indeed we are to explain this statement as having arisen 
through a misunderstanding of Lyschander. 

Under the year 1379 the so-called " Gottskalks Anndll " (of Eskimo 
the second half of the sixteenth century) has a statement which ^^^^ ^^ 
cannot be regarded as certain, as it is not found in the other 
Icelandic annals, but which may have been taken from older 
sources. It reads [G. Storm's edition of Islandske Annaler, 
1888, p. 364] : 

" The Skrselings harried the Greenlanders and killed of them eighteen men 
and took two boys and made slaves of them." 

It is possible that this may have some historical founda- 
tion, and in that case it doubtless refers to some collision or 
attack, perhaps at sea, in which the Eskimo were superior 
and the Greenlanders were defeated, which latter circum- 
stance is the reason of our hearing something about it ; in 
the contrary case it would not have been reported. That the 
Eskimo took two boys is conceivable if they were quite 
young, so that they could be trained for sealing ; they would 
thus provide an increase of the capital of the community. 
It is not unlikely that rumours of some such collisions as this 
may have contributed to form the ideas prevalent in Norway 
as to the formidable character of the Skraelings,^ while at 
the same time there existed ideas of their flying from 
Europeans, which appear in the reports of the Pygmies 

^ We find conceptions of the Skraelings as dangerous opponents or assailants 
in Michel Beheim in 1450 [Vangensten, 1908, p. 18], Paulus Jovius in 1534, 
Jacob Ziegler in 1532, Olaus Magnus in 1555, and others. But it is evident that 
these conceptions are to a great extent due to myth and superstition. 



CHAPTER (cf. the letter to the Pope, about 1450, and Walkendorf, above, 
p. 86). Whether the encounter referred to took place in 
the Western or in the Eastern Settlement (or perhaps in 
Nordrsetur ?) we do not know. If we are to place any 
reliance on Ivar Bardsson's description, we must suppose 
that the Western Settlement and its fate were little known at 
that time. But that friendly relations between the Green- 
landers and the Eskimo may have prevailed also in the 
Eastern Settlement later than this seems to result from the 
Bjorn Jor- account of the widely travelled Icelander Bjorn Einarsson 
account Jorsalafarer's stay in Greenland from 1385 to 1387. On a 
1385-87 voyage to Iceland in 1385 he was in distress, and was driven 
out of his course to the Eastern Settlement with four ships, 
which all arrived safe and well in Iceland in 1387.^ It seems 
that there was a difficulty in feeding all these crews, but 
Bjorn is said to have had the district of Eric's fjord handed 
over to him while he was there (?), and received as a 
contribution 130 fore-quarters of sheep (?). There is also 
related a fable that on his coming there and going down 
to the sea to look for seals he happened to witness a combat 
between a polar bear and a walrus, ** who always fight when 
they meet,^ and he afterwards killed them both." 

" Then Bjorn the franklin found maintenance for his people through one of 
the largest rorquals being driven ashore, with a marked harpoon belonging to 
Olaf of Isafjord in Iceland, and finally it was also of importance that he came 
to the assistance of two trolls [i.e., Eskimo], a young brother and sister, on a 
tidal skerry [i.e., one that was under water at high tide]. They swore fidelity 
to him, and from that time he never was short of food ; for they were skilled 
in all kinds of hunting, whatever he wished or needed. What the troll girl liked 
best was when Solveig, the mistress of the house, allowed her to carry and play 
with her boy who had lately been born. She also wanted to have a linen hood 
like the mistress, but made it for herself of whale's guts. They killed themselves, 
and threw themselves into the sea from the cliffs after the ships, when they were 
not allowed to sail with the franklin Bjorn, their beloved master, to Iceland." 

1 Cf. Islandske Annaler, ed. by Storm [1888], pp. 365, f., 414, f. , Gronl. 
hist. Mind., iii. pp. 135, ff., 436, ff. 

2 According to my experience the bear avoids the walrus, and I have never 
seen a sign of their fighting on land or on the ice. 



The description of Bjorn Einarsson's voyage is full of CHAPTER 
extravagances and anything but trustworthy ; but his stay ^* 
in Greenland with the four ships is certainly historical ; and 
the description of the two young Eskimo has many features 
so typical of the Eskimo — such as the girl's fondness for 
children, her making a hood of whale's guts, and their 
superior skill in sealing — that they show without doubt that 
at that time there was intercourse with the Eskimo in the 
Eastern Settlement. 

From an existing royal document of 1389 it appears that, 
when Bjorn and his companions came from Iceland to 
Bergen in 1388, they were prosecuted for illegal trading with 
Greenland, which was a royal monopoly ; but they were 
acquitted, since they had been driven there in great distress 
and were obliged to trade in order to obtain food [Gronl. 
hist. Mind., iii. pp. 139, f.]. 

A document to which much weight has been attached is Papal letter 
a papal letter which has been preserved, from Nicholas V. in °n Eskimo 
1448 to the two bishops of Iceland. It is there said of attack 
Greenland, amongst other things [Gronl. hist. Mind., iii. 
p. 170] : 

" From the neighbouring coasts of the heathens the barbarians came thirty 
years ago with a fleet, attacked the people living there [in Greenland] with a cruel 
assault, and so destroyed the land of their fathers and the sacred edifices with 
fire and sword that only nine parish churches were left in the whole island [Green- 
land], and these are said to be the most remote, which they could not reach on 
account of the steep mountains. They carried the miserable inhabitants of both 
sexes as prisoners to their own country, especially those whom they regarded as 
strong and capable of bearing constant burdens of slavery, as was fitting for 
their tyranny. But since, as the same complaint adds,^ in the course of time most 
of them have returned from the said imprisonment to their own homes, and 
have here and there repaired the ruins of their dwellings, they long to establish 
and extend divine service again, as far as possible. . . ." Then follows a lengthy 
discourse on their religious needs, and what might be done to relieve them, without 
costing the rich Papacy anything. 

As the barbarians here must undoubtedly mean the 

^ A complaint previously sent to the Pope, which, however, was false, as 
will be shown later. 

II H 113 


CHAPTER Eskimo, it has been regarded as a historical fact that the 
^^ latter about 141 8 made a devastating attack on the Eastern 

Settlement, and this document has thus lent weighty support 
to the general opinion that the Greenland settlements perished 
as the result of an Eskimo war of extermination. But the 
letter itself shows such obvious ignorance of conditions in 
Greenland, especially with regard to the Eskimo, that there 
must be some doubt about the complaint on which it 
is based. To begin with, it is in itself unlikely that the 
peaceful and unwarlike Eskimo, who can have had no 
practice in warfare, since they had previously had no one to 
fight with, except walruses and bears, should have come 
with a ** fleet '* and made an organised attack in large 
masses, and destroyed people and houses and churches in the 
Eastern Settlement. Even if they might have been provoked 
to resistance or even revenge by ill-usage on the part of 
the Greenlanders, or perhaps have coveted their iron imple- 
ments, it is an impossibility that they should have organised 
themselves for a campaign. But it is added that they carried 
off the inhabitants of both sexes to use them as slaves ; for 
what work ? — in sealing they were themselves superior, in 
preparing skins and food their women were superior ; and 
other work they had none. To a Greenland Eskimo it would 
be an utterly absurd idea to feed unnecessary slaves, and it 
betrays itself as of wholly European origin. The statement 
that after the incursion only nine parish churches were left 
also betrays ignorance ; as pointed out by Storm, there were 
never more than twelve, even in the flourishing period of the 
Settlement, and by about 141 8 there were certainly not nine 
in all. Furthermore, the letter is not addressed to the two 
bishops really officiating in Iceland, but to the two impostors, 
the German Marcellus and his confederate Mathseus, who by 
means of false representations had induced Pope Nicholas V. 
to consecrate them bishops of Iceland [ef. G. Storm, 1892, 
P' 399]* The probability is that the two impostors them- 
selves composed the complaint from Greenland which was 


the cause of the papal letter, and which thus did not reach chapter 
the Pope until thirty years after the alleged incursion ; their ^^ 
object must have been to obtain further advantages. The 
papal document of 1448 must therefore be entirely discarded 
as historical evidence so far as its statements about Greenland 
are concerned. 

Consequently the only possibly historical statement left to 
us, to prove that the Eskimo took the offensive, is that of 
their " harrying " in 1379 ; but from this we can doubtless 
only conclude that at the most there was a collision between 
Eskimo and Greenlanders. It has also been adduced that 
the Eskimo of Greenland have a few legends of fighting Eskimo 
with the ancient Norsemen, and one which tells how the legends of 
last of the Norsemen was slain. It must, however, be with Norse- 
remembered that these legends were taken down in the last men 
century, when the Eskimo had again been in contact with 
Europeans for several hundred years, and when Norwegians 
and Danes had been living in the country for over a hundred 
years. Some of the legends certainly refer to recent collisions 
with Europeans, and it is not easy to say what value can be 
attached to the others as evidence of an extermination of the 
last Norsemen. It is also to be remarked that *che Norsemen, 
or Long-Beards, are not spoken of with ill-will in these 
legends, but rather with sympathy, which is difficult to 
understand if there had been such hatred as would account 
for a war of extermination. Add to this that the particular 
encounter which led to the last Long-Beard being pursued 
and slain arose, according to the tale, quite accidentally, 
which is difficult to imagine if it was the conclusion of a 
lengthy war of extermination, in which homestead after 
homestead and district after district had been harried and 
laid waste. The legends of the Eskimo cannot therefore 
be cited as evidence of the probability of any such war. 

It has been said that even if such warlike proceedings Unwariike 
would be entirely incompatible with the present nature, oJ^J^e^**"" 
disposition and way of thinking of the Greenland Eskimo, Eskimo 



CHAPTER it may formerly have been otherwise. But in any case no 
^^ long time can have elapsed between the alleged final over- 

throw of the Eastern Settlement, perhaps about 1500, and 
the rediscovery of Greenland in the sixteenth century. It is 
not likely that the Eskimo should have so completely changed 
their nature in the few intervening years ; those whom the 
discoverers then found seem, from the accounts, to have 
strikingly resembled those we find later. And if one reads 
Hans Egede's description of the Eskimo among whom he 
lived and worked, it appears absolutely impossible that 
the same people two hundred years earlier should have 
waged a cruel war of extermination against the last of the 

There is, it is true, a possibility, as Dr. Bjornbo has 
pointed out to me, that the mixture of race which gradually 
took place between Eskimo and Norsemen may for a time 
have produced a mixed type, which possessed a more 
quarrelsome disposition than the pure Eskimo, and may 
have inherited the not very peaceful habits of the Norsemen, 
and that in this way, for instance, a possible attack in 
1379 may be explained. But this can only have been 
the case at the beginning of the period of intermixture, and 
the type must have changed again in proportion as the Eskimo 
element in race and culture became preponderant.^ 
No tradition The allusion to the Pygmies of Greenland in the letter 

o£ £L ^^^r of 

extermina- *® Nicholas V., quoted above (p. 86), gives us the Eskimo 

tion can be as we are accustomed to see them ; and the description of 


* Mention should be made of two other factors, which Dr. Bjornbo has sug- 
gested to me. It is possible that while the majority of the Norsemen were com- 
pelled more and more to adopt the Eskimo mode of life in order to support 
themselves, some more strong-minded individuals among them, and a few zealous 
priests, may have resisted stubbornly, and this may have led to fighting such 
as is spoken of in the legends. Nor must it be forgotten that the relentlessness 
of the Eskimo is usually accentuated when dealing with individuals who are 
only a burden to the community without benefiting it ; and no doubt some among 
the Norsemen may have been reduced to such a position after the cessation of 
imports from abroad, since they were inferior to the Eskimo in skill as fishermen 
and sealers. 


these small men, a cubit high, who fly in a body at the sight CHAPTER 
of strangers, gives a surer and truer picture of the Skraelings 
than when they are represented as warlike and dangerous 
barbarians. The statements about the Pygmies in Claudius 
Clavus also enable us to see how the Norsemen sometimes 
treated the Eskimo, when they caught them 

"at sea in a hide-boat, which now hangs in the cathedral at Trondhj em ; there 
is also a long boat of hides [i.e., a women's boat] which was also once taken with 
such Pygmies in it." 

But that these little Pygmies, a cubit high, were regarded 
as formidable warriors, engaged in exterminating the Norse- 
men, is difficult to believe, 1 even though Michel Beheim 
attributes warlike qualities to them (cf. p. 85). Walkendorf, 
who had so carefully collected all traditions about Greenland, 
describes (circa 1520) the Skraelings as an " unwarlike " 
and harmless people (see above, p. 86). It is impossible to 
reconcile this with a tradition of a war of extermination. 

There are therefore good grounds for supposing that 
Arne Magnussen was approximately correct when he said 
in 1691 [Gronl. hist. Mind., iii. p. 138]: 

" It is probable that owing to the daily increase of the ice and its drifting down 
from the Pole, it thus befell Greenland, and the Christian inhabitants either died 
of hunger or were constrained to practise the same Vitae genus as the savages, 
and thus degenerated into their nature." 

In the year 1406 the Icelanders Thorstein Helmingsson, Last 
Snorre Thorvason and Thorgrim Solvason, in one ship, were ^ °^g ^^ 
driven out of their course to Greenland. ** They sailed out the Eastern 
from Norway, and were making for Iceland. They stayed Settlement 
there [in Greenland] four winters" [cf, Islandske Annaler, 
ed. Storm, 1888, p. 288]. While they were there, in the 
following year [1407] 

" a man named Kolgrim was burnt in Greenland for that he lay with Thorgrim 
Solvason 's wife, who was the daughter of a ' lagmand ' of high standing in 
Iceland. This man got her consent by black art ; he was therefore burnt 

1 It is true that Clavus mentions the warrior hosts of the infidel Karelians 
in Greenland ; but this is evidently myth or invention (cf. chapter xiii.). 




Trade with 

according to sentence ; nor was the woman ever after in her right mind, and 
died a little later." 

In 1408 one of the Icelanders married in Greenland, which 
is of intere^ from the fact that several documents bearing 
witness to the marriage are extant. In 1410 "Thorstein 
Helmingsson and Thorgrim Solvason and Snorre Thorvason 
and the rest of their crew sailed to Norway." Whether this 
was in their own ship we do not know ; but as they sailed 
to Norway and not to Iceland it is doubtless most probable 
that their ship was destroyed and that they had to wait these 
four years for a passage to Norway. In 1 411 ^ a small vessel 
was wrecked on the coast of Iceland ; on board her came 
Snorre Thorvason from Norway. His wife, Gudrun, had 
during his absence married another man in 1410. She 
** now rode to meet him. He received her kindly." 
" Snorre took his wife to him again, but they only lived a 
little while together before he died, and she then married 
Gisle [the other man] again." 

This is the last certain information we have of any 
voyage to the ancient settlements of Greenland. After that 
time all notices cease. As Holberg says [Danm. Hist., i. 
531], after the time of Queen Margaret the succeeding kings 
had so much to do that they had no time to think of old 

In 1 43 1 King Eric of Pomerania complained to the 
English king, Henry VI., of the illegal trading which the 
English had carried on for the previous twenty years (that is, 
since 141 1) with " Norway's Lands and Islands " : Iceland, 
Greenland, the Faroes, Shetland, the Orkneys, Helgeland 
and Finmark ; and of the acts of violence and piratical 

^ According to another authority it was not till 1413. In any case it looks 
as if travelling took a good time in those days. 

2 As evidence of the state of things it may be mentioned that we read in the 
Icelandic Annals [Storm, 1888, p. 290] under 1412 : "No tidings came from 
Norway to Iceland. The queen, Lady Margaret, died. ..." When communi- 
cation even with Iceland had fallen off to this extent, we can understand its having 
ceased altogether with Greenland. 


incursions, with fire and rapine, that they had committed in chapter 
this period, by which they had carried off many ships laden ^^ 
with fish and other goods, and many people had perished.^ 
As early as 141 3 King Eric's ambassador to the English 
king, Henry V., had made a strong protest against all 
foreign and unprivileged trade with these countries. On 
Christmas Eve, 1432, a treaty was signed between the two 
kings, whereby Henry VL engaged himself to make good 
all the damage the English had caused to King Eric's 
subjects in the said countries, and all the people who during 
those twenty years had been violently carried off were, by 
the direction of the English king, wherever they might be 
found in his dominions, to receive payment for their services 
and to return freely to their native places. Further, the old 
prohibition of trading with the Norwegian tributary lands 
was renewed. The same prohibition was renewed and 
enforced on the English side by Henry VI. in 1444, and by 
a new treaty between him and Christiern I., concluded at 
Copenhagen, July 17, 1449 ; but this was only to remain in 
force till Michaelmas 1451. After that time the English 
merchants, some of whom no doubt were Norwegians 
established at Bristol, seem to have seized upon nearly the 
whole of the trade with Iceland, and often conducted them- 
selves with violence there. But in 1490 this trade was made 
free on certain conditions. 

These negotiations give us an insight into the state of 
things in Northern waters at that time. At the same time 
there were difficulties with the Hanseatic League, which 
tried to seize upon all trade. 

Among these so-called Norwegian tributary countries was 
Greenland, which is mentioned with the others in the com- 
plaint of 1431 ; but whether this means that the English 
extended their trading voyages, which frequently became 
piratical expeditions, so far, we do not know ; in any case it 
is not impossible, although of course the voyage to Iceland 

^ Gronl. hist. Mind., iii. pp. 160, ff. 




Possibility of 
voyages to 
in the isth 
century (?) 

with its rich fisheries was much more important. We 
know that this was carried on from Bristol in particular, 
where, as has been said, many Norwegians were estab- 

The statements about Greenland contained in the papal 
letter of 1448 were, as we have seen, false. Perhaps not 
very much more weight is to be attached to the story, in 
Peyrere's " Relation du Groenland " (Paris, 1647), of Oluf 
Worm of Copenhagen having found in an old Danish MS. 
a statement that about 1484 there were more than forty 
experienced men living at Bergen, who were in the habit of 
sailing to Greenland every year and bringing home valuable 
goods ; but as they would not sell their wares to the Hanse 
merchants, the latter revenged themselves by inviting them 
to a supper and killing them all at night. This then was 
said to be the end of the Greenland voyage, which had to 
cease thenceforward, because no one knew the course any 
more [cf. Gronl. hist. Mind., iii. pp. 471, f.]. The story as 
given here is in many respects improbable ; but even if the 
forty or more men and the annual voyage are exaggerations, 
there are other indications that about that time there may 
have been some sort of communication with Greenland or 
the countries to the west of it, as will be mentioned later. 
The royal monopoly of the Iceland trade was no longer in 
force, and the same may have applied to Greenland. It is 
then conceivable that merchants may have gone there ; and 
if their trading prospered they had every reason to keep it as 
secret as possible, lest others should interfere with their 
livelihood. This would explain why such voyages are not 
mentioned by historical authorities. Just then, too, was an 
uneasy time, with a sort of war of privateers between 
England and Denmark-Norway, which was not concluded 
until the provisional peace of 1490 ; there were thus many 
pirates and privateers in Northern waters, who may well 
have extended their activity upon occasion to the remote 
and unprotected Greenland, where they could plunder with 


even greater impunity than in Iceland, and perhaps they chapter 
increased the ruin of the settlements there. ^^ 

Of great interest is a letter from Pope Alexander VI.^ p^ ai letter 
of the first year of his papacy, 1492- 1493, which was written on Green- 
in consequence of a Benedictine monk named Mathias having ^^^^* H92 
applied to the Pope to be appointed bishop of Greenland, and 
declared himself willing to go there personally as a missionary 
to convert the apostates. The letter runs : 

" As we are informed, the church at Gade [i.e., Gardar] lies at the world's end 
in the land of Greenland, where the people, for want of bread, wine and oil, live 
on dried fish and milk ; and therefore, as well as by reason of the extreme rarity 
of the voyages that have taken place to the said land, for which the severe freezing 
of the waters is alleged as the cause, it is believed that for eighty years no ship 
has landed there ; and if such voyages should take place, it is thought that in 
any case it could only be in the month of August, when the same ice is dissolved ; 
and for this reason it is said that for eighty years or thereabouts no bishop or 
priest has resided at that church. Therefore, and because there are no Catholic 
priests, it has befallen that most of the parishioners, who formerly were Catholics, 
have (oh, how sorrowful 1 } renounced the holy sacrament of baptism received 
from them ; and that the inhabitants of that land have nothing else to remind 
them of the Christian religion than a corporale [altar-cloth] which is exhibited 
once a year, and whereon the body of Christ was consecrated a hundred years 
ago by the last priest who was there." For this reason, " to provide them with 
a fitting shepherd," Pope Alexander's predecessor. Innocent VIII., had appointed 
the Benedictine monk Mathias bishop of Gade [Gardar], and he "with much 
godly zeal made ready to bring the minds of the infidels and apostates back to 
the way of eternal salvation and to root out such errors," etc. Then follow exhor- 
tations to the Curia, the chancellors, and all the religious scriveners under pain 
of excommunication to let the said Mathias, on account of his poverty, escape 
all expenses and perquisites connected with the appointment and correspondence, 

The statements in the letter agree remarkably well with 
what we gather from other historical sources. In 1410 — 
that is, eighty-two years before the date of the letter — the 
last ship of which we have any notice arrived in Norway 
from Greenland (see above, p. 118). This agrees with the 
statement in the letter that no ship had been there for eighty 

^See G. Storm, 1892, pp. 399-401. The letter was discovered some years ago 
in the papal archives by a priest from Dalmatia, Dr. Jelic. Cf. also Jos. Fischer, 
1902, p. 49. 




years. In 1377 the last officiating bishop of Gardar died, 
and six years later the news reached Norway, that is, 109 
years before the date of the letter. This agrees with what 
is said about the altar-cloth being used a hundred years 
before by the last priest ("ultimo sacerdote," perhaps 
meaning here bishop ?) at the administration of the sacra- 
ment. The assertion that it was not until August that 
Greenland became free of ice and that voyages could be made 

A portion of Gourmont's map of 1548, with the north-west coast 
of Iceland and the rocky island of Hvitserk 

thither also shows a certain local knowledge ; for it was 
not till late in the summer, usually August, that " Knarren '* 
was accustomed to sail from Bergen to Greenland. 

Whether news had recently arrived from Greenland at 
the time the letter was written does not appear from the 
words of the letter, and cannot, in my opinion, be inferred 
therefrom, though Storm [1892, p. 401] thought it could. 
The only thing which might point to this is the story of the 
altar-cloth being exhibited once a year ; but this, of course, 
may be a tradition which goes back to the last ship, eighty 
years before. 


Meanwhile we meet with obscure information in other CHAPTER 
quarters about a possible communication with Greenland at ^^ 
that time. In a map of Iceland, printed in Paris in 1548 by possufie^ 
Hieronymus Gourmont,^ a rocky island is marked to the voyages to 
north-west of Iceland, with a compass-card and a Latin Green an 
inscription. This, as A. A. Bjornbo has pointed out,^ is of 
interest ; it reads in translation : 

*' The lofty mountain called Witsarc, on the summit of which a sea-mark 

De Pygmxis Gmntlandiae, ft rupe HuitfarK. 

The rock Hvitserk, and a fight with a Greenland Pygmy 
(Olaus Magnus, 1557) 

was set up by the two pirates (piratis), Pinnigt and Pothorst, to warn seamen 
against Greenland." 

The map is a modified copy of Olaus Magnus's well- 
known large chart of 1539, on which the island with the 
compass-card is found, but not the inscription. 

It is possibly a fuller version or adaptation of the sub- 
stance of this inscription, or of the source from which it is 
taken, that is met with again in Olaus Magnus's work on the 
Northern peoples, of 1555, where he says of "the lofty 

1 Published by J. Metelka [1895]. 

2 A, A. Bjornbo, Berlingske Tidende, 1909 ; Bjornbo and Petersen, 1909, 



CHAPTER mountain ' Huitsark/ which lies in the middle of the sea 
^ between Iceland and Greenland " : 

" Upon it lived about the year of Our Lord 1494 two notorious pirates (pi- 
ratse), Pining and Pothorst, with their accomplices, as though in defiance and 
contempt of all kingdoms and their forces, since, by the strict orders of the Nor- 
thern kings, they had been excluded from all human society and declared outlaws 
for their exceedingly violent robberies and many cruel deeds against all sailors 
they could lay hands on, whether near or far." . . . " Upon the top of this very 
high rock the said Pining and Pothorst have constructed a compass out of a 
considerable circular space, with rings and lines formed of lead ; thereby it was 
made more convenient for them, when they were bent on piracy, as they thus 
were informed in what direction they ought to put to sea to seek considerable 

It may be the expression * * piratae, ' ' which might be 
used both of an ordinary pirate and of a privateer or free- 
booter, which misled Olaus Magnus into constructing this 
wonderful story. The mere fact that, both in his map of 
1539 and in his work of 1555, he makes Hvitserk, which of 
course was in Greenland, into a rocky island out at sea 
between Greenland and Iceland, where no island is to be 
found, is enough to shake one's belief in the trustworthiness 
of this strange report. His incomprehensible story of the 
compass constructed there does not make things any better. 
G. Storm [1886, p. 395] thought it might have come about in 
this way : that Olaus Magnus, who was no great sailor or 
geographer, read on a chart a note about Fining's voyage to 
Greenland, and saw in its proximity the name Hvitserk and 
a compass-card in the middle of the sea ; and then, without 
understanding its real meaning, he made it an island and 
gave it his own explanation. Bjornbo and Petersen [1909, 
pp. 250, 251] have, it is true, pointed out that something of 
the same sort is told of the North Cape by Sivert Grubbe, 
who accompanied Christian IV. on his voyage to Finmark, 
and who writes in his journal (in Latin) on May 12, 1599 : 
** We sailed past the North Cape. On the top of this moun- 
tain is a compass cut into the rock." But as they " sailed 
past," Grubbe cannot have been up and seen this compass ; 


it may therefore be supposed that a similar error is at the CHAPTER 
base of this improbable statement ; it is difficult to see what 
value for mariners such a compass could have. But not- 
withstanding Olaus Magnus's fantastic story, Pining and 
Pothorst may really have been in Greenland. The former 
must be the Norwegian nobleman Didrik Pining, who together 
with Pothorst ("Pytchehorsius ") is said to have distin- 
guished himself during the later years of Christiern I., "not 
less as capable seamen than as matchless freebooters " 
(piratse). He was much employed by Christiern I. and 
King Hans against the English and sometimes against the 
Hanseatic League, and is mentioned by several historical 
authorities.^ He seems also to have extended his activity 
upon occasion to the Spaniards, Portuguese and Dutch, for 
about 1484 he captured, off the English coast or off Brittany 
and in the Spanish Sea, three Spanish or Portuguese ships, 
and brought them to the king at Copenhagen. In a treaty 
which was concluded in 1490 between King Hans and the 
Dutch it is expressly stipulated that Didrik Pinning and a 
certain Busch were to be excluded from the peace. Didrik 
Pining is spoken of as lord over Iceland, or perhaps 
over the eastern and southern part, in 1478 ; but on the 
death of Christiern I. in 1481, another was appointed as 
" hirdstjore " (or stadtholder), and it is stated in the letter 
of appointment, issued by the council at Bergen in 1481, 
that Pining had " gone out of Iceland " ; but a few years 
later he is again mentioned as hirdstjore there. When in 
1487 King Hans took possession of Gotland, Pining accom- 
panied him thither, doubtless as commander of the Danish- 
Norwegian squadron ; he is called * ' Skipper Pining, ' ' which 
corresponds to commodore or admiral in our time (cf. 
Christiern I.'s "Skipper Clemens"). In July 1489 Didrik 
Pining was among the Norwegian noblemen who paid homage 

1 Cf. L. Daae, 1882. Besides the authorities mentioned by Daae, see " Scrip- 
tores rerum Danicarum," ii. 563, where " Puthorse " is mentioned as " pirata 
Danicus " together with " Pynning." Cf. also Gronl. hist. Mind., iii. pp. 473, ff. 




A new 
on Pining 

at Copenhagen to the king*s son, Christiern (II.) as heir 
to the kingdom of Norway ; and in August and September 
1490 he took part in the settlement of a suit concerning a 
large inheritance at Bergen ; but in two Icelandic laws or 
edicts of that time, 1489 and 1490, the so-called " Fining's 
Laws," he is described as " * hirdstjore ' over the whole of 
Iceland," and a later chronicler speaks of him as one of the 
most famous men in Iceland, and he says that " he was in 
many ways a serviceable man and put many things right 
that were wrong." It must be the same Didrik Pining 
who was appointed in 1490 governor of Vardohus, and it 
may be supposed that he was commander-in-chief on sea and 
land in northern waters. 

We hear of Pining, and his associate Pothorst, in an 
old (Icelandic ?) report which, together with Ivar Bardsson's 
description of Greenland, was found in an old book of 
accounts in the Faroes, and which in an English translation 
was included in " Purchas his Pilgrimes " (London, 1625, 
vol. iii.), where we read : 

" Item» Punnus [corruption of Pinning] and Potharse, have inhabited Island 
certa3me yeeres, and sometimes have gone to Sea, and have had their trade in 
Groneland. Also Punnus did give the Islanders their Lawes, and caused them to 
bee written. Which Lawes doe continue to this day in Island, and are called by 
name Punnus Lawes." 

As this last statement agrees with the two " Pining's 
Laws " mentioned above, there may also be some truth in 
the voyages to Greenland. An unexpected confirmation of 
this recently came to light in the discovery of a document by 
Louis Bob6 [1909] at Copenhagen ; it is a letter, dated 
March 3, 1551, from Burgomaster Carsten Grip, of Kiel, to 
King Christiern III. Grip was, as we are told in the letter, the 
king's commissioner for the purchase of books, paintings, 
and the like. He tells the king that he has not found any 
valuable books or suitable pictures, but sends him two maps 
of the world, 

"from which your majesty may see that your majesty's land of Greenland 


extends on both maps towards the new world and the islands which the Portu- CHAPTER 

guese and Spaniards have discovered, so that these countries may be reached ^^I 

overland from Greenland. Likewise that they may be reached overland from 

Lampeland [i.e., Lapland], from the castle of Vardohus, etc.^ This year there is 

also published at Paris in France a map of your majesty's land of Iceland and 

of the wonders there to be seen and heard of ; it is there remarked that Iceland 

is twice as large as Sicily, and that the two skippers [' sceppere,' i.e., commodores 

or admirals] Pyningk and Poidthorsth, who were sent out by your majesty's 

royal grandfather. King Christiern the First, at the request of his majesty of 

Portugal, with certain ships to explore new countries and islands in the north, 

have raised on the rock Wydthszerck [Hvitserk], lying off Greenland and 

towards Sniefeldsiekel in Iceland on the sea, a great sea-mark on account 

of the Greenland pirates, who with many small ships without keels {'szunder 

bodem *i fall in large numbers upon other ships," etc. 

It seems, as Dr. Bjornbo has suggested,^ that the Paris 
map here spoken of may be Gourmont's of 1548, mentioned 
above. But Grip's letter contains information about the 
despatch of the expedition and about the Eskimo kayaks, 
which cannot be taken from the inscription attached to 
Hvitserk on that map. The statement about the Eskimo 
(the Greenland pirates) recalls what Ziegler says in his work 
** Scondia '* (1532) of the inhabitants of Greenland, that 
' ' they use light boats of hide, safe in tossing on the sea and 
among rocks ; and thus propelling themselves they fall upon 
other ships " [Gronl. hist. Mind., iii. p. 499]. It also has 
some resemblance to what Olaus Magnus says in his later 
work of 1555 of the Greenland "pirates, who employ hide- 
boats and an unfair mode of seamanship, since they do not 
attack the upper parts of merchant ships, but seek to destroy 
them by boring through the hull from outside, down by the 
keel," etc. These statements may be derived from mythical 
accounts of the Greenland Eskimo, which have come down 
by some channel we do not know of. Something of the 
sort may have appeared on some now lost map, from which 
Grip may have taken it ; but his statement as to the two 

^ This was the usual representation at that time ; cf . Ziegler's map of 1532. 
2 A. A. Bjornbo, Berlingske Tidende, Copenhagen, July 17, 1909 ; Bjornbo 
and Petersen, 1909, p. 249. 




CHAPTER skippers having been sent out by Christiern I. shows that in 
any case there was in his day a tradition of the voyage of 
Pining and Pothorst. We must therefore assume that they 
were despatched on a voyage of discovery by Christiern I. 
(some time before 1481, when he died), probably at the 
request of the well-known King Alfonso V. of Portugal 
(1438-1481). As Hvitserk must be on the coast of Green- 
land, they seem, in agreement with the other sober statement 
in Purchas, to have really reached Greenland, perhaps more 
than once, and to have traded by barter with the natives, 
which may have ended, as it frequently did later, in skirmishes 
brought about by the encroachments of the Europeans. This 
last possibility would explain Grip's statement about the 
Greenland pirates attacking in many small ships without 
keels, as also the mythical statements of Ziegler and Olaus 
Magnus. Nor is it impossible that Pining may have set up 
some sea-mark or other there. All this sounds more probable 
than Olaus Magnus's wonderful story. But nevertheless it 
does not appear to me that the authorities now known justify 
us in altogether rejecting the latter and the date 1494. As 
there is mention in 1491 of a new " hirdstjore " in Iceland, 
we must suppose that Pining was either dead or had left 
the island ; if we compare with this the fact that Pining was 
excluded from the peace that King Hans concluded in 1490 
with the Dutch, and thus in a way became an outlaw to the 
latter, and that in the same year a provisional peace was 
made with the king of England, by which, of course, all 
privateering against English subjects on the part of Norwe- 
gians and Danes was strictly forbidden, we may possibly 
perceive a connection. Pining and Pothorst were not able 
to break themselves of old habits, and thus had both the 
English king and their own, besides the Dutchmen, against 
them, and were compelled to fly the country as outlaws. This 
would also agree with Olaus Magnus's words, that they were 
outlawed by the strict edict of the northern kings (" aqui- 
lonarium regun? severissimo edicto "). It may be supposed 


that, like the outlawed Eric the Red 500 years before, they chapter 
took refuge in distant Greenland, which they already knew. ^^ 
But finally they may have come to grief ; for among the 
many *' pirates '* who "met with a miserable death, being 
either slain by their friends or hanged on the gallows or 
drowned in the waves of the sea," Paulus Eliae mentions 
** Pyning " and " Pwthorss." ^ 

We have yet to mention certain obscure statements about Johannes 
another Northern sailor of this time, Johannes Scolvus (J6n Scoivus's 

' •' ^•' voyage 

Skolv ?).^ The Spanish author Francesco Lopez de Gomara, toGreen- 
who was a priest in Seville about 1550, and published his ^^"^ 
** Historia de las Indias " (i.e., America) in 1553, says there 
of "la Tierra de Labrador " : 

" Hither also came men from Norway with the pilot [* piloto,' i.e., 
navigator] Joan Scoluo, and Englishmen with Sebastian Gaboto." 

As, according to Storm's showing [1886, p. 392], Gomara 
met Olaus Magnus " in Bologna and Venice '* (perhaps 
about 1548), and says himself that the latter had given him 
much information about Northern waters and the sea- route 
from Norway, the statement about Scolvus may also be due 
to him. 

An English State document — probably of 1575, and written 
on the occasion of the preparations for Frobisher's first 
voyage (1576) — gives a brief survey of earlier attempts to 
find the North-West Passage,' and mentions among others 

1 Monumenta Historise Danicse, ed. Holger Rordam, i. Copenhagen, 1873, 
p. 28 ; L. Daae, 1882. 

2 Cf. G. Storm [1886]. B. T. de Costa [1880, p. 170] points out that Hakluyt 
says that the voyage of this navigator is mentioned by Gemma Frisius and Girava. 
Gemma Frisius published amongst other works a revised edition of Petrus 
Apianus's " Cosmographicus Liber " in 1529. Girava published in 1553 "Dos 
Libros de Cosmographia," Milan, 1556. I have not had an opportunity of refer- 
ring to these authorities ; the former, if this be correct, may have given informa- 
tion about Scolvus earlier than Gomara. De Costa also says that on the Rouen 
globe [i.e., the L'Ecuy globe, see p. 131] in Paris, of about 1540, there is an inscrip- 
tion near the north-west coast of Greenland stating that Skolnus [Scolvus] reached 
that point in 2476. 

* Cf. R. Collinson, 1867, pp. 3, f. 

n I 129 


CHAPTER Scolvus. This the historians who have written about him 
^ have not noticed. After stating that Sebastian [should be 

John] Cabotte was sent out by King Henry VII. of England 
in 1496 [should be 1497] to find the passage from the North 
Sea [i.e., the Atlantic Ocean] to the South Sea [i.e., the Pacific], 
and that ** one Caspar Cortesreales, a pilot of Portingale,'* 
had visited these islands on the north coast of North America 
in 1500, the document continues : 

" But to find oute the passage oute of the North Sea into the Southe we must 
sayle to the 60 degree, that is, from 66 unto 68. And this passage is called the 
Narowe Sea or Streicte of the three Brethren [i.e., the three brothers Corte-Real] ; 
in which passage, at no tyme in the yere, is ise wonte to be found. The cause 
is the swifte ronnyng downe of sea into sea. In the north side of this passage, 
John Scolus, a pilot of Denmerke, was in anno 1476." 

Then follows a story of a Spaniard who in 1541 is said 
to have been on the south side of this passage with a troop 
of soldiers, and to have found there some ships that had 
come thither with goods from Cataya (China). Complete 
impossibilities, like this last story, are thus blended together 
with statements that have a sure historical foundation, like 
the voyage of Caspar Corte-Real. As the statement about 
Scolus or Scolvus contains things that are not found in 
Comara, it seems to be derived from another source ; the 
date in particular is remarkable. That Scolus is a pilot 
from Denmark, while the pilot Scolvus in Comara came 
from Norway, is perhaps immaterial, as of course Norway 
and Denmark were under a common king, who resided 
in Denmark. 

On an English map of 1582 (after Frobisher's voyages), 
which is attributed to Michael Lok, there is a country to the 
north-west of Creenland, upon which is written : " Jac. 
Scolvus Croetland." As the name is here written Jac. 
Scolvus, it is not likely that it can be derived from the 
document we have quoted of 1575. The corresponding 
country on Mercator's map of 1569 is inscribed : ** Croclant, 
insula cuius incole Suedi sunt origine ' ' (island whose inhabi- 


tants are Swedes by descent). It may seem as if this inscrip- chapter 
tion also was connected with Scolvus, and we thus get the ^^ 
third Scandinavian country as his native land ; but this 
word " Suedi '* may be derived from Olaus Magnus, who 
happens to have often used it in the sense of Scandinavians — 
i.e., Swedes and Norwegians. 

In 1597 the Dutchman Cornelius Wjrtfliet in his description 
of America ("Continens Indica ") states that its northern 
part was first discovered by " Frislandish " fishermen [i.e., 
from the imaginary Frisland of the Zeno map], and sub- 
sequently further explored about 1390 during the voyage of 
the brothers Zeno (which is fictitious). 

* * But [he continues] the honour of its second discovery fell to the Pole Johannes 
Scoluus (Johannes Scoluus Polonus), who in the year 1476 — eighty-six years 
after its first discovery — sailed beyond Norway, Greenland, Frisland, penetrated 
the Northern Strait, under the very Arctic Circle, and arrived at the country of 
Labrador and Estotiland." 

Estotiland is another fictitious country on the notorious 
Zeno map (a fabrication from several earlier maps). Apart 
from this introduction of the Zeno voyage the statement 
contains nothing that has not already appeared in Gomara 
and in the English document of 1575, with the exception 
that Scolvus is called a Pole (Polonus), but this, as pointed 
out by Storm [1886, p. 399], must be due to a misreading of 
" Polonus " for '* piloto." * As Norway is named first 
among the countries beyond which the voyage extended, it 
may have started from thence in Wytfliet's authority.^ 

On the L'Ecuy globe, of the sixteenth century, there 
is written in Latin between 70° and 80° N. lat. and in long. 

* Lelewel's conjecture [1852, iv. p. 106, note 50, 52] that Scolvus's name was 
Scolnus and that he came from a little Polish inland town near the frontier of 
East Prussia, is, as shown by Storm [1886, p. 400], improbable. 

* Storm [1886, p. 399] thought that Wytfliet might have borrowed from 
Gomara, and himself invented and added the date 1476, in order to disparage 
the Spaniards and Portuguese as discoverers ; but Storm was not aware that 
this date, as we have seen, is mentioned in an earlier English source. 



CHAPTER 320° : ^ ** These are the people to whom the Dane Johannes 
^^ Scowus penetrated in the year 1476." The description of 

Scolvus as a Dane may indicate the same source as the 
English mention of him in 1576.^ 

Finally it may be mentioned that Georg Horn in his 
work " Ulysses peregrinans " (Louvain, 1671), after speaking 
of voyages of the Icelanders (Thylenses) to " Frisland or 
Finmark " (sic !), to Iceland, Greenland, Scotland, and 
Gotland under ** auspiciis Margaretae Semiramis Dan., Sued., 
Norv.," and then of the voyages of the Zenos in the year 
1390, says : 

" Joh. Scolnus Polonus discovered under the auspices of Christian I., King 
of the Danes, the Anian-strait and the country Laboratoris in the year 1476." 

The Anian-strait was the m3rthical strait between Asia 
and north-western America, which was talked about and 

1 Cf. Hamsse, 1892, pp. 286, ff., 658. The inscription reads : " Quii populi 
ad quos Johannes Scowus danus pervenit. Ann. 1476." 

2 Just as the above is at press, I have received a sheet of Dr. Bjombo's new 
work [1910, pp. 256, ff.], from which it appears that the inscription mentioned 
above is already found on Gemma Frisius's globe engraved by Gerard Mercator, 
probably 1536-1537 (found at Zerbst, and reproduced for the first time in Bjombo's 
work|. The inscription is placed on the polar continent, to the north-west of 
Greenland, and reads : ** Quij populi ad quos Joes Scoluss danus peruenit circa 
annum 1476." Bjombo translates it : " Quij, the people to whom the Dane 
Johannes Scolvuss (Scolwssen ?) penetrated about the year 1476." (The inter- 
pretation of the word " Quij " as the name of a people may be probable, especially 
as the same word occurs, as pointed out by Bjombo, as the name of a people on 
Vopell's map of the world of 1445.] This is therefore the oldest notice of Scolvus's 
voyage at present known, and it may seem possible, though not very probable, 
that he reached a land to the west of Greenland. The L'Ecuy or Rouen globe (of 
copper J is evidently a copy of the Frisius-Mercator globe, and has the same inscrip- 
tions. It may be to the same source (or to a contemporary work of Gemma Frisius) 
that Hakluyt referred (cf. above, p. 129, note 2), and several statements in the 
English document of about 1575 (p. 129I seem also to be derived from it. As 
Gomara calls Joan Scolvo " piloto," which is not on the globe (but on the other 
hand is found in the English document ! }, and as, further, he has not the dates, 
he may possibly have had a somewhat different authority. It is interesting to 
note, as shown by Bjombo, that the Frisius-Mercator globe seems to betray 
Portuguese associations, and thus its information about Scolvus may also have 
come from Portugal. 



which appeared upon maps more than a hundred years before chapter 
Bering Strait was discovered by the Russian Deshenev in ■^^ 
1648. But the name may sometimes have been extended 
to the whole of the strait, called above, p. 130, the Strait of 
the Three Brethren, which was assumed to go north of 
America to the Pacific. What is new in Horn's statement 
is that the voyage is said to have been made under the 
auspices of Christiern I. ; it may be supposed that he knew 
enough of the history of Denmark to draw this conclusion 
from the date 1476. 

This is what is known from old sources about this 
Scolvus and his voyage. It must be remembered that the 
name of Labrador (in various forms) was used on the maps 
of the sixteenth century both for Greenland and Labrador, 
and was originally the name of the former. It is there- 
fore most probable that the statements about Scolvus's 
voyage referred in the first instance to Greenland, which in 
the first part of the sixteenth century was known as 

To sum up what has been said above, we have, on the Pining, Pot- 

one hand, statements, from wholly different sources, of one Jorstand 

Scolvus on 
or more voyages to Greenland under the leadership of the same 

Pining and Pothorst, in the time of Christiern I. — i.e., before voyage 

1 481 ; on the other hand, we have statements, probably 

from several, but at least from two sources independent of 

each other, about a voyage, also to Greenland, with the 

pilot Johannes Scolvus, from Denmark or more probably 

from Norway, in the time of Christiern I., and this is even 

referred to a particular year, 1476. One is therefore led to 

conclude, as G. Storm has already done, that we are here 

concerned with the same voyage or voyages to Greenland, 

which were made under the leadership of the two " skippers " 

and freebooters Pining and Pothorst, with Johannes Scolvus 

(J6n Skolvsson ?) as pilot or navigator. In some authorities 

of Scandinavian origin the voyage was connected with the 

names of the real leaders, while in Southern authorities it 



CHAPTER was connected with that of the pilot or navigator, in the 
^^ same way as, for instance, the name of William Barentsz 

was associated with the voyages in which he took part, 
instead of those of Hemkerck and the other leaders. There 
seem thus to be sufficiently good historical documents in 
support of at least one expedition having reached Greenland 
in the latter part of the sixteenth century, possibly sent out 
by Christiern I. in 1476, and perhaps there were more. 
Possibly it was rumours of this new communication with 
Greenland that awoke a desire in the monk Mathias to go 
there as bishop. 

But then we hear no more of it. For a while longer 
bishops continued to be appointed to Greenland, a land which 
was no longer known to any one, and to these bishops least of 
all. Thus ends the history of the old Greenland settlements. 
Notices of them become rarer and rarer, with long inter- 
missions, until after this time they cease altogether, and we 
know no more of the fate of the old Norsemen there. 

" The standing-stone on the mound bears no mark, 
and Saga has forgotten what she knew." 







EVEN if Ottar was perhaps not the first Norwegian to CHAPTER 
reach the White Sea, his voyage is in any case a ^^^ 
remarkable exploring expedition, whereby both the North tJ^^e *°"' 
Cape and the White Sea became known, even in the literature White Sea 
of Europe, nearly seven hundred years before Richard 
Chancellor reached the Dvina in the ship " Edward Buona- 
ventura " in 1553, from which time the discovery of this 
sea has usually been reckoned. 

In Ottar 's time, or soon after, the Norwegian king asserted 
his sovereignty over all the Lapps as far as the White Sea, 
and in the Historia Norwegise it is said that Hdlogaland 
reached to Bjarmeland. The headland Vegistafr is mentioned 
in the Historia Norwegiae, in the laws, and elsewhere, 
as the boundary of the kingdom of Norway towards the 
Bjarmas (Beormas). This may have been on the south side 
of the Kola peninsula by the river Varzuga, already mentioned, 



to the 


or by the river Umba (see the map, vol. i. p. 170).^ After 
Ottar's time the Norwegians more frequently undertook expedi- 
tions, doubtless for the most part of a military character, to the 
White Sea and Bjarmeland. We hear about several of them in 
the sagas. 

Eric Blood-Axe marched northward, about 920, into 
Finmark and as far as Bjarmeland, and there fought a great 
battle and gained the victory. His son, Harold Grafeld, went 
northward to Bjarmeland one summer about 965 with his 
army, and there ravaged the country and had a great fight 
with the Bjarmas on ** Vinu bakka " [i.e., the river bank of 
the Dvina (Vina)], in which King Harold was victorious and 
slew many men ; and then laid the country waste far and wide, 
and took a vast amount of plunder. Of this Glumr Geirason 
speaks : 

"Eastward the bold-spoken king 
intrepidly stained his sword red, 
north of the burning town ; 
there I saw the Bjarmas run. 

For the master of the body-guard good spear-weather 
was given on this journey, 
on Vina's bank ; the fame 
of a young noble travelled far."^ 

At that time, then, the Norwegians must have reached the 
Dvina and discovered the east side of the White Sea, which 
was still unknown to Ottar. They had thus proved it to be 
a gulf of the sea. The Bjarmas probably lived along the whole 
of its south side as far as the Dvina, and the name of ** Bjarme- 
land ' ' was now extended to the east side also, and thus became 
the designation of the country round the White Sea. As a 
people of strange race of whom they knew little, the Norwegians 
regarded the Lapps as skilled in magic ; but it was natural 
that the still less known and more distant Bjarmas gradually 
acquired an even greater reputation for magic, and in these 
regions stories of trolls and giants were located. The Polar 

1 G. Storm [Mon. hist. Norw., 1880, p. 78] thought that " Vegistafr " might 
be " Sviatoi Nos " at the entrance to Gandvik {the White Sea). 


Sea was early called " Hafsbotn," later " Trollebotten, " and CHAPTER 
the White Sea was given the name of " Gandvik," to which ^^^ 
a similar meaning is attributed, since it is supposed to be 
connected with *' gand " (the magic of the Lapps) ; but the 
name evidently originated in a popular-etymological corrup- 
tion of a Karelian name, KanSanlaksi, as already shown 
(vol. i. pp. 218, f., note). 

Snorre Sturlason (ob. 1241) included in the Saga of St. Olaf 
a legend from Nordland about an expedition to Bjarmeland, 
supposed to have been undertaken in 1026 by Thore Hund, in Thore 
company with Karle and his brother Gunnstein from Haloga- expedition 
land, men of the king's bodyguard. The tale may be an to Bjarme- 
indication that at that time more peaceful relations had been ^" 
established between the Nordlanders and the Bjarmas. They 
went in two vessels, Thore in a great longship with eighty men, 
and the brothers in a smaller longship with about five-and- 
twenty. When they came to Bjarmeland, they put in at the 
market-town ; ^ the market began, and all those who had 
wares to exchange received full value. Thore got a great 
quantity of skins, squirrel, beaver and sable. Karle also had 
many wares with him, for which he bought large quantities 
of furs. But when the market was concluded there, they 
came down the river Vina ; and then they declared the truce 
with the people of the country at an end. When they were 
out of the river, they held a council of war, and Thore proposed 
that they should plunder a sanctuary of the Bjarmas' god 
Jomale,^ with grave mounds, which he knew to be in a 
wood in that part of the country.* They did so by night, 

1 This was the market-place on the bank of the Dvina, presumably the same 
that the Russians afterwards called Kholmogori, and that lay a little higher up 
the river than Archangel (founded in 1572). 

2 This is Karelian for heaven or the sky-god ; the Kvaens (Finlanders) called 
their god " Jumala," and the Finns (Lapps) theirs "Ibmel," which is the same 
word. [Cf. G. Storm's translation of Heimskringla, 1899, p. 322.] 

3 From the account it would look as though Thore Hund was already 
well acquainted with the country. Even if the tale as a whole is not historical, a 
feature like this may point to the Norwegians having been in the habit of visiting 




CHAPTER found much silver and gold, and when the Bjarmas pursued 
them, they escaped through Thore's magical arts, which made 
them invisible. Both ships then sailed back over Gandvik. 
As the nights were still light they sailed day and night until 
one evening they lay to off some islands, took their sails down 
and anchored to wait for the tide to go down, since there 
was a strong tide-rip (whirlpool) in front of them (** rost mikil 
var fyrir )?eir "). This was probably off " Sviatoi Nos " (the 
sacred promontory), where Russian authorities speak of a 
strong current and whirlpool. Here there was a dispute 
between the brothers and Thore, who demanded the booty as 
a recompense for their having escaped without loss of life 
owing to his magical arts. But when the tide turned, 
the brothers hoisted sail and went on, and Thore followed. 
When they came to land at " Geirsver " (Gjesvaer, a fishing 
station on the north-west side of Magero) — where we are told 
that there was " the first quay as one sails from the north " 
(i.e., east from Bjarmeland) — ^the quarrel began again, and 
Thore suddenly ran his spear through Karle, so that he died 
on the spot ; Gunnstein escaped with difficulty in the smaller 
and lighter vessel ; but was pursued by Thore, and finally 
had to land and take to flight with all his men at Lenvik, 
near Malangen fjord, leaving his ship and cargo. 

Even if this expedition is not historical, the description of 
the voyage and the mention of place-names along the route 
nevertheless show that these regions were well known to 
Snorre's informants ; and journeys between Norway and 
Bjarmeland cannot have been uncommon in Snorre's time or 
before it. Many things show that the communication with 
Gandvik and Bjarmeland continued through the whole of the 
Middle Ages, and was sometimes of a peaceful, sometimes of a 
warlike character ; but of the later voyages only three are, 
in fact; mentioned in Norwegian authorities : one of them 
was undertaken by the king's son Hakon Magnusson about 

Bjarmeland, and therefore looking upon it as natural that a man like Thore 
knew the country. 



1090 ; of this expedition little is known. In Hakon CHAPTER 

Hlikonsson's time we have an account ^ of another expe- ^'^ 

dition to Bjarmeland in the year 1217, in which took part Expedition 

to Bjarme- 
land, 1217 

Bjarmas and Skridfinns fighting on ski and riding reindeer 
(after Olaus Magnus, 1555 } 

Ogmund of Sp^nheim from Hardanger, Svein Sigurdsson from 
Sogn, Andres of Sjomaeling from Nordmor, all on one ship* 
and Helge Bograngsson and his men from Hdlogaland, on 

^ Hakon Hakonsson's Saga in Fommanna-sogur, ix. p. 319, 



to Bjarme- 
land, 1222 

Warlike and 
peaceful re- 
lations with 
the White 
Sea in the 
twelfth cen- 
tury and 


another. Svein and Andres went home with their ship the 
same autumn ; but Ogmund proceeded southward through 
Russia to the Suzdal kingdom in East Russia, on a tributary 
of the Volga. Helge Bograngsson and his Nordlanders stayed 
the winter in Bjarmeland ; but he came in conflict with the 
Bjarmas and was killed. After this Ogmund did not venture 
to return that way, but went on through Russia to the sea 
(i.e., the Black Sea) and thence to the Holy Land. He came 
safely home to Norway after many years. 

When the rumour of what had happened to Helge and his 
men reached home, a punitive expedition was decided on. 
The king's officers in Nordland, Andres Skjaldarbrand and 
Ivar Utvik, placed themselves at the head of it ; and they 
came to Bjarmeland with four ships in the year 1222, and 
accomplished their purpose ; ** they wrought great havoc in 
plunder and slaughter and obtained much booty in furs and 
burnt silver." But on the homeward voyage Ivar's ship was 
lost in the whirlpool at " Straumneskinn," and only Ivar and 
one other escaped. " Straumneskinn *' is probably Sviatoi 
Nos (see p. 138). 

This is the last Norwegian expedition to Bjarmeland of 
which Norwegian accounts are known ; but that the White 
Sea traffic continued, though it was never very active, may be 
concluded from other sources. The name of the Bjarmas them- 
selves disappears after the middle of the thirteenth century, 
when it is related that a number of Bjarmas fled before the 
** Mongols " and received permission from King Hakon to 
live in Malangen fjord. After that time in the districts near 
the Dvina we only hear of Karelians and their masters the 
Russians of Novgorod. 

That there was considerable navigation, probably combined 
with piratical incursions, between the north of Norway and 
the countries to the east, may also appear from a provision 
of the older Gulathings Law, where in cap. 315, in a codex of 
1 200-1250, we And : 

" The inhabitants of Hdlogaland are to fit out thirteen twenty-seated and one 


thirty-seated ship in the southern half, but six in the northern half ; since they CHAPTER 
[i.e., the inhabitants of the northern half] have to keep guard on the east." XII 

This keeping guard might, it is true, refer to Kvaens in 
Finmark, but it seems rather to point to ships coming from 
the east. In the negotiations of 1251, between the Grand 
Duke of Novgorod (Alexander Nevsky) and Hakon Hakonsson, 
there is express mention of disturbances from the east in 
Finmark, and after that time we hear more frequently of 
hostile incursions of Karelians and Russians in Finmark ; they 
may have come by land, but occasionally also by sea. 

A treaty of 1326 between Norway and Novgorod shows 
that Norwegian mer- 
chants traded with 
the people of Nov- 
gorod on the White 
Sea. The erection 
of the fortress of 
Vardohus, as early 
as 1307, also shows 
the importance 
attached to these 
eastern communica- 
tions, and the for- 
tress certainly 

afforded them a fixed point of support. Thus about 1550 we 
see that * * Vardohus weight ' ' (mark and pound) had penetrated 
into northern Russia and was generally used in the North 
Russian fish and oil trade. The Norwegians chiefly bought furs 
in Bjarmeland, but what they exported thither is not mentioned 
in the Norwegian notices ; it may even at that time have been 
to some extent fish, which in later times was the most important 
article of export to North Russia from the north of Norway. 

As G. Storm [1894, P- 100] has pointed out, the Russian 
chronicles tell of many hostile expeditions by sea between 
Norway and the White Sea in the fifteenth century. In 141 2 
the inhabitants of " Savolotchie " (the countries on the 


On snow-shoes through the border-lands of 
Norway (Olaus Magnus, 1555) 


CHAPTER Dvina) made a campaign against the Norwegians. A com- 

^^^ plaint from Norway of 1420 shows that the attack was directed 

against northern Hdlogaland, without informing us whether 

it was made by land or by sea. Some years later, in 141 9, the 

Norwegians made a campaign of reprisal and came 

" with an army of 500 men in trading-vessels and sloops and ravaged the 
Karelian district about the Varzuga [on the Kola peninsula on the north side of 
the White Sea] and many parishes in Savolotchie [on the Dvina], amongst others 
St. Nikolai [at the mouth of the Dvina], Kigo and Kiaro [in the Gulf of Onega], 
and others. They burned three churches and cut down Christians and monks, 
but the Savolotchians sank two Norwegian sloops, and the rest fled across the 
sea." ^ "In 1444 the Karelians went with an army against the Norwegians, and 
fought with them, and in 1445 the Norwegians came with an army to the Dvina, 
ravaged Nenoksa [in the gulf off the mouth of the Dvina] with fire and sword, 
killed some and carried off others as prisoners ; but the inhabitants on the Dvina 
hastened after them, cut down their ' voivods ' [leaders, chiefs] Ivar and Peter, 
and captured forty men who were sent to Novgorod." ^ 

This will be sufficient to show that the White Sea voyage 
remained familiar in Norway. This communication increased 
about the beginning of the sixteenth century, and this had a 
decisive influence on the so-called rediscovery of the White 
Sea by the English. 
Early con- In reading Ottar's narrative and the earliest Norse accounts 

nection of q£ yoyages to Bjarmeland it must strike us that the Biarmas 

theBjarmas j a j j 

with we hear about seem to have possessed a surprisingly high 

southern degree of culture. As Professor Olaf Broch has also pointed 
out to me, this may be an indication that a comparatively 
active communication had existed long before that time along 
the Dvina and the Volga between the people of the White 
Sea and those on the Caspian and the Black Sea (by transport 
from the Volga to the Don). In those early times, before the 
Russians had yet established themselves in the territory of 
the upper Volga, this communication may have passed to the 
east of the Slavs through Finnish-speaking peoples the whole 
way from the lower Volga and the Finnish Bulgarians (cf. the 
Mordvin tribes of to-day). 

^ The Russian chronicles in translation, " Suomi " for 1848. 


It appears to me that various statements in Arabic literature CHAPTER 
may indicate such a connection.^ The Arabs received infor- 
mation about northern regions through their commercial 
communications with the Mohammedan Finnish nation of 
the Bulgarians, whose capital Bulgar lay on the Volga ^ (near 
to the present town of Kazan), and was a meeting-place for 
traders coming up the river from the south and coming down 
the river from the north. Special interest attaches to the 
mention of the mysterious people ** Wisu," far in the north. 
This is evidently the same name as the Russian Ves ^ for the 
Finnish people who, according to Nestor * (beginning of the 
twelfth century), lived by Lake Byelo-ozero (the white lake) 
in 859 A.D. They are mentioned together with Tchuds, Slavs, 
Merians and Krivitches, and were doubtless the most northerly 
of them, possibly spreading northwards towards the White 
Sea. They are probably the same people that Adam of Bremen 
[iv., c. 14, 19] calls ** Wizzi " (see vol. i. p. 383 ; vol. ii. p. 64), 
and possibly those Jordanes calls ** Vasinabroncae,*' ^ who 
together with * * Merens ' ' (Merians ?) and * * Mordens ' ' 
(Mordvins ?) were subdued by Ermanrik, king of the Goths. 
But the Arabic Wisu seems sometimes to have been a common 
name for all Finnish (and even Samoyed) tribes in North Russia 
and on the coast of the Polar Sea. 

According to Jaqut,« Ahmad Ibn Fadhlan (about 922 A.D.) ' 
stated in his work that 

^ Professor Alexander Seippel has given me valuable help in the translation 
of the Arabic authors. 

' The Volga was often called Itil after the town of that name, but was later 
named after Bulgar (Bolgar = Volga). 

3 Cf. FrShn, 1823, p. 218. 

* Chronica Nestoris, ed. Fr. Miklosisch, Vindobonae, i860, pp. 9, f. ; Nestors 
russiske Kronike, overs, og forkl. af C. W. Smith, Copenhagen, 1869, p. 29. 

5 Cf. T. Mommsen, 1882, pp. 88, 166. 

« Jaqut, 1866, i. p. 113 ; cf. also Mehren, 1857, p. 171. 

'^ Ibn Fadhldn's mission as ambassador from the Caliph al-Muktadir billah 
of Bagdad to Bulgar took place, according to his own statements, reproduced by 
Jaqfit (ob. 1229}, in the years 921 and 922 A.D. Ibn Fadhlftn, like Jaqfit, was a 
Greek by birth. 


CHAPTER ** the King of the Bulgarians had told him that behind his country, at a dis- 
XII tance of three months' journey, there lived a people called Wisu, among whom 

the nights [in summer] were not even one hour long." Once the king is said 
to have written to this people, and in their answer it was stated that the people 
"Yagug and MSgOg [on the Ob ?] lived over three months' journey distant from 
them [i.e., the Wisu] and that they were separated from them by the sea " {?). 
The Yagug and Magug lived on the great fish that were cast ashore. The same 
is told by Dimashqi (ob. 1327) about the YagGg and Magflg, and by Qazwini (thir- 
teenth century) about the people " Yura " on the Pechora. 

Jaqut (ob. 1229) in his geographical lexicon ^ has an 
article on 

** * Wisu * situated beyond Bulgar. Between it and Bulgar is three months' 
journey. The night is there so short that one is not aware of any darkness, and 
at another time of year, again, it is so long that one sees no daylight." In his 
article on " Itil " Jaqfit says : " Upon it [the river Itil or Volga] traders travel 
as far as ' Visu ' ^ and bring [thence] great quantities of furs, such as beaver, 
sable and squirrel." 

Al-Qazwini (ob. 1283) says : ' 

** The beaver is a land- and water-animal, which dwells in the great rivers 
in the land of ' Isu ' [i.e., Wisu, cf. al-BirGni], and builds a house on the bank of 
a river." He further relates that " the inhabitants of * Wisu * never visit the land 
of the Bulgarians, since when they come thither the air changes and cold sets 
in — even if it be in the middle of summer — so that all their crops are ruined. The 
Bulgarians know this, and therefore do not permit them to come to their country." 
Qazwini also gives the information that "Wisu" is three months' journey 
beyond Bulgar, and continues : " The Bulgarians take their wares thither for 
trade. Each one lays his wares, which he furnishes with a mark, in a certain spot 
and leaves them there. Then he comes back and finds a commodity, of which he 
can make use in his own country, laid by the side of them. If he is satisfied with 
this, he takes what is offered in exchange, and leaves his wares behind ; if he is 
not, he takes his own away again. In this way buyer and seller never see one 
another. This is also the proceeding, as we have related, in the southern lands, 
in the land of the blacks." The same story of dumb trading with a people in the 
north is met with again in Abu'lfeda (ob. 1321} and Ibn Batuta (cf.also Michel 
Beheim, later, p. 270], 

Ibn Batuta (i 302-1 377) has no name for this people, any 
more than Abu'lfeda ; but he calls their country " the Land 

1 Jaqut, 1866, iv. p. 944 ; i. p. 113. 

2 This agrees with reality. Along the Volga one can reach the land of the 
Vesses on Lake Byelo-ozero. 

3 Al-Qazwini, 1848, ii. p. 416. 



of Darkness," and has an interesting description of the journey CHAPTER 
thither/ ^" 

He himself, he says, wished to go there from Bulgar, but gave it up, as little 
benefit was to be expected of it. " That land lies 40 days' journey from Bulgar, 
and the journey is only made in small cars ^ drawn by dogs. For this desert has 
a frozen surface, upon which neither men nor horses can get foothold, but dogs 
can, as they have claws. This journey is only undertaken by rich merchants, 
each taking with him about a hundred carriages [sledges ?], provided with suffi- 
cient food, drink and wood ; for in that country there is found neither trees, 
nor stones nor soil. As a guide through this land they have a dog which has 
already made the journey several times, and it is so highly prized that they pay 
as much as a thousand dinars [gold pieces] for one. This dog is harnessed with 
three others by the neck to a car [sledge ?], so that it goes as the leader and the 
others follow it. When it stops, the others do the same. . . . When the travellers 
have accomplished forty days* journey through the desert, they stop in the Land 
of Darkness, leave their wares there, and withdraw to their quarters. Next morning 
they go back to the same spot ..." and then follows a description of the dumb 
barter, like that in Qazwini. They receive sable, squirrel and ermine in exchange 
for their goods. "Those who go thither do not know with whom they trade, 
whether they be spirits or men ; they see no one." ^ 

Of special interest for our subject is the following state- 
ment in Abu Hamid (1080-1169 or 1170) which may point 
to the peoples on the shores of the Polar Sea having obtained 
steel for their harpoons and sealing weapons from Persia : 

" The traders travel from Bulgar to one of the lands of the infidels which is 
called isG [Wisu], from which the beaver comes. They take swords thither which 
they buy in Adherbeigan [Persia], unpolished blades. They pour water often 
over these, so that when the blades are hung up by a cord and struck, they ring. 
. . . And that is as they ought to be. They buy beavers' skins with these blades. 
The inhabitants of fsu go with these swords to a land near the darkness and lying 
on the Dark Sea [the northern Atlantic or the Polar Sea] and sell these swords 
for sables' skins They [i.e., the inhabitants of that country] again take some of 
these blades and cast them into the Dark Sea. Then Allah lets a fish as big as a 
mountain come up to them, etc. They cut up its flesh for days and months, and 
sometimes fill 100,000 houses with it,'* etc. [Cf. Jacob, 1891, p. 76 ; 1891a, 
p. 29 ; Mehren, 1857, PP« i69> f.] 

It is not credible that the swords which rang in this way 

1 Ibn BatOta, Voyages, etc., par Defr^mery et Sanguinetti, ii. pp. 399, ff. 

2 This is doubtless an expression for a conveyance of some kind, which must 
here have been a sledge. 

* Cf. Frahn, 1823, pp. 230, ff. 

II K 145 


CHAPTER were harpoons, as Jacob thinks. We must rather suppose 
^" that they were rough ("unpolished") steel blades, which 

were used for making harpoons and lances (for walrus-hunting 
and whaling). The blades having water poured over them 
must doubtless mean the tempering of the steel, through which, 
when it was afterwards hung up by a cord, it came to give 
the true ring. Although Abu Hamid is no trustworthy writer, 
it seems that there must be some reality at the base of this 
statement ; and we here have information about some of the 
wares that the traders carried to Wisu, and that were derived 
from their commercial intercourse with Arabs and Jews. 
The people to whom the inhabitants of Wisu or Vesses took 
the steel blades must have been fishermen on the shore of the 
Polar Sea, who carried on seal- and walrus-hunting, and 
perhaps also whaling, and this is what is referred to by the 
fish that Allah sends up. They may have been Samoyeds (on 
the Pechora), Karelians, Tver-Finns, and even Norwegians. It 
might be objected that sables cannot be supposed to have 
been obtained from the last-named ; but this is doubtless not 
to be taken too literally. Ibn Ruste (circa 912 A.D.) thus 
says that the Rus (Scandinavians, usually Swedes) had no 
other occupation but trading in sables, squirrel and other 
furs, which they sold to any one who would buy them. 

It seems to result from what may be trustworthy in these 
statements that there was fairly active commercial intercourse 
from Bulgar with the Vesses and with the peoples on the White 
Sea, and perhaps in districts near the Polar Sea. A shortest 
night of one hour would take us to a little north of the mouth 
of the Dvina. In the land of the Vesses by Lake Byelo-ozero 
there was an easy way across from the Volga's tributary 
Syexna to Lake Kubenskoye, which has a connection with 
the Dvina ; and there was also transit to the river Onega. 
There was thus easy communication along the great rivers ; 
but besides this the traders seem also to have travelled overland 
with dogs ; this was probably when going north to Yugria and 
the country of the Pechora, in the same way as traders in our 


time generally go there with reindeer. The trade in furs was CHAPTER 
then, as in antiquity, the powerful incentive ; it was that too ^^^ 
which chiefly attracted the Norwegians to Bjarmeland. 

It is not likely that the Arabs themselves reached North 
Russia ; one would suppose rather that travelling Jews assisted 
as middlemen in the trade with these regions. But the finding 
of Arab coins on the Pechora would point to Arab trade having 
penetrated through intermediaries to the shores of the Polar 


Among mediaeval voyages to the North there remain The Frisian 
yet to be mentioned Harold Hardrade's expedition ^ and the Pojarexpe- 
voyage of the Frisian nobles, related by Adam of Bremen dition 
in the descriptions already given (vol. i. pp. 195, f.). That 
the latter voyage must be an invention, and cannot contain 
much of historical value, is obvious (cf. vol. i. p. 196). The 
whole description of the abyss or maelstrom is taken from 
Paulus Warnefridi (as will be seen by a comparison of the 
descriptions on pp. 157 and 195, vol. i.) ; the Cyclopes of 
marvellous stature, as well as the treasures of gold that they 
guard, are originally derived from classical literature, although 
Adam may have taken them from earlier mediaeval authors, 
and Northern ideas about the giants in the north in Jotunheim 
may have helped to localise the story.^ The great darkness, the 
stiffened sea, chaos and the gulf of the abyss at the uttermost 
end of the world or of the ocean are all classical conceptions, 

1 Cf. Peschel, 2nd ed., 1877, P* lo?* There has also been found a metal mirror 
with an Arabic inscription of the tenth or eleventh century at Samarovo in the 
land of the Ostyaks, where the Irtysh and the Ob join. 

2 Cf. on this subject G. Storm, 1890, pp. 340, ff. ; A. A. Bjornbo, 1909, 
pp. 234, ff. 

' Saxo also has conceptions of half-awake or half -dead (" semineces "J 
giants in the underworld in the north as guardians of treasures (cf. Gorm's and 
Thorkel's voyagej. Moltke Moe thinks they may be derived from ancient notions 
of the giants as the evil dead, who guard treasures. 



voyage to 
the mael- 


and the description itself of the dangers of the voyage, of the 
darkness that could scarcely be penetrated by the eyes, etc., is 
just what we find in classical literature, and in many points bears 
great resemblance to the poem of Albinovanus Pedo, for example 
(see vol. i. p. 82). It is possible, of course, that there may 
be thus much historical truth in the story, that some Frisian 
nobles made a voyage to the Orkneys or perhaps to Iceland, 
but even this is doubtful, and the rest is demonstrably invention. 
In spite of this Master Adam asserts that Archbishop Adalbert 
in person had told him all this, and that it happened in the 
days of his predecessor. Archbishop Alebrand, who had the 
story from the travellers* own lips ; for they returned to 
Bremen and brought thank-offerings to Christ and to their 
saint ** Willehad " for their safety. One might suppose that 
these nobles themselves had invented the story and told it 
to the archbishop ; ^ but it does not seem likely that they were 
acquainted with Paulus Warnefridi's description of the mael- 
strom, and the Cyclopes with their treasures in the north seem 
also to be learned embroidery ; they might have heard oral 
tales about them, but in any case we may doubtless suppose 
that the story has been much * ' improved ' ' by Adam. There 
is a mediaeval folk-song about the dangers of sailors at sea 
which may also be supposed to have contributed to the 

Be that as it may, this story must weaken our confidence 
in Adam's credibility, or rather in his critical sense. If his 
narrative of a voyage which started from his own adopted town 
of Bremen not long before his time is so untrustworthy, what 
are we to think of his statement about the experienced Nor- 
wegian king Harold's expedition to explore the extent of 
the ocean ? No doubt it may appear as though he had his 
information about this voyage from the Danish king Svein, 

1 Kohl [1869, pp. II, ff.] supposes that they may have carried on piracy, and 
invented their story to explain to the bishop how they had come by the booty 
they brought home and how they had lost their companions, who may have been 
killed in fighting. 


who is mentioned as his authority for the statements imme- chapter 
diately preceding, and so far this information might have a 
good source ; but it has received precisely the same decoration 
as the other voyage, with the mist or darkness that shuts'^ 
out the uttermost end of the world, and the vast gulf of the 
abyss which was narrowly escaped. This is certainly of older 
origin, and he has not even given himself the trouble to make 
a little alteration in the dangers of the two stories. Another 
thing that weakens our confidence in his statements is his 
saying that the Danish king had told him that all the sea 
beyond the island of Winland was filled with intolerable ice 
and immeasurable darkness. It may doubtless be supposed 
that classical conceptions had even at that time created super- 
stitions of this kind in the North, and thus King Svein may 
have told him this ; but it must be more probable that all 
these ancient book-learned ideas are due, not to the unlearned 
and travelled monarch, but to the well-read magister, who 
moreover himself quotes in the same connection Marcianus's 
words about the congealed sea beyond Thule. 

It would be entirely in Adam's vein if some accidental 
resemblance or association had given him an opportunity of 
making use in this way of ideas he had from his learned 
reading, just as the name of Kvaenland gave him the chance 
of bringing in the myths of the Amazons, Cynocephali, etc. 
(cf. vol. i. p. 383). It was pointed out earlier (vol. i. pp. 195, 
197) that the statements about the sea " beyond this island " 
and about Harold's voyage are possibly a later addition by Adam 
himself, which has been inserted in the wrong place ; " this 
island " might then mean Thyle (Iceland) and not Winland. 
Whether we regard the latter as a newly discovered country in 
America or as the Insulae Fortunatae, it is difficult to understand 
why precisely the sea on the other side of this island should be 
particularly associated with the ancient conceptions of the 
dark or misty, and the congealed or ice-filled sea ; ice and 
darkness are nowhere connected in this way with Wineland 
in later authorities. It is true that in Arabian myth there 





are islands in the west near the Sea of Darkness (cf. chapter xiii.) 
and that the Promised Land in Irish myth is surrounded by 
darkness (=fog) like the Norwegian huldrelands and the 
Icelandic elflands ; but if Adam got his ideas in this way, it 
would only show more conclusively how mythical his narrative 
is. If Adam confused the names of Vinland and Finland 
(i.e., Finmark) (cf. vol. i. pp. 198, 382 ; vol. ii. p. 31), it would 
also be natural for him to imagine that beyond it were ice 
and darkness. 

The view has been held that the whirlpool in which King 
Harold and the Frisian nobles were nearly drawn down was 
of Scandinavian or Germanic origin [cf. S. Lonborg, 1897, 
pp. 173, f.]. It seems undoubtedly to correspond to the 
Norse " Ginnungagap " [cf. G. Storm, 1890, pp. 340, ff.] ; 
but it is a question how early this idea arose. I have already 
(vol. i. pp. II, 12, 17) pointed out the probable connection 
between it and the Greek Tartaros (and Anostos) or Chaos, and 
have shown (vol. i. pp. 158, f.) that Paulus Warnefridi took his 
whirlpool from this source, and called it Chaos. But now it is 
evident, as we have seen, that Adam took his description of the 
whirlpool from Paulus, and thus we have the full connection. 
It may also be mentioned as curious that Lucian in his Vera 
Historia tells of just such an abyss : 

" We sailed through a crystal-clear, transparent water until we were obliged 
to stop before a great cleft in the sea. . . . Our ship was near being drawn down 
into this abyss, if we had not taken in the sails in time. As we then put our heads 
out and looked down, we saw a depth of a thousand stadia, before which our minds 
and senses stood still. ..." Finally with great difficulty they rowed across a 
bridge of water that stretched over the abyss [Wieland, 1789, iv. p. 222]. 

With this may be compared that in the Irish legend (Imram Maelduin) Mael- 
duin and his companions came to a sea like green glass, so clear that the sun and 
the green sand of the sea were visible through it. Thence they came to another 
sea which was like fog (clouds), and it seemed to them that it could hardly support 
them or their boat ; they saw in the sea beneath them people adorned with 
jewels and a delightful land, etc. ; but when they also saw down below a huge 
monster which devoured a whole ox, they were seized with fear and trembling, 
for they thought they would not be able to get across this sea without falling 
through to the bottom, because it was as thin as cloud ; but they came over 
it with great danger [cf. Zimmer, 1889, p. 164]. 


Although, as already mentioned (vol. i. p. 362), Lucian CHAPTER 
does not seem to have been read in western Europe before the ^^^ 
fourteenth century, I cannot get away from the impression 
that in some oral way or other (cf. vol. i. pp. 362, f.) there must 
be a connection between the Irish tale (written down long before 
Adam of Bremen's work) and the above-mentioned fable (as 
well as many others) which Lucian reproduces, whether the 
connection be with Lucian himself or with the authors he 
parodies. But then it will not be rash to conclude further that 
there may also be a connection between the cleft in the sea or 
profound abyss of Lucian or of Greek fable, from which mariners 
escaped with difficulty, and Adam's whirlpool, which King 
Harold avoided by turning back. 

But it is also conceivable that the various currents in Maelstrom 
northern waters may have furnished food for these constantly i^^^ ^ 
recurring ideas about maelstroms and whirlpools. Such 
maelstroms appear also in Irish legends. In the '* Imram 
Brenaind" [cf. Zimmer, 1889, p. 134] it is related that : 

One day the voyagers saw on the ocean deep, dark currents [whirlpools] 
and their ships seemed to be drawn into them with the £orce of the storm. In 
this great danger all eyes were turned upon Brandan. He spoke to the sea, saying 
that it should be satisfied with drowning him alone, but spare his comrades. 
Thereupon the sea became calm, and the rushing of the whirlpool ceased imme- 
diately ; from that time until now it has done no harm to others. 

The Historia Norwegiae places " Charybdis, Scylla, and Maelstrom 
unavoidable whirlpools" in the north in '' Hafsbotn " j^J^^^'^^^^^^' 
(cf. later). This must have been a general idea in Norway ; strom 
for about one hundred years later, in 1360, the Englishman, 
Nicholas of Lynn, who travelled in Norway in the middle of 
the fourteenth century, wrote his lost work, " Inventio 
Fortunata," on the northern countries and their whirlpools 
from 53° to the North Pole ; but unfortunately we do not 
know its contents.^ The conceptions of these whirlpools 
may doubtless be connected with reports of dangerous currents 

^ Giraldus Cambrensis also mentions the dangerous whirlpool north of the 



CHAPTER in the north. The Moskenstrom by the Lofoten Islands may 
^^^ in particular have given rise to much superstition at an early 

time. In winter with a westerly wind it runs at a rate of as 
much as six miles an hour, and with a rising tide it may be 
altogether impassable. It may set up a high topping sea, 
which breaks over the whole current so that it can be heard 
three or four miles off.^ In later times there are terrifying 
descriptions of this dangerous current. Thus Olaus Magnus 
(1555) says that between Roest and Lofoten 

"is so great an abyss, or rather Charybdis, that it suddenly swamps and 
swallows up in an instant those mariners who incautiously approach " (see the 
illustration, vol. i. p. 158). ..." Pieces of wreckage are very seldom thrown up 
again, and if they come to light, the hard material shows such signs of wear and 
chafing through being dashed against the rocks, that it looks as if it were covered 
with rough wool." And the natural force here manifested exceeds all that is 
related of Charybdis in Sicily and other wonders. 

The Englishman, Anthony Jenkinson, who made a voyage 
to the White Sea in 1557, writes of it : ^ 

* * Note that there is between the said Rost Islands & Lof oot, a whirle poole called 
Malestrand, which from halfe ebbe untill halfe flood, maketh such a terrible 
noise, that it shaketh the ringes in the doores of the inhabitants houses of the 
sayd Islands tenne miles off. Also if there commeth any Whale within the current 
of the same, they make a pitifuU crie. Moreover, if great trees be caried into it 
by force of streams, and after with the ebbe be cast out againe, the ends and 
boughs of them have bene so beaten, that they are like the stalkes of hempe 
that is bruised." 

Schonnerbol in 1591 gives a more detailed description of 
the current, in which the same things are reported 

of the iron ring ** in the house door ... it is shaken hither and thither by 
the rushing of the current " ; of the whale, who when " he cannot go forward 
on account of the strong stream, gives a great cry, as it were a great ox, and 
then he is gone . . ." ; and, finally, of great trees, spruce or fir, which disappear 
in this current, and when at last they come up again, ** then all the boughs, all 
the roots and all the bark is torn off, and it is shaped as though it had been cut 
with a sharp axe." He says that ** many people are of the opinion that there 

1 Cf. Amund Helland, Lofoten og Vesteraalen. Norges geologiske Under- 
sogelse. No. 23. Christiania, 1897, p. 106. 

* Hakluyt : Principal Navigations, Glasgow, 1903, ii. p. 415. 


is a whirlpool in this current or immediately outside it " ; and ** when the stream CHAPTER 
is strongest, one can see the sun and the sky through the waves, since they go XII 
as high as other high mountains." ^ 

Peder Clausson Friis gives a similarly exaggerated de- 
scription of the current (circa 1613), sometimes using the same 
expressions as the authors quoted. The resemblance between 
these various descriptions is so great that it cannot easily be 
explained merely by their reporting the same oral tradition ; 
what they have in common must rather be derived from an 
older written source (Nicholas of Lynn ?), which again has 
adopted ancient mythical conceptions. It is strange how few 
more recent ideas have been added even in Schonnebol, who 
was sheriff of Lofoten and Vesteralen for at least twenty years 
(from 1570), and must have had plenty of opportunity for 
gathering information on the spot ; but it is the usual experi- 
ence that everything that could be got from old books was 
preferred. That stories of the Moskenstrom may have been 
known in Adam of Bremen's time is highly probable, perhaps 
even Paulus Warnefridi had heard of it (cf. vol. i. p. 158). 

When we have shorn Adam's tale of all borrowed features, Possible 
is there enough left to make it possible that the Norwegian Harold's 
king Harold undertook a voyage out into the ocean ? It is ocean 
not easy to form a definite opinion on this, but the probability ^^^y^s® 
must be that King Svein or the Danes told some such story, 
which was then adorned by Master Adam. As the voyage 
was supposed to have taken place recently, it must be Harold 
Hardrade who was intended, otherwise one might be led to 
think of Harold Graf eld's celebrated voyage to Bjarmeland.^ 

1 Cf. storm, 1895, pp. 190, f. 

2 It is not impossible that it was of this Norwegian king Harold's voyage 
that Adam heard from the Danes ; in that case he may readily be supposed to 
have made a mistake and connected it with the King Harold who was then living, 
to whom he also attributes a voyage in the Baltic ; it is a common experience 
that many similar incidents in which different persons were engaged collect 
about one of them. The circumstance that Harold is here mentioned without any 
term of abuse, with which Adam is elsewhere in the habit of accompanying any 
mention of him, is perhaps, as already said (vol. i. p. 195, notej, of no particular 


CHAPTER What the object may have been, and what direction the voyage 
^^^ took, we do not know. As Adam says it was to explore ' ' the 

breadth of the northern ocean" (" latitudinem septen- 
trionalis oceani "), one must suppose that in his opinion it 
set out from Norway northward or north-westward over the 
ocean towards its uttermost limit, since according to the maps 
and ideas of that time he imagined the ocean as surrounding 
the disc of the earth like a ribbon (see vol. i. p. 199), and he 
may then have sailed across this to find out its extent.^ But 
it is quite possible, as P. A. Munch [1852, ii. pp. 269, ff.] 
suggested, that Master Adam may have heard something 
about a northward voyage undertaken by Harold, during 
which he had been exposed to some danger in the Saltstrom or 
the Moskenstrom ; ^ or if it was a voyage to Bjarmeland 
(Harold Grafeld's ?) that he heard of, then it might be the 

significance. Harold Grafeld was much in Denmark, and reports of his expedition 
to Bjarmeland may well have lived there, as in Iceland. If it is this to which 
Adam's words refer, this would also explain the curious silence of the Icelandic 
authorities about Harold Hardrade's alleged voyage in the Arctic Ocean. 

^ Professor Yngvar Nielsen [1904, 1905] thinks that Adam's description cannot 
be explained otherwise than as referring to a voyage to the west, and probably 
a Wineland voyage. The Icelandic historian Tormodus Torfaeus regarded it in 
the same way two hundred years ago. Prof essor Nielsen even thinks he can point to 
the Newfoundland Banks with their " surf caused by the current " (?] as a probable 
place where King Harold turned back to avoid the gulf of the abyss. I will not 
here dwell on the improbability of so daring a man as Harold, whom we are to 
suppose to have sailed across the Atlantic in search of Wineland, being frightened 
by a tide-race (of which he knew worse at home] on the Newfoundland Banks, 
so as to believe that he was near the abyss ( * ' Ginnungagap "), and therefore making 
the long voyage home again without having accomplished his purpose, without 
having reached land, and without having renewed his supplies— of fresh water, 
for instance. I can only see that all this is pure guesswork without any solid 
foundation and far beyond the limits of all reasonable possibility. But in addition, 
as Dr. A. A. Bjornbo [1909, pp. 121, 234, ff.] has clearly shown, the whole of 
this view becomes untenable if we pay attention to the universal cartographical 
representation of that time, by which Adam of Bremen was obviously also 
bound, and in particular it is impossible to conclude from his words that 
Harold's voyage should have been made to the 'Oiest 

2 Suhm (Historic af Danmark, 1790) was the first to think that the gulf of 
the abyss was the maelstrom by Mosken. 



current at Sviatoi Nos or Straumneskinn, often spoken of in CHAPTER 
the sagas, that Adam has made into the whirlpool. 



The skill of the Norwegians as fishermen, whalers and The Nor- 
sealers had, of course, a great deal to do with the development "^^^^^^ ^^ 
of their seamanship and ability to travel and support themselves 
along unknown and uninhabited shores. The accurate know- 
ledge of the many species of seals and whales shown in the 
** King's Mirror," to which] "no 
parallel is met with earlier in the 
literature of the world, proves how 
important the hunting of these 
animals must have been ; for 
otherwise so much attention would 
not have been paid to them.^ 
When in speaking of the greater 
whales a distinction is made be- 
tween those that are shy and keep 
away from the hunters, and those 
that are tamer and easier to 
approach, and when the longest of 
all (" reySr ") is mentioned as 
being specially tame and easily 

caught, we can only regard this as showing that whaling 
was also carried on in the open sea ; that is, not in a merely 
accidental fashion, as when the whales entered narrow fjords 
where they could be intercepted, or when they ran aground. 

^ A peculiarity of the account in the " King's Mirror " is that whales, seals 
and walruses are mentioned only in the seas of Iceland and Greenland, and not 
off Norway, although the Norwegian author must undoubtedly have heard of 
most of them in his native land. In the same way the northern lights are only 
spoken of as something peculiar to Greenland. Of the six species of seal that 
are mentioned, one (" orknselr ") must be the grey seal or " erkn " (Hali- 
choerus grypus), which is common on the coast of the northern half of Norway, 
but is not found in Greenland. 

Cutting up a whale (from 
an Icelandic MS. of the 
fourteenth century of 
Magnus Lanaboter's Ice- 
landic Land Law) 


CHAPTER From Ottar's statement to King Alfred (cf. vol. i. p. 172)— 

^" that " in his own land [i.e., Norway] there is the best whaling. 

They are forty-eight cubits long, and the largest are fifty cubits 
long " — we may conclude that the Norwegians, and perhaps 
the Lapps also, hunted the great whales as early as the ninth 
century, and doubtless long before that time, while King Alfred 
does not seem to have known of any such whaling being prac- 
tised in England.^ We are not told in what way the whale 
was caught in those days, but from statements elsewhere it 
is probable that the Norwegians had several methods of taking 
whales, as is the case even to the present day in Norway : one 
way was with the harpoon and harpoon-line in open waters, 
that is, without cutting off the whale's escape with nets. 

The Arab cosmographer, Qazwini (of the thirteenth century), 
quoting the Spanish- Arabic writer Omar al-*Udhri ^ (of the 
eleventh century), says that the Norsemen in Irlanda (Ireland). 

" hunt young whales, and they are very great fish. They hunt their young 
and eat them. ... Of the method of catching them al-'Udhri relates that 
the hunters collect in their ships. They have a great iron hook [i.e., harpoon] 
with sharp teeth, and on the hook a strong ring, and in the ring a stout rope. 
When they come to a young one, they clap their hands and make a noise. The 
young one is amused by the clapping of hands and approaches the ship, delighting 
therein. Thereupon one of the seamen approaches and scratches its forehead, 
which the yovmg one likes. Then he lays the hook to the middle of its head, 
takes a heavy iron hammer and gives three blows with all his force upon the 
hook. It does not heed the first blow, but with the second and third it makes 
a great commotion, and sometimes it catches some part of the ship with its tail, 
and knocks it to pieces, and it continues in violent agitation until it is overcome 
by exhaustion. Then the crew of the ship draw it to shore with their combined 
force. Sometimes the mother notices the movements of the young one, and 
pursues them. Then they have a great quantity of crushed onions in readiness, 

* One might receive a different impression from Bede's statement that in Britain 
" seals are frequently taken (' capiuntur '), and dolphins, as also whales (' ba- 
lenje ') " [Eccles. hist. gent. Angl. i. c. i]. But it is uncertain whether this refers 
to regular hunting of great whales with harpoons in the open sea, or whether 
it does not rather refer to stranded whales, which must have been of frequent 
occurrence in those days, to judge from the Norman and later English regula- 
tions regarding them. 

* He belonged to the South Arabian tribe 'Udhra, "die da sterben, wann 
sie lieben." 



and throw it into the water. When the whale perceives the smell of the onions CHAPTER 
it finds it detestable, turns round and retreats. Then they cut the flesh of the XII 
young one in pieces and salt it.^ And its flesh is white as snow, and its skin 
black as ink." ^ 

This is, clearly enough, a layman's naive description of 
whaling with harpoon and harpoon-line in open waters, a 
method which had therefore already been introduced into 
Ireland by the Norwegians at that time. It may consequently 
be regarded as certain that the 
Norwegians were acquainted with 
harpooning. That this was very 
usual appears also from the ** King's 
Mirror " and the ancient Norwegian 
laws, where whaling and whale- 
harpoons (" skutill ") are often men- 

On the west coast of Norway, in 
the neighbourhood of Bergen, there 
is still practised to-day another 
method of catching whales which 
must be very ancient. When the great 

whales enter certain fjords which have a narrow inlet, their 
escape is cut off by nets, and they are shot with poisoned arrows 
from bows which entirely resemble the crossbows of the Middle 
Ages. The arrows used are old and rusty, and convey bacteria 
from one whale to another. When the whale has been hit by 
these arrows it is rapidly weakened from blood-poisoning, so 
that it may easily be harpooned and then killed by lances, after 
which it is cut up and divided among the inhabitants of the 
fjord, according to ancient, unwritten rules. In spite of the 
blood-poisoning, the whale's flesh and blubber are eaten, and 
are regarded as very valuable provisions. I have myself often 
taken part in this kind of whaling. Possibly Peder Clausson 

^This is exactly what is still done with the whale on the west coast of 

2 Cf. G. Jacob, 1896, pp. 23, ff. 


Cutting up a whale (from 
an Icelandic MS.) 


CHAPTER Friis [cf. Storm, 1881, p. 70] refers to a similar method of 
^^^ whaling when he says that 

"in ancient times many expedients or methods were used for catching whales, 
which ... on account of men's unskilfulness have fallen out of use." 

They had " a spear with sharp irons, so that it could not 
be pulled out again." This was hurled into the whale, which 
died in a short time, or became so weakened that it could be 
drawn to land ; 

" which whales were then cut up and divided among those who had shot, and 
him who owned the land, or him who had first found the whale driven in, according 
to the provisions of the law." 

We must suppose that this iron was poisoned with bacteria 
from former whales, in a similar way to the arrows mentioned 
above, whereby the animal's wound was infected. However, 
Peder Clausson's description of the hunt is evidently taken in 
great measure from older literary sources, since similar descrip- 
tions are found as early as in Albertus Magnus (ob. 1280) [De 
animalibus, xxiv. 651], and in Vincent of Beauvais [Speculum 
universalis, i. 1272]. In all three authors the whale dives after 
being struck, and tosses about on the bottom or rubs itself 
against it, thereby driving the spear farther in ; but in Peder 
Clausson it does so in order to ** get rid of the shot," while in 
Albertus it is on account of salt water getting into the wound, 
and in Vincentius the salt water penetrates and kills the wounded 
whale. As the descriptions of Albertus and Vincentius evidently 
refer to ordinary harpoon-whaling, it may be doubtful whether 
Peder Clausson's statement really relates to a method of 
catching different from the usual one with harpoon and line, 
although one is disposed to believe that it does. He also men- 
tions in the same place other whales that they could * * pursue 
with boats and drive into bays and small fjords, and kill them 
there with hand-shot and bow-shot." This may be supposed 
to refer to a method similar to that mentioned above, with 
poisoned arrows ; but, on the other hand, it may relate to a 
third method of taking small whales, which was certainly 



practised from very early times in Norway, and which consists CHAPTER 
in schools of small whales being driven into bays and inlets, 
where they are intercepted with nets and driven ashore. 

The method of whaling with poisoned arrows or throwing- 
spears must, as has been said, be very ancient. Whether it was 
invented by the Norwegians themselves, or whether they 
did not rather learn it from the older hunter-people of Norway, 
the " Finns," is difficult to determine. Nor do we know how 
ancient whaling in general may be in the North ; it may date 
from early times, though Ottar's mention of it is the earliest 
known in literature. 

It is evident that a high development of seamanship, skill 
in hunting, and resourcefulness were required before men could 
venture to encounter the great whales of the ocean in open 
fight with free sea-room, where the whale was not crippled 
by having run aground or into narrow fjords with no outlet. 
This whaling in the open sea demanded the invention of special 
appliances, of which the harpoon with its line was of special 
importance. It may be possible, though it is not certain, that 
the Norwegians were the first Europeans to practise this kind 
of whaling, and as, from numerous documents, we may con- 
clude that whaling was actively carried on by the Normans in 
Normandy as early as the tenth and eleventh centuries, one is 
inclined to suppose that it was the Normans who first intro- 
duced the method of harpoon and line there,^ and then passed 
it on to the Basques. But we ought not to lose sight of the fact 

1 Louis the Gentle confirms a division of the property of the abbey of 
St. Dionysius, which the abbot Hilduien had made in 832 [cf . Bouquet, Historiens 
de France, vi. p. 580]. He says in this document that ** we give them this 
property ... on the other side of Sequana the chapel of St. Audoenus for 
repairing and clearing fishing nets ... in Campiniago two houses for fish 
... the water and fish in Tellis . . . and Gabaregium in Bagasinum with all 
the manorial rights and lands attached, of which part lies in the parish of 
Constantinus [Coutances] for taking large fish ('crassus piscis 'J." It is 
probable that " crassus piscis '* means Biscayan whale (Baloena Biscayensis or 
glacialis], which at that time was common on these shores. In that case the 
people of C6tantin would have carried on whaling £is early as the beginning of the 
ninth century, but of their methods we can form no conclusions. 


fishing in 
the Mediter- 
ranean in 


that there are other possibilities, since the harpoon was probably 
known to and used on smaller marine animals by the neolithic 
people of Europe, and the taking of larger fish with harpoon 
and line was known in the Mediterranean in antiquity,^ as 
appears, for instance, from Polybius's description of the catch- 
ing of swordfish at Scyllaeum (on the Straits of Messina), which 
is reproduced in Strabo, i. 24 : 

" A common look-out man goes at their head, while they collect in many 
two-oared boats to lie in wait for the fish ; two in each boat. One of them rows, 
the other stands in the bow with a spear, while the look-out man gives warning 
of the appearance of the fish ; for the animal swims with a third of its body 
above water. As soon as the boat has reached the fish, the spearman pierces it 
by hand, and immediately draws the spear out of its body again, with the excep- 
tion of the point ; for this is provided with barbs, and is purposely attached 
loosely to the shaft, and has a long line fastened to it. This is paid out after the 
wounded fish, until it is tired by fioundering and attempts at flight ; then it is 
drawn to land, or taken into the boat if it is not very large." No better descrip- 
tion of harpoon-fishing is to be found in the Middle Ages. The dolphin was to 
the Greeks Poseidon's beast, and they did not take it ; but from Oppian's account 
we see that the barbarian fishermen on the coast of Thrace had no such scruples, 
but caught dolphins with harpoons to which a long line was attached [cf. Noel, 
1815, p. 42]. 

If the Iberian people of the western Mediterranean practised 
this kind of fishing, the Basques may also have been acquainted 
with it. But if they used the harpoon on swordfish and small 
whales, the further step to using it for the Biscay whale was 
not insuperable to these hardy seamen, and they may thus have 
themselves developed their methods of whaling without having 
learnt from the Normans, even if no evidence is forthcoming 
of their having been acquainted with whaling so early as the 

^ It is possible that the peoples on the shores of the Indian Ocean (and 
Red Seal even in early antiquity caught whales and ate whales' fiesh [cf. Noel, 
181S, p. 23]. Strabo [xv. 725, f. ; xvi. 767, 773] tells of the great numbers of 
whales, 23 fathoms long, that Nearchus is said to have seen in this ocean, and 
says that the Ichthyophagi (fish-eatersj used whales* bones for beams and rafters 
in their huts. Strabo thinks [i. 24] that the mention of the monster Scylla (who 
catches dolphins, seals, etc. J in the Odyssey [xii. 95, ff.] would point to large 
marine animals having been taken in ancient times ; but all this may be very 


latter.^ It may also be supposed that the Norsemen in the chapter 
beginning, far back in grey antiquity, took their harpoon- Xil 
fishing from the south, just as they obtained the form of their 
craft to some extent from the Mediterranean. 

Thus, although we cannot regard it as certain that the 
Norwegians introduced the knowledge of whaling with the 
harpoon and line in Normemdy, it is in any case probable that 
they were particularly active in practising and developing this 
method, and we may conclude that they must have been 
acquainted with whaling before they came there, since we see 
that the whalers of Normandy bore the Scandinavian name of 
** walmanni." ^ If they had learnt their whaling in the foreign 
land, it goes without saying that they would also have taken 
the name from thence, and it is extremely improbable that 
they should have acquired a Scandinavian designation for an 

^ Cf. M. P. Fischer, 1872, pp. 3, fi. In 1202 the merchants of Bayonne bound 
themselves to pay King John Lackland ten pounds sterling a year for permission 
to catch whales between St. Michael's Mount (in Normandy] emd a place called 
Dortemue [cf. Delisle, 1849, p. 131]. This may point to a connection in the whale- 
fishery between the south of France and Normandy. 

^ Cf. Johannes Steenstrup, i876,vol. i.p. 188. Professor Steenstrup puts forward 
the view that it was the Danes who developed this whaUng in Normandy. This is 
scarcely possible. There cannot be much doubt that it was the comparatively 
valuable Biscay whale or nord-caper that was the chief object of the active whaling 
on the coast of Normandy, and that was specially called " crassus piscis " ; for it 
was precisely this species of whale which then at certain times of the yeeir appeared 
in great numbers along the whole French coast, and which the Basques also 
pursued so actively along the shores of the Bay of Biscay, Brittany and Normandy. 
The name '' crassus piscis " (i.e., the thick or fat fish] would also exactly describe 
this species, which is remarkable beyond all other whales that occur on the coasts 
of France for its striking breadth and bulk in proportion to its length, which is 
about fifty feet. This whale was more valuable than the other great whales that 
occurred along these coasts, and was in addition much easier to catch. But this 
species certainly never regularly frequented the shallow Danish waters, any more 
than other great whales that might be an object of hunting. There is, therefore, 
scarcely a possibiUty that Danish Vikings should have brought with them from 
their native land any escperience in hunting great whales. If we may assume 
that the Normans were already acquainted with the hunting of great whales 
before they came to Nornumdy, then it may have been Norwegians who possessed 
this experience, which, in fact, agrees with the statement of Qazwini (see above). 

II L 161 


CHAPTER occupation the knowledge of which they had not brought with 

^" them from their native land. 

The Normans also took with them the knowledge of whaling 
as far as the Mediterranean. In Guillelmus Appulus's descrip- 
tion (of about 1099-1111) of the Norman conquest of southern 
Italy it is related ^ that when Robert Guiscard comes to the 
town of Regina in Calabria he hears 

*' the rumour that there is a fish not far from the town in the waves of the 
Adriatic, a great one with an immense body, of an incredible aspect, which the 
people of Italy had not seen before. The winds of spring, on account of the 
fresh water, had driven it thither. It was captured by the ingenuity of the leader 
[i.e., Robert] by means of various arts. It swam into a net made of fine ropes, 
and when it was completely entangled in the nets with the heavy iron, it dived 
down to the depths of the sea, but at last it was hit by the seamen in various 

Cutting up a whale (from an Icelandic MS. of the sixteenth century). 

projecting places, and with much pains dragged ashore. There the people look 
at it as a strange monster. Then it is cut in pieces by order of the leader. 
Thereof he obtains for himself and his men much food, and also for the people 
who dwelt on the coasts of Calabria. And the Apulian people also have a share 
of it." 

It looks as though the author *s view was that the whale 
was caught with nets and killed by the throwing of lances, 
which is not impossible ; but it may also be supposed that the 
poetical description is somewhat misleading, and that the 
** nets with the heavy iron " were the harpoon with its line (?). 

It may be regarded as doubtful whether the harpooning 
of great whales in open waters was ever so actively carried on 
and brought to such perfection during the Middle Ages in 
Norway, Iceland and Greenland as was evidently the case 
in Normandy and especially among the Basques, from whom 

1 Muratori : Script, rer. Ital., v. p. 265. Cf. also Joh. Steenstrup, 1876, 
i. p. 188. 


later the English and the Dutch learned it. As in those days CHAPTER 
there was abundance of whales to be caught on the Norwegian ^ 
coast (the nord-caper was then numerous there), this kind of 
whaling would not tempt the Norwegians to seek better hunting- 
grounds along other coasts in northern waters. On the other 
hand, it is evident that practice in whaling must have been of 
great importance to them, wherever they settled in these 

Albertus Magnus (ob. 1280), who gives a detailed descrip- Aibertus 
tion of the harpoon and of whaling (cf. above, p. 158), has JJ^i^^gf **" 
also the following description of walrus-hunting : hunting 

** Those whales which have bristles, and others, have very long tusks, ^ and 
by them they hang themselves up on stones and rocks when they sleep. Then 
the fisherman approaches, and tears away as much as he can of the skin from 
the blubber by the tail, and makes fast a strong rope to the skin he has loosened, 
and he binds the ropes fast to rings fixed in the rocks or to very strong posts or 
trees. Then he throws large stones at the fish and wakes it. When the fish is 

^ The text has "culmi " (literally, straw), which gives no sense. We must 
suppose that something has been omitted in the MS. of Albertus that was used 
in the printed edition ; or else he has taken the description from an older source, 
which had it correctly, and from which later authors have taken the same expres- 
sion ; for otherwise it is difficult to understand their using it in a reasonable way. 
Erik Walkendorf (circa 1520) says of the walrus in Finmark : " They have a 
stiff and bristly beard as long as the palm of a hand, as thick as a straw (' crassi- 
tudine magni culmi '), they have rough bristly (* hirsuta ') skin, two fingers 
thick, which has an incredible strength and firmness " ; but he says nothing 
about the method of catching them [Walkendorf, 1902, p. 12]. Olaus Magnus 
[i, xxi. c. 25] says that walruses (" morsi " or " rosmari ") appear on the nor- 
thern coast of Norway. * * They have a head like an ox, have rough (bristly, 
' hirsutam ') skin, and hair as thick as straw (' culmos ') or the stalks of corn 
(* calamos frumenti '} which stands in all directions. They heave themselves 
up by their tusks to the tops of rocks as with ladders, in order to eat the grass 
bedewed with fresh water, and roll themselves back into the sea, unless in the 
meantime they are overcome by very deep sleep and remain hanging." Then 
follows the same story of catching them as in Albertus Magnus. This is done, he 
says, chiefly for the sake of the tusks, *' which were highly prized by the Scythians, 
Rutens and Tartars," etc. *' This is witnessed also by Miechouita." This descrip- 
tion of Olaus is evidently put together from older statements which we find in 
Albertus Magnus, in Walkendorf, and in Russian sources, of which he himself 
quotes Mikhow (who is also mentioned in Pistorius ; see below}. 




awake and wants to go back [into the sea], it pulls its skin off from the tail along 
the back and head, and leaves it behind there. And afterwards it is caught not 
far from the spot, when it has exhausted its strength, as it floats bloodless upon 
the sea, or lies half -dead on the shore." 

He also tells us that walrus-rope ^ was commonly^sold at 
the fair at Cologne, which shows that walrus-hunting must 
have acquired great importance at that time. It can only 
have been carried on by the Norwegians (and Icelanders ?), 
the Finns or Lapps, the peoples of the north coast of Russia, 
and the Greenlanders. It is unlikely that the ropes were brought 
all the way from Russia by land to Cologne ; they must rather 
have come from Norway. The Norwegians obtained a certain 
quantity of walrus-rope (" svartSreip ") through the trade with 
Greenland, and perhaps with North Russia, but they probably 
got most from their own hunting in northern waters. The 
quantity of walrus they could kill in Finmark would not be 
sufficient to satisfy the demand, and, as suggested earlier 
(vol. i. p. 177), they must certainly have sought fresh hunting- 
grounds, above all eastwards in the Polar Sea. 
Hunting ex- Norse-Icelandic literature does not tell us that the Nor- 
peditions of wegians in their voyages to Bjarmeland went any farther east 
wegians' ^^^^ " Gandvik " (the White Sea) and the Dvina. But it is 
eastward to be noted that the sagas as a rule only mention the expeditions 
ward"in*the ^^ chiefs, with warlike exploits, fighting and slaughter of one 
Polar Sea kind or another ; while peaceful trading voyages, which were 
certainly numerous, are not spoken of, nor walrus-hunting 
and hunting expeditions in general, since such occupations 
were not usually followed by chiefs. We cannot therefore expect 
to find anything in the sagas about countries or waters where 
there were no people, and where only hunting was carried on. 
From Ottar, however, who was not a saga-writer, we 
learn that walrus-hunting was practised, and doubtless very 
perseveringly, in the ninth century (vol. i. p. 176), and that even 
at that time he went in pursuit of it as far as the White Sea* 

^ This was very valuable on account of its strength, and was much used for 
ships' cables, mooring-hawsers, and many other purposes. 


It is thus extremely improbable that such hardy hunters chapter 


should have stopped there, and not continued to move east- 
ward, where there was such valuable prey to be secured. 
We must suppose that at least they reached the west coast 
of Novaya Zemlya, where there were walrus and seal in abun- 
dance. That such was the case is just as probable as the 
reverse is improbable, and as it is improbable that expeditions 
of this kind should have found mention in the sagas. That 
the Norwegians knew Novaya Zemlya may perhaps be concluded 
from the mediaeval Icelandic geography (cf. vol. i. p. 313 ; 
vol. ii. p. i), according to which the land extended northward 
from Bjarmeland round the north of Hafsbotn (the Polar Sea) 
as far as Greenland, making the latter continuous with Europe 
(cf. the map, p. 2). The knowledge that the west coast of 
Novaya Zemlya extended northwards into the unknown may 
have given rise to such an idea. It was general in Scandinavia 
and Iceland in the latter part of the Middle Ages, whilst Adam 
of Bremen speaks of Greenland as an island, like Iceland and 
other islands in the northern ocean. The discovery of * * Sval- 
bard " (Spitzbergen ?) in 1194 may, as we shall see directly, 
have lent support to the belief in this connection by land. 

Saxo Grammaticus in his Danish history, of the beginning Saxo's 
of the thirteenth century, also has mythical tales of voyages Bjarmeland 
to Bjarmeland. Amongst others the legendary king Gorm 
and Thorkel Adelfar on a mythical voyage to the north and 
east came first to Hdlogaland, then to " Hither Bjarmeland," 
which had steep shores and much cattle, and then to a land 
with continual cold and heavy snow, without any warmth 
of summer, rich in impenetrable forests, which was without 
produce of the fields, full of beasts unknown elsewhere, and 
where many rivers rushed through rocky beds. This land 
was ** Farther Bjarmeland." ^ If we except the forests this 
description suits Novaya Zemlya better than the Kola peninsula ; 

but it is extremely doubtful whether any real knowledge of 


1 Saxo, viii. 287, f. ; ed. by H. Jantzen, 1900, pp. 447, ff. ; ed. by P.^^Herr- 
mann, 190 1, pp. 385, ff. 



of SvalbarS 


these regions lies at the root of Saxo's mythical tales, in which, 
for instance, the travellers come to the river of death and the 
land of the dead. The designation Farther Bjarmeland may 
nevertheless point to a land having been known beyond the 
often-mentioned Bjarmeland. 

In the old legendary sagas there is frequent mention of 
** the Farther Bjarmeland," which lay to the north or north- 
east of the real Bjarmeland (Permia), and where there was a 
people of gigantic size and immense riches. This fabulous 
country may, it is true, be entirely mythical, perhaps originally 
derived from ancient Greek myths ; but on the other hand it 
may be the knowledge of Novaya Zemlya that has influenced 
the formation of the myths about it. However this may be, 
we may be sure that the voyages of the Norwegian hunters 
in those days extended into the eastern Polar Sea far beyond 
the limits of Ottar's voyage, and much farther than the chance 
mentions in the sagas of more or less warlike expeditions of 
chiefs to the White Sea would indicate. 

A notice that is extant relating to the year 1194 shows 
better than anything else that the Norwegians probably made 
extensive voyages in the Polar Sea, and the mention of it is 
purely fortuitous. In the ** Islandske Annaler " (in six different 
MSS.) it is briefly stated of the year 1194 : " SvalbarSs 
fundr " or ** Svalbart5i fundinn " (Svalbard was dis- 
covered) ; but that is all we are told ; surely no great geo- 
graphical discovery has ever been more briefly recorded in 
literature. Svalbart5i means the cold edge or side, and must 
here mean the cold coast. In the introduction to the Land- 
namabok we read about this land : 

"FromReykjaneson the south side of Iceland it is five [in Hauk's Landnama 
three] doegr's sea [i.e., sail] to JoUdulaup in Ireland to the south, but from Lan- 
ganes on the north side of Iceland it is four dcegr's sea to Svalbard on the north 
in Hafsbotn,^ but it is one doegr's sail to the uninhabited parts of Gieenland from 
Kolbeins-ey in the north." 

^ In the description of Greenland attributed to Ivar Bardsson we read : ' ' Item 
from Langanes, which lies uppermost (or northernmost) in Iceland by the 


As will be seen, Svalbard is spoken of, here and in the chapter 
Annals, as a land that is known. It is also mentioned in ^^^ 
Icelandic legendary sagas of the later Middle Ages. 

The Historia Norwegiae says of a country in the north : ' 

" But in the north on the other side of Norway towards the east there extend 
various peoples who are in the toils of heathendom (ah, how sad), namely the 
Kiriali and Kwseni, homed Finns ^ and both Bjarmas. But what people 
dwell beyond these we do not know for certain, though when some sailors 
were trying to saii back from Iceland to Norway, and were driven by contrary 

,1 .' ^ A .' . . ■ . | '° 12 hours sail 

Countries and seas discovered by the Norwegians and Icelanders. The 
shaded coasts were probably all known to them. The scale gives 
" dcegr "-sailing, reckoning 2° (or 120 geographical miles) to each 

*' doegr's " sail 

winds to the northern regions, they landed at last between the Greenlanders and 
the Bjarmas, where they asserted that they had found people of extraordinary 
size and the Land of Virgins (' virginum terram '), who are said to conceive 
when they taste water. But Greenland is separated from these by ice-clad skerries 
(• scopulis ')." 

aforesaid Hornns it is two days' and two nights' sail to Sualberde in haHsbaane (or 
haffsbotnen]." [F. J6nsson, 1899, p. 323.] 

1 Monumenta hist. Norv., ed. G. Storm, 1880, pp. 74, f., 79. 

2 In the " Rymbegla " [1780, p. 350] is mentioned, together with other 
fabulous beings in this part of the world, '* the people called * Hornfinnar,' they 
have in their foreheads a horn bent downwards, and they are cannibals." 



CHAPTER And in a later passage we read : 


* ' The fourth part [of Norway] is Halogia, whose inhabitants live in great measure 
with the Finns [Lapps], and trade with them ; this land forms the boundary of 
Norway on the north as far as the place called Wegestaf, which divides it from 
Bjarmeland (* Biarmonia 'I ; there is the very deep and northerly gulf which 
has in it Charybdis, Scylla, and unavoidable whirlpools ; there are also ice- 
covered promontories which plunge into the sea immense masses of ice that 
have been increased by heaving floods and are frozen together by the winter cold ; 
with these traders often collide against their will, when making for Greenland, 
and thus they suffer shipwreck and run into danger." 

It may seem probable that this description of a country in 
the north referred to Svalbard ; and the naive allusion to 
glacier-ice plunging from the land is most likely to be derived 
from voyagers to the Polar Sea ; for it seems less probable 
that it should be merely information about Greenland'transf erred 
to the North. Storm, it is true, dated the Historia Norwegiae 
between 1180 and 1190, that is, before the discovery of Svalbard 
according to the Annals ; but later writers place it in the 
thirteenth century, even as late as 1260 (see vol. i. p. 255). 
The ideas of the people of great size and of the Land of 
Virgins are obviously taken from Adam of Bremen, and may 
be a literary ornament. 
^"fB.tttaxA There have been different opinions as to what country 

Spitzbergen* Svalbard was. Many have thought that it might be the 
northern east coast of Greenland ; Jan Mayen has also been 
mentioned ; while others, like S. Thorlacius, a hundred 
years ago (1808), supposed that it was " the Siberian coasts 
of the Arctic Ocean, lying to the east of Permia (Bjarmeland), 
that the ancient Norsemen included under the name of Svalbard, 
i.e., the cold coast." Gustav Storm [1890, p. 344] maintained 
that Svalbard in all probability must be Spitzbergen,^ and 
many reasons point to the correctness of this supposition. 

No certain conclusion can be drawn about Svalbard from 
the passage quoted from the Landndmab6k. " On the north 
in Hafsbotn " must mean in some northerly direction ; for 
it is only the chief points of the compass, north, south and 

1 Cf. also A. Bugge, 1898, p. 499 ; G. Isachsen, 1907. 


west, that are mentioned, and no intermediate po'nts : '"or chapter 


one course alone, from Bergen to Hvarf in Greenland, the 
direction ** due west ** is given, whxh must be true west/ 
Langanes is said to lie on the north side of Iceland instead of 
on the north-east, from Reykjanes to Ireland the course was 
south, instead of south-east, etc. The points of the compass 
are ev'dently used in the same way as is still common in 
Norway ; ''in the north of the valley " may be used even if 
the valley bends almost to the west. The Landnama's state- 
ment (Stur^ub6k) that it is four ** dcegr's sea '* from Snaefellsnes 
"west " to Greenland (i.e., Hvarf) then agrees entirety with 
the common mode of expression that I have found among 
the arctic sailors of our day in Denmark Strait, where they 
never talk of anything but sailing east or west along the edge 
of the ice, even though it is north-east and south-west ; we 
sail westward from Faerder to Christianssand, or we travel 
south from Christiania to Christianssand. Consequently " on 
the north in Hafsbotn ** means the same as when we say 
north in Finmark (cf. Ottar*s directions, vol. i. p. 171), or 
even north in the White Sea, and speak of sailing north to Jan 
1 True north of Langanes there is no land : Jan Mayen lies nearest, N.N.E., 
and Greenland W.N.W. As the ** leidar-stein " (compass) was known in Iceland 
when Hauk's Landnamab6k was written (cf. vol. i. p. 248), magnetic directions 
might be meant here, and the variation of the compass may at that time have 
been great enough to make Greenland lie north (magnetic) of Langanes. In 
that case it is perhaps strange that Langanes should be mentioned as the starting- 
point, and not some place that lay nearer ; but it might be supposed that this 
was because one had first to sail far to the east to avoid the ice, when making 
for the northern east coast of Greenland. A large eastern variation would also 
agree with Jolldulaup in Ireland lying south of Reykjanes, the uninhabited parts 
of Greenland lying north of Kolbeins-ey (Mevenklint, see vol. i. p. 286), and the 
statement in the Sturlub6k that from Snsefellsnes it was " four * dcegr's ' sea 
west to Greenland " [i.e., Hvarf]. But it does not agree with this that from Bergen 
(or Henno) the course was ** due west " to Hvarf in Greenland ; and still less 
does it agree with its being, according to the Sturlub6k, ** seven * dcegr's * sail 
west from Stad in Norway to Horn in East Iceland." If these are courses by 
compass, we must then suppose a large eAstern variation between Norway and 
Iceland, which indeed is not impossible, but which will not accord with a large 
ivestern variation between Reykjanes and Ireland. The probability is, therefore, 
that magnetic courses are not intended. 



CHAPTER Mayen. As Langanes in particular, the north-east point of 
^^^ Iceland, is mentioned as the starting-point, we should be 

inclined to think that Svalbard was supposed to lie in a north- 
easterly direction ; it is true that the course to Ireland is 
calculated from Reyk janes and not from the south-east point 
of Iceland ; but this may be because the voyage was mostly 
made from the west country. 

The distances given in these sailing directions in the 
Landnamabdk are even less accurate than the points of the 
compass. From Stad in Norway to the east coast of Iceland 
is said to be seven ** doegr's " sail, while from Snsefellsnes to 
Hvarf is four ** doegr,*' from Reyk janes to Ireland three or 
five " doegr," from Langanes to Svalbard four " doegr," and 
from Kolbeins-ey to the uninhabited parts of Greenland one 
** dcegr." The actual distances are, however, approximately : 
from Norway to Iceland 548 nautical miles, from Snsefellsnes 
to Hvarf 692, from Reyk janes to Ireland 712, from Langanes 
to Spitzbergen 840 (from Langanes to Jan Mayen 288), and 
from Mevenklint to the east coast of Greenland 184 nautical 
miles. It is hopeless to look for any system in this ; the 
distances from Iceland to Greenland and from Iceland to 
Ireland are given as being much less {^ and f or f ) than the 
distance from Norway to Iceland, whereas in reality they are 
considerably more. In the fourth part of the " Rymbegla '* 
[1780, p. 482] a " doegr's " sail is given as equal to two 
degrees of latitude, that is, 120 nautical miles (or twenty-four 
of the old Norwegian sea-leagues), but according to the 
measurements given there would be 80 nautical miles in 
a ** doegr's " sail between Norway and Iceland, 172 between 
Iceland and Greenland, and 236 (or 144) between Iceland and 
Ireland. These measurements of distance are therefore far 
too uncertain to be of any use in finding Svalbard. According 
to the scale in the "Rymbegla " it would be two and a half 
" dcegr " to Jan Mayen, and seven ** doegr " to Spitzbergen 
from Langanes.^ 

* As already mentioned, a "doegr " was half a day of twenty-four hours, 


The old Norwegians imagined Hafsbotn [or Trollabotn] * as chapter 
the end (** botn ") of the ocean to the north of Norway and ^^^ 
north-east of Greenland, as far as one could sail to the north in 
the Polar Sea. But Svalbard lay according to the Landnamabok 
in the north of Hafsbotn ; and if one tries to sail northward 
in summer-time, either from Langanes, the north-east point 
of Iceland, or from Norway, endeavouring to keep clear of 
the ice, it will be difficult to avoid making Spitzbergen. If 
one followed the edge of the ice northwards from Iceland in 
July, it would infallibly bring one there. Such a voyage 
would correspond to the sailing directions from Snaefellsnes 
when they steered west to the edge of the ice off Greenland, 
and then followed it south-westwards round Hvarf. On the 
other hand, it would be impossible to arrive at the northern 
east coast of Greenland without venturing far into the ice, 
and it is not likely that the ancient Norsemen would have 
done this unless they knew that there was land on the inside 
and consequently hunting-grounds (cf. vol. i. p. 286). No doubt 
one might make Jan Mayen ; but it is difficult to suppose 
that this little island should have been given such a name, 
which is only suited to the coast of a larger country. The 
conclusion that Svalbard was not the northern east coast of 
Greenland seems also justified from the latter being mentioned 

and a " dcEgr's " sail is thus the distance sailed in a day or in a night. One might, 
perhaps, be tempted to think that here, where it is a question of sailing over the 
open sea, and where it would therefore be impossible to anchor for the night, as 
on the coast, a " doegr's " sail might mean the distance covered in the whole 
twenty-four hours [cf. G. Isachsen, 1907] ; but it appears from a passage in 
St. Olaf's Saga (in " Heimskringla "), amongst others, that this was not the usual 
way of reckoning ; for we read there (cap. 125) that Thorarinn Nevjolfsson sailed 
in eight "doegr" from More in Norway to Eyrar in south-western Iceland. 
Thorarinn went straight to the Althing and there said that " he had parted from 
King Olaf four nights before. ..." The eight " doegr " mean, therefore, four 
days' and four nights' sailing. Precisely the same thing appears from the sailing 
directions given above (p. 166) from Ivar Bardsson's description, where four 
*' dcegr's " sea is taken as two days' and two nights' sail. 

^ Sometimes also called Nordbotn (cf. vol. i. pp. 262, 303), perhaps mostly in 
fairy-tales. This form of the name is still extant in a fairy-tale from Fyresdal 
and Eidsborg about " Riketor Kraemar " [H. Ross in " Dolen," 1869, vii. No. 23]. 




CHAPTER immediately afterwards in Hauk's Landnamabok under the 
name of " the uninhabited parts of Greenland," one ** doegr's " 
sail north of Kolbeins-ey* (see vol. i. p. 286 ; vol. ii. p. 166). 
As has already been said, the Norwegians (cf. Historia 
Norwegiae and the "King's Mirror") and Icelanders (cf. 
the mediaeval Icelandic geography) thought that '* land 
extended from Bjarmeland to the uninhabited parts in the 
north, and as far as the beginning of Greenland," that is» 
round the whole of the north of Hafsbotn. From several 
legendary sagas of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries we 
can see that Svalbard was in fact reckoned among these unin- 
habited parts in the north, which were reached by sailing 
past Halogaland and Finmark, and northward over Dumbshav 
(see map, p. 34). 

Thus, in Samson Fagre's Saga [of about 1350] we read in 
the thirteenth chapter, " On the situation of the northern 

" Risaland lies east and north of the Baltic, and to the north-east of it lies 
the land that is called Jotunheimar, and there dwell trolls and evil spirits, but 
from thence until it meets the uninhabited parts of Greenland goes the land 
that is called Svalbard ; there dwell various peoples." [Gronl. hist. Mind.,iii. 
p. 524.] 

The outcome of what has been advanced above will be 
briefly : there can be no doubt, from the sober statement in 
the Icelandic Annals and in the Landnama, that the land of 
Svalbard really was discovered, even though the date need 
not be accurate ; and it may further be regarded as probable 
that this land was Spitzbergen. 

It may be supposed that it was discovered accidentally by 
a ship on the way between Iceland and Norway, as stated in 
the Historia Norwegiae, being driven by storms to the north 
of Hafsbotn ; but the mention of the country in the Land- 
namabok may indicate that the voyage was made more than 
once, and that knowledge of the country cannot in any case 
have been limited to an accidental discovery of this sort. 
It is more probable that the Norwegians and Icelanders carried 



on seal- and walrus-hunting northwards along the edge of chapter 
the ice in the Polar Sea, and in that case it was unavoidable xii 
that they should arrive at Svalbard or Spitzbergen. And when 
it was once discovered they must often have resorted to it ; 
for the valuable walrus was at that time very plentiful there. 

As we nowhere find mention of these sealing expeditions 
of the Norwegians in the Polar Sea, except in Ottar's narrative, 
it may be difficult to show certain evidence of their having 
taken place ; but the Russians' seal-hunting in the Polar jy^^ 
Sea, of which we hear as early as the sixteenth century, can in Russians' 
my opinion scarcely be explained in any other way than as a ■ ^ ^^^_ 
continuation in the main of the Norwegians' sealing. When tinuation of 
the English, and later the Dutch, came to the Murman coast *^® ^°^~ 
and the coasts eastwards as far as the Pechora, Vaigach and 
Novaya Zemlya, they found fleets of Russian smacks engaged 
in fishing and walrus-hunting ; most of them were from the 
Murman coast, some from the White Sea, and a few from the 
Pechora. Stephen Burrough thus found in June 1556 no less 
than thirty smacks in the Kola fjord, which had come sailing 
down the river, on their way to fishing- and sealing-grounds 
to the east. These smacks sailed well with the wind free, 
could also be rowed with twenty oars, and had each a crew of 
twenty-four men. 

Pistorius ^ refers to Andrei Mikhow as saying that the 
" Juctri " (Yugrians in the Pechora district) and ** Coreli " 
(Karelians) on the coast of the Polar Sea hunted seals and 
whales, of whose skins they made ropes, purses, and . . . ? 
(** redas, bursas et coletas "), and used the blubber (for light- 
ing ?) and sold it. They also hunted walrus (called by Mikhow 
by its Norwegian name ** rosmar "),^ the tusks of which they 
sold to the Russians. The latter kept a certain quantity for 
their own use, and sent the rest to Tartary and Turkey. The 

^ Pistorius, Polonicae historise corpus, 1582, i. 150. I have not had an oppor- 
tunity of consulting this work. We saw above (p. 163, note} that Olaus Magnus 
also quotes Mikhow. 

2 a. Noel, 1815, p. 215. 



and Lapps 
from the 


hunting was said to proceed in a curious fashion ; the walruses, 
which were very numerous, clambering up on to the mountain- 
ridges and there perishing in great numbers.^ The Yugrians 
and Karelians then collected the tusks on the shore. Is there 
here some confusion with stories of the collection of mammoth 
tusks ? 

What was said earlier (p. 145) from an Arabian source 
about steel blades being sold to the peoples on the coast of 
the Polar Sea in North Russia seems to point to sea-hunting 
having been well developed in these regions as early as the 
twelfth century ; for otherwise steel for hunting appliances 
could not have been a common article of commerce. 

That Norwegians and Russians often met in northern waters 
may apparently be concluded from the words already quoted 
from Erik Walkendorf, about 1520 (cf. p. 86), that fifteen 
of the Skraelings did not venture to approach a Christian or 
Ruten (i.e., Russian). As he places the land of the Skrselings 
north-north-west of Finmark, this seems to be a legend that 
is brought into connection with the Polar Sea. Of walrus- 
tusks he says that ** these are costly and greatly prized among 
the Russians." Unless this is taken from older literary 
sources (?), one might suppose that it was information he 
himself had obtained in Finmark, and it might then poin 
to the Norwegians having sold walrus-tusks to the Russians. 

The fact that, as mentioned above, a Russian author of 
the sixteenth century (Mikhow) uses the Norwegian name 
*' rosmar " seems also to point to Russian connection with 
the Norwegians in the arctic fisheries. In addition to this, 
the Russian word ** morsh '* for walrus is evidently the same 
as the Lappish " morssa *' (Finnish ** mursu **), and may 
originally be the same word as ** rosmar " (** rosmhvalr "). 
For it is striking that the same letters are present in * * morsh * * 
or ** morssa " as in ** rosm(hvalr)," or in ** rosmar " ; there 

^ The idea may have arisen through a misunderstanding of stories that the 
walruses often lie in great herds, close together, on the tops of skerries and 
small islands, and are there speared in great numbers by the hunters. 


is only a transference of consonants, which is often met with chapter 
in borrowed words in different languages. -^^^ 

I asked Professor Konrad Nielsen what he thought about this, and whether he 
could imagine any Finnish-Ugrian origin of the word, or whether any similar 
word was known, for instance, in Samoyed. He considers that my assumption 
may " be quite well founded." ^ He has consulted Professor Setala of Helsingfors 
about it, and the latter thinks that if the word was borrowed from Finnish into 
Russian, there is nothing to prevent its being connected with the Norse rosm(hvalr) 
— the latter would then, of course, be the primary form. Similar metatheses are 
found in other Norse loan-words in Finnish. Konrad Nielsen thinks that ' ' the 
Lappish word is pretty certainly borrowed from Finnish, ; o that the idea of its 
Norse origin meets with no difficulty from that quarter." And as to the possible 
Russian origin of the word, he has spoken to the Slavic authority. Professor 
Mikkola, who informs him that in popular language the Russian word is only 
found in the most northern dialects, and there is no point of connection in other 
Slavic languages, so that he regards it as probable that it is not originally a Slavic 
word. No Finnish-Ugrian etymology for the word can, according to Konrad 
Nielsen, be put forward. ** In Samoyed," he says, *' the name for walrus is only 
known as far as Jura-Samoyed (the most western dialect of Samoyed) is con- 
cerned : ' t'ewot'e,' ' tiut'ei.' I have compared this with the Lappish name for 
seal, ' daevok ' — ' davak ' — ' daevkka.' In this I see evidence that the Lapps 
(contrary to Wiklund's view) were acquainted with the Polar Sea and its animals 
before they came to Scandinavia." He also draws my attention to the fact that 
*' the Finnish ' norsu ' (in the older language also ' nursa '), * elephant,' seems 
to be connected with ' mursu,' which is easily explained by the analogous use 
of walrus-tusks and elephant-tusks." 

Professor Olaf Broch also considers my assumption probable, and has sub- 
mitted the question of the etymology of the Russian "morsh " to Professor 
Bemeker, who may doubtless be regarded as the first authority in questions of 
this kind. He replies that a " wild " etymologist might connect the word with 
a series of words in Slavic languages which express various movements ; but 

^ He calls my attention to two papers by Professor Sophus Bugge [in " Ro- 
mania," iii. 1874, p. 157, and iv. 1875, p. 363], in which the etymology of the 
French word ** morse " is discussed. Bugge first seeks to explain the word (pre- 
cisely as above) as a metathesis for " rosme," from the Danish " rosmer " = 
Old Norwegian " rosmall," " rosmhvalr." In the second paper he withdraws 
this explanation, and says that V. Thomsen has pointed out to him the identity 
of "morse" with the Russian "morsh," Polish "mors," Czeckish " mrz," 
Finnish " mursu," Lappish " mors." The word would " according to V. Thomsen 
be rather of Slavic (cf. ' more,' sea ?) than of Finnish origin." After what has 
been advanced above, this last conclusion may be somewhat improbable. Professor 
Nielsen also refers to Matzenauer, Cizi slova, p. 257, which I have not had an 
opportunity of consulting. 


rHAPTFR *^® Russian word, being so definitely localised, must doubtless be derived from 

YjT the North-Finnish linguistic region. Whether the Finnish "mursu," Lappish 

" morssa," " morsa," can be referred to a metathesis of Old Norse rosmhvalr, 

Danish rosmer, etc., Professor Berneker is unable to determine. " Buc with 

loan-words all sorts of anomalies take place, and no rules can be laid down." 

If we compare these various utterances of such eminent 
authorities, it appears to me that there are paramount reasons 
for regarding the Russian-Finnish name for walrus as of 
Norse origin. But in that case it also becomes probable that 
the Norwegians were the pioneers in walrus-hunting along 
the cocLsts of the Polar Sea, and that both the Finnish peoples 
and the Russians learned from them. 

It will doubtless be difficult to find a natural explanation 
of the peoples on the northern coasts of Russia having from 
the first developed their arctic sea-hunting with large craft, 
unless we suppose that they learned it from the Norwegians, 
and that it is thus a continuation of the methods of the latter. 
It should also be remembered that the Kola peninsula as far 
as the White Sea itself was reckoned a tributary country of 
Norway (cf. p. 135), and that the name of the Murman coast 
means simply the Norwegians' coast. None of the peoples 
on the north coast of Russia can have been a seafaring 
people very far back, as is shown by their boats and appli- 
ances ; and it is difficult to believe that they should have 
been able to develop independently a system of navigation 
on a coast presenting such unfavourable conditions ; no 
doubt they could have done so with small boats, originally 
river- boats, ^ but not with larger craft ; this they must most 

^ Professor Olaf Broch has described to me the peculiar river-boat that is used 
far and wide in North Russia, and that is evidently a very old type of boat. Broch 
saw it on the Sukhona, a tributary of the Dvina. The bottom of the boat is a dug- 
out tree-trunk of considerable size, which can only be found farther up the 
country. By heating the wood the sides are given the desired shape, and to the 
dug-out foundation is fastened a board on each side ; Broch did not remember 
whether it was sewed or nailed on. The boat is thus a transitional form between 
the dug-out canoe and the clinker-built boat. This type of boat may also have 
reached the shore of the Polar Sea ; but there cannot have been timber for building 
it there. 



probably have learned from their nearest seafaring neighbours, CHAPTER 
the Norwegians, who were masters at sea. ^^^ 

It is remarkable that already as early as in Adam of Bremen 
white bears (polar bears) are mentioned as occurring in Norway 
(cf. vol. i. pp. 191, f.). That this might be due to the connec- 
tion with Iceland and Greenland, even at that time, is perhaps 
possible, but not very probable, as these countries are mentioned 
separately by Adam. The white bears in Norway may rather 
point to a connection with the Polar Sea and to the Norwegians 
having practised sealing there. 

It is perhaps due to the same connection of the Norwegians with the Polar Sea Mention of 
that we find on the Italian Dalorto's map of 1325 (see next chapter) and on several white bears 
later maps the statement that there are white bears in northern Norway. Probably in Norway 
polar bears' skins were brought to the south from Norway as an article of com- 
merce and the Norwegians may have obtained the skins partly by their own 
hunting in the Polar Sea, partly by the trade with Greenland, and partly, no doubt, 
by that with the peoples on the north coast of Russia. The Arab Ibn Sa'id (thir- 
teenth century) mentions white bears in the northern islands, amongst them the 
island of white falcons (i.e., Iceland). " These bears' skins are soft, and they are 
brought to the Egjrptian lands as gifts." In the " Geographia Universalis " of 
the thirteenth century (see next chapter) the white bears in Iceland are described. 
It was a common idea in southern Europe in the Middle Ages that Greenland, 
and sometimes also Iceland (cf. Fra Mauro's map), lay to the north of Norway, 
or they were made continuous with it, and even a part of it. 

The Venetian Querini, who was wrecked on Rost Island and travelled south 
through Norway in 1432, says that he saw a perfectly white bear's skin at the 
foot of the Metropolitan's chair in St. Olaf 's Church at Trondhjem.^ As Greenland 
was under the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Trondhjem, this skin may have 
been a gift from pious Greenlanders, as perhaps were also the Eskimo hide-canoes 
mentioned by Claudius Clavus (cf. p. 85). In Norse literature polar bears are 
always connected with Icelanders or Greenlanders, who sometimes brought them 
alive as gifts to kings. 

We may thus conclude from what has been advanced 
above that the hunting of whales, seals, and particularly 
walrus was of great importance to the Norwegians in ancient 
times, and for the sake of the last they certainly made extended 
expeditions in the Arctic Ocean. It may therefore be difficult 
to understand how it came about that this sea-hunting declined 

1 Cf. A. Helland, Nordlands Amt, 1908, ii. p. '888. 
II M 177 


CHAPTER to such an extent in more recent times that we hear nothing 
^^^ , about the Norwegians' hunting in the Polar Sea, while in the 

the*^Nor-° sixteenth century fleets from the northern coasts of Russia 
wegians' were engaged in Ashing and walrus-hunting ; and Peder 
sea-hunting da^sson Friis is able to say of whaling in Norway (about 
1613) : 

"In old time many expedients or methods were used in these lands [i.e., 
Norway] for catching whales . . . but on account of men's unskilfulness they 
have fallen out of use, so that they now have no means of hunting the whale 
unless he drifts ashore to them." 

This seems to show that the Norwegians' whaling in open 
sea had really gone out of practice, for otherwise this author 
must have known of it ; on the other hand, whale-hunting 
in the fjords, which were closed by nets, has continued to 
our time. Walrus-hunting (as well as sealing) appears to 
have been still carried on in Finmark in Peder Clausson Friis's 

His description of the animal and its hunting is in part accompanied by stories 
similar to those in Olaus Magnus and Albertus Magnus (see p. 163), and he 
mentions the great strength of walrus-hide ropes, and their use "for clappers 
in hanging bells, item for shore-ropes and other ropes, and for the screws on the 
quay at Bergen, with which the dried fish is screwed into barrels, and for such 
other uses as no hawser or cable can so well serve for." This shows that these 
ropes must have been widely employed and that there must have been considerable 
hunting of walrus. According to an order of Christian IV., dated from Bergenhus 
Castle, July 6, 1622, fifteen walrus-hides were to be bought yearly for the King's 
service,^ and from K. Leem's description it seems that walrus was still hunted in 
Finmark in his time (1767). He says too [1767, p. 302] that " even the Sea-Lapps 
of the Varanger-Fiord formerly practised whaling, using for that purpose appliances 
invented and made by themselves." To this is added in a note by Gunnerus : 
*' The same thing may also be said in our time of the Lapps in Schjerv-island and 
of a few peasants in Nordland, especially in Ofoten." 

But in none of these accounts is there any hint that the 
Norwegians carried on their hunting beyond the limits of the 
country, as Ottar did in the ninth century. 

The decline of this productive hunting may have come 
about through the concurrence of many circumstances. Hostile 

1 Cf. K. Leem, 1767, p. 216. 



relations with the Karelians and Russians on the east may have CHAPTER 


had some influence on it ; as the latter in increasing numbers 
took up the same hunting in their smacks, the eastward waters 
may have become unsafe for the Norwegians, who, though 
superior in seamanship, were inferior in numbers. But a 
more important factor was the rapid growth of the fisheries 
on the home coasts in Finmark after the fourteenth century, 
which may have claimed all available hands, leaving none 
over for fishing in more distant waters. Besides which the 
influence of the Hanseatic League no doubt contributed ; 
then, as later, they learned to prefer the valuable trade in 
dried fish to fitting out vessels for the more uncertain and 
dangerous hunting in the Polar Sea, which they knew nothing 
about. Finally came the royal edict of April 1562, which 
enforced Bergen's monopoly in the trade with Finmark, 
whereby the dead hand was laid upon this part of the country, 
as formerly upon Greenland. In those days a corresponding 
displacement of the arctic fisheries must have taken place 
from Norway to north Russia, as in the last century again a 
displacement took place in the contrary direction, when the 
Russian hunting in the Arctic Ocean and Spitzbergen ceased 
and the Norwegians again became the only hunters in these 

It was a concatenation of unfortunate accidents that pro- Decline of 
duced the gradual decline of the voyages of the Norwegians navigation 
and of their unrestricted command of all northern waters 
from the White Sea, and probably also Novaya Zemlya and 
Spitzbergen, over all the northern islands, Shetland, the 
Orkneys (to some extent the Hebrides, Man and Ireland), 
the Faroes, Iceland, and as far as Greenland, and probably 
also for a time the north-east coast of America. Unfavourable 
political conditions had a great deal to do with this, not the 
least of them being the long union with Denmark, with the 
removal of the seat of government to Copenhagen, which was 
extremely unfavourable to the interests of Norwegian commerce. 
To this was added the growing power of the Hanseatic League 



CHAPTER in Norway, the effect of which was as demoralising to all 
^^^ activity in the country as it was paralysing to our navigation. 

But not the least destructive were the royal monopolies of 
trade with the so-called tributary countries of the kingdom ; 
like all State monopolies, they laid their dead hand upon all 
private enterprise. In this way the Norwegian command of 
northern waters received its death-blow ; while the mercantile 
fleets of other nations, especially the English, came to the fore, 
to a large extent by making use of Norwegian seamanship and 
enterprise ; thus the English seaport of Bristol seems to have 
had many Norwegians among its citizens, who certainly 
found there better conditions to work under than at home. 

The mass of knowledge the Norwegians had acquired 
about the northern regions, before their time entirely unknown, 
was to a great extent forgotten again ; and at the close of 
the Middle Ages all that remained was the communication 
with Iceland and the knowledge of the neighbouring seas, 
besides the continuance of the connection between the White 
Sea and Norway ; while the voyage to Greenland, to say 
nothing of America, was forgotten, at any rate by the mass of 
the people. 

The development of humanity often proceeds with a strangely 
lavish waste of forces. How many needless plans and unsuc- 
cessful voyages, how much toil and how many human lives 
would not a knowledge of the Norwegians' extensive discoveries 
have been able to save in succeeding ages ? How very different, 
too, might have been the development of many things, if by the 
chances of an unlucky destiny the decline of Norwegian navi- 
gation had not come just at a time when maritime enterprise 
received such a powerful impetus among more southern nations, 
especially the Portuguese, then the Spaniards, later the French, 
the English and the Dutch. By their great discoveries it was 
these nations who introduced a new era in the history of 
navigation, and also in that of polar voyages. But if Norwegian 
seamanship had still been at its height at that time, then cer- 
tainly the Scandinavians of Greenland would once more have 
1 80 


sought the already discovered countries on the west and south- chapter 
west, and the Greenland settlements might then have formed ^^^ 
an important base for new undertakings, whereby a new 
period of prosperity for Norwegian navigation and Norwegian 
enterprise might have been introduced. This was not to be ; 
it was only reserved for the Norwegians to be the people who 
showed the way to the other nations out from the coasts and 
over the great oceans. 






T the beginning of the Middle Ages and down to the 
fifteenth century the cartography of the Greeks, which 
had reached its summit in the work of Ptolemy, was entirely 
unknown in Europe ; while the early Greek conceptions (those 
of the Ionian school) of the disc of the earth or * * oecumene ' ' as 
a circle (called by the Romans " orbis terrarum," the circle of 
the earth) round the Mediterranean — and externally surrounded 
by the universal ocean — had persisted through the late Latin 
authors, and probably also through Roman maps. At the 
same time Parmenides' doctrine of zones (cf. vol. i. pp. 12, 123) 
remained prevalent owing to its enunciation by Macrobius, 
and maps exhibiting this doctrine were common until the 
sixteenth century. These two conceptions became the founda- 
tion of the learned view and representation of the world, and 
consequently also of the North, throughout the greater part of 
the Middle Ages. It was the age of speculation, not of observa- 
tion. The Scandinavians were the first innovators in geography, 



by going straight to nature as it is, unfettered by dogmas, chapter 
The Italian and Catalan sailors followed later with their ^"^ 
portulans (sailing-books) and compass- charts. 

We find what is perhaps the oldest known Christian map Oldest 

. . , . , , , . mediseval 

of the world (cf . vol. i. 

p. 126) in the "Chris- 
tian Topography ' ' of 
Cosmas Indico- 
pleustes.i An attempt 
is made to combine 
the Roman classical 
view of the world, as 
lands grouped round 
the Mediterranean, 
with Cosmas 's pious 
conception of it as 
formed on the same 
rectangular plan as 
the Jews* tabernacle. 
A map of the world 
of somewhat similar 
form is found in a 
MS. (by Orosius and 
Julius Honorius) of 
the eighth century, 
preserved in the 
library at Albi in 
Languedoc. But these 

attempts must be regarded as accidental. Typical of that time 
were the so-called wheel- or T-maps, the shape of which was The wheel- 
due especially to Isidore Hispaliensis (cf. vol. i. pp. 151, ff.). "i^p type 
The circular Roman maps of the world seem already to have 
had a tendency to a tripartition of the world : Europe, Asia 
and Africa. Sallust (in the " Bellum Jugurtinum ") indicates 
something of the sort, and Orosius's geographical system 

* The Florentine MS. of it dates from the ninth century. 


Map of the world from Albi in Languedoc, 
also called the Merovingian map (eighth 
century). The east is at the top, the 
Mediterranean in the middle, and the 
universal ocean outside, with its three bays : 
the Caspian Sea, the Persian Gulf and the 
Red Sea 



CHAPTER seems to be founded upon a map of this kind. In St. Augustine 
we first find the division of the T-map clearly expressed. This 
dogmatic-schematic form was fixed by Isidore, according to 
whom the round disc of the earth surrounded by the outer 
ocean was to be compared to a wheel (or an 0), divided into 
three by a T.^ Mechanical map-forms after this prescription 

Beatus map, from Osma, 1203. The east is at the top 

(cf . vol. i. pp. 125, 150) were common during the whole of the first 
part of the Middle Ages until the fourteenth century ; indeed 
they circulated and exercised influence far into the sixteenth ; 
but sometimes, in accordance with the four corners of the earth 
in the Bible, the maps were given a square form instead of a 

^ For this reason they were also called OT-maps, which corresponded to the 
initial letters of " orbis terrarum." 


round. In spite of the fact that most authors, among them CHAPTER 
Isidore himself, expressly declare that the earth had the form ^^^^ 
of a globe, this does not seem to have been anything more than 
a purely theoretical doctrine, for in cartographical representa- 
tions, through the whole of the Middle Ages to about the close 
of the fifteenth century, there is never any hint of projection, 
or of any difficulty in transferring the spherical surface of the 
earth to a plane, which had been so clearly present to the minds 
of the Greeks. 

The wheel-maps were, as we have said, from the first 
purely formal ; r,p.«nt,.o 

but by degrees 
an attempt was 
made to bring 
into the scheme 
real geographi- 
cal informa- 
tion, although 
the endeavour 
to approach 
reality in the 
is scarcely to 
be traced. To 

this type of map belongs the so-called Beatus map, which The Beatus 
the Spanish monk Beatus (ob. 798) added to his commentary '"^P 
on the Apocalypse, and which was reproduced in very vary- 
ing forms, ten of which have been preserved. The original 
map, which is not known, was probably round, but in the 
reproductions the circle of the earth is sometimes more or 
less round (as in the illustration, p. 184), sometimes oblong 
(cf. vol. i. p. 199), and sometimes four-sided with rounded 
corners [cf. K. Miller, ii., 1895]. Jerusalem was frequently 
placed in the centre of the wheel-maps, Paradise (often with 
Adam and Eve at the time of the Fall, or with the four rivers 
of Paradise) in the extreme east of Asia, which is at the top of 


Northern Europe on Heinrich of Mainz's map, 
at Cambridge (mo) 


CHAPTER the map, and the Mediterranean (Mare magnum), which forms 
^" the stem of the T, pointing down (cf. vol. i. p. 150). The cross- 

stroke of the T was formed by the rivers Tanais (with the Black 
Sea) and Nile. In the band of ocean surrounding the disc of the 
earth the oceanic islands were distributed more or less according 
to taste, and as there happened to be room. Thus in the version 
of the Beatus map here given, from Osma in Spain (of 1203), 

Northern Europe on the Hereford map (circa 1280) 


Scandinavia appears as an island ( ' ' Scada insula ' ') by the North 
Pole, as in the Ravenna geographer (cf. the map, vol. i. p. 152), 
and the " Orcades " (the Orkneys) and " Gorgades " (the 
fabulous islands of the Greeks to the west of Africa) are 
placed on the north-east of Asia. The so-called Sallust-maps, 
drawn up from Sallust's description of the world in the Bellum 
Jugurtinum [cf. K. Miller, iii., 1895, pp. no, ff.], were another 
type of very formal wheel-maps that were still current in the 
fourteenth century. 


But by degrees many changes were introduced into the 
strict scheme. The outer coast-line of the continents was in 
parts indented by bays and prolonged into peninsulas, and the 
islands were given a less formal shape. Such attempts appear, 
for instance, in Heinrich of Mainz's map, which is taken to 
have been drawn in mo [cf. K. Miller, iii., 1895, p. 22], and 
the closely related *' Hereford map " of about 1280 by Richard 
de Holdingham [cf. K. Miller, iv., 1896 ; Jomard, 1855]. Some 
resemblance to these maps is shown by the ** Psalter " map 
in London, of the 
second half of 
the thirteenth 
century, and the 
closely related 
** Ebstorf " map 
of 1284 [cf.1 K. 
Miller, iii. pp. 
37, ff. ; iv. p. 3 ; 
v.] ; and it is 
quite possible 
that they may all 
be derived from 
the same original source ; there is in particular a great 
resemblance in their representation of Britain and Ireland. 
On the first three of these maps Scandinavia or Norway 
("Noreya" or "Norwegia") forms a peninsula with gulfs 
on the north and south sides. On Heinrich's map there is 
beyond this an island or peninsula, called " Ganzmir," a name 
which occurs again on the Hereford map (cf. vol. i. p. 157) ; 
Miller explains it as a corruption of Canzia, Scanzia (Scandi- 
navia). On the " Lambert '* map in the Ghent codex of 
before 1125 [cf. K. Miller, iii., 1895, p. 45], " Scanzia," also 
with the name " Norwegia," is represented as a peninsula with 
narrow gulfs running up into the continent on each side. 
** Island " (or " Ysland ") appears on Heinrich's and the 
Hereford maps as an island near Norway. On the Ebstorf map 



The North 
on known 
of the 
Middle Ages 

Northern part of the Psalter map (thirteenth century) 


work and 
the Geo- 


" Scandinavia insula '* and " Norwegia " are also shown as 
islands. Many fabulous countries, such as " Iperboria " (the 
land of the Hyperboreans), " Arumphei " (on the Psalter map, 
i.e., the land of the Aremphaeans, cf. vol. i. p. 88), etc., 
appear as peninsulas or islands in the northern regions on 
several of these maps ; on the other hand, neither Green- 
land nor Wineland occurs on any of them. 

Ranulph Higden's map of the world, which accompanied 
his already mentioned work, " Polychronicon " (of the first 
part of the fourteenth century), is more fettered by the scheme 

Northern Europe on the Lambert map at Ghent (before 1 125) 

of the wheel-maps in the form of the outer coast-line and 
of the islands. He took his vows in 1299, was a monk of 
St. Werburg's Abbey at Chester, and died at a great age in 1363. 
Various reproductions of his map are known, but they display 
little sense of realistic representation. " Scandinavia " is 
placed in Asia on the Black Sea, together with the Amazons 
and Massagetae, and to the north of it ** Gothia " (Sweden ?). 
Islands in the ocean off the coast of northern Europe are called 
" Norwegia," " Islandia," " Witland " (or " Wineland," etc.), 
with " gens ydolatra," " Tile " (Thule) and '* Dacia " (Den- 
mark) with " gens bellicosa " somewhere near the North Pole. 
In spite of this representation on the map, the Polychronicon 
(cf. above, p. 31) contains various statements about the 
North, which may point to a certain communication with it, or 
may be echoes of Northern writers. Higden to a large extent 
copied an earlier work, the " Geographia Universalis," a sort 


of geographical lexicon by an unknown author of the thirteenth CHAPTER 
century/ which is for the most part based on earlier writers, ^"^ 
especially Isidore. Both works are practically untouched by 
the knowledge of the North that had already appeared in King 


Ranulph Higden's map of the world, in London (fourteenth century) 

^ The work is preserved in the British Museum in a MS. of the fourteenth 
century, which unfortunately has not been published. The geographical descrip- 
tions in the Eulogium Historiarum of about 1360 (vol. ii. Rerum Britann. Medii 
JE'vi Script., London, i860, cf. the introduction by F. S. Haydon) may be taken 
from this work. It is evidently a MS. of the same ** Geographia " that W. Wacker- 
nagel found in the library at Berne, and of which he published extracts relating 
to the North [1844]. I* is probably the same " Geographia Universalis," again, 
that is published in Bartholomaeus Anglicus : De proprietatibus rerum, and in 
Rudimenta Novitiorum, Liibeck, circa 1475. 



CHAPTER Alfred and in Adam of Bremen, and show how much ignorance 
Xin could still prevail in learned quarters on many points connected 

with these regions. The " Geographia " speaks of '* Gothia," 
or lower Scythia, as a province of Europe, but obviously 
confuses Sweden (the land of theGotar) and Eastern Germania 
(the land of the Goths). Norway (" Norwegia ") was very 
large, far in the north, almost surrounded by the ocean ; it 
bordered on the land of the Goths (Gotar), and was separated 
from Gothia (Sweden) on the south and east by the river Albia 
(the Gota river). The inhabitants live by fishing and hunting 
more than by bread ; crops are few on account of the severity 
of the cold. There are many wild beasts, such as white 
bears, etc. There are springs that turn hides, wood, etc., into 
stone ; there is midnight sun and corresponding winter dark- 
ness. Corn, wine and oil are wanting, unless imported. The 
inhabitants are tall, powerful and handsome, and are great 
pirates. " Dacia " ^ was divided into many islands and 
provinces bordering on Germania. Its inhabitants were de- 
scended from the Goths (Gotar ? cf. Jordanes, vol. i. p. 135), 
were numerous and finely grown, wild and warlike, etc. 
" Svecia " (the land of the Svear) is also mentioned. That 
part of it which lay between the kingdoms of the Danes and of 
the Norwegians was called Gothia. Svecia had the Baltic Sea 
on the east and the British Ocean on the west, the mountains 
and people of Norway on the north, and the Danes on the 
south. They had rich pastures, metals and silver mines. The 
people were very strong and warlike, they once ruled over the 
greater part of Asia and Europe. 

** * Winlandia ' is a country along the mountains of Norway on the east, 
extending on the shore of the ocean ; it is not very fertile except in grass and 
forest ; the people are barbarously savage and ugly, and practise magical arts, 
therefore they offer for sale and sell wind to those who sail along their coasts, or 
who are bebalmed among them. They make balls of thread and tie various knots 

^ The name of "Dacia" for Denmark, which frequently occurs on maps 
of the Middle Ages, arose through a confusion of the name of the Roman province 
on the Danube with " Dania." 


on them, and tell them to untie three or more knots of the ball, according to the CHAPTER 
strength of wind that is desired. By making magic with these [the knots] through XIII 
their heathen practices, they set the demons in motion, and raise a greater or 
less wind, according as they loosen more or fewer knots in the thread, and some- 
times they bring about such a wind that the unfortunate ones who place reliance 
on such things perish by a righteous judgment." 

It is possible that the name '' Winlandia " itself is a 
confusion of Finland (i.e., the land of the Finns [Lapps], 
Finmark) with Vinland (cf. above, p. 31) ; although the 
description of the country must refer to the former. It may be 
supposed that a misunderstanding of the name was the origin 
of the myth of selling wind being connected with it. The idea 
persisted, and the same myth is given so late as by Knud Leem 
[1767, p. 3] from an anonymous book of travels in northern 

Of Iceland the " Geographia '* says : 

** ' Yselandia ' is the uttermost part of Europe beyond Norway on the north. 
... Its more distant parts are continually under ice by the shore of the ocean 
on the north, where the sea freezes to ice in the terrible cold. On the east it has 
Upper Scythia, on the south Norway, on the west the Hibernian Ocean. . . . 
It is called Yselandia as the land of ice, because it is said that there the mountains 
freeze together to the hardness of ice. Crystals are found there. In that region 
are also found many great and wild white bears, that break the ice in pieces with 
their claws and make large holes, through which they plunge down into the 
water and take fish under the ice. They draw them up through the said holes, 
and carry them to the shore, and live on them. The land is unfertile in crops 
except in a few places. . . . Therefore the people live for the most part on fish 
and hunting and meat. Sheep cannot live there on account of the cold, and 
therefore the inhabitants protect themselves against the cold and cover their 
bodies with the skins of the wild beasts they take in hunting. . . . The people 
are very stout, powerful, and very white (' alba ')." 

In Higden's Polychronicon Gothia is also spoken of as 
lower Scythia, but among the provinces of Asia, although it is 
said that it lies in Europe ; it has on the north Dacia and the 
Northern Ocean. But the geographical confusion in this work 
is greater ; as already mentioned (p. 31), the countries of the 
Scandinavians are described together with the Insulae For- 
tunatae, Wyntlandia, etc., as islands in the outer ocean. The 
disagreement between Higden's text and his map gives us an 



The Cot- 




insight into how little weight was attached at that time to the 
relation between maps and reality ; they are for the most part 
merely graphic schemes. Probably Higden's map was partly 
copied from an older one, and the desirability of bringing it into 
better agreement with his text did not occur to him. 

The so-called ** Anglo-Saxon mappamundi " or " Cotto- 
niana " (reproduced vol. i. pp. i8o, 183), which is in the 
British Museum, occupies a position of its own among early 
mediaeval maps. Its age is uncertain ; it may at the earliest 
date from the close of the tenth century, but possibly it is as 
late as the twelfth [cf. K. Miller, iii., 1895, p. 31]. It exhibits 
no agreement with the text of Priscian (Latin translation of 
Dionysius Periegetes, see vol. i. p. 114), to which it is appended. 
Many of the names might rather be derived from Orosius, there 
is also great resemblance to Mela (cf. vol. i. pp. 85, ff.), 
and in some ways to the mediaeval maps already mentioned, 
although the representation of the North is different. Probably 
an older, perhaps Roman (?) map formed the basis of it. 
Name-forms like Island, Norweci ^ (Norwegia), Sleswic, Sclavi, 
may remind us of Adam of Bremen, but they may also be 
older. This map is doubtless less formal than the pronounced 
wheel-map type, but it does not bear a much greater resemblance 
to reality, although the form of Britain, for instance, may show 
an effort in that direction. The peninsula which has been 
given the name of Norweci (Norway) has most resemblance to 
Jutland, and the name seems to have been misplaced. No doubt 
it ought rather to have been attached to the long island lying 
to the north, which has been given the names Scridefinnas and 
Island. The representation has great resemblance to Edrisi's 
map (cf. p. 203), where Denmark forms a similar peninsula, 
and Norway a similar long island, with two smaller islands to 
the east of Denmark, which is also alike. The '' Orcades 
Insule " are given a wide extension on the Cottoniana map, 
and Tyle (Thule) lies to the north-west of Britain, as it should 

^ " Nero," which appears before this word on the map (see vol. i. p. 183 J, is 
crossed out, and was evidently an error, 


do according to Orosius. This map does not therefore indicate, chapter 
any more than the others, any particular increase of knowledge ^^^^ 
of the North, and compared with King Alfred's work it is still 
far behind in the dark ages. 

The zone-maps, already alluded to, which are derived from Macrobius's 
Macrobius (cf. vol. i. p. 123), gave a formal representation of zone-^naps 
the earth of a peculiar kind, which was common throughout 
the whole of the Middle Ages ; they may be regarded as mathe- 
matical geography more than anything else. The earth is 
divided in purely formal fashion into five zones, two of which 
are habitable : our temperate zone and the unknown temperate 
zone of the antipodes (in the southern hemisphere) ; and three 
uninhabitable : the torrid zone with the equatorial ocean, and 
the two frigid zones, north and south. These conceptions also 
reached the North at an early time, and are mentioned in the 
** King's Mirror," amongst other works, although its author 
thought that the inhabited part of Greenland really lay in the 
frigid zone. A zone-map from Iceland is also known of the 
thirteenth century. Another of the fourteenth century and a 
kind of wheel-map of the twelfth century, but with geographical 
names only without coast-lines, are also found in Icelandic 
MSS., besides a small wheel- and T-map.^ Otherwise it is not 
known that maps were drawn in the North during the Middle 
Ages. A purely formal wheel- and T-map is known from Lund 
before 1159 [see Bjornbo, 1909, p. 189]. Another Danish wheel- 
map of the sixteenth century is known [see Bjornbo, 1909, 
p. 192], and Bjornbo reproduces [1909, pp. 193, ff.] two wheel- 
maps of i486 from Liibeck, belonging to Professor Wieser, 
where the lands and islands of the North are drawn as round 
discs (with names) in the outer universal ocean. 

^ Cf. Rafn, Antiquites Russes, ii. pp. 390, ff., PI. IV. ; K. Miller, iii., 1895, 
p. 125. 

II N 193 


many con 



If we turn now from the intellectual darkness of Christian 

Western Europe in the early Middle Ages to contemporary- 
Arabic literature, it is as though we entered a new world ; 
not least is this shown in geographical science, where the 
authors follow quite different methods. Through their contact 
The Arabs' with the intellectual world of Greece in the Orient, the Arabs 
kept alive the Greek tradition ; they had translations in their 
own language of Euclid, Archimedes, Aristotle, the now lost 
work of Marinus of Tyre, and others, and of special importance 
to their geographical knowledge was their acquaintance with 
Ptolemy's astronomy and geography, which had been forgotten 
in Europe, and which first became known there through the 
Arabs (cf. vol. i. p. 1 16). They were also acquainted with Greek 
cartography. To this education in Greek views and interests 
was added the fact that they had better opportunities than any 
other nation of collecting geographical knowledge ; through 
their extensive conquests and through their trade they reached 
China on the east — where for a considerable time their 
merchants had fixed colonies, first in Canton (in the eighth 
century), and later, in the ninth century, even in Khanfu (near 
Shanghai) 1 — and the western coasts of Europe and Africa on 
the west, the Sudan and Somaliland (and even Madagascar) on 
the south, and North Russia on the north. In spite of the 
religious fanaticism which in the seventh century made them 
an irresistible nation of conquerors, they had civilisation 
enough to remember that ** the ink of science is worth more 
than the blood of martyrs," and there flourished among them 
a remarkably copious literature, with an endless variety of 
works, from the ninth century through the whole of the Middle 

Although the Arabs never attained the Greeks' capacity 
for scientific thinking, their literature nevertheless reveals an 

The Arabs' 
sense for 

* Cf. M. de Goeje in the *' Livre des Merveilles de I'lnde," ed. by v. d. Lith 
and Devic, Leiden, iBS^^Sd, p. 295. 


intellectual refinement which, with the dark Middle Ages chapter 
of Europe as a background, has an almost dazzling ^^^^ 
effect. The Arab geographers have a special gift for collecting 
concrete information about countries and conditions, about 
peoples' habits and customs, and in this they may serve as 
models ; on the other hand sober criticism is not their strong 
side, and they had a pronounced taste for the marvellous ; if 
classical writers, and still more the learned men of the 
European Middle Ages, had blended together trustworthy 
information and fabulous myth more or less uncritically, the 
Arabs did so to an even greater degree, and we often find in 
them a truly oriental splendour in the mythical ; thus it must 
not surprise us to hear of whales two hundred fathoms long 
and snakes that swallow elephants in the same author (Ibn 
Khordadbah) who says that the earth is round like a sphere, 
and that all bodies are stable on its surface because the air 
attracts their lighter parts [thus we have the buoyancy of the 
air], while the earth attracts towards its centre their heavy 
parts in the same way as the magnet influences iron [a perfectly 
clear description of gravitation]. 

Chiefly on account of the language the new fund of geo- 
graphical knowledge, which, together with much that is 
mythical, is contained in the rich literature of the Arabs, did 
not attain any great importance in mediaeval Europe ; on the 
other hand the Arabs exercised more influence through the 
geographical myths and tales which they brought orally from 
the East to Europe, and, as we have seen, the world of Irish 
myth, amongst others, was influenced thereby. 

The ideas of the Arabs about the North are, in most cases. The Arabs' 
very hazy. Putting aside the partly mythical conceptions ^thThe°" 
that they had derived from the Greeks (especially Ptolemy), North 
they obtained their information about it chiefly in two ways : 
(i) by their commercial intercourse in the east with Russia — 
chiefly over the Caspian Sea with the towns of Itil and Bulgar i 

^ Bulgar was the capital of the country of the Mohammedan Bulgarians. 
These were a Finnish people. From Bulgar or Bolgar comes the name Volga. 


Ibn Khor- 
A.D. 885 


on the Volga — they received information about the districts in 
the north of Russia, and also about the Scandinavians, com- 
monly called Rus, sometimes also Warank. (2) Through their 
possessions in the western Mediterranean, especially in 
Spain, they came in contact with the northern peoples of 
Western Europe, the Scandinavian Vikings (** Magus ") in 
particular, and in that way acquired information. 

" Magus " ^ means in the west the same northern people, 
the Scandinavians, whom in the east the Arabs called Rus or 
Warangs, which word they may have got from the Greek 
** Varangoi " {Bdpayyoi) and the Russian ** Varyag." 

All that the Arab authors of the oldest period have 
about the North, and that is not taken from the Greeks, they 
got through their commercial connections with Russia ; but it 
is not until the ninth century and later that anything worth 
mentioning appears, and even in the tenth and eleventh 
centuries their ideas on the subject are very much tinged with 
myth. Professor Alexander Seippel in his work ** Rerum 
Normannicarum fontes Arabici " [1896], printed in Arabic, has 
collected the most important statements about the North in 
mediaeval Arabic literature, and has been good enough to 
translate parts of these, which I give in the following pages. I 
have also made some additions from other sources. In an 
earlier chapter (pp. 143, ff.) several Arabic authors have already 
been quoted on the connection with Northern Russia. 

The imperfection of Arabic script and its common omission 
of vowels easily give rise to all kinds of corruptions and mis- 
understandings ; this is especially fatal to the reproduction of 
foreign words and geographical names, which explains the 
great uncertainty that prevails in their interpretation. 

In the oldest Arab writers, of the ninth century and later, 
there is little or no knowledge of the North. We are only told 
in some of their works that furs come from there, and that the 
ocean in the north is entirely unknown. Abu'l-Qasim Ibn 
Khordadbah (ob. 912), a Persian by descent and the Caliph's 

1 For the origin of the ticune, see p. 55, note. 


postmaster in Media, thus relates in his '* book of routes and CHAPTER 
provinces " (completed about 885) : ^ "^^^^ 

" As concerns the sea that is behind [i.e., to the north of] the Slavs, and 
whereon the town of TuUa [i.e., Thule] lies, no ship travels upon it, nor any boat, 
nor does anything come from thence. In like manner none travels upon the sea 
wherein lie the Fortunate Isles, and from thence nothing comes, and it is also in 
the west." "The Russians,^ who belong to the race of the Slavs [i.e., Slavs and 
Germans], travel from the farthest regions of the land of the Slavs to the shore 
of the Mediterranean (Sea of Rum), and there sell skins of beaver and fox, as 
well as swords " (?). 

The Russian merchants also descended the Volga to the 
Caspian Sea, and their goods were sometimes carried on camels 
to Bagdad.^ 

There was no great change in knowledge of the North in ibn ai- 

the succeeding centuries. Ibn al-Faqih, about 900 A.D., has ^^''^J'j-v 

nothing to say about the North. He mentions in the seventh 

climate women who ** cut off one of their breasts and burn it 

at an early age so that it may not grow big, ' ' ^ and he says that 

Tulia (Thule) is an island in the seventh sea between Rumia 

(Rome) and Kharizm (Khwarizm in Turkestan), ** and there 

no ship ever puts in." Ibn al-Bahlul, about 910 A.D., gives ibn al- 

information after Ptolemy about the latitudes of the northern ^^^^"^' 

^ 910 A.D. 

regions and mentions two islands of Amazons, one with men 

1 Cf. Ibn Khordadhbeh, 1889, pp. xx., 67, 88, 115 ; 1865, pp. 214, 235, 264. 

- " Rus " was the name of the Scandinavians (mostly Swedes) in Russia 
who founded the Russian empire ("Gardarike" or "SviJ'joS hit mikla "). 

3 Among the four wonders of the world Ibn Khordadbah mentions "a 
bronze horseman in Spain [cf. the Pillars of Hercules], who with outstretched 
arm seems to say : Behind me there is no longer any beaten track, he who 
ventures farther is swallowed up by ants." So De Goeje translates it. It might 
seem to be connected with the swarms of ants that came down to the shore and 
wanted to eat the men and their boat on the first larger island out in the ocean 
that Maelduin arrived at in the Irish legend (cf. vol. i. p. 336) ; but Professor 
Seippel thinks it possible that the original reading was " is swallowed up in 
sand " (and not by ants). 

^ This comes very near to Hippocrates' words about the Amazons, that the 
mothers burn away the right breast of their girl children, ' * thereby the breast 
ceases to grow and all the strength and fullness goes over to the right shoulder 
and arm " (cf. also vol. i. p. 87). 





Ibn Ruste, 
912 A.D. 

before 950 


and one with women, in the extreme northern ocean [Seippel, 
1896]. Qodama Ibn Gafar (ob. 948 or 949 A.D.) says of the 
encircling ocean (the Oceanus of the Greeks) in which the 
British Isles lie that 

" it is impossible to penetrate very far into this ocean, the ships cannot get 
any farther there ; no one knows the real state of this ocean." [Cf. De Goeje 
in Ibn Khordadhbeh, 1889, p. 174.] 

Abu 'All Ahmad Ibn Ruste, about 912 A.D., says of the 
Russians (" Rus," that is, Scandinavians, usually Swedes) 
that they live on an island, which is surrounded by a sea, is 
three days* journey (about seventy-five miles) long, and is 
covered with forest and bogs ; it is unhealthy and saturated 
to such a degree that the soil quakes where one sets foot on it. 
They come in ships to the land of the Slavs and attack them, etc. 
They have neither fixed property, nor towns, nor agriculture ; 
their only means of support is the trade in sable, squirrel and 
other skins, which they sell to any one who will buy them. 
They are tall, of handsome appearance, and courageous, etc.^ 
Probably there is here a confusion of various statements ; the 
ideas about the unhealthy bog-lands are doubtless connected 
with northern Russia, and the trade in sables can scarcely be 
referred to the Swedes on the Baltic.^ 

The well-known historian, traveller and geographer, Abu'l 
Hasan 'AH al-Masudi (ob. 956), in his book (allegorically 
entitled *' Gold- washings and Diamond-mines ") repeats certain 
Arab astronomers who say 

' ' that at the end of the inhabited world in the north there is a great sea, of 
which part lies under the north pole, and that in the vicinity of it there is a town 
[or land] which is called Tulia, beyond which no inhabited country is found." 
He mentions two rivers in Siberia : " the black and the white Irtish ; both are 
considerable, and they surpass in length the Tigris and Euphrates ; the distance 
between their two mouths is about ten days. On their banks the Turkish tribes 
Kaimak and Ghuzz have their camps winter and summer." 

He also states that the black fox's skin, which is the most 
valuable of all, comes from the country of the Burtasians 

^ Cf. V. Thomsen, 1882, p. 34. 
^ As to the trade in furs, etc., see above, pp. 144, f. 


(a Finnish people in Russia, Mordvins ?), and is only found chapter 
there and in the neighbouring districts. Skins of red and white ^"^ 
foxes are mentioned from the same locality, and he gives an 
account of the extensive trade in furs, whereby these skins are 
brought to the land of the Franks and Andalusia [i.e., Spain], 
and also to North Africa, ' ' so that many think they come from 
Andalusia and the parts of the land of the Franks and of the 
Slavs that border upon it." ^ He also has a statement to the 
effect that before the year 300 of the Hegira [i.e., 912 A.D.] 
ships with thousands of men had landed in Spain and ravaged 
the country. | " .^^^ . ^^^i^,J • 

" The inhabitants asserted that these enemies were heathens, who made an 
inroad every two hundred years, and penetrated into the Mediterranean by another 
strait than that whereon the copper lighthouse stands [i.e., the Straits of Gibraltar]. 
But I believe (though Allah alone knows the truth) that they come by a strait 
[canal] which is connected with Maeotis [the Sea of Azov] and Pontus [the Black 
Sea], and that they are Russians [i.e., Scandinavians] . . . for these are the 
only people who sail on these seas which are connected with the ocean." ^ 

This is evidently the ancient belief that the Black Sea was 
connected through Maeotis with the Baltic. 

The celebrated astronomer and mathematician, Abu-r- Ai-Birani, 
Raihan Muhammad al-Biruni (973-1038, wrote in 1030),^ a '°3o a.d. 
Persian by birth, is of interest to us as the first Arabic author 
who uses the name * * Warank " * for Scandinavian, and 
mentions the Varangians' Sea or Baltic. 

1 Seippel, 1896 ; cf. Macoudi, 1861, p. 275 ; 1896, pp. 92, f. ; i86i, p. 213. 

2 Macoudi, i86i, pp. 364, f. 

3 Seippel, 1896, pp. 42, 43. 

* In the Russian chronicles the word is *' Varyag " (plur. " Varyazi "J, and 
the Baltic is called ** Varyaz'skoye More " (the Varaegian Sea J. It is the same 
word as Varaeger, Varanger, or Vaeringer (in Greek VarangoiJ for the originally 
Scandinavian life-guards in Constantinople. The Greek princess Anna Comnena 
(circa iioo), celebrated for her learning, speaks of the " Varangians from Thule "• 
as the " axe-bearing barbarians." In a Greek work of the eleventh century, by 
an unknown author, it is said of Harold Hardrade that " he was the son of the 
king of ' Varangia ' (BapayytaJ." The word is evidently from a Scandinavian 
root ; but its etymology can hardly be regarded as certain. It was probably 
used originally by the Russians in Gardarike of their kindred Scandinavians, 
especially the Swedes on the Baltic [cf. Vilhelm Thomsen, 1882, pp. 93, if.]. 



CHAPTER ^^ ^^^ text-book of the elements of astronomy he says that from " the Encir- 

XIII cling Ocean " [the Oceanus of the Greeks], out into which one never sails, but 

only along the coast, "there proceeds a great bay to the north of the Slavs, 
extending to the vicinity of the land of the Mohammedan Bulgarians [on the 
Volga]. It is known by the name of the Varangians' Sea (' Bahr Warank 'J, 
and they [the Varangians] are a people ^ on its coast. Then it bends to the east 
in rear of them, and between its shore and the uttermost lands of the Turks [i.e., 
in East Asia] there are countries and mountains unknown, desert, untrodden." 

Al-Biruni also has a very primitive map of the world as a 
round disc in the ocean, indented by five bays, of which the 
Varangians' Sea is one [cf. Seippel, 1896, PI. I]. The peoples 
who are beyond the seventh climate, that is, in the northern- 
most regions, are few, says he, ''such as the Isu [i.e., Wisu], 
and the Warank, and the Yura [Yugrians] and the like." 
Ai-Gazai's ^^® Arabs of the West came in contact with the North 

voyage to through the Norman Vikings, whom they called Magus (cf. 
the Magfls p ^^^^ ^^^ ^j^^ ^^ ^^^ ninth century and later made several 

predatory expeditions to the Spanish Peninsula. Their first 
attack on the Moorish kingdom in Spain seems to have taken 
place in 844, when, amongst other things, they took and 
sacked Seville. After that expedition, an Arab writer tells us, 
friendly relations were established between the sultan of 
Spain, 'Abd ar-Rahman II., and "the king of the Magus," and, 
according to an account in Abu'l-Khattab 'Omar Ibn Dihya^ 
(ob. circa 1235), the former is even said to have sent an 

^ The Persian version and as-Shirazi add " tall, warlike." 

2 The Christian Jew Assaf Hebraeus's cosmography, of the eleventh century, 
was probably written in Arabic, but is only known in a Latin and a Hebrew 
translation [cf. Ad. Neubauer, in ** Orient und Occident," ed. Th. Benfey, ii., 
Gottingen, 1864, pp. 657, ff.]. He mentions beyond " Scochia " [Scotland] the 
land of " Norbe " [Norway] with an archbishopric and ten bishoprics. In these 
northern lands, and particularly in Ireland, there are no snakes. Many other 
countries and islands are beyond Britain and the land of " Norve " [Norway], 
but the island of * ' Tille ' ' [Thule] is the most distant, far away in the northern 
seas, and has the longest day, etc. There is the stiffened, viscous sea. Next the 
Hebrides (" Budis ") are mentioned, where the inhabitants have no com, but 
live on fish and milk (cf. vol. i. p. 160}, and the Orcades, where there dwell 
naked people (" gens nuda," instead of " vacant homines," see vol. i. p. 161). 

3 Cf. R. Dozy, 1881, pp. 267, ff. 


ambassador, al-Gazal, to the latter's country. Ibn Dihya says CHAPTER 
that he took the account from an author named Tammam ^^^^ 
Ibn 'Alqama (ob. 896), who again is said to have had it from 
al-Gazal's own mouth. It is obviously untrustworthy, but 
may possibly have a historical kernel. The king of the Magfis 
had first sent an ambassador to 'Abd ar-Rahman to sue for 
peace (?) ; and al-Gazal accompanied him home again, in a 
well-appointed ship of his own, to bring the answer and a 
present. They arrived first at an island on the borders of the 
land of the Magus people.^ From thence they went to the 
king, who lived on a great island in the ocean, where there were 
streams of water and gardens. It was three days' journey or 
300 [Arab] miles- from the continent. 

" There was an innumerable multitude of the Magus, and in the vicinity were 
many other islands, great and small, all inhabited by Magus, and the part of 
the continent that lies near them also belongs to them, for a distance of many 
days' journey. They were then heathens (Magus) ; now they are Christians, 
for they have abandoned their old religion of fire-worship, ^ only the inhabitants 
of certain islands have retained it. There the people still marry their mothers 
or sisters, and other abominations are also committed there [cf. Strabo on the 
Irish, vol. i. p. 81]. With these the others are in a state of war, and they carry 
them away into slavery." 

This mention of many islands with the same people as those 
established on the continent may suit the island kingdom of 
Denmark ; but Ireland, with the Isle of Man, the Scottish 
islands, etc., lies nearer, and moreover agrees better with the 
300 miles from the continent. 

We are next told of their reception at the court of the king 
and of their stay there, and especially how the handsome and 
wily Moorish ambassador paid court in prose and verse to 

^ This island may have been Noirmoutier, in the country of the Normans of 
the Loire (according to A. Bugge). 

2 It is the name " Magus," from the Greek Mayoc (Magian, fire-worshipper, 
cf. p. 55), that led the author into this error. Magus was used collectively of 
heathens in general, but especially of the Norse Vikings [cf. Dozy, 1881, ii. 
p. 271}. 



CHAPTER the queen,! who was very compliant. When Ibn 'Alqama 


asked al-Gazal whether she was really so beautiful as he had 

given her to understand, that prudent diplomatist answered : 

" Certainly, she was not so bad ; but to tell the truth, I had 

use for her. ..." When he was afraid his daily visits might 

attract attention, she laughed and said : 

" Jealousy is not among our customs. With us the women do not stay with 
their husbands longer than they like ; and when their consorts cease to please 
them, they leave them." With this may be compared the statement for which 
Qazwini gives at-Tartfishi (tenth century) as authority, that in Sleswick the 
women separate from their husbands when they please [cf. G. Jacob, 1876, p. 34]. 

After an absence of twenty months, al-Gazal returned to 
the capital of the sultan 'Abd ar-Rahman. In the excellence 
of its realistic description and the introduction of direct 
speeches this tale bears a remarkable resemblance to the 
peculiar method of narration of the Icelandic sagas. 
Al-idrisi, The best known of the western Arab geographers is Abu 

1 154 A.D. 'Abdallah Muhammad al-Idrisi (commonly called Edrisi), who 
gives beyond comparison the most information about the 
North. He is said to have been born in Sebta (Ceuta) about 
1099 A.D., to have studied in Cordova, and to have made 
extensive voyages in Spain, to the shores of France, and even 
of England, to Morocco and Asia Minor. It is certain that 
in the latter part of his life he resided for a considerable time 
at the court of the Norman king of Sicily, Roger II., which 
during the Crusades was a meeting-place of Normans, Greeks 
and Franks. According to Edrisi 's account, Roger collected 
through interpreters geographical information from all 
travellers, caused a map to be drawn on which every place was 
marked, and had a silver planisphere made, weighing 450 
Roman pounds, upon which were engraved the seven climates 
of the earth, with their countries, rivers, bays, etc.^ Edrisi 

! Her name may be read ** Bud '* (Bodhild ?], or — according to Seippel's 
showing — with a trifling correction, " Aud " 

2 Probably this was made from Edrisi 's design and corresponded to the map 
of the world in his work. Khalil as-Safadi (born circa 1296) also relates that 

wrote for him his description of the earth in Arabic, which was CHAPTER 


completed in 1 154, and was accompanied by seventy maps and a 
map of the world. Following the Greek model, the inhabited 

;Edrisi's representation of Northern Europe, put J 'together, and much 

reduced, from eight of his maps. (Chiefly after Seippel's reproduction 

[1896] and after Lelewel [1851].) Some of the Arabic names are numbered 

on the map and given below according to Seippel's reading 

(I) "Khalia" (empty); (2) the first part of the 7th climate; (3] 
" gazlrat Birlanda " (the island of Birlanda, by a common error for Ireland) ; 
(4) "kharab" (desert); (5) the island of "Dans" or "Vans" (Seippel 
reads Wales); (6) " gazirat Angiltara " (the island of England); (7) 
" gazirat Sqdsia " (the island, or peninsula, of Scotland) ; (8) " al-bahr al- 
muslim ash-shamali " (the dark northern ocean) ; (9) " gazirat Islanda " 
(the island of Iceland); (10) "gazirat Danamarkha " (the island, or 
peninsula, of Denmark) ; (11 " Hrsns " (Horsens) ; (12) " Alsia " (Als ?) ; 
(13) "Sliaswiq " ; (14) " Lundunia "(Lund); (15) " sahil ar4 Poldnia " 
(the coast of Poland) ; (16) " Derlanem " (Bornholm ?) ; (17) " Land- 
su(d)den " (in Finland) ; (18) " Zwada " (Sweden) ; (19) " nahr Qutalw " 
(the Gota river); (20) "gazirat Norwaga " (the island of Norway); 
(21) may be read " Trdna " (Trondheim) ; (22) "'Osl6" (Oslo); (23) " Siq- 
tun " ; (24) "bilad Finmark " (the district of Finmark) ; (25) " Qalmar "; 
(26) " Abuda " (Abo ?) ; (27) " mabda' nahr D(a)n(a)st " (the beginning 
of the river Dniestr ?) ; (28) " ard Tabast " (the land of Tavast) ; 
(29) " Dagwada " (Dago ?) ; (30) " gazirat Amazanus er-rigal al-magus " 
(the island of the male heathen Amazons); (31) "gazirat Amazanus 
an-nisa " (the island of the female Amazons) 

world, which was situated in the northern hemisphere, was divided 
into seven climates, extending to 64° N. lat. ; farther north all 

Roger and Edrisi sent out trustworthy men with draughtsmen to the east, west, 
south and north, to draw from nature and describe everything remarkable ; 
and their information was then included in Edrisi 's work. If this is true (which 
is probably doubtful), these would be real geographical expeditions that were 
sent out. 




CHAPTER was uninhabited on account of the cold and snow. Edrisi 
describes in his great work the countries of the earth in these 
climates, which again are divided each into ten sections, so 
that the book contains in all seventy sections.' 

On the outside of all is the Dark Sea [i.e., Oceanus, the 
uttermost encircling ocean], which thus forms the limit of the 
world, and no one knows what is beyond it. After describing 
Angiltara [England] with its towns, Edrisi continues : 

"Between the end of Sq6sia [Scotland], a desert island [i.e., peninsula],^ and 
the end of the island of Irlanda is reckoned two days' sail to the west. Ireland 
is a very large island. Between its upper [i.e., southern, as the maps of the Arabs 
had the south at the top] end and Brittany is reckoned three and a half days' sail. 
From the end of England to the island of Wales (?) ^ one day. From the end of 
Sqdsia to the island of Islanda two-thirds of a day's sail in a northern direction. 
From the end of Islanda to the great island of Irlanda one day. From the end of 
Islanda eastward to the island of Norwaga [Norway] twelve miles (?).* Iceland 
extends 400 miles in length and 150 in breadth." 

Danamarkha is described as an island, round in shape and 
with a sandy soil ; on the map it is connected with the continent 
by a narrow isthmus. There are ** four chief towns, many 
inhabitants, villages, well protected and well populated ports 
surrounded by walls." The following towns are named : 
"Alsia" [Als ?], "Tordira" or " Tondira " [Tonder], 
" Haun " [Copenhagen], ** Horsnes " [Horsens], ** Lunduna '* 
[Lund], " Slisbuli " [Sliaswiq ?]. From ** Wendilskada," 
written *' Wadi Lesqada " [Vendelskagen],itisahalf-day'ssail 
to the island of ** Norwaga " [Norway]. An island to the east 
of Denmark and near Lund is called on the map *' Derlanem " 

1 Cf. Jaubert's translation [Edrisi, 1836], where, however, the geographical 
names must be used with caution. See also Dozy and De Goeje [Edrisi, 1866]. 

^ The Arabs have the same word for island and peninsula. 

^ Professor Seippel considers this the probable interpretation of the name, 
and not " the island of the Danes," as in Jaubert. 

* Edrisi reckoned a degree at the equator as 100 Arabic miles, according to 
which his mile would be fully a kilometre. According to other Arab geographers 
the degree at the equator has been reckoned as 66 1 Arabic miles, in which case 
the mile would be about 1.7 km., or nearly a statute mile. 


On the continent to the south of Denmark is the coast of chapter 


* * Polonia ' * [Poland], and to the east of it, also on the continent, 
is *' Zwada " [Sweden], and a town *' Guta " [Gotaland], also 
'* Landsu(d)den " [in Finland]. We have further the river 
" Qutelw " [the Gota river], on which is the town of '* Siqtun." 
There is also ** Qimia " [Kemi ?]. Farther east is " bilad 
Finmark " [the district of Finmark],^ where we still find the 
river Qutelw with the town of ** Abuda " [Abo ?] inland, and 
** Qalmar " on the coast near another outlet of the Gota river. 
These two towns are 

" large but ill populated, and their inhabitants are sunk in poverty ; they 
scarcely find the necessary means of living. It rains there almost continually. 
. . . The King of Finmark has possessions in the island of Norwaga." 

Next on the east comes the land of ** Tabast " [Tavast] with 
** * Dagwada ' [Dago ?], a large and populous town on the 
sea." In the land of Tabast 

" are many castles and villages, but few towns. The cold is more severe than 
in Finmark, and frost and rain scarcely leave them for a moment." 

Farther east Esthonia and the land of the heathen are also 

** As regards the great island of Norwaga [Norway], it is for the most part 
desert. It is a large country which has two promontories, of which the left-hand 
one approaches the island of Danamarkha, and lies opposite to the harbour that 
is called Wendilskada, and between them the passage is short, about half a day's 
sail ; the other approaches the great coast of Finmark. On this island [Norwaga] 
are three inhabited towns, ^ of which two are in the part that turns towards Fin- 
mark, the third in the part that approaches Danamarkha. These towns have all 
the same appearance, those who visit them are few, and provisions are scarce 
on account ot the frequent rain and continual wet. They sow [corn] but reap it 
green, whereupon they dry it in houses that are warmed, because the sun so 
seldom shines with them. On this island there are trees so great of girth as are 
not often found in other parts. It is said that there are some wild people living 
in the desert regions, who have their heads set immediately upon their shoulders 

1 This name is doubtless a confusion of Finmark and Finland. 

2 Of the names of these towns given on the map there can, according to 
Seippel's interpretation, be read with certainty " Osld "and probably " Tr6na " 
[Trondheim]. The third name is difficult to determine. 



CHAPTER and no neck at all. They resort to trees, and make their houses in their interiors 

XIII and dwell in them. They support themselves on acorns and chestnuts. Finally 

there is found there a large number of the animal called beaver ; but it is smaller 

than the beaver [that comes] from the mouth of Russia " [i.e., no doubt, from the 

mouths of the Russian rivers]. 

" In the Dark Sea [i.e., the outer encircling ocean] there are a number of 
desert islands. There are, however, two which bear the name of the Islands of 
the Heathen Amazons. The western one is inhabited solely by men ; there is no 
woman on it. The other is inhabited solely by women, and there is no man among 
them. Every year at the coming of spring the men travel in boats to the other 
isle, live with the women, pass a month or thereabouts there, and then return 
to their own island, where they remain until the next year, when each one goes 
to find his woman again, and thus it is every year. This custom is well known and 
established. The nearest point opposite to these islands is the town of Anhd (?). 
One can also go thither from Qalmar and from Dagwada [Dago ?], but the approach 
is difificult, and it is seldom that any one arrives there, on account of the frequency 
of fog and the deep darkness that prevails on this sea." 

Edrisi says that there are many inhabited and uninhabited 
islands in the Dark Sea to the west of Africa and Europe ; 
indeed, according to Ptolemy ** this ocean contained 27,000 
islands." He mentions some of them. There is an island 
called " Sara," near the Dark Sea. 

" It is related that Du'1-Qarnain (Alexander the Great ?) landed there before 
the deep darkness had covered the surface of the sea, and spent a night there, 
and that the inhabitants of the island attacked him and his companions with 
stones and wounded many of them [cf. the Skrselings' attack in Eric the Red's 
Saga, andtheislandof smiths in the NavigatioBrandani, vol. i. p. 328 ; vol. ii.p. 9]. 
Another island in the same sea is called the Isle of Female Devils ('gazirat 
as-sa'ali '), whose inhabitants resemble women more than men ; their eye- 
teeth protrude, their eyes flash like lightning, their cheeks are like burnt wood ; 
they speak an incomprehensible language and wage war with the monsters of 
the ocean. ..." 

He also mentions the Isle of Illusion (" gaziratkhusran " = 
«* Villuland," cf. vol. i. p. 377), of great extent, inhabited by men 
of brown colour, small stature, and with long beards reaching 
to their knees ; they have a large (broad) 1 face and long ears 
[cf. the ideas of the Pygmies, dwarfs, underground people and 

1 This may be the same idea that we meet with again in the description of 
the Skrselings in Eric the Red's Saga, where we are told that they were " breit5ir 
i kinnum." 


brownies], they live on plants that the earth produces of itself, chapter 
There was a further large island *' al-Gaur," with abundance ^^^^ 
of grass and plants of all kinds, where wild asses and oxen with 
unusually long horns lived in the thickets. There was the Isle 
of Lamentation (** gazirat al-mustashkin "), which was in- 
habited, and had mountains, rivers, many trees, fruits and 
tilled fields ; but where there was a terrible dragon, of which 
Alexander freed the inhabitants. On the island of * * Kalhan ' ' 
in the same sea the inhabitants have the form of men but 
animal heads ; another island was called the Isle of the Two 
Heathen Brothers, who practised piracy and were changed into 
two rocks. He also names the Island of Sheep and ** Raka," 
which is the Island of Birds (cf. pp. 51, 55). 

" To the islands in this sea belongs also the island of • Shasland * [presumably 
Shetland, perhaps confused with Iceland], the length of which is fifteen days' 
journey, and the breadth ten. It had three towns, large and populous ; ships put 
in and stayed there to buy ambra (amber ?) and stones of various colours ; but 
the majority of the inhabitants perished in dissensions and civil war which took 
place in the country. Many of them removed to the coast of the European con- 
tinent, where large numbers of this people still live. ..." 

What is here said about this island is approximately the 
same as Edrisi elsewhere states about the island of Scotland, 
following the " Book of Wonders," which is attributed to 

It will be seen that he has a very heterogeneous mixture of 
islands in this western ocean. Some of them, like the Island 
of Sheep and that of Birds, as already suggested (p. 55), 
probably came from Ireland, and this whole archipelago is 
evidently related to the numerous islands of Irish legend, and 
points to an ancient connection, which may have consisted in 
reciprocal influence ; while many of these conceptions travelled 
from the east through the Arabs to western Europe and Ireland, 
the Arabs again may have received ideas from the Irish and 
from western Europe and carried them to the east. Thus 
Edrisi relates that, according to the author [Mas'udi] of the 
" Book of Wonders," the king of France sent a ship (which 



CHAPTER never returned) to find the island of Raka ; we may therefore 
^^^^ conclude that the Arabs had this myth from Europe. That 

many of these islands are inhabited by demons and little 
people, who resemble the northern brownies and the Skraelings, 
is interesting, and shows that whether the myths came from 
the Irish to the Arabs or vice versa, there were in this 
mythical world various similar peoples who may have helped 
to form the epic conceptions of the Skraelings of Wineland 
(cf. pp. 12, 75). 

Edrisi's map of the world is to a great extent an imitation 
of Ptolemy's, but shows much deviation, which may resemble 
the conceptions of Mela, for instance. It might seem possible 
that Edrisi was acquainted with some Roman map or other. 
In his representation of the west and north coast of Europe, for 
instance, there are also remarkable resemblances to the so- 
called Anglo-Saxon map of the world (cf. vol. i. p. 183 ; 
vol. ii. p. 192) ; this may point to both being derived from 
some older source, perhaps a Roman map (P).^ 
Ibn Said, Abu'l-Hasan Ali Ibn Said (1214 or 1218-1274 or 1286) 

thirteenth /.*.*,. ,, ^. , 7 ... 7 . i 

century says (in his book : The extent of the earth in its length and 
breadth ") ^ of Denmark (the name of which he corrupts to 
** Harmusa ") that from thence are obtained true falcons (for 
hunting) : 

" Around it are small islands where the falcons are found. To the west lies the 
island of white falcons, its length from west to east is about seven days and its 
breadth about four days, and from it and from the small northern islands are 
obtained the white falcons, which are brought from here to the Sultan of Egypt, 
who pays from his treasury 1000 dinars for them, and if the falcon arrives dead 
the reward is 500 dinars. And in their country is the white bear, which goes out 
into the sea and swims and catches fish, and these falcons seize what is left over 
by it, or what it has let alone. And on this they live, since there are no [other] 

* As, amongst others, the name '* Norveci " is misplaced (in Jutland) in the 
Cottoniana map (cf. p. 192), one might almost be tempted to suppose that the 
cartographer had made use of Edrisi's map without understanding the Arabic 
names ; but this would assume so late a date for the Cottoniana map that it is 
scarcely probable. 

2 Cf. Seippel, 1896, pp. 138, fl. 


flying creatures there on account of the severity of the frost. The skin of these CHAPTER 
bears is soft, and it is brought to the Egyptian lands as a gift." XIII 

He speaks of the women's island and the men's island which 
are separated by a strait ten miles across, over which the men 
row once a year and stay each with his woman for one month. 
If the child is a boy, she brings it up until it reaches maturity, 
and then sends it to the men's island ; the girls stay on the 
women's island. 

*' To the east of these two islands is the great Saqlab isUnd [i.« the Slavs' 
island, which is Edrisi's Norwaga], behind which there is nothing inhabited in 
the ocean either on the east or north, and its length is about 700 miles, and its 
width in the middle about 330 miles." Then he says a good deal about the inhabi- 
tants, amongst other things that they are still heathens and worship fire, and 
on account of the severity of the cold do not regard anything as of greater utility 
than it. This is evidently the same error as in Ibn Dihya, due to the designation 
of " Magias " (= Magian) for heathen (cf. p. 201). 

Zakariya Ibn Muhammad al-Qazwini (ob. 1283) has in his Qazwini, 
cosmography ^ several statements about the North, some of thirteenth 

f» '^ -f ' century 

which have already been referred to (vol. i. pp. 187, 284 ; vol. ii. 
p. 144). Of the northern winter he has very exaggerated ideas. 
Even of the land of ** Rum " [the Roman, especially the Eastern 
Roman Empire ; in a wider sense the countries of Central Europe] 
he says that winter there has become a proverb, so that a poet 
says of it : 

' ' Winter in Ri^m is an affliction, a punishment and a plague ; during it 
the air becomes condensed and the ground petrified ; it makes faces to fade, 
eyes to weep, noses to run and change colour ; it causes the skin to crack and 
kills many beasts. Its earth is like flashing bottles, its air like stinging wasps ; 
its night rids the dog of his whimpering, the lion of his roar, the birds of their 
twittering and the water of its murmur, and the biting cold makes people long 
for the fires of Hell." 

He says of the people of Rum [i.e., the Germanic peoplesof Central Europe] 
that " their complexion is for the most part fair on account of the cold and the 
northern situation, and their hair red ; they have hardy bodies, and for the most 
part are given to cheerfulness and jocularity, wherefore the astronomers place 
them under the influence of the planet Venus." 

1 Al-Qazwini, 1848, ii. pp. 356, 334, 412. 
II o 209 


CHAPTER Of the cold in " Ifranga " [the land of the Franks, Western 

Xlli Europe] he says that it 

" is quite terrible, and the air there is thick on account of the excessive cold." ^ 

'* * Burgfin ' [or ' Bergan,' as the first vowel is doubtful] is a land which lies 
far in the north. The day there becomes as short as four hours and the night as 
long as twenty hours, and vice versa [cf . Ptolemy on Thule, vol. i. p. 1 17]. The in- 
habitants are heathens [* Magus '] and worshippers of idols. They make war on 
the Slavs. They resemble in most things the Franks [West Europeans]. They 
have a good understanding of all kinds of handicraft and ships." 

Professor Seippel considers it not impossible that there may 
here be a corruption of the Arabic Nurman [ = Normans] to 
Burgan, and to a layman this looks probable. In any case 
Burgan cannot here, as elsewhere in Arab authors, be Bulgar 
[the Bulgarians] ; on the other hand it might be the Norwegian 
town of Bergen. In any case the description seems to suit the 
Norwegians best, and the mention of Ptolemy's latitude for 
Thule (the longest night of twenty hours) also points to this. 
That they are said to be heathens is due again to the name 
" Magus " (cf. pp. 201, 209). 

Qazwini also ' tells us that 

" Warank is a district on the border of the northern sea. For from the ocean 
in the north a bay goes in a southerly direction, and the district which lies on 
the shore of this bay, and from which the bay has its name, is called Warank. 
It is the uttermost region on the north. The cold there is excessive, the air thick, 
and the snow continuous. [This region] is not suited either for plants or animals. 
Seldom does any one come there, because of the cold and darkness and snow. 
But Allah knows best [what is the truth of the matter]." 

As mentioned above (p. 199), elsewhere in Arab writers the 
Varangians' Sea undoubtedly meant the Baltic ; but here, as 
is also suggested by Professor Seippel, one might be tempted 
to think that it is Varanger or the Var anger-fjord in Finmark 
that is intended.^ It may also be recalled that Edrisi already 

^ Jacob, 1896, pp. II, f. 

^ Seippel, 1896, p. 44. 

' It might seem tempting to suppose that the name ** Varanger " is connected 
with "Warank " ; but this can hardly be the case. Mr. J.Qvigstad informs 
me that in his view the name of the fjord must be Norwegian, " and was originally 


knew the name of Finmark. But as Qazwini has such exag- CHAPTER 
gerated ideas of the cold in Rum and in Ifranga, he may also ^^^^ 
be credited with such a description of the regions on the 
Baltic.^ No importance can be attached to the statement that 
the bay proceeds from the northern ocean in a southerly 
direction, as ideas of that kind were general. 

Mahmud ibn Mas ud 'ash-Shirazi (ob. 1310) has the following *Ash-Sh£razi 
about the northern regions :^ ^^^'^^ '^°** 

" Thus far as regards the islands : you may know that in that part [of the 
sea] which goes into the north-western quarter [of the earth] and is connected 
with the western ocean there are three, whereof the largest is the island ' Anglisi ' 
[or ' Anglisei ' (-island), probably England], and the smallest the island Irlanda. 
The most handsome of hunting-birds — those that are known by the name of 
* sunqur ' [hunting-falcons] — are only found on it [this island]. The middlemost 
of them is the island of Orknia." Probably Ireland and Iceland are here thrown 
together under the name of Irlanda, as elsewhere falcons are especially attributed 
to the latter. " The longest day reaches twenty hours where the latitude is 63° [cf. 
Ptolemy, vol. i. p. 1x7]. There is an island that is called Tul§. Of its inhabitants 
it is related that they live in heated bathrooms [literally, warm baths] on account of 
the severe cold that prevails there. This is generally considered to be the extreme 
latitude of inhabited land." It appears to be Norway that is here meant by Thule. 

Shirazi says that "the sea that among the ancients was called Maeotis is 
now called the Varangians' Sea, and these are a tall, warlike people on its shore. 
And after the ocean has gone past the Varangians' country in an easterly direction 

' *Verjangr ' (from * *Varianger ') ; thence arose * *Verangr,' and by progressive 
assimilation ' Varangr,' cf. the fjord-names Salangen (from Selangr), Gratangen 
(from Grytangr), Lavangen (from Lovangr] in the district of Tromso. In old 
Danish assessment rolls of the period before the Kalmar war we find ' War- 
anger.' " The first syllable must then be the Old Norse '* ver " (gen. pi. " verja ") 
for "vaer," fishing-station, and the name would mean "the fjord of fishing- 
stations " (" angr " — fjord]. In Lappish the Varanger fjord is called " Varjag- 
vuodna " (" vuodna " = fjord), which " presupposes a Norwegian form ' *Var- 
jang ' (' *Verjang '). The Lappish forms ' Varje- ' and ' Varja- ' are abbreviated 
from 'Varjag.* The district of Varanger is called in Lappish 'Varja' (gen. 
' Varjag,' root * Varjag '). Norwegian fjord-names in * -angr ' are transferred to 
Lappish with the termination ' -ag ' ; only in more recent loan-words do we find 
the termination ' -a»?gga ' or * -a»7ggo,' as in * Pors-a»;gga. ' " O. Rygh thought 
that the first syllable in *' Varanger " might be the same as in " Vardo," Old 
Norse " Vargey " ; but this may be more doubtful. 

1 Cf. also Jordanes' description of the great cold in the Baltic (vol. i. p. 131). 

» Seippel, 1896, pp. 142, 45. 



CHAPTER it extends behind the land of the Turks, past mountains which no one traverses 

XIII and lands where no one dwells, to the uttermost regions of the land of the Chinese, 

and because these are also uninhabited, and because it is impossible to sail any 

farther upon it [the ocean], we know nothing of its connection with the eastern 


Dimashqi, Shams ad-diti Abu 'Abdallah Muhammad ad-Dimashqi 

circa 1300 (1256-1327) in his cosmography has little of interest about the 
North, and his ideas on the subject are obscure. 

"The habitable part of the earth extends as far as 66^^^° > ^ ^^^ regions 
beyond, up to 90°, are desert and uninhabited ; no known animals are found 
there on account of the great quantity of snow and the thick darkness, and the 
too great distance from the sun. ... It is the climate of darkness." It lies in 
the middle of the seventh climate, which surrounds it as a circular belt, and 
'• around it the vault of heaven turns like the stone in a mill." 

"The sea beyond the deserts of the Qipdjaks [southern Russia, Turkestan 
and western Siberia] in latitude 63° has a length of eight days' journey, with a 
breadth varying to as little as three. In this sea there is a great island [probably 
Scandinavia], inhabited by people of tall stature, with fair complexions, fair hair 
and blue eyes, who scarcely understand human speech.^ It is called the Frozen 
Sea because in winter it freezes entirely, and because it is surrounded by moun- 
tains of ice. These are formed when the wind in winter breaks the waves upon 
the shore ; as they freeze they are cast upon the icy edges, which grow in layers 
little by little, until they form heights with separate summits, and walls that 
surround them." ^ 

He has besides various strange fables about the northern 
regions and the fabulous creatures there. Of the sea to the 
north of Britain he says that its coasts 

" turn in a north-westerly direction, and there is the great bay that is called 
the Varangians' Sea, and the Varangians are an inarticulate people who scarcely 
understand himian speech, and they are the best of the Slavs, and this arm of 
the sea is the Sea of Darkness in the north." 

^ In another passage [c. i. 3] he says that " the habitable part extends . . . 
towards the north as far as 63° or 66J°, where at the summer solstice the day 
attains a length of twenty hours " [cf. Ptolemy, vol. i. p. 117]. But he never- 
theless thinks (like the Greeks) that at the north pole the day was six months and 
the night equally long. 

2 An expression from the Koran, which is used of barbarous peoples (Gog 
and Magog) who do not understand the speech of civilised men. 

3 Cf. A. F. Mehren, 1874, pp. 19, 158, f., 21, 193. 


Afterwards the coasts extend farther still to the north and CHAPTER 


west, and lose themselves in the climate of Darkness, and no 
one knows what is there. 

Of the whales he says that in the Black Sea a kind of whale 
is often seen which the ignorant assert to have been carried 
by angels alive into Hell, to be used for various punishments, 
while others think it keeps at the bottom of the sea and lives 
on fish ; 

" then Allah sends to it a cloud and angels, who lift it up out of the sea and 
cast it upon the shore for food for Yagug and Magiig. The whales are very large 
in the Mediterranean, in the Caspian Sea (!) and in the Varangians' Sea (!), as 
also off the coasts of Spain in the Atlantic Ocean." 

There is preserved an " abstract of wonders " (oldest MS. Book of 
of 1484),! by an unknown Arab author, which gives a picture ^°?u^^\ 
of the Arabs' mythical ideas in the tenth century. It also tells tury 
of islands in the west, which are of interest to us on account of 
their resemblance to many of the mediaeval mythical concep- 
tions of Western Europe. 

" In the great ocean is an island which is visible at sea at some distance, 
but if one tries to approach it, it withdraws and disappears. If one returns to the 
place one started from, it is seen again as before. It is said that upon this island 
is a tree that sprouts at sunrise, and grows as long as the sun is ascending ; after 
midday it decreases, and disappears at sunset. Sailors assert that in this sea 
there is a little fish called ' shSkil,' and that those who carry it upon them can 
discover and reach the island without its concealing itself. This is truly a strange 
and wonderful thing." 

This is evidently the same myth as that of the Lost Isle, already referred to 
(Perdita, cf. vol. i. p. 376J, and of the Norwegian huldrelands, etc. It also 
bears resemblance to legends from China and Japan. The tree is the sun-tree of 
the Indian legends, which was already introduced into the earliest versions of 
the Alexander romance (Pseudo-Callisthenes, circa 200 A.D.), and which is met 
with again in the fairy-tales and mythical conceptions of many peoples.^ Possibly 
it is this same tree that grows on the mountain Fusan in the Japanese happy 
land Horaisan, and which is sometimes seen over the sea horizon (see p. 56). 

"The island of *as-Sayyara.' There are sailors who assert that they have 
often seen it, but they have not stayed there. It is a mountainous and cultivated 
island, which drifts towards the east when a west wind is blowing, and vice versa. 

1 C. de Vaux, 1898, pp. 69, f. 

2 Cf. Moltke Moe, " Maal og Minne," Christiania, 1909, pp. 9, ff. 



CHAPTER The stone that forms this island is very light. ... A man is there able to carry 
XIII a large meiss of rock." This floating island resembles those met with in tales 

from the Faroes and elsewhere (cf . vol. i. pp. 375, f .). Even Pliny [Nat. Hist., ii. c. 95] 
has statements about floating islands, and Las Casas, in 1552-61 [Historias de 
las Indias in "Documentos ineditos," Ixii. p. 99], says that in the story of 
St. Brandan many such islands (?) are spoken of in the sea round the Cape Verde 
Islands and the Azores, and he asserts that " the same is mentioned in the book 
of ' Inventio fortunata,' " that is, by Nicholas of Lynn [cf. de Costa, 1880, 
p. 185]. 

" ' The Island of Women.' This is an island that lies on the borders of the 
Chinese Sea. It is related that it is inhabited only by women, who become pregnant 
by the wind, and who bear only female children ; it is also said that they become 
pregnant by a tree, of which they eat the fruit.^ They feed on gold, which with 
them grows in canes like bamboo." This myth, as will be seen, resembles Adam 
of Bremen's tale of the land of women, Kvsenland (vol. i. p. 186). Myths of 
women's islands are, moreover, very widespread ; they are found in various 
forms in classical authors (p. 47J, in Arab writers (cf. above, pp. 197, 206), in 
Indian legends, among the Irish (vol. i. pp. 354, 357), among the Chinese, etc. It 
is partly the Amazon idea that appears here, partly the happy land desired by men. 

The Arabs Through an apparently small thing the Arabs possibly 

and the exercised more than in anything else a transforming influence 


upon the navigation, geography and cartography of Europe ; 
for it was probably they who first brought to Europe the know- 
ledge of the magnetic needle as a guide. We know that the 
Chinese were acquainted with it, at any rate in the second 
century A.D., and used it for a kind of compass for overland 
journeys. Whether they also used it at sea we do not know, 
but it may readily be supposed that they did. That the Arabs 
through their direct commercial intercourse with the Chinese 
became acquainted with this discovery at an early date seems 
probable ; but curiously enough we hear nothing of it in 
Arabic literature before the thirteenth century. As the Arabs 
and Turks after that date used the Italian word " bossolo " 
for compass (bussol), it has been thought that they may have 
derived their knowledge of it, not from China, but from Italy ; 
but it seems more reasonable to suppose that, while they had 
their first knowledge of the magnetic needle from China, they 

^ The same ideas also occur in European fairy-tales and generally in the 
world of mediaeval conceptions. 


obtained an improved form of the compass from Italy, and with CHAPTER 
it the Italian word. ^"^ 


We do not know how early the magnetic needle's property Oldest 
of pointing to the north became known in Europe and used on^he^om- 
for finding the way at sea. The first mention of it is found at pass in 
the close of the twelfth century in the works of the Englishman ^"^op® 
Alexander Neckam, professor in Paris about ii 80-1 190, and 
of the troubadour Guyot de Provins from Languedoc. The 
latter, in a satirical poem of about 11 90, wishes the Pope would 
imitate the immutable trustworthiness of the polar star by 
showing the steadiness of the heavenly guide ; for sailors come 
and go by this star, which they are always able to find, even in 
fog and darkness, by a needle rubbed with the ugly brown 
lodestone ; stuck in a straw and laid upon water, the needle 
points unfailingly to the north star. As late as in 1258 Dante's 
teacher, Brunetto Latini, saw as a curiosity in the possession 
of Roger Bacon at Oxford a large and ugly lodestone, which 
was able to confer on an iron needle the mysterious power of 
pointing to the star ; but he thinks that it cannot be of any 
use, for ship-masters would not steer by it, nor would sailors 
venture to sea with an instrument which was so like an inven- 
tion of the devil. As always when the progress of humanity is 
at stake, orthodoxy and religious prejudice raises its head. 
It is certain that the use of the compass-needle must have 
been known in the Mediterranean at the beginning of the 
thirteenth century, and probably even in the twelfth. It has 
been alleged that the compass was known long before that 
time, even in the eleventh and tenth centuries ; but no proof 
of this has been found, and it does not appear very probable.^ 
How early the compass, or lodestone, was known in the North 

^ Cf. K. Kretschmer, 1909, pp. 67, ft. ; Beazley, iii. 1906, p. 511. It has 
been asserted that the compass was discovered at Amalfi. This is not very probable, 
but it seems that an important improvement of the compass may have been 
made there about the year 1300. 



Oldest sea- 


is uncertain. We only know that when the Hauksbdk was 
written, at the beginning of the fourteenth century, it was 
at any rate known in Iceland (cf. vol. i. p. 248) ; but it may of 
course have been known before that time, and it does not 
appear that any long time elapsed between the instrument's 
being known in the Mediterranean and its reaching the 

When the compass came into general use on Italian ships 
in the thirteenth century, it naturally led to the development 
of an entirely new type of map, the Italian sea-charts or 
compass-charts, which were to be of fundamental importance 
to all future cartography. The mediaeval maps of the world 
already mentioned were learned representations which were of 
no practical use to the navigator. The Greeks had drawn 
land-maps which were also of no great use at sea, and we do 
not know that they had sea-charts. On the other hand sailing- 
books (** peripli "), which gave directions for coasting voyages, 
were in use far back in antiquity. In the Middle Ages sailing- 
books, called " portolani," which gave information about 
harbours, distances, etc., were an important aid to the navigator, 
especially in the Mediterranean. It was the Italians before 
all others who at that period developed navigation. When 
coasting was to some extent replaced by sailing in open sea, 
after the compass came into use, sea-charts became a necessary 
adjunct to the written sailing-books or portolani. How early 
they began to be developed is unknown ; we only know that 
charts were in use on Italian ships in the latter half of the 
thirteenth century ; ^ and we must suppose that they were 
employed long before that time. Whether, as some have 
maintained, there was a connection between these charts and 
the maps of the Greeks is doubtful, though there may indeed 
have been an indirect connection through the Arabs, among 
whom Edrisi, for instance, seems perhaps to have exercised 
some influence. But in any case it is certain that the Italians 

^ Cf. D'Avezac : Coup d'oeil historique sur la projection des cartes g6o- 
graphiques. Paris, 1863, p. 37 ; Th. Fischer, 1886, pp. 78, f. 


of the Middle Ages were not acquainted with Greek cartography, CHAPTER 
and this may in a way be regarded as an advantage ; for they ^^^^ 
were thus obliged to invent their own mode of representation. 
For Greek thought the chief thing was to find the best expression 
for the system of the world and the " oecumene," to solve 
problems such as the reduction of a spherical to a plane 
surface by projection, etc. ; while the sense of accurate detail 
was less prominent. The Italian sailor and cartographer went 
straight to nature, unhindered by theory, and to him it appeared 
a matter of course to set down on the map coasts and islands 
as accurately as possible according to the course sailed and the 
distance, without reflecting that sea and land form a spherical 

The Italian sea-charts seem especially to have been 
developed in the republics of northern Italy, Genoa and Pisa, 
and to some extent Venice. Later the Catalans of the Balearic 
Isles and of Spain (Barcelona and Valencia) also learned the 
art, probably from Genoa. The charts have been justly 
admired for their correct and detailed representation of the 
coasts known to the Italians and the seamen of the Mediter- 
ranean ; the world had never before produced any parallel to 
such a representation. It shows that the sailors of that time 
were masters in the use of their compass,^ and in making up 
their reckoning. The remarkable thing is that the first known 
compass-charts, of the beginning of the fourteenth century, 
were already of so perfect a form that there was little to add 
to or improve in them in later times. It looks as though this 
type of chart suddenly sprang forth in full perfection, like 
Athene from the brain of Zeus, without our knowing of any 
forerunner ; it held the field with its representation of the 
coasts of the Black Sea, the Mediterranean, and Western 

^ How early the error of the compass became known is uncertain. Even 
if it was known, it seems that at any rate no attention was paid to it at 
first ; and thus the coast-lines were laid down on the charts according to the 
magnetic courses and not the true ones. Later on a constant error was assumed 
and the compass was corrected in agreement therewith ; but the correction 
differed somewhat in the various towns where compasses were made. 



Extent of 
the com- 


Europe almost unaltered through three centuries. There is 
something puzzling in that. We must suppose in any case 
that these charts were developed through many smaller special 
charts throughout the whole of the thirteenth century, but even 
that seems a short period for the development of a represen- 
tation so complete as this, which thenceforward became almost 
stereotyped. It is principally the coasts that are represented, 
with many names, while inland there are comparatively few, 
which of course is natural in sea-charts. 

As Italian trade did not extend farther north than Flanders 
and England (from whence came wool), it is also characteristic 
of the compass-charts that their detailed representation of the 
coast extends to the south of England and to Sluis in Flanders, 
and to the mouth of the Scheldt. Farther than this the Italian 
ships did not sail ; beyond this boundary began the commercia 
domain of the Hanseatic League. The delineation on the 
compass-charts of the greater part of Ireland, northern England, 
Scotland, the north coast of Germany, Denmark, the Baltic 
and Scandinavia has an entirely different character from 
that of the more southern coasts. The coast-lines are 
there evidently drawn in a formal way, and more or less 
hypothetically ; the names (chiefly those of a few ports, 
bishops' sees and islands) are also strikingly few. It is clearly 
seen that these coasts cannot have been drawn from actual 
compass courses and reckonings ; they are sketches based on 
second- or third-hand information. For this reason too the 
shape of the northern countries may be subject to considerable 
variation in the different types of compass-charts. 

We know little of the sources from which they may have 
obtained their delineation of the North ; probably they were 
many and of different kinds. A glance at the maps reproduced 
(pp. 226, 232) will convince one that their image of the North 
differed greatly from that which we find on the wheel-maps, and 
from that which was probably shown on the maps of antiquity. 
It is a decisive step in the direction of reality, although the 
representation is still imperfect. In a whole series of these 


charts the image of the North shows certain typical features. CHAPTER 
The coast of Germany and Jutland goes due north from ^"^ 
Flanders, thus coming much too near Britain, and the North 
Sea becomes nothing but a narrow strait. Even on the earliest 
charts (Dalorto's chart, p. 226) the shape of Jutland is quite 
good. Norway, the coasts of which are indicated by chains of 
mountains, is placed fairly correctly in relation to Jutland, 
but is put too far to the west and too near to England. It 
is also made too broad. The Skagerak appears more or less 
correctly, but the Danish islands, including Sealand, usually 
as a round island, are placed in the Cattegat to the north- 
east of Jutland. This greatly distorts the picture. Sweden 
is much too small, and is given too little extension to the 
south ; the Baltic has a curious form : it extends far to the 
east and has a remarkable narrowing in the middle, through 
the German coast making a great bend to the north towards 
Sweden. Gotland lies in the great widening of its inner portion. 
The Gulf of Bothnia seems to be unknown. The islands to the 
north of Scotland: Shetland (usually called " scetiland," 
** sialanda " or " stillanda "), the Orkneys, and often Caithness 
as an island, come to the west of Norway, frequently placed in 
a somewhat arbitrary fashion, and in the wrong order. 
" Tille " (Thule), the round island off the north-east coast of 
Scotland, is a characteristic feature on many compass-charts. 
Its origin is uncertain, but possibly it may be connected with 
the Romans having thought they had seen Thule to the north 
of the Orkneys (?) (cf . vol. i. p. 107). The names in the North are 
in the main the same on most of the compass-charts,^ and one 
cartographer has copied another ; by this means also many 
palaeographic errors have been introduced, which are after- 
wards repeated. As an example : the Baltic is originally 
called * * mar allemania, ' ' this is read by Catalan draughtsmen 
as " mar de lamanya," also written " de lamaya," and thus 
we get ** mar de la maya *' (cf. pp. 231, 233). Another 

1 Bjombo and Petersen [1908, tab. i, pp. 14, ff.] give a comparison of these 
names from the most important compass-charts. 



CHAPTER example: Bergen is originally called " bergis " (cf. p. 221), 
^^^^ a draughtsman corrupts this to " bregis," and that becomes 

the name of the town in later charts (cf. p. 232). Whence 
these names first came we do not know ; partly, no doubt, 
from sailors, and partly from literary sources. The latter must 
be true of names in the interior. There are also various legends 
or inscriptions on these charts, e.g., in Norway, in Sweden, in 
the Baltic, on the islands in the Northern Ocean, and in Iceland. 
Many of these legends can be certainly proved to have a literary 
origin. Some of them (e.g., that attached to Norway) may be 
derived in part from the Geographia Universalis. Others are 
connected with such authors as Giraldus Cambrensis, Higden, 
and others. Certain resemblances to Arabic writers, especially 
Edrisi, might also be pointed out ; but it is uncertain whether 
these are not due in part to their being derived from a common 
Carignano's The first known compass- chart, the so-called "Carte 
1300*'""^ Pisane," of about 1300,^ goes no farther north than to the 
coast of Flanders and southern England. But the compass- 
chart^ drawn by the Genoese priest Giovanni da Carignano (ob. 
1344), evidently a little after 1300, already gives a delineation of 
Great Britain, Ireland, the Orkneys and Scandinavia, with the 
Baltic. That these regions are only represented hypothetically, 
and do not belong to the compass-chart proper, is also indicated 
by their partly lying outside the network of compass-lines. It 
is in the main a land map, with many names in the interior of 
the continents, but the delineation of the known coasts (to the 
south of Flanders) is evidently taken from the sea-charts. The 
representation of the British Isles and of the North reminds 
one a good deal of the Cottoniana map (cf. vol. i. p. 183), and of 
Edrisi's representation (cf. p. 203) ; ^ as an example : it is 

1 Reproduced by Jomard, 1879 ; Nordenskiold, 1897, P- 25. 

2 Reproduced by Th. Fischer-Ongania, 1887, PL III. [cf. pp. 117, ff.] ; Nor- 
denskiold, 1897, PI. V. Cf. Bjornbo, 1909, pp. 212, f. ; Hamy, 1889, pp. 350, f. 

5 That, on the other hand, it should be directly connected with Ptolemy's 
representation, as alleged by Hamy [1889, p. 350], is difficult to understand [cf. 














difficult to suppose that the western inclination of Scotland chapter 
should have come about independently on each of the three ^"^ 
maps. There is also considerable resemblance to Edrisi in the 
names on other parts of the chart ; but Carignano has no hint 
of Edrisi's " Island," nor of the Cottoniana's island of Tylen 
(Thule). Whether his Scandinavia is a peninsula, as usually 
asserted, and not rather a long island, as on the two maps in 
question, is uncertain, since the delineation has suffered a good 
deal and is indistinct in the inner part of the Baltic. To judge 
from a photograph of the chart [Ongania, PI. III.] it appears to 
me most prob- 
able that it 
was an island, 
which then has 
considerable re- 
semblance to 
the island of 
Norwaga [Nor- 
way] in Edrisi. 
Names that are 

legible on this island or peninsula are : 

[Finmark or Finland], " suetia " ; also " bergis " [Bergen], 
*' tromberg " [Tonsberg], " uamerlant " [Vermeland], 
**scarsa" [Skara on Lake Vener], "kundgelf" [Kungelf], 
"scania" [Skane], " lendes " [Lund], " stocol " [Stock- 
holm], etc. On the two islands in the Baltic there are 
" scamor " [i.e., " scanior " ? Skanor] and " gothlanda " 
[Gotland]. Many of these names appear here for the first time 
in any known authority. Carignano may have taken them 
from older unknown maps, but he may also in some way or 
other have received information from the North ; possibly, for 
instance, he may have had the names of ports, etc., from 
sailors. His representation of the western part of Scandinavia, 
with three long peninsulas (cf. Saxo), is curious ; of these the 

Bjornbo, 1909, p. 213] ; but an indirect influence, e.g., through Edrisi's map, is 


Northern portion of Carignano's chart (a few years 
later than 1300) 




work and 
circa 1320 


eastern, with " scania," might be south Sweden with Skane ; 
the central one with " tromberg " [Tonsberg] might be Vest- 
fold and Grenmar, and the western with Bergen might be western 
Norway. The smaller peninsula to the north might be Tronde- 
lagen [the district of Trondhjem] (cf. also Historia Norwegise, 
below, p. 235). 

Between the years 131 8 and 1321 the Venetian Marino 
Sanudo wrote a work, *' Liber secretorum fidelium crucis " 
(the Book of Secrets for Believers in the Cross), to rouse 
enthusiasm for a new crusade, and himself presented a copy of 
it with a dedication to the Pope at Avignon, which is probably 
one of the two now preserved at the Vatican. The work is 
accompanied by several charts which must have been drawn 
by the well-known cartographer Pietro Vesconte in 1320, since 
an atlas bearing his name has been found in the Vatican with 
charts that completely correspond.^ Among them is a circular 
map of the world of the wheel type, but on which the forms of 
the coasts from the compass- charts are introduced. Scandinavia 
is there represented as a peninsula with a mountain chain 
(Kjolen ?) along the middle (see map, p. 223), and the names 
*' Gotilandia," " Dacia," " Suetia," '* Noruega " may be 
read. On the continent is written " Guenden [Kvaenland, or 
else = ' * Suenden ' ' = Sweden ?] vel Gotia ' ' ; and on the 
coast to the north of the peninsula is " Liuonia " and to the 
south of it " Frixia " [Friesland]. As Kretschmer has shown, 
Scandinavia was originally drawn (in both atlases) as an 
island, but was afterwards connected with the continent by a 
narrow isthmus. This representation of Scandinavia as a 
peninsula resembles that on many of the wheel-maps men- 
tioned above (see pp. 185, ff.). It also bears a strong 
resemblance to the view of Saxo (beginning of the thirteenth 
century), who says : ^ 

^ Cf. K. Kretschmer, 1891, pp. 352, ff. Vesconte was a Genoese, but resided 
for a long time at Venice. 

2 Cf. Saxo, ed. H. Jnsen, 1900, pp. 13, ff. ; ed. P. Hermann, 1901, p. 12. 


" Moreover the upper arm of the ocean [i.e., the southern arm, the Baltic, as CHAPTER 
the south is supposed to be at the top of the map], which cuts through and past XIII 
Dania, washes the south coast of Gothia [Gotaland, i.e., Sweden] with a bay of 
fair size ; but the lower [northern] branch, which goes past the north coast of 
Gothia and Noruagia, turns towards the east with a considerable widening, and 
is bounded by a curved coast. This end of the sea was called by our ancient 
primaeval inhabitants Gandvicus. Between this bay and the southern sea lies 
a little piece of continent, which looks out upon the seas washing it on both 
sides. If nature had not set this space as a limit to the two almost united streams, 
the arms of the sea would have met one another, and made Suetia and Noruagia 
into an island." 

It seems not improbable that the delineation on Vesconte's 
map may have a connection with this description ; it has also 
very nearly the same forms 
of names. The regions far 
in the north and east on his 
map are pure fancy, and 
the ** rifei montes " are still 
found there. 

Eight other MSS. (in vari- 
ous libraries) of Sanudo's 
work are known, accom- 
panied by maps, and six of 
them have the circular map- 
pamundi ; but the repro- 
ductions differ considerably 
one from another, especially 
in the representation of the 

northern coast of Europe.^ The mappamundi in the MS. in Queen 
Christina's collection in the Vatican (Codex Reginensis, 548), 
and the exactly similar map in the MS. at Oxford, have a 
remarkably good delineation of the Scandinavian Peninsula 
(see map, p. 224), with the names ** Suetia " [Svealand], 
** Gotia '* [Gotaland], and " Scania " on the east, " Noruegia " 

^ On Marino Sanudo and Pietro Vesconte's maps cf. Hamy, 1889, pp. 349, f., 
and PI. VII. ; Nordenskiold, 1889, p. 51 ; 1897, pp. 17, 56, ff. ; Kretschmer, 
1909, pp. 113, ff. ; Bjornbo, 1909, pp. 210, f. ; Bjombo, 1910, pp. 120, 122, f. ; 
K. Miller, iii. 1895, PP* ^S^i ^^ 


Northern Europe in Vesconte's mappa- 
mundi {1320) in the Vatican (Kretsch- 
mer, 1891) 



on the west, " Finlandia " and " Alandia " [Aland, or perhaps 
Hallandia ?] in the extreme north-east. On the continent is 
written *' Kareli infideles," ** Estonia," ** Liuonia," etc. 
In the Baltic are two islands, " Gotlandia " in the middle, 
and ** Ossilia ** [Osel] farthest in. The shape of Jutland 
[with the names ** Dacia " and " Jutia "], the direction of 
the coast of northern Europe and the Baltic, with Scandinavia 
parallel to it, remind one a good deal of Edrisi's map, of 
the Cottoniana and also of Carignano's map. Evidently there 

is here new information 
which Vesconte did not 
possess when he drew the 
map previously mentioned ; 
the correct placing of the 
names in Sweden and Nor- 
way is especially striking. 
These names, as also 
" Jutia," occur in Saxo in 
approximately the same 
forms (cf. also Historia Nor- 
wegiae). Marino Sanudo, 
according to his own state- 
ment, had himself sailed 
from Venice to Flanders, 
and had also travelled in 
Holstein and Slavonia. He was thus able to collect geo- 
graphical information, and, as suggested by Bjornbo [1909, 
pp. 211, f.], may have received communications from North 
German priests whose picture of the North had been formed 
by the study of Adam of Bremen and Saxo ; but there does 
not appear to me to be any necessity for such a hypothesis, he 
may just as well have received direct information from people 
who knew the localities, while doubtless the names are to a 
great extent literary. If we suppose that it was Pietro Vesconte 
who drew all the maps, he may have derived his information 
about the North through Sanudo himself ; but in that case it 

Northern Europe in the mappamundi 

in the MS. of Sanudo 's work at 

Oxford (Bjornbo, 1910, p. 123) 


would be strange that he did not use it for his first map. We CHAPTER 
must therefore suppose that it was after this that their real ^"^ 
collaboration began. 

But here we come upon another difficulty, and this is the 
third entirely different form of the delineation of the North 
that is found in the corresponding mappamundi in the MS. of 
Sanudo at Paris. There the Scandinavian Peninsula is divided 
in an unaccountable way into several islands, the largest of 
which bears the name ** scania de regno dacie " or 
*' scadinaua." To the north of it is a long island, " got- 
landia," which has been 
read by some ' * yrlandia ' ' or 
"yslandia," and made into 
Iceland [as in Thoroddsen, i., 
1897, p. 84]. " Noruegia '* 
is written outside the border 
of the map to the north of 
Jutland [called " dacia "], 
and the name "prouincia 
noruicie " is placed on the 
west coast of Jutland, which 
has been given a fantastic 

extension towards the north Northern Europe in the mappamundi 
with many bays. An island i" ^^^ Paris MS. of Sanudo's work 
in the ocean to the north of (Bjdrnbo, 1910, p. 123) 

Russia [ ' * rutenia ' '] is marked ' ' kareli infideles. ' * The whole 
of this representation is in complete disagreement with the 
other Sanudo maps, and it is difficult to understand that 
Vesconte can have also drawn this one, although in other 
respects it may bear much resemblance to the rest from his 
hand. One might be inclined to think that some other man 
had tinkered at this part of the map, introducing ideas which 
he entirely misunderstood. 

A remarkable thing about it is that it is, perhaps, the first that has a legend 
about the North. For on the large island in the Baltic (?) we read : " In hoc 
mari est maxima copia aletiorum " [in this sea is the greatest abundance of 

n P 225 


map, 1325 


herrings ?]. In the opinion of Bjombo this may allude to the herring fishery in 
the Sound.^ 

The type which is first known from Angellino Dalorto's 
map of 1325 (or 1330 ?), and from that of 1339 signed Angellino 
Dulcert, which is undoubtedly by the same man, was of funda- 
mental importance to the representation of the North on the 
Catalan compass-charts. It has been thought that he belonged 
to a well-known Genoese family named Dalorto, and that the 

The|^North on Dalorto's map of 1325. The network of compass- 
lines is omitted for the sake of clearness. Only a few of the 
names are given 

first map was drawn in Italy, while the latter was certainly 
drawn in Majorca, either by a copyist who corrupted the name 
of Dalorto to Dulcert, or by himself, who in that case must be 
supposed to have given his name a more Catalan sound on 
settling in Majorca. But in any case these maps had Italian 
models ; this appears clearly in the form of the names 
[cf. Kretschmer, 1909, pp. 118, f.]. 

The two maps are much alike. The oldest, of 1325 

1 K. Miller [iii., 1895, P- I34] reads ** alcuorum " instead of " aletiorum," 
which would make it '* the greatest abundance of flying creatures " [i.e., birds, 
which would also be appropriate to the North]. But Miller's reading is evidently 
wrong, from what Bjdrnbo has seen on the original. 


{1330 ?)/ gives a more complete representation of the North CHAPTER 
and of the Baltic than any earlier map known (see illustration). ^^^^ 
In its names it shows a connection both with Carignano's map 
and with Marino Sanudo, but new names and fresh information 
have been added, the delineation of Great Britain and Ireland 
is more correct, and there is also a more reasonable representa- 
tion of Scandinavia and of the extent of the Baltic than on 
Carignano^s map. Amongst new names in the North may be 
mentioned ** trunde " [Trondhjem, cf. ** Throndemia " in the 
Historia Norwegiae], and " alogia " for atown on the west side 
of Norway ; this is evidently Halogia [Halogaland], a form of 
the name which was used, for instance, in the Historia 
Norwegiae and by Saxo. Another name in the far north, and 
again at the south-western extremity of Norway, is * * alo- 
landia '* (see illustration, p. 226). One might suppose that 
the form of the name and its assignment to these two places 
are due to a confusion of the name Halogaland with Hallandia 
(in Saxo) and " alandia ** on the Sanudo- Vesconte map 
(see p. 224). 

It will be seen that Norway, which is represented as a 
pronouncedly mountainous country,^ has on this map been 
given a great increase of breadth, so that its west coast is 
brought to the same longitude as the west coast of Great 
Britain. In the legends attached to Norway we read that from 
its deserts are brought ** birds called gilfalcos " (hunting 
falcons), and in the extreme north is the inscription : 

" Here the people live by hunting the beasts of the forest, and also on fish, on 
account of the price of corn which is very dear. Here are white bears and many 

The substance of this may be derived in the main from 
the Geographia Universalis (cf. pp. 189, f. ; see also p. 177). 
Islands in the ocean to the west of Norway are : farthest north, 

1 Cf. A. Magnaghi, 1898. The date is somewhat indistinct on the map, and 
it is uncertain whether it is MCCCXXV. or MCCCXXX. 

* The dark shading along the coast and across the country represents moun- 
tain chains. 



The Isle 
of Brazil 


** Insula ornaya" [the Orkneys] ; farther south, ** sialand '* 
[Shetland, '* Insula scetiland " on the map of 1339, and 
** silland " or ** stillanda " on later maps]. The resemblance 
to "shasland," the name of an island in Edrisi (cf. above, 
p. 207), is great, but it cannot be supposed that we have here 
a corruption of Iceland. At the north-eastern corner of 
Scotland is the round island, " Insula tille " (cf. p. 219). 

In the ocean to the west of Ireland we find for the first time 
on this map an island called '' Insula de montonis siue de 
brazile." This island is met with again on later compass- 
charts under the name of ** brazil " as late as the sixteenth 
and seventeenth centuries.^ It is evidently the Irish fortunate 
isle *' Hy Breasail," afterwards called ** O'Brazil," that has 
found its way on to this map, or probably on to the unknown 
older sources from which it is drawn. On this and the oldest 
of the later maps the island has a strikingly round form, often 
divided by a channel. 

The Irish myth of Hy Breasail, or Bresail,^ the island out in the Atlantic 
(cf. vol. i. p. 357), is evidently very ancient ; the island is one of the many happy 
lands like " Tir Tairngiri " [the promised land]. In the opinion of Moltke Moe and 
Alf Torp the name may come from the Irish " bress " [good fortune, prosperity], 
and would thus be absolutely the same as the Insulse Fortunatae. The Italians 
may easily have become acquainted with this myth through the Irish monasteries 
in North Italy, unless indeed they had it through their sailors, and in this way 
the island came upon the map. The form ** brazil " may have arisen through 
the cartographer connecting the name with the valuable brazil-wood, used for 
dyeing. The channel dividing the island of Brazil on the maps may be the river 
which in the legend of Brandan ran through the island called " Terra Repromis- 
sionis,^' and which Brandan (in the Navigatio) was not able to cross. It is probably 
the river of death (Styx), and possibly the same that became the river at Hop 
in the Icelandic saga of Wineland (see vol. i. p. 359). We thus find here again 
a possible connection, and this strengthens the probability that Brazil was the 
Promised Land of the Irish, which on the other hand helped to form Wineland. 

^ As late as in Jeffery's atlas, 1776, it is pointed out that this island is very 
doubtful, but, according to Kretschmer [1892, p. 221], a rock 6 degrees west of 
the southern point of Ireland still bears the name Brazil Rock on the charts of 
the British Admiralty (?). 

* Cf. ** Lageniensis," 1870, pp. 114, ft. ; Liebrecht, 1872, p. 201 ; Moltke 
Moe in A. Helland, 1908, ii. p. 516. 



On later compass-charts several isles of Brazil came into existence. As early CHAPTER 
as in the Medici Atlas (1351) an " Insula de brazi " appears farther south in the XIII 
ocean, to the west of Spain, and on the Pizigano map (1367) and the Soleri map 
(1385) there is to the west of Brittany yet a third " brazir," afterwards commonly 
called " de manj," or " maidas," etc.^ The name "Insula de montonis " is 
difficult to understand. If we may believe it to be an error for " moltonis " (or 
perhaps " moutonis," a latinisation of the French " mouton " ?), it might mean 
the sheep island of the Navigatio Brandani, which was originally Dicuil's Faroes 
(cf. vol. i. p. 362). Thus this name also carries us to Ireland. ^ 

At the same time another Irish mythical conception has found its way on 
to the map of 1325, and faithfully attends the isle of " Brazil " on its progress 
through all the compass-charts of later times ; this is the fortunate lake, ' ' lacus 
fortunatus," with its islands, " insuUe sci lacaris " [Lough Carra or Lough 
Corrib ?], which were so numerous that there was said later to be one for every 
day of the year. On Perrinus Vesconte's map of 1327 the same lake with its 
many islands is found, and as far as I can read the greatly reduced reproduction 

^ Kunstmann [1859, pp. 7, ff.] thought that the names of the more southerly 
islands might be derived from that of the red dye-wood " brasile " or " bresil," 
which afterwards gave its name to Brazil. He [1859, pp. 35, f., 41], and after 
him G. Storm [1887], were therefore misled into the belief that the island to the 
west of Ireland had also got its name from the same dye-wood ; neither of them 
can have known of the Irish myth about this island. Both connect the appearance 
of the island on the Pizigano map (1367) with the arrival of the Greenland sailors 
from Markland in Norway in 1348, not being aware that the island is found on 
earlier maps. Storm went so far as to suppose that the word " brazil " might 
have become a term for a wooded island in general, and might thus be an echo 
of the Norse name Markland (wood-land). J. Fischer [1902, p. no] has again 
fallen into the same error, but has remarked that the name was already found on 
Dalorto's map of 1339. Kretschmer [1892, pp. 214, ff.] has devoted a chapter to 
the island of " Brazil," but abandons the attempt to find the origin of the name 
and of the island, regarding the derivation from the name of the dye-wood as 
improbable. Hamy [1889, p. 361], however, noticed the connection of the 
island with the Irish myth of " O 'Brazil." 

2 Buache read the inscription on the northernmost isle of Brazil on the Pizi- 
gano map as " ysola de Mayotas seu de Bracir," while Jomard makes it " h cotus 
sur de Bracir." Kretschmer [1892, p. 219] has examined the map, but can read 
neither one nor the other, as the text is indistinct. On the other hand, he points 
out that on Graciosus Benincasa's map of 1482 the same island has a clearly 
legible " montorio " (on a map of 1574 " mons orius " is found), which he is 
equally unable to explain. It may be added that on an anonymous compass-chart 
of 1384 [Nordenskiold, 1897, PI- XV.] a corresponding island is marked " monte 
orius," on Benincasa's map of 1457 " montorius," and on Calapoda's map of 
1552 "montoriu " [Nordenskiold, 1897, P^- XXXIII., XXVI.]. This is evidently 
our " montonis " on Dalorto's map of 1325 appearing again. 



CHAPTER »" Nordenskiold's Periplus (PI. VII.) the words are : " gulfo de issolle CCCLVIIL* 
.XIII beate et fortunate " (the gulf of the 358 blessed and happy islands}, as also found 

on some later maps.^ I have not had an opportunity of examining the map of 
the British Isles in the same draughtsman's atlas of 1321, to see whether this 
happy lake and the isle of Brazil are given there ; the gulf with the 358 islands 
is stated to be on Vesconte-Sanudo maps [cf. Harrisse, 1892, pp. 57, f.], which 
I have also had no opportunity of consulting. 

map of 

Duicert's Angellino Dulcert's (Dalorto's) map of 1339' differs some- 

(Daiorto's) what from the map of 1325 (1330 ?) in its delineation of the 
North, in that Norway is given a narrower and more rectangular 
form, with only those four headlands on the south side which are 
largest on the map of 1325, while the country with the smaller 
headlands to the west of these is cut away, whereby the 
narrower shape is brought about.* 

Dalorto's maps of 1325 and 1339 furnish the prototype for 
the representation of the North in later compass-charts ; and 
this persists without important alteration until well into the 
fifteenth century. But while later Italian charts (cf. Pizigano's 
of 1367) more closely resemble the Italian Dalorto map of 1325, 
the Majorca map of 1339 represents the type of the later Catalan 
charts. In the one preserved at Modena, and dating from 
about 1350,*^ the Catalan compass-chart is combined with the 
representation of the world of the wheel-maps. We find the 
picture of the North to be the same in all its main outlines ; 
but here a new feature is added, in that Iceland appears as a 
group of eight islands in the far north-west, out on the margin 
of the map, with the note : " questas illes son appellades 
islandes " (these islands are called Icelands). The southern- 
most island is called ** islanda," the others have incompre- 
hensible names (" donbert," " tranes," " tales," " brons,*' 

' The number with the preceding words is also evidently given in the line below. 

2 Cf. Th. Fischer, 1886, pp. 42 ; Hamy, 1889, p. 366 ; Magnaghi, 1899, 
p. 2. I have not been able to find this legend on Dalorto's map of 1339 (in the 
reproduction in Nordenskiold's Periplus, PI. VIII,), where Magnaghi asserts that 
it is to be found. 

3 Cf. Hamy, 1888, 1903; Nordenski61d,i897,Pl.VIII.; Kretschmer, 1909,?. 188. 
* This is the same form as on the later maps, pp. 231, 232, 233. 
^ For a description and reproduction of the Modena chart, see Kretschmer, 

1897 > PuUd and Longhena, 1907. 


*' bres," *'mmau . . . ," ** bilanj " [?]) ; but the name of CHAPTER 
Greenland is not found. In the ocean to the north of Norway ^^" 
there is " Mare putritum congelatum " [the putrid, frozen sea]. 
This is evidently the idea of the stinking 
Liver Sea (as in Arab myths, cf. p. 
51), combined with that of the 
frozen sea. On the ap- 
proximately contem- 
porary Catalan 

North-western Europe on the wheel-shaped compass-chart at 

Modena (circa 1350). The network of compass-lines, names 

and legends omitted. Mountains indicated by shading 

reproduction, pp. 232-233), preserved in the National 

Library at Florence (called No. 16), we find the same group 

of islands called " Island," with a long inscription (see 

p. 232 ; cf. also Bjornbo and Petersen, 1908, p. 16), which 

is partly illegible, but wherein it is stated that ' ' the islands 

are very large,** that " the people are handsome, tall and 

fair, the country is very cold," etc. The name of Greenland 

does not occur on this chart either.^ 

The same type of Catalan charts includes Charles V.'s Viladeste's 

well-known mappamundi, or *' Catalan Atlas," of 1375, 

1 In the reproduction, pp. 232-233, " gronlandia " is given in the inscription in 
the Baltic, taken from the reading of Bjornbo and Petersen [1908, p. 16]. Mr. 
O. Vangensten has examined the original at Florence and found that this is a 
misreading, the correct one being " gotlandia.'^ 


chart of 



North-western Europe on the anonymous Catalan mappamundi of the middle of the 
of the original made by Dr. A. A. Bjombo. The text of the names and legends has been 

the Baltic the erroneous " gronlandia " is given, while the 




lUrteenth century, in the National Library at Florence. Reproduced mainly from a tracing 
»mewhat enlarged to render it legible in the reduced reproduction. In the legend on 
riginal has " gotlandia " (according to O. Vangensten) 




The Medici 
Atlas, 1351 

as well as Mecia de Viladeste's chart of 1413,^ and many 

We find a different representation of the North, especially 
of the Scandinavian Peninsula, in the anonymous atlas of 
1 35 1, preserved at Florence and commonly called the " Medi- 
cean Marine Atlas," ^ which is an Italian, probably a Genoese* 
work. The North is here represented on a map of the world 

1 On this chart there is a picture in the Northern Ocean to the west of Norway 
of a ship with her anchor out by the side of a whale, with the following 
explanation [cf. Bjombo, 1910, p. 121] : "This sea is called 'mar bocceano/ 
and therein are found great fish, which sailors take to be small islands and take 
up their quarters on these fish, and the sailors land on these islands and make 
fires, and cause such heat that the fish feels it and sets itself in motion, and they 
have no time to get on board and are lost ; and those who know this, land on 
the said fish, and there make thongs of its back and make fast the head of the 
ship's anchor, and in this way they flay the skin off it, whereof they make saraianes 
[ropes ?] for their ships, and of this skin are made good coverings for haystacks." 

We have here a combination of two mythical features. One is the great fish 
of the Navigatio Brandani, on which they land and make a fire to cook lamb's 
flesh, when the fish begins to move, and the brethren rush to the ship, into which 
they are taken by Brandan, while the island disappears and they can still see the 
fire they have made two leagues away. Brandan told them that this was the 
largest of all the fish in the sea ; it always tries to reach its tail with its head 
[like the Midgards-worm, cf. vol. i. p. 364] and its name is lasconicus. The same 
myth is referred to in an Anglo-Saxon poem [Codex Exoniensis, ed. Benj. Thorpe, 
London, 1842, pp. 360, ff.] on the great whale Fastitocalon, where ships cast 
anchor and the sailors go ashore and make fires, upon which the whale dives 
down with ship and crew. The idea of such a fish resembling an island is also 
found in the northern myth of the havguva (cf.the " King's Mirror "), or krake, 
and is doubtless derived from the East. Tales of landing on an apparent island 
which suddenly turns out to be a fish are found in Sindbad's first voyage, in 
Qazwini (where the fish is an enormous turtle), and even in Pseudo-Callisthenes 
in the second century [iii. 17, cf. E. Rohde, 1900, p. 192]. 

The second feature of flaying the skin is evidently the same as already found 
in Albertus Magnus (ob. 1280), and must be referred to fabulous ideas 
about the hunting of walrus, which was also called whale (see above, p. 163). 
That walrus-hide was used for ships' ropes is, of course, well known, but that 
it should be also used for coverings of haystacks is not likely, as it was certainly 
far too valuable for that. 

* Cf . also the anonymous Catalan chart in the Biblioteca Nazionale at Naples, 
reproduced in Bjornbo and Petersen, 1908, PI. I. 

» Cf. Nordenskiold, 1897, pp. 21, 58, PI. X. ; Hamy, 1889, pp. 414* '• ; 
Fischer- Ongania, PI. V. 



and on a map of Europe (reproduced pp. 236, 260). The CHAPTER 
representation to a great extent resembles the Dalorto type. Its ^^^^ 
division of western Scandinavia into three great promontories 
no doubt recalls the Carignano map to such an extent that one 
may suppose it to have been influenced by some Italian source 
of that map ; but in the names it shows more resemblance 
to the Dalorto maps : the delineation of the Baltic and of 
the peninsula corresponding to Skane is practically the same, 
it perhaps resembles in particular the Modena map and the 
anonymous map at Florence (cf. pp. 232, 233). Jutland, on 
the other hand, has been greatly prolonged and given a different 
shape. The three great tongues of land in Norway, with a 
smaller one on the east near Denmark, may correspond to 
the four headlands on the south coast of Norway on the Dalorto 
maps (cf. especially that of 1339). Through these being con- 
siderably increased in size, and the bays between them being 
enlarged, the west coast of Norway has been moved even 
farther to the west than on the map of 1325, and has been 
given a somewhat more westerly longitude than Ireland. On 
the map of Europe " C. trobs " [** capitolum tronberg " ? 
i.e., Tonsberg] is written on the first bay [like " trunberg " on 
the Dalorto map], " c. bergis " [" capitolum bergis," i.e., the 
see of Bergen] and *' c. trons " (?) [the see of Trondhjem] on 
each of the two other bays. Finally, '* alogia," which on the 
Dalorto map is marked as a town on the northern west coast 
of Norway, to the north of Nidroxia [Nidaros], has followed 
the west coast and is placed on the westernmost tongue of 
land. How the whole of this delineation came about is 
difficult to say. One might be tempted to think that it was 
through a misunderstanding of a description of Norway, like 
that we find in the Historia Norwegiae, where the country is 
described as divided into four parts, the first being the land 
on the eastern bay near Denmark, the second " Gulacia " 
[Gulathing], the third " Throndemia, " the fourth " Halogia." » 
^ Cf. Mon. Hist. Norv., ed. Storm, 1880, p. 77. The circumstance that on one 
of the Sanudo maps (p. 224J Norway is divided into four peninsulas may be 
connected with a similar conception. 



map, 1367 


The map of the world in the Medici atlas is drawn in the 
same way as the compass-charts. It has no names of towns 
in Scandinavia, and the westernmost tongue of land is without 
a name (see the reproduction). On the other hand, the name 
* * alolanda ' ' occurs inland in eastern Norway, and is there 
obviously a corruption of " Hallandia " (cf. p. 227). This 

;*}«■■■ -iw • ■ -ite- •oi.-^^ii.- ■6io- ^0 K.M 

The north-western portion of the mappamundi in the Medicean Marine 
Atlas (1351). The degrees are here inserted after the maps of Ptolemy 

mappamundi is interesting from the fact that it makes 
the land-masses of the continent extend without a limit on 
the north, whereas Africa is terminated by a peninsula on the 

The map of the Venetian Francesco Pizigano, of 1367, 
resembles Dalorto's of 1325 in its delineation of the North ; 
the south side of Norway has somewhat the same rounded 
form with seven headlands, and ** Alogia " is a town on the 
west coast. 




From the Bayeux tapestry, eleventh century 

It has been already pointed out that, while the oldest 
northern authority, Adam of Bremen, regarded the countries 
of the North, outside Scandinavia, as islands in the ocean 
surrounding the earth's disc (in agreement with the learned 
view and with the wheel-maps), the Scandinavians, unfettered Scandina- 
by learned ideas, assumed that Greenland was connected with G^e"niand° 
the continent, for the reason, amongst others, that, as the as mainland 
author of the " King's Mirror ' ' expresses it, continental animals 
such as the hare, wolf and reindeer could not otherwise have 
got there. But, as we have seen, this land communication 
could only be supposed to exist on the far side of Gandvik (the 
White Sea) and the Bjarmeland (Northern Russia) that they 
knew, and to go round the north of the sea that lay to the north 
of Norway. Thus the sea came to be called Hafsbotn (i.e., the 
bay or gulf of the ocean). We find the clearest expression of 
this view in the Icelandic geography already referred to, which 
may in part be attributed to Abbot Nikulas Bergsson of Thvera 
(cf. vol. i. p. 313 ; vol. ii. pp. i, 172), and where we read : 

" Nearest Denmark is lesser Sweden [so called to distinguish it from * Svi|?j6S 
it Mikla,' Russia], there is Oland, then Gotland, then Helsingeland, then Verme- 
land, then two Kvaenlands, and they are north of Bjarmeland. From Bjarmeland 
uninhabited country extends northward as far as Greenland. South of Greenland 
is Helluland," etc. [cf. the continuation, above, p. i]. In a variant of this 
geography in an older MS. we read : " North of Saxland is Denmark. Through 
Denmark the sea goes into * Austrveg ' [the countries on the Baltic]. Sweden 
lies east of Denmark, but Norway on the north. To the north of Norway is Fin- 
mark. From thence the land turns towards the north-east, and then to the east 

1 Cf. Finnur J6nsson [1901, ii. p. 948], who thinks that the part dealing with 
the northern regions is not due to Nikulas. The hjrpothesis put forward by Storm, 
in Gronl. hist. Mind., iii. 219, that it was Abbot Nikolas of Thingeyre, appears 
less probable. 



CHAPTER Ifjefore one comes to Bjarmeland. This is tributary to the Garda-king [the king 

XIII of Gardarike]. From Bjarmeland the land stretches to the uninhabited parts of the 

north, until Greenland begins. To the south of Greenland lies Helluland," etc. 

We have yet a third, later and more detailed variant in the 
so-called " Gripla,** given in vol. i. p. 288. 

The belief in this land connection with Greenland may have 
originated in, or at any rate have been considerably strengthened 
by, the discovery of countries such as Novaya Zemlya, Svalbard 
(Spitzbergen ?), and the northern uninhabited parts of the 
cast coast of Greenland^ (cf. above, pp. 165, ff.). In addition 
to this, those sailing the Polar Sea came across pack-ice 
wherever they went in a northerly direction, closing in the 
sea and making it like a gulf, and it must therefore have been 
natural to believe in a continuous coast which connected 
the countries behind the ice, and which held this fast. The 
belief in a land connection seems to have been so ingrained 
that it can scarcely have rested on nothing but theoretical 
speculations, but must rather have been supported by tangible 
proofs of this kind. 

It was to be expected that the countries on the north of 

Hafsbotn should become fairylands in popular belief, Jotun- 

Saxo on the heimr and Risaland, inhabited by giants. Even Saxo 

far North (beginning of the thirteenth century) says that to the north 

of Norway 

'' lies a land, the name and position of which are unknown, without human 
civilisation, but rich in people of monstrous strangeness. It is separated from 
Norway, which lies opposite, by a mighty arm of the sea. As the navigation there 
is very unsafe, few of those who have ventured thither have had a fortunate 

As it can hardly be the Christian settlements in Greenland 
that Saxo refers to as a land without human civilisation, 
we must doubtless suppose that his land in the north is a 
confusion of the eastern uninhabited tracts of Greenland 
with Jotunheimr, as in Icelandic ideas. For Adam of 

^ If the old fishermen of the Polar Sea landed on any of these countries (Novaya 
Zemlya, Spitzbergen), they would there have found reindeer, which would again 
have strengthened their belief in the connection by land. 


Bremen already had giants (Cyclopes) on an island in the north, chapter 
and we have seen that there were similar conceptions in the ^"^ 
Historia Norwegiae (cf. p. 167). 

A mediaeval Icelandic tale [inserted in Bjorn J6nsson's The tale of 
Greenland Annals] says of Halli Geit that "^"' ^^'* 

" he alone succeeded in coming by land on foot over mountains and glaciers 
and all the wastes, and past all the gulfs of the sea to Gandvik and then to Norway. 
He led with him a goat, and lived on its milk ; he often found valleys and narrow 
openings between the glaciers, so that the goat could feed either on grass or in 
the woods." 

Ideas of this kind led to the view held by some that there Land at the 
was land as far as the North Pole, which appears in an North Pole 



From the Bayeux tapestry, eleventh century 

Icelandic tract, included in the ** Rymbegla " [1780, p. 466]. 
Of a bad Latin verse, there reproduced, it is said ; 

"Some will understand this to mean that he [i.e., the poet] says that land lies 
under * leidarstjarna • [the pole star], and that the shores there prevent the 
ring of the ocean from joining [i.e., around the disc of the earth] ; with this 
certain ancient legends agree, which show that one can go, or that men have gone, 
on foot from Greenland to Norway." 

But the mediaeval learned idea of the Outer Ocean sur- The Outer 
rounding the whole disc of earth also asserts itself in the ^®*" 
North, and appears in Snorre's Heimskringla and in the 
"King's Mirror," amongst other works. This ocean went 
outside Greenland, which was connected with Europe, and 
made the former into a peninsula. In the work already 
referred to, " Gripla " (only known in a late MS. in Bjorn 
J6nsson of Skardsa, first half of the seventeenth century), 
we read, in continuation of the passage already quoted (p. 35) : 
** Between Wineland and Greenland is Ginnungagap, it proceeds 
from the sea that is called ' Mare oceanum,* which surrounds 
the whole world." Since Wineland [i.e., the Insulae Fortu- 
natae], as already stated (pp. i, ff.), was by some, evidently 





through a misunderstanding, made continuous with Africa/ 
it is clear that the Outer Ocean must be supposed to go com- 
pletely round both Greenland and Wineland (cf. the illustration, 
p. 2). Thus it was also natural to suppose that there was 
an opening somewhere between these two countries, through 
which the Outer Ocean was connected with the inner, known 
ocean between Norway, Greenland, etc.^ 

At least as old as the Norsemen's conceptions of countries 
beyond the ocean in the North was probably the idea of the 
great abyss, Ginnungagap, which there forms the boundary of 
the ocean and of the world, and which must be derived from 
the Tartarus and Chaos of the Greeks (cf. p. 150). When the 
Polar Sea (Hafsbotn) was closed by the land connection 
between Bjarmeland and Greenland, it was natural that those 
who tried to form a consistent view of the world could no 
longer find a place for the abyss in that direction ; and 
G. Storm [1890] is certainly right in thinking that it was for 
this reason that Ginnungagap was located in the passage 
between Greenland and Wineland ; since, no doubt, the idea 
was that this " gap '* in some way or other was connected 

^ The reason for this might be supposed to be the very name of Winelcind, 
formed in a similar way to Greenland and Iceland, instead of Vin-ey (Wine 
island). A " land," if one knew no better, would be more likely to be connected 
with the continent ; whereas, if it had been called ** ey," it would have con- 
tinued to be an island, as indeed it is in the Historia Norwegise (cf. p. i). 

2 Storm [1890 ; 1892, pp. 78, ff.] and Bjornbo [1909, pp. 229, ft. ; 1910, 
pp. 82, ff.] have put forward views about these ideas of the Scandinavians which 
differ somewhat from those here given (cf. above, p. 2), but in the main we 
are in agreement. I do not think Dr. Bjornbo can be altogether right in supposing 
that the Icelanders and Norwegians connected Greenland with Bjarmeland, 
and Wineland with Africa, because the learned views of the Middle Ages made 
this necessary ; for this view of the world also acknowledged islands in the 
ocean (cf. Adam of Bremen], perhaps indeed more readily than it acknowledged 
peninsulas (cf. the wheel-maps). But perhaps, after Greenland and Wineland 
had been connected with the continents on other grounds, the prevailing learned 
view of the world demanded that the Outer Ocean should be placed outside these 
countries, so that they became peninsulas. But we have seen that side by side 
with this, other views were also held (cf., for instance, the Rymbegla and the 
Medicean mappamundi, pp. 236, 239). 



with the void Outer Ocean. But this view is first found in CHAPTER 
the very late copy (seventeenth century) of " Gripla," and of ^"^ 
the somewhat older map of Gudbrand Torlaksson [Torlacius] 
of 1606 [Torfaeus, 1706 ; PI. I., p. 21], where ** Ginnunga 
Gap " is marked as the name of 
the strait between Greenland and 
America. What Ginnungagap 
really was seems never to have 
been quite clear, different people 
having no doubt had different 
ideas about it ; but when, as here, 
it is used as the name of a strait 
through which the Outer Ocean 
enters, it cannot any longer be 
an abyss ; at the most it may 
have been a maelstrom or whirl- 
pool, which, indeed, is suggested 
by the whirlpool on Jon Gud- 
mundsson's map (cf. p. 34). But 
even this interpretation of the 
name became effaced, and in 
another MS. of the seventeenth 
century (see p. 35) it is simply 

used as a name for the great ocean to the west of Spain 
(that is, the Atlantic). 

On the other hand we have seen (pp. 150, ff.) that ideas of 
whirlpools in the northern seas appear to have been widely 
spread in the Middle Ages. There is a possibility, as already 
hinted (vol. i. p. 303), that when in Ivar Bardsson's description 
of the northern west coast of Greenland " the many whirlpools 
that there lie all over the sea " are spoken of, it was thought 
that here was the boundary of the ocean and of the world, 
and that it was formed by the many whirlpools, or abysses in 
the sea. In that case these cannot be regarded merely as 
maelstroms like the Moskenstrom, but more like the true 
Ginnungagap. But this is extremely uncertain; it may 
" 241 

From an Icelandic MS. of 1363 


CHAPTER again have been one of those embellishments which were often 
xni used in speaking of the most distant regions. 

Saxo Saxo Grammaticus (first part of the thirteenth century) in 

the preface to his Danish history gives geographical informa- 
tion about Scandinavia and Iceland, to which we have already 
referred several times. He does not mention Greenland. He 
says himself that he has made use of Icelandic literature to 
a large extent ; but he has also mingled with it a good deal of 
mythical material from elsewhere. 

Beyond comparison the most important geographical 
writer of the mediaeval North, and at the same time one of 
the first in the whole of mediaeval Europe, was the unknown 
The King's author who wrote the ** King's Mirror,"^ probably about 
Mirror, ^.j^g middle of the thirteenth century.^ If one turns from 
contemporary or earlier European geographical literature, 
with all its superstition and obscurity, to this masterly work, 
the difference is very striking. Even at the first appearance 

* The name of the work (" Konungs-Skuggsja " or "Speculum Regale ") 
had its prototype in the names of those books which were written in India for 
the education of princes, and which were called Princes' Mirrors. In imitation 
of these, " mirror " (speculum) was used as the title of works of various kinds 
in mediaeval Europe. 

2 Various guesses have been made as to who the author may have been 
and when the work was written. It appears to me that there is much to be said 
for the opinion put forward by A. V. Heffermehl [1904], that the author may 
have been the priest Ivar Bodde, Hakon Hokonsson's foster-father. In that 
case the work must have been written somewhat earlier than commonly supposed 
[Storm put it between 1250 and 1260], and it appears that Heffermehl has given 
good reasons for assuming that it may have been written several years before 
1250. Considerable weight as regards the determination of its date must be 
attached to the circumstance that, in the opinion of Professor Marius Haegstad, 
a vellum sheet preserved at Copenhagen (new royal collection. No. 235g) has 
linguistic forms which must place it certainly before 1250, and the vellum must 
have belonged to a copy of an older MS. On the other hand, Professor Moltke 
Moe has pointed out in his lectures that the quotations in the " King's Mirror ' ' from 
the book of the Marvels of India, from Prester John's letter, are derived from a 
version of the latter which, as shown by Zarncke, is not known before about 
1300. Moltke Moe therefore supposes that the " King's Mirror," in the form we 
know it, may be a later and incomplete adaptation of the original work. The latter 
may have been written by Ivar Bodde in his old age between 1230 and 1240. 


of the Scandinavians in literature, in Ottar's straightforward CHAPTER 

and natural narrative of his voyage to King Alfred, the ^"^ 

numerous trustworthy statements about previously unknown 

regions are a prominent feature, and give proof of a sober 

faculty of observation, altogether different from what one 

usually meets with in mediaeval literature. This is the case 

to an even greater degree in the "King's Mirror," and the 

difference between what is there stated about the North and 

what we find less than two hundred years earlier in Adam 

of Bremen is obvious. Apart from the fact that the whole 

method of presentation is inspired by superior intelligence, 

it shows an insight and a faculty of observation which are 

uncommon, especially at that period ; and in many points 

this remarkable man was evidently centuries before his time. 

Although well acquainted with much of the earlier mediaeval 

literature, he has liberated himself to a surprising extent 

from its fabulous conceptions. We hear nothing of the many 

fabulous peoples, who were still common amongst much later 

authors, nor about whirlpools, nor the curdled and dark 

sea, but instead we have fresh and copious information about 

the northern regions, and it comes with a clearness like that 

which already struck us in Ottar. We have a remarkably good 

description of the sea-ice, its drift, etc. (cf. vol. i. pp. 279, f.) ; 

we have also a description of the animal world of the northern 

seas to which there is no parallel in the earlier literature of 

the world (cf. pp. 155, ff.). No less than twenty-one different 

whales are referred to fully. If we make allowance for three 

of them being probably sharks, and for two being perhaps 

alternative names for the same whale, the total corresponds 

to the number of species that are known in northern waters. 

Six seals are described, which corresponds to the number of 

species living on the coasts of Norway and Greenland. Besides 

these the walrus [" rostung "] is very well described. But 

even the author of the "King's Mirror" could not altogether 

avoid the supernatural in treating of the sea. He describes in 

the seas of Iceland the enormous monster " hafgufa," which 


CHAPTER seems more like a piece of land than a fish, and he does not 
xni think there are more than two of them in the sea. This is 

the same that the Norwegian fishermen now call the krake, 
and certainly also the same that appears in ancient oriental 
myths, and that is met with again in the Brandan legend as 
the great whale that they take for an island and land on 

(cf. p. 234). In the Green- 
land seas the "King's 
Mirror*' has two kinds of 
trolls, '* hafstrambr " [a 
kind of merman], with a 
body that was like a glacier 
to look at, and ** mar- 
gygr " [a mermaid], both 

Marginal drawing in the Flateyjarb6k e ■•• i r -n * •» « 

(1387-1394) of which are fully described. 

There is also mention in the 
Greenland seas of the strange and dangerous ** sea-fences," 
which are often spoken of in the sagas [and about which 
there is a lay, the **hafger^inga-drapa "]. The author 
does not quite know what to make of this marvel, for " it 
looks as if all the storms and waves that there are in that 
sea gather themselves together in three places, and become 
three waves. They fence in the whole sea, so that men 
cannot find a way out, and they are higher than great moun- 
tains and like steep summits," etc. It is probable that the 
belief in these sea-fences is derived from something that really 
took place, perhaps most likely earthquake-waves, or submarine 
earthquakes, which may sometimes have occurred near volcanic 
Iceland. But it is curious that in the "King's Mirror " these 
waves are connected with Greenland. They might also be 
supposed to be connected with the waves that are formed 
when icebergs capsize. 

The principal countries described are Ireland, Iceland and 
Greenland ; but it is characteristic of the author that the 
farther north he goes, away from regions commonly known, 
the freer his account becomes from all kinds of fabulous 


additions. In Ireland he is still held fast by the superstition CHAPTER 
of the period, and especially by the priests' fables about them- ^"^ 
selves and their holy men, and by the English author Giraldus 
Cambrensis.^ In Iceland, as a rule, he is free of this troublesome 
ballast, and gives valuable information about the glaciers of 
Iceland, glacier-falls, boiling springs, etc. In his opinion the 
cold climate of Iceland is due to the vicinity of Greenland, 
which sends out great cold owing to its being above all other 
lands covered with ice ; for this reason Iceland has so much 
ice on its mountains. Although he thinks it possible that 
its volcanoes are due to the fires of Hell, and that it is thus 
the actual place of torment, and that Hell is therefore not 
in Sicily, as his holiness Pope Gregory had supposed, he never- 
theless has another and more reasonable explanation of the 
origin of earthquakes and volcanoes. They may be due to 
hollow passages and cavities in the foundations of the land, 
which by the force either of the wind or of the roaring sea may 
become so full of wind that they cannot stand the pressure, 
and thus violent earthquakes may arise. From the violent 
conflict which the air produces underground, the great fire 
may be kindled which breaks out in different parts of the 
country. It must not be thought certain that this is exactly 
how it takes place, but one ought rather to lay such things 
together to form the explanation that seems more conceivable, 

" we see that from force [' afli ' ] all fire comes. When hard stone and hard 

iron are brought together with a blow, fire comes from the iron and from the 

force with which they are struck together. You may also rub pieces of wood Fire derived 

together until fire comes from the labour that they have. It is also constantly from force 

happening that two winds arise from different quarters, one against the other, (labour) 

and if they meet in the air there is a hard shock, and this shock gives off a great 

fire, which spreads far in the air," etc. 

^ If Professor Moltke Moe's view is correct, that the ** King's Mirror," in the 
form which we know, is a later adaptation (cf. p. 242, note 2), it may be sup- 
posed that the section on Ireland was inserted by the adapter. Presumably a 
thorough examination of the linguistic forms would determine whether this is 



The inland 
ice of 


This idea of a connection between labour (friction) and 
force (motion), and this explanation of the possible origin 
of volcanoes are surprising in the thirteenth century, and seem 
to bring the author centuries in advance of his time ; we here 
have germs of the theory of the conservation of energy. 

His statements about Greenland are remarkable for their 
sober trustworthiness. He gives the first description of its 
inland ice : 

" But since you asked whether the land is thawed or not, or whether it is covered 

with ice like the sea, you must know that 
there are small portions of the land which 
are thawed, but all the rest is covered with 
ice, and the people do not know whether the 
country is large or small, since all the 
mountains and valleys are covered with ice, 
so that no one can find his way in. But in 
reality it must be that there is a way, either 
in those valleys that lie between the moun- 
tains, or along the shores, so that animals 
can find a way, for otherwise animals cannot 
come there from other countries, unless they 
find a way through the ice and find the land 
thawed. But men have often tried to go up 
the country, upon the highest mountains in 
various places, to look around them, to see 
whether they could find any part that was 
thawed and habitable, but they have not 
found any such, except where people are 
now living, and that is but little along the shore itself." 

This, as we see, is an extremely happy description of the 
mighty ice-sheet. He also describes the climate of the country, 
both the fine weather that often occurs in summer, and its 
usually inclement character, which causes so small a proportion 
of the country to be habitable. 

The glaciers "The land is cold, and the glacier [i.e., the great ice or inland ice] has this 

of Green- nature, that he sends out cold gusts which drive away the showers from his face, 

land a pole and he usually keeps his head bare. But often his near neighbours have to suffer 

of maxi- f^j jt^ j^ that all other lands which lie in his neighbourhood get much bad weather 

mum cold j^^^^ j^j^^^ ^^^^ ^U ^^^ ^^^^ ^^^^^ ^j^^^ j^^ throws off fall upon them.'* 


Norwegian MS. of the Gula- 

things law. Fourteenth 



Though in simple and everyday words, this really expresses CHAPTER 
the idea that Greenland and the neighbouring regions are ^"^ 
disproportionately cold, and that, in part at any rate, this is 
due to the glaciers of Greenland, which have a refrigerating 
effect (as an anticyclonic pole of maximum cold). This is 
to a certain degree correct. In crossing Greenland in 1888 
we found that a pole of cold [anticyclone] lies over the inland 
ice, which gives off cold air. Scientific greatness does not 
always depend on erudition or acute learned combinations ; 
it is just as often the result of a sound common- sense. 

The allusion in the ** King's Mirror' * to the Norse inhabitants 
of Greenland and their life has already been quoted in part 
(vol. i. p. 277) ; curiously enough the Skraelings are not men- 
tioned. The author gives a graphic description of the aurora 
borealis, and attempts to explain its cause. As already noted 
(p* iS5)» it is curious that he should speak of it as something 
peculiar to Greenland, when he must of course have known 
it well enough in Norway. 

The cosmography of the " King's Mirror " is based on older 
mediaeval writers, especially Isidore. The spherical form of 
the earth and the course of the sun are mentioned, as is 
Macrobius's doctrine of zones. In the frigid zones the cold 
has attracted to itself such power that the waters throw off 
their nature and are changed to ice, and all the land and sea 
is covered with ice. They are usually uninhabitable, but 
nevertheless the author considers that Greenland lies in the 
north frigid zone. He thinks that "it is mainland, and con- 
nected with other mainland," as already mentioned, because 
it has a number of terrestrial animals that are not often 
found on islands. It 

" lies on the extreme side of the world on the north, and he does not think 
there is land outside ' Heimskringla ' [the circle of the world, * orbis terrarum '] 
beyond Greenland, only the great ocean which runs round the world ; and it is 
said by men who are wise that the strait through which the empty ocean flows 
comes in by Greenland, and into the gap between the lands (' landa-klofi '), 
and thereafter with fjords and gulfs it divides all countries, where it runs into 




This is, as we see, the same idea as already (p. 240) referred 
to, that the Outer Ocean runs in through a sound between 
Greenland and another continent to the south, evidently 
Wineland, which is thus here again regarded as part of Africa 
(cf. p. I). 

It is moreover striking that neither Wineland, Markland, 
nor Helluland is mentioned in the ** King's Mirror, ' ' and Bjarme- 
land, Svalbard, etc., are also omitted. Thus it does not give 
any complete description of the northern lands, but it must 
be remembered that what we know of the work is only a frag- 
ment, and perhaps it was never completed. 

The Nancy map. A copy, of 1427, of Claudius Clavus's first 

map of the North. The lines of latitude and longitude are 

omitted for the sake of clearness 

The credit of having introduced the name of Greenland, 
with the ancient Norsemen's geographical ideas about the 
extreme North, into cartography belongs, so far as is known, 


to the Dane Claudius Clausson Swarc, usually called in Latin CHAPTER; 
Claudius Clavus (sometimes also Nicolaus Niger). He was ^^^^ . 
born in Funen, travelled about Europe, and, as shown by ciausson 
Storm [i89i,pp. 17, f.], was probably the ** Nicolaus Gothus '* Swart, bom 
who is mentioned at Rome in January 1424, and who is ^^ 
reported to have there given out that he had seen a copy of 
Livy in the monastery of Soro, near Roskilde (which was 
probably a romance on his part). We are told that he was 
a man of acute intelligence, but a rover and unsteady. His 
subsequent history is unknown. As a supplement to Ptolemy's 
Geography, which just at that time (1409) was becoming known 
in Western Europe in a Latin translation, he made, probably 
in Italy, two maps of the North, with accompanying descrip- 
tions. The maps must have been drawn either by himself ciavus's 
or with his help. They are the first maps known in Western "^^P^ 
Europe which are furnished, after the model of Ptolemy 
(or Marinus), with lines of latitude and longitude,^ and they 
thus mark the beginning of a more scientific cartography and 
geography in Western Europe.^ 

His first map (the Nancy map) must have been drawn 
between the years 141 3 and 1427, probably between 1424 
and 1427 ; but it can never have been widely known, as it 
has exercised no noticeable influence on the cartography of 
the succeeding period. The French cardinal Filastre 
(ob. 1428), who was staying in Rome in 1427, became 

^ The famous Roger Bacon is said to have already made an attempt, before 
Ptolemy's Geography was known, to draw a map according to mathematical 
determinations of locality ; but the map is lost [Roger Bacon, Opus majus, fol. 
186-189]. The title of Nicholas of Lynn's book is said to have been : ** Inventio 
fortunata qui liber incipet a gradu 54, usque ad polum " (i.e., which book begins 
[in its description] at 54° [and goes] as far as the pole) [cf. Hakluyt, Princ. Nav., 
19031 P« 303]* This may show that degrees were already in use at that time (1360) 
for geographical description. 

2 On Claudius Clavus see in particular Storm's work of fundamental import- 
ance [i88o-i89i],and the valuable monograph by Bjombo and Petersen [1904, 
1909], also A. A. Bjombo [1910]. Cf. further Nordenskiold [1897, pp.86, ff.], 
V. Wieser [Peterm. Mitteilungen, xlv. 1899, pp. 119, ff.], Jos. Fischer [1902, 
c^P< 5]> ^^^ others. 



CHAPTER acquainted with it there, and made a reduced copy of it, which, 
xin together with a copy of the accompanying text, he had bound 

up with his copy of the Latin translation of Ptolemy's 
Geography with maps. This work was not rediscovered at 
Nancy until 1835, when it was published ; the map is therefore 
usually called the Nancy map. Clavus*s second map, which 
seems to have been drawn later than that just mentioned, has 
on the other hand had considerable infiuence on the carto- 
graphical representation of the northern regions through a 
period of two centuries. 

A copy of the later map was first brought to light by 
Nordenskiold at Warsaw in 1889 [1889, p. xxx.] ; since then 
several copies have been rescued from oblivion, while the text 
accompanying the map was accidentally discovered in 1900 
by Dr. A. A. Bjornbo in a mediaeval MS. at Vienna [Bjornbo 
and Petersen, 1904]. The original map is lost ; but except 
as regards details of no great consequence there can now be 
no doubt as to what it was like. 

The reproductions (pp. 248 and 251) will give an idea of the 
representation of the North on the two maps. As far as 
Ptolemy's map extended (cf. vol. i. pp. 118, f.), it will be seen that 
its coast-lines and islands are almost slavishly adhered to on 
both maps. To this the Nancy map adds a Scandinavia, with 
Iceland, the east coast of Greenland, and a northern land 
connection between the latter and Russia. On the later map 
Scandinavia has been given a somewhat altered form, and 
Greenland has a west coast. The Nancy map has few names, 
many more being mentioned in the text, especially in Denmark. 
Even as regards Denmark they are evidently to a great extent 
taken from an older itinerary like that of Bruges [** Itin6- 
raire Brugeois," cf. Storm, 1891, p. 19]. Some of the names 
on the map, like " bergis," *' nidrosia," etc., may be taken 
from older compass-charts ; both texts have the northern 
form " Bergen." Headlands, bays and islands (on the coasts 
of Norway, Iceland and Greenland), for which he had no 
names (and which moreover are due to the free imagination 


tion in 
cal names 


of the draughtsman), have been designated in the Nancy text 
by Latin numerals (** Primum," ** Secundum," etc.), or are 
simply named after each other (in Iceland), a sure sign that 
Clavus neither knew nor had heard anything about these 

On his later map Clavus has made up for the want of names 
in an astonishing way. On some of the coasts he has continued 
to use Latin numerals for bays, etc., but side by side with this 
on the shores of the Baltic and in Sweden he has used Danish 
numerals, such as, ** Forste aa fiuuii ostia " (First river, 
river-mouth), " Anden aa " (Second river) . . . , etc. The 
southerners, who did not understand Danish, of course regarded 
these as names, and subjected them to all sorts of corruptions. 
Matters became worse when in Gotland and Norway he used 
as the names of headlands and rivers the words of a meaning- 
less rigmarole : '* Enarene," ** apocane," ** uithu," " wultu," 
"segh," ** sarlecrogh,** etc. (evidently corresponding to 
children's rigmaroles like " Anniken, fanniken, fiken, foken," 
etc.).^ In Iceland he used the names of the runic characters for 
headlands and rivers ; but most remarkable of all are his 
names in Greenland, alternately for headlands and the mouths 
of rivers (I). If, as shown by Bjornbo and Petersen, these 
are read continuously from the most northern headland on 
the east coast round the south of the country, the following 
verse in the dialect of Funen is the result : 

*' Thaer beer eeynh manh secundum [= ij ?] ^ eyn Gronelandsz aa, 
ooc Spieldebedh mundhe hanyd heyde ; 
meer hawer han nidefildh, 
een hanh hawer flesk hinth feyde. 
Nordh um driuer sandhin naa new new." 

^ Cf. Axel Olrik, " Danske Studier," 1904, p. 215. 

^ This ** secundum " in the MS. must doubtless have been inserted by a 
copyist. Bjornbo and Petersen think the original had " ij," which the copyist 
took for a Roman numeral and replaced by "secundiun." As it might seem 
strange that the man lived *' • in ' a river of Greenland," Axel Olrik thought 
that the word might have been " wit " (by, or near} ; but then it becomes more 
difficult to understand how and why the word should have been replaced by 
** secundum," unless the copyist had some knowledge of Danish. 



(There lives a man (in ?] a Greenland river, CHAPTER 

and Spieldebedh is his name ; XIII 

he has more vermin (?) 
than he has fat bacon, etc.l 

The verse, as pointed out by Axel Olrik, is evidently an 
imitation or travesty of the folk-songs, and, as Karl Aubert 
has shown,* its prototype must certainly have been the first 
verse of the same folk-song that is now known in Sweden by 
the name of " Kung Speleman *' : 

*\Dher bodde een kjempe vid Helsingborg, 
Kung Speleman mande han heta, 
Visst hade han mera boda solf, 
An andra flesket dhet feta. 
Uren drifver noran, och hafvet sunnan for noran.'* 
(There lived a giant by Helsingborg, 
King Fiddler was his nemie. 
Sure he had greater store of silver 
Than others of fat bacon, etc.j 

This method of fabricating geographical names adopted 
by Clavus recalls the designation of the notes in the mediaeval 
scale, for which the words of a Latin hymn were used, and 
it seems likely that this is what he has imitated. But his 
mystification, with all these strange names which no one in 
Southern Europe understood, and which in course of time 
underwent many corruptions, has caused a good deal of 
trouble ; many intelligent men have racked their brains to dis- 
cover learned etymological interpretations of their origin, until 
Bjornbo's lucky find of the later text of Clavus solved the riddle. 

Bjornbo and Petersen, who by their valuable work on Different 
Claudius Clavus with a reproduction of this text have the Vf^^ ?^ 

*^ Clavus s 

credit of throwmg light on the relation between his first and maps and 
second maps, have put forward the view that Clavus must their origin 
have made his first map (the Nancy map) with its Latin 
text in Italy ; but curiously enough they think he entirely 
rejected the Italian compass-charts as unsuitable for the 
representation of the North, and constructed his delineation 
of the northern regions independently of them, as an addition 

* " Danske Studier," 1907, p. 228. 


CHAPTER to Ptolemy's coast-lines, simply from information he had 
^"^ derived from northern sources. After this we are to suppose 

that, in order to extend his geographical knowledge, he went 
back to Denmark ; and since the authors place reliance 
on Clavus*s assertion (in his later text) that he had seen the 
places himself, they even credit him with having made a voyage 
of geographical exploration, first to Norway (Trondhjem) and 
then to Greenland. And then he is supposed to have drawn his 
later map, and written the text for it (in Latin), in the North. 
I have come to an entirely different conclusion. His 
older map must be based, in my opinion, not only on Ptolemy, 
but to a great extent on Italian maps. His later map and text, 
I consider, show beyond doubt that he cannot have been either 
in Norway or Greenland, and I cannot find a single statement 
in the Vienna text, or any coast-line in his later map, which 
shows that he was outside Italy in the period between the two 
works. Doubtless the delineation of Denmark, especially 
Sealand, is more detailed in the second map ; but the additions 
do not disclose any more local knowledge than might be attri- 
buted to Clavus as a native of Funen before his first map 
was drawn, even though he had not then ventured to change 
the form of Ptolemy's Scandia, which to him, of course, 
became Sealand. After this first attempt, however, he may 
have gained courage to launch out further with his knowledge. 
He may also have discovered a few fresh pieces of information, 
in the papal archives, for instance. Besides this, he may, 
of course, have received oral communications from people 
from the northern countries ; but even of this I am unable 
to find sure signs. In consideration of the imaginative ten- 
dencies shown by Clavus in his distribution of names, and to 
some extent in the coast-lines on his map, which perhaps 
may also have asserted themselves in his statement that he 
had seen a complete MS. of Livy in Soro monastery,^ we shall 

* Many vain searches were afterwards made (in 1451 and 1461) in the monas- 
tery of Soro for this MS. of Livy, and there may therefore be grounds for doubting 
the statement to be true [cf. Bjombo and Petersen, 1909, pp. 197, f.], 



scarcely be insulting him if we believe his statements (in two chapter 
passages of the Vienna text) that he himself had seen Pygmies ^"^ 
from a land in the North , and Karelians in Greenland, to be 
rhetorical phrases, calculated to strengthen the reader's con- 
fidence, and to mean at the outside that he had seen something 
about these people in older authorities. 

After having heard my reasons, Bjornbo and Petersen 
have in all essentials come round to my views. In particular 
they agree with me that Clavus cannot have been in Greenland, 
but that the delineation of that country on his later map is based 
on the Medicean map of the world, which will be mentioned later 
I therefore consider it superfluous to combat any further here 
the reasons given in their work for their former view. 

Claudius Clavus 's task must have been to supplement the 
newly discovered atlas of Ptolemy by what he knew of the 
North ; and to this end his maps were drawn, either by himself 
or by a professional draughtsman in Italy from his instructions. 
The text was prepared after each of the maps, as a description 
of it ; and the latitudes and longitudes are taken from the 
map [cf. Bjornbo and Petersen, 1904, p. 130]. With the 
superstitious respect of the period for older learned authorities 
in general, and for Ptolemy in particular, he did not venture 
to alter the latter 's coast-lines or latitudes as far as they 
extended ; even in the Danish islands he has done so with 
hesitation, thus Sealand in his first sketch [the Nancy map] 
has still the same form as Scandia in Ptolemy, etc. He 
then added to the latter *s coast-lines what he knew or could 
get together from other quarters. 

His first map [the Nancy map] may presuppose the fol- Sources and 
lowing sources, besides Ptolemy's various maps of Northern f^"«^^ °^ 
Europe ; Pietro Vesconte's mappamundi (circa 1320) in map 
Marino Sanudo's work,^ and the anonymous mappamundi, 

1 Cf. the maps on pp. 223, 224. As we certainly do not know nearly all 
the maps that were in use at that time, I regard it as probable that Claudius or 
his draughtsman had older maps, now lost, of this or a similar type, which resemble 
the Nancy map even more closely than these two known maps. But of course 
it is wiser to confine ourselves as far as possible to those we know. 


CHAPTER now preserved in the so-called Medicean Marine Atlas, of 
^"^ 1351* at Florence.^ In addition to these, either the Bruges 

itinerary itself [Itineraire Brugeois, cf. Storm, 1891, p. 19], 
or one of its earlier sources. Possibly he also had, in part 
at all events, a tract [in Icelandic ?] that is included in the 
fourth part of the ** Rymbegla " [1780] ; that he also knew 
of the Icelandic sailing directions, as assumed by Bjornbo 
and Petersen, I regard as less certain, although not impossible ; 
perhaps it would be safer to suppose that he may have seen 
some statements from Ivar Bardsson's description of Green- 
land, in an itinerary, for instance. I have not been able to 
find any certain indication of his having been acquainted 
with the Icelandic geography mentioned on p. 237 ; perhaps 
he may rather have known of the land connection between 
Greenland and Russia from some tale or other, or from a 
legendary saga ;^ from the same source (or from Ivar Bardsson's 
description ?) may also be derived the name Nordbotn (cf. p. 171, 
note i), which is not known in the Icelandic geography, but 
which seems most probably to be a legendary form. Certain 
names, such as those of the bishops' sees in Norway and 
Iceland, Clavus may easily have found in the papal archives 
in Rome. 

In the first place, exactly following Ptolemy, the draughts- 
man has marked Ireland with the islands around it and six 

1 storm [1891, p. 16] was the first to hold that Clavus made use of Italian 
compass-charts as his model for the delineation of the south coast of Scandinavia, 
and that he also took names from them. Bjornbo and Petersen have rejected 
this view, as the names in Clavus 's text are principally taken from other sources, 
and the Baltic has been given quite a different shape. But the necessity of this 
change seems to have escaped them, as it was caused by Clavus retaining Ptolemy's 
outline for the south coast of the Baltic. 

2 If we assume that the names «* Wildhlappelandi," ** Pigmei," etc., on the 
Nancy map are due to Clavus himself, he may have had some authority like that 
of the anonymous letter to Pope Nicholas V. (of about 1450), which Michel Beheim 
may also have used (see laterj. From this source he may have obtained the infor- 
mation about the land connection between the land to the north-east of Norway 
and Greenland. As will be mentioned later (p. 270J, it is possible that this source 
was Nicholas of Lynn. 



Hebrides to the north-east, Scotland with the island of Dumna chapter 
and the archipelago '' Orcadia " to the north (the island of xiii 
Ocitis a little farther east), and the south coast of Thule farther 
north ; next Jutland with its small islands round about, 
and with the large island of Scandia, which, of course, became 
Sealand (he has added Funen and a number of other islands) ; 
finally the coast of Germany and Sarmatia eastwards to 
63° N. lat., and with the same number of river-mouths as in 
Ptolemy. As this coast does not extend nearly so far to the 
east as does the Baltic on the compass-charts, it resulted 
that Clavus's Baltic became much shorter than that of the 
charts, and its shape had to be altered to suit Ptolemy's 
coast-line. Then, at its northern end, the draughtsman 
has placed possibly Pietro Vesconte's Scandinavian peninsula, 
going out towards the west (see the two maps, pp. 223, 224) ; 
but as he saw Norway on the compass-charts extending west 
as far as to the north of Scotland, where on Ptolemy's map 
he found Thule, it was natural that he should take the latter 
to be the southern point of Norway, and he was obliged to 
move Vesconte's peninsula farther to the west. Its south 
coast may have been drawn with the Medici map, or a similar 
one, as model. As the southern coast of the Baltic was moved 
far to the south, after Ptolemy, and Jutland was given a 
different and smaller form than on the Medici map, besides 
a marked inclination to the east, and as Skane had to be near 
Sealand (Scandia), the draughtsman was obliged to move the 
peninsula corresponding to Skane about five degrees to the 
south. The south coast of the peninsula on the north of 
Scotland on the Medici map (see pp. 236, 260) corresponded very 
nearly to the south coast of Thule (with an east-south-easterly 
direction) on Ptolemy's map ; it lay in an almost corresponding 
latitude, but on account of the puzzling prolongation of Scotland 
to the east on Ptolemy's map, it had to be moved a good 
fifteen degrees of longitude to the east. Thule was thus 
united to Norway ^ and its south coast was given exactly the 

^ storm [189 1, p. 15] also maintains that on the Nancy map Thule has been 
XI R 257 


CHAPTER same shape as the south coast of the peninsula in question, 
^^^' with three arched bays (the broadest on the east) and a pro- 

jecting point towards the south-east. The coast between 
this promontory and Skane may then have been drawn with 
the same number of four large bays as on the Medici map : 
a deeper one farthest west, then a broad peninsula, next 
two wide, open bays, with a narrow peninsula between them, 
and finally a smaller bay opposite Sealand. The ** Halandi " 
of the Nancy map is thus brought to the corresponding place 
with the " Alolanda " of the Medici map (p. 236).^ 

Thus far it may be fairly easy to compare the maps ; but 
then Norway according to most of the compass-charts ought 
not to have any considerable farther extension to the west, 
while on the other hand Northern ideas demanded a Greenland 
in the far west, as well as a land in the north between that 
and Russia. With the latter the westernmost tongue of 
land in Norway on the Medicean mappamundi ^ agrees 
remarkably well. The southern point of Clavus's Greenland 
has also the same length in proportion to the west coast of 
Ireland, and about the same breadth, as on this map. There 
was also an extensive mass of land in the north. According 
to various representations, such as those of Vesconte's map- 
pamundi, Saxo's description (cf. p. 223), and others, there 

incorporated with Norway, but Bjornbo and Petersen [1904, p. 194 ; 1909, p. 158] 
think that this must be regarded as " one of the unfortunate results of his desire 
to reduce all Clavus's contributions to a single one " ; why, we are not told. 
According to my view there can be no doubt that Storm is right. Clavus has 
made the south coast of Thule into the southernmost coast of Norway, with its 
south-eastern point due north of the island of Ocitis, and its south-western point 
north of the west side of Orcadia, exactly as on Ptolemy's map. In addition, 
this coast has the same latitude and longitude as the south coast of Ptolemy's 

^ Of course there is always the possibility that Clavus may have had maps 
of the Medici type which resembled the Nancy map even more closely than that 
with which we are acquainted. 

' On this map the tongue of land in question is nameless, while on the map 
of Europe in the Medicean Atlas it is given the name of " alogia," which shows 
it to have t^een regarded as a part of Norway (see the reproduction, p. 260). 


should be a gulf on the north side of the Scandinavian Peninsula. CHAPTER 
According to representations like that of the Lambert map at ^^^^ 
Ghent (cf. p. i88), this arm of the sea had the same form as 
that on the south side of Scandinavia, and there should only 
be a narrow isthmus between these two arms of the sea, 
connecting the peninsula with the mainland (cf. Saxo). On 
the Nancy map, too, the north coast of Scandinavia is drawn 
almost exactly like the south coast, with the same number of 
promontories and bays, which correspond very nearly even 
in their shape. [In this way Clavus's ** Nordhindh Bondh " 
[Nort5rbotn], also called " Tenebrosum mare " [i.e., the dark 
sea] or '* Quietum mare " [the motionless sea], may have 
originated. This remarkable bay is connected on his map 
with the Baltic by a canal (which is also mentioned in the 
Vienna text). By this means Scandinavia really becomes 
an island. Clavus cannot have acquired such an idea from 
any known source, although, as already mentioned, Saxo 
says that it is nearly an island (p. 223) ; but similar con- 
ceptions seem to have arisen in Italy (cf. above on Pietro 
Vesconte's mappamundi, p. 223). 

The south coast of Norway [with ** Stauanger "] and the 
southern point of Greenland retained on Clavus's map the 
same relation of latitude, a difference of ii°, as the corre- 
sponding localities on the Medici map, with very nearly the 
same degrees of latitude as on the latter, if we there employ 
a scale of latitude calculated upon this map's representation 
of Spain (the Straits of Gibraltar) and France (Brittany), and 
use Ptolemy's latitudes for these countries. This has been 
done in the reproduction of the Medicean mappamundi on 
p. 236.^ The scale of longitude is calculated in the same 

1 As there is considerable difference between the coast-lines of Europe on 
Ptolemy's maps and those on the Medici maps, one's scale of latitude will vary 
according to the points one may choose for determining it. The points here given 
were the first I tried, and as the resulting scale seems to agree remarkably well 
with Clavus's later map I have kept to it, although of course Clavus may have 
proceeded in a somewhat di^erent way in determining the scale on his map ; 
in particular he seems on the older map to have arranged it so that the parallel 




proportion to the latitude as in Ptolemy. In some tract 
like that included in the fourth part of the ** Rymbegla " 
[1780, p. 466] Clavus may have found that Bergen lay in 
latitude 60° and so placed the town on the west coast of Norway 
in this latitude according to his own scale (on the right-hand 
side of the Nancy map, see p. 474). In relation to the south 
coast of Norway Bergen was thus brought |° farther south 


Scandinavia on the map of Europe in the Medici Atlas (of 1351). 

The scales of latitude and longitude are here added from 

Ptolemy's maps. The network of compass-lines is omitted 

than ** c. bergis '* on the Medici map (above). Calculated 
according to Ptolemy's scale of latitude (on the left-hand side 
of the Nancy map), Bergen was consequently placed in Clavus's 
text in 64°, while the southern point of Greenland is placed 
in 63° 15 V a difference in latitude of 45' (in the Vienna text 
the difference is 35'), while in reality it is 38' ; a remarkable 

for 63° passed through the southernmost part of Norway, corresponding to 
Ptolemy's Thule. In order better to agree with this (cf. the left-hand scale of 
latitude of the Nancy map) the degrees of latitude on the map above ought 
therefore to be increased half a degree, and on the map, p. 236, nearly a degree. 

^ On the Nancy map the southern point of Greenland lies in 63° 30' ; but as 
we do not know how accurately this copy reproduces Clavus's original map, it 
is safer to confine ourselves to Clavus's text. 


accidental agreement. According to Clavus's own scale of CHAPTER 
latitude on the right-hand side of the Nancy map, we get ^"^ 
the following latitudes : Bergen 60°, the southern point of 
Greenland 59° 15', Stavanger 58° 30'. In reality the latitudes 
of these places are : 60° 24', 59° 46', and 58° 58'. This 
agreement is remarkable, as a displacement of the scale of 
latitude half a degree to the north on the Nancy map would 
give very nearly correct latitudes.^ The mutual relation 
between the latitudes of the three places may, as we have 
seen, be explained from the Medici map, but hardly from a 
possible acquaintance with the Icelandic sailing directions ; 
for according to these Bergen and the southern point of Green- 
land would be placed in the same latitude, since we are told 
that from Bergen the course was " due west to Hvarf in 
Greenland." ^ The Medici map may also give a natural 
explanation of places like Bergen and the southern point 
of Greenland having been given by Clavus a latitude so much 
too northerly (even in the Nancy map), and of the southern 
point of Greenland having only half a degree more westerly 
longitude than the west coast of Ireland.^ 

1 Gerard Mercator writes that according to a tradition an English monk 
and mathematician from Oxford [i.e., Nicholas of Lynn] had been in Norway 
and in the islands of the north, and had described all these places and determined 
their latitude by the astrolabe [cf. Hakluyt, Principal Navigations, 1903, p. 301]. 
It is therefore possible that Clavus may have obtained the latitudes of some places, 
such as Stavanger and Bergen, from his work ; but in any case he cannot have 
got the latitude of the southern point of Greenland from it. Moreover, if he had 
had such accurate information to depend on, it would be difficult to understand 
why he retained the incorrect latitudes which he obtained by introducing those 
of Ptolemy on the Medici map ; in his later map, indeed, he has used nothmg 

2 Cf. Sturlubok and Ivar Bardsson's description of Greenland. In Hauk's 
Landnama we read that it was from Hernum (that is, north of Bergen) that they 
sailed west to Hvarf. According to this, then, the southern point of Greenland 
would be brought even farther north than Bergen. 

3 Although Dr. Bjornbo now admits that the Medici map must have been 
used for Clavus's later map, he is still in doubt as to this being the case with the 
older one (the original of the Nancy map) ; he is inclined to think that this map 
may have been constructed from Northern sources, sailing directions, etc. But 



CHAPTER Iceland lay, according to the Bruges itinerary, midway 

between Norway and Greenland, precisely as on the Nancy 
map. Between Norway and Iceland, according to the same 
itinerary, lay '' Fared " [Faero], and the fabulous island 
" Femoe," " where only women are born and never men." 

After speaking of the " third headland " in 71° on the east 
coast of Greenland, the Nancy text goes on : 

" But from this headland an immense country extends eastward as far as Russia. 
And in its [i.e., the country's] northern parts dwell the infidel Karelians ('Careli 
infideles '), whose territory (* regio '1 extends to the north pole (' sub polo 
septentrionalis ') towards the Seres ^ of the east, wherefore the pole [' polus ' = the 
arctic circle ?], which to us is in the north, is to them in the south in 66°." 

It is probable, as suggested by Bjornbo and Petersen, that 
these *' Careli infideles" are identical with those who are 
found almost in the same place, in the ocean to the north of 
Norway, on one of the maps in Marino Sanudo's work (in the 
Paris MS., see above, p. 225), and who on other maps belonging 
to that work are placed on the mainland to the north-east of 
Scandinavia. As pointed out by Storm, " Kareli " are also 

there appear to me to be too many striking agreements between the Medici map 
and the Nancy map for such an assumption to be probable ; and the following 
may be given as instances : the number of bays between Skane and the south 
coast of Norway, with the deepest bay on the west ; the resemblance between the 
south coast of Norway with its three bays on the Nancy map and the south coast 
of the corresponding peninsula to the north of Scotland on the Medici map ; 
the high latitude of this south coast on both maps ; the agreement in latitude 
between the southern point of Greenland and that of ** alogia " in the Medici 
map ; the remarkable similarity in the relation between the longitudes of these 
two southern points and the west coast of Ireland on both maps ; the mutual 
relation in latitude between the southern point of Greenland and the south coast 
of Norway (with Stavanger) ; the far too northerly latitude of all these places ; 
the east coast of Greenland having the same main direction as the east coast of the 
corresponding peninsula on the Medici map, etc. To these may be added the 
similarity in the way the coast-lines are drawn, with round bays. Each of these 
points of agreement may no doubt be explained, as Bjornbo suggests, as a coin- 
cidence and as having arisen in another way ; but when there are so many of 
them it must be admitted that a connection is more natural. 

^ * Serica " on Ptolemy's map of the world lies in the extreme north-east 
of Asia, and is most likely China. 


mentioned together with Greenland and " Mare Gronlandicum ** CHAPTER 

• • XIII 

in the Bruges itinerary. 

Bjornbo and Petersen maintain that Claudius Clavus has 
here consciously put forward a new and revolutionary view 
which was a complete break with the cosmogony of the whole 
of the Middle Ages, since according to the latter the disc of 
the earth was entirely surrounded by sea to the south of the 
North Pole, as represented on the wheel-maps. I think this 
is attributing to Clavus rather too much original thought, 
of which his maps and text do not otherwise give evidence. 
It is, of course, correct that the idea of land, and inhabited 
land, too, at the North Pole, or to the north of the Arctic 
Circle, did not agree with the general learned conception of 
the Middle Ages ; but the same idea had already been clearly 
enough expressed in Norwegian-Icelandic literature. Even 
the Historia Norwegiae has inhabited land beyond the sea in 
the north, and the Icelandic legendary sagas and Saxo have 
it too. In addition to these, the tract included in the 
" Rymbegla '* says distinctly (see above, p. 239) that this 
land in the opinion of some lies under the pole-star (cf. Clavus 's 
expression : ** sub polo septentrionalis "). The fact that the 
continent on the Medicean map of the world extended bound- 
lessly on the north into the unknown (whereas Africa ended 
in a peninsula on the south) must have confirmed Clavus in 
the view that the land reached to the pole. To this was added, 
what perhaps weighed most with him, the fact that such a 
view did not conflict with Ptolemy, whose continent also had 
no limit on the north. 

On the connecting land in the north is written, on the 
Nancy map: "Unipedes maritimi," "Pigmei maritimi," 
" Griff onii regio vastissima, * * and " Wildhlappelandi." As 
these names are not mentioned in Clavus 's text, it is uncertain 
whether the fabulous creatures may not be to some extent 
additions for which he is not responsible. 

After the map was drawn, with its bays and headlands, 
and the coast of Scandinavia provided with a suitable number 




CHA TER of islands, Claudius Clavus set himself to describe it ; where he 
had no names from earlier sources, he numbered the headlands, 
bays and islands, ** Primum," " Secundum," etc. 

A remarkable thing about the Nancy map is that it has two 
divisions of latitude : one according to Ptolemy on the left- 
hand side of the map, and another according to Clavus himself, 
on a scale four degrees lower, on the right-hand side. Accord- 
ing to the latter, Roskilde would have a longest day of seventeen 
hours (through a transposition the Nancy map gives seventeen 
hours thirty minutes), which, as pointed out by Bjornbo [1910, 
p. 96], exactly agrees with what Clavus may have learnt from 
a Roskilde calendar (" Liber daticus Roskildensis ") of 1274. 
Bjornbo has also remarked that Bergen is given a remarkably 
correct latitude, 60° (the correct one is 60° 24'), and thinks 
it possible that there may have been a Bergen calendar which 
Clavus has used. But a more likely source, unnoticed by 
Bjornbo, is to be found, as mentioned on p. 260, in the 
** Rymbegla " tract, where the latitude of Bergen is given 
as 60°. It is true that the same tract gives the latitude of 
Trondhjem (Nidaros) as 64°, which does not agree with the 
Nancy map, where there is a difference of only 2° between 
Bergis and Nidrosia. Even though it is probable that Clavus 
was acquainted with some such tract, with which his statement 
as to land at the North Pole also agrees, it may have been 
a somewhat different version from that which found its way 
into the " Rymbegla," and perhaps the latitude of Trondhjem 
was not mentioned there. On the other hand, he may have 
found, there or elsewhere, the latitude of Stavanger given, 
I J° farther south than Bergen (?). 

If we assume that Clavus, even in the construction of his 
first map, made use of the Medicean map of the world, and 
that his Greenland is the most westerly peninsula of the latter's 
Norway, it will seem strange that he did not also draw the west 
coast of that peninsula, which would naturally become the 
west coast of Greenland. It is true that the Nancy map is 
only a copy, but as the west coast of Greenland is not mentioned 


in the copy of Clavus'stext either, we are bound to believe that CHAPTER 


he did not include it. The margin on the western side of Clavus's 
first map was evidently determined by that of Ptolemy's map 
of the British Isles, and follows precisely the same meridian. 
Thus there was no room for the Medici map's peninsula corre- 
sponding to Clavus's Greenland. As already stated, it is difficult 
to get away from the belief that the Medici map was used for 
the east coast of Greenland, the south coast of Norway, etc. ; 
the resemblances are too great, and otherwise inexplicable 
(cf. p. 261, note 3). 

After the first map was drawn, Clavus may have made Clavus's 
further cartographical studies in Italy, and may thus have and text, 
become acquainted with other compass-charts, especially and their 
those of the Dalorto type. At the same time he may have genesis 
obtained a new and more accurate determination of the 
latitude of Trondhjem, probably by the length of its longest 
day. As Trondhjem was an archbishopric, it is not unlikely 
that he found such a piece of information in the papal archives 
at Rome. He may then naturally have wished to bring his 
map more into agreement with his new knowledge, and this 
may have led to his later map, which is now known to us 
through several somewhat varying copies. To this he then 
wrote a new text (the Vienna text), which in all important 
points resembles the former, but has various additions and 
alterations. The later map has not the double scale of lati- 
tude on any of the copies known, but curiously enough only 
Ptolemy's degrees. Besides a more accurate delineation of 
Jutland and the Danish islands, especially Sealand, Bornholm 
and Gotland are drawn in closer resemblance to the Medici 
map ; the south coast of Scandinavia has been altered to 
agree more with compass-charts of the Catalan type. In 
particular the south coast of Norway has been given the four 
characteristic promontories (as on the Dalorto map of 1339, 
and on the Modena map, etc. ; cf. the reproductions, pp. 226, 
231), and Bergen (" Bergis ") has been placed at the head 
of the westernmost of the three bays thus formed, which is 




CHAPTER also a peculiarity of the maps of this type (the Catalan chart of 
1375 has five promontories with four bays, cf. Nordenskiold, 
1896, PI. XI.). The other two diocesan towns, Stavanger 
and Hamar, are placed at the heads of the other two bays 
to the east, and Stavanger has thus lost the remarkably correct 
position in relation to Bergen and the south point of Green- 
land which it had on the older map. Trondhjem has been 
placed at the extremity of the westernmost promontory, 
possibly because there had been found a more correct deter- 
mination of the latitude of the town, which was to be fitted 
into Ptolemy's graduation ; thereby the shape of Norway 
has become still narrower and farther removed from reality. 

From the " lac scarsa " (Lake Skara, i.e., Vener) with 
its river is derived the great lake " Vona " (Vener) in the 
centre of Scandinavia on all the copies of Clavus's later map, 
from which the river ** Vona " (also mentioned in the Vienna 
text) runs into the deep bay by " Aslo " (Oslo) and the island 
of ** Tunsberg." A connection, especially with Dalorto's map 
of I339> seems again to be implied by Clavus's statement in 
the Vienna text that on Lister Ness "white falcons are caught '* 
(** Liste promontorium, ubi capiuntur falcones albi "). On 
Dalorto's map there is a picture of a white falcon on the head- 
land to the west of that which Clavus has made into Lister, 
and the words " hie sunt girfalcos " (here are hunting 
falcons). That Clavus has moved the hawks to a headland 
farther east is of small importance. Either he may have taken 
his hawks from Dalorto's or a similar map, or else they are 
derived from an older common source. 

Through the alteration of the south coast of Norway, it 
became necessary to separate it from Thule, which again 
became an island as originally in Ptolemy ; but on the copies 
of the map it has in addition the name " Bellandiar," which 
may be a corruption of Hetlandia (Shetland). The north-west 
coast of Norway has also been given a form which agrees 
better with the compass-charts, although it has a much more 
east-north-easterly direction than even on the Modena map ; 




1 s&itnuou •* 



> |,^L.j»«»^ ; 


^--kr "O^ 





but this was, of course, necessary to make room for the sea chapter 
" Nordhenbodnen " (Nordbotn). That the compass- charts ^"^ 
might lead to something resembling Clavus's last form of 
Scandinavia, and especially of the south coast of Norway, 
is shown by the map of Europe in Andrea Bianco 's atlas of 
1436, which must have been drawn without knowledge of 
Clavus's work. If on this map we move the coast of the 
Baltic farther south, and Skane also, which would be necessi- 
tated by a better knowledge of Denmark (and by the alteration 
of the map follow- 
ing Ptolemy), and 
draw the coast- 
line of Norway 
towards the east- 
north-east from 
the south-western 
promontory (in- 
stead of making 
it go in a northerly 
direction) , we shall 
get a Scandinavia 
later map. 

Bjornbo and Petersen have maintained in their mono- 
graph that Clavus must have been in Norway before he drew 
this map, and that amongst other things his remarkably 
correct latitude for Trondhjem must be due to his own 
observation of the length of the day at the summer solstice. 
Storm [1889, p. 140] seems also to have supposed that Clavus 
may really have been in Norway. To me it appears that 
his map and text are conclusive evidence against his ever 
having been there ; for a man who had sailed to Trondhjem 
along the coast of Norway could not possibly have produced 
a cartographical representation of the country so entirely 
at variance with reality as Clavus has done, however ignorant 
we may suppose him. The fact in itself that " Trunthheim " 
(Trondhjem) or ** Nedrosia " is placed at the extremity of 


The north-western portion of the map of Europe 

[in Andrea Bianco 's atlas of 1436. TheJ^ 

[compass-lines are omitted , 

of very similar type to that in Clavus's 


CHAPTER the south side of the south-western promontory of the country 
is extraordinary. If he had come there asleep he could not 
have got any such idea ; and for a man who had sailed in 
through the long channel of the Trondhjem fjord up to the 
town it is incredible. It is equally incredible that a man 
who had sailed along the coast from Stavanger and Bergen 
to Trondhjem could place the latter town in a latitude lo' 
to the south of Bergen, and only lo' to the north of Stavanger. 
We are not justified in attributing to Clavus such an entire 
lack of power of observation, especially if we are to suppose 
him capable of determining with remarkable accuracy the 
length of the longest day at Trondhjem. That Trondhjem is 
placed to the west of Bergen and Stavanger, that the Dovre- 
fjeld is called a high promontory, while on the Nancy map it 
was inland, that Hamar ('* Amerensis ") is put on the sea- 
coast, etc., all shows the same want of knowledge of the country 
and its configuration. The names he may have taken from an 
itinerary or other sources, and, as already suggested, it is not 
unlikely that he may have found in the papal archives a fairly 
correct statement of the latitude (or length of the longest 
day) of Trondhjem, which was an archbishop's see. That 
the towns he gives are just those that are the heads of dioceses 
is perhaps an indication of a connection with the Vatican. 
Clavus tells us further that 

** Norway has eighteen islands, which in winter are always connected with 
the mainland, and are seldom separated from it, unless the summer is very warm," 
and that " * Tyle ' [Thule] is a part of Norway and is not reckoned as an island, 
although it is separated from the land by a channel or strait, for the ice connects 
it with the land for eight or nine months, and therefore it is reckoned as main- 
land. The same applies to the sea * Nordhinbodnen * [Nordbotn], which 
separates * Wildlappenland * from * Vermenlandh * ^ and ' Findland ' by a long 
strait, since the countries are united by almost eternal ice." 

This discloses an extraordinary lack of knowledge of 
Northern conditions. Such a connection of the islands 

^ It seems possible, as Mr. O. Vangensten has suggested to me, that this name 
may here be due to a confusion of Vermeland with Bjarmeland. Peder Clausson 
Friis [Storm, 1881, p, 219] says that Greenland extends round the north of the 
" Norwegian Sea " " eastward to Biarmeland or Bermeland." 


with the mainland by ice occurs, of course, nowhere on the CHAPTER 
whole outer coast of Norway from Faerder to the Murman ^"^ 
Coast. On the other hand, the Gulf of Bothnia and the 
Aland archipelago are frozen over for a long time in winter, 
and it might be supposed that Clavus had heard reports of 
this. But I have not been able to discover any source from 
which he may have derived these fables. Most probably 
they are embellishments of the same kind as the eighteen 
islands of Norway, that form an arbitrary decoration of the 
coast-line of his map, a circumstance which does not hinder 
him from describing them as real. Clavus has used the ice 
as a transition between the representation of his older map, 
where Thule was part of the mainland, and that of the later 
one, where it was made into an island. 

At the northernmost limit of Norway, between two places 
called ** Ynesegh " and ** Mestebrodh," Clavus connected 
the Polar Sea (" Nordhinbodhn ") by a narrow channel with 
the Gotland Sea [the Baltic], and a little farther north, in 67°, 
he says that 

"the uttermost limit is marked with a crucifix, so that Christians shall not 
venture without the king's permission to penetrate farther, even with a great 
company." " And from this place westwards over a very great extent of land 
dwell first Wildlappmanni [Wild Lapps, i.e., Mountain Lapps, Reindeer Lapps ? 
cf . vol. i. p. 227], people leading a perfectly savage life and covered with hair, as they 
are depicted ; and they pay yearly tribute to the king. And after them, farther to 
the west, are the little Pygmies, a cubit high, whom I have seen after they were 
taken at sea in a little hide-boat, which is now hanging in the cathedral at Nidaros ; 
there is likewise a long vessel of hides, which was also once taken with such 
Pygmies in it." 

Two things are to be remarked about this assertion that 
he himself had seen these Pygmies (one might suppose in 
Norway) : (i) if he had really seen a captive Eskimo brought 
to Norway (by whom ?), he could hardly have been ignorant 
that this remarkable native was from Greenland, and not 
from a fabulous northern land. And (2), how could he then 
give their height as no more than a cubit, like the Pygmies of 
myth ? It appears to me that in one's zeal to defend Clavus, 



CHAPTER one would thus have to attribute to him two serious falsehoods, 
^"^ instead of a more innocent rhetorical phrase about having 

seen this, that, and the other. 

Clavus's statement about the Pygmies* small hide-boats, 
and the long hide-boat, that hung in Trondhjem cathedral, 
is, however, of great interest from the fact that this is the 
first mention in literature of the two forms of Eskimo boat : 
the kayak and the women's boat (** umiak "). Perhaps he 
got this from the same unknown source (in the Vatican ?) in 
which he found the statement of the latitude of Trondhjem (?). 
In the fact that the Wild Lapps are mentioned first, and after 
them the Pygmies, Clavus's text again bears a great resemblance 
to the anonymous letter to Pope Nicholas V. (of about 1450). 
In the northernmost regions (to the north-west of Norway) 
this letter mentions [cf. Storm, 1899, p. 9] 

" the forests of Gronolonde, where there are monsters of human aspect 
who have hairy limbs, and who are called wild men." ..." And as one goes 
west towards the mountains of these countries, there dwell Pygmies," etc. (cf 
above, p. 86). 

Michael Beheim also mentions ** Wild lapen," who live 
in the forests to the north of Norway, and who carry on a dumb 
barter of furs with the merchants, like that described by the 
Arab authors as taking place in the country north of Wisu 
(cf. p. 144), and he goes on to speak of the Skraelings, three 
spans high, etc. (cf. above, p. 85). Beheim's statement 
differs from Clavus's text, and this again from the letter to 
Nicholas V., so that one cannot be derived from the other. 
It is therefore most probable, as suggested already (p. 86), 
that they have all drawn from some older source, and it may 
be supposed that this was Nicholas of Lynn. We have seen 
that there are other points in Clavus that lead one's thoughts 
in the same direction. 
Clavus proceeds : 

'* The peninsula of the island of Greenland stretches down from land on the 
north which is inaccessible or unknown on account of ice. Nevertheless, as I 
have seen, the inllderKarelians daily come to Greenland in great armies (bands of 
warriors, * cum copioso exercitu 'i, and that without doubt from the otker side 


of the North Pole. Therefore the ocean does not wash the limit of the continent CHAPTER 
under the Pole [Arctic Circle ?] itself, as all ancient authors have asserted ; and XIII 
therefore the noble English knight, John Mandevil, did not lie when he said that 
he had sailed from the Indian Seres [i.e., China ?] to an island in Norway." 

If we compare this with the "Rymbegla" tract already 
mentioned [1780, p. 466], we see that these are much the same 
ideas as there expressed. We read there 

'* that it is the report of the same men that the sea is full of eternal ice to the 
north of us and under the pole star, where the arms of the Outer Ocean meet ..." 

When it is there stated that 

" those shores [under the pole star] hinder the ring of the ocean from coming 
together [i.e., round the earth] "... and " that one can go on foot . . . from 
Greenland to Norway " [cf. above, p. 239], 

this is evidently something similar to what Clavus says ; but 
the latter's words as to the voyage which he attributes to 
Mandeville from the Indian Seres to Norway being more 
probable because there is land at the North Pole are somewhat 

John Mandeville's book about a voyage through many lands to the far east 
and China dates from between 1357 and 1371, and is put together from various 
accounts of voyages, with the addition of all kinds of fables. Mandeville does 
not himself claim to have made any such voyage from China to Norway ; on 
the other hand, he has much to say, in chapter xvii., about the possibility of 
sailing round the world, which he declares to be practicable, and if ships were 
sent out to explore the world, one could sail round the world, both above and 
below. He says that when he was young he heard of a man who set out from 
England to explore the world, and who went past India and the islands beyond it 
where there are more than five thousand islands, and so far did he travel over 
sea and land that he finally came to an island where he heard them calling to the 
ox at the plough in his own language, as they did in his own country. This island 
afterwards proved to be in Norway.^ 

Clavus's assertion that he himself saw (" ut uidi ") Kare- 
Hans in Greenland is impossible. As it is expressly stated that 
there was land at the North Pole, and as it is not mentioned that 
these Karelians had hide-boats like the Pygmies, the meaning 

^ Cf. Mandeville, 1883, pp. 180, 182, 183, f. Mandeville also says that in the 
opinion of the old wise astronomers the circumference of the world was 
20,425 English miles ; but he himself maintains that it is 31,500 miles. 



west coast 
of Green- 
land taken 
from the 
Medici map 


must be that their armies came marching by the land route, 
which, of course, is an impossibility, which, if he had been in 
Greenland, would make him a worse romancer than if we 
suppose his * * ut uidi ' ' to mean that he had seen something 
of the sort stated in a narrative ; but even this may be doubtful. 
In the Bruges itinerary [cf. Storm, 1891, p. 20] or some similar 
older authority, which we know he may have used, he may 
have seen " Kareli '* beyond Greenland spoken of as ** in 
truth a populus monstrosus. ' ' We have already said that on 
the maps accompanying Marino Sanudo's work he may have 
seen '* Kareli infideles ** marked on the mainland to the north- 
east of Norway, or even on an island out in the northern sea, 
and he would then naturally have connected the Karelians of 
the itinerary with these Karelians north of Norway. If we add 
to this that on the Medicean map of the world he saw the mass 
of the continent extending from Scandinavia and the peninsula 
corresponding to Greenland, northwards into the unknown, 
and that in the "Rymbegla '^ tract he saw mention of land at 
the North Pole — then, indeed, his whole statement seems to 
admit of a perfectly natural explanation. 

His lack of knowledge of the conditions in Greenland 
appears again in his speaking of Pygmies and Karelians as two 
different peoples, one apparently on the sea, and the other 
marching in armies on land ; and in his mentioning hide-boats 
as something peculiar to the former in the fabulous northern 
country, while he does not say that the Karelians in Greenland 
had boats or went to sea. If he had only spoken to people 
who had been in Greenland, he could hardly have avoided 
hearing of the Skraelings who come to meet every traveller 
in their hide-boats. 

It is an important difference between Clavus's first and 
second maps (and also between his first and second texts) that 
on the latter Greenland is given a west coast. Its form bears 
an altogether striking resemblance to the west coast of the 
corresponding peninsula on the Medicean mappamundi, so 
that there can be no doubt that this coast is copied from 


it.^ This is notably the case if we confine ourselves to Bjornbo chapter 
and Petersen's reconstruction of the coast after the text of ^"^ 
Clavus, from which it appears plainly enough that there are the 
same number of bays as on the Medici map ; they are closest 
together near the southern point of the country ; then come 
two larger bays to the north, then a very broad bay, longer 
than the two others together, and then a straighter coast-line 

Map constructed by Dr. Bjornbo after Clavus's later descrip- 
tion (the Vienna text). (Bjornbo and Petersen, 1904, PI. II.) 

to the north of that (cf. p. 236). The east coast of Greenland 
has in part been provided with corresponding bays, although 
this coast is almost straight on the Medici map ; but this 
answers to the north coast of Scandinavia on the Nancy map 
having very nearly the same indentations as the south coast. 
In taking the Medici map as the foundation of Clavus's Green- 
land coast we also have a natural explanation of the relation 
between his distribution of names on the east coast and the 

^ That the delineation of this coast is not based upon personal examination, 
either by Clavus himself or by any possible informant, is also shown by the fact 
that the coast has not a single real name. Even if we suppose that Clavus, or his 
possible informant, during the voyage along this coast, had been so unfortunate 
as not to meet with a single one of the Norse inhabitants who might have com- 
municated names, we cannot very well assume that the crew of the ship on 
which the voyage was made were totally unacquainted with Greenland ; they 
must certainly have had plenty of names and sea-marks. 

II 5 273 


CHAPTER west. In his later text it is striking that his description 
^^^^ of the east coast of Greenland does not reach farther than 

to his " Thaer promontorium " in 65° 35', while the description 
of the west coast goes as far north as 72°. This might seem 
to be connected with real local knowledge, since the latitude 
65° 35' on the east coast agrees in a remarkable way with the 
latitude of Cape Dan, 65° 32', where the coast turns in a more 
northerly direction. To the north of this the coast is usually 
blocked with ice, and this place has therefore frequently been 
given as the northern limit of the known east coast, and probably 
it was there that the Icelanders first arrived off the land on 
their voyage westward to the Greenland settlements. But 
this is one of those accidental coincidences that sometimes 
occur, and that warn us to be careful not to draw too many 
conclusions from evidence of this nature.^ We find the 
explanation in the Medici map (p. 236), where the east coast of 
the peninsula corresponding to Greenland does not go farther 
north than to about the same latitude as the promontory 
on the south side of the broad bay already referred to on 
the west coast, which promontory Clavus calls " Hynth " 
[" Hyrch "] ; it lies in 65° 40'. As Clavus's coast from this 
point of the east coast northward had no map to depend on, 
he did not venture to go farther in his description this time, 
though in the Nancy text he goes to 71° with his northernmost 

The Medicean map of the world gives us at the same time 
a simple explanation of Clavus's designations for the two 
most northerly points on the west coast of Greenland. If 
we confine ourselves to the scale of latitude for the Medici 
map, which, as stated above (p. 259), we have found by using 
Ptolemy's latitudes for more southern places on the map 

^ It must be remembered that Clavus's latitudes are throughout too high ; 
his south point of Greenland lies about three degrees too far north, in 62° 40' 
instead of 59° 46/ If we carry this reduction to the most northerly point he 
describes on the east coast, this will lie in about 62° 30' instead of 65° 35', and 
thus the coincidence with Cape Dan disappears. His description of the east coast 
of Greenland in the Nancy map is quite different. 


(Gibraltar and Brittany), and which is inserted in the left- chapter 

hand margin of the reproduction, p. 236, we shall find the "«" 

following : just at the spot of which Clavus declares: **New, 

the uttermost limit of the land which we know on this side, 

lies in 70° 10'," ^ the heavy colouring of the land on the Medici 

map comes to an end (judging from the photograph in Ongania, 

PI. v.). Farther to the north extends the coast of the lightly 

coloured mass of land ; but just at this point, in 72°, where 

Clavus has his " ultimus locus uisibilis " [last point visible] ^ 

this coast-line disappears into the oblique frame which cuts 

off the upper left-hand corner of the map. The agreement 

is here so exact and so complete that it would be difficult to 

find any way out of it. 

Bjornbo and Petersen have asserted that Iceland, on the The position 
later map and in the Vienna text, has been given a position °^ Iceland 
more in agreement with the sailing directions than on the 
Nancy map. I cannot see the necessity for this supposition, 
as it has almost exactly the same position in relation to the 
southern point of Greenland and to Norway in both works ; 
the chief difference is merely that the longitude of all three 
countries is made 3° farther east in the later work (and the 
latitude of the southern points of Iceland and Greenland is put 
somewhat farther south), and that the east coast of Greenland 
has a more oblique north-eastward direction than the corre- 
sponding north-east coast on the Medici map, with the direction 
of which the Nancy map agrees fairly well. In this way it 
is brought nearer to Iceland ; but that this should be due to 
a knowledge of the sailing directions seems very uncertain, 
and is not disclosed, so far as I can see, elsewhere in the later 
work. The only things I have found which might possibly 

1 Such an inscription as this is quite in the style of Clavtxs's great prototype, 
Ptolemy, in whom we often find : " this is the end of the coast of the known 

^ It is worth remarking that Clavus puts his last point visible no less than 
1° 50' (that is, no nautical miles) to the north of the limit of the known land. 
If a statement like this was calculated to be taken as derived from local knowledge, 
it would not in any case disclose much nautical experience. 




on later 

circa 1460- 


point to northern authorities having been consulted since the 
production of the Nancy work, are the accurate latitude of 
Trondhjem, already referred to, and the island of ** Byorno '* 
between Iceland and Greenland. The latter might be the 
Gunnbjornskerries (or Gunnbjarnar-eyar) mentioned, amongst 
other places, in Ivar Bardsson's description of Greenland ; 
but the abbreviation of the name is curious. Perhaps the 
island may be due to some oral communication, or an erroneous 
recollection of something the author may have heard of in 
Denmark in his youth. 

On the whole we shall be compelled after all to detract 
considerably from Claudius Clavus's reputation as a Northern 
traveller and cartographer. His journey did not extend 
farther north than the Danish islands, and perhaps Skane. 
On the other hand, he was in Italy, where he drew his maps 
or had them drawn, and where he also found his most important 
authorities. His chief merit as a cartographer is that he is 
the first we know of to have adopted Ptolemy's methods, 
and that he gave the name of Greenland to the westernmost 
tongue of land in Norway on the Medicean mappamundi, 
and altered this a good deal with the help of other compass- 
charts and Vesconte's mappamundi, to make it agree better 
with the ideas of the North which he may have acquired to 
some extent in his youth through legendary tales, and later 
through Saxo and other writers. 

Claudius Clavus's later map of the North exercised for a 
long period a decisive influence on the representation of 
Scandinavia and to some extent of Greenland. This was 
chiefly due to the two well-known cartographers, Nicolaus 
Germanus and Henricus Martellus.^ The former must have 
become acquainted with Clavus's map soon after 1460, and 
included copies of it in the splendid MSS. of Ptolemy's Geo- 
graphy which proceeded from his workshop at Florence. In 
these copies, of which several are known (cf. p. 251), he 

1 On the influence of these men on the cartographical representation of the 
North, see in particular J. Fischer, 1902. 


has"redrawn]^Clavus's map in the trapezoidal projection invented CHAPTER 
by himself, whereby his Greenland has been given a more oblique ^"^ 
position than the Greenland of the original map and the corre- 
sponding peninsula on the Medici map. He also introduced 
this Greenland into his map of the world [cf. J. Fischer, 1902, 
PI. I., III. ; Bjornbo, 1910, p. 136] ; but, in order to make 
it agree better with the learned mediaeval view of the earth's 
disc surrounded by ocean, he surrounded it by sea on the 
north, so that it 
came to form a 
long and narrow 
tongue of landpro- 
jecting from nor- 
thern Russia, in- 
stead of the nor- 
thern mass of land 
extending to the 
North Pole ac- 
cording to Clavus. 

But this long peninsula does not seem to have entirely satisfied 
this priest's erudite ideas of the continent, and on later maps 
(which were printed after his death in the Ulm editions of 
Ptolemy of 1482 and i486) he shortened it so much that it 
became a rounded peninsula to the north of Norway, with 
the name " Engronelant, " ^ and at the same time he moved 
Iceland out into the ocean to the north-west. This apparently 
quite arbitrary alteration may perhaps be due to a desire to 
bring the map as far as possible into agreement with the 
learned dogma of the continent [cf. Bjornbo, 1910, pp. 141, ff.] ; 
but older conceptions of Greenland may also have contributed 

1 As shown by Bjornbo and Petersen, this is evidently Clavus 's name '* Eyn 
Gronelandz aa " for a river on the east coast of Greenland, which was misun- 
derstood on Clavus *s map and made the name of the country, assisted perhaps 
by the resemblance in sound with the name Engromelandi (for Angermanland), 
which Clavus has on the north side of Scandinavia (p. 248]. This resemblance of 
sound may also have had something to do with the removal of Greenland to the 
north of Norway. 


North-western portion of Nicolaus Germanus's first 

revision of Ptolemy's map of the world (after 

1466). (J. Fischer, 1902, PI. I.) 



towards it [cf. J. Fischer, 1902, pp. 87, ff.]. We have already 
seen that Adam of Bremen regarded Greenland as an island 
" farther out in the ocean opposite the mountains of Suedia '* 
(see vol. i. p. 194), and in his additions to the copy of Ptolemy, 
Cardinal Filastre (before 1427) states that Greenland lay to 
the north of Norway ; we find the same view in the letter of 

Map of the North by Nicolaus Germanus (before 1482), after 
Claudius Clavus, but with Greenland transferred to the north of 


1448 from Pope Nicholas V. (see above, p. 113).^ It^isTalso 
somewhat remarkable that on the Genoese mappamundi of 
1447 (or 1457) there occurs a peninsula north of Scandinavia 
just at the place where Clavus's Greenland should begin 
(see p. 287).^ On Fra Mauro's mappamundi (1457-59) there 

1 Cf. Gronl. hist. Mind., iii. p. 168. Bjornbo [1910, p. 79] by a slip quotes the 
letter to Pope Nicholas V. of about the same date, instead of that given above. 

2 According to Lelewel [Epilogue, PI. 6] this peninsula bears the name of 
" Grinland," but this cannot be seen on the somewhat indistinct original [cf. 
Bjornbo, 1910, p. 80 ; Ongania, PI. X.]. 



are several peninsulas to the north of Scandinavia, some of CHAPTER 
which proceed from Russia (see p. 285). ^"' 

The cartographer Henricus Martellus, who succeeded Henricus 
Nicolaus Germanus, again adopted Clavus's form of Green- ^.-j.^^ ' 
land, wholly or in part, on his maps dating from about 1490. 

In this way there arose on the maps of the close of the 
Middle Ages two types of the North : one with Greenland in 
a comparatively correct position to the west of Iceland, though 
far too near Europe and connected therewith, and another 
type with ** Engronelant " as a peninsula to the north of 
Norway. The latter remained for a long time the usual one 
in all editions of Ptolemy, in other cartographical works and 
on many globes. After the rediscovery of Greenland we even get 
sometimes two delineations of this country on the same map, one 
to th a north of Norway and the other in its right place in the west. 

Greenland seems to have been given a wholly different 
form on a Catalan compass-chart from Majorca, of the close 
of the fifteenth century, where in the Atlantic to the west 
of Ireland and south-west of Iceland [ * * Fixlanda ' '] there is 
an island called ** Ilia verde " [the green isle]. It seems, as Ilia verde 
assumed by Storm [1893, P* S^]» ^^^^ ^^^ name must be a 
translation of Greenland, which is called in the Historia 
Norwegiae ** Viridis terra." The representation of Iceland 
[" Fixlanda "] on this map is incomparably better than on 
all earlier maps, and gives proof of new information having 
come from thence. As the place-names point to an English 
source, it is possible that the cartographer may have received 
information from Bristol, which city was engaged in the Iceland 
trade and fisheries, and his island, '' Ilia verde," may be due 
to an echo of reports about the forgotten Greenland in the west. 
It is worth remarking that the island is connected with the 
Irish mythical * * Ilia de brazil, ' ' which lay to the west of Ireland 
and which appears in this map twice over in its typical 
round form (cf. above, p. 228).^ If we remember that this 

1 Storm [1893], and following him J. Fischer [1902, pp. 99, fi.], erroneously 
regard this island of Brazil as Markland (see above, p. 229}. 




happy isle is in reality the Insulae Fortunatae, and that in the 
Historia Norwegiae (see above, p. i) it is said that Greenland 
["Viridis terra"] nearly touches the African Islands (i.e., 
Insulae Fortunatae), then we possibly have an explanation of 
this juxtaposition. But as it is said in the same passage that 
Greenland forms the western end of Europe, we cannot suppose 

Part of a Catalan compass-chart of the fifteenth century, 
preserved at Milan. (Nordenskiold, 1892, PI. 5) 

that the cartographer was acquainted with this work. The 
probability is, no doubt, that Greenland [Ilia verde] together 
with Brazil or the Insulae Fortunatae had become transformed 
into mythical islands out in the ocean. 

On another compass-chart, bound up in a Paris MS. of 
Ptolemy of the latter part of the fifteenth century, a similar 
island (or peninsula ?), with the same round island to the south 
of it, is seen to project southwards from the northern border 
of the chart out into the Atlantic, and a little farther east 
than the Insulae Fortunatae. On the island is written : 
*' Insula uiridis, de qua fit mentio in geographia " [the 


green island, of which mention is made in the geography].^ CHAPTER 
We do not know what geographical work may here be meant ; ^^^^ 
Bjornbo suggests that it might be the lost work of Nicholas 
of Lynn, who again may have used the Historia Norwegiae. 
It is striking that the island, besides being connected with a 
round island like Brazil, but without a name, is placed on this 
map near the Insulae Fortunatae. 

This " green island," which thus is probably a remnant of 
old Greenland, occurs again in various forms and in various 
places on many sixteenth- century maps. 

It is not surprising that information about the northern 

lands made its appearance also on the maps of this time, as 

we know that the North was visited more frequently, and 

sometimes by eminent southerners, from the year 1248, when 

the well-known Matthew Paris, who, amongst other things, 

drew a map of England remarkable for his time, visited Norway. 

Rather is it strange that the direct knowledge thus obtained 

did not leave more definite traces. Early in the fifteenth century 

(some year between 1397 and 1448) a Byzantine, Cananos Lascaris's 

Lascaris, travelled in the North and wrote about it (in Greek). iou"iey *<> 

Norway and 
He mentions amongst other things that in Bergen, the capital Iceland, 

of Norway (** Bergen Vagen "), money was not used in trading fifteenth 

[this must have been due to scarcity of coin] ; but in Stock- ^^"*"^ 

olmo, the capital of Sweden, they had money of alloyed silver. 

Bergen had a month of daylight from June 24 to July 25. He 

also says that he himself went to the land of the Ichthyophagi 

(fish-eaters), " Islanta," from ** Inglenia," and stayed there 

for twenty-four days. The people were strong and powerfully 

built, they lived only on fish, and they had a summer day of 

six months [cf. Lampros, 1881]. 

It would take us too far here to attempt a mention of all Fifteenth- 

the fifteenth-century maps which have a different repre- ^^^^^^^^.^ 

'^ *^ maps of the 

sentation of the North ; but perhaps some of the mappemundi world 
in wheel-form, which were still current at this time, ought 

* See J. Fischer, 1902, p. 99, Cf. also Bjornbo, 1910, pp. 125, ff., who gives 
a drawing of the map. 



^ep tenting 


to be referred to. We saw that on Vesconte's map of the 
world accompanying Marino Sanudo's work the coast-lines 
of the compass-charts in the Mediterranean, etc., had already- 
been introduced. On the Modena map (p. 231) this has also 

been carried out as 
i^or regards the North. 
In the fifteenth cen- 
tury we have various 
wheel - maps, of 
which some seem to 
be more antiquated. 
Lo Bianco 's round 
mappamundi, in his 
atlas of 1436, is con- 
nected with the 
compass - charts of 
that time. Johannes 
Leardus's round 
mappamundi, in 
many editions of 
1448 and earlier,^ 
likewise shows a 
strong affinity to the 
c o m p a s s-c h a rts, 
although there is little detail in the delineation of the North. 
The same is the case with the anonymous round map- 
pamundi in a codex in the Library of St. Mark at Venice 
[cf. Kretschmer, 1892, atlas, PI. III., No. 13], but this map 
has also points of similarity to Vesconte's mappamundi 
in Sanudo's work, and, amongst other things, it has the 
same mountain-chain along the north coast of the continent, 
and the same form of the Baltic. 

The round mappamundi in a MS. of Mela of 141 7 at Rheims ^ 

^ Two editions are reproduced in Nordenskiold [1897, P> ^'1 ^"^ Ongania 
[PI. XIV.]. 

« Reproduced by Nordenskiold [1897, p. 5] and Lelewel [1851, PI. XXXIII.] ; 
Miller, 1895, iii. p. 138. 

Europe on the mappamundi in the Geneva MS. of 

Sallust of about 1450. (The south should 

be at the top) 


is, on the whole, of a very antiquated type, but its image CHAPTER 


of the North seems more modern, and it has the same moun- 
tain-chain along the north coast of the continent as Vesconte's 
map. The ** Sallust " map at Geneva, of about 1450, is also 

North-western portion of Andreas Walsperger's mappamundi 

(of 1448). Most of the names are omitted. (The south should 

be at the top) 

antiquated, but its Baltic resembles the compass-charts, and 
the two mountain ridges, one along the north coast of the 
continent, the other parallel with it in the interior, strongly 
recall Vesconte's map of the world. On the other hand, the 
connection by water between the Baltic and Maeotis (the Sea 
of Azov) is evidently derived from an earlier age (cf. p. 199). 
Out in the ocean to the north-west and west of Norway lie 
four islands. Bjornbo supposes [1910, p. 75] that the two 



CHAPTER more northerly of these may correspond to Adam of Bremen's 

^"^ Greenland and Wineland, but this must be very uncertain.^ 
Wals- A curious delineation of the North is found on the round 

perger's mappamundi which was drawn at Constance in 1448 by 

map of 1448 ^^ ^ 

the Benedictine monk Andreas Walsperger of Salzburg [cf. 

Kretschmer, 1891a]. The map is in most respects imperfect 

and antiquated, but shows also more recent, particularly 

German, influence. 

The Mediterranean and the Baltic are disproportionately large, and the mass 
of land between them has been contracted. There are many mediaeval mythical 
conceptions, and items showing possible influence by Adam of Bremen [cf . Miller, 
iii. 1895, p. 147]. Thus in northern Asia we have " Cenocephali " and Cannibals 
[** Andropophagi "], bearded women, Gog, Magog, etc. In Norway we read : 
" Here demons often show themselves in human shape and render service to men, 
and they are called trolls." Claudius Clavus also speaks of trolls in Norway. In 
the northern ocean to the north-west of Norway is written : "In this great sea 
there is no sailing on account of magnets." This is evidently the widely distributed 
mediaeval myth of the magnet-rock, which attracted all ships with iron in them ; 
in Germany it occurs in the legend of Duke Ernst's wanderings in the Liver Sea, 
and it is doubtless derived from the Arabian Nights. On the mainland to the north- 
east of Norway we read that * ' here under the North Pole the land is uninhabitable 
on account of the excessive cold which produces a condition of continual frost. ..." 
In the extreme north of the ocean, near the Pole, is written : ** Hell is in the 
heart or belly of the earth according to the opinion of the learned." 

" Palus meotidis " [the Sea of Azov] is marked as a lake due east of the Baltic. 
Along the north coast of Europe (and Norway) is indicated a ridge of mountains, 
somewhat similar to that in the Sanudo-Vesconte maps of the world. The delinea- 
tion of Denmark ("dacia," with "koppenhan" and " londoma," i.e., Lund), 
the straight south coast of the Baltic, and a long-shaped island called " Suecia " 
(with " Stocholm " and " ipsala ") on the north, remind us a good deal of Edrisi's 
map (p. 203), and also somewhat of the Cottoniana (vol. i. p. 183). To the north 
of the island of Suecia ' ' the very great kingdom of Norway [' Norwegie '] ' ' projects 
to the west as a long peninsula bounding the Baltic, with " brondolch " [Born- 
holm ?] and " nydrosia metropolis " [the capital Nidaros] as towns on its south 
coast, and with the land of '* Yslandia " [Iceland] and the town of "Pergen " 
[Bergen] on its extreme promontory. 

The Borgia Another peculiar type of the round mappamundi is the 

map, a er go-called Borgia map of the fifteenth century (after 1410). 
Its representation of Europe, with the Mediterranean on the 

1 Bjombo, by the way, only speaks of two islands, whereas in Lelewel's 
reproduction there are four islands, which is no doubt correct. It seems, too, as 
though all four could be faintly distinguished in Bjombo's photographic repro- 
duction [1910, p. 74]. 


southern side of the earth's disc, is very imperfect and far CHAPTER 


removed from reality. The same is the case with its delinea- "* 
tion of the North, but curiously enough its Scandinavia, which 

North-western portion of Fra Mauro's mappamundi (of 1457- 

59), preserved at Venice. The legends and most of the names 

are omitted. (The south should be at the top) 

is different from that of the compass-charts, and in which 
Skane forms a peninsula on the south, to the east of Denmark, 
has a greater resemblance to reality than that of other maps 
of this time. This map, too, has a chain of mountains along 
the north coast of the continent, as in the Vesconte maps [see 
Nordenskiold, 1897, PI. XXXIX.]. 



map, 1458 

The best known fifteenth- century map of the world is 
that of Fra Mauro (i4S7-59)» which is also drawn in wheel- 
form and is preserved at Venice. The coast-lines are taken 
FraMauro's to a great extent from the compass- charts, but a great deal 
of new matter has been added. As regards Norway, this 
consists of information from Querini's voyage in 1432, as well 
as from other sources which are unknown to us ; this is indi- 
cated by, amongst other things, an inscription on the sea 
to the north of Russia [*' Permia "], which relates that a 
short time before two Catalan ships had sailed thither [cf. Van- 
gensten, 1910]. On this map the Scandinavian Peninsula has 
been given a more reasonable extension to the north ; but 
the west coast is very imaginatively supplied with peninsulas 
and islands, while the ocean outside is full of fabulous islands 
and contains many legends. 

Denmark [" Datia "] has been made into an island (which is also called 
** Isola islandia "), and the Baltic [" Sinus germanicus "] has been widened into 
an inland sea with islands. In its northern part is a note that on this sea the use 
of the compass is unknown [cf. Vangensten, 1910]. Could this inscription be 
due to a misunderstanding like that on the Walsperger map in the ocean to the 
north-west of Norway, that it could not be navigated on account of magnets 
(cf. p. 283) ? There is no hint of the name of Greenland on this map ; on the 
other hand, Iceland appears in three or four different places : besides Denmark, 
as mentioned above, there is in northern Norway or Finland a peninsula named 
" Islant," " where wicked people dwell, who are not Christians " ; also a large 
island, " Ixilandia," north-west of Ireland, and finally an intricate peninsula 
in the middle of Norway called '* Isola di giaza " [i.e., the island of ice]. On 
the north of Norway or Finland a peninsula projects into the Polar Sea with the 
name of " Scandinabia." The map does not contribute anything new of importance 
about the North, but points to a few fresh pieces of information about Norway, 
which are not to be traced in the older compass-charts ; thus Bergen comes 
nearly in its right place on the west coast, and Marstrand appears to the east of 
Christiania fjord. 

A picture of the North of a wholly different type is given 
on the elliptical Genoese mappamundi [of 1447 or 1457], 
which is still more fantastic than any of those hitherto men- 
tioned. The Scandinavian Peninsula has a very long extension 
to the west, and ends in a promontory projecting northwards. 
To the north of this Scandinavia there is another fantastic 
peninsula where Lelewel thinks he can read the name 



*' Grinland," which is probably due to a misunderstanding, CHAPTER 


since, as pointed out by Bjornbo [1910, p. 80], the name 
cannot be seen on the much-damaged original, or on 
Ongania's photographic reproduction [Fischer-Ongania, PI. X.]. 
Many imaginary islands are scattered about in the sea round 
these peninsulas. 

Towards the close of the fifteenth century the discovery Globes of 
was made of representing the surface of the earth, with land ^^^^^^^^^ 

Northern Europe on'the Genoese mappamundi of 1447 or 1457 

and sea, on globes. It was evidently the efforts of Toscanelli 
that led to the general adoption of this mode of representation, 
which had been used by the Greeks at an early time (cf. vol. i. 
p. 78) ; in 1474 he announced that his idea of the western route 
to India could best be shown on a sphere. Columbus seems to 
have taken a globe with him on his voyage of 1492, according 
to his own words in the ship's log. The oldest known terres- Behaim's 
trial globe that is preserved was made in 1492 by the German 210^6,1492 
Martin Behaim (born at Nuremberg in 1459).^ He spent much 
time in Portugal, and also in the Azores, after making a 
distinguished marriage with a native of those islands, a sister- 
in-law of Gaspar Corte-Real's sister. But it was during a 
visit to his native town (1490-93) that he constructed his 
globe. The sources of Behaim's representation of the North 

As to Behaim, see in particular Ravenstein, 1908. 



CHAPTER were principally Nicolaus Germanus's mappamundi in the 
Ulm editions of Ptolemy, of 1482 and i486, where Greenland 
is placed to the north of Norway, and Marco Polo's travels, 


Northernmost Europe eind the north polar regions on Behaim's globe, 1492 

which speak of the northern regions of Asia. Besides these 
a name like ** tlant Venmarck " (the land of Finmark), for 
instance, points to a use of the same older authority as in 
the anonymous letter to Pope Nicholas V., of about 1450, 


where in the existing French translation there is mention CHAPTER 
of ** lieux champestres de Venmarche " [the plains of Fin- ^^^^ 
mark].^ Thus we are here again led to the lost work of Nicholas 
of Lynn, "Inventio fortunata" (1360), as the possible source. 
That it really was this work that was used seems also to result 
from the fact that the countries about the North Pole on 
Behaim's globe bear a remarkable resemblance to Ruysch's 
map of 1508, where this note is given at the North Pole : 

" In the book * De Inventione f ortunata * it may be read that there is a 
high mountain of magnetic stone, 33 German miles in circumference. This is 
surrounded by the flowing ' mare sugenum,* which pours out water hke a vessel 
through openings below. Around it are four islands, of which two are 
inhabited. Extensive desolate mountains surround these islands for 24 days' 
journey, where there is no human habitation." 

What is new in Behaim's picture of the North is chiefly 
this circle of land and islands around the North Pole, which 
he evidently took from Nicholas of Lynn, and which is not 
represented on any older map known to us. It consists of 
a continuous mass of land proceeding from his Greenland- 
Lapland to the north of Scandinavia, and extending east- 
ward nearly to the opposite side of the Pole, where the Arctic 
Ocean (" das gefroren mer septentrional ") to the north of 
the continent becomes an enclosed sea. On the other side 
of the Pole are two large islands and a number of smaller 
ones. On one of the large islands is a picture of an archer 
in a long dress attacking a polar bear (which may be connected 
with myths about Amazons ?), and on the other side is 
written : " Hie fecht man weisen valken " [here they catch 
white falcons]. It might be supposed that this was derived 
from statements about Scandinavia or Iceland (cf. e.g., the 
legends of the compass-charts) ; but, as assumed by Raven- 
stein [1908, p. 92] and Bjornbo [1910, p. 156], it is more 
likely to come from Marco Polo's travels, where the Arctic 
coast of Siberia is spoken of. The many correct names, in 
a German form, in Martin Behaim's Scandinavian North 
point to the possibility of his also having received oral 

1 Cf. storm, 1899, p. S. 
II T 289 


Laon globe, 


information, though they may equally well be derived from 
older German maps. 

Almost contemporary with Behaim's globe is the so-called 
Laon globe of 1493, which was accidentally discovered in a 
curiosity shop at Laon some years ago. It gives a wholly 
different representation of the North, more in agreement 
with the usual maps of the world of the Nicolaus Germanus 
type, with sea at the pole round the north of the continent, 

A portion of the Laon globe of 1493. (After d'Avezac.J 

which terminates approximately at the Arctic Circle. The 
Scandinavian Peninsula (called " Norvegia ") has a form 
somewhat resembling this type ; but to the north of it " Gron- 
landia " appears as an island, with a land called Livonia project- 
ing northward on the east, and two islands, Yslandia and Tile, 
on the west. Nothing is known of the origin of the Laon 
globe, or of the sources of its representation of the North. 

Such were the geographical ideas of the North at the close 
of the Middle Ages, when the period of the great discoveries 
was at hand ; they were vague and obscure, and the mists 
had settled once more over large regions which had been 
formerly known ; but out in the mists lay mythical islands 
and countries in the north and west. 




VER the cloud-bridge of illusion lies the path of human CHAPTER 
progress. The greatest achievements in history have ^^^ 
been brought about more by the aid of ideas than of truth, o/geo-^^"^ 
Religious illusions have ennobled the rude masses and raised graphical 
them to higher forms of society ; in the domain of science '^'^^''^ 
intuition and hypothesis have led to fresh victories, as also in 
geographical exploration ; there too illusions, like a fata 
Morgana, have impelled men forward to great discoveries. 

It is true that Columbus's plan was based on the correct 
idea that the world was round ; but if he had known the real 
distance of India — if he had not been fettered by the ancient 
dogmas of the Greeks about the great extension of the continent 
to the east, and their low estimate of the earth's circumference, 
which made India appear so enticingly near — if he had not 
believed in myths of lands in the west — he certainly would 
never have been the discoverer of a new world. 

The people of the Middle Ages lived, as we have seen, to 



CHAPTER a great extent on remnants of the geographical knowledge 
^^^ and conceptions of the Greeks. It was the age of super- 

stition and speculation ; with the exception of the Norsemen 
and the Arabs, and in some degree also the Irish monks, 
there was during the earlier part of this period no enterprise 
that broke through the bounds of the known, except in the 
mythical world of fancy. It was not until the Crusades that 
the horizon began to be widened. The eastern trade of the 
Italian republics and the development of capable Italian 
seamen were of great significance. At an early date they 
made discoveries along the west coast of Africa. Of even 
greater importance was it that the Portuguese learned sea- 
manship from them, and no doubt from the Arabs as well, 
and displayed great enterprise on the ocean along the shores 
of Africa, finding groups of islands in the west, and finally 
the Azores in 1427 ; but these must have been discovered 
earlier, since similar islands occur on Italian maps of the 
fourteenth century (cf. the Catalan Atlas of 1375). 

When Ptolemy's work, and through it the geography 
of the Greeks, became known in Western Europe at the 
beginning of the fifteenth century, it created a greater stir 
in the learned world than even the discovery of America 
did later ; the circle of geographical ideas was greatly changed, 
and the world was regarded with new eyes as a sphere. The 
doctrine of the possibility of circumnavigating the earth was 
especially framed and scientifically established by the cele- 
brated astronomer Toscanelli of Florence. But this was not 
a new doctrine ; for the Greeks, Eratosthenes and Posidonius, 
for example (cf. vol. i. pp. 77, 79), had already announced it 
clearly enough, and even in the Middle Ages it was not forgotten. 
We saw that Mandeville, the writer of fabulous narratives, fully 
understood the possibility of sailing round the globe, and related 
ancient tales about such a voyage (cf. p. 271). But at the close 
of the fifteenth century the idea was seriously taken up by two 
men of action, both Genoese. One of them was Columbus, 
the other Cabot. Whether the latter had already conceived 


the idea before the first voyage of Columbus we do not know chapter: 
for certain, but it is not improbable ; the thought was latent ^^^ 
in the age, and many must have come near it. Another 
force impelling men to the western voyage, and perhaps 
as powerful a one as these scientific speculations, was the 
belief in the mythical world of enticing islands that lay out 
in the ocean to the west of Europe and Africa ; the Isles of 
the Blest of the Greeks and the Atlantis of Plato, conceptions, 
originally derived from the East, which were still alive, though 
in other forms. There lay Antillia, the Isle of the Seven 
Cities, mythical islands of the Arabs, and the Irish legendary 
world, Brandan's isles and many others ; some of them had 
had a part in creating the Norse idea of Wineland and the 
White Men's Land ; now they were given a fresh lease of 
life, and power over the imagination of Western Europe. 
Possibly in connection with echoes of tales of the Norsemen's 
discoveries — coming from Iceland to Bristol, and thence to 
the continent — these mythical islands helped to form a wide- 
spread belief in countries in the far west across the ocean. 
The fact that the Portuguese, as has been said, really found 
islands, the Azores, out in the Atlantic in 1427, also con- 
tributed to establish this belief. From these islands many 
expeditions set out in the course of the fifteenth century 
to search for new lands farther west.^ 

From the beginning of the fifteenth century Bristol was in Connection 
frequent communication with Iceland, both for the fishery o* Bristol 
and for trade. As already pointed out, this was certainly Iceland 
due in no small degree to the number of Norwegians who had 
settled in the town. Sailors and merchants returning from 
voyages to Iceland doubtless brought thence many tales of 
marvels and of unknown islands and countries out in the ocean ; 
legends of the Icelanders' voyages to Greenland and Wine- 
land may have served to entertain the winter evenings in 
Bristol.'^ It was therefore surely not an accident that attempts 

1 Cf. Harrisse, 1892, pp. 655, ff. 

^ As is well known, the possibility has been suggested that during his visit 


The Isle 
of Brazil 

to find 
Brazil, 1480 


to find land in the west should originate precisely in this 
enterprising sea-port. 

On the maps of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries 
there lay out in the ocean to the west of Ireland the Isle of 
Brazil (cf. p. 228). It was the Irish fortunate isle Hy Breasail, 
of which it is sung : 

" On the ocean that hollows the rocks where ye dwell, 
A shadowy land has appeared, as they tell ; 
Men thought it a region of sunshine and rest. 
And they called it O'Breizil— the isle of the blest. 

From year unto year, on the ocean's blue rim. 
The beautiful spectre showed lovely and dim ; 
The golden clouds curtained the deep where it lay, 
And it looked like an Eden, away, far away." 

[Gerald Griffin.] 

We have seen that on certain maps this round fabled 
isle was brought into connection with an " Insula verde," 
probably Greenland, and this conception of the latter pro- 
bably came from Iceland by way of England. We do not 
know what myths were associated with Brazil at that time ; 
but the belief in it was so much alive that ships were sent 
out from Bristol to search for the island. A contemporary 
account of such an attempt made in 1480 has come down to 
us : ^ 

"On the 15th of July [25th of July N.S.] ships . . . [belonging to ?] . . . and 
John Jay junior, of 80 tons burthen, sailed out of the port of Bristol [to navigate] 

to Iceland in 1477 Columbus may have heard of the Norsemen's voyages to 
Greenland, Markland and Wineland, and that this may have given him the idea 
of his plan. Storm has pointed out, convincingly it seems to me, the untenability 
of the latter supposition. But it appears to me that he has overlooked the possi- 
bility of Columbus having heard tales of these voyages in Bristol, or, still more 
probably, on a Bristol vessel. As, of course, he must have been able to make 
himself understood among the other sailors on board, it would be unlikely that 
he should not have heard such tales, if they were known to his ship-mates. 

1 Willelmus Botoner, alias de Worcester (1415-1484). MS. in Corpus Christi 
College, Cambridge, No. 210 ; printed in " Itineraria Symonis Simeonis et Wil- 
lelmi de Worcestre," ed. J. Nasmyth, Cambridge, 1778, pp. 223, 267. Cf. H. 
Harrisse, 1892, p. 659 ; Kretschmer, 1892, p. 219. 


as far as the island of Brazil [" insulam de Brasylle "] on the west side of Ireland, CHAPTER 

ploughing the seas by . . . and . . . Thlyde [Thomas' Lyde or Lloyd ?] is the XIV 

most expert seaman in the whole of England, and on the i8th of September 

[27th of September N.S.] the news reached Bristol that after having sailed the 

seas for about 9 months they had not discovered the island, but on account 

of storms had returned to the port ... in Ireland to allow the ships and men 

to rest." 

Parts of the MS. being illegible, it does not appear whether 
John Jay, junior, was one of the leaders of the expedition 
or (as Harrisse thinks) one of the owners of the ships, but in 
any case we must suppose that the Thomas Lyde mentioned 
above was the actual leader or navigator. The * * nine months * * 
(** 9 menses ") must either be a clerical error for two months 
or for nine weeks, either of which would fit the dates given, 
while nine months is meaningless. This must at any rate 
have been a serious attempt to find lands in the west, twelve 
years before Columbus's discovery of the West Indies ; and 
this was not the last attempt made from Bristol to find this 
happy land, for in 1497 Ayala, the Spanish Minister in London, 
writes : 

" For the last seven years the Bristol people have equipped every year two, 
three, or four caravels to go in search of the islands of Brazil and of the Seven 
Cities,^ following the imagination of this Genoese." 

** This Genoese" is Giovanni Caboto, or John Cabot, as Giovanni 
he was called in England. We find only a few casual state- ^^°°^^ 
ments about this man, who was to give England the right of 
discovery to a new continent, and who, together with his 
fellow townsman, Columbus, forms the great turning-point 
in the history of discovery ; for the most part an impene- 
trable obscurity rests upon his life and activity.^ As he is 

1 The Island of the Seven Cities was a fabulous island out in the Atlantic 
which is frequently alluded to in the latter part of the Middle Ages. 

2 As to John Cabot and his voyages, see in particular Henry Harrisse [1882, 
1892, 1896, 1900], F. Tarducci [1892, 1894], Sir Clements R. Markheim [1893, 
1897], Samuel Edward Dawson [1894, 1896, 1897], C. R. Beazley [1898], G. 
Parker Winship [1899, 1900]. Harrisse amongst recent authors has the special 
merit of having collected and arranged all the authorities on John and Sebastian 
Cabot. Unfortunately I am unable to follow him in his conclusions from these 
authorities as to the voyages of John and Sebastian. It seems to me that, like 


CHAPTER often called, e.g., in letters from the contemporary Spanish 
^^ Ambassadors in London, ** this Genoese," or "a Genoese like 

Columbus," we must suppose that he was born in Genoa ; 
but from existing State documents of the republic of Venice 
it appears that Joanni Caboto obtained his freedom in Venice 
on March 28, 1476, after having lived there fifteen years, 
which was the legal period necessary to enable a foreigner 
to become a citizen of the republic.^ From the statements 
of contemporaries we must conclude that John Cabot was 
a capable seaman and navigator, with a good knowledge 
of charts and cartography ; he also constructed a globe to 
illustrate his voyages. This is no more than was to be expected 
of a Genoese, trained in the Venetian school, which at that 
time was the foremost in seamanship. It may, therefore, 
be regarded as probable that John Cabot was familiar with 
the leading ideas of the geographical world of his time. Thus, 
while still living at Venice, he may have heard of the idea of 
reaching Eastern Asia by sailing to the west, which was 
put forward, notably by Toscanelli, as early as 1474, and in 
this way it is possible that, independently of Columbus, he 
may have thought of accomplishing this voyage to the fabulous 
riches of the East by a shorter route than that which the 
Portuguese sought to the south of Africa. In support of this 
it may be mentioned that in 1497 he himself told the Minister 
of Milan in London, Raimondo di Soncino, that 

** he had once been at Mecca, whither spices were brought by caravans from 
distant lands, and that those who brought them, when asked where the said 

most other writers, he pays too much attention to later statements, derived 
directly or indirectly from Sebastian Cabot, while he places too little reliance on 
what, in my opinion, may be concluded with tolerable certainty from contemporary 
sources. Sebastian Cabot's statements on various occasions, so far as we know 
them, prove to be mutually conflicting, and it looks as if this wily man seldom 
expressed himself without some arriere-pensee or other, which was more 
to his own advantage than to that of the truth. My views of John Cabot's voyage 
of 1497 on several points agree more nearly with those of S. E. Dawson, and 
for later voyages with those of G. Parker Winship. 
^ Cf. Harrisse, 1896, pp. i, ff. 



spices grew, answered that they did not know, but that other caravans Ccime CHAPTER 
to their home with this merchandise from more distant lands, and these [other XIV '** 
caravans] again say that it is brought to them from other regions situated far 
away." Soncino adds that " Cabot reasons thus — that if the eastern people tell 
those in the south that these things come from places far distant from them, 
and so on from hand to hand, then, granting the earth to be round, the last people 
must obtain them in the north-west ; and he says it in such a way that, as it does 
not cost me more than it costs, I too believe it. . . ." ^ 

It is not improbable that Cabot may have thought that as, 
on account of the spherical form of the earth, the circum- 
ference of the lines of latitude decreases towards the north, 
the shortest way over the western ocean to the east coast of 
Asia must lie along the northern latitudes (cf. Posidonius, 
vol. i. p. 79). But we cannot lose sight of the fact that Cabot 
did not advance this until long after the first voyage of Columbus, 
and it is, therefore, uncertain whether the idea occurred to 
him before or after that time. When this journey to Mecca 
took place we do not know. 

Pedro de Ayala, the Spanish Minister in London, says in a 
letter to Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, in 1498, that Cabot 
is ** another Genoese like Columbus, who has been in Seville 
and Lisbon, endeavouring to obtain help for this discovery " 
[i.e., of land in the west]. The question is whether this ' * who ' * 
refers to Columbus or Cabot. The latter appears more likely, 
as it seems superfluous for the Minister to inform Ferdinand 
and Isabella that Columbus had been in Seville. But here 
again we do not learn when Cabot may have made this journey 
to Spain and Portugal, whether before or after Columbus's 
voyage in 1492. In any case it may point to his having 
been occupied for a long time with plans of this sort. 

Nor do we know when John Cabot came to England ; but John Cabot 
perhaps it was about 1490 that he settled in Bristol. If he England" 
really came there with ideas of making for Asia across the circa 1490 ? 
western ocean, he certainly found a favourable soil for such 
plans in the port which had already sent out ships in 1480 to 
look for the island of Brazil. But it is also very possible that 

^ Cf. Harrisse, 1882, p. 325. 



CHAPTER these plans occurred to him after he had heard of this expe- 
^^^ dition, and had become familiar at first hand with the ideas 

of western lands which dominated the minds of the sailors 
of Western Europe (Englishmen and Portuguese) of that 
time. With the many fresh arguments he brought with him 
from Italy and the Mediterranean countries, it cannot have 
been difficult for him to induce the merchants of Bristol to 
make fresh attempts to find these countries in the west or 
north-west ; and, to judge from Ayala's letter of 1497 about 
the expeditions sent out annually for the previous seven 
years, he seems to have been persistent. 

We do not know whether Cabot himself took part in the 
attempts made after 1490. None of them seems to have met 
with any success before 1497, for otherwise it would have been 
mentioned. But it was while the people of Bristol were 
occupied with such enterprises that Cabot's great fellow- 
countryman, Columbus, made his remarkable voyage across 
the ocean farther to the south, in 1492, and found a new world, 
which he took to be India. With that came the awakening with 
which the time was pregnant. The news of the achievement, 
which fired all the adventurers of Europe, must soon have 
reached Bristol, and put new life and a wider purpose into 
the old plans.^ That Cabot now became the soul of these 

* The Minister Raimondo di Soncino says in his letter of December 18, 1497, 
to the Duke of Milan, that Cabot, " after having seen that the Kings of Spain 
and Portugal had acquired unknown islands, had proposed to obtain a similar 
acquisition for the King of England." It cannot be concluded from this that it 
was not till then that Cabot formed his plans, though probably it was at that 
time that he first entered into negotiations with the King of England. It is in 
the same letter that Soncino tells of Cabot's speculations on seeing caravans 
arriving at Mecca from the far east with spices, etc. His son, Sebastian Cabot, 
who evidently on several occasions made it appear as though he himself and 
not his father had discovered the American continent, is reported (according 
to the statement of the anonymous guest in Ramusio, see below) to have said 
that he [i.e., Sebastian] got the idea of his expedition after having heard of the 
discovery of Columbus, which was a common subject of conversation at the 
court of Henry VII. But even if Sebastian's words are correctly reported, which 
is doubtful, he must demonstrably have been lying, and therefore no weight 
can be attached to his statement ; if he could sacrifice his father to his personal 


plans is clear enough from all the facts, and we see from CHAPTER 
existing public documents that at the beginning of 1496 '■^ 
he was making special efforts to get an important expedition 
sent out, and was applying to the King of England for pro- 
tection and letters patent to assure to himself and his three 
sons, Lewis, Sebastian and Sancto, the profit of the discoveries 
he expected to make on this expedition, which was to consist 
of five ships. 

The letters patent were accorded on March 5 (14th N.S.), Cabot's 

1496,^ and give Cabot and his sons the right under the English ^^^^^l 

^ ' ^ 6 & patent, 1496 


" to sail in all parts, regions and bays of the sea, in the east, west and north, 
with five ships or vessels of whatever burthen or kind, and with as many men 
as they wished to take with them, at their own expense, and to find, discover and 
investigate whatever islands, countries, regions or provinces belonging to heathens 
or infidels, in whatsoever part of the world they might be, which before that 
time were unknown to all Christians.'^ They also had the right as vassals or 
governors of the King of England, to take possession of whatsoever towns, camps 
or islands they might discover and be in a position to capture and occupy. They 
were to give the king a fifth part of all merchandise, profits, etc., of this voyage 
or of each voyage, as often as they came to Bristol, to which port alone they 
were bound to return. They were exempted from all duty on goods they might 
bring from newly discovered lands, and were given a monopoly of all trade and 
traffic with them. Furthermore, all English subjects, both by land and sea, were 
ordered to afford the said John, his sons, heirs and assigns, good assistance, 
** both in fitting-out their ships or vessels, and in supplying them with provisions 
which were paid for with their own money." 

As the south is not mentioned among the regions which 
might be explored, and as the new countries might not be 
known to Christians, it is clear that Cabot is here enjoined 
not to frequent those waters where the Spaniards and Portu- 
guese had just made their most important discoveries, and 

advantage, then no doubt, if he profited by it, he could also sacrifice his birthright 
in the plan to the advantage of Spain, in the service of which country he then 
was. Furthermore, Ayala's letter, quoted above, points to John Cabot having 
got expeditions sent out from Bristol as early as 1491 to look for land in the 
west, and besides this we know of such an expedition in 1480. 

1 They are dated March 5, in the eleventh year of the reign of Henry VH. 
The eleventh year of Henry VH. was from August 22, 1495, to August 21, 1496. 




Cabot's pre- 
and plans 

thus run the risk of bringing England into conflict with the 
Spanish or Portuguese Crown. 

As the letters patent bear the same date (March 5) and 
are to some extent couched in the same terms as Cabot's 
petition, they must have been granted as the result of previous 
negotiation and agreement between Cabot and the King, and 
must therefore contain Cabot's plans for the new voyage, 
which were thus already formed in March 1496, when he 
had doubtless made at all events some preparations for the 

That Cabot's plans had been spoken of at the English Court 
as early as January of that year appears from an existing 
letter from Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain to the Spanish 
Ambassador in England, Dr. Ruy Gonzales de Puebla. The 
letter is dated March 28 (April 6, N.S.), 1496, and is an 
answer to a letter, now lost, of January 21 (30, N.S.) from the 
Ambassador. The answer is as follows : 

" You write that one like Columbus has come to propose to the King of England 
another enterprise like that of the Indies, without prejudice to Spain or Portugal. 
He has full liberty. But we believe that this enterprise was put in the way of the 
King of England by the King of France in order to divert him from other business. 
Take care that the King of England be not deceived in this or any other matter. 
The French will try as much as they can to lead him into such enterprises ; but 
they are very uncertain undertakings, and are not to be commenced for the 
moment. Moreover they cannot be put into execution without prejudice to us 
and to the King of Portugal." 1 

It will be understood from this that Cabot's plans had 
attracted attention in London, and that great importance 
was attached to them ; consequently they must have been 
discussed for some time before the granting of letters patent. 
For this reason also, we must suppose that Cabot was prepared 
for his expedition in March 1496. It seems therefore unlikely 
that this was the expedition which did not leave until the 
year following that in which he applied for the letters patent, 
all the more so as the expedition of 1497 consisted of only 

1 Cf. Harrisse, 1882, p. 315. 


one ship.^ If we may interpret Ayala's words of 1498 literally, CHAPTER 

that Bristol had sent out ships yearly for the seven previous ^^^ 

years to search for the island of Brazil, etc., then we must 

suppose that Cabot actually set out in 1496 with the projected 

expedition of five ships, but for some reason or other turned 

back without having accomplished his object. After having 

been unfortunate in so large an undertaking, Cabot may have 

found it less easy to enlist support for a fresh attempt in 

1497, and was thus obliged to content himself with one small 

ship and a scanty crew (eighteen men).^ It may also be 

supposed that as the earlier expeditions consisting of several 

ships had failed to find the land they were looking for, Cabot 

as a practical seaman wished to make a pioneer expedition 

with a small swift-sailing craft and a picked crew, before 

again embarking on a large and costly undertaking. He 

was more independent, and could sail farther and more rapidly 

to the west, than when he was tied by having to keep a fleet 

of several ships together. 

Cabot's sons, who are mentioned in the letters patent, Sebastian 


may have taken part in the voyage of 1496 ; on the other partidpa- 
hand, it is less probable that they were among the eighteen tionini497 
men in 1497.' It is true that his son Sebastian claimed ^°^^*^"^ 
to have been present as one of the leaders of the expedition, 
but he also claimed to have made the voyage alone, so that no 
weight can be attached to his words. In any case, he must have 
been very young at that time, and he cannot have played any 

1 It has been suggested that Cabot set out in 1496 and did not return till August 
1497 [cf. Church, 1897], but this cannot be reconciled with the statements in 
the letters of Soncino and Pasqualigo that the expedition had only lasted a few 

2 According to Soncino *s letter of December 18, 1497, Cabot was a poor man. 
In addition to this he was a foreigner, and as such was scarcely looked upon with 
favour ; but on the other hand, the reputation of Italian sailors was great at 
that time, and he may therefore have been respected for his knowledge of seaman- 
ship and cartography, which was not possessed by the sailors of Bristol. 

3 The only ones of these named in the authorities (Soncino 's letter, December 
18, 1497) are Cabot's Italian barber (surgeon ?J from Castione, and a man from 




for the 
voyage of 


important part. Nor is a word said about him in a single one 
of the letters from contemporary foreign ambassadors in 
London, and in Pasqualigo's letter of Augustj23, i497» we 
are told of John Cabot after his return that " in the meantime 
[i.e., until his next voyage] he is staying with his Venetian 
wife and his sons in Bristol." This does not seem to show 
that any of the sons had been with him ; and the protest 
of the Wardens of the Drapers' Company of London (see later) 
against Sebastian as a navigator points in the same direction. 

Not a line have we from Cabot's own hand either about 
this important voyage of 1497 or any other. We hear that 
he made maps of his discoveries ; but these too have been 
lost, like so many other maps that must have been drawn 
during this period before 1500.^ We can, therefore, only draw 
our conclusions from the statements of others, some contem- 
porary and some later. 

The most important documents giving trustworthy infor- 
mation about John Cabot's voyage in 1497 are the 
following : 

(i) The three letters from his two compatriots in London : 
one from the Venetian, Lorenzo Pasqualigo, to his two brothers 
in Venice, dated August 23 (September i, N.S.), 1497 ; and 
two letters from the Milanese Minister, Raimondo di Soncino, 
to the Duke of Milan, dated August 24 (September 2, N.S.) 
and December 18 (27), 1497. 

(2) An entry in the accounts of the King of England's 
privy purse, from which we see that Cabot was back in 
London by August 10 (19, N.S.), 1497. 

(3) The map of the world, drawn in 1500, by the well-known 
Spanish pilot, Juan de la Cosa. 

(4) A Bristol chronicle by Maurice Toby, written in 1565, 
but from older sources. 

^ Between 1493 and 1500 at least thirty expeditions went in search of the 
coast of America. These were all certainly provided with charts, and some of 
them also produced maps of their discoveries, but not one of these has been 
preserved. [Cf. Harrisse, 1900, p. 14.] 


Besides these may be mentioned a legend on the map of CHAPTER 
the world of 1544 which, according to what is written on it, ^^^ 
was the work of Sebastian Cabot. But even if this be correct, 
the legend is of no great value, as he cannot be regarded as 
a trustworthy authority.^ 

Lorenzo Pasqualigo writes on August 23 (September i, Pasquaii- 
N.S.), 1497, to his two brothers in Venice, amongst other go's letter 

^wJL. of Aug. 23, 

thmgs : 1^97 

" Our Venetian, who set out with a little ship from Bristol to find new islands, 
has returned, and says that he has discovered 700 leagues [Italian nautical leagues] 
away the mainland of the kingdom of the Great Khan (* Gran Cam '] [China], 
and that he sailed 300 leagues along its coast and landed, but saw no people ; 
but he brought here to the King some snares that were set up to catch game, 
and a needle for making nets, and he found some trees with cuts in them, from 
which he concluded that there were inhabitants. Being in doubt he returned to 
the ship, 2 and was three months on the voyage, and this is certain ; and on the 
way back he saw two islands on the right hand, but would not land so as not to 
lose time, as he was short of provisions. He says that the tides are sluggish and 
do not run as here [i.e., in England]. The King has promised him next time ten 
ships fitted out according to his desires, and has given him as many prisoners 
to take with him as he has asked, except those who are in prison for high treason ; 
and he has given him money to enjoy himself with in the meantime, and now he 
is with his Venetian wife and his sons at Bristol. His name is Zuam Talbot [sic, 
for Cabot], and he is called the Grand Admiral and great honour is shown him, 
and he goes dressed in silk and the Englishmen run after him like madmen, 
but he will have nothing to do with any of them, and so [do] many of our vaga- 
bonds. The discoverer of these things has planted on the soil he has found the 
banner of England and that of St. Mark, as he is a Venetian ; so that our flag 
has been hoisted far away " [cf. Harrisse, 1882, p. 322]. 

The Minister, Raimondo di Soncino, writes on August 24 Soncino's 
(September 2, N.S.), 1497, to the Duke of Milan, amongst other ^l^^^^^ 

. Aug. 24, 

tnmgs : 1497 

" Some months ago (* sono mesi passate 'J his majesty the King [of England] 
sent out a Venetian who is a good sailor, and has much ability in finding islands, 

1 No importance can be attached in this connection to any of the statements 
derived at second or third hand from Sebastian Cabot and communicated by 
Contarini, Peter Martyr, Ramusio, and others. So far as they are worthy of 
credence, they must refer to one or more later voyages. The statement in the 
Cottonian Chronicle and in the Fabyan Chronicle refers to the voyage of 1498. 

2 Harrisse 's reproduction of the letter [1882, p. 322] reads : " Vene in nave 



letter of 
Dec. 1 8, 

and he has returned safely and has discovered two very large and fertile islands, 
and found as it seems the seven cities ^ 400 leagues to the west of the island of 
England. His majesty the King here will on the first opportunity send him with 
fifteen or twenty ships ..." [cf. Harrisse, 1882, p. 323]. 

On December 18 (27), 1497, Soncino again writes to the 
Duke more fully about Cabot's voyage : 

" Perhaps amongst Your Excellency's many occupations it may not be unwel- 
come to hear how this Majesty has acquired a part of Asia without drawing his 
sword. In this kingdom is a Venetian called Messer Zoanne Caboto, of gentle 
bearing, very skilful in navigation, who, seeing that the most serene Kings, first 
of Portugal and then of Spain, had taken possession of unknown islands, proposed 
to himself to make a similar acquisition for the said Majesty. After having obtained 
the royal privilege, which assured to him the use of the dominions he might dis- 
cover, while the Crown retained the sovereignty over them, he gave himself into 
the hands of fortune with a small ship and eighteen men, and sailed from Bristol, 
a port on the west of this kingdom ; and after passing Ireland farther west, and 
then steering to the north, he began to sail towards the eastern regions [i.e., 
westwards to the lands of the Orient, thus making for the east coast of Asia], leaving 
(after some days) the pole-star on his right hand ; and after a good deal of wan- 
dering (' havendo assai errato 'J he finally came to land (' terra ferma *), 
where he raised the royal banner and took possession of the country for this 
Highness, and after having taken some tokens [of his discovery] he returned. 
As the said Messer Zoanne [John] is a foreigner and poor, he would not be believed, 
if his crew, who are nearly all English and belong to Bristol, had not confirmed 
the truth of what he said. This Messer Zoanne has the description of the world 
on a chart, and also on a solid sphere which he has made, showing on it where 
he has been ; and in travelling towards the East he went as far as to the land of 
the Tanais [i.e., Asia], and they say that the country there is excellent and tem- 
perate, and expect that brazil-wood (il brasilioj and silk ^ grow there, and they 
declare that this sea is full of fish which can be caught not only with the seine, but 

per dubito . . ." ; while Tarducci [1892, p. 350] gives : " Vene in mare per 
dubito . . .", where "mare " is perhaps a misprint for "nave '* (?I In any 
case the meaning must be that Cabot turned back and would not go farther into 
the country for fear of being attacked by the inhabitants, which might easily have 
been dangerous for him with his small crew. 

^ That is, the mythical " Island of the Seven Cities " out in the Atlantic. 

2 It is interesting that here we find attributed to the newly discovered country 
the two features, dye-wood and silk, which were the most costly treasures charac- 
teristic of the land that was sought, exactly in the same way as the Norsemen 
attributed to their Wineland the Good the two features, wine and cornfields 
(wheat), which were characteristic of the Fortunate Isles. Thus history repeats 



also with a dip-net [or bow-net ?], to which is fastened a stone to sink it in the CHAPTEft 
water, and this I have heard related by the said Messer Zoanne. And the said XIV 
Englishmen, his companions, say that they took so many fish that this kingdom 
will no longer have any need of Iceland, from which country there is a very great 
trade in the fish they call stockfish. But Messer Zoanne has set his mind on higher 
things, and thinks of sailing from the place he has occupied, keeping along the 
coast farther to the east, until he arrives opposite to an island called Cipango 
[i.e., Japan], lying in the equinoctial region, where he thinks that all the spices 
of the world, as well as jewels, are to be found." Then follows the reference to 
his visit to Mecca, already cited (p. 296}. The letter continues : " And what is 
more, this Majesty, who is prudent and not prodigal, has such confidence in 
him on account of what he has accomplished, that he gives him a very good 
subsidy, as Messer Zoanne himself tells me. And it is said that his Majesty will 
shortly fit out some ships for him, and will give him all the criminals to go out 
to this land and form a colony, so that they hope to establish in London an even 
greater emporium of spices than that at Alexandria. The principals in this enter- 
prise belong to Bristol ; they are great sailors, and now that they know where 
to go, they say that the voyage thither will not take more than fifteen days, if 
they have a favourable wind on leaving Ireland. I have also spoken with a Bur- 
gundian of Messer Zoanne's company, who confirms all this, and who wishes 
to return thither, because the Admiral (for this is the title they give Messer Zoanne) 
has given him an island ; and he has given another to his barber [surgeon ?J 
from Castione,^ a Genoese, and both consider themselves counts, nor do they 
reckon Monsignor the Admiral for less than a prince. I believe some poor Italian 
monks who have been promised bishoprics will also go on this voyage. And if 
I had made friends with the Admiral when he was about to sail, I should at least 
have got an archbishopric ; but I thought the benefits that Your Excellency has 
reserved for me were more certain ..." [cf. Harrisse, 1882, pp. 324, ff.]. 

As confirming and to some extent supplementing what is 
said in these letters, we have various statements in the letters 
of the two Spanish Ambassadors about the voyage in the follow- 
ing year (see later) ; they both say that the newly discovered 
country lay not more than four hundred Spanish leagues distant. 

In Maurice Toby's Bristol chronicle of 1565, we read of Toby's 
the year 1497 : chronicle 

'* This year, on St. John the Baptist's day, the land of America was found by 
the merchants of Bristowe in a shippe of Bristowe called the ' Mathew,' the which 
said shippe departed from the port of Bristowe the second day of May, and came 
home again the 6th of August next following." ^ 

^ Probably Castiglione, near Chivari, by Genoa. 

2 Cf. Encyclopaedia Britannica, 9th ed., Edinburgh, 1875, iv. p. 350 ; and 
G. P. Winsbip, 1900, p. 99. 

u w 305 


course in 


Of course this chronicle was written long after the voyage 
took place ; but it is extremely probable that it was taken 
from older sources ; for it agrees in every way (both as to the 
length of the voyage and the time of the return) with the 
contemporary statements of the Italian Ministers, with whose 
letters the author of the chronicle cannot possibly have been 
acquainted. I can, therefore, see no reason why this state- 
ment should not be correct. But the most important autho- 
rities are the letters referred to. 

If we compare all this we shall get a fairly complete idea 
of the voyage of 1497. After sailing round the south of 
Ireland, probably in the middle of May according to our 
calendar, Cabot would at first have held a somewhat northerly 
course. If this is correct, he may have done so for several 
reasons : unfavourable winds, which in May are prevalent 
from the south-west ; the idea that great-circle sailing would 
prove the shortest way ; ^ fear of encroaching on the waters 
of the Spaniards and Portuguese to the south ; finally, perhaps, 
an idea that the course to Asia was shorter in northern lati- 
tudes (?). But we cannot tell what reasons decided him, nor 
whether he steered very far to the north at all ; for it must 
be remembered that in speaking to a foreign Minister he may 
have had good reason for making his course appear somewhat 
northerly, lest it might be said that the lands he had arrived 
at were those discovered by the Spaniards. In any case, it 
was not long before he made for the west as rapidly as possible 
towards his goal, and we cannot, therefore, suppose that he 
went very far north. And it is expressly stated in Soncino's 
first letter that the lands lay to the west of England, and in 
the letters of the Spanish Ambassadors in the following year 
we read that, after having seen the direction taken by Cabot, 
they thought that the land he had found was that belonging 

^ It is by no means improbable that Cabot, who was an expert navigator, knew 
that great-circle sailing gave the shorter course. For instance, he might easily 
have seen this from a globe, and we are told that he himself made a globe to 
illustrate his voyage (cf. p. 304}. 


to Spain, or was '^ at the end of that land.'' This again does CHAPTER 
not point to any northerly course. -^^V 

Many writers have thought that from Soncino's statements 
about the courses a conclusion might be drawn as to where 
on the American coast Cabot made the land ; but this is 
impossible. In the first place Soncino's words are anything 
but definite ; besides which, of course, Cabot could not steer 
in a straight line across the Atlantic, but with the frequent 
contrary winds of May and June was obliged to shape many 
courses, and often had to beat ; in fact, we are told as much 
in Soncino's words, ** havendo assai errato." Every one who 
has had experience of the navigation of sailing ships knows 
how difficult it is under such conditions to make way in the 
precise direction one wishes, however good one's reckoning 
may be ; currents and lee-way set one far out of the reckoned 
course, and on a voyage so long as across the Atlantic the lee- 
way may be considerable. Whether Cabot was able to correct 
his reckoning by the aid of astronomical observations (with 
a Jacob's staff or an astrolabe) we do not know, but we hear 
nothing of latitudes, so that it is not very probable (cf. also 
Columbus's gross error in latitude). Especially during the 
first part of the voyage currents and prevailing winds may have 
set Cabot to the north-east ; but he may also have encountered, 
particularly during the latter part of the voyage in June, 
heavy north-westerly gales which set him still farther to 
the south, and he may thus have had a southerly lee-way. 
In addition, as Dawson has so strongly insisted, the error 
of the compass must have set him to the south. Whether 
Cabot was aware of the error, and remarked its variation 
during the westward voyage, we do not know ; it is possible, 
since we know that Columbus remarked this variation during 
his first voyage ; but in any case, Cabot doubtless paid as 
little attention to it as Columbus in his navigation. Unfortu- 
nately we do not know the amount of the error at that time, 
but by examining the relation between the true direction of 
the coast-lines and those we find on the most trustworthy 




compass- charts (especially the Cantino chart) of a little later 
than 1500 (which are drawn in ignorance of the error), I have 
attempted to reconstruct the distribution of the error in the 
Atlantic Ocean at that time (cf. chart below) ; of course, 
this is purely hypothetical. According to this, during Cabot's 
voyage westwards the error would have varied from about 
6° east at Bristol to about 30° west off the coast of America. 
If we suppose that he was able to follow a magnetic western 
course the whole way from the south coast of Ireland, then he 

must have passed quite to the 
south of Cape Race in New- 
foundland. But we are told 
that he first held somewhat to 
the north, though we do not 
know how much, and, on the 
other hand, his lee-way may 
have set him at least as far to 
the south. The assertion that 
the course mentioned by Soncino 
must have brought Cabot to 
land in Labrador or Newfound- 
land is thus untenable. Nor does 
it agree with Soncino 's allusion to the country as excellent and 
temperate, and one where dye-wood and silk might be expected 
to grow. If this be explained away as due to the usual pro- 
pensity of discoverers at that time to exhibit the newly found 
countries in the most favourable light, which is very possible, it 
is not so easy to explain why we do not hear a word about their 
having encountered ice on the voyage. If on his western voyage 
Cabot came to Labrador or the north-east coast of Newfoundland 
some time in June, it is improbable that he should not have 
seen icebergs, and it is equally unlikely that the Italian Ministers 
should not have mentioned this, which to them would be a 
great curiosity, if they had heard of it ; we see, too, that later, 
in descriptions of Sebastian Cabot's alleged voyage, the ice is 
mentioned above all else. Even if John Cabot might have 

Hypothetical chart of the variation 

of the compass in the Atlantic, 

circa 1500 


kept quiet about the ice, lest it should cool the hopes raised CHAPTER 
by his narrative, it is not likely that his crew would have ^^^ 
done so, if they had met with it. But although other state- 
ments of the crew are reported, we do not hear a single word 
about ice, nor even of icebergs, which are common enough 
on the Newfoundland Banks at that time of the year, and would 
be an entirely new experience even to Bristol sailors who were 
accustomed to the voyage to Iceland. From this we must 
suppose that in the course of his beating to the west Cabot 
was set so far to the south of the Newfoundland Banks that 
he did not encounter icebergs, and that he first made land 
somewhere farther west.^ 

According to the Bristol chronicle already quoted (Toby, Cabot 
1565), and according to a legend on the map of 1544, which is ^^ • 
ascribed to the collaboration of Sebastian Cabot, it was on June 24, 
St. John's Day (July 3, N.S.) that the first land was discovered. ^497 
In spite of Harrisse's objections^ it does not appear to me 
unlikely that this may be correct. If he sailed on May 2 (ii)» 
he was fifty-three days at sea. Supposing that he landed at 
Cape Breton, the distance in a straight line on the course 
indicated is about 2200 nautical miles. Consequently he 
would have made an average of forty-two miles a day in 
the desired direction. This is doubtless not very fast sailing, 
but agrees with just what we should expect, since he 
often had to beat, and " wandered a good deal," in the 
words of Soncino. 

For determining the question, what part of North America LaCosa's 

it was that Cabot discovered, it appears to me there is no "**P ^, 

trustworthy document but La Cosa's map of the world Cabot's dis- 
coveries in 
^ It must also be remembered that on the Newfoundland Banks and off the 1497 

coast of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia fogs are extremely prevalent (in places 
over 50 per cent, of the days] at the time of year here in question, so that their 
first sight of land might be accidental. 

^ Harrisse [1896, pp. 63, ff.] does not seem to have remarked that Cabot 
must necessarily have been longer on the westward voyage, when he had the 
prevailing winds against him, than on the homeward voyage, when the wind 
conditions were favourable. 




of 1500.* The Basque cartographer, Juan de la Cosa, who 
owned and navigated Columbus's ship in 1492, and who was 
afterwards entrusted with many public undertakings, enjoyed 
a reputation in Spain as a map-maker and sailor. He was 
commissioned by the Spanish Crown to produce a map of 
the world, and we must suppose that for this work he was 

North-western portion of Juan de la Cosa's map of 1500. Only a few 

provided with all the maps and geographical information that 
were available in Spain. From a letter of July 25, 1498, to 
Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, from Ayala, the Spanish 

1 No particular weight, it is true, can be attached to the map of 1544 which 
is attributed to Sebastian Cabot, or which was at any rate influenced by him, 
as the statements of this man can never be depended upon. At the same time, 
the information given on this map to the effect that Cabot first reached land at 
Cape Breton agrees in a remarkable way with La Cosa's map, as we shall see 




Minister in London, we know that the latter had obtained a CHAPTER 

copy of "the chart or mapa mundi '* that John Cabot had 

made in order to set forth his discoveries of 1497 ; and there 

can be no doubt that a copy of this was also sent to Spain, 

as Ayala says he believes their Majesties already had the map. 

It may, therefore, be regarded as a matter of course that La 

of the names are given ; the network of compass-lines is^jomitted 

Cosa was in possession of this map when, less than two years 
later, he was about to make his own, and that it is from this 
source and no other that he derived his information about 
the English discoveries. We do not know of any other map 
being sent from England to Spain during these two years, 
and there is no ground whatever for assuming that La Cosa's 
information may be derived from Cabot's voyage of 1498, 
which in any case must have been a failure. 

For the understanding of La Cosa's map it must be remarked 



CHAPTER first of all that it is a compass- chart, and that it takes no 
^^^ notice of the magnetic variation on the American coast. This 

explains the fact that, for instance, lines of coast which in 
reality run from west to south-west, are made to appear on 
the chart as running from west to east. Furthermore, the 
latitude of the coast of North America is made too northerly, 
through coasts which, for instance, lie magnetic west of Ireland, 
being placed on the chart true west of it. In this way Cape 
Breton (or Cape Race in Newfoundland ?) can be brought to 
about the same latitude as the south of Ireland, whereas in 
reality it lies nearly 5° farther south. 

The coast marked with five English fiags is, of course, 
the land discovered by Cabot. That La Cosa had a map of 
this district is further shown by the details, which distinguish 
it from his delineation of the remainder of the North American 
coast, but which give it a resemblance to that part of South 
America which is marked with Spanish flags and of which 
he had a map. Curiously enough only part of the English district 
has names ; we must suppose that this is the coast that Cabot 
is said to have sailed along. La Cosa's representation of the 
rest of the North American coast is doubtless guesswork, 
although it has features which bear a remarkable resemblance 
to reality ; but it is not altogether impossible that he may 
have had oral or written reports of later voyages (?), which 
are unknown to us. 

La Cosa's map is in complete agreement with the state- 
ments in the letters of Pasqualigo, Soncino, and the two 
Spanish Ambassadors. Soncino says that the country lies four 
hundred Italian leagues to the west of England, while both 
Puebla and Ayala say that they believe the distance to be 
no more than four hundred Spanish leagues. On the other 
hand, according to Pasqualigo, Cabot said that at a distance 
of seven hundred Italian leagues he had discovered the main- 
land of the kingdom of the Great Khan, and that he had 
sailed [i.e., after having sailed ?] three hundred leagues along 
the coast. It has been thought that there is here a disagree- 


ment between the four hundred leagues of the three first- chapter 
named and the seven hundred of Pasqualigo, but if we ^^^ 
interpret it, in what must be the most reasonable way, as 
meaning that the distance of seven hundred leagues does not 
refer to the nearest land, but to the most distant, where Cabot 
thought that he had at last come within the boundaries of 
the kingdom of the Great Khan (China) and did not venture 
to go farther, then we have complete agreement, since the 
three hundred leagues he must first have sailed along the coast 
must be deducted in order to get the distance from England 
to the nearest land. The length of a Venetian *' lega," or 
a Spanish " legua," cannot be precisely determined. If we 
assume [cf. Kretschmer, 1909, pp. 63, ff.] that between 20 
and 17 J went to a degree of latitude, each league would corre- 
spond to between 3 and 3.43 geographical miles (minutes), 
or between 5.6 and 6.3 kilometres. According to the former 
estimate (three miles), four hundred leagues will be about 
equal to 1200 miles, and seven hundred leagues to about 
2100 miles.^ The first distance is, at any rate, a good deal 
too small, while the second is too great. This may easily 
be explained by Cabot, or his crew, having naturally wished 
to make the voyage to the newly discovered country appear as 
little deterrent as possible, and, therefore, having under- 
estimated the distance, while, desiring to make the country 
itself as large as possible, they greatly over-estimated the length 
of their sail along the coast. That the voyagers really supposed 
the distance to the newly discovered land to be four hundred 
leagues from Ireland agrees also with Soncino's statement 
that the Bristol sailors thought the voyage would not occupy 
more than fifteen days from Ireland. 

La Cosa's map is drawn as an equidistant compass-chart, 
and we can therefore make ourselves a scale of miles by using 
the distance between the Equator and the Tropic. In this way 

^ The distance from Ireland to Newfoundland is fully 1600 geographical 
miles, and to Cape Breton about 1900 ; but reckoned from Bristol it will be about 
280 miles more. 


CHAPTER we find that the easternmost headland, ' ' Cauo de Yngla- 

^^^ terra *' (Cape England), on the coast discovered by Cabot 

lies four hundred leagues from Ireland, while the distance 

from it to the most western headland with a name, ** Cauo 

descubierto" (the discovered cape), is about three hundred 

leagues.^ Furthermore this coast lies on the map due west 

of Bristol and southern England, as it should according to 

Soncino's first letter. 

There is thus full agreement between this map and all the 

contemporary information we have of the voyage, and there 

Cabot's is no room for doubt that its names represent John Cabot's 

discovery, discoveries of 1497, which thus extended from Cauo de Yngla- 
accordmg -f^/j o 

toLaCosa's terra on the east (with two islands, Y. verde and S. Grigor, 

"^^£'ifi *® *^® ^^^* °^ ^*) *° Cauo descubierto on the west. But it 

Nova Scotia seems to me that this tract must be either the south coast of 

Newfoundland or the south-east coast of Nova Scotia, and 

Cauo de Ynglaterra must be either Cape Race or Cape Breton ; 

the latter is more probable ; ^ this also agrees best with all 

1 To be perfectly accurate, the distance on La Cosa's map between Ireland 
and Cauo de Ynglaterra is 1290 geographical miles ; between Bristol and the 
same cape 1620 miles ; while the distance between Cauo de Ynglaterra and the 
name of Cauo descubierto is 1080 miles. If we reckon 17^ leagues to a degree, 
these distances correspond respectively to 376, 472 and 315 leagues ; while 
20 leagues to a degree give 430, 540 and 360 leagues. As the name of Cauo 
descubierto stands out in the sea to the west of the cape it belongs to, the distance 
will be less, very nearly 300 leagues. Along the upper margin of the map a scale 
is provided, each division of which, according to the usual practice, corresponds 
to 50 miglia. This gives us the distance from Ireland to Cauo de Ynglaterra as 
1425 miglia, and from the latter to the name of Cauo descubierto 1200. Reckoning 
4 miglia to a legua, these distances will be 356 and 300 leagues. 

2 I here disregard altogether the common assertions that Cabot arrived on 
the east coast of Newfoundland (at Cape Bonavista, or to the north of it), or even 
on the coast of Labrador. This cannot possibly be reconciled with La Cosa's map, 
nor does it agree with the accounts of Pasqualigo and Soncino, nor, again, with 
the information on the map of 1544 (by Sebastian Cabot ?), if we are to attach 
any weight to this. Other trustworthy documents are unknown. No importance 
can be attributed to the evidence of Cabot's having arrived in Labrador in 1497 
which Harrisse [1896, pp. 78, ff.] thinks may be seen in the circumstance that 
the English discoveries are placed in the northernmost part of the east coast of 
North America (between 56° and 60°) on the official Spanish maps of the first 



the documents we possess and involves fewest difficulties, chapter 
It might then seem probable that Cabot first arrived off the 
land at Cauo de Ynglaterra or Cape Breton/ and that he 
sailed westward (magnetic) from there to explore the newly- 
discovered country. The main direction of the coast of 
Nova Scotia is about W.S.W., and if we suppose that the 
compass error at Cape Breton was then about 28° W., which 
I have found in another way ^ (cf. above, p. 308 ; it is now 

half of the sixteenth century ; this does not by any means counterbalance La 
Cosa's map, which speaks plainly enough. Even if Sebastian Cabot had the 
superintendence of these later maps, this proves little or nothing. If it was to his 
interest not to offend the Spaniards by emphasising his father's discoveries, he 
would scarcely have hesitated to omit them, or allow them to be moved to the 
north. For on these very maps (e.g., Ribero's of 1529) it is claimed that the whole 
coast to the south-west of Newfoundland {*' Tiera nova de Cortereal ") was dis- 
covered by Spaniards (Gomez and Ayllon). But in addition to this, in so far as 
any importance can be attributed to the inscriptions attached to "Labrador " 
on the Spanish maps, they evidently, like others of the statements attributed to 
Sebastian Cabot, do not refer to Cabot's discoveries of 1497, which are found on 
La Cosa's map, but to discoveries made on later English voyages from Bristol, 
on which ice was met with. If the map of 1544 can be attributed to the collabo- 
ration of Sebastian Cabot, it further shows clearly enough that he had no knowledge 
of the northern part of the east coast of America, since he makes it extend to the 
east and north-east, which is due to Greenland (Labrador) being included in it. 
The map is a plagiarism of an earlier French one. Harrisse's view results in 
complete embarrassment in the interpretation of La Cosa's map [cf. 1900, p. 21], 
and he is obliged to abandon the attempt to make anything of it, since, of course, 
it contradicts all he thinks may be concluded from the much later Spanish maps. 
Moreover, since Harrisse insists so strongly on the importance of the northerly 
latitudes of the English discoveries on these maps (and on La Cosa's) as a proof 
of their being on the coast of Labrador, it should be pointed out that the latitudes 
of Newfoundland, for instance, and Greenland, to say nothing of the West Indian 
islands, vary on the maps ; this shows that no weight can be attached to evidence 
of this kind. 

1 It has been maintained that ' ' Cauo descubierto ' ' must denote the land 
he first sighted ; but the name only means " discovered cape," and says nothing 
as to its being discovered first or last. There may indeed have been more about 
it on Cabot's original map, and it happens that on La Cosa's map there is a hole 
in the parchment just after this name. That it should be the same cape that 
on "Sebastian Cabot's" map of 1544 is called "Prima tierra vista" is not 
likely, as this lies at the extreme east of the promontory of Cape Breton. 

2 For determining this I have to some extent relied on later maps, chiefly the 



CHAPTER 25° W.), this will mean that the coast extended a little to 
the north of west by compass, which exactly agrees with 
La Cosa's map. On account of contrary winds, and of the care 
necessary in sailing along an unknown coast, the voyage 
may have proceeded slowly, and Cabot greatly over-estimated 
his distances, which is not an uncommon thing with explorers 
in unknown waters, ever since the days of Pytheas. Finally, 
about three hundred miles on, Cabot came to the south- 
western point of Nova Scotia, which at first he must have taken 
for the end of the land. But as he certainly would be bent 
upon deciding this, he may have continued to sail across the 
mouth of the Bay of Fundy until he again sighted land, the 
fertile coast of smiling Maine, stretching westward as far 
as the eye could reach, and he would then have thought that 
he had surely arrived at the coast of the mainland of the 
vast kingdom of the Great Khan. Here it must have been that 
he landed, as related by Pasqualigo and Soncino,^ and saw 
signs of inhabitants, but met with none. He may, of course* 
have landed earlier at Cape Breton or in Nova Scotia without 
finding trace of inhabitants, and said nothing about it ; for 
he was not looking for an uninhabited country, but the wealthy 
Eastern Asia. It may also very well be the spot where he 
first found signs of men that is called Cauo descubierto ; for 
it is striking that on La Cosa's map this name is not placed on 
any projecting headland of the coast, but in front of a com- 
paratively deep gulf, which in that case might be the mouth 
of the Bay of Fundy. And it is in the sea to the west of this 
bay, across which Cabot sailed, that La Cosa has placed his 

Cantino map, where the direction of the north-eastern coast of Newfoundland 
gives a magnetic error of between 31° and 38°, and the direction between Cape 
Farewell and Cape Race gives an error of 28°, which is certainly somewhat too 

^ To this it might be objected that he says " the tides are sluggish, and do not 
run " as in England ('* le aque e stanche e non han corso come qui "J. The 
tide is considerable inside the Bay of Fundy, but on the coast of Maine and in the 
outer waters of Nova Scotia it is slight in comparison with the tide Cabot was 
acquainted with in the Bristol Channel. 



" mar descubierta por jnglese " (sea discovered by the English). CHAPTER 
La Cosa's " mar " will then be probably the whole gulf between ^^^ 
Cape Sable and Cape Cod.^ 

Cabot now thought he had found what he so eagerly sought. Cabot's 
He was not provisioned for any long stay, and with his small homeward 
crew he could not expose himself to possible attacks of the i^gy 
inhabitants of the country. Consequently he had good reason 
for turning back. To provide himself with the necessary 
water, and perhaps wood, for the homeward voyage would 
not take long. Food was a greater difficulty, and we are told 
that he was so short of it that on the way back he would not 
stop at new islands ; it is true that we hear of abundance of 
fish, but this cannot have been sufficient. He then returned 
to Cauo de Ynglaterra, and thence homewards as quickly as 
possible.^ The distance from Cape Breton past the southern 
point of Nova Scotia to the coast of Maine is 420 geographical 
miles. There and back, with a cruise in the open sea towards 
Cape Cod, it might be 1200 miles. If we suppose Cabot to have 
taken twenty days to do it, including the time occupied in 
going ashore, this will be sixty miles a day, which may seem 
a good deal ; but if on the way back he had a favourable 
wind and was able to sail a somewhat straight course, it is 
possible ; and, in that case, he may have been back at Cape 
Breton or Cauo de Ynglaterra about July 14 (23), and then 
have laid his course for home east by compass out to sea. 
This course took him off Newfoundland, and he had the 
island of Grand Miquelon, with Burin Peninsula to the east 
of it [**S. Grigor " on La Cosa's map?], in sight on his star- 
board bow, or on his right hand, as Pasqualigo says. As 

^ It must always be remembered that La Cosa did not have Cabot's original 
chart, on which the coast and the Bay of Fundy may have been represented more 
in accordance with reality. 

2 La Cosa's map may point to his having made a cruise in the open sea 
westward from Cauo descubierto before turning, and having seen the coast 
extending on, until in the far west it turned southward towards a headland, 
perhaps Cape Cod, where La Cosa put his westernmost flag. But this seems doubt- 
ful, and is only guessing. 



CHAPTER he was afraid of more land in that direction, which would be 
XIV awkward to come near, especially when sailing at night, 

he bore off to the south-east, where he knew from the outward 
voyage that there was open water. After a time, thinking 
himself safe, he again set his course east by compass, but then 
had fresh land, Avalon Peninsula, ahead or on his starboard 
bow, and again had to bear off. He took this for another 
large island [** Y. verde "], but would not land, both on 
account of shortness of provisions, and because he wanted 
to be home as soon as possible with the news of his discovery, 
and to prepare a larger expedition to take possession of the 
new country.^ To be quite sure of encountering no more 
land, Cabot may then have borne off well to the south-east, 
thus reaching the Newfoundland Banks on the south, and 
keeping quite clear of the icebergs which are found farther 
north. For his eastern voyage he was well served by the 
wind, since nearly all the winds in this part of the Atlantic 
are between south and west or north-west in July and the 
beginning of August. He was further helped by the current 
to some extent, and may, therefore, very easily have made 
the homeward voyage in twenty-three days, and sailed back 
into the port of Bristol about the 6th (15th) of August, 1497. 
That Cabot cannot have taken much more than twenty days 
on the return voyage also appears from the statement already 

1 That the distance between these islands and Cauo de Ynglaterra is less than 
half what it ought to be on La Cosa's map cannot be considered of decisive import- 
ance, since, as we have seen, the distances on this map are in general not to be 
relied on. The name ** S. Grigor " must certainly be due to the Englishmen, 
while " Y. verde " may be due to Cabot or to La Cosa, and may be the same 
name as is found on compass-charts of the fifteenth century (cf. above, p. 279). 
La Cosa or Cabot may have taken these two islands to be the same as 
♦' Ilia verde " and " Ilia brazil " on these older charts, and while one of the 
islands has been given a new name (perhaps because there were other islands 
with the name of Brazil (?), or because this island was nameless on some of the 
compass-charts ; see above, p. 281, the other has been allowed to retain the 
old name, which was originally a translation of Greenland. This old land of the 
Norsemen is here brought far to the south, and reduced to a very modest size, 
being confused with peninsulas of Newfoundland. 


quoted of the Bristol sailors, that they could make the voyage chapter 
in fifteen days.^ ^^^ 

The view of John Cabot's voyage of 1497 set forth above Legend on 
agrees also with the map of the world of 1544, which is attri- *^® ^^^ °^ 
buted to the collaboration of Sebastian Cabot, but which the 
latter in any case cannot have seen or corrected after it was 
engraved, probably in the Netherlands, and by an engraver 
who did not understand Spanish, the language of the map 
[cf. Harrisse, 1892, 1896 ; Dawson, 1894]. Its delineation 
of the northern east coast of North America is for the most 
part borrowed from the representation on French maps of 
Cartier's discoveries in the Gulf of St. Lawrence (cf. Deslien's 
map of 1541). Cape Breton is called "Prima tierra vista," 
and in the inscription referring to the northern part of the 
American coast,^ the import of which must apparently be 
derived from Sebastian Cabot, we read : 

" This land was discovered by Joan Caboto Veneciano and Sebastian Caboto 
his son in the year 1494 [sic] after the birth of our saviour Jesus Christ, the 24th 
of June in the morning ; to which they gave the name ' Prima Tierra Vista,' 
and to a large island which is near the said land they gave the name of St. John, 
because it was discovered the same day " [i.e., St. John's Day].^ 

1 As evidence that a homeward voyage of twenty-three days would not be 
unusually fast sailing for that time, it may be mentioned for comparison that 
Cartier, in June and July 1536, took nineteen days from Cape Race to St. Malo. 
Champlain made the same voyage in 1603 in eighteen days, and in 1607 he took 
twenty-seven days from Canso, near Cape Breton, to St. Malo. 

' Cf. Dawson, 1897, PP* 209, ff. 

3 Haklujrt [Principal Navigations, London, 1589] gives a corresponding 
inscription from the copy of this map which at that time was in the queen's 
private gallery at Westminster ; it was engraved in London in 1549 by the well- 
known Clement Adams. As in 1549 Sebastian Cabot held a high position with the 
King of England as adviser on all maritime matters, and especially as cartographer, 
we must suppose that he was consulted in the publication of so important a map, 
especially as it was attributed to himself. We may therefore assume that the 
inscription was revised by Sebastian Cabot. Hakluyt mentions this legend on 
Clement Adams's map for the first time in 1584 [cf. Winship, 1900, p. 56] and 
then says, as in the first edition of Principal Navigations, that the date of the 
discovery was 1494 ; but in the 1600 edition of Principal Navigations he corrected 
it to 1497, for what reason is uncertain [cf. Taducci, 1892, p. 47 ; Harrisse, 1892, 



The island 
of St. John 


The remainder of this legend — that the natives wear the 
skins of animals, that the country is unfertile, that there are 
many white bears, vast quantities of fish, mostly called 
bacallaos, etc. etc. — cannot refer, as Harrisse appears to 
think, to this land (Cape Breton) which was first discovered, 
but to the northern regions of the new continent as a whole. 
It is characteristic of this map, as of the earlier French ones. 

Northern portion ot the map of the world of 1544, attributed to 
Sebastian Cabot 

that Newfoundland is cut up into a number of small islands. 
If the view is correct that Y. Verde and S. Grigor on La Cosa's 
map are also parts of Newfoundland, it may explain the fact 
of Sebastian Cabot having no difficulty in bringing this map, 
or his father's, into agreement with the French ones, since 
he must have thought that a number of *' islands," discovered 
later, had been added. 

No island of St. John is to be found on La Cosa's map, 
but there is a Cauo S. Johan not far from Cauo de Ynglaterra 
and close to the island that is called Ilia de la trinidat. That 
the name is attached to a cape instead of to an island may be 
due to a transposition in the course of repeated copyings. 

1896 ; Winship, 1900, pp. 20, f.]. How the certainly erroneous date 1494 got on 
to the map of 1544 is unknown ; it may be supposed that MCCCCXCHH is an 
error of reading or writing for MCCCCXCVH, the two strokes of V being taken to 
be divided : II [cf. Harrisse, 1896, p. 61]. 



On the Portuguese map of Pedro Reinel, of the beginning of CHAPTER 
the sixteenth century (that is, only a few years after 1497), ^^^ 
Cape Breton is marked without a name, but an island lies off 
it, called " Sam Joha " [St. John] ; on Maggiolo's map of 
1527 there is " C. de bertonz," with an island, " Ja de S. loan," 
in the same place ; and on Michael Lok's map, in Hakluyt's 
"Divers Voyages," 1582, we have " C. Breton" with the 
island of "S. 
Johan," lying off 
it, and on Cape 
Breton Island (or 
Nova Scotia), 
called Norom- 
bega, is written 
"J.Cabot, 1497" 
(see p. 323)- 
There seems 
thus to have been 
a definite tradi- 
tion that it was 
here that John 
Cabot made the 
land, and St. 

John may then be the little Scatari Island which lies on the 
outside of Cape Breton Island [cf. Dawson, 1897, PP* 210, ff.]. 
That the " I. de S. Juan " on the map of 1544 lies on the inside 
of ' * Prima tierra vista ' ' and answers to the Magdalen Islands 
is of minor importance ; we do not even know whether Sebas- 
tian Cabot can be made responsible for it, as it may be due to 
a confusion on the part of the draughtsman. More importance 
must be attached on this point to the agreement between the 
earlier maps of 1500, 1527, and that of Reinel (compared with 
Lok's map in Hakluyt), than to the map of 1544.^ 

1 Another possible explanation is that Cauo de Ynglaterra, Cabot's most 
eastern point of the country, was Cape Race in Newfoundland, in spite of Sebastian 
Cabot's having placed it at Cape Breton. As has been said, it is very doubtful 

II X 321 

Portion of Pedro Reinel's map, beginning of the 
sixteenth century 




John Cabot returned to Bristol at the beginning of August, 
probably about the 6th (15th, N.S.). He naturally hastened to 
London to tell the King of his discovery, and we know that he 
must have been there on the loth (20th) August, for there is 
an entry in the accounts of the King's privy purse : 

" 10 August, 1497. To hym that found the new isle, £io.'* 

This cannot be called an exaggerated regal payment for 
discovering a new continent, even though £10 in the money 
of that time corresponds to about £120 now. Later in the 
same autumn Cabot was granted a pension from the King of 
£20 a year. 

Meanwhile, as the letters already quoted show, his dis- 

whether Sebastian Cabot was with his father in 1497, though on the other hand 
he probably knew his father's map, and in 1544 had a copy of it, or at any rate 
of La Cosa's. Then he saw the French maps representing Cartier's discoveries, 
e.g., Deslien's map of 1541 ; and it was a question of identifying his father's 
discoveries with this map. It would then be perfectly natural to assume that 
C. de Ynglaterra answered to Cape Breton, which looked like the easternmost 
point of the mainland in that region, while farther east there was a group of 
islands which might well answer to S. Grigor and Y. Yerde on La Cosa's map. 
Perhaps he also had a note to the effect that it was on St. John's day that the 
first land was sighted. On his father's map he found an island of St. John off 
this promontory, or he knew it from the tradition of Reinel's and later maps, 
and so placed his " Prima tierra vista " at Cape Breton. If the view that C. de 
Ynglaterra is Cape Race be regarded as correct, it might be assumed that Cauo 
descubierto was really the place where Cabot first made the land, perhaps in 
the neighbourhood of Cape Breton, and that from thence he sailed eastward, 
the supposed 300 leagues, along the south coast of Newfoundland. The two 
islands he discovered to starboard might then be Grand Miquelon and St. Pierre, 
though this is not very probable, and he would then have sailed between them 
and the land. But in that case we have a difficulty with the two islands, S. Grigor 
and Y. Verde, which must then lie east of Cape Race, where no islands exist. That 
they were icebergs taken for islands is not very likely. It is more probable that, 
as already suggested, they are the ghosts of the * * Ilia Verde * ' and * * Ilia de Brazil ' ' 
of earlier compass-charts (of the fifteenth century ; see above, pp. 279, 318). 
But the whole of this explanation seems rather artificial, and the even coast of 
La Cosa's map is difficult to reconcile with the extremely uneven coast-line we 
should get between Cape Breton Island and Cape Race. There is the further diffi- 
culty, if La Cosa's coast was the south coast of Newfoundland, that we should 
have to assume that John Cabot was aware of the variation of the compass, and 
allowed for it on his chart. 


covery attracted much attention in England, and gave rise CHAPTER 
to great expectations. 

What Cabot accomplished by his voyage of 1497 was in 

the first place to prove the existence of a great country beyond 

the ocean to the west of Ireland, which country he himself 

assumed to belong to Asia and to be part of China. Besides 

Portion of Michael Lok's map, London, 1582 

this he discovered great quantities of fish off the newly dis- 
covered coast ; a discovery which was soon to create a great 
fishery, carried on by several nations, off Newfoundland, 
and one which surpassed the Iceland fishery, hitherto the 
most important. But John Cabot evidently had little idea of the 
importance of this last discovery. He had, as Soncino says, 
" set his mind on higher things," for he thought that by 
following the coast of the mainland farther to the west he would 
be able to reach the wealthy Cipango (Japan) and the Spice 
Islands in the equatorial regions. 

Here we have in brief the plan of his next voyage. Cabot 



voyage of 

for the 
voyage of 


himself had great expectations and saw a brilliant future 
before him, when he would rule as a prince over newly 
conquered kingdoms which he would make subject to the 
English Crown. And, as we have seen, he was liberal in 
distributing islands to his barber, to a Burgundian, etc. 

At the beginning of 1498 Cabot obtained new letters patent,, 
dated February 3, in the thirteenth year of Henry VII. 's reign.^ 
These letters are in John Cabot's name alone (his sons are not 
mentioned this time). 

They give him the right of taking at his pleasure six English ships in any 
English port, of 200 tons or under, with their necessary equipment, " and theym 
convey and lede to the Londe and lies of late founde by the seid John in oure 
name and by oure commaundemente, pa3mg for the3rm and every of theym as 
and if we should in or for our owen cause paye and noon otherwise." And the 
said John might further *' take and recejrve into the seid shippes and every of 
theym all suche maisters maryners pages and our subjects, as of theyr owen free 
wille woU goo and passe with hym in the same shippes to the seid Londe or lies," 
etc. etc. 

It thus seems as if this not very prodigal king had on 
second thoughts considerably reduced his first plan of sending 
a fleet of ten, fifteen or twenty ships with all the prisoners o£ 
the realm. 

The most important documents on this voyage are : 

(i) Two contemporary letters, written before the return 
of the expedition, by the older Spanish Ambassador in London, 
Ruy Gonzales de Puebla, and the younger contemporary 
Spanish Minister in London, Pedro de Ayala, to Ferdinand 
and Isabella of Spain. The latter 's is dated July 23 (August 3, 
N.S.), 1498 ; the former's is undated, but of about the same 

(2) A narrative in the so-called * * Cottonian Chronicle ' ' - 
(the contents of which are the same as in Robert Fabyan's 
Chronicle) undoubtedly refers to this voyage of 1498 

^ This would be, according to the reckoning of that time, February 3, 1497,. 
since the civil year began on March 25 ; in New Style it will therefore be Feb- 
ruary 12, 1498. 

2 The MS. is preserved in the British Museum. Cf. G. P. Winship, 1900,. 
p. 47. 


and not, as many have assumed, to the voyage of i497« It chapter 
appears to be a contemporary notice of 1498, written before "^^^ 
"the return of the expedition. 

These documents contain all that we know with certainty 
about John Cabot's voyage of 1498. 

The Spanish Ambassador, Ruy Gonzales de Puebla, writes Puebla's 
in 1498 to Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain (probably in ^^^^^ ®^ 
July): -^"^'^^ 

' ' The King of England sent five armed ships with another Genoese like Columbus 
to search for the island of Brasil and others near it,^ and they were provisioned 
ior a year. It is said that they will return in September. Seeing the route they 
take to reach it, it is what Your Highnesses possess. The King has spoken to me 
at various times about it, he hopes to derive great advantage from it. I believe 
that it is not more than 400 leagues distant from here " [cf. Harrisse, 1882, p. 328]. 

Pedro de Ayala writes, July 25, 1498 : Ayala's 

" I believe Your Highnesses have heard how the King of England has fitted out j , 
a fleet to discover certain islands and mainland that certain persons, who sailed ^ .^g 
out of Bristol last year, have assured him they have found. I have seen the chart 
that the discoverer has drawn, who is another Genoese like Columbus, who has 
been in Seville and Lisbon to try to find some one to help him in this enterprise. 
The people of Bristol have sent out yearly for the last seven years a fleet of two, 
three or four caravels to search for the island of Brasil and the Seven Cities, follow- 
ing the fancy of this Genoese. The King has determined to send out an expe- 
dition because he is certain that they found land last year. One of the ships, on 
which a certain Fray Buil sailed, recently came into port in Ireland with great 
difficulty, the ship being wrecked. 

' * The Genoese continued his voyage. After having seen the course he has taken 
and the length of the route, I find that the land they have found or are looking 
for is that which Your Highnesses possess, because it is at the end of that which 
belongs to Your Highnesses according to the convention with Portugal. It is 
hoped that they will return in September. I will let Your Highnesses know of it. 
The King of England has spoken to me at various times about it ; he hopes ^ to 
derive great advantage from it. I believe the distance is not more than 400 leagues. 
I told him I believed the lands that had been found belonged to Your Highnesses, 
and I have given him a reason for it, but he would not hear of it. As I believe 
Your Highnesses are now acquainted with everything, as well as with the chart 
or mapa mundi that he [i.e., this Genoese] has drawn, I do not send it yet, though 

1 The text hjis " vicinidades," but Desimoni [1881, Pref. p. 15] supposes it 
to be a misreading for " septe citades," i.e., " the Seven Cities." 

2 ' Spero " is obviously a slip of the pen for " spera." 




John Cabot 




from the 

voyage of 



I have it here, and it seems to me very false to give out that it is not the islands 
in question." 

According to the Cottonian Chronicle, the King 

"at the besy request and supplicacion of a Straunger venisian [i.e., John 
Cabot], . . . caused to manne a ship ... for to seche an Hand wheryn the 
said Straunger surmysed to be grete commodities," ^ and it was accompanied by 
three or four other ships of Bristol, "the said Straunger " [i.e., Cabot] being 
leader of this " Flete, wheryn dyuers merchauntes as well of London as Bristowe 
aventured goodes and sleight merchaundises, which departed from the West 
Cuntrey in the begynnyng of Somer, but to this present moneth came nevir Know- 
lege of their exployt." ^ 

Hakluyt, in ** Divers Voyages " (1582) [cf. Hakluyt, 

1850, p. 23], has a rather fuller version of this account, quoted 

from Robert Fabyan, where we read that the ships from 

Bristol were 

"fraught with sleight and grosse merchandizes as course cloth, Caps, laces, 
points, and other trifles, and so departed from Bristowe in the beginning of May : 
of whom in this Maior's time returned no tidings." ^ 

' * This Mayor ' * would be William Purchas, who was 
Lord Mayor of London until October 28 (November 6, N.S.), 
1498. Thus, if this is correct, the expedition had not yet 
returned in the late autumn. 

The information contained in Ayala's letter, that one of 
Cabot's ships had put in to Ireland, is the last certain intelli- 
gence we have of this expedition, which was looked forward 

1 Harrisse's contention [1896, pp. 129, ff.], that this expression, "surmysed 
to be grete commodities," points to the chronicler here having introduced state- 
ments about the first voyage, in 1497, is hardly well founded. For Cabot discovered, 
according to the statements, no commodities (except fish) in 1497 ; on the other 
hand, he supposed that by penetrating farther to the west along the coast he 
would reach these treasures. 

2 Cf. G. P. Winship, 1900, p. 47. In the Cottonian Chronicle this account is 
given under the thirteenth year of Henry VII. 's reign, which lasted from August 
22, 1497, to August 21, Z498. This has led some to think it referred to the voyage 
of 1497, but that is impossible, as, of course, Cabot had returned before the thir> 
teenth year of Henry's reign began. 

^ In the note preceding this statement taken from Fabyan, Hakluyt has 
made Sebastian Cabot leader of the expedition ; but there is nothing to this effect 
in the text. 



to with such great hopes. John Cabot now disappears com- CHAPTER 
pletely and unaccountably from history, and his discovery, ^^^ 
which the year before had attracted so much attention, seems 
to have been more or less forgotten in the succeeding years, 
and is never referred to in the later letters of the Spanish 
Ambassadors in London. It may, therefore, seem reasonable 
to suppose that the expedition disappeared without leaving a 
trace. The probability of this is confirmed by the fact that 
two years and a half later, in March 1501, Henry VII. again 
granted letters patent, for the discovery of lands, to three 
merchants of Bristol and three Portuguese, without mentioning 
Cabot ; it is merely stated that all former privileges of a 
similar kind were cancelled. But according to some old account 
books from Bristol, found at Westminster Abbey, John Cabot's 
royal pension of ^^20 a year was paid as late as the adminis- 
trative year beginning September 29, 1498. This, as Harrisse 
and others think, shows that Cabot returned from the voyage 
and was still alive in that year. But this seems to be uncertain 
evidence. The money need not have been paid to him per- 
sonally ; it may have been paid to his wife os his sons or other 
representatives during his absence on the voyage, and we 
cannot conclude anything certain from it. As the pension 
is not entered in the following years, it seems rather to show 
that Cabot was really lost, and the money was only paid 
during the first year of his absence. 

It has been supposed that the following is another proof 
of the participators in the voyage of 1498 having returned : 
the accounts of Henry VII. *s privy purse for 1498 show that 
on March 22 and April i the King advanced money (sums 
of £20, 3^3, and 40s. 5d., in all about ;£65o in the money of 
the present day) to Launcelot Thirkill (who seems to have had 
a ship of his own), Thomas Bradley and John Carter, who 
were all going to ** the new Isle." Probably these men may 
have fitted out their own ships to accompany Cabot's expe- 
dition ; but we do not know whether they sailed. This is 
probably the same Launcelot Thirkill who, according to an 



CHAPTER old document, was in London on June 6, 1501, when he and 
three others whose names are given (perhaps his sureties) 
were " bounden in ij obligations to pay " £20 to the King 
before next Whitsuntide. Possibly it was this loan received 
from the King for the voyage, which he then had to repay. If 
he really started, it may be supposed that his ship was the one 
that put back to Ireland ; and this document is therefore no 
certain proof of any of the other four ships having ever returned. 
For that matter they may all have been lost in the same gale. 
But in the year 1501 the ship that returned from Caspar Corte- 
Real's expedition is reported to have brought back to Lisbon a 
broken gilt sword of Italian workmanship from the east coast 
of North America ; and it is also stated that two Venetian 
silver rings had been seen on a native boy from that country. 
It has been assumed that these objects may have belonged to 
some of the participators in John Cabot's expedition of 1498, 
which in that case must have reached America, and there 
met with some disaster. 

It is difficult to say more of this voyage. That John 
Cabot should have returned after having reached America, 
and after having sailed a greater or less distance along the 
coast without finding the riches he was in search of, appears 
to me unlikely. Such an assumption would provide no 
explanation of the complete silence about him. As the 
foreign Ministers had followed this expedition with so much 
attention, we might surely expect them to say something 
about its having disappointed the great expectations that 
were formed of it ; and in any case it was unlikely that the 
whole should be buried in complete silence, which, on the 
other hand, is easily comprehensible if nothing more was heard 
of the expedition, since it may all have been forgotten for 
other things which claimed attention. Thus the story of 
Giovanni Caboto, the discoverer of the North American conti- 
nent, ends, as it began, in obscurity. He was too early with 
his discovery. England had not yet developed her trade and 
navigation sufficiently to be able to follow it up and avail 



herself of it ; this was not to come until about eighty years chapter 
later. , xiv 

But John Cabot's discovery was not altogether unheeded Sebastian 

in the years that followed ; it was considered of sufficient Cabot's 

importance for his son, Sebastian Cabot, by appropriating doubtful 

the honour of it, to acquire much fame and reputation in his 
day as a great discoverer and geographer. But whether he 
ever made discoveries on the east coast of North America is 
very doubtful ; indeed, it is not even certain that he ever under- 
took a voyage to these regions. There can be no doubt that 
he himself asserted he had done so repeatedly and to different 
men, though his various utterances, so far as we know them, 
agree imperfectly. We see, too, that as early as 15 12 he had 
the reputation of being acquainted with north-western waters, 
since he obtained an appointment in the service of King 
Ferdinand of Aragon on account of the remarkable knowledge 
he claimed to possess of 'Ma navigacion a los Bacallaos " 
(the voyage to Newfoundland) [cf. Harrisse, 1892, p. 20]. 
But Sebastian Cabot seems, on the whole, to have been one 
of those men who are more efficient in words than deeds. 
It was the habit of the time to be not too scrupulous about 
the truth, if one had any advantage to gain from the contrary, 
and Sebastian was evidently no better than his age. If his 
utterances are correctly reported, he endeavoured, when his 
father had long been dead and forgotten, to claim for himself 
the honour of his voyages, in which he succeeded so well that 
for many centuries he, and not his father, was regarded as the 
discoverer of the continent of America. In the legend on the 
map of the world of 1544, it is true, he was modest enough to 
share the honour with his father, and this legend is at the 
same time the only evidence which might point to Sebastian 
as having been present on that occasion ; but, as we have 
already seen, no great importance can be attached to it, and it 
is not confirmed by contemporary statements about the voyage. 
His assertion that he had been in north-western waters is in 
direct conflict with statements in the protest made on March 



of the New- 


II, 1521, by the Wardens of the Drapers' Company of London 
against King Henry VIII. 's attempt to obtain contributions 
towards an expedition to * ' the newe found Hand ' ' (the coast 
of North America) in 1521 under the command of Sebastian 
Cabot. The protest says : 

"... And we thynk it were to sore avenf to joperd V shipps w* men and 
goods vnto the said Hand vppon the singuler trust of one man callyd as we vnder- 
stond Sebastyan, whiche Sebastyan as we here say was Aeu' in that land hym 
self, all if he maks reports of many things as he hath hard his Father and other 
men speke in tymes past," etc. 

This statement is clear enough, and, coming as it does 
from men who were acquainted with his father's services, 
it cannot be disregarded. It is also confirmed by a remark- 
able statement in Peter Martyr's narrative (in 1515) of an 
alleged voyage of Sebastian Cabot (see later), which con- 
cludes : 

" Some of the Spaniards deny thatCabot [i.e., Sebastian] was the first discoverer 
of the land of Bacallaos, and assert that he had not sailed so far to the west." 

This might point to his really having made a voyage, but, 
in the opinion of the Spaniards, never having reached the coast 
of North America. 

The immediate consequence of John Cabot's discovery of 
the continent of North America was probably that the practical 
merchants of Bristol, who were accustomed to fishing ventures 
in Iceland, at once sent out vessels to take advantage of the 
great abundance of fish that John Cabot had found in 1497 
and that had evidently made so deep an impression on his 
crew that they told every one about it. But the English fisher- 
men were soon followed, and, indeed, outstripped, by Portu- 
guese, Basque and French (chiefly Breton) fishermen, and thus 
arose the famous Newfoundland fisheries. The cause of the 
fishermen of Portugal and other countries having followed 
so soon was doubtless the discovery of Newfoundland by the 
Portuguese Corte-Real on his voyages of 1500 and 1501 (see 
next chapter). 

But of the development of this fishery we hear little or 



nothing in literature; just as in the Icelandic literature of chapter 
earlier times these fishing expeditions of ordinary seamen ^^^ 
are passed over ; in the first place, they were not "notable " 
travellers, and in the second, men of that class in all ages 
have preferred to avoid advertising their discoveries for fear 
of competition. 

From various documents and statements we may conclude Expeditions 
that fresh expedftions were sent out from Bristol in 1501 g^^gj j^ 
and the following years ; but these were Anglo-Portuguese 1501 and 
undertakings and may have been occasioned, at any rate in fo^^o^ng 
part, by the discoveries of the Portuguese, although, of course, 
the knowledge of Cabot's voyage may have had some signi- 

On March 19 (28), 1501, Henry VII. issued letters patent 
to Richard Warde, Thomas Ashehurst and John Thomas, 
merchants of Bristol, who were in partnership in the enter- 
prise with three Portuguese from the Azores, John and Francis 
Fernandus [i.e., Joao and Francisco Fernandez] and John 
Gunsolus [Joao Gonzales ?].2 They were given the right for 

^ It was suggested above that the Burgundian who took part in Cabot's voyage 
in 1497 may have been from the Azores. It might be supposed that he also accom- 
panied Joao Fernandez or Corte-Real in 1500, and now took part with Fernandez 
in the English undertaking, and in this way we should get a connection ; but all 
this is mere guessing. 

2 Possibly the first-named Portuguese was the origin of the n^me of * ' Lab- 
rador." On a Portuguese map of the sixteenth century, preserved at Wolfenbiittel, 
it is stated that the country of Labrador was ' ' discovered by Englishmen from 
the town of Bristol, and as he who first gave the information was a ' labrador ' 
[i.e., labourer] from the Azores, they gave it that name " [cf. Harrisse, 1892, 
p. 580 ; 1900, p. 40]. Ernesto do Canto [Archivo dos Acores, xii. 1894] points \ 
out that in documents of as early as 1492 there is mention of a Joao Fernandez \ 
who is described as " Uavorador," and who was engaged with another (Pero J 
de Barcellos) in making discoveries at sea. " Llavorador " did not mean merely 
a common labourer, but one who tilled the ground, an agriculturist, landowner. 
We are then tempted to suppose that, as Do Canto assumes, this Joao Fernandez 
llavorador is John Fernandus, who is mentioned in the letters patent of 1501. 
The name of Labrador first appears on Portuguese maps (cf. the King map of 
about 1502), and is there used of Greenland. It may there be due to this Joao 
Fernandez (llavorador], who, perhaps, returned to Portugal in 1502, as he is 
no longer mentioned in the letters patent of December 1502 [cf. Harrisse, 1900, 


CHAPTER ten years ' ' to explore all Islands, Countries, Regions, and 
^^^ Provinces whatever, in the Eastern, Western, Southern, and 

Northern Seas, heretofore unknown to Christians," and all 
former privileges of this kind, granted to ** any foreigner or 
foreigners, ' ' were expressly cancelled. This last provision must 
refer to the letters patent granted to Cabot in 1496 and 1498. 

That this new expedition from Bristol really took place 
and returned before January 1502, seems to result from the 
accounts of Henry VII. 's privy purse, where on January 7, 
1502, there is an entry: "To men of Bristoll that found 
Expedition Thisle £5." ^ In 1502 there was possibly a new expedition, 
in 1502 ^5 jjj tj^g same accounts there is an entry of September [24], 
1502 : "To the merchants of Bristoll that have bene in the 
Newfounde Lande, 3^20." ^ According to a document of 
December 6, 1503, Henry VII. further granted on September 
26, 1502, to the two Portuguese, ffranceys ffernandus [Fran- 
cisco Fernandez] and John Guidisalvus [Gonzales ?] a yearly 
pension of ten pounds each, for the service they had done to 
the King's " singler pleasur as capitaignes unto the new 
founde lande." 

p. 40, ff. ; Bjornbo, 1910, p. 174]. Possibly he may have accompanied Corte-Real 
in 1500, or himself made a voyage in that year (see next chapter), before he came 
to Bristol ; of that we know nothing, but in that case the name refers to some 
such Portuguese voyage, on which we know that Greenland was sighted in 1500, 
though the voyagers were unable to reach the coast (see next chapter). It may 
then be supposed that the English expedition from Bristol in 1501, in which Joao 
Fernandez took part, did reach the coast of Greenland, and therefore on later maps 
the discovery was attributed to the English, who not only saw the coast, but also 
landed on it. The Spanish cosmographer Alonso de Santa Cruz (born 1506) says : 
" It was called the land of Labrador because it was mentioned and indicated by 
a ' labrador ' from the Azores to the King of England, when he sent on a voyage of 
discovery Antonio [sic] Gabot, the English pilot and father of Sebastian Gabot, 
who is now Pilot Major (piloto mayor) to Your Majesty " [cf. Harrisse, 1896, 
p. 80]. As this was written so long after, and in Spain, it is not surprising that 
Cabot's voyage of 1497 has been confused with the voyage of 1501, especially as 
it was not to the interest of Sebastian, who was still in Spain at that time, to 
correct this. The statement agrees, moreover, with the legend on the Portuguese 
map at Wolfenbiittel. 

^ Cf. Harrisse, 1896, p. 147. 


Hakluyt states (1582) in " Divers Voyages " [1850, p. 23], CHAPTER 
after Robert Fabyan's Chronicle, that in the seventeenth ^^^ 
year of the reign of Henry VII. [i.e., August 22, 1501, to 
August 21, 1502] ^ 

"were brought unto the king three men, taken in the new founde Hand, that before 
I [i.e., Fabyan ?] spake of in William Purchas time, being Maior.^ These were 
clothed in beastes skinnes, and ate rawe fleshe, and spake such speech that no 
man coulde understand them, and in their demeanour like to bruite beastes, 
whom the king kept a time after. Of the which vpon two yeeres past after I 
[i.e., Fabyan] saw two apparelled after the maner of Englishmen, in Westminster 
pallace, which at that time I coulde not discerne from Englishemen, till I was 
learned what they were. But as for speech, I heard none of them vtter one 
worde." ^ 

These natives must have been brought back from the 
expedition of 1501 or from that of 1502 (if the latter returned 

^ In the repetition of the same statement (from Fabyan) in Stow's Chronicle 
the eighteenth year is given as the date, i.e., August 22, 1502, to August 21, 1503 ; 
but it is doubtful which is correct ; it appears to me that the text itself must be 
more original in Hakluyt ; but the date occurs in the heading added by himself* 

^ The most natural explanation of this seems to me to be that Fabyan, whom 
Hakluyt quotes, thought that these savages were taken on the same island [i.e., 
North America] that John Cabot had discovered [in 1497] ; of whose expedition 
in 1498 he had said that it had not returned during the mayoralty of William 
Purchas, see above, p. 326. That Hakluyt also interpreted Fabyan's words 
thus seems to result from the fact that in his later repetition of this, in ** Prin- 
cipal Navigations," in 1589 and 1599- 1600, he has altered the heading, making 
it the fourteenth (instead of the seventeenth) year of Henry VH. [i.e., August 22, 
1498- August 21, 1499] when the three savages were brought to him. Hakluyt 
must then have misunderstood it to mean that they were taken on the voyage 
of 1498. • 

3 In Hakluyt 's heading to this statement we are told that it was Sebastian 
Cabot who brought these savages ; but his name is not mentioned in the text 
itself, which appears to be more genuine than the heading, and there is no ground 
for supposing that Sebastian took part in either of these expeditions of 1501 or 
1502 ; in any case he was not the leader. In Stow's version [Winship, 1900, 
p. 95] Sebastian Gabato is introduced into the text as he who had taken the three 
men ; but, as suggested above, Stow's text seems less original than Hakluyt's. 
It is probable that both Stow and Hakluyt may have started from the assumption 
that it was Sebastian Cabot who made the voyage, and, therefore, that they 
thoughtlessly introduced his name [cf. Harrisse, 1896, pp. 142, ff.] ; on the other 
hand it appears to me doubtful that his name should already have occurred in 
Fabyan in this connection. 



royage in 


before August 21 ?). They were most likely Eskimo, 
since Indians with their darker skin could scarcely have looked 
like Englishmen. It might even be supposed that they came 
from Greenland, and were descendants of the Norsemen 
there, in which case their resemblance to Englishmen is 
most naturally explained. 

On December 9 (18), 1502, Henry VII. again granted 
letters patent to Thomas Ashehurst, Joam Gonzales, Francisco 

North-western portion of Robert Thome's map, of 1527 (copy 
of a Spanish map of the world) 

Fernandes and Hugh Elliott for a voyage of discovery to 
parts not hitherto found by English subjects. That this 
projected expedition took place in 1503 is possibly shown by 
an entry in the accounts of the King's privy purse : " 1503, 
Nov. 17. To one that brought hawkes from the Newfounded 
Island. i.L." [cf. Harrisse, 1882, p. 270]. 

It seems that it must be the same voyage to the north- 
west that is mentioned by Robert Thorne of Bristol in his 
letter of 1527 to Henry VIII. 's Ambassador in Spain. Thome 
was then living in Seville, and was interested in Indian enter- 
prises. He tries to induce Henry VIII. to send an expedition 
to the Indies by way of the Polar Sea, and sends with his project 
a rough copy he has had made of a Spanish mappamundi. 
He says that he has inherited the " inclination or desire of 
this discoverie " from his 

" father, which with another marchant of Bristow named Hugh Eliot, were the 
discoverers of the New found lands, of the which there is no doubt, (as nowe 



plainely appearethl if the mariners would then have bene ruled, and followed CHAPTER 
their Pilots minde, the lands of the West Indies (from whence all the gold XIV 
commeth} had bene ours. For all is one coast, as by the Carde appeareth, and is 

On the map the northern east coast of America extends 
uninterruptedly to the north (see the reproduction), and upon 
it is written : * ' the new land called laboratorum, ' ' and along 
the coast there is : * * the land that was first discovered by 
the English." It might appear as though it was really the 
present Labrador that was then discovered ; but this is hardly 
the case ; what we see on the map is probably Greenland/ 
which is here moved over to America as on other Spanish 
maps, and the east coast of which is given a northerly direction 
as on Ruysch's map of 1508. 

It is possible that another expedition set out in 1504 ; 
for in the accounts of the King's privy purse we find an entry 
on April 8, 1504, of 3^2 ** to a preste that goeth to the new 
Islande." We see thus that there is a probability of many 
expeditions having left England for the west and north-west 
at this time, and that thus Greenland, Newfoundland, and 
doubtless also Labrador had been reached by the English ; 
and this would explain their being recorded on Spanish maps 
as discoverers of the northern part of the east coast of America. 
But we have no further information about these voyages. 

Just as we have seen that the note on Robert Thome's 
map of 1527 (that the English had discovered the northern 
part of the east coast of America) must probably refer to 
the expedition of 1501 or to one in the following year, so it 
is doubtless discoveries of the same voyages that are alluded 
to on Maggiolo's compass-chart of 151 1 (see reproduction, 
P* 359)» where a peninsula to the north of Labrador is marked 
as '* Terra de los Ingres " [the land of the English]. On later 
maps, such as Verrazano's of 1529, Ribero's of 1529 (see 
reproduction, p. 357), the Wolfenbiittel map of 1530, and 

1 Greenland is represented on the map conformably to the type that was 
introduced on some mappemundi after Clavus's map (cf. p. 278J. 



Accounts of 
a voyage of 
Cabot in 


others, Labrador is marked as having been discovered by the 
English, sometimes, indeed, with the addition that they came 
from Bristol. As already mentioned, no hint is to be found in 
trustworthy documents of Sebastian Cabot's having taken 
part in these expeditions or having been in any way connected 
with them, and there is therefore no ground for assuming this. 
And the remarkable thing is that even his father's name is 
not mentioned in connection with them, though it was so few 
years since he had sailed from the same port. 

We find, however, in various works of the sixteenth century 
records of voyages to northern or north-western waters, 
supposed to have been made by Sebastian Cabot ; which may 
be due, directly or indirectly, to himself. Formerly there was 
a tendency to connect these statements with John Cabot's 
voyages of 1497 and 1498 [cf. Harrisse], but this assumption 
seems to have little probability. G. P. Winship [1899, 
pp. 204, ff.], on the other hand, has pointed out with good 
reason that according to Sebastian Cabot's own words the 
voyage was undertaken by himself in the years 1508-9 ; but 
even this appears to me uncertain ; in any case I doubt that 
he reached America. 

We hear of a voyage to the north-west said to have been 
undertaken by Sebastian Cabot from Peter Martyr (in his 
Decades, 15 16), from the Venetian Minister to Spain, Con- 
tarini, especially in a report to the Venetian Senate in 1536, from 
Ramusio (1550-1554 and 1556), from Gomara (1553), and 
from Antonio Galvano (1563).^ 

We may expect the most trustworthy of these authorities 
to be Peter Martyr, who was the oldest, and who knew 
Sebastian Cabot personally ; but certain main features of 
the voyage are to some extent common to all the accounts. 
If we compare these, the voyage is said to have taken place 
somewhat in the following manner : the expedition, consisting 

^ As to the works of these authors, see Winship [1900]. Markham [1893] 
reproduces them (except Contarini's report of X536)in translations, which, however^ 
must be used with some caution. 


of two ships with three hundred men,^ was according to Peter CHAPTER 
Martyr fitted out at Sebastian's own cost, but according to ^^^ 
Ramusio it was sent out by the King. They sailed so far to the 
north (according to Gomara, even in the direction of Iceland) 
that in the month of July they found enormous masses of ice 
floating on the sea ; daylight was almost continuous, and 
the land was in places free of ice which had melted away. 
According to the various accounts Cabot is said to have reached 
55°, 56°, 58°, or 60°.^ 

According to Galvano they first " sighted land in 45° N. lat. and then sailed 
straight to the north until they came to 60° N. lat., where the day is eighteen 
hours long [sic], and the night is very clear and light. There they found the 
air cold and great islands of ice [icebergs ?] but no bottom with soundings of 
seventy, eighty, or one hundred fathoms,^ but they found much ice which terrified 

When, according to Peter Martyr, their hopes of making 
their way to the west in these northern latitudes were thus 
annihilated by the ice, they sailed back to the south and 
south-west along the North American coast, as far as the 
latitude of Gibraltar, 36° (according to Peter Martyr), or to 
38° (according to Gomara and Galvano), while according to 
Ramusio 's anonymous informant they sailed as far as Florida.^ 
From thence the expedition returned to England. 

With regard to the date of this voyage, we are told in 
the continuation of Peter Martyr's Decades [Dec. vii], written 
in 1524 (published 1530), that " Bacchalaos [i.e., Newfound- 
land, or the northern east coast of America] was discovered 
from England by Cabot sixteen years ago." According to 

^ These two ships and the three hundred men occur in Peter Martyr and 
Contarini, as well as in Gomara and Galvano ; while Ramusio only has two ships 
and says nothing about the crews. 

2 In Peter Martyr's original account no latitude is given. 

3 The meaning must be that these islands of ice were aground, but that never- 
theless a line of one hundred fathoms did not reach the bottom. The ice must 
consequently have been over one hundred fathoms thick, which, of course, was 
a remarkable discovery at that time. 

*This was the name at that time (1550! for the whole south-eastern part 
of the present United States. 

II Y 337 


CHAPTER this the voyage took place in 1508. In Contarini's report 
^^^ of 1536 [cf. Winship, 1900, p. 36] it is said of Sebastian Cabot's 

voyage that on his return he " found the King dead, and his 
son cared little for such an enterprise." As Henry VII. died 
on April 21, 1509, it would be during the autumn of that 
year that Cabot returned ; but then he must have sailed 
before April, which is unlikely, at any rate if it is a question 
of a voyage up into the ice to the north or north-west, such 
as is described. That he should have sailed in the previous 
year and not returned until after the King's death is still more 

These accounts contain so many improbabilities, and to 
some extent impossibilities, that it is on the whole extremely 
doubtful whether Sebastian Cabot ever made such a voyage 
to the north-west. That he did so is contradicted in the 
first place by the already quoted protest against Sebastian of 
the Wardens of the Drapers* Company, which was issued in 
the name of the various Livery Companies of London, and 
which is of great significance, as it was written so soon after 
the events are supposed to have taken place that they must 
have been in the memory of most people ; and it must have 
been easy for the King to inquire into the justification of the 
protest (cf. above, p. 330). 

The map of 1544, which is attributed to the collaboration 
of Sebastian Cabot, may also point to his having never sailed 
along the northern part of the coast of America, since, according 
to the custom of that time, the coast of Labrador is made 
to run to the east and north-east. This agrees with the state- 
ment of Ramusio's anonymous informant, that Sebastian had. 
to turn back because in 56° N. lat. he found the land turning 
eastward (Galvano says the same). This is evidently derived 
from the study of maps. As such a delineation of the coast 
had not yet occurred on maps of Peter Martyr's time, it is natural 
that this reason for turning back is also absent from his 

In addition to all this, there are in the various accounts 



several statements which we must suppose to be really derived CHAPTER 
from Sebastian Cabot, but which are evidently untruthful. ^^^ 
Thus Ramusio's anonymous guest attributes to Sebastian the 
words that his father was dead when the news of the discovery 
of Columbus reached England, and that it was then Sebastian 
conceived the plan of his voyage which he submitted to the 
King. That, as stated by Peter Martyr, he should have fitted 
out two ships with crews of three hundred men at his own 
expense, is extremely improbable. He is also reported to 
have told Peter Martyr that he 

' ' called these countries Baccallaos, because in the seas about there he found such 
great quantities of certain large fish — ^which might be compared to tunny [in 
size], and were thus called by the inhabitants — that sometimes they stopped his 

These are nothing but impossibilities. In the first place, 
he never gave the name of Bacallaos ; in the second, the 
inhabitants cannot have called the fish so, if by inhabitants 
is meant the native savages. These statements are, therefore^ 
of the same kind as that of the masses of fish stopping the ships. 
Peter Martyr further relates that he said of these regions 

' ' he also found people in these parts, clad in skins of animals, yet not without 
the use of reason." He says also that "there are a great number of bears in 
these parts, which are in the habit of eating fish ; for, plunging into the water 
where they see quantities of these fish, they fasten their claws into their scales, 
and thus draw them to land and eat them, so that (as he says] the bears are not 
troublesome to men, when they have eaten their fill of fish. He declares also 
that in many places of these regions he saw great quantities of copper among the 

The statement about the bears may come from older 
literary sources, and resembles a similar statement in the 
Geographia Universalis (see above, p. 191). That the inhabi- 
tants have copper and are clad in skins may be derived from 
reports of the various voyages. 

From what we have been able to conclude as to Sebastian 
Cabot's character, it seems reasonable to suppose that, in 
consequence of his position as Pilot Major in Spain, he was 



voyage of 
Cabot in 
1516 or 


acquainted with the various maps and accounts of voyages in 
western and north-western waters, and that from this knowledge 
he constructed the whole story of his alleged voyage ; he was 
then incautious enough to magnify his exploits to such an 
extent that he made the whole story improbable ; for his 
claim was nothing less than that he had first discovered land 
as far north as between 55° and 60°, that is to say, to about 
Hudson Strait, and then sailed along and discovered the whole 
coast of North America to about 36° N. lat., that is, to Cape 
Hatteras or Florida ; in other words, a voyage of discovery 
to which we have no parallel in history, and it is truly remark- 
able that we should have had no certain information about it, 
while we have so much about other expeditions which step 
by step discovered the various parts of this same extent of 

Sebastian Cabot seems to have laid claim to having 
made yet another voyage in north-western waters, unless, 
indeed, it is the same one again with variations. In the third 
volume of his ** Navigationi et Viaggi," etc., published 
at Venice 1556, Ramusio says (writing in Venice, June 1553) 

"Sebastian Gabotto, our Venetian, a man of great experience, etc., wrote 
to me many years ago." Sebastian is said to have sailed "along and beyond 
the land of New France, at the charges of Henry VH., King of England. He 
told me that after having sailed a long time west by north [ponente e quarta di 
Maestro] beyond these islands, lying along the said land, as far as to sixty-seven 
and a half degrees under our pole [i.e., the North Pole], and on June nth [20th] 
finding the sea still open and without any kind of impediment, he thought surely 
by that way to be able to sail at once to Cataio Orientale [China], if the mutiny 
[malignita] of the master and mariners had not compelled him to return."^ 

As will be seen, this statement is altogether different from 
those previously mentioned ; but such assertions as that Cabot 
had got so far to the north-west by June 11, and found the sea 

1 Cf. Winship, 1900, p. 89. Sir Humphrey Gilbert in 1576 repeats the same 
statement almost word for word, saying that he has taken it from maps, on which 
Sebastian Cabot had described *' from personal experience " the north-west 
passage to China [cf. Winship, 1900, pp. 17, 52 ; Kohl, 1869, p. 217]. 


free of ice in 67^° N. lat., are not of a kind to strengthen our chapter 
confidence. It might seem to be the same voyage that is 
referred to in a statement of Richard Eden, which he may have 
had from Sebastian Cabot himself. In the dedication (written 
in June 1553) of Eden's translation of the fifth part of Sebastian 
Munster's " Cosmographia " we read that 

" Kinge Henry the viij. about the same yere [i.e., the eighth year] of hisraygne, 
furnished and sent forth certen shippes vnder the gouemaunce of Sebastian 
Cabot yet liuing, and one Syr Thomas Perte, whose faynt heart was the cause 
that that viage toke none e^ect ; yf (I say] such manly courage whereof we haue 
spoken, had not at that tyme bene wanting, it myghte happelye haue comen to 
passe, that that riche treasurye called Perularia, (which is now in Spayne in the 
citie of Ciuile, and so named, for that in it is kepte the infinite ryches brought 
thither from the newe foimd land of Peru) myght longe since haue bene in the 
towne of London." ^ 

As Peru is mentioned, it might doubtless appear as though 
a voyage to South America were in question ; but we often 
see that the western countries beyond the sea were spoken of 
as a continuous possession (cf. Robert Thome's letter, above, 
p. 334), and it may therefore refer to the same alleged expe- 
dition as is spoken of by Ramusio ; for both Ramusio and 
Eden have evidently the same statements from Sebastian 
Cabot, and the latter can hardly have spoken of two expeditions 
which were both unsuccessful merely because his companions 
failed him. 

If this is correct, the voyage took place in the eighth year 
of Henry VIII.'s reign, i.e., April 16, 1516, to April 15, 1517 ^ ; 
but, as Harrisse contends, it is very doubtful whether the 
voyage was made at all. It is true that a poem of Henry VIII. 's 
time also speaks of an English expedition which may have 
taken place at this time, and which failed on account of the 
cowardice of the crew. Robert Thorne, too, as we have seen 
(p. 335), tells of a voyage made by his father and Hugh Eliot, 
on which the sailors would not ** follow their pilot's mind." 

1 Cf. Harrisse, 1896, pp. 159, ff. ; Winship, 1900, p. 44. 

2 We must then suppose that "Henry VH." in Ramusio is an error for 
" Henry VHI." 




in 1521 

It may, Indeed, have occurred on several voyages that the 
crews refused to proceed farther, and for that matter these 
statements need not refer to the same voyage ; but at the same 
time it is by no means incredible that Sebastian Cabot may 
have heard of such an expedition, and, when it was more 
appropriate than the ice, used it as an explanation of his not 
having discovered the north-west passage to China. We 
know that Sebastian Cabot was in the service of Spain 
(and appointed *' Pilot Major ") in 1515, and that he was 
occupied with plans of a voyage to the north-west for the King 
of Spain ; for Peter Martyr writes of him in that year that he 
was impatiently looking forward to March 151 6, when he had 
been promised a fleet with which to complete his discoveries 
[cf. Winship, 1900, p. 71]. As Ferdinand of Aragon died on 
January 23, 1516, nothing came of this voyage, and as we 
hear nothing of Sebastian Cabot before February 5, 151 8, 
when he was appointed Pilot Major by Charles V., it is not 
impossible that in the meantime he may have been in England, 
and have taken part in an English expedition ; but no record 
of his having come to England is extant, and it would hardly 
agree with the protest against him of the Drapers* Company 
a few years later. 

There may yet be mentioned the attempts made by 
Henry VIII. in 1521 to prepare an expedition to north-western 
waters under the command of Sebastian Cabot, chiefly at 
the expense of the merchants of London, which, however, 
evoked a powerful protest against Sebastian on the part 
of these merchants (see above, p. 330). It is true that, upon 
pressure irom the King, they afterwards declared themselves 
willing to give a smaller sum, but the expedition never came 
to anything. Sebastian Cabot was at that time, as he had 
been since 1512, in the service of Spain, and he remained 
so until in 1547 he again took up his abode in England and 
entered the service of the English King. In December 1522 
Sebastian Cabot informed the Venetian Minister in Spain, 
Contarini, that he had been in England three years before 



[i.e.) in I5i9]» and that the Cardinal there [i.e., Wolsey, who chapter 

was trying on behalf of Henry VIII. to get together the expe- ^^^ 

dition of 1521] had endeavoured to persuade him to undertake 

the command of a fleet which was almost ready [sic !], for the 

discovery of new lands ; but he had replied that, as he was 

in the service of Spain, he must first obtain the permission of 

the Emperor ; and that he had then written to the Emperor, 

requesting him not to grant such permission, but to recall 

him. This Sebastian asserted that he had done on account of 

his desire of serving his own city of Venice ; for in 1522 

and later he was carrying on treacherous intrigues with 

Contarini to enter the Venetian service, presumably with 

the hope of a high salary. Thus, wherever we are able to 

check Sebastian Cabot's utterances, they prove to be extremely 


Even, if, therefore, there was no lack of attempts after Cabot's 
1500 to follow up John Cabot's great and important discoveries ?5^**^^ 
in the west, it is nevertheless surprising how little persistence time 
seems to have been shown. The love of discovery and adventure 
which had been so prominent a feature of the Northern Viking 
nature had not yet awakened in earnest among the English 
people. England's mercantile marine was at that time still 
comparatively unimportant, it had not the strength for such 
great enterprises or for colonisation. The earliest voyages 
were mainly the work of a foreigner, an Italian, and the 
later ones were in part undertaken by Portuguese ; they did 
not grow naturally from the English people themselves. 
Cabot's plan was like an exotic flower springing up in 
immature soil, and more than half a century before its time. 
Another factor was doubtless the disappointment of the 
King and of the merchants ; they had ventured their money 
in fitting out ships in the hope of immediate profit. What 
they were looking for was the way to the rich East of Asia, 
where mountains of spices lay ready to hand, and gold 
and precious stones in heaps, only waiting to be picked up. 
What they found was nothing but new, unknown 



CHAPTER countries on the ocean, inhabited by wandering tribes of 

^^ hunters, countries the opening up of which demanded 

much time and labour. All this had scarcely more than 

a geographical interest for the time being, and for that they 

cared little. 





THE Portuguese, who in the fifteenth century were the 
most enterprismg of seafaring peoples as regards 
discoveries, had, as already stated, made various attempts to 
find new countries out in the ocean to the west of the Azores, 
from which islands the majority of the expeditions proceeded. 
It was therefore to be expected that the important discoveries 
of Columbus should encourage them to fresh attempts of this 
kind ; it was also natural that such enterprises should originate 
especially in the Azores. From what has been stated above 
(p. 128), it appears that the King of Portugal (Alfonso V.) 
induced Christiern I. to send out expeditions (Pining and 
Pothorst) to search for new islands and lands in the North. 
It seems probable that the King of Portugal was informed 
of the results of these expeditions, and that in this way the 
Portuguese may have known of the existence of Greenland 
or of countries in the north-west. In the same way, as we 
have seen (p. 132, note 2), the fact that the earliest literary 



of the 
to find new 


between the 
and Spemish 

patent to 



allusions to Scolvus seem to be derived from Portugal may 
be explained. 

Possible Portuguese enterprises in the western regions were 
barred by the claim of the Spanish Crown to the dominion over 
all lands to the west of a certain boundary, and in the final 
treaty of Tordecillas, June 7, 1404, between Portugal and 
Spain, this boundary was fixed by the Pope at 370 leagues (about 
1200 geographical miles) to the west of the Cape Verde Islands, 
and it was to follow the meridian from pole to pole. All that 
lay to the west of this meridian was to belong to Spain, while 
Portugal had the right to take advantage of all lands to the 
east. Thereby the Portuguese were debarred from the search 
for India and China to the west. These enterprising sea- 
farers must therefore have had every reason to find out whether 
there were any countries on their side of the boundary-line, 
and it may be supposed that their attention would naturally 
be drawn in the direction of the north-western lands (Greenland) 
of which they had already heard. 

And, in fact, such voyages were undertaken from Portugal 
(and the Azores ?) about 1500 ; but the accounts of them 
are meagre and casual, and have been interpreted in very 
different ways. 

In order to enable one to form as unbiased a view as 
possible of these voyages, it will be necessary to begin by 
reviewing the most important contemporary documents which 
may contain statements of value ; and afterwards to summarise 
what may be concluded from these documents. 

On October 28, 1499, King Manuel of Portugal issued at 
Lisbon to Joao Fernandez letters patent (preserved in the 
Portuguese State archives, Torre do Tombo) for discoveries, 
evidently in the north-west, in which it is said : 

"We [the King] make known to all who may see this our letter, that J oham 
Femamdez [now written Joao Fernandez] domiciled in our island of Terceira 
[Azores] has told us that he, in God's and our service, will work and travel and 
try to discover certain islands of [for ?] our conquest at his own cost, and we, 
seeing his good will and purpose, promise him and hereby give him de facto — 
in addition to taking him into our service — the mark of our favour and the privilege 


of Governor over every island or islands, both inhabited and uninhabited, that CHAPTER 
he may discover and find for the first time, and this with such revenues [taxes], XV 
dignities, profits and interests as we have given to the Governors of the islands 
of Madeira and others, and for this observance and our remembrance we command 
that this letter be given him, signed by us and sealed with our attached seal." ^ 

On May 12, 1500, King Manuel granted to Caspar Corte- Letters 
Real letters patent, as follows : clsp'i*** 

*' We [i.e., the King] make known to all who may see this deed of gift, that Corte-Real, 
forasmuch as Caspar Cortereall, a nobleman of our household, has in times past ^50o 
made great endeavours at his own charges for ships and men, employing his 
own fortune and at his personal danger, to search for and discover and find 
certain islands and mainland, and in future will still continue to carry this into 
effect, and in this way will do all that he can to find the said islands and lands, 
and bearing in mind how much he deserves honour and favour and promotion 
in our service, to our honour, and to the extension of our realms and dominions 
through such islands and lands being discovered and found by our natives [i.e., 
Portuguese], and through the said Gaspar Corte-Reall thus performing so much 
labour, and exposing himself to so great danger ; we are therefore pleased to 
decree that, if he discovers and finds any island, or islands, or mainland, he be 
granted by our own consent and royal and absolute power, the concession and 
gift, with the privilege of Governor and its attendant rights, etc. . . . over 
whatsoever islands or mainland he may thus find and discover, etc. . . . and 
we decree that he and his heirs in our name and in the name of our successors 
shall hold and govern those lands or islands, which are thus found, freely and 
without any restriction, as has been said. . . . The said Caspar Cortereall and 
his heirs shall have one quarter free of all that they can thus obtain [i.e., realise] 
in the said islands and lands at what time soever. ..." [Cf. Harrisse, 1883, 
pp. 196, f.]. 

An order is preserved dated April 15, 1501, from King 
Manuel to the master of the bake-house at the city gate of 
La Cruz to deliver biscuits to Gaspar Corte-Real, and further, 
a receipt of April 21, 1501, for the biscuits, signed by Gaspar 
Corte-Real himself, proving that the latter was in Portugal on 
that date.^ 

Pietro Pasqualigo, the Venetian Minister at Lisbon, wrote Pasqua- 
as follows to the Council at Venice on October 18, 1501 : "s°'s letter 

to the 
" On the 9th of this month there arrived here one of the two caravels which Council at 
the said King's majesty sent last year to discover lands in the direction of the Venice, 
northern regions (verso le parte de tramontana), and they have brought seven ^^*' '50i 

^ Cf. Harrisse, 1883, p. 44. 

-Cf. Harrisse, 1883, Supplement post scriptum, pp. 6, ff. 



ligo's letter 
to his 
Oct. 1501 


men, women, and children from the country discovered, which is in the north- 
west and west, 1800 miglia distant from here. These men resemble gypsies in 
appearance, build, and stature. They have their faces marked in difierent 
places, some with more, others with fewer figures. They are clad in the skins 
of various animals, but chiefly of otter ; their speech is entirely different from 
any other that has ever been heard in this kingdom, and no one understands it. 
Their limbs are very shapely, and they have very gentle faces, but their manners 
and gestures are bestial, and like those of savage men. The crew of the caravel 
believe that the land alluded to is mainland, and that it is joined to the other 
land which was discovered last year in the north by the other caravels belonging 
to this majesty, but they were unable to reach it, for the sea was frozen over 
with the great masses of snow, so that it rose up like land. They also thought 
that it was connected with the Andilii [Antilles], which were discovered by the 
sovereign of Spain, and with the land of Papaga [Brazil], newly found by a ship 
belonging to this king, on her way to Calcutta. The grounds for this belief are^ 
in the first place, that after having sailed along the coast of the said land for a 
distance of six hundred miglia and more, they found no end to it ; and further 
because they say they found many very great rivers which there fell into the 
sea. The second caravel, that of the commander (caravella capitania), is expected 
from day to day, and from it the nature and condition of the aforesaid land will 
be clearly understood, since it went farther along the coast in order to discover 
as much of it as possible. This royal majesty has been much rejoiced by this news, 
for he thinks that this land will be very profitable for his affairs in many respects^ 
but especially because it is so near to this kingdom that it will be easy to obtain 
in a short time a very great quantity of timber for making ships' masts and 
yards of, and to get a sufficient supply of male slaves for all kinds of labour, for 
they say that that coimtry has many inhabitants, and is full of pine-trees and other 
excellent wood. The news in question has rejoiced his majesty so much that 
he has given orders that the ships are to sail to the said place, and for the increase 
of his Indian fleet, in order to conquer it more quickly, as soon as it is discovered ; 
for it seems that God is with his majesty in his undertakings, and brings all his 
plans to accomplishment." [Cf. Harrisse, 1883, pp. 209, ff.]. 

On October 19, 1501, Pietro Pasqualigo writes to his 
brothers at Venice : 

" On the 8th of this month there arrived here one of the two caravels which 
this most serene majesty sent last year to discover lands in the north under Captain 
Caspar Corterat [sic] ; and they state that they found land two thousand miglia 
from here between north-west and west, which before was not known to any one ; 
along the coast of this land they sailed perhaps six hundred or seven hundred 
miglia without flnding an end to it ; therefore they believe that it is a continent 
which is continuous with another land that was discovered last year in the north 
[by some other caravels], which caravels could not reach the end of it, because 
the sea was frozen and there was an infinite quantity of snow. They believed 
it also on account of the great number of rivers that they found there, and that 


certainly would not be so numerous or so large on an island. They say that CHAPTER 
this land has many inhabitants, and that their houses are made of great wooden XV 
poles, which are covered on the outside with skins of fish [i.e., seals ?]. They 
have brought seven men, women, and children from thence and fifty more are 
coming in another caravel, which is hourly expected. These are of similar colour, 
build, stature, and appearance to gypsies, clad in skins of various animals, but 
mostly otter ; in the summer they turn the skin in, in winter the reverse. And these 
skins are not sewed together in any way, and not prepared, but they are thrown 
over the shoulders and arms just as they are taken off the animals. The loins 
are fastened together with strings made of very strong fish sinews. Although 
they seem to be savages, they are modest and gentle, but their arms, legs, and 
shoulders are indescribably well shaped ; they have the face marked [tattooed] 
in the Indian fashion, some with six, some with eight, and some with no figures 
[lines?]. They speak, but are understood by no one ; I believe they have been 
addressed in every possible language. In their coimtry they have no iron, but 
make knives of certain stones, and spearheads in the same way. They have 
brought from thence a fragment of a broken gilt sword, which was certainly 
made in Italy. A boy among them wore in his ears two silver rings, which seem 
without doubt to have been made in Venice. This induced me to believe that 
it is a continent, for it is not a place to which ships can ever have gone without 
anything having been heard of them.^ They have a very great quantity of salmon, 
herring, cod, and similar fish. They have also great abundance of trees, and above 
all of pine-trees for making ships' masts and yards of. For this reason it is 
that this most serene King thinks he will derive the greatest profit from the 
said land, not only on account of the trees for shipbuilding, of which there is 
much need, but also on account of the men, who are excellent labourers, and 
the best slaves that have hitherto been obtained ; this seems to me to be a thing 
worth giving information about, and if I hear anything more when the com- 
mander's caravel (caravella capitania) arrives, I will also communicate it." 
[Cf. Harrisse, 1883, pp. 211, f.]. 

Alberto Cantino, Minister at Lisbon of Duke Ercule d'Este Cantino's 
of Ferrara, wrote to the Duke as follows, on October 17, ^^^^^*^^^' 
1501 : 

" It is already nine months since this most serene King sent two well-equipped 
ships to the northern regions (alle parte de tramontana) with the object of finding 
out whether it was possible to discover lands and islands in those parts ; and now 
on the nth of this month one of these ships has safely returned with a cargo, 
and brought people and news, which I have thought it my duty to communicate 
to Your Excellency, and thus I write here below accurately and clearly all that 
the captain [of the ship] reported to the King in my presence. First he stated 
that after leaving the port of Lisbon they sailed for four months at a stretch 

1 As remarked above (p. 328), it is possible that these objects belonged to 
John Cabot's unfortunate expedition of 1498. 




CHAPTER always with the same wind, and towards the same pole, and in all that time they- 
XV never saw anything. When they had entered the fifth month and still wished 

to proceed, they say that they encountered immense masses of snow frozen 
together, floating on the sea and moving under the influence of the waves. On 
the top of these [ice-masses] clear fresh water was formed by the power of the 
sun, and ran down through little channels hollowed out by itself, wearing away 
the foot [of the ice] where it fell. As the ships were already in want of water 
they approached in boats, and took as much as they required ; and for fear 






Portion of the " Cantino " map of 1502, preserved at 

of staying in that place on account of the danger, they were about to turn back, 
but impelled by hope they consulted as to what they could best do, and deter- 
mined to proceed for a few days yet, and they resumed their voyage. On the 
second day they found the sea frozen, and being obliged to abandon their purpose, 
they began to steer to the north-west and west, and they continued on this course 
for three months, always with fair weather. And on the first day of the fourth 
month they sighted between these two points of the compass a very great land, 
which they approached with the greatest joy ; and many great rivers of fresh 
water ran through this region into the sea, and on one of them they travelled 
for a legha [ = about three geographical miles] inland ; and when they went 
ashore they found a quantity of beautiful and varied fruits, and trees, and pines 


of remarkable height and size, that would be too large for the masts of the largest CHAPTER 
ship that sails the sea. Here is no corn of any kind, but the people of the country XV 
live, they say, on nothing but fishing and hunting animals, of which the country 
has abundance. There are very large stags [i.e., caribou, Canadian reindeer] 
with long hair, whose skin they use for clothes and for making houses and boats ; 
there are also wolves, foxes, tigers [lynxes ?], and sables. They declare, what 
seems strange to me, that there are as many pelerine falcons as there are sparrows 
in our country ; and I have seen them, and they are very handsome. Of the 

Modena. The network of compass-lines omitted 

men and women of that place they took about fifty by force, and have brought 
them to the King ; I have seen, touched, and examined them. To begin with 
their size, I may say that they are a little bigger than our countrymen, with 
well-proportioned and shapely limbs, while their hair is long according to our 
custom, and hangs in curly ringlets, and they have their faces marked with large 
figures like those of the Indians. Their eyes have a shade of green, and, when 
they look at you, give the whole face a very wild aspect. Their speech is not 
to be understood, but it is without harshness, rather is it human. Their conduct 
and manners are very gentle, they laugh a good deal, and show much cheerful- 
ness ; and this is enough about the men. The women have small breasts and 
a very beautiful figure, and have a very attractive face ; their colour may 


CHAPTER more nearly be described as white than anything else, but that of the 
XV males is a good deal darker. Altogether, if it were not for the wild look 

of the men, it seems to me that they are quite like us in everything else. 
All parts of the body are naked, with the exception of the loins, which 
are kept covered with the skin of the aforesaid stag. They have no weapons, 
nor iron, but all the work they produce is done with a very hard and sharp stone, 
and there is nothing so hard that they cannot cut it with this. This ship came 
thence in one month, and they say that it is 2800 miglia [miles] distant ; the 
other consort has decided to sail along this coast far enough to determine whether 
it is an island or mainland, and thus the King is awaiting the arrival of this [the 
consort] and the others [i.e., his companions] with much impatience, and when 
they have come, if they communicate anything worthy of Your Excellency's 
attention, I shall immediately inform you of it . . . " [cf. Harrisse, 1883, 
pp. 204, ff.]. 

The Cantino At the request of the Duke of Ferrara Cantino had a map 
«^P' '502 ^^^^ ^^ Lisbon, chiefly for the purpose of representing the 
Portuguese discoveries, and sent it to the Duke in 1502. In 
a letter to the Duke, dated November 19, 1502, he mentions 
having already sent it. This map, commonly called the Cantino 
map, and now preserved at Modena, gives a remarkably good 
representation of southern Greenland, which is called ** A 
ponta de [asia] " [i.e., a point of Asia]. On its east coast are 
two Portuguese flags to show that it is a Portuguese discovery, 
one flag somewhat to the north of the Arctic Circle, the other 
a little to the west of the southern point, and this coast bears the 
following legend : 

" This country, which was discovered by the command of the most highly 
renowned prince Dom Manuel, King of Portugal, is a point of Asia [esta a ponta 
d'asia). Those who made the discovery did not land but saw the land, and could 
see nothing but precipitous mountains. Therefore it is assumed, according 
to the opinion of the cosmographers, to be a point of Asia." 

To the west of Greenland on the same map a country is 
marked, called " Terra del Rey de portuguall " (the Land of 
the King of Portugal) ; it answers approximately to New- 
foundland, possibly with the southern part of Labrador (?). 
The north and south ends are marked with two Portuguese 
flags, and the country bears the following legend : 

" This land was discovered by command of the most exalted and most renowned 
xoyal prince Dom Manuel, King of Portugal ; Gaspar de Corte-Real, a nobleman 


of the said King's household, discovered it, and when he had discovered it, he CHAPTER 
sent [to Portugal] a ship with men and women taken in the said land, and he XV 
stayed behind with the other ship, and never returned, and it is believed that 
he perished, and there are many masts [i.e., trees for masts]." 

On January 15, 1502,^ King Manuel gave Caspar's Letters 
brother, Miguel Corte-Real, fresh letters patent as follows : ^i^^i*^ 

"We make known to all who may see this letter that Miguell Cortereall, Corte-Real, 
a nobleman of our household and our head doorkeeper [chamberlain ?], now 1502 or 
tells us that, seeing how Caspar Cortereall, his brother, long ago sailed from this ^503 l»I 
city with three ships to discover new land, of which he had already found a part, 
and seeing that after a lapse of time two of the said ships returned to the said 
city [Lisbon], and five months have elapsed without his coming,^ he wishes to go 
in search of him, and that he, the said miguell corte-reall, had many outlays 
and expenses of his own in the said voyage of discovery, as well as in the said 
ships, which his said brother fitted out the first time for that purpose [i.e., for 
the first voyage], when he found the said land, and likewise for the second [i.e., 
the second voyage], wherefore the said gaspar cortereall in consideration of 
this promised to share with him the said land which he thus discovered and 
. . . which we had granted and given to him by our deed of gift, for which the 
said gaspar cortereall asked us before his departure, etc." Therefore Miguel 
claimed his share of the lands discovered by his brother, which he obtained from 
the King by these letters patent, as well as the right to all new islands and lands 
he might discover that year (1502), besides that which his brother had found.^ 

Two legends on the anonymous Portuguese chart of about Portuguese 
1520 are also of interest.* On the land " Do Lavrador " about ^1520 
[i.e., Greenland] is written : 

"This land the Portuguese saw, but did not enter." 

^ The document, as reproduced, has 1502. As the civil year at that time began 
on March 25, the date given would correspond to January 24, 1503, according to 
our calendar. But, according to the tradition given in later accounts, Miguel 
Corte-Real sailed in 1502, the year after his brother (cf. the legend on the Portu- 
guese chart of about 1520, p. 354). Either we must suppose that the year or 
month in the document is an error, or the tradition is incorrect. 

2 These five months are a little difficult to understand. Either they must be 
reckoned from his departure— if we put that in May 1501, five months will take 
us to October i5oi,but then the other ship had returned (see pp. 347, ff.} — or they 
must be reckoned from the return of the " two ships "• (in October], but that 
takes us to March 1502. Thus neither gives good sense. Most likely, £is in the 
case of the three ships instead of two, it is an error in the document. 

3 Cf. Harrisse, 1883, p. 214. 

*Cf. Kohl, 1869, p. 179, PI. X.; Kretschmer, 1892, PL XIL ; Bjornbo, 
1910, p. 212. 

" 2 353 


On Newfoundland, called * * Bacalnaos, ' ' is written : 

" To this land came first Caspar Corte Regalis, a Portuguese, and he carried 
away from thence wild men and white bears. There is great abundance of animals,, 
birds, and fish. In the following year he suffered shipwreck there, and did 
not return, and his brother, Micaele, met with the same fate in the next year."' 

In addition to this may also be mentioned the various maps 
of Portuguese origin of 1502 or soon after, especially the 
Italian mappamundi, the so-called King map of about 1502 



2 E'-^iJ 




Portion of an anonymous Portuguese chart of about 1520, 
♦ preserved at Munich. The network of compass-lines omitted 

(p. 373), which must be a copy of a Portuguese map, where 
Newfoundland is called Terra Corte Real. 

Besides these documents contemporary with the voyages, 
or of the years immediately succeeding, there are also several 
much later notices of them in Gomara (1552), Ramusio (1556), 
Antonio Galvano (1563) and Damiam de Goes (1566), but 
as these were written so long after, we will leave them on 
one side for the present. 

When we endeavour to form an opinion as to the 



Portuguese voyages of these years on the basis of the oldest CHAPTER 
documents, the first thing that must strike us is that there are ^^ 
indications of several voyages, and of the discovery of two 
wholly different countries, which must undoubtedly be Green- 
land and Newfoundland. As it is expressly stated on the Caspar 
Cantino map, on the Portuguese chart of about 1520, and in nofth^T/ 
many other places, that Newfoundland was discovered by covererof 
Caspar Corte-Real, while his name is not mentioned in a Greenland 
single place in these documents in connection with Greenland 
(or Labrador), and as Pasqualigo's letter to the Council of 
Venice expressly says that that land was seen the previous year 
(1500) by "the other caravels [I'altre caravelle] belonging to 
this majesty," ^ the logical conclusion must be that it was not 
Caspar Corte-Real who saw Greenland in the year 1500, but 
some other Portuguese. It may be in agreement with this 
that on the King map (of about 1502) Newfoundland is called 
Terra Cortereal (see p. 373), while the island which clearly 
answers to Greenland is called Terra Laboratoris. One might 
be tempted to suppose that both lands were named after their 
discoverers, one, that is, after Corte-Real, the other after a 
man who is described as ' * laborator. ' ' The generally accepted 
view that it was Caspar Corte-Real who saw Greenland on his 
voyage of 1500 is thus unsupported by the above-mentioned 

On the other hand, we seem to be able to conclude from the 
royal letters patent to Miguel Corte-Real that Caspar made 
two voyages, one in 1500, and another in 1501, and that it 
was the same country (i.e., Newfoundland) that he visited 
on both occasions. This is also confirmed by the legend on 
the Portuguese chart of about 1520. If it was not he who on 

1 It might be objected thatGaspar Corte-Real's name is not mentioned in 
the whole letter, and that he might thus have also been in command of these 
"other caravels " ; but in Pasqualigo's letter to his brothers Gaspar's name 
is mentioned, and there too the meaning does not seem to be that he was con- 
nected with the discovery in the previous year of the country which could not 
be approached because of ice ; but nothing definite can be concluded on this 
point from the two letters. 




Joao Fer- 

the first voyage, in 1500, saw Greenland without being able 
to approach it, we must conclude that yet another expedition, 
on which Greenland was sighted, left Portugal in the year 
1500. One is then inclined to suppose that this was commanded 
by the same Joao Fernandez, to whom the King gave letters 
patent as early as October 1499. This supposition becomes 
still more probable when we take it in conjunction with 
what has already been said as to the possible origin of the 
name of Labrador (see p. 331). We must suppose that this 
is the same man from the Azores who, under the name of 
John Fernandus, took part in the Bristol enterprise of 1501, 
and who is further mentioned in documents of as early as 1492, 
together with another man from the Azores, Pero de Barcellos, 
and is described as a ** llavorador." These men would 
already at that time have been engaged in making discoveries 
at sea. 

If we compare the legend attached to Labrador (Greenland) 
on Diego Ribero's Spanish map of 1529 with the corresponding 
legend on the anonymous Portuguese chart of about 1520 
this will also confirm our supposition. While on the latter 
we read that " the Portuguese saw the land, but did not 
enter it," Ribero's map has : " this land was discovered by 
the English, but there is nothing in it that is worth having.'* 
As this part of Ribero's map is evidently a copy of the 
Portuguese maps, we may conclude Ribero's alteration 
of the legend to mean that doubtless the land was first 
sighted by the Portuguese, but that it was the English who 
first succeeded in landing there, and in this way were its 
real discoverers. If we add to this the statement on the 
sixteenth- century Portuguese chart preserved at Wolfen- 
biittel, that the land was discovered by Englishmen from 
Bristol, and that the man who first gave news of it was 
a ** labrador *' from the Azores, then everything seems to be 
in agreement. 

We may hence suppose the connection to be somewhat 
as follows : having obtained his letters patent in October 


1499, Joao Fernandez fitted out his expedition, and sailed CHAPTER 
in the spring of 1500 ; he arrived off the east coast of Green- ^^ 
land and sailed along it, but the ice prevented him from 
landing. We have no information at all as to where else he 
may have been on this voyage. But having returned to Portugal, 
perhaps after a comparatively unsuccessful expedition, and 
finding furthermore that the King had issued letters patent 
to Gaspar Corte-Real, whose voyage had been more successful, 
Fernandez may have despaired of finding support for fresh 

Portion of Diego Ribero's map of 1529. (Nordenskiold, 1897) 

enterprises in Portugal, and have turned at once to Bristol, 
where he took part in getting together an Anglo-Portuguese 
undertaking, and was thus the ** llavorador " who first 
brought news of Greenland. 

It must, of course, be admitted that the hypothesis here 
put forward of the voyage and discovery of Joao Fernandez 
is no more than a guess ; but it seems more consistent than 
any of the explanations hitherto offered, and, as far as I can 
see, it does not conflict on any point with what contemporary 
documents have to tell us. It may be supposed that here, 
as so frequently has happened, the name of the discoverer, 


CHAPTER Joao Fernandez, has been more or less forgotten. His memory 


has perhaps only been preserved in the name Labrador itself — 
originally applied to Greenland, but afterwards transferred to 
the American continent ^ — whilst all the Portuguese discoveries 
in the north have been associated in later history with the other 
seafarer, Caspar Corte-Real, who was of noble family and 

Portion of Maggiolo's map of 1527 (Harrisse, 1892J. Compass- 
lines omitted 

belonged to the King's household, and who came from the 
same island of the Azores, Terceira. 

^ The connection with the latter is evidently brought about by the south coast 
of the insular Greenland (Terra Laboratoris) — which we meet with first on the 
King map [p. 373}, and which was given a broad form like that of the Greenland 
coast on the Oliveriana map Jp. 375), but even broader — being transferred west- 
ward towards America, to the north of the coast of Corte-Real or Newfoundland, 
as we find it on the anonymous Portuguese chart of about 1520 (p. 354J and on 
Reinel's map |p. 321J. Maggiolo's map (see above) forms a transitional type 
between these maps and the Oliveriana. Greenland (Labrador) was later made 



Caspar Corte-Real belonged to a noble Portuguese family CHAPTER 
from Algarve and was born about 1450. He was the third ^^ 
and youngest son of Joao Yaz Corte-Real, who for twenty- ^.^^^^^^^^^j 
two years, since 1474, had had a ** capitanerie " as Governor 
of the Azores — first at Angra in the island of Terceira, later 
in Si,o Jorge — and died in 1496.^ Caspar probably spent 
a part of his youth in f-™ 
the Azores, which were 
altogether * * a hot-house 
of all kinds of ideas of 
maritime discovery "; he 
certainly became familiar 
at an early age with 
narratives of the nume- 
rous earlier attempts, and 
with the many plans of 
new ocean voyages which 
were discussed by the 
adventurous sailors of 
those islands. As already 
mentioned, the Cerman, 
Martin Behaim, was also 
living in the Azores (cf. 
p. 287). 

The newly discovered north-western lands 

made continuous with Asia, on Maggiolo's 

map of 151 1. (Harrisse, 1900) 

From the letters patent of May 1500, we see that Caspar 
Corte-Real had at his own expense been trying even before 
that time to discover countries in the ocean, but as no more 
is said about it, the attempt was doubtless unsuccessful. It 
was pointed out above that from the King's letters patent 

continuous with Newfoundland (cf. Ribero's map of 1529, p. 357), and remained 
so on maps for a long time (see the map of 1544, p. 320). 

1 The expedition attributed to Joao Vaz Corte-Real, on which he is said to 
have discovered Newfoundland as early as 1464 or 1474, is unhistorical, and is a 
comparatively late invention which is first found in the Portuguese author, Dr. 
Caspar Fructuoso, in his " Saudades da Terra " [vi. c. 9], written about 1590 
[cf. Harrisse, 1883, pp. 26, ff.]. Father Antonio Cordeyro (Historia Insulana, Lisbon, 
1717) says that the discovery was made in company with Alvaro Martins Homen. 



voyage of 

voyage of 

to his brother Miguel it looks as though Caspar had made 
two voyages to the land he had discovered, which is also 
confirmed by the legend referred to on the anonymous Portu- 
guese chart of about 1520. On the other hand, nothing is 
said about this voyage in the letters of the two Italian Ministers, 
nor on the Cantino map. It may seem natural to conclude 
that Caspar, after having obtained his letters patent in May 
1500, set out on an expedition, the expenses of which were 
defrayed by himself and his brother Miguel in partnership 
(cf. the letters patent to the latter). 

On his first voyage of 1500 Caspar had already discovered 
a part of Newfoundland ; but we know nothing of what 
else he may have accomplished on this expedition. He must 
have returned to Lisbon by the same autumn. 

Encouraged by his success he then set out again with a 
larger expedition in 1501, after April 21, at which date he 
was still in Lisbon. This time the expenses were again borne 
by himself and his brother Miguel in partnership. According 
to the King's letters patent of January 1502, he had three 
ships on this voyage, of which two returned. This does not 
agree with the letters of the two Italian Ministers, which 
distinctly say that he left with two ships. But these letters, 
it is true, do not mutually agree in their statements as to the 
ship that had returned : Pasqualigo says that the ship arrived 
at Lisbon on October 9 in one of his letters, on the 8th in the 
other, and that it brought seven natives ; while Cantino 
says that the ship arrived on October 11 and brought fifty 
natives to the King. As Pasqualigo says that the other ship 
was expected daily with fifty natives, it has been thought 
(cf. Harrisse) that this was the ship referred to by Cantino ; 
but in that case it is puzzling that two Ministers in the same 
city should have heard of two different ships, and that they 
should both be ignorant of more than one ship having arrived, 
although there was an interval of no more than two or three 
days between each ship's arrival, and they are both writing 
a week after that time. Besides, both mention that the 


second ship, and only one, is expected, and Pasqualigo calls CHAPTER 

it the commander's caravel (caravella capitania). We may ^^ 

readily suppose that it is the arrival of the same ship that 

is alluded to by the two Ministers (no importance need be 

attached to the discrepancy of dates, since we see that 

Pasqualigo alters the date of his ship's arrival from one letter 

to the other). They may both have heard of fifty natives 

having been captured, of which they had seen some (seven, 

for instance) ; but while Cantino understood that the whole 

fifty had arrived, Pasqualigo thought that only the seven 

he had seen had come, while the other fifty were expected 

on the next ship. Considerable weight must be attached 

to the fact that in the legend on the Cantino map, which must 

evidently have been drawn from Portuguese documents, only 

one ship is mentioned as having returned. The chief difficulty 

is that this is in direct conflict with the King's later letters 

patent to Miguel. We should then have to suppose that 

the statement in this document as to three ships having sailed 

and two returned is due to a clerical error or a lapse of memory, 

which may seem surprising. But the question is, after all, 

of minor importance. The main point is that Caspar Corte- 

Real's ship never returned. 

In estimating the degree of trustworthiness or accuracy to 
be attributed to Pasqualigo 's and Cantino 's statements about 
the voyage, it must be remembered that they are both only 
repeating what they have heard said on the subject in a lan- 
guage not their own, and that when the letters were written 
they had probably seen no chart of the voyage or of the new 
discoveries. Cantino says that he was present when the 
captain of the ship gave his account to the King, and that 
he is writing down everything that was then said ; so that 
perhaps he had only heard the narrative once, and without 
a chart, which easily explains his obvious errors ; it is no 
difficult 'matter to fall into gross errors and misunderstandings 
in reproducing the account of a voyage which one hears in 
this way told even in one's own language. Pasqualigo does 



CHAPTER not tell us how he had heard about the voyage, but it may 
■^ have been on the same occasion. The letters of the two 

Italians reproducing the Portuguese narrative cannot there- 
fore be treated as exact historical documents, every detail 
of which is correct. 

Cantino says in his letter (of October 1501) that Caspar 
Corte-Real had sailed nine months before, that is, in January 
1 50 1. Pasqualigo says that he left in the previous year, 
which agrees with Cantino, since the civil year at that time 
began on March 25. But the existing receipt of April 21, 
1 50 1, from Caspar Corte-Real proves with certainty that 
the two Italians were mistaken on this point. It may be 
supposed that they regarded the expeditions of the two con- 
secutive years as a connected voyage (?), but even this will 
not agree with Cantino's nine months. According to Cantino's 
letter, Corte-Real on leaving Portugal held a northerly course 
(** towards the pole " are the words), and Pasqualigo says 
something of the same kind ; but this is scarcely to be taken 
literally, for otherwise we should have to suppose that from 
Portugal he sailed northward tov/ards Iceland ; besides 
which, Pasqualigo says in both his letters that the land dis- 
covered was between north-west and west. Cantino's state- 
ment about the ice might give us firm ground for determining 
Corte-Real's route ; if it were not unfortunately the case 
that there are here two possibilities, and that Cantino's words 
do not agree well with either of them. The description of 
the ice points most probably to Corte-Real's having first met 
with icebergs ; he may have come upon these in the sea off 
the southern end of Creenland, and as in continuing his course 
he found the " sea frozen," he may have reached the edge 
of the ice-floes. As nothing is said about land, we must 
suppose that he did not sight Creenland. It is a more difficult 
matter when, by changing his course to the north-west and 
west, he finally in this direction sighted land, which according 
to the description, and the Cantino map, must have been 
Newfoundland. To arrive there from the Greenland ice he 


would have had to steer about west-south-west by compass, and CHAPTER 
in fact Newfoundland (Terra del Rey deportuguall) lies approxi- ^^ 
mately in this direction in relation to the southern point of 
Greenland on the Cantino map. But it may be, of course, 
that Cantino 's statement of the direction is due to a misunder- 
standing ; ^ he may have heard that the newly found land 
lay to the north-west and west from Lisbon, as Pasqualigo 

Another possibility is that it was on the Newfoundland 
Banks that Corte-Real met with icebergs ; but in that case 
he must have held a very westerly course, almost west-north- 
v/est, all the way from Lisbon, and there would then be little 
meaning in the statement that he altered his course to north- 
west and west to avoid the ice, even if we take into account 
the possibility of the variation of the compass having been 
20° greater on the Newfoundland Banks than at Lisbon. 
Another difficulty is that on the Newfoundland Banks he 
would hardly have found "the sea frozen," if by this ice- 
floes are meant ; for that he would have had to be (in June ?) 
farther to the north-west in the Labrador Current. In neither 
case would he have been very far from land, so that the times 
mentioned, three months with a favourable wind from the ice 
to land, and four months from Lisbon, are out of proportion.^ 

Thus Cantino 's words cannot be brought into agreement 
with facts ; but at the same time many things point to its 
having been the Greenland ice that Corte-Real first met with 
in 1 50 1. Doubtless it might be objected that he is said in the 
previous year to have already found part of Newfoundland, 

1 It may also be supposed that from the ice off the south-west of Greenland 
Corte-Real steered north-west and west, and met with the ice in the Labrador 
Current, and was then obliged to turn southwards along the edge of the ice until 
lie sighted land. 

2 These times given by Cantino for the voyage are, of course, improbable ; 
if we might suppose that he meant weeks instead of months, it would agree with 
the time naturally occupied on such a voyage. If we add his one month for the 
homeward voyage to the seven months given above, and if another month be 
reckoned for the stay in the country, we shall have his nine months for the whole 


and in that case he would be likely to make straight for it 
again ; but Pasqualigo's letter gives one the impression that 
Caspar Corte-Real may have been interested in finding out 
whether the land he had found was mainland and continuous 
with the country (Greenland) which in the previous year (1500) 
had been seen by the other caravels (Joao Fernandez?), and 
thus it may have been natural that he should first steer in 
that direction, but he was then forced by the ice westward 
towards the land he himself had discovered. 

That it was really Newfoundland, and not the coast of 
Labrador farther north, that Corte-Real arrived at, appears 


'St Fran CIS 

yl r-^ g.&eboavgntuga . _ 
\/l J R.'hz ramfianciT, 


Modern Cantino Reinel's King 

map map map map 

The eastern coast-line of Newfoundland, with possibly the 
southern part of Labrador 

plainly enough from the maps (the Cantino map, the King 
map, etc.), and may also be concluded from the descriptions 
in the letters of Pasqualigo and Cantino. We read, amongst 
other things, that many great rivers ran through that country 
into the sea. The east coast of Labrador has no rivers of 
importance, with the exception of Hamilton River ; but 
the entrance to this is by a long estuary, Hamilton Inlet and 
Lake Melville, up which they would hardly have sailed. On 
the other hand, there are in Newfoundland several considerable 
rivers falling into the sea on the east coast, up the mouths 
of which Gaspar Corte-Real might have sailed. The allusion 


to the country as fertile, with trees and forests of pines of CHAPTER 

remarkable height and size, and to there being abundance ^^ 

of timber for masts, etc., also agrees best with Newfoundland. 

In addition, the coast-line of the country, both on the Cantino 

map and on later Portuguese maps, agrees remarkably well 

with the coast-line along the east and north-east sides of 


The statement in Pasqualigo's letter of October i8, that 
they sailed " along the coast of the said land for a distance 
of six hundred miglia and more," which agrees with the 
extent of the coast on the Cantino map, must be an exaggeration. 
It is a common error to exaggerate the distance during a voyage 
along a coast so indented as that of Newfoundland, where 
Corte-Real may perhaps have sailed in and out of bays and 

As already stated, Caspar Corte-Real's voyages are men- Late autho- 

tioned in several works of the sixteenth century, but as these "*!f^ ^IJ^^ 

'' ' sixteenth 

were written so long after the events took place, no particular century 
importance can be attached to them in cases where they 
conflict with the earlier documents. The allusions to Caspar 
Corte-Real in the Spanish author Comara and the Italian 
Ramusio seem for the most part to be derived from Pietro 
Pasqualigo's letter of October 19, 1501, to his brothers at 
Venice, which was published for the first time as early as 
1 507. The Portuguese Antonio Calvano says in his * * Tratado ' ' Galvano on 
(1563) that Caspar Corte-Real sailed in 1500 ^- ^^"^^ 

^'frorn the island of Terceirawith two ships, fitted out at his own expense, and 
travelled to the region that is in the fiftieth degree of latitude, a land which is 
now called by his name. He returned safely to Lisbon ; but when he again set 
out, his ship was lost, and the other ship returned to Portugal."- 

This, it will be seen, agrees remarkably well with the 
conclusions we arrived at above ; but as Calvano spent the 
greater part of his life in the East Indies, and only came 
home to end his days in a hospital at Lisbon, no great import- 
ance can be attached to his statements [cf. Harrisse, 1900, 
p. 35], except in so far as they reproduce a Portuguese tradition. 



CHAPTER Damiam de Goes, in his * ' Chronica do Felicissimo Rei 

^^ dom Emanuel " (Lisbon, 1566), has a more detailed account 

G.Corte- ^^ Caspar Corte-Real's voyage of 1500, and of the land he 

Real visited. He says : 

" He sailed from the port of Lisbon at the beginning of summer, 1500. On 
this voyage he discovered in a northerly direction a land which was very cold, 
and with great forests, as all those [countries] are that lie in that quarter. He 
gave it the name of Terra verde [i.e., green land]. The people are very barbaric 
and wild, almost like those of Sancta Cruz [i.e., Brazil], except that they are 
at first white, but become so weather-beaten from the cold that they lose their 
whiteness with age and become almost dark brown. They are of middle height, 
very active, and great archers, using sticks hardened in the fire for throwing- 
spears, with which they make as good casts as though they had points of good 
steel. They clothe themselves in the skins of beasts, of which there is abundance 
in that country. They live in caves, and in huts, and they have no laws. They 
have great belief in omens ; they have marriage, and are very jealous of their 
wives, in which they resemble the Lapps, who also live in the north from 70° 
to 85°. . . . After he [Caspar Corte-Real] had discovered this land, and sailed 
along a great part of its coast, he returned to this kingdom. As he greatly desired 
to discover more of this province, and to become better acquainted with its advan- 
tages, he set out again immediately in the year 1501 on May 15 from Lisbon ; 
but it is not known what happened to him on this voyage, for he was never seen 
again, nor did there come any news of him" [Cf. Harrisse, 1883, p. 233]. 

The last statement, that Corte-Real disappeared without 
any more being heard of him, shows that De Goes was not 
well informed, in spite of his being chief custodian (Guarda 
m'or) of the Torre do Tombo, where the State archives were 
kept at Lisbon. His whole account may therefore be of 
doubtful value as a historical document. His description of 
the newly discovered land and of the inhabitants may be 
derived from other statements, or from literary sources, and 
is of the same kind as we often meet with in accounts of 
natives in the authorities of that time. It appears that the 
cold country, Terra verde, with great forests and wild, barbaric 
people, must be the Greenland (Gronolondes) that is referred 
to in the anonymous letter of about 1450 to Pope Nicholas V.* 

1 That the Eskimo lived in caves in the mountains or underground was a not 
uncommon idea even in later times ; see, for instance, Wilhelmi : Island, Hvitra- 
mannaland, Gronland und Finland, 1842, p. 172. 


Most of what is said about these natives would apparently chapter 
suit the Eskimo quite as well as the Indians, but as we do not ^^ 
know from whence the whole is derived, it is not easy to form 
an opinion as to which people is really referred to in the descrip- 
tion. The remarkable statement that the natives are at first 
white, but turn brown through the cold, will hardly suit the 
Indians, but might apply to the Eskimo, who at an early age 
have a very fair skin, perhaps quite as light as the Portuguese. 

What is said of the natives in the letters of Pasqualigo Mention of 

and Cantino seems on the whole to suit the Eskimo better f^e natives 

m Pcisqua* 
than the Indians ; typical Eskimo features are : that they had ugo and 

boats covered with hides (it is true that Cantino says stags' Cantino 
hides, i.e., reindeer hides, but this must be a misunderstanding) ;^ 
also houses (i.e., tents) of long poles covered with fish skin 
(i.e., sealskin) ; that the colour of their skin was rather white 
than anything else, that they laughed a good deal and showed 
much cheerfulness. It may seem somewhat surprising that the 
Eskimo should be *' a little bigger than our countrymen " (i.e., 
the Italians), but, in the first place, it may have been particu- 
larly good specimens of the race that were exhibited, and in 
the next place the Eskimo are a race of medium stature, and, 
perhaps, on an average, quite as tall as Italians and Portuguese. 
That they were naked with the exception of a piece of skin 
round the loins answers to the indoor custom of the Eskimo. 
Pasqualigo 's description : that they were clothed in the 
skins of various animals, mostly otter, and that the skins were 
unprepared and not sewed together, but thrown over the 
shoulders and arms as they were taken from the animals, 
conflicts with the words of Cantino, and is, no doubt, due to a 
misunderstanding ; it does not sound probable. If it is correct, 
Pasqualigo and Cantino must have seen different natives. 

It is probable that there were Eskimo in the north-east of 
Newfoundland at that time, and that the natives may have 
been brought from thence or from southern Labrador. 

1 We do not know that the Indians of Newfoundland had hide-boats ; but 
it is not impossible. 


Evidence of 
the Cantino 
map as to 
the Portu- 


Of all known maps the Cantino map undoubtedly gives 
the most complete and trustworthy representation of the 
Portuguese discoveries of 1500 and 1501 in the north-west ; 
we know, too, that it was executed with an eye to these, at 
Lisbon, and immediately after the return thither of those 
who had taken part in the later voyage. We may con- 
sequently suppose that the cartographer availed himself of 
the sources then at his disposal. He may either himself 
have had access to log-books, with courses and distances, 
and to the original sketch-charts of the voyages, or he may 
have used charts that were drawn from these sources. But 
he used in addition maps and authorities of a more learned 
kind, as appears, for instance, in the legend attached to Green- 
land, where he speaks of the opinion of cosmographers, and 
says that this country is a point of Asia. It is clear, as pointed 
out by Bjornbo [1910, p. 167], that Greenland was connected 
on the map with Scandinavia, which is called '* Parte de 
assia, ' ' but the upper edge of the map has been cut off, so that 
this land connection is lost,^ as is the last part (asia) of the 
inscription on Greenland. The basis of this idea of a land con- 
nection must have been a map of Clavus's later type ; while 
the delineation of Greenland itself is evidently new. In fact, 
it is here placed for the first time very nearly at a correct 
distance from Europe, and with Iceland in a relatively correct 
position ; and in addition to this it has been given a remarkably 
good form. If we assume that the variation of the compass 
was unknown, and that the coasts were laid down according 
to the courses sailed by compass as though they were true, 
then the southern point of Greenland comes just where it 
should, if the variation during the voyage from Lisbon averaged 
11° west. The Portuguese flags on the coast indicate that the 
Portuguese sailed along the east coast of Greenland from 

^ This land connection is found on the Canerio map of 1502-1507, which is 
of the same type as the Cantino map and is an Italian copy, either of the Cantino 
map itself or of a similar Portuguese map of 1501 or 1502 [cf. Bjornbo, ipio* 
p. 167]. 


north of the Arctic Circle of the map to past Cape Farewell CHAPTER 
(without landing, according to what the legend says), and its^^ 
direction on the map is explained by a variation of about 14° 
west. The remarkably good representation of Greenland with 
the characteristic form of the west coast cannot possibly be 
derived from the Clavus maps, where Greenland is a narrow 
tongue of land with its east and west coasts running very 
nearly parallel. The west coast has been given a form approxi- 
mately as though it were laid down from courses sailed with a 
variation increasing towards the north-west from 20° to nearly 
30° (cf. p. 371). It is also characteristic that while the east 
coast is without islands, a belt of skerries is shown on the north 
along the west coast. It may seem a bold assumption to 
attribute this to pure chance and the caprice of the draughts- 
man, even though it may be pointed out that he has given the 
west coast of Norway a similar curved form with a belt of 
skerries outside (as on the Oliveriana map, p. 375) • I^ the 
cartographer was acquainted with the representation of Green- 
land on the Clavus maps, the probability becomes still greater 
that he had definite authority for his west coast, since it differs 
from that of the Clavus maps. It is true that the Portuguese 
flags on the map and the statement in the legend that the 
Portuguese did not land on the coast do not seem to point 
to their having sailed any considerable distance to the north 
along the west coast, for otherwise there would doubtless be 
mention of this ; but there may have been lost authorities 
for the Cantino map, which were based upon voyages unknown 
to us, as well as to the cartographer.^ 

I Since I contended, in a preliminary sketch of this chapter, which Dr. A. A. 
Bjornbo read, that the representation of Greenland on the Cantino map was most 
probably based on a voyage along the west coast as well as the east, Dr. Bjornbo 
[1910a, pp. 313, ff. ; 1910, pp. 176, ff.] has examined the delineation of Greenland 
on the Oliveriana map, and found that it represents discoveries made during 
a cruise, not only along the east coast, but also along a part of the south-west 
coast, and he sees in this a partial confirmation of my contention. He thinks 
it was during Corte-Real's voyage of 1500 that this cruise was made, and even 
supposes that the prototype of the Oliveriana map was Corte-Real's admiral's 

II 2 A 369 


'CHAPTER If we may suppose that the lighter tone of the sea off the 

-^^ east coast of Greenland and over to Norway (on the original map) 

represents ice-floes, then this again gives evidence of a know- 
ledge of these northern waters which we cannot assume to 
have been derived merely from Portuguese voyages on which 
the east coast of Greenland was sighted ; it must have had 
other sources, unknown to us. 
Construe- There can be no doubt that the " Terra del Rey de portu- 

Cantino g^all " of the Cantino map is the east coast of Newfoundland, 
map. which, through the variation of the compass being disregarded, 

is given a northerly direction. If we draw the east coast of 
Newfoundland from Cape Race to Cape Bauld on approximately 
the same scale as that of the Cantino map, and turn the 
meridian to the west as far as the variation may have been 
at that time (about 20° at Cape Race, and 4° or 5° more at 
Belle Isle Strait), we shall have a map (see p. 364) the coast- 
line of which bears so great a resemblance to that of the Cantino 
map that it is almost too good to believe it not to be in part 
accidental (the Newfoundland coast on Reinel's map is also 
very nearly the same as that of the Cantino map). The resem- 
blance is so thorough that we might even think it possible to 
recognise the various bays and headlands ; but perhaps a 
part of the southern coast of Labrador has been included in 
the Cantino map. According to the scale attached to the 
map, in which each division represents fifty miglia, the distance 
between the south-eastern point of the country and the northern 

chart itself ; but this I regard as very doubtful, as will appear from what I have 
said above regarding the discoveries of 1500. Bjornbo thinks that an original 
map like the Oliveriana map is sufficient to explain the form of the west coast 
of Greenland on the Cantino map, while the more northern portion has been 
given a direction in accordance with the Clavus maps. I have admitted to 
Bjornbo the possibility of such an explanation. But the more I look at it, the more 
doubtful it seems ; for the form of the west coast on the Cantino map has, in 
fact, not the least resemblance to that of the Clavus maps ; indeed, the very 
direction is different, more northerly and more like the real direction, when 
allowance is made for the probable variation. It appears to me, therefore, that 
we cannot assume offhand that the Clavus maps could lead to a representation 
like that of the Cantino map. 




Portuguese flag is seven hundred miglia, which thus corre- CHAPTER 

spends to the six hundred or seven hundred miglia that^^ 

Pasqualigo says the Portuguese sailed along the coast. If 

we divide the map into degrees according to the distance 

between the tropic and the Arctic Circle, the extent of the 

country will be about eleven degrees of latitude. On Reinel's 

map the length of Newfoundland from north to south is between 

ten and eleven degrees of 

latitude. The distance from 

Cape Race to Belle Isle Strait 

corresponds in reality to 

about s¥f that is, fairly 

near the half. 

Both Greenland and New- 
foundland lie too far north 
on the Cantino map. The 
southern point of Greenland 
lies in about 62° 20' N. lat., 
instead of 59° 46', while 
Cape Race, the south-eastern 
point of Newfoundland, lies 
in about 50° N. lat., in- 
stead of 46° 40'. It is un- 
necessary to assume that the too northerly latitude of 
Greenland is derived from the Clavus map, where its 
southern point lies in 62° 40' N. lat., since a natural 
explanation of the position both of this point and of Cape 
Race is provided by the way in which the Cantino map 
is drawn. It is, in fact, an equidistant compass-chart, 
which takes no account of the surface of the earth being 
spherical and not a plane, and on which the courses sailed 
have been laid down according to the points of the compass, 
presumably in ignorance of the variation of the needle. If 
we try to draw a map of the same coasts in the same fashion, 
using the correct distances, and taking the courses as starting 
from Lisbon, and the variation to be distributed approxi- 



Reconstruction of an equidistant chart 

on which the coasts are laid down from 

magnetic courses without regard to the 



CHAPTER mately as given on p. 308,^ we shall then get a map in its 
^^ main outlines as here represented. The southern point of 

Greenland comes in about 62° 20', or the same as on the 
Cantino map, and Cape Race comes still farther to the north 
than on it. The distance from Lisbon to Greenland is almost 
exactly the same on both maps, and this seems to point to 
remarkable capabilities of sailing by log and compass, while, 
on the other hand, astronomical observations were probably 
not used. The distance between Lisbon and Newfoundland 
(Terra del Rey de portuguall) is on the Cantino map a little 
longer than reality,^ and the southern end of the latter is 
brought so far to the south that it would correspond to an 
average variation of about 4° west, instead of 10°, during the 
voyage from Lisbon. Newfoundland accordingly comes farther 
west in relation to Greenland, and its southern end farther 
south than it should do on a map constructed like this one. 
But we do not know whether the course from which the position 
of Newfoundland is laid down was taken as going directly to 
that country from Lisbon ; perhaps, for instance, it went first 
up into the ice off Greenland, and in that case a greater error 
is natural. If we lay down the West Indian islands (and Florida) 
on our sketch-map according to the same method, we shall get 
them in a similar position to that of the Cantino map, except 
that there they have a far too northerly latitude, and the dis- 
tance from Lisbon is much too great ; but this is due to the 
Spanish maps which served as authorities ; for we know that 
even Columbus was guilty of gross errors in his determination 
of latitude,^ and on La Cosa's map they lie for the most part to 
the north of the tropic. 

^ Owing to the compass error varying in the course of the voyage, the courses 
sailed will be more nearly parts of a great circle. 

2 According to the scale of the Cantino map this distance is about 225omiglia, 
but according to Pasqualigo's letters it should be 1800 or 2000, and according to 
Cantino's letter 2800 miglia. 

' This is not the place to discuss what is represented by the coast of the main- 
land to the west of Cuba on the Cantino map, whether the east coast of Asia, 
taken from Toscanelli's mappamundi (or a source like Behaim's globe], or real 


The representation of the Portuguese discoveries in the 
north-west evidently varied a good deal even on early maps, 
and sometimes diverged considerably from the Cantino map ; 
Greenland especially was given various forms, while New- 
foundland was more uniform in the different types of map. 
This, again, strengthens the supposition that these countries 
were discovered on various voyages, and not by the same man. 


in the 
tion of 



.,*•% ti'm 

capo safe 

North-western portion of the ** King " map, an anonymous Italian 
mappamundi of about 1502. Scandinavia, with Greenland (*' Evglove- 
lant ") to the north of it, is of the type of Nicolaus Germanus's 
maps ; Newfoundland and the Greenland ("Terra Laboratoris ") dis- 
covered by the Portuguese and shown as an island, are taken from a 
Portuguese source. Compass-lines omitted 

Thus, on the so-called King map — an Italian mappamundi The King 
of about 1502, which was probably taken from Portuguese "^^P' ^"^ 
sources — Newfoundland, called Terra Cortereal, lies in about 
the same place and has the same form as on the Cantino map 
(its southern point is called capo raso), while Greenland, 
called Terra Laboratoris, lies farther south than on the Cantino 

discoveries on the coast of North America made by unknown expeditions {?). 
In any case this coast has nothing to do with Caspar Corte-Real, and Sir Clements 
Markham [i893,pp.xlix, ff.] is evidently wrong in thinking that this discoverer 
on his last voyage (in 1501) may have sailed along this coast. 




The Oliver- 
iana map, 
after 1503 

map and has become a long island, the south-east coast of 
which should doubtless correspond to the east coast of Green- 
land on the Cantino map, but has a very different direction 
and form, and has in addition many islands to the south of it. 
A similar, but still more varied, representation is found on 
another Italian mappamundi, the so-called " Kunstmann, 
No. 2." If Greenland and Newfoundland were both dis- 
covered by Gaspar Corte-Real and on the same voyage, and 
if these discoveries formed the basis both of the Cantino 
map and of the prototype of the King map, then it would be 
incomprehensible how the representation of one of these 
countries should vary so much, and not that of the other. ^ 

The so-called Oliveriana map, an anonymous Italian 
compass-chart of a little later than 1503, shows more resem- 
blance to the representation of Greenland on the Cantino 
map ; but here that of Newfoundland is very different from 
what we find on the other maps, as its east coast is remarkably 
short and the south coast extends a long way to the west, in 
the same direction as the coast discovered by the English 
on La Cosa's map of 1500 ; ^ but the names have no resem- 
blance to those of that map, unless the island ' ' Groga Y * ' 
should be La Cosa's ** S. Grigor " (?), which however lies 
farther east, while the island corresponding to *' Groga " 
is called by La Cosa "I. de la trinidat." " Cauo del marco " 
might also remind us of the Venetian Cabot. Dr. Bjornbo 
thinks, as mentioned above (p. 369), that the prototype of 

^ Yet a third type of representation of Greenland may be said to be found 
on the so-called Pilestrina map (p. 377), perhaps of 1511 [cf. Bjornbo, 1910, 
p. 210], where Greenland forms a peninsula (from a mass of land on the north) 
as on the Cantino map, but much broader still. On the south-eastern promontory 
of Greenland is here written : " C[auo] de mirame et lexame " (i.e.. Cape " look 
at me but don't touch me "), which may be connected with the Portuguese voyage 
of 1500, when the explorers saw the coast but could not approach it on account 
of ice. Finally, I may mention the type of the Reinel map (see p. 321), where 
Greenland in the form of a broad land has been transferred to the coast of America, 
On all these maps with their changing representation of Greenland, Newfoundland 
has approximately the same form and position. 

2 Cf. Harrisse, 1900, pp. 54, f. 



the Greenland on the Oliveriana map was Caspar Corte-Real's CHAPTER 
own admiral's chart of his voyage of 1500. It seems to me ^^ 
possible that Bjornbo may be right, in so far as the represen- 
tation may be derived from the Portuguese expedition which 
sighted Greenland in 1500 ; but, from what has been advanced 
above, this was not commanded by Corte-Real, but more 
probably by Joao Fernandez. As the Newfoundland of the 
map has so little resemblance to reality and to the usual 
Portuguese representations [cf. also Bjornbo, 1910, p. 315], 

Northern portion of an anonymous Italian chart, a little later than 1503. 
In the Oliveriana Library at Pesaro. Compass -lines omitted 

it is improbable that the prototype of the map was due to 
Gaspar Corte-Real. Moreover one cannot imagine that mythical 
islands such as ** Insula de labrador," " Insula stille," etc., 
were drawn by him ; in such a case they would have to be 
explained as later additions from another source. 

We saw from the letters of the two Italian Ministers that 
King Manuel was very well satisfied with the discoveries of 
Gaspar Corte-Real, and expected great advantages therefrom, 
both on account of the trees for masts and of the slaves, etc. ; 
he therefore awaited his return with impatience. But he waited 
in vain. Gaspar Corte-Real never returned. Whether he fell 
fighting with the natives on an unknown coast, or whether 
he plunged into the mists and ice of the unknown north, there 






The King 




to find a cold grave, or was lost in a storm on the homeward 
voyage across the Atlantic, will never be revealed. 

As he did not return, his brother, Miguel Corte-Real, 
fitted out a new expedition in the hope, on the one hand of 
going to help his brother, and on the other of making fresh 
discoveries. On January (?) 15, 1502 (or 1503 ?), he obtained 
letters patent from King Manuel (see p. 353). On May 10, 
according to Damiam de Goes, he sailed from Lisbon with 
two ships, and nothing more was heard of him. Antonio 
Galvano, on the other hand, says that he had three ships, 
and that these arrived in Newfoundland (Terra de Corte- 
Real), but there separated and went into different inlets 

"with the arrangement that they should all meet again on August 20th. The 
two other ships did so, and when they saw that Miguel Corte-Real's ship did not 
come at the appointed time, nor for some time after that, they returned to Portugal, 
and never since was any more news heard of him, nor did any other memory of 
him remain ; but the country is called to this day the Land of theCorte-Reals."^ 
* ' The King felt deeply the loss of the two brothers, and, moved by his royal 
and compassionate feeling, he caused in the year 15032 two ships to be fitted 
out to go and search for them. But it could never be discovered how either the 
one or the other (of the brothers) was lost." 

If this account of Galvano 's is correct, then the last relief 
expedition returned without having accomplished its purpose. 
As to what discoveries it may have made, we hear nothing, nor 
do we see any trace of them on the maps, unless, indeed, the 
hint of an extension of Newfoundland to the north on the so- 
called Pilestrina map of about 151 1 (see p. 377) may be due 
to this expedition or to the ship that returned from Miguel 
Corte-Real's voyage of 1502. On Pedro Reinel's map (p. 321) 
there is marked a land answering to Cape Breton, with a coast 
extending westward from it. It is possible that this may be 

1 That Miguel Corte-Real really reached Newfoundland seems also to result 
from the legend quoted above from the chart of about 1520, since he would 
hardly be named on this coast unless there were grounds for supposing that he 
arrived there ; but this again must point to some of the expedition having 

2 If Miguel Corte-Real set out in 1503, and not in 1502 (cf. p. 353, note i), it 
must have been in 1504 that the King despatched these fresh ships. 


derived from these expeditions, and in the same way all the chapter 
Portuguese names along Newfoundland, the coast-line of which 
must be taken from the same source as the Cantino map. 
It is, however, more probable that the names are due to 
Portuguese fishermen ; though there is also a possibility 
that Reinel's additions may be referred to the Anglo-Portuguese 
expeditions from Bristol in 1501 and the following years. His 
island, Sam Joha [St. John], points, as has been said (p. 321), 
to a possible connection with John Cabot's discoveries. 

Northern portion of an Italian map, possibly drawn by Pilestrina, 151 1. 
Only a few of the names are given. (Bjornbo and Petersen, 1908) 

When neither of the brothers returned, the eldest brother, Vasqueanes 
Vasqueanes Corte-Real — who held very high positions both j-gfyg^ 
at the King's Court and as Governor of the islands of Sao leave to 
Jorge and Terceira in the Azores — wished "to fit out ships ^^^^ 
at his own expense in order to go out and search for them. 
But when he asked the King to excuse his absence, his Majesty 
could not consent to his going further in the matter, and insisted 
that it was useless, and that all had been done that could be 
done" (De Goes). Thus the spirit of the capable and enter- 
prising Portuguese for further exploration in these difficult 
northern waters seems to have become cooled, and we do 
not hear much more of official expeditions despatched from 
Portugal to find other new countries in that quarter. Mean- 



CHAPTER while Newfoundland (Terra de Corte-Real) continued through 
^^Jii the whole of the sixteenth century to be regarded as a province 

under the Portuguese Crown, and the post of its Governor, 
with special privileges, was hereditary in the family of Corte- 
Real, until Manuel Corte-Real II., the last of the male line, 
fell fighting by the side of King Sebastian, in the fatal battle 
of Kas-rel-Kebir in 1578.^ 

The Portuguese seem for a long time to have kept up 
the connection with Newfoundland, more especially in order to 
avail themselves of the rich fisheries that had been discovered 
there. But of this it is only by the merest accident that history 
has anything to relate. It appears as though this fishery became 
active immediately after Corte-Real's discovery ; for we see 
that as early as 1506 King Manuel gave orders that the fisher- 
men on their return from Newfoundland to Portugal were to 
pay one- tenth of the proceeds in duties [cf. Kunstmann, 1859, 
p. 69]. 

^ It is reported that in 1574 Vasqueanes Corte-Real IV., father of this Manuel, 
luidertook an expedition to Labrador to find the North-West Passage. 



IF we would discover how a watercourse is formed, from the 
very first bog-streams up in the mountain, we must follow 
a multitude of tiny rills, receiving one fresh stream after another 
from every side, running together into burns, which grow and 
grow and form little rivers, till we come to the end of the 
wooded hillside and are suddenly face to face with the great 
river in the valley below. 

A similar task confronts him who endeavours to explore 
the first trickling rivulets of human knowledge ; he must 
trace all the minute, uncertain, often elusive beginnings, 
follow the diversity of tributaries from all parts of the earth, 
and show how the mass of knowledge increases constantly 
from age to age, sometimes reposing in long stretches of dead 
water, half choked with peat and rushes, at other times plunging 
onward in foaming rapids. And then he too is rewarded ; 
the stream grows broader and broader, until he stands beside 
the navigable river. 

But a simile never covers the whole case. The latter task 
is rendered not only wider, but incomparably more difficult, 
by the fact that the brooks and rivers whose course is to be 
followed are even more intricate and scarcely ever flow in an 
open stream. True knowledge is so seldom undiluted ; as a 
rule it is suffused with myths and dogmatic conceptions, often 
to such a degree that it becomes entirely lost, and something 
new seems to have arisen in its place. 



For one thing, man's power of grasping reality varies 
greatly ; in primitive man it is clouded to a degree which we 
modern human beings can hardly understand. He is as yet 
incapable of distinguishing between idea and reality, between 
belief and knowledge, between what he has seen and expe- 
rienced and the explanation he has provided for his experience. 

But even with those who have long outgrown the primitive 
point of view imagination steps in, supplying detail and 
explanation wherever our information fails us and our know- 
ledge falls short ; it spreads its haze over the first uncertain 
outlines of perception, and the distant contours are sometimes 
wholly lost in the mists of legend. 

This is a universal experience in the history of intellectual 
life. In the domain to which this work is devoted, it makes 
itself felt with perhaps more than its usual force. 

The inquiry embraces long periods. In all times and 
countries we have seen the known world lose itself in the 
fogs of cloudland — never uniformly, it is true, but in constantly 
changing proportions. Here and there we have a glimpse, 
now and again a vision over wider regions ; and then the 
driving mists once more shut out our view. Therefore all 
that human courage and desire of knowledge have wrested 
in the course of long ages from this cloudland remains vague, 
uncertain, full of riddles. But for this very reason it is all 
the more alluring. 

We saw that to the eyes of the oldest civilisation in history 
and down through the whole of antiquity, the North lay for the 
most part concealed in the twilight of legend and myth ; here 
and there genuine information finds its way into literature, 
but is again effaced. At the beginning of the Middle Ages 
the dark curtain thickens. 

Again there is a glimmer of light, first from the inter- 
mingling of nations at the time of the migrations, then from 
new trading voyages and intercourse, until the great change 
is brought about by the Norsemen, who with their remarkable 
power of expansion overran western and southern Europe 


and penetrated the vast unknown solitudes in the North, 
found their way to the White Sea, discovered the wide Polar 
Sea and its shores, colonised the Faroes, Iceland and Green- 
land, and were the first discoverers of the Atlantic Ocean 
and of North America. 

As early as in the writings of King Alfred and Adam of 
Bremen the Norsemen's initiatory knowledge of this new 
northern world made its way into European literature. 

No doubt the mists closed again, much of the knowledge 
gained was forgotten even by the Norsemen themselves, and 
in the latter part of the Middle Ages it is mostly mythical 
echoes of this knowledge that are to be traced in the literature 
of Europe and that have left their mark on its maps. None 
the less were the discoveries of the Norsemen the great dividing 
line. For the first time explorers had set out with conscious 
purpose from the known world, over the surrounding seas, 
and had found lands on the other side. By their voyages they 
taught the sailors of Europe the possibility of traversing the 
ocean. When this first step had been taken the further 
development came about of itself. 

It was in the Norsemen's school that the sailors of England 
had their earliest training, especially through the traffic with 
Iceland ; and even the distant Portuguese, the great dis- 
coverers of the age of transition, received impulses from them. 

Through all that is uncertain, and often apparently fortuitous 
and chequered, we can discern a line, leading towards the 
new age, that of the great discoveries, when we emerge from 
the dusk of the Middle Ages into fuller daylight. Of the new 
voyages we have, as a rule, accounts at first hand, less and less 
shrouded in mediaevalism and mist. From this time the real 
history of polar exploration begins. 

Cabot had then rediscovered the mainland of North America, 
Corte-Real had reached Newfoundland, the Portuguese and the 
English were pushing northward to Greenland and the ice. 
And this brings in the great transformation of ideas about the 
Northern World. 



It is true that as yet we have not passed the northern limits 
of our forefathers' voyages ; and that views of the arctic 
regions are still obscure and vague. While some imagine a 
continent at the pole, others are for a wreath of islands around 
it with dangerous currents between them, and others again 
reckon upon an open polar sea. There is obscurity enough. 
But new problems are beginning to shape themselves. 

When it became apparent to the seamen of Europe that 
the new countries of the West were not Asia, but part of a 
new continent, the idea suggested itself of seeking a way 
round the north — as also round the south — of this continent, 
in order to reach the coveted sources of wealth, India and 
China : the problem of the North- West Passage was pre- 
sented — a continuation on a grand scale of the routes opened 
up by the Norsemen towards the north-west. 

But equally present was the thought that perhaps there 
was another and shorter way round the north of the old 
world ; and the problem of the North-East Passage arose. 
The working out of this problem was simply a continuation 
of the north-eastern voyages of the Norwegians to the White Sea. 

In this way were born the two great illusions, which for 
centuries held the minds of explorers spellbound. They could 
never be of value as trade-routes, these difficult passages 
through the ice. They were to be no more than visions, 
but visions of greater worth than real knowledge ; they 
lured discoverers farther and farther into the unknown world 
of ice ; foot by foot, step by step, it was explored ; man's 
comprehension of the earth became extended and corrected ; 
and the sea-power and imperial dominion of England drew 
its vigour from these dreams. 

What a vast amount of labour lies sunk in man's know- 
ledge of the earth, especially in those remote ages when 
development proceeded at such an immeasurably slower 
pace, and when man's resources were so infinitely poorer. 
By the most manifold and various ways the will and intelli- 
gence of man achieve their object. The attraction of long 


voyages must often enough have been the hope of finding 
riches and favoured lands, but deeper still lay the imperious 
desire of getting to know our own earth. To riches men have 
seldom attained, to the Fortunate Isles never ; but through 
all we have won knowledge. 

The great Alexander, the conquering king, held sway over 
the greater part of the world of his day ; the bright young 
lord of the world remained the ideal for a thousand years, 
the hero above all others. But human thought, restless and 
knowing no bounds, found even his limits too narrow. He 
grew and grew to superhuman dimensions, became the son of 
a god, the child of fortune, who in popular belief held sway 
from the Pillars of Hercules, the earth's western boundary, 
to the trees of the sun and moon at the world's end in the east ; 
to whom nothing seemed impossible ; who descended to the 
bottom of the sea in a glass bell to explore the secrets of the 
ocean ; who, borne by tamed eagles, tried to reach heaven, 
and who was fabled by Mohammedans and Christians to have 
even attempted to scale the walls of Paradise itself — there to 
be checked for the first time : *' Thus far and no farther." 
No man that is born of woman may attain to the land of heart's 

The myth of Alexander is an image of the human spirit 
itself, seeking without intermission, never confined by any 
bounds, eternally striving towards height after height, deep 
after deep, ever onward, onward, onward . . . 

The world of the spirit knows neither space nor time. 




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Aasen, I., i. 352 ; ii. 9 

Abalus, Island of, i. 70, 71, 72, 73, 118, 

Ablabius, i. 129, 142, 144, 155 
Abfi Hamid, ii. 145, 146 
Abyss, at the edge of the world, i. 12, 

S4. 157-9. 195. 199; ii. 150. 154. 

Adam of Bremen, i. 21, 59, 84, 112, 
I35> 159. 179. 182, 183, 184-202, 
204, 206, 229, 252, 258, 303, 312, 
353. 362, 363, 365, 367, 382-4 : 
ii. 2, II, 26, 29, 31, 32, 58, 63, 64, 
65, loi, 143, 147-54, 165, 168, 177, 
192, 214, 224, 237, 238, 240, 243, 
278, 284 

" Adogit," Northern people, i. 13 1-3, 

143. 194 
Mcea., Isle of, i. 13 
iElian, i. 12, 16, 17 
iEningia, i. loi, 104 
iEstii (see Esthonians) 
iEthicus Istricus, i. 154-5, 187, 188 
" iEtternis stapi " (the tribal cliff), 

i. 18-9 
Africa, Supposed connection with 

Wineland, i. 326 ; ii. 1-2, 29, 61, 

240, 248, 280 
Agathemerus, i. 44 
Agricola, i. 107-8, 117 
Agrippa, i. 97, 106 
Ahlenius, K., i. 43, 93, 104, 112, 131 
Aithanarit, i. 144, 153, 154 
Alani, i. 188, 383 
Albertus Magnus, ii. 158, 163, 178, 

Albi, mappamundi at, ii. 183 
Albion (see Britain), i. 38, 39, 117 
Aleutians, ii. 69, 71 
Alexander the Great, i. 19, 182, 363 ; 

ii. 57, 206, 207, 213 
Alexander VI., Pope, Letter from, 

on Greenland (1492-3), ii. 106, 

Alexander, Sir William, ii. 3 
Alfred, King, i. 104, 160, 169-81, 204, 

252 ; ii. 156, 243 
Al-GazS.1, voyage to the land of the 

Magtls, ii. 200-2 

Algonkin tradition, ii. 7-8, 93 ; 
lacrosse among, ii. 40 

Alociae, i. 118, 119, 132 

Amalcium (northern sea), i. 98-9, 105 

Amazons, i. 20, 87, 88, 112, 114, 150, 
154. 159. 160. 1S6, 187, 189, 198, 
356, 383 ; ii. 64, 188, 197, 206, 209, 

Amber, 1. 14, 19, 22, 23, 27, 31-4, 

70, 71, 72, 96, loi, 106, 109-10 ; 

ii. 207 
Amdrup, Captain, i. 290 
America, discovered by the Norsemen, 

i. 234, 248, 312 ; ii. 22, 61, 63 
Ammianus Marcellinus, i. 44, 123 
Anaxagoras, i. 12 
Anaximander of Miletus, i. 11 
Anaximenes, i. 11, 128 
Angles, i. 180 
Anglo-Portuguese expeditions of 1501, 

ii. 331-2, 357 ; of 1502, ii. 332-4 ; 

of 1503, ii. 334-5 ; of 1504, ii. 335 
Angmagsalik, Greenland, i. 261, 263, 

282, 290, 291 ; ii. 73 
" Anostos," The gulf, i. 17, 158 ; ii. 

150, 240 
Ants, fabulous, i. 154, 336 ; ii. 197 
Apollo, worshipped among the Hyper- 
boreans, i. 16, 18, 19 
Apollonius of Rhodes, i. 19, 44 
Appulus, Guillelmus, ii. 162 
Arabs, i. 362, 366 ; ii. 57 ; their trade 

with North Russia, ii. 143-7, 194 ; 

their culture, ii. 194-5 > possible 

exchange of ideas with the Irish, ii. 

207 ; Arab geographers, ii. 194- 

Arab m)d;hs, i. 382 ; ii. 10, 51, 197, 

206-8, 213-4 ' affinity to Irish, ii. 

Arctic, origin of the word, i. 8 ; Arctic 

Circle, i. 53, 55-7, 62, 76, 117 
Arctic Ocean, Voyages in, i. 287 ; ii, 

177 (see also Polar Sea) 
Are Frode (Islendingabdk), i. 165-6, 

201, 253-4, 257, 258-60, 312, 313, 

331. 332, 353, 354. 366, 367, 

368 ; ii. II, 16, 26, 58, 60, 77-8, 82, 

86, 91 



Are Marsson, voyage to Hvitramanna- 

land, i. 331-2, 353-4, 377 ; ii. 42, 
I' 43, 46, 50 

Argippaeans, i. 23, 88, 114, 155 
Arimaspians, i. 16, 19, 98 
Arimphaei, i. 88 ; ii. 188 
Aristarchus of Samos, i. 47, 77 
Aristeas of Proconnesus, i. 19 
Aristotle, i. 28, 40, 41, 44, 76, 182 ; 

ii. 48, 194 
Arnbjorn Austman, lost in Greenland; 

i. 283 
Arngrim J6nsson, i. 263 ; ii. 79 
" Arochi " (or " Arothi " ; see Haru- 

des), i. 136, 148 
Asbjornsen, i. 381 
Askeladden, Tale of, i. 341 
Assaf Hebrseus, ii. 200 
Assyria, supposed communication with 

the North, i. 35, 36 
" Astingi," or " Hazdingi " (Hadding- 

jar, Hallinger), i. 104 
Athenaeus, i. 46, 351 
Atlamdl en groenlenzku, i. 273 
Atlantic Ocean, i. 10, 39, 40, 77, 78, 

252, 315. 3if>, 346 ; ii. 154. 293, 307. 

Atlantis, i. 376 ; ii. 293 

Aubert, Karl, ii. 253 

" Augandzi," i. 136 

Austlid, Andreas, i. 340 

AvaUon, Isle of, i. 72, 365-6, 379 ; ii. 

d'Avezac, M.',P., i. 362 ; ii. 216, 290 

Avienus, Rufus Festus, i. 37-42, 68, 
83, 123, 128, 130 

Aviones, i. 95, 118 

Ayala, Pedro de, adjunct to the 
Spanish Ambassador in London, 
ii, 295, 297, 298, 299, 301, 310, 311, 
324, 325-6 

Azores, discovered, ii. 292 ; expedi- 
tions from, ii. 293, 345, 346, 347 

" Bacallaos," name for Newfound- 
land, ii. 329, 337, 339 
Bacon, Roger, ii. 215, 249 
Baffin Land, i. 322, 323 ; ii. 41 
Baf&n's Bay, i. 248, 250, 304, 305, 

308, 309 ; ii. 41, 72 
Bahlul, Ibn al-, ii. 197 
Balcia, Island of, i. 71, 72, 99, 100, loi, 


Balder, i. 372 

Baltic, amber from, i. 14, 22, 32, 34, 
35, 96 ; ancient names for, and 
ideas of, i. 93, 99, 100, 105, 109, 121, 
131, 167, 169, 185 ; ii. 210, 211, 219 ; 
representation of, in medixval carto- 


graphy, ii. 219, 224, 227, 257, 269J 

284, 286 ; overland communication 

with the Black Sea, i. 244 ; ii. 199 
Basilia, island, i. 70, 71, 99 
Basques, as whalers, ii. 159-62 
Bastarni (Bastarnae), i. iii, 112, 113, 

Batuta, Ibn, ii. 144, 145 
Baumgartner, A., i. 193 
Baumstark, A., i. 113 
Baunonia, Island of, i. 70, 98J 
Bavarian geographer. The, i. 167 
Bayeux tapestry, i. 239, 248, 249 ; 

ii. 237, 239 
Bears, Polar, i. 191, 192, 323 ; ii. 

72, 112, 177, 191 
Beatus map, i. 198, 199 ; ii. 184, 

Beau vols, E., ii. 40, 90 
Beazley, C. R., ii. 215, 295 
Bede, i. 151, 184, 193, 194, 199 ; ii, 

20, 156 
Behaim, Martin, ii. 86, 287-9, 359, 372 
Beheim, Michel, i. 226 ; ii. 85, 86, 

III, 117, 144, 270 
Belcae, or " Belgae," i. 89, 92 
Benedikson, E., i. 59 
Beormas, i. 171, 173-5, 214, 218, 219, 

222 ; ii. 135 {see also Bjarmas) 
Beowulf, i. 234, 372 
Berard, V., i, 348, 371, 379 
Bergen, ii. 80, 120, 122, 125, 157, 169, 

178, 2IO, 220, 221, 222, 260, 261, 

264, 265, 266, 281, 286 
Berger, H., i. 11, 12, 43, 75 
" Bergos," island, i. 106, 107 
Bering Strait, i. 212, 223 ; ii.68, 69, 84 
Berneker, Prof., ii. 175-6 
" Berricen " (or " Nerigon "), i. 53, 

57-8, 106, 107 
Bethmann and Waitz, i. 139 
Bexell, ii, 56 
Bianco, Andrea, map of Europe (1436), 

ii. 267, 282 
Bible, The, i. 125, 126, 153, 184, 338, 

358, 363 ; ii- 45, 46, 184, 185 
Birds, used to find position at sea, 

i. 250-1, 257, 318 
Biriini, ii. 199, 200 
Bishops of Greenland, i, 273, 283 ; 

ii. 29, 30-1, 98-9, 106, 108, 1 13-4, 

121, 122, 134 
Biskupa Sogur, i. 284 ; ii. 8 
Bjarmas (see also Beormas), ii. 135- 

40, 167 
Bjarmeland (Northern Russia), i, 173- 

5, 288 ; ii. 135-42, 154, 164, 165, 

166, 168, 172, 237, 268; "Farther 

Bjarmeland," ii. 165-6 


Bjarne Grimolfsson, Wineland voyager, 
i. 319, 320, 326, 329, 330 ; ii. 20 

Bjarne Herjulfsson, traditional dis- 
coverer of Wineland, i. 314, 317, 334 ; 
ii. 21 

Bjarneyjar (Bear-islands), Greenland, 
i. 301, 302, 304, 321, 322, 323, 335, 

Bjorn Breidvikingekjaempe, i. 360 ; 

li. 49-50, 53. 54. 56 

Bjorn Einarsson Jorsalafarer, ii. 82, 
106, 112, 113 

Bjorn J6nsson of Skardsa (Annals 
of Greenland), i. 263, 282-3, 288, 
292, 295, 299, 301, 308, 309, 321, 
377 ; ii- 35. 37, ^2, 83, 239 

Bjorn Thorleifsson, shipwrecked in 
Greenland, ii. 82 

Bjornbo, Dr. A. A., i. 200, 201, 202, 
297 ; ii. 2, 31, 32, 116, 123, 127, 132, 
147, 154, 193, 220, 221, 223, 224, 225, 
226, 233, 234, 240, 249, 250, 253, 
261, 262, 264, 273, 277, 278, 281, 
283, 284, 287, 289, 332, 353, 368, 

369. 370. 374. 375 

Bjornbo and Petersen, i. 226 ; ii, 85, 
123, 124, 127, 219, 231, 234, 249, 
250, 252, 253, 254, 255, 256, 258, 262, 
203, 267, 273, 275, 277, 377 

Bldserkr (Greenland), i. 267, 291-6 

Blom, 0.,ii. 8 

Boas, F., ii. 69, 70 

Boats of hides (coracles, &c.), in the 
CEstrymnides, i, 38, 39 ; Scythians, 
Saxons, &c., i. 154, 242 ; Green- 
landers', i. 305 ; Irish, ii. 92 ; 
Skraelings', in Wineland, i. 327 ; 
ii. 10, 19 ; in Trondhjem cathedral, 
ii. 85, 89, 117, 269, 270 ; in Irish 
tales, i. 336 ; ii. 20 ; in Newfoundland 
(?), ii. 367 ; Eskimo, see Kayaks and 
Women's Boats 

Bobe, Louis, ii. 126 

Borderie, A. de la, i. 234 

Borgia mappamundi, ii. 284-5 

Bornholm, i. 169, 180 ; ii. 204, 265 

Bothnia, Gulf of, i. 169, 187 ; ii. 269 ; 
in mediaeval cartography, ii. 219 

" Boti," i. 87 

Bran, Voyage of, i. 198, 354, 356, 365, 
370 ; 11. 56 

Brandan, Legend of, i. 281-2, 334, 337, 
344. 345. 358-364. 366, 376 ; ii. 
9, 10, 13, 18, 19, 43-5, 50, 51, 61, 
64, 75, 151, 206, 214, 228-9, 234 

Brattalid, in Greenland, i. 268, 270, 
271, 275, 317, 319, 320, 331 

Brauns, D., i. 377 ; ii. 56 

" Brazil," Isle of (Hy Breasail, 

O'Brazil, &c.), 1. 3. 357. 379; ". 
30, 228-30, 279, 294-5, 318 ; expedi- 
tions to find, ii. 294-5, 3^1. 325 

Breda, O. J., ii. 31 

Brenner, O., i. 58 

Brinck {Descriptio LoufodicB), i. 378 

Bristol, trade with Iceland, ii. 119, 
279, 293 ; Norwegians living at, ii. 
119, 180 ; expeditions sent out from, 
ii. 294-5, 298, 301, 304, 325, 326, 

327, 330. 331 
Britain, i. 193, 234, 240, 241 ; visited 
by Pytheas, i. 49, 50-3 ; Caesar on, 

i. 79-80 ; Mela on, i. 97 ; Pliny on, 

ii. 106; Ptolemy on, i. 117; in 

mediaeval cartography, ii. 220, 227 
Brittany, cromlechs in, i. 22 ; tin in, 

i. 23, 26, 27, 29-31, 38-42 
Broch, Prof. Olaf, ii. 142, 175, 176 
Brogger, A. W., i. 14 
Bronlund, Jorgen, i. 2-3 
Bruun, D., i. 164, 270, 271, 274, 275 
Bugge, Prof. A., i. 136, 137, 138, 146, 

163, 164, 166, 170, 173, 234, 245, 

246, 258, 297, 304; ii. 7, 55, 80, 

168, 201 
Bugge, Sophus, i. 93, 94, 103, 132, 134, 

135, 136, 138, 146, 148, 207, 273 ; 

ii. 27, 28, 175 
Bulgarians of the Volga, ii. 142-5, 195, 

200, 210 
Bunbury, E. H., i. 30, 107 
" Burgundians " (= Bornholmers ?), 

i. 169, 180 
Burrough, Stephen, ii. 173 

Cabot, John, i. 3, 115, 312 ; ii. 130, 295- 
330. 333. 343. 374. 377 : settles 
at Bristol, ii. 297 ; voyage of 1496, 
ii. 299-301 ; voyage of 1497, ii. 
301-23; voyage of 1498, ii. 311, 
324-8, 349 ; his discovery prema- 
ture, ii. 343 

Cabot, Sebastian, ii. 129, 130, 295-6, 
299. 301-2, 308, 319, 326, 329, 330, 
332, 333, 336-43 : reported voyage 
of 1508-9, ii. 336-40 ; doubtful 
voyage of 1516 or 1517, ii. 340-2 ; 
his credibility, ii. 296, 298, 303, 
329, 338-40 ; map of 1544, attri- 
buted to, ii. 303, 309, 310, 314-5, 

Caesar, C. Julius, i. 39, 40, 79-80, 92, 

Callegari, G. V., i. 43, 58, 59 

CaUimachus, i. 375 

Callisthenes (Pseudo-), ii. 213, 234 

Calypso, i. 347, 355, 370 ; ii. 43 

" Cananei," i, 154-5 



Canary Isles, i. 117, 348-50, 362, 376 ; 
ii. 2 

Canerio map (1502-07), ii. 368 

Cannibalism, among the Irish, Scy- 
thians, Celts, Iberians, i. 81 ; Isse- 
donians, i. 81 ; Massagetae, i. 81, 
148 ; in Scandinavia, i. 149 

Cantino, Alberto, his map of 1502, ii. 
316, 350-1, 355, 361, 362, 364, 365, 
368-74 ; his letter of Oct. 1501, 
ii- 349-52, 360, 361, 362, 363, 367, 

Canto, Ernesto do, ii. 331 

Cape Breton, i. 324, 329, 335 ; ii. 
309, 312, 314, 315, 316, 317, 319, 
321, 322 ; John Cabot's probable 
landfall in 1497, ii. 314-5 

Capella, Marcianus, i. 123, 126, 184, 
188, 195, 197, 334 

Carignano, Giovanni da, compass- 
chart by, ii. 220-2, 227, 235 

" Carte Pisane," ii. 220 

Carthage, Sea-power of, i. 45, 75 

Caspian Sea, i. 10, 74, 76, 122 ; ii. 
142, 183, 195, 197, 213 

Cassiodorus, i. 120, 128-30, 132, 137, 
138, 142, 154, 155, 203 

Cassiterides, i. 23, 24, 25, 27-9, 89 ; 
ii. 47, 48 

Catalan Atlas, mappamundi of 1375, 
ii. 233, 266, 292 

Catalan compass-chart at Florence, 
ii. 231, 232-3, 235 

Catalan compass-chart (15th century) 
at Milan, ii. 279, 280 

Catalan sailors and cartographers {see 
Compass -charts), ii. 217 

Catapult, used by the Skraelings, i. 
327 ; ii. 6-8, 92 

Cattegat, The, i. 93, 100, loi, 102, 105, 
169, 180 

" Cauo de Ynglaterra " on La Cosa's 
map, ii. 3 1 4-5, 3 1 7, 32 1 -2 ; probably 
Cape Breton, ii. 314 ; or Cape 
Race (?), ii. 321-2 

Celts, i. 19, 41, 42, 68, 81, 208 ; early 
Celtic settlement of the Faroes, i, 
162-4 ; of Iceland, i. 167, 258 ; possi- 
ble Celtic population in Scandinavia, 
i. 210 ; mythology of the, i. 379 

Chaldeans, i. 8, 47 

Chancellor, Richard, ii. 135 

Chinese myths of fortunate isles, i. 
377 ; ii. 213 

Christ, The White, ii. 44, 45, 46 

Christ, Wilhelm, i. 14, 37 

Christianity introduced in Iceland, 
i. a6o, 332 ; introduced in Greenland, 
i. 270, 272, 317, 332, 380; decline 


of, in Greenland, ii. 38, 100-2, 106, 
113, 121 

Christian IV. of Denmark, ii. 124, 178 

Christiern I. of Denmark, ii. 119, 125, 
127, 128, 132, 133, 134, 345 

Chukches, i. 212 

Church, ii. 301 

Cimbri, i. 14, 21, 82, 85, 91, 94, 99, 
100, loi, 118, 145 

Cimmerians, i. 13, 14, 21, 79, 145 

Circumnavigation, Idea of, i. 77, 79 ; 
ii. 271, 291-3, 296-7 

Clavering, ii. 73 

Clavus, Claudius, i. 226, 303; ii. 11, 
17, 85, 86, 8g, 117, 248-76, 284 ; 
his Nancy map and text, ii. 249, 
250, 253, 255-65 ; his later map and 
Vienna text, ii. 250, 251, 252-3, 
254, 265-76 ; his methods, ii. 252-5, 
259-61 ; his influence on carto- 
graphy, ii. 276-9, 335, 368, 369, 

370, 371 
Cleomedes, i. 44, 52, 53, 55, 57, 134 
Codanovia, island, i. 91, 93-4, 103 
Codanus, bay, i. 90-5, loi, 102, 103, 

105, 118 
CoUett, Prof. R,, i. 345 ; ii. 91 
Collinson, R., ii. 129 
Columbus, i. 3, 77, 79, 115, 116, 312, 

376 ; ii. 291, 292, 293, 294, 295, 296, 

297» 300. 307. 310. 325 
Compass, Introduction of, i. 248 ; ii. 
169, 214, 215-6 ; variation of, ii. 

217. 307-8, 370-1 
Compass-charts, ii. 215-36, 265, 2791, 

280, 282, 308, 313 ; development of. 

ii. 215-8 ; limits of, ii. 218 
Congealed or curdled sea, beyond 

Thule, i. 65-9, 70, 100, 106, 121, 165, 

181, 195, 363, 376; ii. 149, 200,231 
Connla the Fair, Tale of, i. 371 
Contarini, G., ii. 303, 336, 337, 338, 

342, 343 

Converse, Harriet Maxwtfll, 1. 377 

Cornwall, Tin in, i. 23, 29, 31 

Corte-Real, Caspar, ii. 130, 328, 330, 
331. 332. 347-53, 354, 357, 358-66, 
373 ; letters patent to (1500), iu 
347 ; voyage of 1500, ii. 360 ; 
voyage of 1501, ii. 347-53, 360-75 ; 
his fate, ii. 353, 375 ; his discoveries, 

ii. 354-5, 362,^364 
Corte-Real, Joao Vaz, unhistoncal 

expedition attributed to, ii. 359 
Corte-Real, Miguel, ii. 353, 360, 361 ; 

letters patent to, ii. 353, 355, 376 ; 

voyage of 1502 or 1503, ii. 353, 376 ; 

probably reached Newfoundland, 

ii. 376 ; his fate, ii. 376 


Corte-Real, Vasqueanes, refused leave 

to search for his brothers, ii. 377 
Corte-Real, Vasqueanes IV., reported 

expedition of, in 1574, ii. 378 
Cosa, Juan de la, map by, ii. 302, 

309-18, 321, 374 ; represents Cabot's 

discoveries of 1497, ii. 31 1-2 
<X)smas Indicopleustes, i. 126, 127, 

128 ; ii. 183 
Costa, B. T. de, ii. 129, 214 
" Cottoniana " mappamundi, i. 180, 

182, 183 ; ii. 192-3, 208, 220, 284 
Cottonian Chronicle, ii. 303, 324, 326 
Crassus, Publius, visits the Cassiterides, 

i. 27 
Crates of Mallus, i. 44, 78-9 
Croker, T. Crofton, i. 379 
Cromlechs, Distribution of, i. 22, 239 
Cronium, Mare, i. 65, 100, 106, 121, 

182, 363, 376 
Crops, in Thule, i. 63 ; in Britain, 

i. 63 ; in Greenland, i. 277 
Cuno, J^. G., i. 59 
Cwfin-sse, i. 169 
Cyclopes, i. 189, 196 ; ii. 10, 147, 148, 

Cylipenus, i. loi, 104, 105 
Cynocephali, i. 154-5, 159, 187, 189, 

198. 383 

Cysiophora cristata (bladder-nose seal), 
i. 276, 286 

Daae, L., i. 226 ; ii. 125, 129 

Dalorto (or Dulcert), Angellino, ii. 
226-30 ; his map of 1325, ii. 177, 
219, 226, 229, 235, 236 ; his map of 
1339 (Dulcert), ii. 229, 230, 235, 265, 

Damastes of Sigeum, i. 16 

Danes, i. 94, 121, 136, 139, 142, 143; 
145, 146, 153, 167, 169, 180, 188, 
245 ; ii. 115, i6i 

Darkness, Sea of, i. 40-1, 192, 195, 

199. 363, 382 ; ii. 149, 204, 206, 212 
Dauciones, i. 120, 121 

Davis Strait, i. 269 

Dawson, S. E., ii. 295, 307, 319, 321 

Debes, Lucas, i. 375 

Delisle, L., ii. i6i 

Delos, i. 375 

Delphi, i. 18, 19 

Democritus, i. 127 

Denmark, i. 82, 94, 180, 185, 234 ; 
ii. 179, 201, 204, 205, 208, 237 ; 
called " Dacia " on mediaeval maps, 
ii. 188, 190, 222, 225 ; representa- 
tion of, in mediaeval cartography, 
ii. 219, 225, 235, 250, 286 

Denys, Nicolas, ii. 3 

Desimoni, C, ii. 325 

II 2 

Deslien's map of 1541, ii. 322 
Detlefsen, D., i. 43, 70, 71, 72, 83, 

84. 85, 93. 97. 99, 102, 119 
Dicaearchus, i. 44, 73 
Dicuil, i. 58, 160, 162-7, 252, 362 ; 

ii. 43, 51, 229 
Dihya, Ibn, ii. 200-1, 209 
Dimashqi, ii. 212-3 
Diodorus Siculus, i. 23, 29-30, 44, 50, 

51, 52, 58, 63, 71, 80, 87, 90, 346 ; 

ii. 48 
Dionysius Periegetes, i. H4-5, 123, 

356 ; ii. 47, 48, 192 
Dipylon vases, i. 236-7 
Disappearing (fairy) islands, i. 370, 

378-9 ; ii. 213 
Disc, Doctrine of the earth as a, i. 8, 

12, 126, 127, 153, 198 : ii. 182 
Disco Bay, Greenland, i. 298, 300, 301, 

302, 306, 307 ; ii. 72 
" Doegr " (=half a 24 hours' day), 

used as a measure of distance, i. 287, 

310, 322, 335 ; ii. 166, 169, 170, 171 
Dogs as draught-animals, ii. 69, 72, 

145, 146 
Down Islands (Duneyiar), i. 285, 286 
Dozy, R., ii. 55, 200, 201 
Dozy and de Goeje, ii. 51, 204 
Drapers' Company, Protest of, against 

Sebastian Cabot, ii. 302, 330, 338, 

DraumkvcBde, i. 367, 381 
Driftwood, in Greenland, i. 299, 305, 

307, 308 ; ii. 37, 96 
Drusus (The elder Germanicus), i. 83 
" Dumna," island, i. 106, 117 ; ii. 257 
Dumont d'Urville, i. 376 
Dvina, river, i. 173, 174, 222 ; ii. 135, 

136, 137, 142, 146, 164, 176 

Eastern Settlement of Greenland, 
i. 263, 265, 267, 271, 272, 274, 275, 
276, 296, 301, 302, 307, 310, 311, 
321 ; ii. 71, 82, 90, 107, 108, 112, 
116 ; decline of, ii. 95-100, 102 

Ebstorf map, i. 102, 191 ; ii. 187 

Edda, The older (poetic), i. 273 

Edda, The younger (Snorra-Edda), 
i. 273, 298, 304, 342, 364 

Eden, Richard, ii. 341 

Edrisi, i. 182, 382; ii. 51-53, 202-8, 
209, 210, 216 ; his map, ii. 192, 
203, 208, 220, 284 

Egede, Hans, ii. 40, 41, 74, loi, 104, 
105, 106 

Egil Skallagrimsson's Saga, i. 175, 218 

Egyptian myths, i. 347 

Einar Sokkason, i. 283, 294 

Einar Thorgeirsson, lost in Greenland, 
i. 284 

c 401 


Einhaxd, i. 167, 179, 180, 185 

Elk (achlis), i. 105, 191 

Elymus arenarius (lyme-grass), ii. 5 

Elysian Fields, i. 347, 349, 351 

Etopedocles, i. 12, 127 

England (see Britain), Arab geo- 
graphers on, ii. 204, 211 ; maritime 
enterprise of, ii. 180, 294-5, 343 J 
in mediaeval cartography, ii. 218 

English State document (1575) on 
North-West Passage, ii. 129-30, 

" Engronelant," ii. 277, 279, 373 

d'Enjoy, Paul, i. 377 

Eratosthenes of Cjnrene, i. 20, 29, 44; 

47. 52. 55. 61, 73, 75-7, 78, 82, 115 ; 
ii. 292 

Eric Blood- Axe, ii. 136 

Eric of Pomerania, ii. 118, 119 

Eric the Red, i. 252, 256, 259, 262, 280, 
288, 293. 318-21, 324, 330, 337, 
344, 368 ; ii. 22, 77, 88 ; discovers 
Greenland, i. 260, 263, 266-70 

Eric the Red, Saga of, i. 260, 266, 273, 
291, 292, 293, 296, 310, 313, 314, 
318, 322, 331, 332-5, 337, 338, 342, 
343. 367. 382 ; ii. 4, 6, 8, 10, 11, 14, 
15, 22, 23, 24, 42, 43, 50, 59, 61, 
89, 91, 206 ; its value as a historical 
document, ii. 62 

Eric's fjord (Greenland), i. 267, 268, 
271. 275, 317, 318, 319, 321 ; ii. 

Eric Upsi, bishop of Greenland, ii. 

Eridanus, river, i. 31, 32, 34, 42 

Eruli, i. 21, 94, 136, 137-8, 139-49, 
153. 235, 245 

Erythea, i. 9 

Erythraean Sea, i. 10 

Eskimo, i. 19, 51, 150, 212, 215, 216, 
223, 231-2, 260, 298, 306, 307, 308, 
309, 310, 368 ; ii. 10, 12, 16, 17, 
19 ; 66-94, 102-6, 107, in-2, 1 13-6, 
333, 366-7 ; fairy-tales and legends 
of, ii. 8, 105, 115 ; ball-game among, 
ii. 40-1 ; distribution of, ii. 66-74 ; 
racial characteristics of, ii. 67-8 ; 
their culture, ii. 68-9, 91-2 ; NorSe 
settlers absorbed by, ii. 100, 102-105, 
106, 107-11, 117 ; unwarlike nature 
of, ii. 114, 1 15-6 

Esthonians (jEstii, Osti), Esthonia, 
i. 69, 72, 104, 109, 131, 167, 169, 170, 
i8i, 186 ; ii. 205 

" Estotiland," fictitious northern 
country, ii. 131 

Eudoxus, i. 46 

Eyrbyggja-saga, i. 313, 376 ; ii. 42, 46, 

48. 50 

Fabricius, a., ii. 55 

Fabyan, Robert, Chronicle (quoted bjr 

Hakluyt), ii. 303, 324, 326, 333 
Fadhlan, Ibn, ii. 143 
Fairies, Names for, i. 372-3 
Fairylands, Irish, i. 357, 370-1, 379 ; 

ii. 60 ; Norwegian, i. 369-70, 378 ; 

ii. 60, 213 ; laudatory names for,. 

i. 374 ; characteristics of, i. 375-9 ; 

ii. 213-4 
Faqlh, Ibn al-, ii. 197 
Farewell, Cape, i. 261, 267, 280, 282, 

284, 288, 291, 295, 307, 316 ; ii. 


Faroes, The,i. 254, 255, 257, 316, 324, 
362 ; ii. 51, 229, 262 ; discovered by 
the Irish, i. 162-4, 233 ; Irish monks 
expelled from, i. 252, 253 ; early 
Celtic population in, i, 164, 253 

Felix, The monk, in mediaeval legend, 
i. 381 

Fenni (Finns), i. 109, 112, 113, 114, 
120, 149, 203 

Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, letter 
from, ii. 300 

Fernald, M. L., ii. 3, 5-6 

Fernandez, Joao (called "Lavora- 
dor "), ii. 331-2, 356 ; letters patent 
to (1499), ii. 346, 356 ; probably 
sighted Greenland (1500), ii. 356, 
357. 375 » took part in Bristol 
expedition (1501), ii. 331, 356, 357 ; 
Greenland (Labrador) named after 
him, ii. 358 

Filastre, Cardinal, ii. 249-50, 278 

Finland (see Kvaenland), i. 206, 209, 

210, 214 ; the name confused with 
Vinland, i. 198, 382 ; ii. 31, 191 ; 
and with Finmark, i. 382 ; ii. 191, 
205 ; in mediaeval cartography, ii.. 

Finmark, i. 61, 173, 175, 177, 191, 198, 
204, 210, 213, 220, 222, 225 ; ii. 86, 
141, 163, 164, 172, 178, 179, 205, 

211, 237 ; the name confused with 
Finland, i. 382 ; ii. 32, 191, 205 ; 
in mediaeval cartography, ii. 221 

"Finn," The name, i. 198, 205-7, 21a 
" Finnaithae " (Finn6di, Finvedi) (see 
Finns), i. 135, 137, 189, 198, 203, 
204, 206, 382 
Finn mac Cumhaill, i. 363 ; ii. 45 
Finns, i. 109, 112, 113, 114, 120, 135, 
136, 137, 149, 171. 173-8, 189. 198, 
203-32, 382 ; ii. 68, 143 ; Horned 
Finns, ii. 167 
"Finns," in southern Scandinavia, i. 

103, 203, 205, 206-11 ; ii. 159 
Finn's booths (FinnsbUiSir), in Green- 
land, i. 283, 296, 305 


"Finnur hinn Frisi," Faroese lay of, 

". 33-4 
Fischer, J., ii. 33, 121, 229, 249, 276, 

277, 278, 279, 281 
Fischer, M. P., ii. 161 
Fischer, Theobald, ii. 216, 220, 230, 234 
Fishing Lapps, i. 204, 205, 207, 218, 

221, 223-32 
Flateyjarhok, i. 254, 283, 313, 314, 317, 

318, 324, 329, 331, 334, 338, 340, 

343. 344. 359. 360 ; ii. 4, 14, 15. 18, 

21, 22, 23, 25, 59, 61 
Fletcher, Giles, i. 226 
Floamanna-Saga, i, 280, 281 ; ii. 46, 8x 
Floating islands. Legends of, i. 375-7 ; 

ii. 213-4 
Floki Vilgerdarson, sails to Iceland, 

i- 255. 257. 269 
Florus, L. Annaeus, i. 350 
Forbiger, A., i, 58, 102 
Forster, i. 179 
Fortunate Isles (Insula Fortunaies), 

i. 117, 198, 334, 345-53, 367, 370, 

372, 373. 382-4 ; ii. 1-6, 24, 31, 42, 

55. 59-61, 64, 191, 228, 280, 304 
Fortunate Lake, Irish myth of, ii. 

Foster-Brothers' Saga, i. 276, 320 ; ii. 

9, i8 
Frahn, C. M., ii. 143, 145 
Franks Casket, The, i. 176 
Freydis, daughter of Eric the Red, 

i. 320, 328, 332, 333 ; ii. II, 51 
Friesland, Frisians, i. 95, 153, 205 
Friis, J. A., i. 372 
Friis, Peder Clausson, i. 224, 227-9, 

232, 369 ; ii. 153. 158, 178, 268 

Frisian noblemen's polar expedition, 

i. 195-6. 200, 383 ; ii. 147-8 
Frisius, Gemma, ii. 129, 132 
Frisland, fabulous island south of 

Iceland, i. 377 ; ii. 131 
Fritzner, ii. 9 
FurSustrandir, i. 273, 312; 313, 322, 

323. 324. 325, 326, 334, 336, 337, 

339, 357 ; "• 24. 36 
Fyldeholm (island of drinking), i. 352 

Gadir (Gadeira, Gades, Cadiz), i. 24, 

27, 28, 30, 36, 37, 66, 79 
Galvano, Antonio, ii. 336; 337, 338, 

354, 364, 376 
Gandvik (the White Sea), i. 218-9, 

228 ; ii. 136-8, 164, 223, 237, 239 
Gardar, discoverer of Iceland, i. 255-7, 

GarSar, Greenland, i. 272, 273, 275, 

311 ; ii. 106, 107, 108, 121, 122 
" Gautigoth " (see Goths), i. 135 
Gautrek's Saga, i. 18-9 

Geelmuyden, Prof. H., i. 52, 54, 311 ; 

ii. 23 
Geijer, E. G., i. 60, 102, iii, 131, 205, 

Gellir Thorkelsson, i. 366 
Genoese mappamundi (1447 or 1457); 

ii. 278, 286, 287 
Geminus of Rhodes, i. 43, 44, 53, 54, 

57. 63. 64 
Geographia Universalis, i. 382 ; ii. 32, 

177, 188-91, 220, 227, 339 
Gepidae, i. 139, 142, 153 
Gerfalcons, Island or land of, ii. 208, 

227, 266, 289 
Germania, i. 69, 71, 73, 87, 90, 95, loi, 

108-14, 154. 169 ; Roman cam- 
paigns in, i. 81, 83, 85, 97 
Germanicus, The younger, i. 83 
Germanus, Nicolaus, ii. 251, 276-9, 

288, 290, 373 
Germany, coast of, in mediaeval car- 
tography, ii. 219, 257 
Gesta Francorum, i. 234 
Gilbert, Sir Humphrey, ii. 340 
Gildas, i. 234, 364 
Ginnungagap, i. 12, 84, 158 ; ii. 35, 

150, 154, 239-41 
Giraldus Cambrensis, i. 379 ; ii. 151, 

220, 245 
Gisle Oddsson's Annals, ii. 82, 100-2, 

Gissur Einarsson, Bishop, i. 285 
Gjessing, H., ii. 31 
Glaesaria, island, i. loi, 106 
Glastonbury, Legend of sow at, i. 


Gli ," mjrthical island, i. 364 
Globes, used by the Greeks, i. 78 ; 

introduced by Toscanelli, ii, 287 ; 

Behaim's, ii. 287-9 ; Laon globe, 

ii. 290 ; used by Columbus, ii. 287 ; 

and Cabot, ii. 304, 306 
Gnomon, The, i. 11, 45-6 
Godthaab, preenland, i. 271; 304, 307, 

321 ; ii. 73, 74 
Goe, month of, i. 264, 265 
Goeje, M. de, i. 344, 362 ; ii. 51, 194, 

197, 198 
Goes, Damiam de, ii. 354, 366, 376, 

Gokstad ship, i. 246 
Gomara, Francesco Lopez de, ii. 129, 

130. 131. 336. 337.. 354, 364 
Gongu-Rolv's kvcs^i, i. 356 
Gota river, i. 131 ; ii. 190, 205 
Goter (Gauter), i. 120, 135, 141, 144, 

147 ; ii. 190 
Goths (Gytoni, Gythones, Getae), i. 14, 

21, 71, 120, 129, 130, 135, 137, 139, 

145, 147, 153 ; ii. 143, 190 


Gotland, i. 121, i8o, 378 ; ii. 125, 237 ; 
in mediaeval cartography, ii. 219, 
221, 224, 233, 265 

Gourmont, Hieronymus, map of Ice- 
land, ii. 122-3, 127 

Graah, Captain, i. 297 ; ii. 104 

Grail, Legends of the, i. 382 

Grampus, i. 50-1 

Granii, i. 136 

Grape Island (Insula U varum), i. 358, 
361, 363, 365, 366 

Greenland, i. 184, 192, 194, 197, 199, 
200, 201, 215, 223, 252, 315-21, 
322 ; ii. I, 5, 12, 25, 36, 38, 40-2, 
66-94, 95-134. 167, 169, 177, 244, 
345, 366 ; Eskimo of, ii. 71-5 ; 
discovered and settled by Norwe- 
gians, i. 258-78 ; estimated popula- 
tion of settlements, i. 272 ; condi- 
tions of life in, i. 274-8, 319 ; ii, 
96-7 ; voyages along the coasts of, 
i. 279-311 ; glaciers (inland ice) of, 
i. 288-95, 301, 308 ; ii. 246-7 ; 
decline of Norse settlements in, ii. 
90, 95-100 ; last voyage to (from 
Norway), ii. 117; last ship from, 
ii. 118 ;• geographical ideas of, 
ii. 237-40, 246-8, 254-5, 259-62, 
270-6, 278, 279, 280 ; east coeist of, 
i. 271-2, 279-96, 308 ; ii. 168, 170, 
171, 238 ; uninhabited parts (ubyg- 
der) of, i. 279-311, 320, 321 ; ii. 
28, 166, 172 ; sixteenth-century 
discovery of, ii. 315, 332, 335, 352, 
363, 364, 375 ; called Labrador, ii. 
129, 132, 133, 315, 335, 353; in 
sixteenth-century maps, ii. 368-75 

Gregory of Tours, i. 234 

"Greipar," in Greenland, i. 298, 299, 
300-1, 304 

Grettis-saga, i. 313, 367 

Griffins, i. 19, 154 ; ii. 263 

Grim Kamban, i. 253 

Grimm, J,, i. 18, 94, 95, 355, 372; 
ii. 45, 56 

Grimm, W., i. 373 

Grip, Carsten, letter to Christiemlll.; 
ii. 126-8 

Gripla, i. 288 ; ii. 35-6, 237, 239, 241 

Grondal, B., i. 371, 375 

Gronlands historiske Mindesmcerker, i, 
262, 263, 271, 281, 282, 283, 284, 
285, 288, 292, 294, 295, 296, 297, 
298, 299, 300, 301, 302, 304, 305, 

311, 333. 359, 377 ; ii- I. 9. 14. 17. 
22, 25, 31, 35, 46, 79, 82, 86, 100, 
102, 106, 108, 112, 113, 117, 119, 
120, 125, 127, 172, 237, 278 

Gronlendinga-'pdtir (see Flateyjarb6kj) 

Groth, Th., ii. 103 


Groitasongr, i. 159 

Gudleif' Gudlaugsson; story of his 

voyage, ii. 49-50, 53-4 ; compared 

with Leif Ericson, ii. 50-1 
Gudmund Arason's Saga, i. 284 
Gudmundsson, J6n, map by, ii. 34, 241 
Gu3mundsson, V., ii. 25 
Gudrid, wife of Karlsevne, i. 318, 319; 

320, 321, 329, 330, 333 ; ii, 14-5. 51 
Guichot y Sierra, A., i. 376 
Gulathings Law, ii. 140 
Gulf Stream, i. 251 ; ii. 54 
Gunnbjornskerries, i. 256, 261-4, 267, 

280 ; ii. 276 
Gunnbjorn Ulfsson, i. 256, 261-4, 267, 

280, 296 
Gustafson, Prof. G., i. 237, 240 
Gutae, i. 120 
Guta-saga, i. 378 

Gutones (see Goths), i. 70, 71, 72, 93 
Gytoni (see Goths), i. 71 

H^GSTAD, Prof. M., ii. 242 

Haegstad and Torp (Gamal-norsk Ord- 

hog). ii. 9 
Haemodae (" Acmodae," " Haecmodae "); 

i. 90, 106 
" Hafsbotn " (the Polar Sea), i. 283, 

303 ; ii. 137, 151, 165, 166, 167, 168, 

171, 172, 237, 240 
Hakluji;, R., i. 226 ; ii. 129, 132, 152, 

261, 319, 321, 326, 333 
Hakon Hakonsson's Saga, i. 299 ; ii, 

139. 141 

Halichoerus grypus (grey seal), i. 217 ; 
ii. 91, 155 

Halli Geit, Tale of, ii. 239 

Hallinger, i. 104, 247 

Hallstatt, i. 24, 36 

Halogaland (Halogaland, Halogi, 
Halgoland, Halagland, Halogia, 
Helgeland), i. 61, 62, 64, 132, 135, 
138, 175, 179, 194, 197, 200, 231, 
247, 264, 381, 383 ; ii. 64, 137, 139, 

140, 142, 165, 168, 172 ; in mediaeval 
cartography, ii. 227, 236 

Halsingia, or Alsingia, i. 104 
Hamberg, Axel, ii, 69 
Hammershaimb, V. U., i. 356, 375 ; 

Hamy, ii. 220, 223, 229, 230, 234 
Hanno, i. 37, 88, 350 ; ii. 45 
Hans (John), king of Denmark, ii, 125; 

Hanseatic League, ii. 99, 119, 125, 179, 

Hansen, Dr. A. M,, i. 149, 192, 206, 

207, 208, 218, 221, 222, 228, 229, 

230, 236-7, 239 
Harold Fairhair, i, 253-4, 255, 258 


Harold Grafeld, ii. 136, 153, 154 

Harold Hardrade, i. 185, 195, 201, 
283, 383 ; ii. 147, 199 ; his voyage 
in the Polar Sea, i. 195 ; ii. 148-54 

Harpoons, i. 214-7, 277 ; ii. 145-6, 

Harrisse, Henry, ii. 132, 230, 293, 294, 
295. 296, 297, 300, 302, 303, 304, 
305. 309, 314. 315. 319. 320, 326, 
327. 329. 331. 332, 333, 334. 336, 
341. 347, 348, 349, 353, 358, 359, 
360, 365, 374 

Harudes (Chary des, Charudes, Hor- 
der), i. 85, 118, 136, 143, 148,246 

Hauksbok, i. 188, 251, 256, 257, 261, 
262, 264, 268, 286, 291, 293, 308, 
309, 322, 327. 331, 333, 353, 367, 
369; ii. 10, II, 166, 169, 172, 216, 

Hebrides (Ebudes, Hebudes), i. 57, 90. 
106, 117, 123, 158, 159, 160, 161, 
234, 273, 316 ; ii. 151, 200 

Hecataeus of Abdera, i. 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 

Heffermehl, A. V., ii. 242 

Heiberg, Prof. J., i. 219, 220 

Heimskringla. i. 270, 313, 331 ; ii. 59, 
137, 171, 239 

Heiner, i. 138 

Heinrich of Mainz, map by, ii. 185, 187 

Helge Bograngsson, killed in Bjarme- 
land, ii. 139-40 

Heligoland, i. 197 

Helland, A., i. 226, 231, 369, 372, 373, 
378, 381 ; ii. 46, 152. 177, 228 

Heliuland, i. 312, 313, 322, 323, 334, 
336, 357 ; "• I. 23. 35-6, 61, 237 

Helm, O., i. 14 

Helsingland, Helsingers, i. 189 ; ii. 237 

Henry V. of England, ii. 119 

Henry VI. of England, ii. 119 

Henry VII. of England, ii. 130, 298, 
299, 302, 303, 322, 324, 326, 327, 
331, 332, 333. 334. 337. 338, 340 

Henry VIII. of England, ii. 319, 330, 

334, 338, 341. 342, 343 
Heraclitus, i. 12 

" Herbrestr " (war-crash), ii. 8-9 
Hereford map, i. 91, 92, 102, 154, 157, 

190 ; ii. 186, 187 
Hergt,G.,i. 43, 51,60, 65,66, 67, 71, 72 
Herla, mythical king of Britain, ii. 76 
Hermiones, i. 91, 104 
Hermits, in Irish legends, ii. 19, 43-6, 

Herodotus, 1. 9, 12, 20, 23, 24, 27, 

31-2, 46, 76, 78, 81, 88, 114, 148, 

155, 156, 161, 187 

Hertzberg, Ebbe, ii. 38, 39, 40, 61, 


Hesiod, i. 9, 11, 18, 42, 84, 348 

Hesperides, i. 9, 161, 334, 345, 376; 
ii. 2, 61 

Heyman, i. 342 ; ii. 8 

Hielmqvist, Th., i. 381 

Hieronymus, i. 151, 154 

Higden, Ranulph (Polychronicon), i. 
346, 382 ; ii. 31-2, r88-92, 220 ; 
his mappamundi, ii. 188, 189, 192 

Hilleviones, i. loi, 104, 121 

Himilco's voyage, i. 29, 36-41, 68, 83 

HiminraS (Hunenrioth, &c.), moun- 
tain in Greenland, i. 302-4 ; ii. 108 

Hipparchus, i. 44, 47, 52, 56, 57, 73, 
77-8, 87, 1 16 ; ii. 197 

Hippocrates, i. 13, 88 

Hippopods, i. 91 

Hirri, i. loi 

Historia Norwegice, i. 204, 229, 252, 
255, 256, 257, 298 ; ii. I, 2, 17, 29, 
61, 79, 87, 88, 135, 151, 167, 168, 
172, 222, 227, 235, 239, 240, 280 

Hjorleif, settles in Iceland with Ingolf, 
i. 166, 252, 254, 255 

Hoegh, K., ii. 31 

Hoffmann, W. J., ii. 39, 40 

Hofmann, C, i. 59 

Holand, H. R., ii. 31 

Holberg, Ludvig, ii. 118 

Holm, G. F., i. 271, 274 

Holz, G., i. 85, 102 

Homer, i. 8, lo-ii, 13, 14, 25, 33, 77, 
78, 196, 347, 348, 371 ; ii. 53, 54, 

Homeyer, C. G., i. 214 

Honen, Ringerike, Runic stone from, 
ii. 27-9, 58 

Honorius Augustodunensis, i. 375 

Honorius, Julius, i. 123 ; ii. 183 

Horace, i. 349, 350-1 

Horaisan, Japanese fortunate isle, ii. 
56-7, 213 

Horder {see Harudes), i. 85, 118, 136, 
138, 143, 147, 209, 246 

Horn, Georg, (Ulysses peregrinans), ii. 
132, 133 

Horses, Swedish, i. 135 ; in Green- 
land, i. 276 

Hrabanus Maurus, i. 159, 167, 184 

" Huldrefolk " (Norwegian fairies), i. 
355. 356. 370-3, 381 ; ii. 12, 60 

" Huldrelands " {see Fairylands) 

Humboldt, i. 363 

Huns, i. 188 

Hvarf point, in Greenland, i. 263, 267, 
269, 279, 288, 290, 292, 294, 295, 
303. 310. 315 ; "• 169, 171, 261 

Hvergelmer, i. 158, 159 

Hvitramanna-land (the White Men's 
Land), i. 312, 313, 330, 353, 366, 



368, 376 ; ii. 2, 19, 42-56, 60, 61, 
92 ; called Great Ireland, i. 330, 
353, 366 ; ii. 42, 48 ; Are Marsson's 
voyage to, i. 331-2, 353-4 - ii- 42, 
46, 50 

Hvitserk glacier, in Greenland, i. 283, 
286, 288, 291, 292, 294-5, 3°3 ' ii* 
122, 123, 124, 127, 128 

Hyperboreans, i. 13, 15-21, 79, 81, 88, 

89, 98, 128, 187, 188, 348 ; ii. 188 

Iberians, in British Isles, i. 26 ; in 
Brittany, i. 30 ; cannibalism among, 
i. 81 

Ibrahim ibn Ja'qub, i. 187 

Iceland, i. 181-4, 192, 193-4, i97» 201, 
248, 251, 262, 263, 267, 278, 285, 
286, 289, 295, 305, 308, 324, 337, 
353. 362, 374; ii. 43, 49, 102, 112, 
169, 170, 191, 211, 242, 244, 245, 
281 ; discovered by Irish monks, i. 
59, 164-7, 233, 258 ; identified with 
Thule, i. 59-60, 164, 193 ; fables of 
ice in, i. 181, 183-4, I93 > "• ^9^ » 
Norwegian settlement of, i. 252-8 ; 
called " Gardarsholm," i. 255 ; called 
"Snowland," i. 255; in mediaeval 
cartography, ii. 225, 230, 231, 250, 
262, 275, 279, 284, 286 

Icelandic Annals (Islandske Annaler), 
i. 282, 284, 285, 305 ; ii. 25, 29, 36, 
37, 82, 88, 99, HI, 112, 117, 118, 
166, 172 

Ictis, i. 29 

" Ilia verde," on fifteenth and sixteenth 
century maps, ii. 279-81, 294, 318 

Indian myths, i. 19, 92, 351, 356, 363 ; 
ii. 57, 213, 214 

Indians, North American, i. 327, 377 ; 
ii. 7, 12, 16, 23, 25, 68, 69, 90, 92, 
93, 334. 367 ; lacrosse among, ii. 

39-41, 93 

Ingaevones, i. loi 

Ingimund Thorgeirsson, lost in Green- 
land, i. 284 

Ingolf Arnarson, first Norse settler in 
Iceland, i. 252, 253, 254, 255, 257, 267 

Ingolf's Fjeld, Greenland, i. 291, 293, 
294, 296 

Ingram, Dr., i. 179 

Ireland (Hierne, Hibernia, Juverna, 
Ivernia, Ibernia), i. 38, 57, 80, 81, 

90, 117, 179, 192, 234, 253, 326 : 
ii. 201, 211, 244, 245 ; connection 
with Iceland, i. 167, 258, 353 ; 
whaling in, ii. 156 

Irgens, O., i. 248, 250 

Irish monks, i. 162-7, 362 ; ii. 43 ; 

(" Papar ") in Iceland, i. 254, 258 ; 

ii. 77, 78 


Irish myths, 1. 281-2, 334, 336-^, 353- 
64, 370, 371 ; ii- 18, 19, 20, 43-5, 
50, 53-4, 56, 60-1, 206, 207, 228-9, 

Iroquois myth of floating island, i. 377 

Isachsen, G., i. 300, 304, 306 ; ii. 168, 

Isidorus Hispalensis, i. 44, 102, 151, 
159, 160, 167, 184, 187, 345, 346, 
347, 352, 353, 367, 382-4 ; ii. 2, 
3-4, 58. 59, 64, 75, 183, 184, 185, 
189, 247 

Isles of the Blest, The, i. 9, 84, 348, 

349, 351, 363, 370 ' ii- 59 

Issedonians, i. 16, 19, 8i 

Italian sailors and cartographers (se« 
Compass-charts), ii. 217 

Itiniraire Brugeois, ii. 250, 256, 262, 
263, 272 

Itineraries, Roman, i. 116, 123, 153 

Ivar Bardsson's description of Green- 
land, i. 262-3, 290, 292, 295, 302, 
304 ; ii. 82, 87, 88, 102, 106, 107-11, 
126, i66, 171, 241, 256, 261, 276 

Ivar Bodde, probable author of the 
King's Mirror, ii. 242 

Jacob, G., i. 187,284; ii. 145,157,202 

Jakobsen, Dr. J., i. 163, 293, 374 

Jan Mayen, i. 287 ; ii. 168, 169, 171 

Japanese myth, ii. 56-8, 213 

Jaqut, ii. 143, 144 

Jaubert, P. A., ii. 204 

Jenkinson, Anthony, ii. 152 

Jensen, A. S., ii. 104 

Jomard, ii. 220, 229 

Jones Sound, i. 304, 306 

Jonshok, Icelandic MS., i. 316, 320, 

329 ; ii. 24 
J6nsson, Finnur, i. 166, 198, 256, 258, 

260, 262, 265, 266, 273, 301, 305, 

314, 331, 367 ; ii. 79, 107, 108, 167, 237 
Jordanes, i. 104, 120, 129-38, 142, 

143. 144, 145, 147, 148, 149, 153, 

154, 155, 194, 203, 206 ; ii. 211 
Jorgensen, N. P., i. 272, 274-5 
Jotunheim, i. 303 ; ii. 147, 172, 238 
Jovius, Paulus, ii. iii 
Joyce, P. W., i. 360, 379 
Julianehaab, Greenland, i. 267, 271, 

Jutland, i. 69, 71. 72, 82, 85, 93, 94. 

loi, 102, 105, 117, 139, 142, 143, 

147, 169, 180, 185, 246 ; ii. 192 ; 

in mediaeval cartography, ii. 219, 

224, 225, 235, 257, 265 

ICahler, F., i. 43, 68 

Kandalaks, river and gulf, i. 174, 

218-9, 222 


Kaxa Sea, i. 212 

Karelians (Kirjals), Karelia, i. 175, 
218, 219, 220, 222, 223 ; ii. 85, 137, 
140, 146, 167, 173, 174 ; " Kareli 
infideles," ii. 85, 117, 224, 225, 255, 
262, 270, 271, 272 

Karlsevne, Thorfinn, i. 260, 313, 318, 

319. 331. 333. 336, 346, 354 ; ii- ^4. 

15, 18, 23, 25, 65 ; voyage to Wine- 
land, i. 320-30, 334-45 ; battle with 

the Skraelings, i. 328 ; ii. 6-1 1 
*' Kassiteros," Derivation of, i. 25-6 
Kayaks, Eskimo, ii. 10, 68, 70, 72, 74, 

85, 91, 92, 127, 270 
Kemble, John M., i. 364 
Kensin^on stone, Minnesota, ii. 31 
Keyser, R., i. 58, 59, 60, 65, 93, 99. 

104, 105, 107 
Khordadbah, Ibn, ii. 195, 196-7 
Kiaer, A., ii. 63 
Kingigtorsuak, Runic stone from, i, 

297 ; ii. 84 
King map {circa 1502), ii. 331, 354, 

355. 358. 364, 373, 374 
King's Mirror, The, {Konungs-Skugg- 
■ sja), i. 3, 272-3, 277, 279-80, 300, 

352 ; ii. I, 2, 29, 87, 88, 95, 96, 

98, 155. 157. 172, 193. 234, 242-8; 

authorship of, ii. 242 
Kjaer, A., i. 324 
Kjalarnes, i. 322, 323, 324, 325, 326, 

329 ; ii. 23 
Kjelmo, archaeological find from, i, 

212-9, 224 
Kjolen range, i. 102, 224 ; ii. 222 
Kleiven, Ivar, i. 340 
" Knarren," Royal trading ship to 

Greenland, ii. 38, 98-9, 106, 122 
Knattleikr, Norse ball-game, ii. 38-9, 

61, 93 ; similar to lacrosse, ii. 39 
" Kobandoi " (Cobandi), i. 93-4, 118 
Koch, J., i. 156 
Kohl, J. G., ii. 148, 340, 353 
Kohlmann, P. W., i. 194 
Koht, H., i. 247 ; ii. 43 
Kola peninsula, i. 173, 174, 217, 223 ; 

ii. 135, 142, 165, 176 
Koren-Wiberg, Christian, ii. 80 
3&abbo, Hermann, i. 202 ^ 

Krag, H. P. S., i. 340 
Kraken, sea monster, i. 375 ; ii. 234, 

Kretschmer, K., i. 10, 12, 14, 74, 78 ; 

ii. 215, 222, 223, 226, 228, 229, 230, 

282, 284, 294, 313. 353 
Kristensen, W. Brede, i. 347 
Kristni-saga, i. 313. 33i. 3^7 ; ii- 59 
KrdksfjarSarheiSr (Greenland), i. 267, 

299, 300-1, 304, 306, 308, 309, 310 ; 

ii. 72, 83, 88 

Kulhwch and Olwen, Tale of, i. 342 ; ii. 8 

Kunstmann, F., ii. 229, 378 

" Kunstmann, No. 2," Italian mappa- 
mundi, ii. 374 

Kvaenland (Cvenland, Cwfinland ; Fin- 
land), i. 155, 170, 175. 178, 198 ; 
the name mistaken for " Land of 
Women," i. 112, 186-7, 3^3 ; ii- 64, 

214. 237 
Kvaens (see Finns), Cwenas, i. 178, 191, 
206, 207, 220, 223 ; ii. 137, 141, 167 ; 
their name confused with " cyon " 
(dog), i. 155, 188 

Labrador, i. 322, 323, 334, 335 ; ii. 
5, 23, 41, 68, 105, 106. 131, 133, 308. 

314. 335. 338, 352. 358, 364. 370 ; 

=Greenland, ii. 129, 132, 133, 315, 

331. 335 ; the name of, ii. 331-2. 

Lacrosse, ii. 38-41 ; perhaps derived 

from Norsemen, ii. 40 
Lactantius, i. 127 
Lsestrygons, i. 13, 78 
Laffler, Prof. L. F., i. 132, 134, 136. 

297 ; ii. 63 
"Lageniensis," i. 357, 379 ; ii. 228 
Lagnus, bay, i. loi, 105 
Lambert map, ii. 188, 259 
Lampros, S. P., ii. 281 
Landa-Rolf, i. 285-6 
Landegode (Landit GolSa), island ofE 

Bodo, Norway, i. 369-70, 372, 373, 

374 ; ii. 60 
Landndmdbok, i. 166, 251, 255, 256, 258, 

260, 261, 266, 273, 288, 291, 293, 

313. 324. 330. 332, 353, 366. 367. 368. 

369, 377 ; ii- 21, 42, 58, 60, 62, 166, 

168, 169, 170, 172 
Langebek, i. 179 

Langobards, i. 138, 139, 155, 156, 159 
Laon globe, ii. 290 
Lappenberg, I. M., i. 193. I95. 3^3 
Lapps, i. 61, 113, 150, 171, 173, 177, 

190, 191, 203-8, 218, 220, 224-32, 

372 ; ii. 76, 135. 164, 168. 175, 178 ; 

their magic, i. 191, 204, 219, 227, 229 ; 

ii. 32, 77, 136, 137 ; their archery, i. 

227-30 ; their languages, i. 228-9 
Lascaris, Cananos, travels in the North, 

ii. 281 
Las Casas, ii. 214 
Latitude, calculation of, i. 46-8, 64, 

76, 78, 1 16-7 ; ii. 22, 260, 307 ; 

scale of, on Ptolemy's and other 

maps, ii. 259, 260-1, 264, 274-5 
Latris, island, i. loi, 105 
Laurentius Kalfsson's saga, ii. 8 
Leardus, Johannes, mappamundi by, 

ii. 282 



L'Ecuy globe (or Rouen globe), ii. 129, 

Leem, K., ii. 178, 191 

Leif Ericson, i. 270, 313, 314, 315-8, 
321, 331. 332. 338, 339, 343» 346. 
359, 380, 384 : "• 4, 21. 22, 25, 50, 
51, 59. 65; called "the Lucky," 
i. 270, 313, 317, 331 ; meaning of 
the name, i. 380-2; discovers 
Wineland the Good, i. 313, 317, 
332 ; rescues the shipwrecked crew, 
i. 317 ; introduces Christianity, 
i. 317, 332, 380 

Lelewel, J.,ii. 131, 203, 278, 282, 284, 286 

Leucippus, i. 12, 127 

Liebrecht, F., ii. 228 

Ligurians, i. 41, 42, 114 

Lik-Lodin, i. 282-3 

Lillienskiold, Hans Hansen, i. 177 

Lind, E. H., i. 332 

" Liver Sea " (Lebertneer), i. 69, 181, 
363 ; ii. 20, 51, 231 

Lok, Michael, Map of 1582, ii. 130, 321, 

Lonborg, S. E., i. 102, 112, 131, 135, 
156, 174, 180, 193, 197 ; "• 150 

Longest day, calculation of, ii. 52, 54 

Lot, F., i. 357, 379 

Loth, J., i. 342 

Lucian, i. 352, 355, 356, 360, 361, 363, 
366, 376 ; ii. 54, 150 

Lugii (Vandal tribe), i. 247 

"Lycko-Par " (" Lykke-Per "), i. 381 

" Lykk-Anders," Tale of, i. 381 

Lyschander (Grunlands Chronica), ii. 
loi, 102, III 

Lytton, Lord, i. 350 

Machutus, St., Voyage of, i. 334, 354; 

Macrobius, i. 123, 126, 184 ; ii. 182, 

193, 247 
Maelduin, Voyage of, 1. 336-7, 338, 

355. 356. 358. 360, 361. 362, 363. 

364. 366 ; ii. 9, 18, 45, 150 
Maelstrom, Legends of the, i. 157-9 ; 

ii. 138, 150-3, 241 
Maeotides, i. 88 
Maeotis Palus (Sea of Azov), i. 89 ; ii. 

199, 211, 283, 284 
Maggiolo, map by (1527). ii- 321, 335. 

358, 359 
" Mag Mell " (the happy plain), i. 355, 

357, 365. 370 
Magnaghi, A., ii. 227, 230 
Magnus Barfot's Saga, i. 197 
Magnussen, Finn, ii. 102 
Magus, Arab name for Northern 

Vikings, ii. 55, 196, 200, 201, 209, 



Maine, coast of, ii. 316, 317 

Mair. G., i. 35, 36, 37, 43. 47, 59 

ManannAn mac Lir, i. 363, 370 ; ii. 45 

Mandeville, Sir John, ii. 271, 292 

Manna, i. 338 

Mannhardt, W., i. 365 

Manuel, King of Portugal, ii. 346, 347, 

352, 353. 375. 376. 377. 37^ 

Mapes, Walter, ii. 75-6 

Maps (see also Compass-charts), earliest 
Greek, i. 11, 76, 77, 78 ; ii. 182 ; 
Ptolemy's, i. 116-22 ; wheel-maps, 
i. 151 ; ii. 183-8, 193, 218, 222 ; 
T- and OT- maps, i. 151:; ii. 183-4, 
193 ; Arab maps, ii. 203 ; 15th 
century mappemundi, ii. 281-7 

Marcianus of Heraclea, i. 123 

Margaret, Queen of Denmark, Norway 
and Sweden, ii. 118, 132 

Marinus of Tyre, i. 115, 116, I2i, 122 ; 
ii. 194, 249 

Markham, Sir C. R., i. 43, 58, 64 ; iit 
295. 336, 373 

Markland, i. 299, 305, 307, 312, 313, 
322, 323, 324, 329, 334, 335, 336, 
338 ; ii. I, 19, 22, 23, 36, 37, 42, 6i. 
92-93, 96, 229, 279 ; ship from M« 
reaches Iceland, ii. 22, 25, 36-8; 
61, 229 

Martellus, Henricus, ii. 276, 279 

Martyr, Peter, ii. 303, 330, 336^ 337, 

338, 339. 342 
Marx, F., i. 37 

Massagetae, i. 81, 148 ; ii. 188 
Massalia, i. 31, 42, 43, 45, 46, 47, 48, 

67, 70 
Mas'udi, ii. 198-^, 207 
Matthew Paris, ii. 281 
Matthias, Franz, i. 36, 43 
Maurenbrecher, B., i. 349 
Maurer, K., i. 265 ; ii. 9 
Mauro, Fra, map by, ii. 177, 278, 285, 

Medici Atlas (1351), i. 362 ; ii. 229, 

234-6, 236, 240, 255, 256, 257, 258, 

259, 260, 261, 262, 263, 264, 265» 

Mehren, A. F., ii. 143, 145, 212 
Meissner, R., i. 255 
Mela, Pomponius, i. 15, 19, 28, 38, 44, 

55. 63. 72. 75. 85-96, 97. loi. 103. 

114, 118, 131, 144, 155 ; u. 32, 192, 

Melville Bay, i. 305, 310 
Mercator, Gerard, ii. 261 ; his map of 

1569, ii. 130 
Meregarto.i. 69, 181-4, 193, 252 ; ii.51 
Mevenklint (Kolbeins-ey), i. 264, 286, 

287 ; ii. 166, 169, 170, 172 
Meyer, Kuno, i. 198, 354 


Michelsen, A. L. J., i. 214 

Midgards-worm, i. 364 ; ii. 234 

Mid-glacier {MtSjqkull), Greenland, 
i. 267, 288, 290, 293, 294, 295 

Midnight sun (long summer day and 
winter night in the North), i. 14, 
45. 53-4. 62, 79, 92, 98, 106, 131, 
133-4. 140. 157. 165, 193, 194. 309- 
II ; ii. 144, 190, 212, 281 

Mikhow, Andrei, ii. 163, 173, 174 

Mikkola, Prof., ii. 175 

Miller, K., i. 77, 87, 90, 109, 115, 123, 
150, 152, 180, 182 ; ii, 185, 186, 187, 
192, 193, 223, 226, 282, 284 

Modena compass -chart, ii. 230-1, 235, 
266, 282 

Moe, Prof. Moltke, i. 69, 247, 304, 332, 
341, 342, 352, 358, 364, 366, 370, 

372. 373. 374. 378. 379. 381 ; n. 
8, II, 15, 16, 20, 33, 44, 45, 46, 51, 
56, 75, 147, 213, 228, 242, 245 

Mommsen, T., i. 57, 123, 129, 136, 137, 
193 ; ii. 143 

Monopoly of trade with Greenland, 
ii.98, n8-9, 179-80 ; withFinmark, 
ii. 179 

Montelius, O., i. 239, 241 

" Moorbriicken," i. 36 

Mordvins, ii. 142, 143, 199 

Morimarusa, i. 99, 100, 105 ; ii. 58 

Moskenstrom (Lofoten), i. 158 ; ii. 
152-3, 154, 241 

" Mosurr " (masur), wood from Wine- 
land, i. 317 ; ii. 5, 25 

Much, R.. i. 93, 94, 95, 99, 110, 112, 

119, 120, 246, 247 

Miillenhoff, K., i. 37, 38, 41, 42, 43, 
56, 57. 59. 60, 61, 65, 83, 85, 92, 93. 
102, 103, 110, III, 112, 113, 114, 

120, 128, 132, 134, 136, 137, 145, 
206, 207, 234, 235, 246, 247 

MuUenhofi and Scherer, i. i8i 

Mailer, I., i. 83 

Miiller, S., i. 22 

Munch, P. A., i. 50, 132, 134, 136, 146, 

179, 180, 205, 246, 247, 258, 331 ; 

11. 154 
Muratori, ii. 162 
Murman coast, i. 212 ; ii. 173, 176, 

Mylius-Erichsen, i. 2, 3 

Naddodd Viking, i. 255-7 

Nansen, F., First Crossing of Green- 
land, i. 281, 293 

Nansen, F., Eskimo Life, ii. 72, 73, 105 

Narwhale, i. 300, 303 

Natives of North America, brought to 
England in 1501 or 1502, ii. 333 ; 
probably Eskimo, ii. 334 ; brought 

to Lisbon by Corte-Real's expedi- 
tion, ii. 348, 349, 351-2, 366-7 ; 
perhaps Eskimo, ii. 367 

Negri, Francesco, i. 226 

Nepos, Cornelius, i. 87 

Nestor's Russian Chronicle, ii. 143 

Newfoundland, i. 248, 322, 323, 324, 
334. 335 : ii- 23, 91, 308, 309, 312, 
313. 314. 315. 317. 318, 321, 322, 
329, 335. 337. 355. 362, 363, 364, 
376 ; discovery of, by Corte-Real, 
ii- 330. 354. 355. 362 ; on i6th 
century maps, ii. 370-5 ; fisheries 
of, ii. 330-1, 378 ; called Terra de 
Corte-Real, ii. 354, 355, 376, 378 

Newfoundland Banks, ii. 154, 309, 
318, 363 

New Land (Ny aland), i. 285-6 

Nicholas V., Pope, Letter to, on Green- 
land, ii. 17, 86, 112, 116, 256, 270, 
288, 366 ; Letter from, on Green- 
land (1448), ii. 1 13-5, 278 

Nicholas of Lynn, ii. 86, 151, 153, 214, 
249, 256, 261, 270, 289 

Nicolayssen, O., i. 375 

Nielsen, Prof. Konrad, i. 219, 223 ; 

ii- 175 
Nielsen, Prof. Yngvar, i, 369 ; ii. 29, 

39. 90, 92, 154 
Niese, B., i. 14 
Nikulas Bergsson, Abbot, of Thvera, 

(Icelandic geographical work), i, 

198, 313 ; ii- I. 2, 237, 256 
Nilsson, Sven, i. 35, 60, 205 
" Nisse," Scandinavian fairy, i, 373, 

381 ; ii. 15 
Njal's Saga, i. 372 
Noel, S. B. J., ii. 160, 173 
" Nordbotn " (Norderbondt, Nord- 

hindh Bondh, Nordenbodhn), the 

Polar Sea, i. 303, 304 ; ii. 171, 256, 

259, 267, 268, 269 
Nordenskiold, A. E., i. 226 ; ii. 32, 

220, 223, 229, 230, 234, 249, 250, 

266, 282, 285, 357 
NorSrsetur (Greenland), i. 267, 296, 

298-307, 308, 309, 310 ; ii. 83, 88 
Nor^rsetudrdpa, i. 273, 298 
Normans, i. 145, 146, 153, 188, 234 ; 

ii. 159-62, 200-2 
North Cape, i. 171, 172, 174 ; ii. 124 
North Pole, whirlpool at, i. 159 ; land 

at, ii. 239, 263, 272 
North Sea, amber from, i. 14, 32, 34; 

North-West Passage, 1. 115 ; ii. 129, 

130. 378 
Norway, 1. 58, 60-5, 147, 253, 292, 
316, 324, 353 ; ii. 98-100, 169, 
170, 204, 237 ; the name of, i. 107, 



^79 » Jordanes on, i. 136-8; 
Solinus MSS. on, i. 161 ; Ottar on, 
i. 1 70-1, 175-80 ; Adam of Bremen 
on, i. 188, 190-2, 194, 200 ; anthropo- 
logical characteristics in, i. 209-10 ; 
fairylands in, i. 369-70 ; whaling in, 
ii. 155-9 ; Edrisi on, ii. 205 ; 
Shirazi on, ii. 211 ; in mediaeval 
cartography, ii. 219, 221, 225, 227, 
230. 235-6, 257, 258,-61, 265-9, 

Norwegian seafaring, i. 62, 221, 223, 
224, 233-5, 246-52, 287; ii. 135, 
140 ; decline of, ii. 179-81 

Nova Scotia, i. 329, 335, 345 ; ii. 3, 
5. 90, 91, 309, 314-6, 317, 321 ; 
probably discovered by John Cabot, 
ii. 314-6 

Novaya Zemlya, i. 212, 248 ; ii. 165, 
166, 173, 238 

Novilaxa, Carvings on grave-stone at, 
i. 238, 239 

Novgorod, ii. 140, 142 

Nydam, Boat from, i. no, 238, 241, 
244, 246 

OcEANus, i. 8, 9, 10, II, 16, 79, 192, 

198, 199, 200, 201 ; ii. I, 154, 182, 

198, 200, 204, 239, 248 
Ochon, King of the Eruli, i. 141, 148 
Odysseus, i. 13, 78 ; ii. 53, 54 
" (Ecumene " (the habitable world), 

i. 8, 10, 12. 45, 55, 76, 78, 79, 81, 82, 

115, 121, 198 ; ii. 182, 217 
CEneae, or (Eonae (egg-eaters), i. 91, 92, 

95. 131. 155 
QEstrymnides, i. 28, 37-41 ; >= Cassi- 

tendes, i. 39 
Ogygia, i. 182, 347, 355, 363 ; ii. 43 
Olaf the Saint, i. 331 ; ii. 49, 50, 171 
Olaf Tryggvason, i. 270, 316, 321, 339 ; 

ii. 50 
Olaus Magnus, i. 205, 211, 228 ; ii. 

17, 89, III, 123, 124, 125, 127, 128, 

129, 131, 139, 141, 152, 163, 173, 

Oliveriana map (circa 1503), ii. 358, 

369, 370. 374-5 
Olrik, Axel, ii. 252, 253 
Olsen, Gunnar, i. 377 
Olsen, Prof. Magnus, i. 228, 229, 246, 

Omar al 'Udhri, i. 284 ; ii. 156 
Ongania (reproductions of maps), ii. 

221, 234, 278, 282, 287 
Oppert, J., i. 35 
Orcades, i. 57, 90, 106, 107, 117, 123, 

130, 160, 161, 192, 199, 200 ; ii. 
186, 192, 200 

Ordericus Vitalis, i. 382 ; ii. 31 

" Orkan " (or " Orkas "), i. 50-3, 58, 

Orkneys, i. 52-3, 90, 107, 113, 117, 

192, 195, 258 ; ii. 55, 148 ; in 

mediaeval cartography, ii. 219, 228 
Orosius, Paulus, i. 38, 44, 123, 151, 

169, 184 ; ii. 183, 192, 193 
Oseberg ship, i. 246, 247 
Ostiaei, i. 69, 72 

Ostiimans (Ostimnians), i. 38, 69, 72 
Ost-s^, i. 169 
Ostyaks, i. 207 ; ii. 147 
Ottar (Ohthere), i. 170-80, 204, 211, 

213, 214, 218, 220, 225, 230, 231, 

247; ii. 135-6, 142, 156, 159, 164. 

173. 243 

Panoti (long-eared), i. 92 

Paris, Gaston, i. 359 

Parmenides of Elea, i. 12, 123 ; ii. 182 

Pasqualigo, Lorenzo, ii. 301, 302, 303, 

312, 314, 316, 317 
Pasqualigo, Pietro, Venetian Minister 

at Lisbon, ii. 347-9, 355. 360, 361, 

362, 363, 365, 367, 372 
Paulus Warnefridi, i. 136, 139, 155-60, 

184, 187, 196, 203, 284 ; ii. 147, 148, 

150. 153 
Pechora, river, ii. 144, 146, 147, 173 
Pedo, Albinovanus, i. 82-4 ; ii. 148 
" Perdita " (the Lost Isle), i. 376 ; ii. 

Permians, i. 174 

Peschel, Johannes, i. 352 ; ii. 147 
Peucini, i. in, 112, 113, 114 
Peyrere (Relation du Groenland), ii. 120 
Phaeacians, i. 347, 371, 378 ; ii. 53, 54 
Philemon, i. 99, 100 
Phoca fcetida, i. 177 
Phoca grcenlandica (saddleback seal), 

i, 217, 276 
Phoca vitulina, i. 217 
Phoenicians, i. 24, 25, 27, 30, 33, 34-6, 

40. 41, 99, 233, 249, 346, 349, 362, 

Pilestrina, map of 15 11, attributed to, 

ii. 374. 376, 377 

Pindar, i. 18, 348 

Pining, Didrik, ii. 123-9, 133, 345 

Pistorius, ii. 173 

Pizigano map (1367), ii. 229, 230, 236 

Plato, ii. 46, 293 

Pliny, i. 15, 19, 20, 26, 28, 30, 33, 37, 
38. 44, 52, 53, 55, 57, 58, 65, 70, 71. 
72, 75, 84, 85, 87, 93, 96-107, 118, 
121, 123, 126, 134, 155, 162, 185, 
334. 348. 349. 362, 376 : ii. 48, 55» 
59. 214 

Plutarch, i. 156, 182, 187, 349, 363, 

376 .• ii- 43 


Polar Sea, i. 169, 172, 195-6, 213, 283, 
303 ; ii. 145, 164. 165, 166, 171, 173, 
174, 176, 177, 238 

Polo, Marco, li. 288, 289 

Polus (equinoctial dial), i. 46, 48 

Polybius, i, 43, 44, 45, 52, 56, 66, 67, 
73. 74. 78. 80 ; ii. 160 

Pontoppidan, Erich, i. 375 

Porthan, H. G., i. 179 

Portolani, ii. 216 

Portuguese adventurers, Arab tale of, 

ii. 51-5 
Portuguese chart of about 1520, at 

Munich, ii. 353, 354, 355. 356 
Portuguese, maritime enterprise of, 

ii. 292-3, 345, 377 
Posidonius, i. 14, 23, 27, 52, 79, 115 ; 

ii. 292, 297 
Pothorst, associate of Pining, ii. 123-9, 

133. 345 

Priscianus Caesar iensis, i. 123 

Procopius, i. 60, 94, 132, 134, 138, 
139-50, 154, 194, 203, 372 

Promised Land (see Tir Tairngiri and 
Terra Repromissionis) 

Provisioning of Viking ships, i. 268-9 

Psalter map, ii. 187, 188 

Ptolemy, i. 26, 38, 44, 72, 75, 76, 79, 
93. 99. 102, III, 112, 115-22, 128, 
130, 131, 132, 142, 143, 144, 246, 
349 ; 11. 182, 194, 195, 197, 206, 
208, 210, 21 r, 212, 220, 236, 249, 
250, 254, 255, 256, 257, 258, 259, 
260, 261, 262, 263, 264, 265, 266, 
■ 267, 275, 277, 278, 279, 280, 292 

Puebla, Ruy Gonzales de, Spanish 
Ambassador to Henry VII., ii. 300, 

324, 325 

Pull6 and Longhena, ii. 230 

Purchas his Pilgrimes, ii. 126 

Pygmies,ii.i7, 75, 76, 85, 86, iii, 117, 
206, 255, 263, 269, 270 

Pythagoras, i. 11, 12 

Pytheas, i. 2, 29, 38, 41, 43-73. 74. 
75. 77. 78, 80, 81, 82, 90, 92, 97, 
100, io6, 116, 165, 172, 193, 234, 
246 ; date of his voyage, i. 44 ; his 
astronomical measurements, i. 45 ; 
his ship, i. 48 ; in Britain, i. 50 ; 
in Thule, i. 53 ; on the sea beyond 
Thule, i. 65 ; voyage along the coast 
of Germania, i. 69 

QAZwiNi, i. 187, 284 ; ii. 57, 144, 156, 

202, 209-11, 234 
Qodama, ii. 198 
Querini'S travels in Norway (1432), ii. 

177, 286 
Qvigstad, J. K., i. 173, 220, 221, 226, 

228, 229, 372 ; ii. 210 

Rafn, C, i. 304, 340 ; ii. 31. 33, 193 
Ragnaricii (see Ranrike), i. 136 
Raka, island in Arab myth, ii. 207-8 
Ramusio, G. B., ii. 298, 303, 337, 338, 

339, 340. 341. 354. 364 
Ranii, i. 136, 137 
Ranisch, W., i. 18 
Ranrike, i. 136 
Rask, R., i. 179 

Raumarici (see Romerike), i. 136 
Ravenna geographer. The, i. 144, 

152-4, 203 
Ravenstein, E. G., ii. 287, 289 
Ravn Hlymreks-farer, i. 354, 366 
Reeves, A. M., i. 267, 322 ; ii. 30 
Reinach, S., i. 26, 27 
Reindeer, i. 175, 176, 191, 204, 212, 

217, 226, 227, 230, 276, 277 
Reindeer-Lapps, i. 61, 190, 204, 205, 

207, 218, 220-32 ; ii. 269 
Reinel, Pedro, map by, ii. 321, 322, 

358. 364. 370. 371. 374. 376. 377 
Rheims mappamundi in MS. of Mela, 

ii. 282-3 
Rhipaean, or Riphsean, Mountains, i. 

13, 16, 79, 81, 88, 89, 98, loi, 128, 

189, 190, 191, 194, 200 ; ii. 223 
Riant, Paul, ii. 55 
Ribero, Diego, map of 1529, ii. 315, 

335. 356. 357. 359 
Rietz, i. 373 
Rimbertus, i. 167 
Rink, H., ii. 8, 69, 70, 71, 106 
Rock-carvings, Scandinavian, i. 236- 

41. 245 
Rodulf, Norwegian king, i. 129, 132, 

135. 136. 137. 138, 139. 143. 147 
Roger II., Norman king of Sicily, ii, 

202, 203 
Rohde, E., ii. 57, 58, 234 
Rok-stone, The, i. 138, 148 
Rolf of Raudesand, i. 264, 315 
Romerike, i. 136 
Romsdal, i. 136, 137, 147 
Rordan, Holger (Monumenta Hisioriee 

DaniccB), ii. 129 
Ross, H., i. 341, 352 ; ii. 13, 171 
Rudimentum Novitiorum, Map in, ii. 

32 ; geography in, ii. 189 
Rum (Eastern and Central Europe), ii- 

197, 209, 211 
Rus (Scandinavians in Russia), ii. 

196, 197, 198, 199 
Rusbeas, or Rubeas, promontory, i. 

99-100, 102 
Russia (see also Bjarmeland), i. 185, 

187, 188, 191, 214, 383 ; ii. 141, 143, 

164, 174, 195, 196, 197, 206 
Ruste, Ibn, ii. 146, 198 
Ruysch's map (1508), i. 262 ; ii. 289 



Rydberg, Viktor, i. 156, 158 

Ryger (Ruger, Rugii), i. 136, 138, 147, 

179, 209, 246 
Rygh, K., i. 173, 304, 323, 324, 369 
Rygh, O., i. 304, 324, 374 ; ii. 211 
Rymbegla, i. 188, 249, 287, 322, 335 ; 

ii. II, 167, 170, 239, 240, 256, 260, 

263, 264, 271, 272 

Sabalingii, i. 72, 118 

Saevo, Mons, (or Suevus), i, 85, loi, 102 

Sa'id, Ibn, ii. 177, 208-9 

Sailing-directions, Icelandic, i. 262, 
285, 288, 290 ; ii. 166, 168-71, 261 

St. John, Island of, on sixteenth- 
century maps, ii. 320-1, 377 

St. John, Valley of. New Brunswick, 
i. 335 ; ii. 3, 5 

St. Lawrence, Gulf of, ii. 68 

Sallust, i. 349 ; ii. 183, 186 ; " Sallust 
map " at Geneva, ii. 282, 283 

Samoyeds, i. 212, 223 ; ii. 143, 146, 

Samson Fagre's Saga, 11. 172 
Sanali (long-eared), i. 91, 92 
San-Marte, i. 365 
Santa Cruz, Alonso de, ii. 332 
Sanudo, Marino, ii. 222-5, 227, 262, 

272, 282 
Sargasso Sea, i. 40 
Sarmatia, Sarmatians (Slavs), i. 87, 91, 

95, 97, loi, 109, 113, 120, 170 
Sars, J. E., i. 234, 258 
Save, P. A., i. 374 
Savolotchie (the country on the 

Dvina), ii. 141-2 
Saxo Grammaticus, i. 193, 206, 355, 

364 ; ii. loi, 147, 165-6, 221, 

222-3, 224, 227, 238, 242, 258, 259, 

Saxons, i. 145, 153, 154, 180, 235, 242, 

" Scadinavia," or " Scatinavia," 1. 93, 

loi, 102-4, 105, 155, 156 

" Scandia " (" Scandza "), i. 102-4, 
J06, 107, 119, 120, 130-1, 136, 
142-4, 153, 155 ; ii. 254, 257 

Scandinavia, regarded as a peninsula, 
i. 185 ; ii. 222 ; as an island, ii. 186, 
188, 225 ; representation of, in 
mediaeval cartography, ii. 221-5, 
227, 234-6, 250, 258-69, 285, 286 ; 
geography of, in Northern writers, 
ii. 237-9 

Schafairik, i. 185 

Schanz, M., i. 83 

Schiern, F., i. 191 

Schirmer, G., ii. 44 

Schlaraffenland, i. 352 

Schliemann, H., i. 24 


Schonnerbol, ii. 152, 153 
Schoolcraft, H. R., ii. 7 
Schrader, O., i. 24, 34, 36 
Schroder, C, i. 360 ; ii. 9, 19, 43, 44, 

Schiibeler, Prof., ii. 5 
Schuchhardt, C, i. 14 
Schultz-Lorentzen, ii. 73 
Sciringesheal (Skiringssal), i. 179, 247 
Scirri (Skirer), i. loi, 179, 247 
Scisco, Dr. L. D., ii. 43 
Scolvus, Johannes, ii. 129-33 
Scotland, i. 161 ; ii. 204 ; !^rtheas in, 

i. 53-6 ; in mediaeval cartography » 

ii. 221, 257 
Scottish runners, Karlsevne's, i. 321, 

324-5. 337. 339-43 : "• 65 
Scythia, Scythians, i. 13, 16, 19, 20, 

23, 69, 70, 71, 81, 85, 87, 88, 89, 

95. 97. 98, 99, 101, 114, 153, 154, 

185, 187 
Sealand, i. 93, 94, 103, 105, 138 ; in 

mediaeval cartography, ii, 219, 254, 

255. 257. 265 
Seals, Sealing, i. 177, 216-9, 224^ 

276-8, 286-7, 299, 300 ; ii. 72, 91, 

97, 155. 156, 165, 173, 243 
" Sea-lung," i. 66-7 
Sebillot, P., i. 377 
Seippel, Prof. Alexander, ii. 143, 196, 

197, 198, 199, 200, 202, 203, 204, 

205, 208, 210, 211 
Seleucus, i. 77 
Semnones, i. 85 
Sena, island off Brittany, i. 29, 356; 

"• 32, 47 
Seneca, i. 82, 84 

Seres, Serica (China), ii. 262, 271 
" Sermende " (= Sarmatians ?), i, 170 
Sertorius, i. 349-50 
Setala, Prof. E., i. 219 ; ii. 175 
Seven Cities, Isle of the, ii. 293, 295, 

304. 325 

Seven Sleepers, Legend of the, i. 20, 
156, 284 

Severianus, i. 127 

Shetland Isles, i. 52-3, 57, 58, 67, 90, 
106, 107, 117, 161, 163, 179, 192, 
234. 257, 292, 374 ; ii. 207 ; in 
mediaeval cartography, ii. 219, 228, 

Ship-burials, i. 239, 241 

Ships, Egyptian, i. 7, 23, 235, 237, 242, 
243 ; Greek, i. 48-9, 235, 237, 242, 
243, 245 ; Phoenician, i. 35, 237, 
243, 245 ; early Scandinavian, i. 
no, 236-44; Viking, i. 236, 238, 
241, 242, 243, 246-7 ; in Greenland, 

i- 305 
Shirazi, ii. 21 1-2 


*' Sfd '* (Irish fairies), i. 356, 371 ; ii. 

1 6, 20, 45-6, 60 
Sigurd Stefansson's map of the North, 

ii. 7 
Simonsson, J6n, i. 227 
Sinclair, Legends of, in Norway, i, 


Sindbad, i. 159 ; ii. 57, 234 

Siret, L., i. 22, 24, 29 

Sitones, i. 11 1-2 

SkaSi, Norse goddess, i. 103, 207 

Skdld-Helga Rimur, i. 298-9, 300 

Skane, i. 72, 103, 104, 180 ; in medi- 
aeval cartography, ii. 221, 222, 235, 
257, 258, 267, 285 

Skaw, The, i. 85, 100, 105, 186 ; ii. 

Ski-running, i. 149, 157, 158, 203, 223 ; 
ii. 139 

Skolte-Lapps, i. 214, 220, 231 

Skraelings, in Greenland, i. 260, 298, 
308, 312, 327 ; ii. 17, 77-90, loi, 
108, III, 117 ; in Wineland, i. 260, 
312, 313, 327-30. 368 ; ii. 6-1 1, 26, 
60, 90-3, 206, 208 ; in Markland, i. 
329 ; ii. 15, 19, 20, 92-3 ; in Hellu- 
iand, ii. 35 ; originally mythical 
beings, ii. n-20, 26, 60, 75-6; 
meaning of the word, ii. 13 ; called 
Pygmaei, ii. 12, 17, 75, 270 

Skridfinns (Screrefennae, Scrithifini, 
Rerefeni, Scritobini, Scride-Finnas, 
Scritefini), i. 131-2, 140, 143, 144, 
149-50. 153-4. 156-7, 170, 189, 191, 
194, 198, 203-8, 210, 221, 222, 223, 
382 ; ii. 139, 192 

Skull-measurements, of Scandinavians, 
i. 209, 211 ; of Lapps, i. 219-20 ; 
of Eskimo, ii. 67 

Slavs (see also Sarmatians), i. 167, 188, 
208, 209, 210 ; ii. 142, 143, 197, 198 

Sleswick, i. 70, 72, loi, 119, 179, 180 ; 
ii. 202, 204 

Sluggish sea, outside the Pillars of 
Hercules, and in the North, i. 38, 
40-1, 68, 83, 100, 108, 1 12-3, 130, 

Smith Sound, i. 304, 306 ; ii, 71, 72, 

73. 74 
*' Smorland " as a name for fairyland, 

i. 374 
Snaebjorn Galti, i. 264, 280 
Snaefell (Greenland), i. 267, 308, 310 
Snaefellsnes (Iceland), i. 257, 262, 267, 

288, 290, 293, 294, 295 
Snedgus and Mac Riagail, Voyage of, 

ii. 53-4 
Snorre Sturlason, i. 270, 273 ; ii. 18, 

64. 137. 239 
Snorre Thorbrandsson, Wineland 

voyager, i. 313, 319, 320, 326, 327, 

Soderberg, Prof. Sven, on Wineland,. 
ii- 63-5 ^ 

Solberg, Dr. O., i. 213, 214, 217, 219, 
230, 306 ; ii. 72, 73, 103 

Soleri map (1385), ii. 229 

Solinus, C. Julius, i. 52, 55, 57, 64, 66, 
99, 123, 126, 151, 160, 184, 189, 193, 

Soncino, Raimondo di, Milanese Minis- 
ter in London, ii. 296-7, 298, 301, 
302, 303-5, 306, 307, 308, 309, 312, 
314, 316. 323 

Sorensen, S. A., i. 179 

Spain, tin in, i. 23, 31 ; suggested 
origin of the name of, i. 380 ; 
Viking raids in, ii. 199, 200 

Spherical form of the earth. Doctrine 
of, i. II, 97, 126, 127, 151, 194, 199 ; 
ii. 185, 247 

Spies, in land of Canaan, i. 339 

Spitzbergen, i. 248 ; ii. 165, 168, 170, 
172, 173, 179, 238 

Steensby, H. P., ii. 69, 70 

Steenstrup, Japetus, i. 172 

Steenstrup, Johannes, ii. 161, 162 

Stenkyrka (Gotland), Stone from, i. 
239, 243 

Stjdrn (Norwegian version of Old 
Testament), i. 338 ; ii. 4 

Stokes, Whitley, i. 357 

Storm, Gustav, i. 132, 174, 196, 218, 
228, 254, 255, 260, 284, 285, 292, 
301, 305. 313. 314, 317. 321, 322, 
324. 329. 333. 369 ; 11- I, 2, 3, 7, II, 
14, 17, 19, 22, 23, 25, 27, 29, 30. 
35. 36, 43. 47. 48. 75, 79, 82, 86. 
90, 93, 99, 100, loi, 107, III, 112, 
114, 117, 118, 121, 122, 124, 129, 
131, 136, 137. 141, 147, 150, 153. 
158, 167, 168, 229, 235, 237, 240, 
242, 249, 250, 256, 257, 258, 262, 
267, 268, 270, 272, 279, 289, 294 

Stow, John, Chronicle, ii. 333 

Strabo, i. 14, 15, 20, 23, 24, 27, 28, 38, 
42, 43, 44, 45, 50, 52, 53, 55, 56, 57, 
61, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 69, 70, 72, 73, 
74, 75, 76, 77, 80-2, 87, III, 112, 
161, 187, 349 ; ii. 47, 75, 160, 201 

Straumsfjord (Wineland), i. 325, 326, 

329. 330. 337. 343. 345 
Strom, Han (^Description of Sondmor), 

i- 370, 375 
Strong Men, Island of, ii. 43, 46, 50, 61 
Sturlubok, i. 255, 256, 257, 261, 262, 

293. 331, 354, 367. 368 ; ii. 169, 261 
Styx, i. 359, 372 

" Suehans " (see Svear), i. 135, 137 
Sueones (see Svear), i, 188-9 


" Suetidi," i. 136, 137 

Suevi (Suebi), i. 87, 108-9 

Suhm (Historie af Danmark), ii. 154 

Suiones (see Svear), i. 110-2, 236, 238, 

244. 245 
Sun-dial, i. 46-7 
Sun's altitude, measurement of, i. 

249, 250, 309-11 ; ii. 307 
Svalbard (Spitzbergen ?), ii. 165, 166- 

73. 238 
Svear (Swedes, Suiones, Suehans, 

Sveones, Sueones), i. 110-2, 135, 

137, 167, 170, 188-9 ; ii- 190 
Svein E^tridsson, King of Denmark, i. 

184, 188, 189, 195, 201, 383 ; ii. 

Sverdrup, Otto, i. 306 ; ii, 70, 71 
Sviatoi Nos, promontory, i. 171, 174 ; 

ii. 136, 138, 140, 155 
Svinoi, name of island off Sunnmor, i. 

369-70, 378 ; island off Nordland, 

i. 378 ; island in the Faroes, i. 375, 

378 ; probable origin of the name, 

i. 378 

Sweden, i. 71, loi, 112, 134-5, ^1^> 
187, 188-9, 210, 381, 383 ; ii. 190, 
205, 237 ; in mediaeval carto- 
graphy, ii. 219, 221, 222, 223 

Swedes {see Svear and Goter) 

Swedish legends and fairy-tales, ii. 

Sydow, C. W, von, i. 342, 364 

Tacitus, i. 69, 71, 83, 95, 104, 107-14, 
131, 144, 149, 150, 203, 236, 238, 
244, 245 ; ii. 47 

Tanais (the Don), i. 66, 70, 78, 88, 151 ; 
ii. 186 

Tarducci, F., ii. 295, 304, 319 

Tarsia (Tarshish, Tartessos), i. 24, 28, 

31. 38 
Tartarus, i. 11, 68, 158 ; ii. 150, 240 
Tartushi, at-, i. 187, ; ii. 202 
Tastris, promontory, i. 101, 105 
Terfinnas, i. 171, 173-5, 204, 213, 218 ; 

ii. 146 
"Terra del Rey de portuguall " on 

Cantino map, ii. 352, 363, 372 ; 

= Newfoundland, ii. 363, 370 
"Terra Repromissionis Sanctorum," 

i. 357. 358. 359, 363. 364; "• I9, 

Teutones, i. 70, 72, 91, 93, 94 
Thedbitzer, W., ii. 19, 67, 70, 73, 88, 

90. 93 
Thales of Miletus, i. 12, 33, 34, 47 
Theodoric, King of the Goths, i. 128, 

129, 136, 137, 138, 147 
Theopompus, i. 12, 16, 17, 355 
Thietmar of Merseburg, i. 229 


Thomsen, V., ii. 175, 198, 199 ' 

Thor, i. 325. 333, 341, 343, 364 : 
Thor-" names, i. 332-3 ; ii. 51 

Thorbjorn Vivilsson, i. 318, 319, 320, 

Thorbrand Snorrason, killed in Wine- 
land, i. 313, 328, 333 ; ii. 10 

Thore Hand's expedition to Bjarme- 
land, ii. 137-8 

Thorfinn, Earl of Orkney, i. 354; 

Thorgils Orrabeinsfostre, sails to 

Greenland, i. 280-2 ; ii. 81, 89 
Thorgunna, Leif's mistress, i. 316, 

Thorhall Gamlason, Wineland voyager, 

i. 313. 319, 320, 333, 367 
Thorhall the Hunter, i. 296, 320, 321; 

325-6, 329, 333, 338, 343-4; ii. 

Thorkel Gellisson, i. 253, 258,260, 313, 

354, 366, 367, 368 ; ii. 42 
Thormod Kolbrunarskald, i. 276 ; 

ii. i8 
Thorne, Robert, ii. 324, 341 ; map by, 

334. 335 
Thoroddssen, Th., i. 262 ; ii. 225 
Thorolf Kveldulfsson, i. 175, 231 
Thorolf Smor, i. 257, 374 
Thorsdrdpa, i. 219 
Thorstein Ericson, i. 249, 317-9, 320, 

321, 331, 333 ; attempts to find 

Wineland, i. 318 
Thorvald Ericson, i. 318, 320, 329, 

332 ; ii. 4, 13, 17-8 
Thorvard, Wineland voyager, i. 320, 

Three Brethren, Strait of the, ii. 130, 


Thue, H. J., i. 60 

Thule (Tyle, Thyle, Ultima Tile, -Ac), 
i. 123. 134, 147; ii. 75, 149, 188, 
192, 197, 198, 200 ; visited by 
Pytheas , i. 53-64 ; derivation of, 
i- 58-79; = Norway, i. 60; Mela 
on, i. 92 ; Pliny on, i. 106 ; 
Tacitus, i. 108 ; Ptolemy, i. 117, 
120, 121 ; Jordanes, i. 130 ; Pro- 
copius, i. 140-4 ; Solinus MSS., i. 
i6o-i ; Adam of Bremen, i. 193-4 r 
Dicuil on (^Iceland), i. 164-7 • 
Tjodrik Monk (^Iceland), i. 254 ; 
Historia Norwegiae (= Iceland), i, 
255 ; in mediaeval cartography, ii. 
219, 228, 257, 266, 268, 269 

Thyssagetae, i. 88 

Tides, on W. coast of France, i. 40 ; 
observed by Pytheas, i. 50 ; on 
coast of N. America, ii. 316 

Timaeus, i. 44, 51, 70, 71 


Tin in ancient times, i. 23-31 ; deri- 
vation of Greek, Celtic and Latin 
words for, i. 25-7 ; tin-trade in 
southern Britain, i. 68 

" Tir fo-Thuin " (Land under Wave), 
i. 358, 370, 373 

" Tir Mor " (The Great Land), i. 357, 
367 ; ii. 48 

" Tir na Fer Finn " (the White Men's 
Land), ii. 44 

"Tir na m-Ban " (Land of Women), 

,^ i. 354. 355 
Tir na m-Beo " (Land of the Living), 

i- 357. 371 
" Tu: na n-Ingen " (Land of Virgins), 

i- 355. 356. 363 ; ii- 45 
"Tir na n-Og " (Land of Youth), 

i- 357 
"Tir Tairngiri " (Promised Land), 

i. 357 ; ii. 228 
Tjodhild, wife of Eric the Red, i. 267, 

270. 318, 331 
Tjodrik Monk, i. 166, 254, 255, 256, 257 
Toby, Maurice, Bristol chronicle, ii. 

302, 305-6 
Torfaeus, Tormodus, ii. 7, 32, 34, 154, 

Torlacius (Gudbrand Torlaksson), ii. 

Torp, Prof. Alf, i. 25, 26, 27, 58, 59, 94, 

107, 148, 181, 183, 210, 304, 361, 

371 ; ii. 13, 14, 228 
Toscanelli, ii. 287, 292, 296, 372 
Trade-routes to the North in ancient 

times, i. 14, 21-2, 28, 31, 36, 75, 96 
" Trag M6r " (the Great Strand), i. 

339. 357. 371 ; ii- 48 
Triads, in legend, i. 337-8 ; ii. 6 
Triquetrum (regula Ptolemaica), i. 

Trolls, attributes of, i. 327, 344 ; ii. 

10, 14-6, 19, 76 
Trondhjem, i. 192 ; ii. 85, 117, 177, 

205, 227, 235, 264, 265, 266, 267, 

268, 269, 270 
Troy, Bronze in, i. 24, 25 
Turcae, i. 88 
Tylor, E. B., i. 380 
T5T:ker (in Wineland story), i. 341, 

343-4. 360 ; ii. 4 

Ua Corra, Navigation of the Sons of, 

i- 338-9, 355, 361 ; ii. 20 
Unger, C. R., i. 331, 338, 360 
Unipeds (Einfotingar, Ymantopodes), 

i. 189, 329 ; ii. II, 13, 17, 263 
Urus (aurochs), i. 191 
" Uttara Kuru," i. 19, 351 

Vandals, i. 247 

Vangensten, O., i. 226 ; ii, 85, in, 233, 

268, 286 
Van Linschoten, i. 376 
Varanger Fjord, i. 213, 214, 217, 219, 

220 ; ii. 178, 210-11 
Varangians' Sea (see Warank), ii. 210, 

211, 212, 213 
Vardohus fortress, ii. 126, 127, 141 
Varzuga, river, i. 174 ; ii. 135 
Vaux, C. de, ii. 213 
Velleius, i. 85 

Venedi (Wends), i. 101, 113 
Vener, Lake, i. 131 ; ii. 266 
Veneti, i. 39, 40, 242 
Venusberg myth, i. 355, 371 
Verrazano's map of 1529, ii. 335 
Vesconte, Perrinus, map of 1327, 

ii. 229 ; atlas of 1321, ii. 230 
Vesconte, Pietro, ii. 222-5, 230, 255, 

257, 258, 259, 276, 282, 283, 284, 

Vigfiisson, Gudbrand, i. 258, 314 
Viking expeditions, the earliest; i. 

234-5 .* i'^ Spain, ii. 200 
Vikings, origin of the name, i. 244, 245 
Viladeste, Mecia de, compass-chart of 

1413, ii. 234 
" Villuland " (Norse land of glamour), 

i. 377 ; ii. 206 
Vincent of Beauvais, ii. 158 
Vine, Wild, (Vitis vulpina), in N. 

America, i. 317 ; ii. 3-4 
"Vinili," i. 136 
" Vinoviloth," i. 136, 203 
Virgil, i. 130, 157, 159, 363 
Vistula, i. 71, 75, 95, 96, loi, 104, 

119, 120, 121, 130, 131, i8i 
Vogel, i. 235 

Volga, ii. 142, 143, 144, 146, 197 
Voyage of 1267, to the north of 

Baffin's Bay, i. 250, 307-11 ; ii. 

82, 83, 88 

Wackernagel, W., ii. 32, 189 

Walkendorf, Archbishop Eric, ii. 86, 
112, 117, 163, 174 

Walrus, ii. 112, 155, 163, 165, 243 ; 
hunting, i. 172, 176-8, 212, 216, 221, 
276-8, 287, 300 ; ii. 72, 163-4, 
173-8 ; tusks, i. 172, 176, 192, 212, 
217, 277, 300, 303 ; ii. 163, 174 ; 
hide for ropes, ii. 172, 176, 212, 277, 
303 ; ii. 164, 178 

Walsperger, Andreas, mappamundi by, 
ii. 283, 284, 286 

Warank, Varyag, Varangi (Arab, 
Russian and Greek name for Scandi- 
navians), ii. 196, 199, 200, 210-1 

Wattenzone, Die, i. 68 

Welcher, F. G., i. 371 


Wends, i. loi, 113, 169, 180 

Western Settlement of Greenland, i. 
266, 271, 272, 300, 301, 302, 307, 
311, 321, 322, 334; ii. 71, 90; 
decline of, ii. 95-100, 102, 106, 107- 
III ; visit of Ivar Bardsson to, 
ii. 108 

West-sae, i. 169, 170 

Whales, Whaling, i. 251 ; ii. 145, 173 ; 
in Bay of Biscay, i. 39 ; ii. 159, 161 ; 
in Normandy, ii. 159, 161 ; Nor- 
wegian, i. 172 ; ii. 155-9, 178. 243 : 
in Greenland, i. 276, 277 ; ii. 72 ; 
in Ireland, ii. 156 ; in the Mediter- 
ranean, ii. 162 ; in legend, i. 325-6, 
344. 363. 364 ; ii- 213, 234 

Whirlpools (see Maelstrom) 

White Men's Land, The (see Hvitra- 
manna-land, and Tir na Fer Finn) 

White Sea, i. 169, 171, 172, 174, 175, 
218-9, 222 ; ii. 135-42, 164, 173, 
179, 237 

Wichmann, Prof., i. 219 

WidsiiS, i. 234 

Wieland, C. M., i. 352, 362 ; ii. 54, 


Wieser, von, ii. 249 

Wiklund, K. B., i. 112 ; ii. 175 

" Wildlappenland," i. 226; ii. 256, 
263, 268 ; " Wildlappmanni," ii. 
269, 270 

Wilhelmi, ii. 366 

Wille, Prof. N., ii. 3 

William of Mahnesbury, i. 378 

Wilse, J. N., i. 352 

Wineland (Vinland, Vinland, Vindland, 
Winland, Wyntlandia, etc.), i. 184, 
195.196-8, 201, 249, 260, 273, 312-84; 
ii. 1-65, 90-3, no, 154, 188, 
190-1, 228, 239, 240, 293, 294, 
304; called "the Good," i. 313, 
353. 369, 373 ; ii. 60 ; vines and 
wheat in, i. 195, 197-8, 317, 325, 
326-7, 345-53. 382-3 ; ii. 3-6, 59 ; 
"=the Fortunate Isles, i. 345-53, 
382-4 ; ii. 1-2, 61 ; authorities for 
the Wineland voyages, i. 312-3 ; 
discovered by Leif Ericson, i. 317 ; 
JCarlsevne's voyage, i. 320-30 ; Irish 

origin of ideas of, i. 167, 258, 353-69 ; 

ii. 60 ; the name of, i. 353, 367 ; 

ii. 6 1 ; summary of conclusions on, 

ii. 58-62 
Winge, Herluf, i. 275 
Winship, G. P., ii. 295, 305, 319, 320, 

324, 326, 333, 336, 340, 341, 342 
'' Wtsu " (or " Isti "), Arabic name for 

a people in North Russia, ii. 143-6, 

200, 270 
Wizzi, i. 188, 383 ; ii. 64, 143 
Wolf, Jens Lauritzon, i. 364 
Wolfenbiittel, Portuguese i6th century 

map at, ii. 331, 332, 335, 356 
Women, Land of (Terra Feminarum), 

on the Baltic, i. 186-7, 383 ; ii. 

Women's boats (umiaks), Eskimo, 

ii. 19, 70, 72, 74, 85, 92, 269, 270 
Wonders, Book of (Arabic), ii. 207, 

Worcester, Willemus de, ii. 294 
Wulfstan, i, 104, 180 
Wuttke. H., i. 154 
Wytfiiet, Cornelius, ii. 131 

X AM ATI, i. 88 

Xenophon of Lampsacus, i. 71, 99. 

Yagug and Magug, ii. 144, 212, 213 
Ynglinga Saga, i. 135 
York, Cape, i. 306, ii. 71 
Yugrians, ii. 173, 174, 200 

Zarncke, ii. 242 

Zeno map, ii. 131, 132 

Zeuss, K., i. 112, 120, 145, 234; 

Ziegler, Jacob, i. 294 ; ii. 17, 86, 106, 

III, 127, 128 
Zimmer, H., i. 234, 281, 334, 336, 339, 

354. 355. 356, 357. 35^. 360, 361. 

363. 364. 371 ; "• 9. 10. 20, 44, 45, 

53. 54. 150. 151 
Zizania aquatica (wild rice), in N. 

America, ii. 5 
Zones, Doctrine of, i. 12, 76, 86, 123 ; 

ii. 182, 193, 247 





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