How to use Vinland in a sentence
The other saga, which by chance came to be looked upon as the chief repository of facts concerning the Vinland voyages, is found in a large Icelandic work known as the Flatey Book, as it was once owned by a man who lived on Flat Island (Flatey), on the north-western coast of Iceland.
When the Norsemen came to Greenland they found various remains indicating, as the old sagas say, that there had been people of a similar kind as those they met with in Vinland, in America, whom they called Skraeling (the meaning of the word is uncertain, it means possibly weak people); but the sagas do not report that they actually met the natives then.
In 1002 he came to Greenland, married Gudrid, widow of Red Eric's son Thorstein, and put himself at the head of a great expedition now undertaken from Ericsfiord for the further exploration and settlement of the western Vinland (south Nova Scotia?) lately discovered by Leif Ericsson.
Next spring nine of the party, headed by the chief malcontent Thorhall, Red Eric's huntsman, sailed off northward, intending to come to Vinland by rounding Keelness and thence working round west (and south).
Here they found the "self-sown" wheatfields and vines of Leif's Vinland, and here accordingly they settled and built their huts above the lake (1004-1005).Advertisement
Internal dissensions now broke out, mainly about the women of the colony, and in the next summer (1006) the entire project of Vinland settlement was abandoned and the fleet sailed to Markland.
It may be noticed that the Flatey Book narrative gives a somewhat different but much slighter account of Thorfinn's expedition, making both Thorvald Ericsson and Freydis undertake separate Vinland ventures - one before, the other after, Karlsefni's enterprise - Thorvald being killed on his (as in Red Eric Saga, but with divergent details), and Freydis on her committing atrocities upon her comrades, the Icelanders Helgi and Finnbogi, which are unnoticed in Red Eric. The latter, however, in its mention of the domestic broils which arose over the women of the colony in its third winter, points to something which may have been the germ of the highly elaborated Freydis story in Flatey.
The six Vinland voyages of Flatey, we may repeat, Red Eric reduces to three, wholly omitting the alleged voyage of Biarni Heriulfsson, and grouping those of Thorvald Ericsson and Freydis with Thorfinn Karlsefni's in one great colonizing venture.
The less trustworthy history of the Flatey Book makes Biarni Heriulfsson in 985 discover Helluland (Labrador?) as well as other western lands which he does not explore, not even permitting his men to land; while Leif Ericsson follows up Biarni's discoveries, begins the exploration of Helluland, Markland and Vinland, and realizes some of the charms of the last named, where he winters.
But this secondary authority (the Flatey Book narrative), which till lately formed the basis of all general knowledge as to Vinland, abounds in contradictions and difficulties from which Eric the Red Saga is comparatively free.Advertisement
Thus (in Flatey) the grapes of Vinland are found in winter and gathered in spring; the man who first finds them, Leif's foster-father Tyrker the German, gets drunk from eating the fruit; and the vines themselves are spoken of as big trees affording timber.
Here occurs the earliest mention of Vinland, and here are also references of great interest to Russia and Kiev, to the heathen Prussians, the Wends and other Slav races of the South Baltic coast, and to Finland, Thule or Iceland, Greenland and the Polar seas which Harald Hardrada and the nobles of Frisia had attempted to explore in Adam's own day (before 1066).
In pursuit of historical study, Adam visited the Danish court during the reign of the well-informed monarch Svend Estridsson (1047-1076), and writes that the king "spoke of an island (or country) in that ocean discovered by many, which is called Vinland, because of the wild grapes [vites] that grow there, out of which a very good wine can be made.
This passage offers important corroboration of the Icelandic accounts of the Vinland voyages, and is, furthermore, interesting "as the only undoubted reference to Vinland in a medieval book written beyond the limits of the Scandinavian world" (Fiske).
The main stream of Norsemen took a westerly course, striking Great Britain, Ireland and the Western Isles, and ultimately reached Iceland (in 874), Greenland (in 985) and Vinland (in r ood).Advertisement
In the case of the Vinland sagas, however, there are two independent narratives of the same events, which clash in the record of details.
The only important phase of the Vinland voyages that has not been definitely settled is the identifications of the regions visited by Leif and Thorfinn.
At any rate, the incontrovertible facts of the Vinland voyages are that Leif and Thorfinn were historical characters, that they visited, in the early part of the 11th century, some part of the American continent south-west of Greenland, that they found natives whose hostility prevented the founding of a permanent settlement, and that the sagas telling of these things are, on the whole, trustworthy descriptions of actual experience.
Looking at the record in Eric the Red Saga, it would seem probable that Leif's Vinland answers to some part of southern Nova Scotia.
The fact that the Icelandic sagas concerning Vinland are not contemporaneous written records has caused them to be viewed by many with suspicion; hence such a significant allusion as that by Adam of Bremen is not to be overlooked.Advertisement
It was evidently the general excellence of this collection that gave the version of the Vinland story that it contained precedence, in the works of early investigators, over the Vinland story of Hank's Book.
Fifteen years later, according to this account, Leif Ericsson set out from Greenland in search of the lands that Biarni had seen, found them and named them - Helluland (Flat-stone-land), Markland (Forestland) and Vinland.
After his return to Greenland, several successive expeditions visited the new lands, none of which (strangely enough) experienced any difficulty in finding Leif's hut in the distant Vinland.
According to the Vinland saga in Hank's Book, Leif Ericsson, whose father, Eric the Red, had discovered and colonized Greenland, set out on a voyage, in 999, to visit Norway, the native land of his father.
The Vinland story was doubtless a cherished family possession, and was put into writing, when writing sagas, instead of telling them, came into fashion.Advertisement
His work The Book of Icelanders is unfortunately lost, but an abridgment of it, Libellus Islandorum, made by Ari himself, contains a significant reference to Vinland.
From this allusion one cannot but think that so keen and alert a writer as Ari had given some attention to Vinland in the lost work.
The history of Roman Catholicism in the New World begins with the Norse discoveries of Greenland and Vinland the Good.
His son, Leif Ericsson, and others of his followers were concerned in the discovery of the North American coast (see Vinland), which, but for the isolation of Iceland from the centres of European awakening, would have had momentous consequences.
On a voyage from Norway to Greenland Leif Ericsson (son of Eric the Red) discovered America in the year 1000, and a few years later Torfinn Karlsefne sailed with three ships and about 150 men, from Greenland to Nova Scotia to form a colony, but returned three years later (see Vinland).Advertisement
In the 10th and 11th centuries Norse sea-rovers, starting from Iceland, had made small settlements in Greenland and had pushed as far as the coast of New England (or possibly Nova Scotia) in transient visits (see Vinland and Leif Ericsson).
The importance of the information, meagre as it is, lies in the fact that Adam received from the lips of kinsmen of the explorers (as the Danes in a sense were) certain characteristic facts (the finding of grapes and unsown grain) that support the general reliability of the Icelandic sagas which tell of the Vinland voyages (in which these same facts are prominent), but which were not put into writing by the Norsemen until later - just how much later it is not possible to determine.
This conservative opinion does not preclude the possibility, or even probability, that written accounts of the Vinland voyages existed before this date.
On Flatey Book, Red Eric Saga and the whole bibliography for the Vinland voyages, including that of Thorfinn, see Leif Ericsson and Vinland.
It was from the young Greenland colony that an attempt was made to establish a new outpost in Vinland, but plans for permanent settlement were given up on account of the hostility of the natives, with whom the settlers felt powerless to grapple.Advertisement