Saga of the West

‘Summer on the Greenland coast circa year 1000’ by Carl Rasmussen, 1875.

‘Summer on the Greenland coast circa year 1000’ by Carl Rasmussen, 1875.

When a Genoese mariner sailed west across the ‘Ocean Sea’ in search of Asia in 1492, he happened upon the Americas and claimed them for the Spanish Crown that had financed his voyage. Christopher Columbus’ return to Spain in 1493 laid the foundations for contact between Europe and what he thought were Asia’s eastern shores, the ‘Indies’. In 1501, another Italian explorer, Amerigo Vespucci, seconded Columbus’ subsequent realisation that the shores were not Asian at all, but an entirely separate continent “unknown” to European powers. This ‘New World’ soon bore Vespucci’s name, and by Columbus’ death in 1506, the link between the ‘Old World’ and America was firmly established, forever changing human events (1).

Or rather, the link was firmly reestablished. Half a millennia earlier, the Vikings had already begun colonising parts of North America. Their story is recorded in literature known as the Icelandic Sagas (Íslendingasögur). Set mainly between c. 850 and c. 1050 AD, the traditionally oral (2) sagas were committed to vellum in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries (3), the word ‘saga’ being Old Norse for ‘what is said, utterance’ (4). Two sagas recount the Viking exploits in North America: The Saga of the Greenlanders (Grænlendinga Saga) and The Saga of Erik the Red (Eiríks Saga Rauða). By investigating the potential transmission of the sagas and Columbus’ own whereabouts, this paper will seek to answer the question that naturally arises: did the Íslendingasögur help inspire Columbus’ first voyage?

‘First Landing of Columbus of the Shores of the New World’ by Dióscoro Puebla, 1892

‘First Landing of Columbus of the Shores of the New World’ by Dióscoro Puebla, 1892.

Humanity in the Americas

The first humans to set foot in the Americas came on foot. During the Last Glacial Period (c. 115,00 – c. 11,700 years ago), what is now the Bering Strait between Siberia and Alaska was bridged by the lost region of ‘Beringia’. Over the millennia (c. 25,000 – c. 15,000 years ago), humans moved from Asia across Beringia into the Americas. The end of the Last Glacial Period saw sea levels rise to their current position, severing the human connection between the landmasses of Afro-Eurasia and America. Isolated, these early Americans soon populated North and South America with cultures and civilisations independent of those in the Old World (5). Thousands of years later, the long-lost cousins of humanity reunited on 12 October 1492 when Columbus landed in the Bahamas and encountered the Lucayan. In none of their wildest imaginations did either group think they were meeting their distant relatives.

Beringia, the bridge between Asia and the Americas near the end of the Last Glacial Period

Beringia, the bridge between Asia and the Americas near the end of the Last Glacial Period.

Yet this was not the first ‘family reunion’. While Greenland is not connected to mainland North America, it is often considered part of the North American continent—though the definition of ‘continent’ varies—as it sits on the North American tectonic plate and shares flora and fauna with the mainland (6). ‘Chapter 2’ of Eiríks Saga Rauða tells of Greenland’s naming and colonisation by Erik the Red in the late tenth century; Europeans’ first contact with the Americas. ‘Chapter 8’ tells of the first contact with mainland North America, when Erik’s son, Leif Erikson, reaches ‘Helluland’, ‘Markland’, and ‘Vinland’, which twentieth-century archaeology suggests are Baffin Island, Labrador, and Newfoundland (7). Thorfinn Karlsefni later follows Leif’s route and in ‘Chapter 12’ he battles the ‘Skrælingar’, ancestors of today’s Inuit:

There was seen approaching from the south a great crowd of Skrælingar boats … the Skrælingar were all howling loudly. Then took they and bare red shields to meet them. They encountered one another and fought, and there was a great shower of missiles (8).

Woodcut frontispiece of Erik the Red from Arngrímur Jónsson’s ‘Gronlandia’, 1688

Woodcut frontispiece of Erik the Red from Arngrímur Jónsson’s ‘Gronlandia’, 1688.

Commemorative U.S. stamp of Leif Erikson, issued on Leif Erikson Day, 9 October 1968

Commemorative U.S. stamp of Leif Erikson, issued on Leif Erikson Day, 9 October 1968.

Bronze statue of Thorfinn Karlsefni by Einar Jónsson, Philadelphia, 1920.

Bronze statue of Thorfinn Karlsefni by Einar Jónsson, Philadelphia, 1920.

Columbus’ enslavement of the Taíno in Hispaniola in the 1490s was not the first episode of violence and inhumanity between people of the Old and New Worlds. But as Fitzhugh writes:

Not least is the question of whether Nordic knowledge of the northwestern North Atlantic and its lands and peoples was transmitted to Europe from its medieval manuscripts and tradition-bearers in Iceland and Scandinavia, what information this consisted of, and whether it influenced later European exploration (9).

Columbus offers us no easy answers, for if he did know of the Íslendingasögur, he never indicated so (10). In Libro de las profecías (Book of Prophecies)—his collection of Biblical, Classical, and even Islamic sources ‘proving’ his Divine fulfillment of ancient prophecy—he makes no mention of the Íslendingasögur (11), nor in his letters (12). Yet their absence alone from his writing does not mean he never encountered them. Plausible reasons for their omission include: he did not consider them noteworthy; he chose not to cite them; he cited them in work still undiscovered. Short of unearthing hypothetical documents, this paper will instead seek to determine the probabilities of Columbus and the Íslendingasögur crossing paths. To do this, both their paths need to be traced.

Transmission of the Íslendingasögur

The Íslendingasögur “exercised enduring influence upon the English literature of the Middle Ages” (13), but Columbus’ opportunity to encounter either their printed or oral forms in fifteenth-century Spain or Portugal was limited. Like the people mentioned in the sagas, it is hard to know precisely how far they themselves travelled. To determine where the sagas could have theoretically travelled by Columbus’ lifetime, we need to define the geographic extents of the ‘Viking World’.

Contemporary map of Old Norse place names by Sandra Rimmer, revealing the extent of the known world to the Medieval Nordic elite

Contemporary map of Old Norse place-names by Sandra Rimmer, revealing the extent of the known world to the Medieval Nordic elite.

Graham-Campbell describes the Viking World as consisting of “a loose grouping of the Scandinavian homelands and new overseas colonies, linked by sea routes that reached across the Baltic and North Sea, spanning even the Atlantic”. Those colonies stretched from Novgorod to Normandy, and possibly even Newfoundland, while Viking raids took place in the Mediterranean and North Africa (14). After the ‘Viking Age’ (c. 790 – c. 1050 AD) (15), by the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the Christianisation of Scandinavia saw members of the Nordic elite pilgrimaging to Rome and the Holy Land (16). In the twelfth century, Icelandic, Danish, and Norwegian clerics studied at universities in Oxford, Cambridge, Paris, Orleans, Montpellier, and Bologna. By Columbus’ lifetime, Scandinavians were studying in Prague, Leipzig, Vienna, and Rostock (17). This is not to say that the Íslendingasögur necessarily travelled to these places too, but they could have. Additionally, with Scandinavians adopting the Latin alphabet in the eleventh century (18) and the first Icelandic histories being written in the vernacular and Latin (19), it is also possible that the Íslendingasögur could have been read, transcribed, or translated beyond Scandinavia.

The numbers of verified pre-Columbian Íslendingasögur manuscripts suggest this scenario is incredibly unlikely. No other saga survives in as many copies as Njáls Saga, of which there are just 18 extant copies, all in Scandinavia (20). With parameters set between 1200 and 1500 AD, Karlsson totals the number of existing texts at 59. Including earlier fragments, Lethbridge counts 64. Of Grænlendinga Saga and Eiríks Saga Rauða, Lethbridge counts just one and three copies respectively (21). That four copies survive is undoubtedly remarkable, that Columbus read one of them is undoubtedly impossible. Unless a miraculous fifth copy is someday unearthed miles from Iceland, it can be safely assumed none ever accompanied the Nordic elite to European universities or on pilgrimages to Rome and Jerusalem.

While Columbus never read the sagas during his time in the Mediterranean and Iberia, spoken versions cannot be dismissed so confidently. Unsurprisingly, Flint’s chapter on the texts Columbus is known to have read makes no mention of the Íslendingasögur (22). More surprising is their absence in her following chapter of “the stories of water and sea crossings [Columbus] knew, or might have known” (23). If a lifelong mariner like Columbus was as insatiable for clues of what lay to the west as Granzotto (24) and Philips (25) suggest he was, why is Flint left with nothing to say about the Íslendingasögur?

The dissemination of the Íslendingasögur was so limited, in part, because Iceland had a “conservative, exclusive society” which “maintained heavy restrictions on change” (26). Far from the affairs and concerns of continental Europe, Icelanders had about as much interest in sharing the Íslendingasögur with the outside world as the outside world had in hearing them—excepting, perhaps, certain explorers. Foreign interest in the Íslendingasögur is a more recent phenomenon. It was not until the nineteenth century when Scandinavian migration to the United States increased and English translations of Scandinavian histories became available, that interest in Viking history spread beyond its traditional bounds of Scandinavia (27). Other than King Eirik of Denmark marrying Princess Philippa of England, who happened to be a cousin of Prince Henry the Navigator of Portugal, Seaver writes “it is doubtful that the Spanish and Portuguese paid much attention to either Denmark or Norway in the late Middle Ages” (28). Even Icelanders at the time saw little importance in the territorial discoveries of Leif Erikson, Clements suggesting “Vinland was merely one more place where they could find furs and wood” (29). To Icelanders, the sagas serving as entertainment and expressions of cultural memory spoke of people and places closer to home (30). The common trait of intertextuality between sagas of genealogical histories, family feuds, and local places render single sagas taken out of this context largely meaningless and uninteresting to outsiders (31).

By the 1180s, the colonies in Greenland had come under Norwegian rule (32), and evidence that knowledge of Arctic colonies had spread beyond Scandinavia, if not knowledge of the Íslendingasögur themselves, is found in Church documents. A letter from Pope Nicholas V, dated 20 September 1448, concerns the Bishopric of Garðar in Greenland, the ‘Diocese of Ice’, which had become “cut off from Scandinavia … imprisoned in the ice, abandoned by all, left without support or hope” (33). The letter reads:

Profoundly impressed therefore with the responsibility of our position, it is not difficult to understand how our mind was filled with bitterness by the tearful lamentations which have reached our ears from our beloved children, the native and other inhabitants of the island of Greenland, a region situated at the uttermost end of the earth (34).

Two things are noteworthy. Firstly, there is no reference to colonies or lands beyond Greenland, it is ‘the uttermost end of the earth’. Secondly, Greenland is described as a faraway island, not a part of Asia nor any other continent (35). These are significant points in light of other documents. In c. 1070, the German chronicler, Adam of Bremen, wrote in his Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum (History of the Archbishops of Hamburg-Bremen) of his conversations with King Sweyn II of Denmark. Adam specifically mentions Vinland—tentatively believed today to be located at the L’Anse aux Meadows site in Newfoundland (36)—making it the earliest European record of the Americas (37):

[Sweyn II] spoke also yet of another island of the many found in that ocean. It is called Vinland because vines producing excellent wine grow wild there. That unsown crops also abound on that island we have ascertained not from fabulous reports but from the trustworthy relation of the Danes (38).

Fifty years later, Pope Paschal II appointed Eiríkur Gnúpsson as the first Bishop of Garðar and its “lands to the west” (39). According to the Íslendingasögur, however, Gnúpsson went looking for Vinland in 1121—the same year he received episcopal consecration in Lund, Denmark, from Archbishop Adzar (40)—suggesting contact between Greenland and Vinland had been lost (41). Bishop Jon Smyrill later made a pilgrimage from Greenland to Rome before his death in 1206 (42), but even if he had spoken of Vinland, any knowledge from him, or from Adam and Paschal II, appears forgotten in Nicholas V’s 1448 letter. Furthermore, the information privy to Nicholas V regarding Greenland, or Vinland to previous Pontiffs, and that privy to Columbus does not simply overlap. Nonetheless, Rome’s ties to the Catholic monarchies of Portugal and Spain, alongside Columbus’ own relationship to these monarchies, means the possibility of Columbus knowing of Greenland or Vinland cannot be ruled out entirely. In any case, however slight the possibility, Columbus’ knowledge would not have come from the Íslendingasögur, it would have bypassed them altogether.

Scholars who claim Columbus had knowledge of the Íslendingasögur often provide poor evidence or none at all. For example, Ólafsson writes unequivocally “Icelandic chroniclers spread the knowledge of these new lands to Europe. It is likely that Columbus knew about this discovery when he sailed west” (43). But he provides no sources for his assertions. Fitzhugh writes “Some scholars believe that [Columbus] … must have grasped the import of the Norse voyages” and cites “Stefansson 1942, Egilsson 1991, Quinn 1992, and Seaver 1996” (44). Yet enquiry into these sources reveals immediate flaws. Fitzhugh’s bibliography lists two of Stefansson’s works but neither date to 1942. Egilsson’s 1991 article appears in a magazine promoting Icelandic culture, Iceland Review. Published by MD Reykjavík, a tourism company, there is no publicly available archive of their publications (45), but given the quincentennial of Columbus’ first voyage was to take place the following year, Egilsson’s work is likely a celebration of Columbus’ Icelandic connection. No ‘Quinn’ appears in Fitzhugh’s bibliography, but he is probably referring to David B. Quinn, a specialist in North American colonisation. Quinn also wrote during the quincentennial, but his article appears to contradict Fitzhugh’s claim:

There is no need to suggest that [Columbus] learned of the medieval Greenland colony: Icelanders had lost interest in it after Norway took control of contacts with it in the late thirteenth century. He is still less likely to have heard of the Vinland sagas, even if they had been retained in folk memory, which is very doubtful, or had been written down in unintelligible language between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries (46).

The closest Seaver comes in her 1996 book, The Frozen Echo, to supporting Fitzhugh is when discussing Columbus’ possible trip to Galway, writing if he did make such a voyage then “accounts of unfamiliar land glimpsed by storm-tossed crews must have joined both vague tales of Vínland and reports of relatively uneventful working voyages to such well-known places such as Iceland” (47). Evidently, we must now assess the whereabouts of Columbus himself.

Travels of Christopher Columbus

In the Journal of his first voyage, Columbus wrote on 21 December 1492:

I have traversed the sea for 23 years, without leaving it for any time worth counting, and I saw all in the east and the west, going on the route of the north, which is England, and I have been to Guinea (48).

There appears no reason to doubt Columbus’ claim that he visited the West African coast, ‘Guinea’. The town of Elmina in Ghana grew around the São Jorge da Mina Castle, which the Portuguese completed in 1481 (49). Logic dictates that Columbus must have visited Elmina between 1481 and his proposal of a westward Atlantic voyage to the Portuguese in 1484-85 (50), as notes either written or authorised by him refuting the idea of an uninhabitable equator state:

It is not uninhabitable, for the Portuguese sail through it today, and it is even very populous, and under the equator is the castle of Mina of the most serene king of Portugal, which we have seen (52).

Elmina Castle as viewed from the sea by Georg Braun, 1572

Elmina Castle as viewed from the sea by Georg Braun, 1572.

Less convincing are the details surrounding Columbus’ “much-debated” (53) northern voyage, his ‘route of the north’, in the 1470s. Such a voyage could have very easily brought him into contact with some iteration of the Íslendingasögur, if it happened. Fernández-Armesto’s chronology of Columbus’ life states Columbus “Makes voyage to Iceland, perhaps via England and Ireland” next to the year “1477?” (54). He later adds:

Columbus might well have joined a Bristolian venture to Iceland. There is nothing inherently implausible in his claim, and his participation in such a voyage would also provide a context for the visit to Galway in Ireland which he mentioned in another marginal annotation (55).

That annotation appears in Columbus’ copy of d’Ally’s Imago Mundi and translates to “Men of Cathay have come from the west. [Of this] we have seen many signs. And especially in Galway in Ireland” (56). This note is not itself evidence that Columbus himself visited Ireland, but if stories of ‘Chinese’ bodies washing ashore in Galway hold some truth, an explanation might be that indigenous Americans, whose distant Asian ancestors crossed Beringia, could appear thus that Europeans could not distinguish them from Chinese. Instances of this phenomenon occurring in the Azores are cited by Morison (57) and Knox-Johnston, the latter writing “two bodies with Chinese-type faces (probably Eskimos) were found on a beach at Flores in the Azores” (58). The likelihood of corpses drifting across the Atlantic aside, why would Columbus have travelled to Galway in the first place? One explanation might be if he was en route to the farthest known land to most Europeans, ‘Ultima Thule’, Iceland. But if he travelled as far north as Iceland, why write ‘the north, which is England’?

As with the Íslendingasögur, Columbus offers us no easy answers regarding Iceland since he never wrote of such a voyage (59). His son, Ferdinand, is our sole source for the voyage and the evidence he cited has since been lost (60). Nevertheless, he claimed his father wrote:

In the month of February, 1477, I sailed one hundred leagues beyond the island of Tile [Thule], whose northern part is in latitude 73 degrees N, and not 63 degrees as some affirm, nor does it lie upon the meridian where Ptolemy says the West begins, but much farther west. And to this island, which is as big as England, the English come with their wares, especially from Bristol. When I was there, the sea was not frozen, but the tides were so great that in some places they rose twenty-six fathoms, and fell as much in depth (61).

The loss of Ferdinand’s physical evidence has led to the content of it coming under heavy scrutiny, particularly the impossible tidal measurements, the incorrect latitudinal coordinates, and the apparent folly of sailing amid the Arctic winter. Hanns Graefe offers explanations: Columbus was using Arabic measurements for the tide; he was not referring to the latitude of Iceland but Jan Mayen; his report of an ice-free coast is corroborated in “old records” found by Magnusen and is a fact that could only have been known to Columbus “as a result of personal experience” (62). Debate about measurement systems has validity (63), but Graefe’s claim that Columbus was giving the latitude of Jan Mayen is contradicted by the comparison in size to England. Whether Columbus was referring to the island of Great Britain (209,331 km2) or literally the country of England (130,395 km²) is unclear, but a comparison between either to Iceland (103,000 km2) in 1477 is more forgivable than to Jan Mayen (377 km2). What Magnusen’s ‘old records’ were, Graefe does not say, but both Storm and Ruddock cite evidence in the Icelandic Annals that refer to 1476–77 as “unusually mild” (64). Another of Magnusen’s claims, however, is described by Storm as “fantasy” (65) and De Lollis suspects it of being “freshly fabricated” (66). Lacking evidence, Magnusen claims that Bishop Magnus Eyjolsson of Skálholt was abbot of the monastery of Helgafell, where Grænlendinga Saga and Eiríks Saga Rauða were supposedly kept, and when Eyjolsson met Columbus in 1477, he showed them to him (67). Lacy, also with no sources given, paints a similarly Romantic scene of Columbus in Bristol, “where news of the Norse voyages would have made good conversation over a mug of ale” (68).

Established trade networks and a lack of record-keeping do leave open the possibility that Columbus entered England en route further north. Fifteenth-century Genoese merchants sailed to Southampton and London, and while Genoa and Bristol had no direct link, Lisbon and Bristol did. Bristol was the main English port for trade with Galway and Iceland (69), and despite no customs records of Columbus entering England exist, no records at all exist for Southampton in 1476–77 (70). Open-ended possibilities abound, but does any proof?

Ronciére first presented the so-called ‘Paris Map’ in 1924, now housed at the Bibliothèque Nationale, verifying for some Columbus’ northern voyage. The Paris Map depicts the North Atlantic with particular details of Norway, Ireland, and Iceland, which Seaver says provide “significant clues to Columbus’s geographical knowledge on the eve of his first trans-Atlantic voyage”. Rather than being the work of Columbus and his brother, Bartholomew, Nebenzahl suggests the Paris Map was merely commissioned by Columbus. Nevertheless, Pelletier concludes the Columbuses were involved in its creation. But the Paris Map proves only his knowledge, not his northern voyage (71). How else then could Columbus have come to possess such knowledge if not through personal experience?

The ‘Paris Map’ (1491), potentially revealing Columbus’ geographical knowledge of the North Atlantic and proving the veracity of his voyage to Iceland.

The ‘Paris Map’ (1491), potentially revealing Columbus’ geographical knowledge of the North Atlantic and proving the veracity of his voyage to Iceland.

Palos in Spain is where Columbus first set sail in 1492, but its significance is more than symbolic because the Friary of La Rábida is located there and may have been the site where Columbus learnt of the north. Hunter (72) and Ruddock (73) both provide evidence that Bristolian merchants had contact with the Franciscans at La Rábida. Columbus’ own connection to La Rábida is not disputed and this is the most likely scenario in which information regarding the Bristol-Galway-Iceland route could have been shared with him. Such information could explain Columbus’ vague and incorrect notes and supplied him with details for the Paris Map. It is simply unknown if Bristolian merchants also shared the Íslendingasögur at La Rábida.

Conclusion

Seeking conclusions and closure in storytelling is a universal human instinct, but historical enquiry does not always satisfy this desire and all we can state for certain is an uncertainty: we do not know if Columbus ever knew of the Íslendingasögur. Written Íslendingasögur almost certainly never crossed Columbus during his time in the Mediterranean—but oral accounts may have, particularly at La Rábida. It is possible Columbus encountered the Íslendingasögur in either form in the North Atlantic—if he went there. He might have learned of the Viking colonies through Church sources—though this remains unclear. Frustrating as this may seem, the intertextuality of the Íslendingasögur offers a satisfaction to our need for narrative conclusion, a need which probably drives so much of the unsubstantiated writing on this subject. From our vantage point in the twenty-first century, by viewing the different strands of ‘discovery’ of the Americas, from Beringia to Vinland to Columbus, as individual episodes of one great human story requiring no fictional contrivances, we can appreciate the true wonder of humanity’s collective ‘Saga of the West’.

 

Notes

  1. Wilcomb E. Washburn, ‘The Meaning of “Discovery” in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries’, The American Historical Review, vol. 68, no. 1, October 1962, pp. 9–10.
  2. Emily Lethbridge, ‘The Icelandic Sagas and Saga Landscapes: Writing, Reading and Retelling Íslendingasögur Narratives’, Gripla, vol. 27, January 2016, p. 56.

  3. James H. Barrett, Contact, Continuity, and Collapse: The Norse Colonization of the North Atlantic (Turnhout: Brepols Publishers, 2003), p. 140.

  4. ‘ONP: Dictionary of Old Norse Prose’, University of Copenhagen, http://www.onp.ku.dk; accessed 22 January 2020.

  5. Ker Than, ‘On Way to New World, First Americans Made a 10,000-Year Pit Stop’, National Geographic; http://www.nationalgeographic.com; accessed 29 January 2020.

  6. Emily Upton, ‘Why Greenland is an Island and Australia is a Continent’, University of California, Santa Barbara; http://www.geog.ucsb.edu; accessed 3 February 2020.

  7. Jonathan Clements, A Brief History of the Vikings (European Union: Avalon, 2005), pp. 150–151.

  8. ‘Eiríks Saga Rauða’, trans. J. Sephton, The Icelandic Saga Database; http://www.sagadb.org; accessed 24 January 2020.

  9. William W. Fitzhugh, ‘Puffins, Ringed Pins, and Runestones: The Viking Passage to America’, Vikings: The North Atlantic Saga, ed. William W. Fitzhugh and Elisabeth I. Ward (Japan: Smithsonian Institution 2000), p. 13.

  10. John Noble Wilford, The Mysterious History of Columbus: An Exploration of the Man, the Myth, the Legacy (New York: Knopf, 1991), p. 75.

  11. Carol Delaney, ‘Columbus’s Ultimate Goal: Jerusalem’, Comparative Studies in Society and History, vol. 48, no. 2, April 2006, p. 266.

  12. Christopher Columbus, The Authentic Letters of Christopher Columbus, trans. William Eleroy Curtis (Chicago: Field Columbian Museum, 1895), pp. 118–192.

  13. Alexander Bugge, ‘The Origin and Credibility of the Icelandic Saga’, The American Historical Review, vol. 14, no. 2, January 1909, p. 259.

  14. James Graham-Campbell, The Viking World (Hong Kong: Frances Lincoln, 2001), p. 10.

  15. Knut Helle, ‘Introduction’, The Cambridge History of Scandinavia: Volume I, Prehistory to 1520, ed. Knut Helle, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), p. 5.

  16. Eljas Orrman, ‘Church and Society’, The Cambridge History of Scandinavia: Volume I, Prehistory to 1520, ed. Knut Helle, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), pp. 457–458.

  17. Lars Lönnroth, Vésteinn Ólason, and Anders Piltz, ‘Literature’, The Cambridge History of Scandinavia: Volume I, Prehistory to 1520, ed. Knut Helle, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), p. 495.

  18. Thomas Lindkvist, ‘Early political organisation: (a) Introduction survey’, The Cambridge History of Scandinavia: Volume I, Prehistory to 1520, ed. Knut Helle, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), p. 160.

  19. Nicolas Jaramillo, Íslendingabók and the Book of the Icelandic Sagas (Oslo: University of Oslo Press, 2018), p. 10.

  20. Emily Lethbridge, ‘‘‘Hvorki glansar gull á mér/né glæstir stafir í línum”: A Survey of Medieval Icelandic Íslendingasögur Manuscripts and the Case of Njáls saga’, Arkiv för nordisk filologi, vol. 129, 2014, pp. 55–56.

  21. Ibid, p. 65.

  22. Valerie I. J. Flint, The Imaginative Landscape of Christopher Columbus (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1992), pp. 42–77.

  23. Ibid, pp. 78–112.

  24. Gianni Granzotto, Christopher Columbus (London: Guild Publishing, 1986), p. 34.

  25. William D. Phillips, Jr., ‘Columbus and European Views of the World’, The American Neptune, vol. 53, no. 4, Fall 1993, pp. 263–264.

  26. Clements, p. 137.

  27. Ibid, p. 8.

  28. Kirsten A. Seaver, The Frozen Echo: Greenland and the Exploration of North America ca A.D. 1000-1500 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1996), p. 256.

  29. Clements, p. 158.

  30. Lethbridge, 2016, pp. 54–55.

  31. Ibid, p. 75.

  32. Magnús Stefánsson, ‘8 (d) The Norse island communities of the Western Ocean’, The Cambridge History of Scandinavia: Volume I, Prehistory to 1520, ed. Knut Helle, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), p. 213.

  33. Lewis Rey, ‘The Evangelization of the Arctic in the Middle Ages: Gardar, the “Diocese of Ice”’, Arctic, vol. 37, no. 4, December 1984, pp. 330–331.

  34. Nicholas V, ‘Letter of Nicholas V., September 20, 1448’, The Voyages of the Northmen, ed. Julius E. Olson (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1906), pp. 70–71.

  35. Ibid, p. 70.

  36. Stefánsson, p. 212.

  37. R. I. Page, Chronicles of the Vikings: Records, Memorials, and Myths (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1995), pp. 92–93.

  38. Adam of Bremen, History of the Archbishops of Hamburg-Bremen, trans. Francis J. Tschan (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002), p. 219.

  39. Terry G. Lacy, Ring of Seasons: Iceland, Its Culture and History (United States: The University of Michigan Press, 1998), p. 133.

  40. Richard H. Clarke, Lives of the Deceased Bishops of the Catholic Church in the United States: Volume I (New York: P. O’Shea, 1872), p. 17.

  41. Stefánsson, p. 213.

  42. Rey, p. 331.

  43. Haraldur Ólafsson, ‘Sagas of Western Expansion’, Vikings: The North Atlantic Saga, eds. William W. Fitzhugh and Elisabeth I. Ward (Japan: Smithsonian Institution, 2000) p. 143.

  44. Fitzhugh, p. 13.

  45. ‘About Iceland Review’, Iceland Review; http://www.icelandreview.com/about-us; accessed 5 February 2020.

  46. David B. Quinn, ‘Columbus and the North: England, Iceland, and Ireland’, The William and Mary Quarterly, vol. 49, no. 2, April 1992, p. 285.

  47. Seaver, p. 208.

  48. Christopher Columbus, The Journal of Christopher Columbus (During His First Voyage, 1492–1493), trans. Clements Robert Markham, (London: Chas J. Clark, 1893), p. 121.

  49. Wilford, p. 76.

  50. Felipe Fernández-Armesto, Columbus (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991), p. xvii.

  51. P. E. H. Hair, ‘Was Columbus’ First Very Long Voyage a Voyage from Guinea?’, History in Africa, vol. 22, 1995, p. 223.

  52. Samuel Eliot Morison, Admiral of the Ocean Sea (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1942), p. 41.

  53. Paulo Emilio Taviani, Christopher Columbus: The Grand Design, trans. William Weaver, ed. John Gilbert (London: Orbis Publishing, 1985), p. 319.

  54. Fernández-Armesto, p. xvii.

  55. Ibid, p. 19.

  56. Quinn, p. 284.

  57. Morison, p. 60.

  58. Robin Knox-Johnston, The Columbus Venture (London: BBC Books, 1991), p. 22.

  59. Alwyn A. Ruddock, ‘Columbus and Iceland: New Light on an Old Problem’, The Geographical Journal, vol. 136, no. 2, June 1970, p. 180.

  60. Ruddock, p. 180.

  61. Ferdinand Columbus, The Life of the Admiral Christopher Columbus: by his son Ferdinand, trans. Benjamin Keen (New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 1959), p. 11.

  62. Hanns Graefe, ‘Die Islandfahrt des Columbus vom Jahre 1477’, Erdkunde, vol. 9, no. 2, May 1955, p. 153.

  63. Seaver, pp. 210–211.

  64. Ruddock, p. 183.

  65. G. Storm, ‘Studier over Vinlandreiserne’, Aarbøger for nordisk Oldkyndighed og Historie, 1887, pp. 369–71.

  66. Cesare De Lollis, Cristoforo Colombo nella leggenda e nella storia (Rome: 1923), p. 44.

  67. Taviani, p. 351.

  68. Lacy, p. 133.

  69. Taviani, pp. 318–319.

  70. Quinn, p. 280.

  71. Seaver, pp. 208–210.

  72. Douglas Hunter, The Race to the New World: Christopher Columbus, John Cabot, and a Lost History of Discovery (United States: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), p. 213.

  73. Ruddock, p. 187.

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