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Re: A Canadian perspective - Pohl
>In fact all the
>history we were taught was based on Nordic folktales retold through
>generations of bards of over a thousand years . But this does not mean
>that these voyages did not exist. A scientist may dismiss this evidence
>but a historian can not. Despite there being not a shred of physical
>proof the voyages to the new world were appreciated. Was the history
Homer's Troy was considered completely mythical for many years because
the only evidence for it was literary. Then Heinrich Schliemann went
and dug up evidence that a civilization at least resembling the one
Homer described did exist in the right time and places.
(No, I'm not recommending Heinrich Schliemann's methods, which were
often crude at best; I'm merely saying that literary evidence can be
correct. And no I'm not saying that the Iliad is a historical document;
there are too many anachronisms and contradictions in it for it to be
a correct and accurate record of the Trojan War. But I am saying that
the kind of civilization that Homer described did exist when and where
he said it did.)
For that matter, many of the Mesopotamian rulers and empires mentioned
in the Bible were widely considered to be mythical by scientists until
archaeologists started finding concrete evidence of them, mostly in the
nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Similarly, for many years westerners believed the myth they made up about
the Aryan invasion of India, ignoring the extensive evidence in the Rig Veda
that it didn't happen that way and that Indian civilization is much older
than westerners thought. Excavations over the last half century in the
Indus valley have led to some rethinking on both scores.
And the Vinland sagas of Iceland were written down long before a
thousand years had passed since the first voyages from Iceland and
Greenland to Vinland; more like less than 200 years.
Those voyages are better attested than many events in ancient Greece
and Rome that are commonly accepted as history, and for the most part
contain fewer fabulous elements than, for example, Herodotus.
> In the 1960's when Pohl was writing his "heretical stuff"
>about pre Columbian crossings an excellent archeologist made a
>remarkable find which supported Pohl in some of the histories.
The archaeologist's name was...?
> To show
>that a blend of archeology and history is complimentary I enclose an
>excerpt from one of the many tourist web sites on the discovery of the
>physical evidence that Vikings made it to North America and created
>settlements. You will appreciate the scientific approach.
And the URL is...?
Meanwhile, here's one with much of the same information:
>Now from the Candian perspective let me share with you the information I
>shared with Peter Cummings when we corresponded on this. Again there is
>a Canadian bias. Henry was well documented as being the Earl with a
>direct aligence to Norway. The King of Norway. Would the voyages to the
>eastern shores of North America and Greenland be known? You bet. In fact
>official deputations to Greenland had been something of a regular
>occurance. Was Henry the first. No, he was following the sailing paths
>of others from Norway. If he voyaged to Greenland and then south, was
>the route in keeping with trade winds and current technologies. Yes.
The Vinland sagas give explicit sailing directions for voyages among
Norway, Ireland, Iceland, and Vinland, approximately of the form
Start at glacier X in Iceland.
Sail west 4 days.
Sight glacier Y in Greenland.
Start at glacier A in Greenland.
Sail west 2 days.
Sight glacier B in Vinland.
(The above are examples I just made up to illustrate the form;
they are not the actual directions from the sagas.)
The nordics were quite good at sticking to a given latitude by looking
at the sun and stars and sailing due west or east, so the above kind
of instructions were quite workable and dependable. This is not to
say that they were infallible; the first nordic to discover Vinland
did so because he was blown off course, and he didn't even land, which
caused him much ridicule.
We are not talking the Eddas here; some sagas were about gods and myths,
but the Vinland sagas are historical sagas, with considerable detail on
known historical events such as the conversion of Iceland to
Christianity. My favorite line is this:
"This same summer Eirik went off to colonize that land he had discovered,
calling it Greenland, for he argued that men would be all the more drawn
to go there if the land had an attractive name."
Erik the Red, Land Speculator. Sounds just like Stephen F. Austin talking
about the "mountains" here in his town.
The Vinland sagas were written about 1190 and about 1260,
so they were composed well before Henry's time and would have
been available to him as an educated prince of the nordic realm.
They are readily available to everyone now in paperback;
you can get them from Amazon.com for $9; look for Vinland Sagas.
Some of them are available online, such as:
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