Brian is an old and worthy antagonist for anyone trying to establish proofs
of Henry's voyage to North America. We all need our ideas to be subjected to
constructive criticism in any area of speculative history and, if our
theories and hypotheses cannot withstand such academic examination, they are
However, despite Brian's reasoned approach, when you read his essay it is
all 'knocking copy' and he does not, and furthermore cannot, produce one
shred of evidence to prove Henry's whereabouts during the time of his
voyages - which is rather strange when one considers Henry's importance and
the fact that his movements and actions at other times are all a matter of
public record in Orkney, Roslin and Norway etc.
As to Brian's concept that the Zeno Narrative is some form of joke in
conception that is easily dismissed. When he and others put this idea
forward the last time I was in Orkney I responded with the question 'how
could some Venetian who had never been to Nova Scotia describe the
relationship between Guysborough and the smoking mountain at Stellerton in
such detail without direct experience of the site?' Especially pertinent as,
according to Professor Hobbes, no other sites with that precise geogrphical
relationship exist in North America. Brian and his colleagues had no answer
the identification of Zichmini with Henry is speculative, but,
according to Professor Barbara Crawford, it is reasonable. Taken in context
with the evidence of the
Westford Knight, Jim Whitall's study of the
Mi'qmaq oral tradition and the carvings in
Rosslyn Chapel, the
evidence although circumstantial, is overwhelming.
The lesson to be learnt from Brian's criticism is that the dangers that
arise from mythologizing the story far outweigh any putative advantage that
the mythologizes may hope to gain. It simply gives the critics ammunition to
discredit a very real piece of history.
Sadly, from the political, social, economic and historical perspectives,
Henry's voyages had no discernible effect whatsoever. The voyages of all
those who preceded him, the Egyptians, Romans and Vikings for whose efforts
archaeological evidence abounds, equally made little real impact on history.
Columbus, for all his faults - and they were many - did initiate European
settlement in the Americas, albeit with absolutely horrendous results for
the Native American people.