Part 6 out of 8
as you interprete it, but certaine Giants that liue in mountaines. You see
therefore (and no maruel) how you erre in the whole word. It is no great
iniurie to our language being in one word onely: because (doubtlesse) you
knew not more then one.
Others also do offend in the same fault, for it is not to be allowed that a
certaine man being about to publish a Map of Island receiued from Islanders
themselues, had rather marre the fashion of all, or in very deed of the
most names of Capes, Baies, mountaines, springs, riuers, homocks, valleis,
hils & townes (because that being ignorant of our language, he was not able
to read those things aright, which he receiued from our countreymen) he had
rather (I say) depraue & corrupt them all, then learne of the Islanders
themselues, which at that time, namely in the yeere 1585, liued in the
vniuersitie of Hafnia, or Copen Hagen, how euery thing ought to be read and
written. And we esteeme him for this his wilfull marring of our natiue
names and words, (where vpon it came to passe that we reading the same,
could acknowledge very few to be oure owne) that he is no slight offender
against our tongue, otherwise retaining the pure and the ancient propertie.
But now we haue after some sort examined most of the myracles of Island,
which our writers haue mentioned. Notwithstanding before we enter into any
further matter, we thinke it good in this section to touch that which the
last forenamed man (in this Map of Island, that he caused to be put forth
in the foresaid yeere vnder his own name) hath giuen out concerning two
other fountains besides the former: whereof the one should die white wooll
black, & the other blacke wooll white. [Sidenote: Who be the Islandish
writers?] Which thing where he receiued it, or whence he had it, we can by
nomeans imagine: for it is not to be found in our own writers, nor in the
writers of other countries. But whence soeuer it be, it is but a tale, &
hath not one iote of trueth in it. And although it be incredible That black
wooll may be died of a white colour, seeing it is affirmed by Plinie, that
blacke wooll (of all other) will receiue no colour: notwithstanding there
is some such thing reported by Theophrastus: namely, that there is a riuer
in Macedonia which maketh blacke sheepe white. [Sidenote: Speculum regale.]
Also that Norway pamphlet called the Roiall looking-glasse, which I
mentioned before, doth attribute these fountains to Ireland, which is also
called Hybernia, and not to Island. Which peraduenture deceiued the Reader,
reading in a strange language S in stead of R.
That likewise deserueth no better credite which another Author writeth:
That there is a certaine great stone in Island which runneth vp and downe
the crags and clifs of mountaines by no outward force, but by the owne
proper and natural motion. Hee that will beleeue this, what will he not
beleeue? For it is such a rare deuise that the Epicures themselues (who yet
seemed to Lucian to haue fained many incredible things) I am sure neuer
inuented the like: vnlesse perhaps the sayd Author doeth imagine (that a
man who is called of the Islanders by the proper name of Stein) should
compasse about, and clime vp certaine rockes: which although it be
ridiculous to put into a story of wonders, namely, that a man should mooue
or walke, yet is it so to bee supposed to saue the credite of the Author,
that we may not more seuerely condemne that fable, which is so sencelesse
of it selfe and not woorthy to be read.
[Sidenote: Vultures, beares and crows come vpon the drift Ice into Island.]
They are gulltie of the same crime also who haue found out rauens, pies
[Footnote: Magpies.], hares and vultures, all white in Island for it is wel
knowen that vultures come very seldome together with the Ise of the sea,
vnto vs, as beares also (but they seldomer then vultures) and a certaine
kind of crowes called by the Islanders Isakrakur. But as for white pies,
hares, and rauens Island neuer had any. [Footnote: All modern writers,
however, ascribe white hares to Iceland.]
And these in a maner be the things which, in regard of our daily busines,
we were able at this present to affoord, as touching the former part of our
treatise, which were penned by me for this purpos (as in the beginning I
did protest) that the errors of Authors concerning an vnknowen land, and
the affected vanitie also of some men might be disclosed, for I am not
desirous to diminish any mans good name: but because I consecrated these my
labours to trueth and to my countrey, I could not chuse but shew, that
those things which hitherto haue bene reported by many concerning our
Island deserue very litle credite: and so to addresse my selfe vnto the
matters folowing concerning the Inhabitants.
Here endeth the first part of the Commentarie.
Commentarij de Islandia pars secunda: quŠ est de incolis.
Absolutis hactenus miraculis IslandiŠ, (cum nonnullis alijs, primŠ parti
annexis) quŠ dum scriptores, velut Agamemnonios quosdam fontes, im˛, vt
quiddam prŠter et contra omnem naturam, mirantur, nec non variŔ
deprŠdicant, minus veritati ipsi, et authoritati suŠ cousulunt; monet
propositŠ orationis series, vt ad alteram commentarij partem nos
conferamus, quŠ est de incolis: Vbi quid prim¨m dicam, aut vnde initium
sumom, non satis teneo. Tanta enim sunt in nos vltimos Islandos, et tot
quorundam ludibria, tot opprobria, tot scommata, tot dicteria, (Atque inter
hŠc etiam nonnulla eorum, qui simplicissimam veritatem profiteri, volunt,
nempe historicorum) vt si singula recensere velim, non aliud quÓm
IcariŠ numerum dicere *corier* aquŠ.
Sed, vt dixi initio, non cum omnibus ŠquŔ stricto iure agemus. Nam licet
Krantzius, Munsterus, Frisius, et alij, nimis audacter multa de gente
nostra scripserint: Tamen suis monumentis de studijs liberalibus alioqui
benŔ meriti, etiam apud nos eo erunt in precio, quo merentur. Ver¨m
interea, etsi quis velit eos Ó calumniandi nota liberare, tamen non leue
est, eos res quasdam tam absurdas, impossibiles et ridiculas proposuisse,
cuiusmodi illa fuerunt, quŠ hactenus exposuimus, tum impias, et atrocitate
mendaciorum horrendas, cuiusmodi iam sequentur aliquot, in historias
retulisse. Ast alijs, quicunque; sunt, qui quotidianus conuicijs nationem
Islandorum incessunt, responsio, quam merentur, parata esse debet: Ex
quorum numero, scurra ille fuit, qui rhythmis aliquot, in gentis nostrŠ
contumeliam, Germanica lingua editis, nomen suum immortali dedecori
Quapropter, vt instituti nostri ratio exigit, dum scriptorum de hac re
monumenta persequimur, etsi quŠdam in eis occurrant, quŠ coutumeliŠ parum
habent, nos tamen plŠraque excutiemus, et errores, vt hactenas,
annotabimus: tum si quid veri interea attulerint, id nequaquam
dissimulabimus. [Sidenote: SecundŠ partis distributio.] Ac eo modo, prim¨m
Munsterum, Krantzium, Frisium, et si qui sunt alij, audiemus, Graculo illo,
cum suis rhythmis Germanicis, dira calumnia infectis in postremum, vt
dignus est, relecto locum. [Sidenote: 1. Capitis huius partis diuisio.] In
hunc igitur modum, prim¨m de fide seu Religione Islandorum: Deinde de
ipsorum moribus, institutis seu viuendi ratione, authores isti scribunt.
The same in English.
Of Island the second part, concerning the Inhabitants.
Hauing hitherto finished the miracles of Island with certaine other
particulars belonging to the first part, the which while writers doe wonder
at and diuersly extoll as it were the fountains of Agamemnon, yea, as
things besides and against all nature, they haue bene very carelesse both
of trueth it selfe, & of their owne credite. Now the course of the present
speach doeth admonish mee to make haste vnto the other part of the treatise
concerning the Inhabitants wherein what I should first say, or where I
should begin, I am altogether ignorant. For there be such monstrous, and so
many mocks, reproches, skoffes, and taunts of certaine men against vs poore
Islanders dwelling in the vtmost parts & the world (and amongst these also,
some things of theirs who take vpon them to professe most simple trueth,
namely Historiographers) insomuch, that to reckon vp the particulars were
nothing els but to tell the drops of the Icarian sea. But as I said in the
beginning, we will not deale alike seuerely with all. For although
Krantzius, Munsterus, Frisius & others haue written many things too boldly
of our nation yet hauing otherwise deserued wel of learning by their
monuments, they shalbe still in ye same reputation with vs that they are
worthy of. Howbeit in the meane time, although a man would free them from
the marke of slanderers, yet is it no small matter that they should broch
certaine sencelesse, impossible & ridiculous things, such as those are
which we haue hitherto laid downe as also that they should record in
histories prophane and horrible vntrueths, some of which kind shal now
immediately be discussed. As for others, whatsoeuer they be, who vpbraid
the nation of Islanders with daily reproches, they are to haue that answere
in a readinesse which such men deserue. In the number of whom, that scoffer
is to be accounted, who by a company of rimes published in the Germane
tongue, to the disgrace of our countrey, hath brought his name into
Wherefore as our present businesse requireth, while we are in hand with the
writings of Authors concerning this matter, although we meet with some
things containing litle reproch, notwithstanding we will examine most of
them, noting the errors as hitherto we haue done in the meane time also
when they shall alleage any trueth, we will in no case dissemble it. And
after this maner, first we will heare Munster, Krantzius and Frisius, and
others also, if there be any more, what they haue to say, reiecting that
Paro and his Dutch rimes infected with fell slander, as he is woorthy vnto
the last place. First therefore the sayd Authors write concerning the faith
or religion of the Islanders and secondly, of their Maners, Customes, and
course of life in maner folowing.
Adalbertius Metropolitanus Hamburgensis, Anno Christi
1070. Vidit ad Christum conuersos Islandos: licet
ante susceptam Christi fidem, lege Naturali vuuentes,
non multum Ó lege nostra discrepantes: itaque, pretentibus
illis, ordinauit quendam virum sanctum, primum
Episcopum, nomine Isleif.
Krantzius his verbis, et Munsterus alibi, fidei seu Religionis ChristianŠ
dignitatem Islandis videntur adscribere: Facerentque et se, et veritate
dignum, nisi eandem alias nobis adimerent. Nam (vt de Krantzio infra)
Munsterus, quŠ supra prodidit, de fide nostra, seu opinione circa Inferni
locum situmque, omnino est Ó Christiana pietate alienum: Velle scilicet
scrutari arcana, quŠ Deus sibi soli reseruauit, quŠque voluit nostrum
captum excedere: Non enim reperitur de hac re quicquam in literis sacris,
vbi locus vel sitis inferni seu ignis Šterni, Diabolo et Angelis ipsius,
adeoque damnatis omnibus animabus destinati, determinetur, aut
circumscribatur: Nullam inquam, infra terram, seu in ea, aut vlla alia
huius mundi parte, corporalem seu localem situm illi damnatorum carceri
pagina sacra assignat: quinimo, terram hanc interituram, et terram nouam et
coelos nouos, iustorum et sanctorum habitacula, creanda affirmat: Apoc. 2.
2, Petri 3, Esa. 65. Quare Christianus rerum ade˛ abstrusarum inquisitionem
libenter prŠterit: tum dogmata nullis appertis et illustribus scripturŠ
sacras testimonijs stabilita, velut certa et vera recipere, aut alijs
tradere, nefas esse ducit. Deut 4. et 12, Esa. 8. Matth, 17. 2, Timoth. 3.
Deinde etiam pugnat acriter cum Religione Christiana, quo Munsterus &
Krantzius Islandos ornant, encomium: Eos videlicet, catulos ac pueros suos
Šquo habere in precio. De quo infra, section. 7. Sic igitur secum dissidet
Munst. dum quos Christianos assent, inferni architectos alias facit: Item,
Krantzius et Munsterus, dum quos fide Christo insertos affirmant, eosdem
omni pietatis et honestatis sensu exuunt: qu˛d scribant filios ab his, non
maiore cura, quÓm catulos diligi.
Sed vt ad rem: De Religione equidem nostra, quŠ qualiseu fuerit, cum
Ethnicismus prim¨m fugari coepit, nihil magnificŔ diceret possumus:
quemadmodum nec alia Septentrionis Regna vicina, vti existimo, de suis
fidei initijs. Fatendum enim est, et cum serijs gemitibus deplorandum vsque
ad illam nunquam satis prŠdicatam diem, quŠ nobis velut immortalitatis
initium illuxit et repurgati Euangelij doctrinam attulit, tenebras plusquam
Cimmerias, etiam nostris hominibus, vt reliquis Septentrionis Ecclesijs,
offusas fuisse. Illud tamen piŔ nobis sentire liceat, apud nos, vt et in
vicina Noruegia (nam nolo vltra septa vagari, et de populis ignotis
quicquam pronunciare) eiecta prim¨m Idololatria Ethnica, sinceriorem longŔ
et simpliciorem fidem seu religionem Christianam viguisse; quippe veneno
Papistico minus infectam, quam posteÓ, vbi auctum RomanŠ sedis fermentum
pestiferum, et malum contagiosum maturuit, et per totum orbem virus suum
diffudit: Nam vt posteÓ apparebit, multis annus antequam noua Pontificiorum
Idololatria vires et incrementum cepit, Islandia Christum amplexa est: et
vt laudatissimi duo illi NoruegiŠ Reges, quibus vt commune nomen, ita
commune nominis Christi propagandi studium et professio, nihil nisi fidem
in Deum Patrem, Filium, et spiritum Sanctum, sonabat. Dico autem illum
Olaum Thryggonis F. qui Anno Christi 968. natus, Anno Štatis 27. imperium
NoruegiŠ adeptus est, et primus, vt accepimus, Noruegis Christum obtrusit:
quibus imperitabat annis 5. Et huic cognominem, Olaum nuncupatum Sanctum,
Haraldi F. Qui anno Christi 1013. aut circiter, imperij habenas arctius in
primis obtinuit. Per annos fere 17. Christi doctrinam audacter tradidit.
Anno Christi 1030. ab improbis parricidis nefariŔ interfectus, in pago
Noruegise Stickla Stodum, pro Christi nomine cruorem fudit.
Habuit etiam nostra patria inter multos alios quendam insignem pietate
virum; cui Nialus nomen erat, qui circa annum Christi 1000 vixit in prŠdio
seu villa Berthors huol, sita in Parochia IslandiŠ, Landenum: Quique rerum
humanarum experientia, circumspecta animi prudentia, sagacitate et
consilio, habebatur insignis. Cum enim, eius seculo, indomitis Islandia
motibus fluctuaret, incolis Ó nullo ferŔ superiore magistratu repressis,
nullis se factionibus immiscuit: Plurimas cauta animi virtute ac industria
composuit. Nunquam vim fecit, nec passus est, si vltimum tantum in vita
diem excipias. Ade˛ studiosŔ seditiones et turbas vitauit aliosque vitare
aut euadere cupientes optimŔ iuuit. Nec quisquam eius consilio, nisi maximo
suo commodo est vnquam vsus: nec quisquam ab eo, nisi cum vitŠ et
fortunarum penculo deflexit. Tam certum ab eo oraculum petebatur, vt valde
mirandum sit, vnde homini tanta futurorum euentuum, et tam certa coniectura
et consilium esse potuerit, quanta in ipso deprehensa est. Vnde ipsius
cauta, prouidens et consilij plena sapientia, apud nostrates in prouerbium
abijt: Nials biita raden: quasi dicas, Niali consilium; vel, Niali consilio
res geritur, aut succedit: c¨m quid prudenter et admirando cum consilio
Hic cum domi suŠ, Ó 100. viris coniuratis ob cŠdem Ó filio ipsius, ipso
tamen inscio, patratam cingeretur, et inimicis domum vndique igni
succendentibus, sibi videret supremum fatum instare, ait tandem. HŠc quidem
fato, hoc est, voluntate diuina accidunt. CŠterum spem et fiduciam in
Christo sitam habeo, nos (de se et vxore loquens) licet corpus hoc nostrum
caducum, inimicorum flammis, mortalitatis corruptionem subeat, ab Šternis
tamen flammis liberatum iri. Sicque inter has voces, et flammarum sŠvitiam,
vitam, An. Christo 1010. cum vxore et filio homicida, finiuit. Vox profect˛
filijs Dei non indigna, animŠ, cum mortis acerbitate luctantis summum
HŠc ideo addidi, vt ostendam quÓ coniectura adducar ad extstimamdum mox
initio Christianismi (vt sic loquar) apud nos recepti, non fuisse tam
deceptas et errorum tenebris immersas hominum mentes, quÓm nunc, paul˛ ante
hŠc nostra tempora fuerunt.
Ast ver˛ iam postquam Dominus Deus per Lutherum, et Lutheri in vinea Domini
collegas, et pios successores, salutis doctrinam illustriorem reddidit,
menti¨mque nostrarum graui veterno et densa caligine excussis, dextrŠ suŠ
digito, hoc est, spiritu Sancto, (Matth. 12. vers. 28.) cordis nostri
auriculas vellicauit, ac oculos, quibus saluificam ipsius veritatem
cerneremus, nobis aperuit: Nos omnes et singuli credimus et confitemur Deum
esse Spiritum, (Iohan. 4. vers. 24.) Šternum (Esai 40. vers. 28.) Infinitum
(Ierem. 23. vers. 24. Psalm. 136. vers. 7. 8. 9.) optimum (Matth. 19. 17.)
omnipotentem (Gene. 17. 1. Apocal. 1. 8.) Vnum essentia et natura: Vnum
prouidentia: vnum efficentia rerum et administratione (Deut 6. 5. Ephes. 4.
5.) At personis diuinitatis, proprietatibusque distinctum, Patrem, Filium
et spiritum Sanctum (Matth. 28. 19. & 3. 17.) Deum Patrem quidem, primam
diuinitatis personam, coeli terrŠ et omnium rerum creatorem (Gene. 1. vers.
1. & sequent.) Sustentatorem et gubernatorem (Psal. 115. 3. Heb. 1. 3.)
Patrem Domini nostri Iesu Christi (Psalm. 2. 7. & sequent:) et nostrum per
eundem Patrem (Rom. 8. 15.) AnimŠ et corporis curatorem (Luc. 12. 12,) Tum
Iesum Christum, secundam diuinitatis personam, filium Dei patris (Iohan. 1.
18. &c.) Vnigenitum (Iohan. 1. 29. Heb. 1. 2.) Šqualem patri (1. Paral. 17.
13. Iohan. 1. 1.) Deum verum (Iohan. 1. 2. &c.) ante omnia creata
prŠordinatum (1. Pet. 1. 20. Apocal. 13. 8. &c.) et statim post lapsum,
promissum Messiam (Gen. 3. 15.) Sanctis Patriarchis identidem promulgatum,
vt AbrahŠ (Gen. 12. 3. &c.) Isaac. (Gen. 26. 4.) Iacob. (Gen. 28. 14.) et
promissionibus confirmatum (Genes. 49. 9. Esa. 11. 1. 10.) Sacrificijs
Mosaicis (Leuit. 1. 2. &c.) Et alijs typis prŠfiguratum: immolatione Isaac
(Gen. 22.) Exaltatione Šnei serpentis. (Num. 21.) Iona (Ion. 2. &c.)
Prophetarum testimonio proclamatum (Esai 7. 14. &c.) ac tandem in
plenitudine temporis verŔ exhibitum: hominem verum (Iohan. 1. 14. &c. Paul.
Galat. 4.) mortuum pro peccatis nostris: resuscitatum propter
iustificationem nostri (Rom. 4. 25. &c.) Ascendentem in coelum (Act. 1. 9.
&c.) ac pro nobis ad dexteram patris sine intermissione interpellantem (1.
Iohan, 2. 1. &c.) per spiritum Sanctum suum qui tertia est diuinitatis
persona patri et filio compar et consubstantialis. (Actor. 5. 4.) Ecclesiam
sibi verbo et Sacramentis colligentem (Matth. 16. 18. Roman. 10. 14. &c) Et
ad vitam Šternam sanctificantem (Actor. 9. 31. &c.) Ac tandem consummatis
seculis Ŕ coelo, venturum (Actor, 1. 11.) Iudicare viuos et mortuos (1.
Thess. 4. 15.) redditurum impijs secundum opera sua, e˛sque poenis Šternis
adiudicaturum (Mat 13. 42. & 25. 41.) credentes ver˛ in nomine ipsius
Šterna vita donaturum (Mat 25. 34. &c.) Hunc, inquam, Iesum Christum
redemptorem (Mat 1. 21.) Caput (1. Corinth. 12. 27.) et Dominum nostrum
(Ephes. 4. 5.) agnoscimus: Nosque illi nomen in sacro baptismo dare ac
dedisse (Actor. 2. 38.) Et per baptismum illi insertos esse (1. Cor. 12.
13.) apertŔ, ingenuŔ, liberŔ ac libenter fatemur ac contestamur: omnesque
alios, quicunque aliud nomen sub coelo datum esse hominibus, per quod salui
fiant, comminiscuntur, seri˛ detestamur, execramur et damnamus. (Actor. 4.
12.) Verbum ipsius sanctissimum vnicam salutis normam statuimus, illudque
tantummod˛, omnibus humanis commentis abiectis et spretis, infallibilem
fidei nostrŠ regulam et amussim nobis proponimus: (Galat 1. 8. Esa. 29. 13.
Ezech. 20.) Quod duplicis Testamenti, veteris et noui appellatione
complectimur. (Hebr. 8.) traditum per Prophetas et Apostolos (Ephes. 2.
20.) singulari et immensa Dei bonitate in hunc vsque diem semper in
Ecclesia conseruatum et conseruandum in posterum. (Matth. 28. vlt. Psalm.
71. 18. 1. Cor. 11. 26.)
Deo igitur optimo maximo gratias ex animo et toto pectore agimus, qu˛d
etiam ad nos, vastissimo interuallo Ó reliquo EcclesiŠ corpore diuulsos et
vltimas mundi partes habitantes, lumen hoc suum, concessum, ad reuelationem
gentium, et paratum ante faciem omnium populorum, olim pio Simeoni benigne
ostensum (Nam in Christo omnes thesauri saptentiŠ reconditi) quod nunc
totam nostram gentem radijs suis saluificis illuminat ac fouet, pertingere
voluerit. HŠc ita breuiter, ipsam summam perstringendo, fides nostra est,
et nostra religio, quaro monstrante spirtu Sancto, et ipsius in vinea
Christi ministris, bausimus: idque ex fontibus IsrŠlis.
[Sidenote: Krantzius.] Anno Domini 1070. vidit ad Christum conuersos
Dubium nobis est, vtrum his verbis dicere voluerit Krantzius, Islandos
prim¨m Anno Domini 1070. ad Christum esse conuersos an ver˛, prius quidem
esse conuersos non neget, sed eo prim¨m anno id Adalberto innotuisse dicat.
[Sidenote: ChronologiŠ IslandicŠ gentis antiquissimŠ.] Vtrumuis autem
affirmet, tamen fidem ipsius hoc loco suspectam reddunt annales et
chronologiŠ nostrŠ gentis antiquissimŠ, quŠ contrarium testantur: quibus
vtrum malis, de rebus nostris proprijs et domesticis et intra nostrŠ insulŠ
limites gestis credere, an ver˛ Krantzio, aut cuius alteri in nostratium
rerum historia peregrino, sit penes tuum, candide Lector, arbitrium. Ego
profecto multis adducor vt nostris potius assentiar. Nostrates emm nota
tantum et fere domestica asserunt: ille peregrina et ignota. Hi suas
Chronologias sine aliarum omnium nationum labe, macula et sugillatione
contexuerunt tantummod˛, vt rebus gestis suum verum tempus seu Šram
assignarent; ille quŠdam cum re et veritate pugnantia in contumeliam gentis
nostrŠ ignotissimŠ, historiŠ suŠ admiscuit, vt paul˛ post apparebit: hi
omnium episcoporum IslandiŠ nomina, annos, ordinem et successum describunt:
ille vnius tant¨m mentionem facit, idque longŔ secus quÓm res habet. Porr˛
vt his fidem faciam, panca, quŠ in ventustissimis nostris annalibus de
Islandia ad Christum conuersa, et de Episcoporum in nostris Ecclesijs
successione reperi, quorum etiam fides apud nos publicŔ recepta est, cum
extraneis communicabo. [Sidenote: Vetustissmum annales.] QuŠ tametsi
leuiuscula, nec omnia prorsus digna quŠ scribantur, scribenda tamen omnin˛
sunt ad nostrarum rerum veritatem, aduersus Krantzium et alios asserendam:
Sic igitur habent.
[Sidenote: 874. Islandia primum inhabituta.] Anno Christi 874. prius
quidem, vt ante commemorauimus, inuenta, sed tunc primum Ó Noruagis (quorum
princeps fuit Ingulphus quidam, Ŕ cuios nomine promontorium IslandiŠ
orientalis Ingulffs hoffdi appellatitionem traxit) occupata est Islandia.
Hi plures quam 400. cum cognatis et agnatis et prŠterea numerosa familia
nominatim in annalibus nostris recensentur: nec illorum tant¨m numerus
describitur, sed quas oras, quŠ littora, et quŠ loca mediterranea, singuli
occupauerint et incoluerint, et quomodo primi inhabitatores, fretis,
sinibus, portubus, Isthmis, porthmis, promontorijs, rupibus, scopulis,
montibus, collibus, vallibus, tesquis, fontibus, fluminibus, riuis, ac
denique villis seu domicilijs suis nomina dederint, quorum hodiŔ plŠraque
retinentur et in vsu sunt, apertŔ narratur. Itaque Noruagi occupatŠ iam
IslandiŠ 60. annorum spacio, aut circiter, habitabiles partes sua
multitudine implent: Centum ver˛ prope modum annis Ethnici manserunt, ci
paucissimos, qui in Noruagia fortŔ sacro fonte abluti fuerant, excipias.
[Sidenote: 974.] Annis autem vix centum Ó primo ingressu elapsis, mox de
religione Christiana agi coeptum est, nempe circa annum Domini 974. quŠ res
non sine insigni rebellione plusquam 20 annis variŔ Ó multis tentata est.
[Sidenote: Fredericus Saxo.] Commemorantur autem duo Episcopi extranei, qui
cum alijs, in conuertenda ad fidem Christi insula, diligenter laborarint:
Prior Fridericus, Saxo natione, qui anno 981. ad Islandos venit, atque
docendi munere strenuŔ functus est, ac tantum fecit, vt Anno 984, sacrŠ
Šdes Islandis in vsu fuerint.
Alter ver˛ ille extraneus Episcopus siue concionator, quem Thangbrandt
nuncupauere, anno 997. in Islandiam prim¨m venit.
[Sidenote: Anno Dom. 1000.] Hinc post 26, annorum disceptationem de
religione, tandem Anno 1000. in conuentu generali omnium incolarum decretum
est, vniuersali eorundem consensu, vt Ethnicorum numinum cultu seposito,
religionem sectarentur Christianam.
Rursus in solenni incolarum conuentu Anno 1050. sancitum est, vt leges
seculares seu politicŠ (quarum constitutiones allatas ex Noruagia quidam
Vlfliotus, Anno 926. Islandis communicarat) vbique cederent iuri Canonico
Anno 1056. abit peregrŔ ex Islandia Isleifus quidam, in Episcopum IslandiŠ
Redit ordinatus in Islandiam, et Cathedram Schalholtensem adit Anno 1057.
Moritur 1080. Ătatis 74. 4. Kalendas Iulias.
Videbuntur forsitan hŠc minuta, concisa, vilia, nec narratione satis digna,
cum multis fortŔ quŠ sequuntur: Sed nec historiam Romanam conteximus, nec
tam minuta erunt, quin contra Krantzij et aliorum errores conuincendos,
prout nostrum est institutum, valeant. Et certŔ, quantum ad fidem nostrarum
Chronologiarum, constat Saxonem Grammaticum non parum illis tribuisse:
Cuius, in prŠfatione suŠ DanŠ, hŠc sunt verba. Nec Thylensium inquit, (sic
enim Islandos appellat) industria silentio obliteranda: qui cum ob natiuam
soli sterilitatem, luxuriŠ nutrimentis carentes, officia continuŠ
sobrietatis exerceant, omniÓque vitŠ momenta ad alienoram operum notitiam
conferre soleant, inopiam ingenio pensant. Cunctarum quippe nationum res
gestas cognosse, memoriŠque mandare, voluptatis loco reputant non minoris
gloriŠ iudicantes, alienas virtutes disserere, quam proprias exhibere.
Quorum thesauros Historicarum rerum pignoribus refertos curiosius
consulens, haud paruam prŠsentis operis partem ex eorum relationis
imitatione contexui: nec arbitros habere contempsi, quos tamta vetustatis
peritia callere noui. HŠc Saxo. Quare lubet Episcoporum IslandiŠ Catalogum
persequi, vt ex annalibus nostris continuata diligenter, quoad eius fieri
potest, omnium series, his quŠ de primo Isleifo contra Krantzium attulimus,
The same in English.
THE FIRST SECTION
[Sidenote: Krantzius in prŠfatione suŠ NorwegiŠ.] Adalbert Metropolitane of
Hamburg in the yeere of Christ 1070. saw the Islanders concerted
Christianitie: albeit, before the receiuing of Christian faith, they
liued according to the lawe of nature, and did not much differ from our
lawe: therefore at their humble request, he appointed a certaine holy man
named Islief to be their first Bishop.
Krantzios in these words, and Munster other where, doe seeme to attribute
vnto the Islanders the prerogatiue of Christian faith and they should deale
both beseeming themselues and the trueth, if they did not in other places
depriue vs of the same. For (to speake of Krantzras anone) that which
Munster before reported concerning our faith or opinion about the place and
situation of hell, is very farre from Christian pietie: namely to be
desirous to prie into those secrets which God hath kept close vnto himselfe
alone, and which his pleasure is, should exceed our capacitie: for there is
not any thing found in the holy Scriptures of this matter, where the place
and situation of hell, or of eternall fire prepared for the deuill and his
angels, and so for all damned soules, is bounded or compassed about. The
holy Bible (I say) assigneth no locall or bodily situation beneath the
earth, or vpon the earth, or in any other place of this world, to that
prison of the damned: but it affirmeth that this earth shall perish, and
that a new earth, and new heauens shall be created for the habitation of
iust and holy men, Reuel. 2. 2. Pet. 3. and Esay [Footnote: Isaiah] 65.
wherefore a Christian man willingly giueth ouer to search into such hidden
secrets and he accounteth it vnlawful to receiue or deliuer vnto others,
opinions (grounded vpon no plaine and manifest places of Scripture) for
certainties and trueths, Deut. 4. and 12. Esay 8. Matth. 27. 2. Tim 3.
Further also that commendation wherewith Munster and Krantzius doe grace
the Islanders, is meerly contrary to Christian religion: namely that they
make al one reckoning of their whelps and of their children. But more of
this matter anone in the 7. section. So therefore Munster disagreeth with
himselfe, whereas those whom he affirmeth to be Christians, afterward, he
maketh to be master builders of hell. Also Krantzius and Munster both
together, when as those whom they affirme to be engraffed by faith into
Christ, they except from all sense of piety and honesty, in that they write
that their sonnes are not dearer vnto them then their whelpes.
But to returne to the matter: In very deed we haue no great thing to say
concerning our religion, what, or of what sort it was when Gentilisme was
first put to flight. No more (I thinke) haue other Northern nations neere
vnto vs to say concerning the beginning of their faith. For (alas) we must
needs confesse and bewaile with deepe sighes, that vntill that day which
shined vnto vs like the beginning of immortalitie, and brought vnto vs the
pure doctrine of the gospel, our countrymen, as likewise other churches of
the North, were ouerspred with more then Cimmerian darkenesse. But we may
iustly and religiously thinke thus muche, that among vs and our neighbours
of Norway (for I will not range out of my bounds, nor affirme any thing of
vnknowen people) after heathenish idolatry was rooted out, Christian faith
and religion did florish far more sincere, and simple, as being lesse
infected with the poison of poperie, at that time, then afterward, when as
the pestiferous leauen of the see of Rome being augmented, and the
contagious mischiefe growing ripe, the poison thereof was dispersed through
the whole world: for, as it shal afterward appeare, Island embraced Christ
many yeeres before the new idolatry of the papists began to preuaile, and
did sound foorth nothing but faith in God the Father, the Sonne and the
holy Ghost, like vnto those two most renouned kings of Norway, who as they
had one common name, so had they one common care and profession to aduance
the gospel of Christ. [Sidenote: The first christian king of Norway] I
meane Olaus the sonne of Thryggo, who was borne in the yere of Christ 968.
attaining to the kingdom of Norway in the 27. yeere of his age, and was the
first, as we haue heard, that offred Chnst vnto the Norwegians, ouer whom
hee reigned fiue yeeres and another of that name called Olaus Sanctus the
sonne of Harald, who in the yeere of Christ 1013. or there about, gouerned
with more seueritie, and for the space of 17. yeeres did boldly deliuer the
doctrine of Christ. In the yere of Chnst 1030. being vniustlie slaine by
wicked murtherers, he shed his blood for the name of Christ in a town of
Norway called Sticfla Stodum.
[Sidenote: Nialus the first knowne professour of Christian faith in
Island.] Our countrey also had, among many other, one man of excellent
pietie whose name was Nialus, who about the yeere of Chnst 1000. liued in
the village of Berthorshuol situate in the parish of Island called
Landehum: who also for his experience in humane affaires, for his great
wisedome and sage counsell was accompted famous. For whereas in his time
Island was turmoiled with many fierce mutinies, the inhabitants being in
subiection to no superiour magistrate, he intermedled not in any quarels,
sauing that by his discreet vertue and diligence he set through and brought
to composition a great number: hee neuer did nor suffered violence, but
onely vpon the last day of his life. So carefully auoyded he al seditions
and strifes: and gaue good assistance to others, who were desirous also to
auoyd and escape them: neither did any man euer put in practise his
counsel, but it turned to his especiall good: nor euer any did swerue
therefrom, but with the danger of his life and possessions. The wordes or
rather the oracles that came from him were so certaine, that it was
wonderful from whence any man should haue so great and so sure forecast and
counsell of things to come, as was found to be in him. Whereupon his
discreet and prouident wisedome, ioyned with counsell became a prouerbe
amongst vs, "Nials byta raden:" That is to say, the counsel of Nialus or,
the thing is done, or succeedeth by Nialus his counsel: when any business
was atchieued prudently, and with admirable discretion. This man, when, for
a slaughter committed by his sonne without his knowledge, he was in his
owne house beset with a 100. men, who had conspired his death, and when his
enemies began on all sides to set his house on fire, seeing his ende
approch, at length he brake into these words. "Doubtlesse these things
happen by fate, that is, by the will of God. Howbeit, I put my hope and
confidence in Christ, that we (meaning his wife and himselfe) although this
our fraile body shal vndergoe the corruption of death, in the fire of our
enemies, yet, that it shalbe deliuered from eternal flames." And so in the
midst of these voyces, and in the fury of the flames, he with his wife and
the manslayer his sonne, in the yere of Christ 1010. ended his life. A
voyce vndoubtedly full well beseeming the sonnes of God, arguing the
notable comfort of his soule amidst the very pangs of death.
I therefore added those things to shew by what reason I was moued to thinke
that in the very beginning of Christianitie receiued amongst vs, mens minds
were not so beguiled and ouerwhelmed in the darkenes of errors, as of late,
a little before these our times they haue bene.
[Sidenote: A summe of the Islanders Religion.] But after the Lord God by
Luther, and Luthers fellow-labourers in the vineyard of the Lord, and by
godly successours, did make the doctrine of saluation more manifest, and
shaking off the heauie slothe, and thicke miste of our minds by the finger
of his right hand, that is by his holy spirit (Matth. 12. v. 28.) did
plucke the eares of our hearts, and opened our eyes that we might behold
his sauing health: We all, and euery of vs do belieue and confesse that God
is a spirit (Iohn 4. v. 24.) eternal (Esay. 40. v. 28.) infinite (Iere. 23.
v. 24. Psal 139. v. 7. 8. 9.) most good (Matth. 19. v. 17.) almighty (Gen.
17. 1. Reuel. 1. 8.) one in being, and nature: one in prouidence, one in
the making and gouerning of all things (Deut. 6. 5. Ephe. 4. 5.) But
distinguished by the persons of the Godhead and their properties, the
Father, the Sonne, and the holy Ghost (Matth. 28. 19. and 3. 17.) God the
Father the first person of the Godhead creator of heauen and earth, and all
other things (Gen. 1. v. 1. and in those that folow) the vpholder and
gouernor of all (Psa. 115. 3. Heb. 1. 3.) Father of our Lord Iesus Christ
(Psal. 2, 7. and verses following) and our Father through him (Rom. 8. 15.)
keeper of our soules and bodies (Luke 12. 12.). And that Iesus Christ the
second person of the Godhead is the sonne of God the Father (Iohn 1. 18.
&c.) onely begotten (Iohn 1. 29. Heb. 1. 2.) equal to his Father (1. Chro.
17. 13. Ioh. 1. 1.) true God (Iohn 1. 2. &c.) foreappointed before the
creation of all things (1. Pet. 1. 20, Reuel 13. 8. &c.) and presently
after mans fell promised to be the Messias (Gene. 3. 15. &c.) published
eftsoones vnto the holy Patriaches, as vnto Abraham (Gen. 12. 3. &c.) vnto
Isaac (Gen. 26. 4.) vnto Iacob (Gene. 28. 14.) and confirmed by promises
(Gen. 49. 9. Esa. 11. 1, 10.) prefigured by the sacrifices of Moses (Leu.
1. 2. &c.) and by other types, as namely by the offering of Isaac (Gen.
22.) by the lifting vp of the brazen serpent (Num. 21.) by Ionas (Ionas 2.
&c.) proclaimed by the testimony of the Prophets (Esa. 7. 14.) and at
length in the fulnesse of time truely exhibited: true man (Iohn 1. 14. &c.
Gal. 4.) that he died for our sinnes, and was raised again for our
iustification (Rom. 4. 25. &c.) Ascending into heauen (Acts 1. 9. &c.) and
making intercession for vs at the right hand of his Father without ceasing
(1. Iohn 2. 1. &c.) by his holy Spirit (which is the thirde person of the
Godhead, coequall, and consubstantial to the Father and the Sonne, Acts. 5.
4.) gathering the Church to himselfe by the word, and Sacraments (Matth.
16. 18. Rom. 10. 14. &c.) and sanctifying it to eternal life, (Acts. 9. 31.
&c.) And that one day at the end of the world he will come from heauen
(Acts 1. 11.) to iudge the quicke and the dead (1. Thessal. 4. 15.) that he
will render vnto the wicked according to their workes, and that he will
iudge mem to eternal paines (Matth. 13. 42. and 25. 4.) but that he wil
reward them, with eternal life, who beleeue in his Name (Matth. 25. 34.)
This Iesus Christ (I say) wee acknowledge to be our Redeemer (Matth. 1.
21.) our head (1. Corinth. 12. 27.) and our Lord (Ephe. 4. 5.) And that wee
in our holy baptisme do giue, and haue giuen our names vnto him (Acts. 2.
38.) and that wee are engraffed into him by baptisme (1. Corin. 12. 13.)
And this we do plainely, ingenuously, freely, and willingly confesse and
witnesse: And as for all others who inuent any other name in heauen giuen
vnto men by which they may be saued, we doe earnestly detest, cursse, and
condemne them (Acts. 4. 12.) We holde his most holy Word to be the onely
rule of our saluation: and that alone (al mans deuises being cast away and
contemned) we propound vnto our selues as an infallible rule, and leuel of
our faith (Galat. 1. 8. Esai 29. 13. Ezech. 20.) which we conteine vnder
the name of the olde and newe Testament (Hebr. 8.) deliuered by the
Prophets and Apostles (Ephe 2. 20) by the singular and infinite goodnesse
of God, presented euer vnto this day and to be preserued here after alwayes
in the Church (Matth 28. last verse. Psal 71. 18. 1 Cor 11. 26.)
Therefore we render thankes vnto our most gratious and Almighty God from
our soule, and from our whole heart, because that euen vnto vs being
separated an huge distance from the rest of the body of his Church, and
inhabiting the farthest parts of the world, hee would that this light
graunted for the reuelation of the Gentiles, and prepared before the face
of all people, and in olde time fauourably shewed to holy Simeon (for in
Christ are all the treasures of wisedome hidden) which now doeth enlighten
and cherish with the sauing beames thereof our whole nation, that hee would
(I say) this light should come vnto vs. This in briefe (running ouer the
very summe) is our faith, and our Religion, which by the direction of the
holy Spirt and of his Ministers in the vineyard of Christ, we haue drawen
and that out of the fountaines of IsrŠl.
[Sidenote: Kranzius] In the yeere of our Lord 1070. saw the Ilanders
conuerted vnto Christ, &c.
It is doubtful vnto vs whether in these words Kranzius would haue said,
that the Islanders were first conuerted vnto Christ in the yeere of our
Lord 1070. or whether he doth not deny that they were indeed before
conuerted, but saith that it was knowne first vnto Adalbert that yeere.
[Sidenote: The most ancient Chronicles of Island.] But whethersoeuer of
these he affirmeth: notwithstanding the yeerely records, and most auncient
Chronicles of our nation testifying the contrary do make his credite to be
suspected in this place, vnto which records and Chronicles, whether you had
rather giue assent concerning our owne proper and domesbcal affaires, done
within the bounds of our Island, or to Krantzaus or any other being
ignorant in the story of our countrey, I appeale (friendly reader) vnto
your owne discretion. For my part I am enforced by many reasons to agree
rather vnto our owne writers. For our countreymen affirme those things
onely that be knowen, and in a maner domesticall he writeth matters
forreine and vnknowen they haue compiled their histories without the
diffaming, disgracing or reprehending of any other nations, onely that they
might assigne vnto their owne acts and exploits the true time or age
thereof: he hath intermedled in his historie certaine things contrary to
the trueth, and that to the vpbraiding of our nation being most vnknowen
vnto him, as it shall immediatly appeare: they describe the names, yeres,
order, succession of all the Bishops of Island: he mentioneth onely one,
and that farre otherwise then the trueth. Furthermore that I may make good
the credite of our Countreymen, I wil impart with strangers a fewe things
which I found in our most ancient records of the conuersion of Island vnto
Christ, and of the succession of Bishops in our Churches. Which although
they be of litle moment, and not altogether worthy to be written, yet must
they of necessitie bee set downe for the defence of the trueth of our
affaires against Krantzius and others: thus therefore standeth the
[Sidenote: Island first inhabited.] In the yeere of Christ 874. Island
(being indeed discouered before that time, as is aboue mentioned) was then
first of all inhabited by certaine Noruagians. Their chiefetaine was one
Ingulphus from whose name the East cape of Island is called Ingulffs
hoffdi. These planters are reckoned vp by name in our recordes more then to
the number of 400 together with those of their blood and kinred, and great
families besides neither onely is their number described, but it is also
plainely set downe, what coasts, what shores, and what inland places eche
of them did occupie and inhabite, and what names the first inhabitants did
giue vnto Streights, bayes, harboroughs, necklands, creekes, capes, rockes,
cragges, mountaines, hilles, valleys, homockes, springs, floods, riuers.
And to be short, what names they gaue vnto their graunges or houses,
whereof many at this day are reteined and vsed. Therefore the Norwayes with
their company peopled all the habitable parts of Island now occupied by
them for the space of 60. yeeres or thereabout but they remayned Ethnickes
almost 100. yeres, except a very fewe which were baptised in Norwaie. But
scarce a 100. yeres from their first entrance being past, presently
Christian religion began to be considered vpon, namely about the yeere of
our Lord 974. Which thing aboue 20. yeres together, was diuersly attempted
of many not without notable rebellion: amongst the rest there are mentioned
two outlandish Bishops, who with others diligently laboured in conuerting
the Island to Christian faith: [Sidenote: Saxo, the first preacher of the
Christian faith in Island. Anno Domini 981.] the former was one Fridericus
a Saxon borne, who in the yeere 981. came into Island, and behaued himselfe
couragiously in the office of preaching, and preuailed so much, that in the
yeere 984. Churches were vsed in Island.
But the other outlandish Bishop or preacher whom they called Thangbrandt
came first into Island in the yeere 997.
[Sidenote: Anno Domini 1000.] And then after 26. yeeres consulting about
Religion, at length in the yeere 1000, it was decreed in a generall
assembly of all the inhabitants by their whole consent, that the worship of
heathenish Idoles being abandoned, they should embrace Christian Religion.
Againe, in the yeere 1050, it was decreed in a solemne assembly of the
inhabitants, that temporall or politique lawes (the constitutions whereof
being brought out of Norwaie were communicated vnto the Islanders by one
Vlfliot in the yeere 926.) should euery where giue place to the Canon or
In the yere 1056. one Isleif went beyond the seas out of Island to be
consecrated bishop of Island.
He came home consecrated into Island, and entred into the bishopricke of
Scalholt in the yeere 1057. He died 1080. in the yeere of his age 74. The
4. of the Kalends of Iuly.
These things perhaps wil seeme trifling, short and base, not sufficiently
worthy to be mentioned, together with many other matters which follow: but
neither doe wee compile the Romane history, neither yet shall these things
be so trifling, but that they may be of sufficient force to conuince the
errours of Krantzius and others, according to our purpose. [Sidenote: A
notable testimonie of Saxo concerning the Islanders.] And vndoubtedly as
touching the trueth of our histories, it is euident that Saxo Grammaticus
attributeth very much vnto them: whose words in his preface of Denmarke be
these: Neither is the diligence of the Thylenses (for so he calleth
Islanders) to be smothered in silence: who when as by reason of the natiue
barrennes of their soile, wanting nourishments of riot, they do exercise
the duties of continuall sobrietie, and vse to bestow all the time of their
life in the knowledge of other men's exploits they supply their want by
their wit. For they esteeme it a pleasure to know and commit vnto memory
the famous acts of other nations, reckoning it no lesse praiseworthy to
discourse of other mens vertues, then to practise their owne. Whose
treasures replenished with the monuments of historical matters, I more
curiously searching into, haue compiled no smal part of this present worke
by following of their relation neither despised I to haue those men for my
iudges, whom I knew to be skilful in so great knowledge of antiquitie. Thus
Wherefore I thinke it not amisse to proceede in the recitall of the Bishops
of Island, that the order and descent of them all, being so farre foorth as
is possible, diligently put together out of our yeerely records, may make
good that which we haue alledged against Krantzius concerning Isleif the
first Bishop of Island.
CATALOGUS CHRONOLOGICUS EPISCOPORUM ISLANDIĂ.
Anno Episcopi Schalholtenses
1056 Ordinatur peregrŔ.
1057 Redit et Schalholtensem cathedram adit
1080 Anno Štat 74. Moritur 4. Kalend. Iul.
1082 Ordinatur peregrŔ,
1083 Redit in Islandiam cum Episopatu.
1118 Moritur 5. Kalend. Maias qui fuit dies Martis.
Thorlacus Runolphi. F.
Štatis Ordinatur eodem anno, quo prŠdecessor.
32: Gysserus vita excessit, sed tamen ante illius obitum 30. die
1148 PostridiŔ festi omnium Sanctorum in villa sacerdotali Hittardal
comuiuans, coenaculo fulmine percusso, cum viris 70. flammis
1152 Cathedram adit.
Eligitur biennio ante obit, prŠdecessoris
1239 Cathedram adit.
1269 Cathedram adit.
Arnerus Helgonis F.
1305 Cathedram adit.
1309 In Noruagiam abit ligna Ó rege NoruagiŠ petiturus, quibus
templum Schalholtense reŠdificaretur, quod eodem anno
fulmine tactum conflagrarat.
1310 Redit ex intinere.
1322 Ordinatur Kal. Augusti.
1323 Cathedram adit.
Ionas Indridi F. Roruages
1339 Cathedram adit.
Ionas Siguardi F.
1343 Cathedram adit.
1348 Moritur pridiŔ Diui Magni.
1349 Ordinatus AsloiŠ Noruagorum, ab Episcopo Asloensi Salomone.
1356 Abiens peregrŔ fluctibus vitam finit.
1362 Cathedram adit.
1366 Cathedram adit.
1381 Moritur in assumpt. beatŠ virginis, in portu NoruagiŠ Burgensi, Ŕ
mercium aceruo in imum nauis delapsus. Sepultus Bergis in Šde
1385 Cathedral adit.
1388 Resignat profectus in Daniam.
1394 Cathedram adit. Moritur.
Hic cognomento fuit Milldur. i. liberalis. Gessit vna pŠfecturam
IslandiŠ tertius: Episcopatum Schalholtens. & vice Episcopatum
1432 Suecus siue cognomento siue natione prŠest EcclesiŠ Schalholtensi:
ac posteÓ ob quŠdam nimis audacter tentata, Ó quodam Thorualdo
de Modruvallum (vt fama est) captus, & aligato ad collum saxo in
amne Schalholtensi, qui Ó ponte nomen habet, viuus submersus &
1445 PrŠest EcclesiŠ Schalholtensi.
1472 Dictus sapiens prŠest.
Magnus Riolphi F.
1494 Cathedram adit.
Deinde Godtschalco episcopo Holensi, qui crudelis nomen meritus
esse videtur, Synchronos similem cum illo clementiŠ & iusticiŠ
1519 Moritur: aut circiter.
Eligitur anno obitus Stephani
1522 Cathedram adit.
Hoc episcopo, prefectus regius cum comitibus aliquot Scalhotiam
inuitatus, in ipso conuiuio Ó coniuram quibusdam interfectus est,
e˛ qu˛d impiŔ passim in incolas & bona ipsorum grassatus esset.
Augmundus vcro tanquam istius cŠdis author, quanquam se iuramento
purgarat in Daniam transuectus, Obijt.
1540 Eligitur viuente Augmundo
1541 Cathedram adit, Papisticarum traditionum abrogator circa coniugium
1544 sacerdotum: Eius nuptiŠ SchalholtiŠ celebratŠ.
1547 PrŠest, & sequentibus.
Hic statim, Augmundo episcopo, coepit iuuenis verŠ pietatis &
purioris doctrinŠ EuangelicŠ studio, & amore flagrare, eandemque
pastor ecclesiŠ Sclardalemsis diligenter propagare, qua ratione
Pontificiorum odium ade˛ in se deriuauit, vt illorum insidijs ac
rabiei cedere coactus, Hamburgum se contulerit, vnde Haffniam
Danorum profectus, in coepto verŠ TheologiŠ studio strenuŔ
pergens, in multorum, prŠcipuŔ ver˛ in summa D. D. Petri Palladu
tum temporis Episcopi, familiaritate et gratia viuebat.
1556 Postea, inde in patriam reuerso, Martinus sponte cessit.
1587 Moritur et hic 31. annos plus minus Euangelium Iesu Christi
professus: nec tantum viua voce, sed et quocunque demum potuit
modo, docendo, dicendo, scribendo, re et consilio Ecclesiam Dei
iuuit et promouit.
Vir grauis, pius et eruditus.
1588 Electus abit patria.
Redit et cathedram adit, susceptique muneris labores aggreditur.
* * * * *
Anno Episcopi Holenses.
Ionas Augmundi F.
1106 Ordinatur peregrŔ: anno Štat. 64. cognomentum illi, sanctus: curus
memoriŠ dies 3. Martij, apud Islandos est antiquit¨s dicatus.
1121 Moritur 11. Kalend. Maias.
Ketillus siue Catullus.
1147 Ordinatus venit in Islandiam.
1165 Cathedram adit.
Gudmundus, cognomento Bonus.
1203 Eligitur et ordinatur.
1239 Redit ordinatus.
1247 Cathedram adit.
1262 Abbas peregrŔ abit.
1263 Cathedram adit.
1267 Cathedram adit.
1314 Cathedram adit.
1324 Eligitur & ordinatur.
1331 Moritur Idib. April.
1332 Cathedram adit.
1343 Cathedram adit.
1355 Moritur in festo omnium Sanctorum.
Ionas Erici F. _cognomento_ Skalle
1358 Cathedram Holensem aditurus venit in Islandiam. Hic Ionas, olim in
GrondlandiŠ Episcopatum Gronlandis ordinatus, Ó Pontifice Romano
Episcopus impetrauit, vt liceret sibi Episcopatum Holensem adire, qui
1356 tunc temporis vacabat. Vnde cum confirmationem huius dignitatis
ac munerus, Ó Pontifice acceptam, veniens non proferret, apud
Presbyteros dioecesis Holensis, suspectŠ fidet esse coepit.
Quare abijsdem in Noruagiam relegŠus est, vt ea res arbitrio
Regis componeretur. Rege igitur ipsius partibus fauente
Cathedram Holensem obitnuit.
Ordinatur, quo anno prŠdecessor rebus mortalium exemptus est.
1392 Cathedram adit Holensem.
1432 Anglus, siue genere, siue cognomine, prŠfuit EcclcsiŠ Holensi.
Olaus Rogwaldi F.
1458 PrŠdicti Godschalchi ex sorore nepos, vterque Noruagus, eligitur.
De mortus Olai nepos ex fratre, et ille Noruagus, eligitur eodem
anno quo patruus decessit.
1500 Cathedram adit, ac per totos 20. annos multos ex subditis duriter
Anno 1520. cum inter pocula et voluptates conuiuales versaretur
audirÚtque obijsse Ionam Sigismundum, quem cum vxore et liberis
multos annos crudelissimŔ vexauerat, in subitum morbum repentŔ
incidit, et sic paul˛ post, eam, qua in tota vita in miseros
subditos vsus est vim cum miserabili morte commutauit.
1525 Cathedram adit: etiam hic papisticarum superstitionum vltimus et
acerrimus assertor. Qui, cum Gyssero et Martino episcopus
SchalhotiŠ acriter resisteret, Ó pientiss. Rege Christiano
1548 tertio iubetur sub poena exilij protinus in Daniam aduentare.
1550 Sed hoc neglecto, captum Martinum SchalholtiŠ Episcopum custodiŠ
mandauit. Tandem et ipse Ó viro quodam magni nominis, quem
prius vt fertur, lacessiuerat, captus, ac Schalholtiam adductus,
ibidem cum filijs duobus, authoritate regij prŠfecti, capitis
1551 supplicio affectus est. In cuius vltionem, non mult˛ post
prŠfectus ille regius, cum socijs aliquot, Ó quibusdam sicarijs,
decollatorum olim famulis, nefarie occisus est.
1552 Abit patria.
1553 Cathderam adit.
Hic primus sincerioris doctrinŠ apud Holenses amorem in multorum
animis, etiam adhuc prŠdecessoris sui collega, accendit: Deinde
eandem doctrinam Episcopus apertius docuit et propugnauit.
Ille non mod˛ suŠ Štatis, sed et posterntatis ornamentum. Qui
prŠterquam quod inchoatum opus Ó prŠdecessore Olao sibi relictum
ducente S. S. optimŔ ad eam, quam dedit Deus perfectionem,
deduxit, (dico labores et diligentiam in asserenda veritate
Euangelica, et papisticis superstitionibus abrogandis) etiam in
hac patria sua officinam Typographicam primus Islandorum
aperuit. Cui idcirco patria inter libros complures in linguam
vernaculam translatos, etiam sacrosancta Biblia, elegantissimis
typis Islandica lingua in officna ipsius excusa, in Šternum
Hic inquam Episcopus prŠsens, officium suscepturus.
1571 Redit Cathedram Holensem ingreditur.
The same in English.
CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE OF THE BlSHOPS OF ISLAND.
The Bishops of Schalholt. In the yeere
Consecrated beyond the seas. 1056
Returneth and entereth the Bishops sea of Schalholt. 1057
Dieth in the yere of his age 74. the 4. of the 1080
Kalends of Iuly.
Consecrated beyond the sea. 1082
Returneth into Island with his Bishopricke. 1083
Dieth the 5. of the Kal. of May being tuesday. 1118
Thorlacus sonne of Runulphus.
Consecrated the same yeere, wherein his predecessor. In the year
Gysserus deceased, but yet 30. dayes before of his age 32
his death. Dieth. 1133
On the morrowe after the feast of all Saints, in his 1148
parish towne of Hiitardal, the house being striken
with lightning, hee, and 70. men with him were
consumed with fire.
Entreth the see. 1152
Chosen two yeres before the death of his predecessour.
Entreth his see. 1239
Entreth his see. 1269
Arnerus sonne of Helgo.
Entreth the see. 1305
Saileth into Norwaie, to craue timber of the king of Norway, 1309
wherewith the Church of Schalholt might be reedified, which the
same yere being toucht with lightning, was burnt downe.
Returneth home. 1310
Consecrated the first of August. 1322
Entreth his see. 1323
Ionas, sonne of Indred, a Noruagian borne.
Entreth his see. 1339
Ionas sonne of Siguardus.
Entreth his see. 1343
Dieth on S. Magnus euen. 1348
Consecrated at Aslo in Norway by Salomon bishop of Aslo. 1349
Going beyond the seas he was drowned. 1356
Entreth his see. 1362
Entreth his see. 1366
Dieth vpon the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, in the port of 1381
Bergen in Norway, falling downe from a packe of wares into the
botome of the ship. He was buried at Bergen in the Church of our
Michael a Dane.
Entreth his see. 1385
Resigneth, and saileth into Denmarke. 1388
William a Dane.
Entereth the Bishopricke. 1394
Arnerus sirnamed Mildur, that is to say Liberall. He was at one
time Lord President of all Island, bishop of Schalholt, and
vicebishop of Holen. He died. 1420
Sueden either sirnamed or borne is made Bishop ouer the Church of 1432
Schalholt and afterward for certaine bolde attempts being taken
by one Thorualdus de Modruuollum (as it is reported) and a great
stone being bound to his necke, hee was cast aliue into the
riuer of Schalholt, (which taketh name of the bridge) and was
Bishop of Schalholt. 1445
Called the wise, bishop of Schalholt. 1472
Magnus sonne of Riolphus.
Bishop &c. 1489
Entreth the See. Then (liuing at one time with Godschalchus bishop 1494
of Holen, who seemed worthy to be sirnamed cruel) he had the
same commendations for mercy and iustice, that Godschalchus had.
He died: or thereabout. 1519
Chosen in the yeere wherein Stephen deceased.
Entreth the see. 1522
While he was Bishop, the kings Lieutenant with some of his
followers being inuited to Schalholt, in the time of the banquet
was slaine by certaine conspirators because hee had in all
places wickedly wasted the inhabitants and their goods. But
Augmundus as the authour of that murther (although he purged
himselfe with an othe) being transported into Denmarke there
ended his life.
Elected, Augmundus yet liuing. 1540
Entred the see. 1541
He was the abolisher of Popish traditions about Priests marriages:
his owne marriage being solemnized at Schalholt. 1544
Bishop &c. And the yeeres following. 1547
This man presently, in the time of bishop Augmund began in his
youth to be enflamed with the loue of true pietie, & of the pure
doctrine of the Gospel, & being pastour of the Church of
Selardal, diligently to aduance the same, by which meanes he did
so procure vnto himselfe the hatred of Papists, as being
constreined to giue place vnto their craft & crueltie, he
departed ouer to Hamburg, from whence comming to Copen Hagen in
Denmarke & painefully proceeding in his former study of
diuintie, he liued in the familiaritie, and fauour of many, but
specially of D. D. Peter Palladius: who was at that time bishop
there. Afterward returning into his countrey, Martine gaue place 1556
vnto him of his owne accord. This man died also, hauing for the 1587
space of 31. years or there abouts, professed the Gospel of
Iesus Christ: neither did he helpe & further the Church of God
by the sound of his voice much, but by all other meanes to the
vtmost of his abilities, by teaching, preaching, writing, by his
wealth & his counsel.
A graue, godly, and learned man. Being Chosen he departeth his 1588
country. Hee is consecrated returneth, and entreth the sea, 1589
endeuouring himselfe in the labours of his function.
* * * * *
The Bishops of Holen In the yeere
Ionas sonne of Augrnundus.
Isleif his disciple. 1106
Consecrated beyonde the seas in the yeere of his age 64, his
surname was Sanctus, vnto whose memorie the 3. of March was by
the inhabitants in old time dedicated.
Dieth the 11. of the Kalends of May. 1121
Ketillus or Catullus.
Being consecrated came into Island. 1147
Entreth his Episcopall see. 1165
Gudmundus sirnamed Bonus.
Elected and consecrated. 1203
Returneth consecrated. 1239
Entreth the see. 1247
Brandus an Abbat.
Goeth beyond the seas. 1262
Entreth the Bishopricke. 1263
Entreth his see. 1267
Entreth his see. 1314
Elected and consecrated. 1324
Dieth in the Ides of April 1331
Entreth his see. 1332
Entreth his see. 1343
Dieth vpon the feast of all Saints. 1355
Ionas Sonne of Ericus, sirnamed Skalle.
Being to enter his sea of Holen came into Island. This Ionas 1358
being before time consecrated bishop of Gronland, obteined A Bishop
licence of the bishop of Rome to enter the See of Holen, which Gronland
was at that time vacant. Whereupon comming and not bringing 1356
with him the confirmation of this dignitie and function,
receiued from the Pope hee began to be suspected among the
priests of the diocesse of Holen. Wherefore he was sent backe
by them into Norway that the matter might bee set through by
the iudgement of the king. The king therefore fauouring his
part, he obteined the bishopricke of Holen.
He dieth. 1391
Consecrated the same yeere wherein his predecessour departed out
of this present life.
Entreth the see of Holen. 1392
Ionas Wilhelmus. An Englishman
English, either borne or sirnamed. Island.
Entred the see. 1432
Son of Rogwaldus nephew to the forenamed Godschalcus by the
sisters side, both of them being Norwayes.
He was established. 1458
He died. 1497
The nephewe of Olaus deceased, by the brothers side: also hee
being a Noruagian was elected the same yeere wherein his vncle
He entreth the see. And for the space of 20. whole yeres is 1500
reported cruelly to haue entreated many of the subiects. In
the yeere 1520. when he was in the midst of his cups, and
banquetting dishes, and heard that Ionas Sigismundus was
departed out of this life (whom with his wife and children,
he had for many yeres most cruelly oppressed) he presently
fell into a sudden disease, and so not long after changed that
violence for miserable death, which in his whole life he had
vsed against his distressed subiects.
Entreth the see. 1525
This man was the last and most earnest mainteiner of Popish
superstitions. Who stoutely withstanding Gysserus and Martinus
bishops of Schalholt, was commanded by the most religious king
Christian the 3. vnder paine of banishment to come with all
speed into Denmarke. But neglecting the king's commaundement,
hee tooke Martine bishop of Schalholt, and committed him to
ward. At length he himselfe also being taken by a man of great
name (whom before that time, it is saide, he had prouoked) and
being brought to Schalholt, was, together with his two sonnes,
by the authoritie of the kings Lieutenant beheaded. In reuenge 1551
whereof not long after, the saide Lieu-tenant with some of his
company, was villanously slaine by certaine roysters, which
were once seruants to the parties beheaded.
Departed his countrey. 1552
Entreth the see. 1553
This man (being as yet in the life time of his predecessour
fellow-labourer with him) was the first that kindled the loue
of sincere doctrine at Holen in the hearts of many: and then
being bishop did openly teache and defend the said doctrine.
He died. 1568
The ornament, not onely of his age, but of posteritie also who
besides that, by the direction of the holy spirit, he hath
most notably brought the worke begunne, and left vnto him by
his predecessour Olaus to that perfection which it hath
pleased God to vouchsafe: (namely his labours and diligence
in maintayning the trueth of the Gospel, and in abolishing of
Popish superstitions) euen in this his countrey hee is the
first that hath established a Printing house. For which cause
his countrey (besides, for many other books translated into our
mother tongue) shalbe eternally bounded vnto him, that the
sacred Bible also, by his meanes, is fairely printed in the
language of Island. (I say) being at this present, Hee Bishop,
when he was about to take his charge:
Departed his countrey. 1570
Returned and entred the see of Holen. 1571
Circa hŠc igitur tempora mentibus nostris Ŕ coelo redditta lux est, et
regni coelestis ianua per sinceriorem doctrinŠ ChristianŠ expositionem
reserata. Nam et Schola triuialis in vtraque sede Episcopali, laudatissimi
Regis DaniŠ Christiani tertij munificentia et pietate, circa annum 1553.
fundata est: ac subinde patris Christianissimi eximiam pietatem imitante
filio, Diuo Friderico secundo rege nostro sanctissimo, Anno 1588. ad
coelestem patriam euocato, aucta et promota: quŠ etiam hodiŔ, clementissimi
regis et principis nostri, Christiani 4. fauore et nutu viget floretque: in
qua iuuentus nostrŠ InsulŠ, artium dicendi et sacrŠ TheologiŠ rudimentis
imbuta, ad scientiam et veram pietatem formatur, vt hinc ministri
Peruenimus tandem ad hodiernum vsque diem in Episcoporum IslandiŠ catalogo:
quo prŠdicti viri clarissimi Dom. Gudbrandus Thorlacius, et Dom. Otto
Enerus ille Holis, hic SchalholtiŠ Ecclesiarum sunt antistites: quorum
vtrumque, vt Deus opt. max. EcclesiŠ suŠ saluum et superstitem, propter
gloriam nominis sui sanctissimi, diu conseruare velit, omnes seri˛ et
ardentibus votis flagitamus.
The same in English.
In these times therefore light is restored vnto our soules from heauen, and
the gate of the kingdome of heauen is opened vnto vs by the sincere
preaching of Christian doctrine. For in either of the Bishops seats there
is a free schoole founded by the liberality and pietie of that most
renoumed King of Denmarke Christian the third: and afterward the sonne
following the godly steppes of his most Christian father, the said Free
schooles by Lord Friderick the second, our most religious King, being
called vp to his heauenly countrey in the yeare 1588, haue beene encreased
and furthered: which at this day also doe prosper and flourish by the
fauour and authoritie of the most gracious King and our Prince, Christian
the fourth, wherein the youth of our Islande being instructed in the
rudiments of liberall artes, and sacred diuinitie, are trained vp to
knowledge and true godlinesse, that from hence ministers of Churches may
We are come at length in the register of the Bishops of Island downe to
this present day, wherein the forenamed excellent men Gudbrandus
Thorlacius, and Otto Enerus, the one at Holen, and the other at Schalholt
are Bishops of our Cathedrall Churches both of which men, that it would
please God long to preserue vnto his Church in health and life, for the
glorie of his most holy name, we all doe earnestly and with feruent prayers
[Sidenote: Must. Krantz. Frisius.] Specus habitant pler¨mque, aut ad
montium latera in excauatis mansiunculis. Et mox: Templa habent multa et
domos ex ossibus piscium et balenarum constructas. Item: Multi etiam ad
pellendam frigoris asperitatem in cauernis latitant, quemadmodum Africani
ad solis Šstum vitandum. Item Munsterus. Multi in Islandia hodie costis
et ossibus balenarum, domos suas construunt, &c.
Hic membrum secundum initium sumit, de incolarum viuendi ratione et
moribus. Et prim¨m, quibus vtantur, edificijs seu domibus: nempŔ secundum
Munsterum, Krantzium, Frisium, &c. Specubus et montium cauernis. Quamuis
autem in splendidis Šdificijs, alijsque id genus mundani ornatus pretiosis
rebus parum inest, quod ad verŔ beatam vitam conferre queat, tamen nec hţc
veritatem tacere possumus: dicim˙sque omnino Cosmographos et Historicos in
errore etiam hţc versari. Etenim, cuiusmodi gentis publica domicilia esse
scribunt, ea sunt tant¨m in paucis locis, tum magalia, vt opilionum, tum
piscatorum casŠ et receptacula, eo tantum anni tempore quo piscaturŠ operam
dare, aut propter gregem excubare opus habent. [Sidenote: Negotiatio cum
Noruagis desijt. Sylua fluctibus maris delatŠ.] At ipsas domus, seu ipsa
hominum domicilia, antiquitus quidem satis magnificŔ et sumptuosŔ, quoad
huius terrŠ fert conditio, ligno, cespite et saxis habuerunt Islandi
constructa, vsque ad illud tempus, quo illis cum Noruagis, qui ligna
sufficiebant, negociatio, et mercium commutatio esse desijt, quŠ inde
paulatim collabi incipiunt: Cum nec syluas Šdificijs aptas habeamus, nec
fluctuum maris beneficio iam vt olim ad littora, quod minima ex parte
sufficiat, adferatur: Nec mercatores extranei inopiŠ nostrŠ succurrant.
Vnde plurima rura ignobiliora ab antiqua illa integritate multum
declinarunt, et iam quŠdam collapsa sunt, quŠdam ruinam minantur.
Nihilominus multa sunt prŠdia, multŠ villŠ, quas haud facile recensuero,
quarum Šdificia veterem illam excellentiam imitantur, et quarum domus sunt
maximŠ, et latŠ et longŠ, tum plŠr˙mque benŔ altŠ. Vt exempli gratia.
PrŠdia seu villŠ, quŠ cubilia habent plusquam 50. cubitos longa, 10. lata,
alta 20. Tum reliquas domus, vt coenaculum, hypocaustum, penuarium &c. huic
sua proportione respondentes. Possum multa nostratium Šdificia ampla et
vasta, nec in speciem deformia, nec ob artis structuram et sumptuosam
firmitudinem, seu robur, contemnenda cum aliquot delubris, siue sacris
Šdibus, solis lignis, antiqua et operosa grauitate et pulchritudine
extructis commemorare: Cuiusmodi est templum Cathedrale Holense atrium
habens, cuius columnŠ vtrinque quinque vlnas 14. altŠ, 5. circiter crassŠ:
tum trabes ac tigna, et reliquum culmen, huic substructioni
proportionaliter respondens. Ligna ad hoc ipsum atrium Anno 1584. horrenda
tempestate collapsum, clementissimus Rex noster D. Fridericus cuius nobis
sacratissima est memoria, Anno 1588. benignissimŔ largitus est. Ipsum ver˛
templum atrium suum omni quantitate manifeste excedit: tum templi intima
pars quŠ chorus appellari solet, et templi meditullio, et atrio magnitudine
nonnihil cedit. Erat autem hoc longŔ maius olim, vt accepi Schalholtense,
quod iam bis concrematum, ad inferiorem magnitudinem redactum est. PrŠtereÓ
aliquot alia templa nostrŠ InsulŠ horum antiquam magnificentiam imitantia
licet non Šquintia. Sed hic nequaquam res exigere videtur, vt in
prolixiorem eius rei descriptionem euager. Vt enim Domus et edificia nostra
nihil depredicamus: ita eorundem nos nihil pudet, qu˛d contenti paupertate
nostra Christo gratias immortales agamus, qui Ó nobis vili tecto non
dedignatur recipi, qu˛dque templa et domus nostras quas Munsterus Krantzius
et Frisius piscium et balenarum ossibus non verŔ dicunt extructas, non
aspernetur magis, quÓm illa extraneorum culmina marmorea, parietes
vermiculatos pauimenta tesselata reliqu¨mque id genus ornamenti.
The same in English.
THE SECOND SECTION.
[Sidenote: Munsterus. Krantzius. Frisius.] They inhabite for the most part
in caues, or hollowe places within the sides of mountaines. And againe,
They haue many houses and Churches built with the bones of fishes, and
Whales. Againe. Many of them also to auoide the extremitie of colde, doe
keepe themselues close in their caues, euen as the people of Africa doe
to auoyde the heate of the sunne. Also Munster sayth: Many in Island at
this day build their houses with the ribbes and bones of Whales.
Here the second member taketh his beginning concerning the course of life,
and the manners of the inhabitants. And first of all what buildings or
houses they doe vse namely according to Munster, Krantinus, Frisius &c.
Holes and caues of mountaines. But although in gorgeous buildings, and such
other worldly braueries there is very little helpe to the attayning of a
life truely happie: notwithstanding, wee can not in this place conceale the
truth and we plainly affirme that Cosmographers and Historiographers also
doe erre in this point. For such habitations as they write to be common
vnto the whole nation, are but in verie fewe places, and are either
sheepe-cots for shepheards, or cottages and receptacles for fishermen at
that time of the yeere onely when they goe a fishing, and the others stande
in neede to watch their flocke. [Sidenote: Traffike with the people of
Norway ceaseth.] But for their houses themselues, and the verie dwelling
places of men, the Islanders haue had them built from auncient time stately
and sumptuously enough, according to the condition of the Countrey, with
timber, stones, and turfes, vntill such time as traffike and exchange of
wares beganne to cease betweene them and the Noruagians, who were wont to
supply them with timber, and for that cause nowe our houses beginne to
decay whenas neither we haue woods of conuenient for building, [Sidenote:
Drift wood not so plentifull now as in times past] nor yet there are nowe a
dayes, as there were in olde time, trees cast vpon our shores by the
benefite of the sea, which may in any sort relieue vs: neither doe
outlandish Merchants succour our neccessities; whereupon many of our
meanest countrey villages are much decayed from their auncicnt integritie,
some whereof be fallen to the ground, and others bee very ruinous.
Notwithstanding there be many farmes and villages which I cannot easily
reckon vp, the buildings whereof doe resemble that auncient excellencie,
the houses being verie large both in breadth and length, and for the most
part in height also As for example farmes or granges which conteine
chambers in them, more than fiftie cubites in length, tenne in breadth, and
twentie in height. And so other roomes, as a parler, a stoue, a butterie,
&c. answering in proportion vnto the former. I could here name many of our
countrey buildings both large and wide neither ilfauoured in shewe, nor
base in regarde of their workemanship and costly firmenesse or strength,
with certaine Churches also, or religious houses, built of timber onely,
according to auncient and artificiall seemelinesse and beautie: as the
Cathedrall Church of Holen hauing a bodie the fiue pillars whereof on both
sides be foure elnes high, and about fiue elnes thicke, as also beames and
weather-bourdes, and the rest of the roofe proportionally answering to this
lower building. Our most gracious King Lord Frederick, whose memory is most
sacred vnto vs, in the yere 1588. did most liberally bestowe timber for the
reedifying of this body being cast downe in the yere 1584. by an horrible
tempest. But the Church it selfe doth manifestlie exceed the body thereof
in all quantity: also the inner part of the Church, which is commonly
called the quier is somwhat lesse, both then the middle part of the Church,
and also then the bodie.
The Church of Schalholt was farre greater as I haue heard in olde time,
then this our Cathedrall, which hauing now beene twise burnt, is brought to
a lesser scantling. Likewise there be some other Churches of our Island,
although not matching, yet resembling the auncient magnificence of these.
But here the matter seemeth not to require that I shoulde runne into a long
description of these things. For as wee doe not greatly extoll our houses
and buildings, so are we nothing ashamed of them, because being content
with our pouertie, we render vnto Christ immortall prayse who despiseth not
to be receiued of vs vnder a base roofe, and contemneth not our temples and
houses (which Munster, Krantzius, and Frisius doe not truely affirme to be
built of fishes and Whales bones) more then the marble vaults, the painted
walles, the square pauements, and such like ornamentes of Churches and
houses in other countries.
[Sidenote: Munsterus Krantzius.] Commum tecto, victu, statu, (hic Krantzius
habet, strato) gaudent cum iumentis. Item: Solo pastu pecorum et nunc
captura piscium victitant.
HŠc sunt et sequentia, quŠ Krantzius suo Munstero prŠmansa, in os ingessit,
ade˛ vt Munstero non opus fuent ea vel semel masticare, quod ex collatione
vtriusque patet. Munsterus enim hŠc opprobria, vt ex Krantzij in suam
Noruegiam prŠfatione hausta deglutierat, ita eadem cruda lib. 4.
CosmographiŠ capit. 8. in gentem nostram euomit. QuŠ hactenus fuerunt, etsi
satis grauia sunt, tolerabiliora tamen erant. Hoc ver˛ commentum
malignissimum, et quŠ sequentur, non facilŔ est sine stomacho prŠterire.
Nostrum igitur est, etiam hţc veritatem asserere, et mendacium in Authoris
Tecto: Prim¨m igitur quod de commum tecto (vti etiam de victu et statu) cum
iumentis dicunt, falsum et erroneum clamamus, teste non mod˛ re ipsa, si
quis id hodiŔ perquirere volet: Sed etiam multorum extraneorum, qui aliquot
apud nos annos egerant, et veritati plus quam gentem nostram calumniandi
affectui tribuunt, experientia; qui ipsi domos et habitationes nostras
viderunt, et norunt in singulis prŠdijs seu villis, multas esse distinctas
domus: nempe in abiectissimis et vilissimis 7. vel 8. in maioribus, nunc
decem, nunc 20. In maximis, nunc 40, nunc 50; quŠ vt plurim¨m, et tecto et
parietibus distinctŠ, vni possessori vel domino, rar˛ duobus aut tribus,
rarissimŔ pluribus inseruiunt, ac vsibus quotidianis et domesticis
sufficiunt. Vnde facilŔ intelligis, Lector, quÓm verŔ eodem tecto cum
iumentis vtantur Islandi, cum singuli rustici in hac domuum varietate,
peculiaria bouilia, ouilia, equitia, agnilia, debitis interuallis dissita
habeant, quŠ serui, quoties opus est, petunt, vnde rursus habitationem
Qu˛d autem quidam in mappa IslandiŠ de prouinca Skagefiord annotauit, sub
eodem tecto homines, canes, sues et oues, viuere, partim falsum, partim
minimŔ mirandum est. De ouibus quidem, vt iam dictum est, et prŠcipuŔ
suibus (cum illa prouincia sues non habeat) falsum: De canibus haud mirum,
cum illis nec regum aulŠ caruerint nec hodiŔ careant, vt nimis omnibus est
notum. Sed de canibus paul˛ post Sect 7. huius.
Victu. An iumentorum pabula possint commodŔ victus appellatione contineri,
merit˛ dubitauerim. C¨m Doletus, Ciceronis interpretem agens, dicat:
Victum, inquit, cum iureconsultis, ita exponemus, vt victus verbo
contineantur, quŠ esui, potui, cultuique corporis, quŠque ad viuendum
homini sunt necessana. Et Vlpianus, de verborum significat. Ijsdem verbis
victum definit. Hoc loco ver˛ Authores illi, etiam iumentorum pabula,
CŠterum videamus quomodo hţc eluceat veritatis et candoris prŠstantia.
Iumenta non habemus prŠterquam equos et boues: His gramina et foenum (nisi
vbi foeni inopia obrepit) pabulum, aqua potum prŠbet. At hi ipsi scriptores
fatentur, Islandos piscibus, butyro, carnibus, tum bubulis, tum ouillis,
etiam frumento, licet pauco et aduentitio viuere. Non igitur cibum habent
cum brutis communem, quod tamen ijdem his verbis asserunt. Communi victu
gaudent cum iumentis: Quod quid sit Munstero, ipse paul˛ superius haud
obscurŔ docuit. Islandia, innquit, populos multos continet, solo pecorum
pastu, et nunc captura piscium victitantes. Quid autem est pecorum pastus,
aliud, quÓm pecorum cibus? ait Doletus: nisi Munsterus fortŔ pecorum
pasium, ipsa pecora ad pastum hominum mactata appellet: cui, vt existimo,
vsus Romanorum refragatur, qui, vt homines vesci, ita pecora pasci docuit:
homin˙mque victum pecorum autem, pastum et pabulum vocari iussit. An ver˛
existimem tam dementes fuisse Munsterum et Krantzium vt senserint Islandos
graminibus et foeno viuere? Quo miseriŠ Nabuchodonozor, diuinŠ vltionis
iugum subiens redactus est Dani 4. 30. FacilŔ dabimus multa, quibus
homines, non mod˛ nostrates, sed vestrates quoque vescuntur, iumenta et
pecora fortŔ non reijcere, si familiari pabulo destituantur. Vt equi
frumento et panibus hordeaceis pascuntur: ijdem lac (quemadmodum etiam
vituli et agni) et cereuisiam, si offeratur bibunt, et quidem auidŔ. Sed et
canes quŠvis fercula et cibaria deuorant. An idcirc˛ quisquam dicet,
homines communi victu cum canibus et iumentis gaudere?
Iam quŠcunque famis grassantis tempore contigere pro vniuersali gentis
alicuius consuetudine in historiam referri non debent. Vt non licet nobis
de extraneis scribere huius aut illius terrŠ populos canum murium aut
felium vsu victitare solitos, etsi fortŔ fame siue obsidione, siue alioqui
annonas charitate inualescente immissa, id factitarint.
Potum autem interdum esse multis cum iumentis communem non magnoperŔ
contraibimus: nempŔ aquam limpidissimam, naturalem ilium potum omnibus
animantibus Ó Deo creatum quem etiam ex parte, medicinŠ consulti comendant,
im˛ nec patres HebrŠi nec ipse Seruator noster fastidiebat.
Ad amictum ver˛ quod attinet, (Nam et amictum victus vocabulo
comprehendimus) nequaquam hic cum iumentis communis est. Illa enim pilis et
villis natura (quod Munsterum et Krantzium nouisse iurarim) vestiuit:
homines, alioqui nudi, pannis corpus induere necesse habent. HŠc indumenta,
quŠ quidem Islandia suppeditat, ex lanis ouium conficiuntur. Sed non
cogitaram ide˛ recte dici, amictum esse nobis cum ouibus communem siue
eundem. Vtuntur etiam extranei pannis ex ouilla lana confectis, licet
artificio subtiliore. Sed de indumentis nihil: Stultum enim est, ex eo
laudem vel superbam Šstimationem quŠrere quod naturŠ nostrŠ infirmitatem
Statu. Restat ille status quem cum brutis habere communem dicimur. Qui
qualis aut cuiusmodi sit, aut eum esse velint nostri scriptores, certŔ non
facilŔ assequor. Status inquit Doletus est vel corporis, vel causarum vel
ordinis et conditionis. CertŔ alium esse statum nostri corporis quÓm
iumentorum (nam prŠter duos pedes etiam manus habemus et corpore ac vultu
sursum erecto incedimus) alium item ordinem et conditionem nostram ducimus.
Illi boni viri si id de se aut alijs cognitum habent fateantur. Nos hŠc tam
vana et in Deum creatorem nostrum tam contemptibilia irridemus, nec
prolixiore tractatu dignamur.
[Sidenote: Occasi harum fabularum.] CŠterum quia nostrum est nec amori
patriŠ, nec vlli rei tantum tribuere, quin plus semper et vbique veritati
largiamur: Dicam quid sit quod huic infami scriptorum conuicio occasionem
Sunt in vicinia SchalholtiŠ, ad littus Islandie australe paroechiolŠ tres,
inter duos rapidissimos amnes Thiorsaa et Olffwis Aa interceptŠ; quŠ et
syluis et cespitibus consueto gentis ad focos alendos fomite ferŔ
destituuntur. In istis paroechijs habitantes et si qui sint vicini, quamuis
plures eorum, vt de omnibus rebus ad rem familiarem pertinentibus, ita
etiam de his, quŠ ad focos et balnea opus habent, sibi opportunŔ
prospiciunt: Tamen sunt inter eos quidam sed infirma tantum sortis coloni,
qui quoniam estis rebus domi destituantur, nec aliunde petere eas valeant
in culinis foeno ad coquendos cibos vtuntur: Ast vbi hyemis niuosŠ sŠvitia
horrida ingruit, coloni isti miseri ad suum bouile refugiunt illic scilicet
exstructis tabulatis interidi¨ operas domesticas exercentes, Ó bobus, cum
focos habere nequeant, calorem mutuantur, quemadmodum mihi ab alijs
narratum est. Sicque illi tant¨m qui sanŔ paucissimi sunt, communi cum
bobus tecto in bruma vti quidem non gaudent, sed coguntur. Ver¨m victum et
statum longŔ alium habent, de qua re hactenus. HŠc est in istis
Paroechiolis quorundam sors et inopia, quorum conditio idcirco etiam apud
nos fabula vulgi effecta est, quamuis non satis iustŔ. Vbi quo iure toti
genti tribuatur, quod vix ac ne vix quidem de istis paucis colonis ver¨m
est, libentur quŠsierim? TŠdet de his pluribus agere: Tantum quia mihi cum
Theologis res est illud Saiomonis ijs reponam. [Sidenote: Prouerb 14.] Qui
calummatur egenum, deridet factorem eius.
Equidem quia gens hŠc nostra pauper et egena est et fuit, ad veluti quidam
mendicus inter diuites, tot extraneorum probra et scommata tulit. Sed
videant cui exprobrent. CertŔ, si aliud nihil nobis cum illis commune est,
tamen omnes ex ijsdem constamus elementis, et vnus et idem omnium Pater,
The same in English.
THE THIRD SECTION.
[Sidenote: Krantzius Munsterus.] They and their cattell vse all one house,
all one food or victuals, one state (here Krantzius hath it lodging.)
Also. They liue onely by feeding of cattell, and sometimes by taking of
Those be the things together with those that followe, which Krantzius hath
champed, and put into Munsters mouth, so that Munster shall not neede so
much as once to chewe them, which may appeare by comparing them both
together. For Munster, as hee swallowed these reproches, taking them out of
Krantzius his preface vpon Norway, so he casteth vp the verie same morsels
vndigested and rawe against our nation, in his fourth booke of Cosmographie
cap. 8. Those things which haue beene hitherto, although they haue
sufficiently grieued vs yet will we let them seeme more tollerable: but
this most malitious deuise, and those which follow we cannot easily brooke.
It is our part therefore in this place also to auouch the trueth, and to
turne the leasing vpon the authors owne head.
House, &c. First, that which they say concerning the same common house (as
also liuing, and state) with our cattell, we plainely affirme to be false
and erronious, not onely the truth it selfe being our witnesse, if any man
would make triall, but also the experience of manie strangers, that haue
liued some yeeres amongst vs, and haue more minde to speake the trueth then
to reuile our nation: who haue seene our house and habitations with their
owne eyes, and knewe that in euery particular farme or graunge there were
many seuerall roomes namely, in those that were most simple and base, seuen
or eight: In others which were greater, sometimes tenne, and sometimes
twentie. In the greatest sometimes fortie, and sometimes fiftie. Which for
the most part being seuered, both by roofes and walles, doe serue for the
dayly and household affaires of one owner or master, seldome of two or
three, but almost neuer of more: whereupon the Reader may easily iudge,
howe true it is that the Islanders and their cattell haue all one house to
lie in, when euery husbandman in this varietie of roomes hath seuerall oxe
stalles, sheepe-cotes, stables lambes-cots separated in different spaces
one from another, which the seruants goe vnto so oft as neede requireth,
and from thence returne backe to the dwelling houses.
But whereas one noted in his Mappe of Island, concerning the prouince of
Skagefiord, that vnder the same roofe, men, dogges swine and sheepe liue
altogether, it is partly false, and partly no maruell: for sheepe, as it
hath been sayde, and especially for swine (when as that prouince hath no
swine at alt) it is vtterly false: for dogges it is no maruell, when is not
kings courts were euer, or at this day are destitute of them, as it is well
knowen to all men. But as touching dogges afterward in the seuenth section.
Victuals, &c. Whither beasts meate may fitly be termed by the name of
Victus, a man may lustly doubt: When Doletus interpreting a peece of
Tullie, saith: As for Victus (sayth he) wee will so expound it with the
Ciuilians, namely that we comprehend vnder the word of Victus all things
necessarie for the life of man as meate, drinke, attire of the bodie, &c.
And Vlpianus de verborum significatione defineth Victus in the very same
words. But in this place the saide authors call beaste meate by the name of
But let vs see what trueth and plaine dealing is to be found in these men.
We haue no labouring cattel besides horses and oxen: these haue grasse and
hay (except where haye is wanting) for their fodder, and water to drinke.
Now, the very same writers confesse, that the Islanders liue by fish,
butter, flesh both beefe and mutton, and corne also, though it bee scarce,
and brought out of other countries. Therefore they haue not the same foode
with brute beasts, which notwithstanding the sayde writers affirme in these
wordes: They and their cattel vse all one victuals or food. What Munsters
meaning is in this clause, he himselfe a little before hath plainely
Island (saith he) conteineth many people liuing onely with the food of
cattell, and sometimes by taking of fishes. But what else is the food of
cattell, but the meat of cattell, saith Doletus? Vnlesse perhaps Munster
calleth the food of cattell, cattell themselues slaine for the foode of
men: whom, as I thinke, the vse of the latine tongue doth gaine say, which
hath taught vs that as men doe eate, so beasts do feede, and hath termed
the victuals of men, and the food or fodder of cattell. But may I thinke
that Munster and Krantzius were so mad as to imagine that the Islanders
liue vpon grasse and hay: To this passe of miserie was Nabuchodonozor
brought vndergoing the yoke of Gods vengeance Daniel 4. vers. 30. We will
easily graunt that beasts and cattell will not perhaps refuse many things,
which men not onely of our countrey but of yours also eate, if the saide
beasts be destitute of their vsuall food: as horses are fedde with corne
and barley loaues: they will drinke milke also (like vnto calues and
lambes) and ale if it be proffered them, and that greedily. And dogges in
like manner will deuour any deinty dishes whatsoeuer. May any man therefore
say that men vse the same common victuals with dogges and horses?
Now, whatsoeuer things haue happened in the time of grieuous famine ought
not to be recorded in historie for the generall custome of any countrey. As
it is not lawfull for vs to write concerning other nations, that the people
of this or that countrie, doe vsually liue by eating of dogs, mise, cats,
although perhaps in the time of famine or seige or dearth of corne, they
haue often bene constrained so to doe.
But that the same drinke is sometimes common to many men with beasts we
will not greatly gainesay: namely most pure water, that naturall drinke
created by God for all liuing creatures: which also in some respect
Phisicians doe commende, yea, neither the Patriarkes themselues, nor our
sauiour Christ despised it.
As touching apparell (for we comprehend apparell also vnder the name of
Victus) it is no wise common to vs with beasts. For nature hath clad them
with hairs and bristles (as I dare say Munster and Krantzius cannot be
ignorant) men, being otherwise naked stande in neede of clothes to couer
their bodies. But I had not thought it might therefore haue properly beene
sayde that sheepe and we haue all one apparell. Men of other countries also
weare cloth of sheepes wooll, although it be more finely wrought. But no
more concerning the attire of the bodie. For it is a meere folly to seeke
for praise, and ambitious reputation by that, which argueth the infirmitie
of our nature.
State, &c. Now, it remaineth that we should speake of that state, which we
are sayd to haue common with beasts; but of what kinde or maner it should
be, or our writers would haue it to be I cannot easily discerne. State
(sayth Doletus) is either of the body, or of causes, or of order and
condition. Doubtlesse, that there is another state of our bodies then of
beasts (for besides our two feet, we haue hands also, and go with our
bodies, and countenances lift vpright) and that we be of another order and
condition from them, we are verily perswaded. As for these good fellowes,
if they know any such matter by themselues or others, let them disclose it.
We doe altogether scorne these, being so vaine things, and breeding so
great contempt against the Maiesty of God our creator, neither do we
vouchsafe them any larger discourse.
But because it is our duty not so highly to regard either the loue of our
countrey, or of any other thing whatsoeuer, but that we may be ready at all
times and in all places, to giue trueth the preheminence: I will say in a
word what that was which perhaps might minister occasion to this infamous
reproch of writers.
There be neere vnto Schalholt, vpon the South shore of Island three small
parishes standing betweene two most swift riuers Thiorsaa and Olffwis Aa,
being in a maner destitute both of wood and turfe, which is the accustomed
fewell of the countrey. And although most of the inhabitants of these
parishes and some of their neighbours, as they doe in time of yeere prouide
all things necessary for householde, so especially those things which
belong to fires and bathes: notwithstanding there be certaine among them of
the basest sort of people, who because they want those things at home, and
are not able to prouide them from other places, are constrained to vse
straw for the dressing of their meat. But when the sharpe rigor of snowy
Winter commeth on, these poore people betake them to their oxe stalles, and
there setting vp sheds, and doing their necessary businesse in the day
time, when they are not able to make fires, they borrow heat from their
oxen, as it hath beene reported to mee by others: And so they onely being
verie fewe in number, doe not willingly enioye, but are constrayned to vse
the same common house with their oxen. But for their liuelihoode and state
it is farre otherwise with them then with their oxen, of which thing I haue
entreated before. This is the lot, & pouertie of certaine men in those
pettie parishes, the condition whereof is therefore made a common byworde
of the people amongst vs, though somewhat iniuriously. Where I would
willingly demaund with what honestie men can impute that vnto the whole
nation, which is hard and skantly true of these fewe poore men? I am wearie
to stay any longer in this matter: onely, because I haue to doe with
Diuines, let that of Salomon suffice, Prouerbs 17, verse 5. Hee that
mocketh the poore, reprocheth him that made him.
And in very deede, because this our nation is nowe, and heretofore hath
been poore and needie, and as it were a begger amongest many rich men, it
hath susteined so many taunts and scoffes of strangers. But let them take
heede whom they vpbraide. Verely if there were nothing else common vnto vs
with them, yet we both consist of the same elements, and haue all one
father and God.
[Sidenote: Krantzius Munster] In simplicitate sancta vitam agunt, cum nihil
amplius quŠrant quÓm natura concedit. Beata gens, cuius paupertati nullus
inuidet. Sed mercatores Anglici et Dani quiescere gentem non sinunt, qui
ob piscaturam vehendam terram illam frequentantes cum mercibus omnigenis
vitia quoque nostra inuexerunt. Nam et fruges aquŠ miscere in potum
didicerunt, et simplicis aquŠ haustus oderunt. Nunc aurum et argentum cum
Simplicitate. Equidem sanctŠ simphcitatis laudem nobis attribui, merit˛
gaudemus: Sed id dolemus, qu˛d reperiatur etiam apud nos iustitiŠ ac legum
ingens deprauatio, ac magna anarchia, quam multorum scelerum myriades
consequuntur, quod pij et boni omnes quotidiŔ deplorant. Id mali autem
nequaquam supremi Magistratus, hoc est, Regis nostri clementissimi, sed
verius nostra culpa accidit: qui hŠc quŠ clÓm ipso prŠposterŔ geruntur et
quŠ in inferiore magistratu desiderantur, ad maiestatem ipsius non
Mercatores. Mercatores porr˛, non sol¨m Angli et Dani, sed maximŔ Germani,
vt nunc, ita olim terram nostram, non ob piscaturam sed pisces euehendos
frequentantes, nequaquam artem illam, miscendarum frugum aquŠ, Islandos
docuerunt. Quippe ipsi Noruagi primi, qu˛d nobis constet, terrŠ nostrŠ
incolŠ; Ó quibus oriundi sunt Islandi, artem illam, sicut etiam aureos
argenteˇsque nummos, secum ex Noruegia attulerunt; vt initio non fuerit
minor argenti et auri vsus apud nos, quÓm est hodiŔ.
Et quidem ante Danorum, Germanorum, Anglorumue frequentes ad nos
nauigationes, terra nostra mult˛, quÓm nunc, senescentis mundi incommoda,
coelo solˇque persentiens, fertilior, in delectis simis quib˙sque locis,
Cereris munera produxit.
The same in English.
THE FOURTH SECTION.
[Sidenote: Krantzius. Munster.] They leade their liues in holy simplicitie,
not seeking any more then nature doeth afforde. A happie Nation, whose
pouertie no man doth enuie. But the English and Danish merchants suffer
not the nation to be at rest, who frequenting that countrey to transport
fishing, haue conueighed thither our vices, together with their manifolde
wares. For nowe, they haue learned to brew their water with corne, and
beginne to despise, and loath the drinking of faire water. Now they couet
golde and siluer like vnto our men.
Simplicitie, &c. I am exceedingly glad, that the commendation of holy
simplicitie is giuen vnto vs. But it grieueth vs that there is found so
great a decay of iustice, and good lawes, and so great want of gouernement
amongst vs, which is the cause of many thousande haynous offences which all
honest and godly men doe continually bewayle. This inconuenience doth not
happen through the negligence of the highest Magistrate, that is of our
most gracious King, but rather by our owne fault, who doe not present these
thinges vnto his Maiestie, which are disorderly committed without his
knowledge, and which are wanting in the inferiour Magistrate.
Merchants. Moreouer, Merchants, not onely of England and Denmarke, but
especially of Germanie, as at this time, so heretofore frequenting our
countrey, not to transport fishing, but fishes, taught not Islanders the
arte of brewing corne with water. For the Noruagians themselues, the first,
to our knowledge, that inhabited this Island, from whom ye Islanders are
lineally descended, brought with them out of Norway that arte, as also
golde and siluer coine, so that in old time there was no lesse vse of
siluer and golde with vs, then there is at this day.
[Sidenote: Corne of old time growing on Island.] And it is certaine that
before the often nauigations of Danes, Germans, and English men vnto vs,
our land was much more fertile then nowe it is (feeling the inconueniences
of the aged and decayed worlde, both from heauen and earth) and brought
foorth, in certaine choyse places, corne in abundance.
[Sidenote: Munsterus. Krantzius.] Rex DaniŠ qui et NoruagiŠ quotannis
prŠfectum immittit genti.
Anno Domino 846. natus est Haraldus Harfagre (quod auricomum vel
pulchricomum dixeris) Qui deinde Anno 858, Rex NoruagiŠ designatus, vbi
Štas viresque iustum incrementum acceperunt, formam imperij Noruagici
mutauit. Nam antea in minutas prouincias diuisum (quas Fylki vocabant, et