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Leo IX, dated January 6, 1053, the original of which has been preserved until this day in the archives of Hanover,” says Beauvois.' The third was issued on the 29th day of October, 1055, by Pope Victor II.” A more specious objection to the authenticity of the documents of Lewis the Pious and of Gregory IV. is drawn from the alleged fact that, at the time when these diplomas were issued, Iceland and Greenland had not received their names, nor were, in fact, discovered as yet; and, consequently, could not have been visited by Christian missionaries.” It is, indeed, generally asserted, on the authority of the Scandinavian records, that Iceland was first discovered by Naddodr in the year 860, and Greenland in 982 by Eric the Red. But to understand the true meaning of all similar statements made by the Icelandic sagas, it is necessary to notice and to bear in mind that the object of these venerable manuscripts was altogether and exclusively national. The great and remarkable deeds of the Northmen were carefully recorded, with all their circumstances, for the amusement and instruction of their posterity; but events, however important, that took place among other nations were either unknown or ignored by the insular chroniclers. With the exception of a few pages, devoted to the annals of the world from its creation to the author's time, the voluminous sagas contain but a small number of incidental phrases relating to matters which are not merely national and cast some light upon the history of other peoples. Whatever was not Northman was not worth being written in the Icelandic manuscripts, and whatever was written therein was of the Northmen. Voyages and settlements spoken of are voyages and settlements of Northmen, and so also are the first discoveries of distant countries simply the first landings of Northmen upon their shores, without any reference to prior discoveries, landings, or settlements effected by any other nation on the same territories. The sagas minutely relate the first discoveries of Iceland and Greenland and of the American continent by different Scandinavians; yet they themselves candidly, though incidentally, state that these discoveries were posterior to those of the Christians of Ireland."
* Origines, pp. 28, 29. See Docu- Maltebrun; Pertz, t. ii. p. 699;
ment XXX., b. Amer. Cath. Quar, Rev., vol. xiv. * Supra, p. 54. p. 600; Beauvois, Origines, p. 11. * Langebek, t. i. p. 451, n. z ;
Nor can it be objected that these earlier discoveries, or rather the settlements of the North Atlantic archipelagos, were unknown at the court of Emperor Lewis; for what the Irish Dicuil wrote, in the year 825, and the English Bede about the same time, was likely known by their learned friends of the European continent in 831 and probably sooner.” Moreover, we have observed before that Greenland was known by the ancient Greeks, and Iceland by the learned of Europe, both before and after Christ;" while we have good reasons to suppose that the next neighbors of the pious emperor were, from personal experience, acquainted with those countries, when we notice that the Danes and the Northmen not only frequented the northernmost seas for fishing purposes, but also that the former had kept their warlike fleets on those waters ever since the eighth century, and the latter had extended their piratical courses, as early as the year 725, up to the Faroe group of islands, if not farther north.* If, perhaps, they continue, the countries were known, the names, at least of Iceland and Greenland, were not at the time of Lewis the Pious and of Gregory IV. ; since it is clearly stated by an Icelandic fragment of the fourteenth century that the former appellation was imposed by the sea-rover Floki between the years 864 and 870;" while the latter was given as late as the year 985, according to the plain assertion of the Icelandic sagas, where we read that Eric the Red chose that beautiful name in order to entice his countrymen to accompany him to his new home.”
'Supra, pp. 34, 36, 39, 41, seq. * Pagi, ap. Baronium, t. xiv. ad
* Moosmüller, S. 41. an. 832, xiii.; Letronne, cap.
* Supra, vol. i. p. 121. See Docu- vii. s. 3, p. 39; Gravier, p. 17. ment XIX.
The sagas, however, relate as well that Eric must have given of his discovery a truthful description, which ill suited the attractive name; for when, a year after, Bjarne Herjulfson sighted the green wooded coasts of the American continent, he was convinced, from the information he had received in Iceland, that these were no part of Greenland, which he was to recognize by its tall forbidding mountains covered with ice and snow.” It is evident, moreover, that the few narrow strips along the ocean's edge—grassy for a few summer months—could not justify Eric the Red in originating, nor his companions in sustaining, the egregious misnomer; and we must seek elsewhere for a reasonable explanation of Greenland's name.
Greenland and its surrounding waters exactly correspond with the ancient Cronian Sea and the island where, according to Greek mythology, rehearsed by Plutarch during the first century of our era, Saturn or Kpavog lay chained in everlasting sleep." Hence, “Cronia” was Greenland's ancient classical name, which
* Langebek, t. ii. p. 32; Gravier, * Gravier, p. 42; Rafn, Antiquip. 22. tates, p. 22.
* Rafn, Antiquitates, p. 14; Pes- * Supra, vol. i. p. 121, seq. chel, Zeitalter, S. 80; Reeves, p. 9.
the learned Irish monks had not forgotten when they set out for their ocean peregrinations; and it was easily remembered at both the imperial and the papal courts when the news of the Irish settlements reached the European continent. Scientists like Dicuil and Bede could have no doubt in regard to the identity of the northwestern country. The geographers, after Pliny the Elder, gave the name of Cronian Sea to the waters north and west of Iceland. It is but natural that the mariners who sailed through this sea and discovered land in it or on its borders should also have called this land Cronian Land or “Cronlant.” Nor should we be surprised to find in the ancient documents the Teutonic translation “land” of the Latin termination “ia,” when we remember that the modern name was first written in a Teutonic province. It is remarkable, * in this respect, that the more ancient documents and histories all read “Gronland” or “Cronland,” the land of Cronos; while only in later centuries has been adopted the orthography of “Groenland” or “Grenelandia,”—the green country, to satisfy Teutonic euphony, requiring the softening inflection of “o” into “oe.” “If,” says Hornius, “Cronland be the same as ancient Cronia, as we have proved it to be, and as is admitted also by Dalechamp and Cluver, then it was known long before the Norwegians first landed on it.”
'Moosmüller, S. 24. cap. v. p. 155) writes: “Gron* Supra, pp. 51, 55, 57. landia ingens sub ipso cardine
* P. 158. The orthography in siderum, incognitae etiam magmithe bull of Leo IX., dated January tudinis, inter Americam et Euro
o, 1053, is “Gronlant :” “Vide- pam media jacet. Cujus nomen licet episcopos in omnibus gentibus etiam antiquissimis geographis noSueonum ... Gronlant. . . .” (Di- tum, qui illud mare, quod supra
plomatarium Islandicum, p. 57.) Rubeas et Scandiam est, Cronium
In that of Innocent II., A.D. 1133 dixerunt, ab ei adjacente Cronia,
(ap. Lappenberg, p. 132), it is still sive Saturni insula.”
“Cronlondia.” Hornius (lib. iii. i II.—5
The climatic condition of Iceland sufficiently explains why its classical name of Thule had been abandoned by the oldest Danish and Scandinavian fishermen and pirates. These had reported, under its present appellation, at the emperor's court, the island, which they had either seen themselves or undoubtedly heard of from the Irish monks and settlers with whom they had but too often, as we shall presently see, come in contact on the northern seas. It is probable, indeed, that, should the name of this island originate with the first Scandinavian landings on it, its name would be either Snowland or Gardarsholm, as it was called by the two Northmen who first discovered it, according to the sagas. But since these new appellations were afterwards ignored, we may well infer that Floki, the next discoverer, designated Iceland by the name long since accepted.
It is hardly necessary to notice a last objection raised by Beauvois,' who pretends that the Roman court received its first information concerning the discovery and Christianization of Iceland and Greenland through the medium of the Northmen as late as the eleventh century, “For,” he says, “had the papal court received the news from the more ancient papas, it is likely that the new countries would have been made suffragan to the diocese of the Hebrides or to some other Scotch or Irish episcopal see.” The author loses sight of the fact that it has always been the Roman policy to attach the dioceses of dependent smaller territories to some metropolitan see of the Sovereign or mother country; in consequence of which Gregory IV. subjected the islands of the northern Atlantic to Hamburg, the metropolis of the Danes and Scandinavians, who were
* Origines, p. 11.