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at the time the actual masters of those islands. According to this policy, the diocese of Sudor itself was afterwards made a suffragan of Drontheim. The remark which he adds, that Iceland and Greenland were newly converted during the eleventh century, is perfectly correct in regard to their Scandinavian inhabitants; but it does not disprove the fact of a previous Christian population placed by the Roman pontiff under the jurisdiction of St. Ansgar. There exist, it is true, manuscript copies of the
diplomas establishing or confirming this primeval .
hierarchy of the northern regions, in which the names of Greenland and Iceland have been suppressed, as also those of some other countries;" but the reason is manifest. The copyists implicitly believed the Scandinavian sagas to be absolutely correct, and came to the same conclusion as some of our modern critics, namely, that the original documents, in virtue of which the archbishops of Hamburg-Bremen had exercised their authority over the North-Atlantic islands as late as the twelfth century, had been made to justify their acts of jurisdiction, by the interpolation of the same diplomas, after the Northmen had become the principal settlers of the northeastern American countries. The reader, we trust, will be convinced by both our positive and negative arguments that there is no serious reason to doubt the authenticity of any part or portion of the most ancient Christian records relating to our western hemisphere. American countries were mentioned by Emperor Lewis the Pious in the year 834, and by Pope Gregory IV. in the year following; and these countries—Iceland and Greenland—were at the time partly settled by Christian colonists from Ireland.
* Supra, pp. 52, 53.
CH A P T E R IV.
FAINT and few are the historic particulars concerning the first Christian population of the North-Atlantic islands. It is doubtful whether there ever was, before the latter part of the tenth century, any bishop residing in either Greenland or Iceland. Pope Anastasius III. confirms, in the year 912, the authority of the archbishops of Hamburg not only in general over all the northern countries, among which Iceland and Greenland are mentioned, but also in particular over “the bishops” of these countries,' as other popes do in successive times; but no appointments nor names of such prelates are known. Should Mr. Fowler be correct in his learned Introduction to Adamnan's Life of St. Columba, we could hardly doubt that quite a number of bishops have exercised their sublime ministry on the islands and on the coasts of the northern Atlantic long before the tenth century. He says of the ancient Irish monachism, “The abbot was the head of each monastic family, including the daughter-houses, which were governed by local heads under the abbot. Sometimes the abbot was a bishop, but usually a priest, with one or more bishops subject to him as members of the community, but performing episcopal functions and treated with honor and deference, as bishops. Even abbesses had such episcopal chaplains subject to their authority. The system was one of monastic territorial jurisdiction rather than one of diocesan episcopacy, though episcopacy was always held to be essential to the very being of a church.” Such being the custom, we may readily admit that the ancient Irish monasteries of Iceland, perhaps also of Greenland, were not deprived of episcopal ministrations. The staffs or crosiers abandoned by the Irish monks at their disappearance from Iceland are as likely to have been those of bishops as of abbots. The end of this primitive Christianity in the North is the part of its history best known to us. From the earliest times the Danes, the Saxons, and the Scandinavians relied upon the waters for a considerable portion of their subsistence; and, already at the beginning of the fifth century, their armed fleets were the terror of the neighboring countries.” Scandinavian freebooters made several descents upon the coast of Ireland during the seventh century, and subjugated some of its eastern districts during the eighth; * while the Irish monks and colonists of the smaller northern islands suffered no less than the people of their mother country. The Shetland or Hjaltland and the Faroe groups were ravaged in the year 725, when the Norwegian pirate Grim Kamban established his head-quarters in the latter.” “As those islands,” says Dicuil, “which lie at two days' sail to the north of Scotland were uninhabited from the beginning of the world, so now,”—that is, in the year 825,-‘‘abandoned by the anchorites because of the incursions of the Northmen, are they filled with numberless sheep and
* Supra, p. 53. See Document XXIV.
"Cooley, Histoire Générale des 90, ref. to Letronne, pp. 129–146. Voyages, t. i. p. 210; Reeves, p. * Letronne, cap. vii. 3, p. 39. 162; Letronne, p. 135.
The sea-rovers did not stop on the islands which they had laid waste with fire and sword, but the Icelandic sagas say, with patriotic euphemism, that they continued their voyages in search of other desert lands." Indeed, the Ulster Annals inform us of the desolation created by the northern pagans all over the British isles during the year 793.” The island Hij or Iona was, for the first of many times, ravaged by the pirates in A.D. 794; and about 800 its famous monastery of Columbkil, the centre of Irish monachism, was burned to the ground.” The ancient Ebudi or Hebrides Islands passed, one after another, into the tyrannical possession of the Northmen during the closing years of the eighth century. Their riches were carried off, their monuments of civilization destroyed, and their inhabitants reduced to serfdom or slavery.”
The Orkneys had likewise been infested, time and again, by their piratical neighbors, when, towards the end of the ninth century, their Christian population was completely exterminated. The first king of all Norway, Harald “Haarfagr” or Comely-Hair, had succeeded in humbling his competitors at the general battle of Hafursfiord or Stavanger; but the vanquished jarls, preferring exile to subjection, set out for the neighboring islands, principally for the Orkneys; of which they made a nest of pirates, who should, on every available occasion, harass their victorious enemy and cut off all trade with Norway. Harald, however, did not long brook their annoyance, but, gathering a numerous fleet, he sunk the hostile vessels and put to the sword every man of the Orkney group without any distinction of race,—Scandinavians, Picts, and Papas." Letronne proves the truth of this mournful tragedy, from the words of a diploma of the year 1403.” Iceland was the last of the northern islands to be molested by the Norwegian freebooters and exiles, but hither also they found their way; or, rather, they probably learned the route to the distant shores from the Subjugated countrymen of the Irish colonists. Historians do not quite agree upon the dates of the first landings of the Northmen in Iceland. The year 860 is, however, generally accepted as that in which Naddodr, probably a Scandinavian settler of the Faroe Islands, set foot on the Icelandic shore; and 874 is likely the date of the first Norwegian settlements made in ancient Thule, by Ingulf Arnarson, Hiorleif, and a few more, who were speedily followed by a considerable number of their countrymen fleeing from the hated dominion of King Harald.” The arrival of these new colonists was the signal for the former to leave. The Islendingabók ‘plainly states that the Christians, whom the Northmen called Papas, went away, because they were unwilling to dwell in company with heathens." There is no doubt that the Irish monks and many Settlers departed from Iceland as the Northmen came in, but it seems that the reason attributed to them is a groundless supposition of the patriotic Ari Frode wishing to cover the disgrace of his ancestors' cruelties. When one reads of the robberies and massacres perpe
* Historia Olavi Tryggvii filii, 162, n. 9; Beauvois, La Découcap. clxxvii.-clxxix. pp. 83–85, ap. verte, p. 37. Gravier, p. 18. * Cooley, Histoire Générale, t. i. * Kretschmer, S. 245. p. 211; Maltebrun ; alii passim. * Fowler, p. lxxxv ; Reeves, p.
* Depping, t. ii. p. 45; Beauvois, inhabitata et culta duabus nacioniLa Découverte, pp. 29, 37; Gra- bus, scilicet peti et pape, quae due vier, pp. 13, 14. genera naciones, fuerant destructe
*Additions, p. 92: “. . . Re- radicitus. . . .” perimus itaque imprimis, quod * Storm, p. 8; Letronne, pp. tempore Harolldi Comati, primi 139, 141; Mallet, p. 187; Baumregis Norwegie, qui gavisusest per gartner, Island, S. 81; alii. totum regnum suum, haec terra, * Kap. i. sive insularum patria, Orcadie, fuit * See Document XX.