sailing in iceland

Significance of Ravens

Cultures around the world either depict ravens in a benevolent, or malevolent way. That aside, they are probably one of the world’s most intelligent birds, and indeed, very playful; they are one of only a few wild animals who make their own toys. They have been observed breaking off twigs to play with socially.

Ravens In Norse Culture

  • The highest Norse god, Odin, has two ravens named Huginn and Muninn (“Memory” and “Thought”). 
  • Ravens were linked to death and war, due to their preference for carrion.
  • Ravens appear in almost ever skaldic poem describing warfare.
  • Flóki Vilgerðarson was the first Norseman to intentionally sail to Iceland. On his ship he had three ravens, and whenever he thought land was near, he would release them - if the ravens would fly back, land was not near. The ravens always came back to the ship but one day, the third raven flew forwards. Floki followed that raven and found Iceland.

Ravens In Celtic Lore

  • They were linked to darkness and death – especially the death of warriors in battle.
  • Many Celtic goddesses with linked to the raven, because goddesses were usually aggressive deities. 
  • This lead to the raven being the harbinger of doom and destruction.
  • Ravens were associated with the otherworld.
  • The other main characteristic of Raven in Irish and Welsh myth is that of prophesy. 
  • Among the Irish Celts, the raven was associated with the Triple Goddess, the Morrigan, who took the shape of a raven over battlefields while protecting warriors.
  • Irish and Scots Bean Sidhes (Banshees) can take the form of ravens. Their calls from over the roof of a dwelling was considered to be an omen of death for the occupants.

To have a raven’s knowledge” is an Irish proverb meaning to have a seer’s supernatural powers

Ravens In Native American Culture

  • Native Americans called the raven the messenger of death. The Raven is found in the stories of most tribes and is generally considered a Trickster.
  • The raven is a creature of metamorphosis.
  • Foremost, the Raven is the Native American bearer of magic, and a harbinger of messages from the cosmos.  Messages that are beyond space and time are nestled in the midnight wings of the Raven and come to only those within the tribe who are worthy of the knowledge.
  • The Raven is also a keeper of secrets.

Ravens In Greco-Roman Times

  • But the Raven has not always been associated with death, spirits and darkness. Quite the contrary, the Raven was believed to be the bringer of light, truth and goodness.
  • They are said to be a symbol of good luck.
  • They were the god’s messengers in the mortal world.
  • Ravens often acted as the protectors of human seers.
  • Ravens were sacred to Apollo, the god of prophecy, and were oracular birds to him.

North African Pirates in 17th Century Iceland

The Barbary Corsairs were a large band of infamous pirates from the Barbary States, now comprised of Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco.  Between the 17th and 19th century the Barbary Pirates were the terror of the high seas, raiding throughout the Mediterranean, but also raiding as far north of Ireland, England, Scotland, and Scandinavia.  Craving wealth, they often struct Spanish treasure fleets contained gold, silver, and jewels from the New World.  In fact they took whatever was of value with which they could make some money with.  One of their most lucrative items were slaves, and between the 17th and 19th centuries it is estimated that the Barbary Pirates abducted between 800.000 and 1.25 million people.

One of the Barbary Pirate’s most remote targets was Iceland.  At the time Iceland was an easy pick, they had few weapons, no organized military, and little violence had occurred on the island since the days of the Vikings.  In 1627, a Barbary fleet under the command of Dutch pirate  Jan Janszoon sailed north toward Iceland on a raiding mission.  They arrived at Iceland on June 20th and over the next month raided villages along the eastern and southern coasts.  While Iceland was a soft target, it also didn’t sport many riches.  At best all the pirates found was salted fish and furs.  So the Barbary Pirates decided to take the one thing in Iceland that was of value; slaves.  During the raids 400 Icelanders were abducted to be sold into slavery. Scores of others were killed. Other sources estimate as high as 900 or 1,000, although primary Icelandic sources stick to 400.  The Barbary Pirates were also lucky to have caught some incoming ships from the Netherlands, England, and Denmark, which made the expedition worthwhile.  The 400 Icelanders were sold into slavery at Barbary markets in North Africa.  Among the slaves were Olafur Egilsson, a Lutheran Minister who later wrote an account of his life in captivity, and Guðríður Símonardóttir, who became a concubine until she was personally brought back by King Christian IV of Denmark.  Of the 400 Icelanders abducted, 27 returned home.  In Iceland, the raids were known as the “Turkish Raids” or “Turkish Abductions” since the Barbary States were a part of the Turkish Ottoman Empire at the time.

The Barbary Pirates continued their raiding and plundering for the next two centuries.  In the early 19th century a combined fleet of British, French, Spanish, Dutch, and American warships made war on the Barbary States, which greatly reduced their power.  The end of the Barbary Pirates came in 1830 when France conquered and occupied Algeria.



on iceland’s third day of college, he hears a knock at his dorm room door, and opens it to find denmark and norway standing there, grinning with a pie in hand and a “congrats on surviving your first days of college!” banner

and iceland is just standing there like “oH MY FUCKING GOD” because now everyone in the hall is coming out to see the commotion, confused by the two weird adults standing in the college dorm

and iceland’s cute new roomate, hong kong, is giving him strange looks and ICELAND WAS TRYING TO AVOID GETTING A REPUTATION OF THE WEIRD KID AGAIN, BUT APPARENTLY THAT SHIP HAS NOW SAILED

Erik the Red, Greenland and Iceland:

Erik the Red was an icelandic born viking explorer, who found Greenland and settled the huge island.
At first, Norwegians had explored and settled Iceland. This name of course comes from the many glaciers and icy beaches, even though the area were way warmer than today, and was covered in 80% forests compared to the 10% today.

Erik the Red found Greenland with a crew, sailed back to Iceland to gain more settlers for the new land. He didn’t succeed so he had to lie about it, calling it Greenland for making it sound more appealing even though it was colder and further north than Iceland.

Erik then found several cities, and one of theese (Ruins pictured) stood on Greenland till 1500 totally isolated from the rest of Europe. Greenland was rediscovered by Danish missionaries in the 1700’s.

monochromedsunshine  asked:

Anything really, like basic myths and the actual facts behind them, or people of note such as Erik the Red or Edward Teach. I know that's still pretty vague though.

This is my last ask from yesterday!!!!! WOOOOOO (A bit of explanation: monochromedsunshine had previously asked a very general question, so I wrote back asking for something more specific.)

Okay, so Erik the Red was pretty funny. He sailed west to Iceland because he got in a spot of trouble (he murdered a man) back home in Norway, and was exiled. Then he got exiled from Iceland too. Erik couldn’t or wouldn’t go back to Norway, so he decided to sail into the sunset. Luckily for him there was Greenland on the other side. A land of inviting fjords and fertile valleys, at least on the coasts, Erik sailed back to Iceland to convince more settlers to join him. To help persuade them, Erik called the new place “Greenland.” And he must have been persuasive because in 985 CE he set sail with 25 ships of Icelandic settlers. Fourteen survived and arrived. Unfortunately Erik had exaggerated the bounty of Greenland, which was less fertile and harder to survive on than Iceland (ironically). Some went back, but most stayed and tried to make a go of it. They founded two settlements, and by 1000 CE there were about 3,000 Norse living in Greenland on 300 to 400 farms. Life was always difficult, though, and there were conflicts with the local Inuit. By 1500 CE Greenland was abandoned by the Norse.

'Medieval Warm Period' was not global, shows study

New York, Dec 6 (IANS) Contrary to popular perception, the so-called Medieval Warm Period, when Europe enjoyed exceptionally mild weather, did not necessarily extend to other parts of the world, says a study.

“It is becoming clearer that the Medieval Warm Period was patchy, not global,” said lead study author Nicolas Young, glacial geologist at Columbia University in the US.

“The concept is Eurocentric” - that is where the best-known observations were made. Elsewhere, the climate might not have been the same,“ Young noted.

Climate scientists have cited the Medieval Warm Period to explain anomalies in rainfall and temperature in far-flung regions, from the US Southwest to China.

For the study, the researchers focused on Greenland weather when the Vikings first colonised it.

Norse, or Vikings, led by Erik the Red, first sailed from recently settled Iceland to southwestern Greenland around 985 AD, according to Icelandic records.

Some 3,000 to 5,000 settlers eventually lived in Greenland, harvesting walrus ivory and raising livestock. But the colonies disappeared between about 1360 and 1460, leaving only ruins, and a longstanding mystery as to what happened.

The native Inuit remained, but Europeans did not re-inhabit Greenland until the 1700s.

The Greenlandic Vikings’ apogee coincided with the Medieval Warm Period, generally dated from about 950-1250; their disappearance followed the onset of the Little Ice Age, which ran from about 1300-1850.

Both periods are firmly documented in European and Icelandic historical records. Thus, popular authors and some scientists have fixed on the idea that nice weather drew the settlers to Greenland, and bad weather froze and starved them.

But there are no early historical climate records from Greenland. Recently, historians have proposed more complex factors in addition to, or instead of, climate – hostilities with the Inuit, a decline in ivory trade, soil erosion caused by the Vikings’ imported cattle, or a migration back to Europe to farms depopulated by the Black Plague.

In the new study, the scientists sampled boulders left by advancing glaciers over the last 1,000-some years in southwest Greenland, and on neighbouring Baffin Island, which the Norse may also have occupied, according to newly uncovered evidence.

The researchers found that Greenland was at least as cold when the Vikings arrived as when they left.

"If the Vikings travelled to Greenland when it was cool, it is a stretch to say deteriorating climate drove them out,” Young pointed out.

The study appeared in the journal Science Advances.