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View Diary: Ancient Europe: The Faroe Islands (27 comments)

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  •  Debate ad infinitum about fate of the monks... (4+ / 0-)

    Today's Irish brothers will tell you they were slaughtered.

    •  On what evidence? (3+ / 0-)
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      Notreadytobenice, mayim, Ojibwa

      It's a simple fact that there is no evidence as to what happened to them. They were likely here - whether as small temporary camps or small permanent settments, there's no evidence - and then they weren't.

      Perhaps some day there will be some evidence as to what happened. It's not at all an unreasonable hypothesis to think that viking settlers wouldn't be above killing someone for land. But without evidence, it's merely a hypothesis. It's also possible that there were few to no Irish monks in Iceland at the time of settlement. It's possible that there was abandonment of Iceland when faced with the new arrivals rather than killing - fleeing from vikings was far from unheard of, and Iceland's a big island. It's possible (and probably likely) a mix of factors. The reality is, it's simply unknown. There's so little evidence of any kind - simply Irish references to "Thule", one Irish writer claiming to have talked to a monk who returned from Thule, one viking story mentioning meeting an Irish monk, one cave that was possibly used in the pre-settlement era, a couple crosses that possibly (but doubtfully) from before the viking settlement, and one abandoned pre-settlement cabin that does not appear to have been permanently used. That's pretty much the net summary of all available evidence, and even a lot of that is quite fuzzy. The cabin site is the only physical evidence in Iceland that's generally well accepted as being before the official start of the viking settlement period. It's not even known for sure if its occupants were Irish - that's just the operating assumption.

      It should also be mentioned that the only claims that exist of Irish living in Iceland were of Irish monks, which, obviously, precludes procreation. So even if there ever were multi-year settlements, they never were long-term self-sustaining.

      Já þýðir já. Nei þýðir nei. Hvað er svona erfitt við það?

      by Rei on Mon Nov 18, 2013 at 02:03:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You may enjoy "Byzantium" by Stephen Lawhead... (2+ / 0-)
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        Ojibwa, mayim

        Don't know if there's an icelandic translation.

        During this expedition by sea and over land, Aidan becomes, by turns, a warrior and a sailor, a slave and a spy, a Viking and a Saracen, and finally, a man. He sees more of the world than most men of his time, becoming an ambassador to kings and an intimate of Byzantium's fabled Golden Court. And finally, this valiant Irish monk faces the greatest trial confronting any man in any age: the command of his own destiny.

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