Friday, 5 April 2013

E is for Erik the Red

Good evening my dears, how are you all? I quite miss talking directly to you, rather than just typing information here! I'm sorry I've been slow with commenting, I have deadlines coming up at the end of April so I'm feeling a little frantic! 

Anyways, lets talk about Erik the Red, the guy who founded the first settlement in Greenland!

We know about Erik the Red from the Icelandic Sagas, texts that were passed down from oral tradition during the viking age. It is said that Erik had to leave Norway because he had committed manslaughter there. He moved to Iceland but then he killed a bunch of people and ended up getting himself outlawed. Smart, huh? 

I've always liked the story that when Iceland was discovered, the explorers named it Iceland because it was so cold, but on discovering Greenland afterwards, realised that they should have reserved the name for that place instead. However, according to the sagas (/wikipedia, where I've just learned this) it was Erik who named it Greenland, having returned to Iceland after he'd served his time away, because he wanted to give it a more appealing name than Iceland had. Either way, I've always thought how the names Iceland and Greenland were kind of mixed up :)

Have you ever read any of the Icelandic sagas? I really do recommend them - I find it really fascinating that they had been passed down orally for so long before finally being written. I love the Chinese Whispers effect that they got, since they began as historical tales but as they were passed on, certain details were changed, leaving us with stories of beserkers and witches and magic. They're wonderful!

the little nordic cabin


  1. I've not read the Icelandic sagas but I did know about the stories of how the 2 places got their names. :) Erik would have benefited from some anger management classes. lol

  2. I would definitely like to know more about Icelandic sagas. Sounds very interesting. :)

  3. wow, I leaned a lot! I look forward in reading more!

  4. Nice to learn a bit of history! I love the illustration of Eric the Red. Looking forward to the reading the rest of your A to Z posts!