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Friday, October 23, 2009

Vikings: Erik the Red

Erik the Red was born in 950, his birth name was Erik Thorvaldson.
It is believed he was called Erik the Red due to his red hair. Vikings didn't have sir names, often they were called after personality traits or physical characteristics.

It wasn't unusual for Vikings to settle disputes through fighting.
Murder of a family member would result in a member of the offending family being killed. This was justice.
"Things" were like courts where the Jarls, leaders of clans, would talk about issues and mete out justice for crimes. To determine if a person was telling the truth, they might be required to take a stone from a boiling pot of water. If they were honest, they would not get burned.

The Saga of Erik the Red tells of Erik's father being exiled form Norway because of "some killings." His family settled in Iceland. In the year 982, Erik loaned a shovel to a nieghbor, when the nieghbor refused to return the shovel, Erik stole it back. The two aruged and Erik killed the man.

In another incident, a landslide was accidentally started by Erik's slaves, damaging a farm. The farmer murdered the slaves. Erik in turn, killed the farmer. The thing had him banished from Iceland.

Erik began to travel, he and group of followers discovered a land nearly 500 miles west of Iceland. Erik named it Greenland. It was his belief a desireable name would make people more likely to settle there. Erik is credited with the exploration of Greenland, he spent three years exploring this land according to the Saga. When he returned to Iceland after his banishment period was up, he told stories of Greenland Life was harsh in Iceland and famine struck, many came to Greenland in hopes of a better future.

On a second expedition 14 of the 25 ships landed safely and established a settlement. Erik's colony would eventually die out, but other Norse settlements would survive until the 1400s, when communications ceased for more than a century.


Anonymous said...

Really useful.......Ty

Anonymous said...

Very usefull, thank you much.

Anonymous said...

Innacurate much?

Anonymous said...

hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm well eric was a smart man

Anonymous said...

that what SHIT did not answer any of my questions