What was known about Iceland in the world outside before the time of the Viking settlements?
Helgi Hrafn Guðmundsson
AnswerAccording to the traditional view of Icelandic history, the country was settled during the years 870-930. There can be no doubt that knowledge of the country went back somewhat before this, perhaps to the time of the major advances in shipbuilding that occurred in Scandinavia in the 8th century, and even to the early years of that century or latter years of the 7th. Significant expansion westwards from the Scandinavian homelands seems to have got under way late in the 8th century, with the first recorded Viking raid on Lindisfarne in N.W.England in 793 and the settlement of Orkney and Shetland by the men of the North a little earlier. The Faeroe Islands appear to have been settled some time around 800. The earliest definite written source to mention Iceland is an account by the Irish monk Dicuil from around 825, at a time when the North was still illiterate. According to Dicuil, there were Irish monks living there at the time, so far as can be seen untroubled and in peace. However, the presence of Irish monks in no way precludes the possibility, as some historians have suggested recently, that there were also fishing colonies in Iceland at the same time peopled by men of Scandinavian origin, many years before the permanent settlements; Iceland is quite large enough for there to have been various kinds of settlements scattered around it without significant contact between them in the years before the systematic settlement got under way.
Um þessa spurningu
Gísli Gunnarsson. „What was known about Iceland in the world outside before the time of the Viking settlements?“. The Icelandic Web of Science 5.3.2005. http://why.is/svar.php?id=4788. (Skoðað 23.3.2017).
Gísli Gunnarssonprófessor emeritus í sagnfræði við HÍ