Sacred Texts  Legends and Sagas  Iceland 
Buy this Book on Kindle

Norsemen Celebrating Their Discovery, p. 202 (Public Domain Image)

The Norse Discovery of America

by Arthur Middleton Reeves,
North Ludlow Beamish,
and Rasmus B. Anderson


Contents    Start Reading    Page Index    Text [Zipped]

This is a collection of texts relating to the voyages of the Norse west to America. A thousand years ago, nearly half a millennium before Columbus, the Norse extended their explorations from Iceland and Greenland to the shores of Northeastern North America, and, possibly, beyond.

This volume from the Norroena collection contains all known sagas and documentary fragments which relate to this legendary exploration. It also contains analysis of the texts which should be read with a critical eye. While it is now certain that the Norse reached Nova Scotia, the claims in this book that they reached as far south as Boston--not to mention Georgia or South Carolina--are still controversial. There is also tangential discussion of whether the Irish managed to get to America prior to the Norse, an even more contentious assertion.

Regardless, the texts in this three-part volume open up a window into a vivid era, and give glimpses of religion, society and travel in the period when the Norse were actively exploring the North Atlantic. They contain one of the only detailed descriptions of a pagan women's divination ritual, and deal with the expansion of Christianity from both sides. There are bone-chilling stories of disease, murder and jealousy in the small communities on the leading edge of Viking colonization. Reading these sagas inspires deep understanding of the life and motivations of the Scandinavian sea rovers and respect for their accomplishments in the field of exploration.

--John Bruno Hare, February 18th, 2004

Title Page
List of Photogravures

Book I. Arguments and Proofs That Support the Claim of Norse Discovery of America

Chapter I. Early Fragmentary References to Wineland
Chapter II. The Saga of Eric the Red
Chapter III. The Wineland History of the Flatey Book
Chapter IV. A Brief History of Eric the Red
Chapter V. Wineland in the Icelandic Annals
Chapter VI. Notices of Doubtful Value; Fictions
Chapter VII. The Publication of the Discovery

Book II. Icelandic Records

Arguments and Evidences Respecting the Wineland Discovery
Introduction to a Study of Icelandic Records
Second Period
Third Period
Last Period
Saga of Erik the Red
Voyage of Leif Erikson
Saga of Thorfinn Karlsefne
Voyage of Freydis, Helgi and Finnbogi
Geographical Notices in Ancient Icelandic Manuscripts
Monuments and Inscriptions
Minor Narratives
Voyage of Gudleif Gudlaugson to Great Ireland

Book III. The Norsemen in America

Chapter I. Norumbega
Chapter II. Norse Voyages In The: Tenth And Following Centuries
Chapter III. Columbus and the Norsemen
Chapter IV. Discovery of America by the Irish