A brief commentary of Iceland, by Arngrimus Ionas

A letter written by the graue and learned Gudbrandus Thorlacius Bishop of Holen in Island, concerning the ancient state of Island and Gronland, &c.

Reuerendissimo viro, eruditione et virtute conspicuo, D. Hugoni Branham, Ecclesiæ Hareuicensis in Anglia pastori vigilantissimo, fratri et symmystæ obseruando.

Mirabar equidem (vt conijcis, reuerende domine pastor) primo literarum tuarum intuitu, ignotum me, ab ignoto, scriptis salutari. Cæterùm, cum vlterius progrederer, comperi me, si non aliter, certè nomine tenùs, tibi (quæ tua est humanitas) innotuisse: Simúlque quòd te nominis Islandorum studiosum experirer, ex animo gauisus sum. Vnde etiam faciam, vt tua pietas, tuúmque nomen, de Euangelio Iesu Christi nobis congratulantis, dèque gente nostra tàm benignè támque honorificè sentientis, et scribentis apud nos ignotum esse desinat.

Commentarius breuis de Islandia: per Arngrimum Ionam Islandum editus, 1593. Quòd verò ad antiquitatis monimenta attinet, quæ hic extare creduntur, nihil sanè est (præter illa, quorum in Commentario isto de Islandia, quem vidisse te scribis, fit mentio) de hac nostra insula lectu scriptuuà dignum, quod cum humanitate tua communicem. De vicinis itidem terris pauca, præter historiam Regum Noruegiæ, seu veriùs eiusdem historiæ fragmenta; quæ alijs alitèr descripta sunt: sunt tamen talia, quæ Krantzius non attigerit, aut eorum certè pauca. De vicina quoque Gronlandia, id veterum opinione habemus, eam magno circuitu ab extrema Noruegia, vbi Biarmlandia Biarmia. nuncupatur, et à qua haud vasto interuallo sita sit, circum quasi Islandiam exporrigi. Illic nostrates aliquando commercia exetcuisse, et eam terram tempore Pontificiorum suos Episcopos habuisse annales nostri testantur. Cætera nobis incognita. Gronlandia olim suos habuit Episcopos. At hodie fama est, vestris Brittannis (quos ego propè maris dominos appellarim) quotannis csse in Gronlandia negotmiones de qua re, si me certiorem feceris, non erit iniucundum. Euam velim quæcunque noua erunt de rebus vestratium aut vicinorum regnorum, ea non omittas.

Vale foeliciter (reuerende Dom. pastor) Deo musis, et commissio gregi quàm diuttssime superstes, Amen. Ex Islindij in festo visitationis D. Mariæ Anni 1595.

Human. tuæ studiosus Gudbrandus Thorlacius Episcopus Holensis in Islandia.

The same in English.

To the reuerend, learned, and vertuous, Master Hugh Branham minister of the Church of Harewich in England, his brother and felow pastour, &c.

I much marueiled (euen as you your selfe, reuerend sir coniectured that I would) at the first sight of your letters, that being a stranger I should be saluted in writing by one altogether vnknown vnto mee. Howbeit, reading a little further I found my selfe, if not otherwise, yet by name at least (which procedeth of your courtesie) knowne vnto you: And also, for that I sawe you desirous of the credite and honest report of vs Islanders, I greatly reioyced. Wherefore I my selfe will be a meane, that your vertue and good name (because you congratulate with vs for the gospel of Christ here published, and doe thinke and write so louingly and honourably of our nation) may sease hereafter to be vnknown amongst vs.

This is the brief Commentarie of Ionas Arngrimus immediatly going before. As touching the monuments of antiquitie which are here thought to be extant, there is, in very deede nothing (except those particulars, whereof mention is made in the Commentary of Island which you write vnto me that you haue seene) worthy to be read or written, which I may communicate with you. And as concerning our neighbor Countreys we haue litle to shewe, besides the history of the Kings of Norway, (or rather some fragments of the same history) which others haue otherwise described: howbeit they are all in a maner such things as Crantzius neuer mentioned: vnlesse it be some fewe relations. Moreouer, as touching Grondland, we holde this from the opinion of our ancestours, that, from the extreeme part of Norway, which is called Biarmlandia Biarmia. and from whence the saide Gronland is not farre distant, it fetcheth about the Northren coast of Island with an huge circuit in maner of an halfe Moone. Gronland in old time had Christian Bishops. Our Chronicles likewise doe testifue that our owne countreymen in times past resorted thither for traffique, and also that the very same countrey of Gronland had certaine Bishops in the dayes of Poperie. More then this we cannot auouch. But now it is reported that your Englishmen (whom I may almost call the lordes of the Ocean sea) make yeerely voyages vnto Gronland: concerning which matter if you please to giue me further aduertisement, you shall doe me an especial fauour. Moreouer, whatsoeuer newes you heare concerning the the affaires of England or of other Countreys thereabout, I pray you make vs acquainted therewith. Thus (reuerend sir) wishing you long life, for the seruice of God, for the increase of learning, and the benefit of the people committed to your charge, I bid you farewel. From Island vpon the feast of the visitation of the blessed Virgine Mary, Anno Dom. 1595.

Yours Gudbrandus Thorlacius Bishop of Hola in Island.

This web edition published by:

eBooks@Adelaide
The University of Adelaide Library
University of Adelaide
South Australia 5005

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/h/hakluyt/voyages/island/chapter3.html

Last updated Tuesday, March 18, 2014 at 22:01