A brief commentary of Iceland, by Arngrimus Ionas

Commentarij de Islandia pars secunda: quæ est de incolis.

Absolutis hactenus miraculis Islandiæ, (cum nonnullis alijs, primæ parti annexis) quæ dum scriptores, velut Agamemnonios quosdam fontes, imò, vt quiddam præter et contra omnem naturam, mirantur, nec non variè deprædicant, minus veritati ipsi, et authoritati suæ cousulunt; monet propositæ orationis series, vt ad alteram commentarij partem nos conferamus, quæ est de incolis: Vbi quid primùm dicam, aut vnde initium sumom, non satis teneo. Tanta enim sunt in nos vltimos Islandos, et tot quorundam ludibria, tot opprobria, tot scommata, tot dicteria, (Atque inter hæc etiam nonnulla eorum, qui simplicissimam veritatem profiteri, volunt, nempe historicorum) vt si singula recensere velim, non aliud quàm

Icariæ numerum dicere *corier* aquæ.

Sed, vt dixi initio, non cum omnibus æquè stricto iure agemus. Nam licet Krantzius, Munsterus, Frisius, et alij, nimis audacter multa de gente nostra scripserint: Tamen suis monumentis de studijs liberalibus alioqui benè meriti, etiam apud nos eo erunt in precio, quo merentur. Verùm interea, etsi quis velit eos à calumniandi nota liberare, tamen non leue est, eos res quasdam tam absurdas, impossibiles et ridiculas proposuisse, cuiusmodi illa fuerunt, quæ hactenus exposuimus, tum impias, et atrocitate mendaciorum horrendas, cuiusmodi iam sequentur aliquot, in historias retulisse. Ast alijs, quicunque; sunt, qui quotidianus conuicijs nationem Islandorum incessunt, responsio, quam merentur, parata esse debet: Ex quorum numero, scurra ille fuit, qui rhythmis aliquot, in gentis nostræ contumeliam, Germanica lingua editis, nomen suum immortali dedecori consecrauit.

Quapropter, vt instituti nostri ratio exigit, dum scriptorum de hac re monumenta persequimur, etsi quædam in eis occurrant, quæ coutumeliæ parum habent, nos tamen plæraque excutiemus, et errores, vt hactenas, annotabimus: tum si quid veri interea attulerint, id nequaquam dissimulabimus. Secundæ partis distributio. Ac eo modo, primùm Munsterum, Krantzium, Frisium, et si qui sunt alij, audiemus, Graculo illo, cum suis rhythmis Germanicis, dira calumnia infectis in postremum, vt dignus est, relecto locum. 1. Capitis huius partis diuisio. In hunc igitur modum, primùm de fide seu Religione Islandorum: Deinde de ipsorum moribus, institutis seu viuendi ratione, authores isti scribunt.

The same in English.

Of Island the second part, concerning the Inhabitants.

Hauing hitherto finished the miracles of Island with certaine other particulars belonging to the first part, the which while writers doe wonder at and diuersly extoll as it were the fountains of Agamemnon, yea, as things besides and against all nature, they haue bene very carelesse both of trueth it selfe, & of their owne credite. Now the course of the present speach doeth admonish mee to make haste vnto the other part of the treatise concerning the Inhabitants wherein what I should first say, or where I should begin, I am altogether ignorant. For there be such monstrous, and so many mocks, reproches, skoffes, and taunts of certaine men against vs poore Islanders dwelling in the vtmost parts & the world (and amongst these also, some things of theirs who take vpon them to professe most simple trueth, namely Historiographers) insomuch, that to reckon vp the particulars were nothing els but to tell the drops of the Icarian sea. But as I said in the beginning, we will not deale alike seuerely with all. For although Krantzius, Munsterus, Frisius & others haue written many things too boldly of our nation yet hauing otherwise deserued wel of learning by their monuments, they shalbe still in ye same reputation with vs that they are worthy of. Howbeit in the meane time, although a man would free them from the marke of slanderers, yet is it no small matter that they should broch certaine sencelesse, impossible & ridiculous things, such as those are which we haue hitherto laid downe as also that they should record in histories prophane and horrible vntrueths, some of which kind shal now immediately be discussed. As for others, whatsoeuer they be, who vpbraid the nation of Islanders with daily reproches, they are to haue that answere in a readinesse which such men deserue. In the number of whom, that scoffer is to be accounted, who by a company of rimes published in the Germane tongue, to the disgrace of our countrey, hath brought his name into euerlasting ignominie.

Wherefore as our present businesse requireth, while we are in hand with the writings of Authors concerning this matter, although we meet with some things containing litle reproch, notwithstanding we will examine most of them, noting the errors as hitherto we haue done in the meane time also when they shall alleage any trueth, we will in no case dissemble it. And after this maner, first we will heare Munster, Krantzius and Frisius, and others also, if there be any more, what they haue to say, reiecting that Paro and his Dutch rimes infected with fell slander, as he is woorthy vnto the last place. First therefore the sayd Authors write concerning the faith or religion of the Islanders and secondly, of their Maners, Customes, and course of life in maner folowing.

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/h/hakluyt/voyages/island/introduction2.html

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