- 3,99 €
Description de l’éditeur
Historically, Iceland is unique. Assyria, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Mexico,—each has a prehistoric period of human habitation, when man loved and hated, and competed with the brutes for existence. He fashioned his instruments from stone and made self-preservation his first and only law. A sturdy race, little removed from the highest brutes, filled with animal vigor and endowed with brute passions, held all known lands in prehistoric time. Step by step, cycle upon cycle, brute force submitted to reason; culture and refinement, mental acquisition and spiritual attainment characterized an evolutionary race of human beings in which each developing cycle was founded upon the decadence of the prehistoric.
Not so with Iceland. A myriad centuries the Atlantic had rolled its billows against these basalt cliffs, the Arctic packed its ice upon these shores, the beetling mountains cast their rugged outlines upon the quiet fiords, the great Plutonic candles flamed in the Arctic air and guttered the land again and again with scorching streams of molten rock. The seal basked in the sunshine of the lengthened summer, the salmon sported in the glacial streams and millions of birds congregated on the lofty cliffs. All life was blissfully ignorant of its great enemy, man.
There are no prehistoric conditions in Iceland.
The men who settled Iceland were neither serf nor savage. They were men of might and power, fearless and of high birth and of the highest mental capacity in the ancient days of Norway. The cause of their emigration is related by Snorri in Heimskringla. Halfdan, the Black, was one of the petty kings of Norway. At his death, he left his realm to Harald, a child of ten years, known in history as The Fair Haired. It is to the influence of a high-minded woman, Gyda, daughter of Eric, King of Hordaland, that the settlement of Iceland by the nobles of Scandinavia is due. Harald sent his messengers to Gyda with the request that she become his wife. To their demand she replied,—
“I will not waste my maidenhood for the taking to husband of a king who has no more realm to rule over than a few folks. Marvelous it seems to me that there be no king minded to make Norway his own and be sole lord thereof in such wise as Gorm of Denmark or Eric of Upsala have done.”