WINELAND the Good is first mentioned in Icelandic literature by the Priest Ari Thorgilsson, in a passage contained in his so-called Islendingabok [Icelanders’ Book]. Ari, commonly called the Learned, an agnomen which he received after his death, was born in Iceland in the year 1067, and lived to the ripe age of eighty-one, acquiring a positive claim to the appellation “hinn gamli” [the Old, the Elder], which is once given him; in this instance, however, to distinguish him from another of the same name. Of Ari, the father of Icelandic historiography, the author of Heimskringla, the most comprehensive of Icelandic histories, says in the prologue to his work:
“The Priest Ari Thorgilsson the Learned, Gelli’s grandson, was the first of men here in the land [Iceland] to write ancient and modern lore in the Northern tongue; he wrote chiefly in the beginning of his book concerning Iceland’s colonization and legislation, then of the law-speakers, how long each was in office, down to the introduction of Christianity into Iceland, and then on to his own day. Therein he also treats of much other old lore, both of the lives of the kings of Norway and Denmark, as well as of those of England, as likewise of the important events, which have befallen here in the land, and all of his narrations seem to me most trustworthy. . . . It is not strange that Ari should have been well-informed in the ancient lore, both here and abroad, since he had both acquired it from old men and wise, and was himself eager to learn and gifted with a good memory.”
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