Thormodus Torfæus (Thormodr Torfason, Thormod Torfæus, or Þormóður Torfason) (1636—1719) was an Icelandic historian, born 27 May 1636 at Engey, Iceland and educated at the University of Copenhagen. He lived and worked for most of his life in Kopervik, Karmøy, Norway. In 1667 he was appointed royal antiquary of Iceland, and in 1682 King Christian V of Denmark appointed him Royal Historian of the Kingdom of Denmark-Norway. He translated several Icelandic works into the Danish language and was the author of Historia Vinlandiæ Antiquæ (1705); Grœnlandia Antiqua (1706); and Historia Rerum Norvegicarum (four volumes, 1711).
Iceland is a Nordic island country in the North Atlantic, with a population of 348,580 and an area of 103,000 km2 (40,000 sq mi), making it the most sparsely populated country in Europe. The capital and largest city is Reykjavík, with Reykjavík and the surrounding areas in the southwest of the country being home to over two-thirds of the population. Iceland is volcanically and geologically active. The interior consists of a plateau characterised by sand and lava fields, mountains, and glaciers, and many glacial rivers flow to the sea through the lowlands. Iceland is warmed by the Gulf Stream and has a temperate climate, despite a high latitude just outside the Arctic Circle. Its high latitude and marine influence keep summers chilly, with most of the archipelago having a tundra climate.
A historian is a person who studies and writes about the past, and is regarded as an authority on it. Historians are concerned with the continuous, methodical narrative and research of past events as relating to the human race; as well as the study of all history in time. If the individual is concerned with events preceding written history, the individual is a historian of prehistory. Some historians are recognized by publications or training and experience. "Historian" became a professional occupation in the late nineteenth century as research universities were emerging in Germany and elsewhere.
Engey is the second largest island of the Kollafjörður fjord in western Iceland. Located north of the capital Reykjavík, the uninhabited island is 1.7 kilometres (5,600 ft) in length and around 400 metres (1,300 ft) in width. To the northern end of the island, a lighthouse, first built in 1902, is located. The lighthouse was damaged and later restored in 1937.
In 1711, Torfæus's Historia rerum Norvegicarum (history of Norway, written in Latin) was published in four folio volumes. It was the first comprehensive presentation of Norwegian history since Snorri Sturluson's Heimskringla. The work covers Norwegian history, from its earliest beginnings until 1387. The focus – and the strength of the work – lies in the older, medieval history. Torfæus had at his disposal a number of medieval Old Norse saga manuscripts, and he was a pioneer in using these as source material. He reworked this Old Norse literature into a coherent Latin history. As well, he built on a large amount of historical narratives in Latin, both medieval and more recent. Thus, the work is based on a mixed foundation of medieval Old Norse saga tradition and contemporary continental Latin culture.
Latin is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. The Latin alphabet is derived from the Etruscan and Greek alphabets, and ultimately from the Phoenician alphabet.
Snorri Sturluson was an Icelandic historian, poet, and politician. He was elected twice as lawspeaker to the Icelandic parliament, the Althing. He was the author of the Prose Edda or Younger Edda, which consists of Gylfaginning, a narrative of Norse mythology, the Skáldskaparmál, a book of poetic language, and the Háttatal, a list of verse forms. He was also the author of the Heimskringla, a history of the Norwegian kings that begins with legendary material in Ynglinga saga and moves through to early medieval Scandinavian history. For stylistic and methodological reasons, Snorri is often taken to be the author of Egil's saga.
Heimskringla is the best known of the Old Norse kings' sagas. It was written in Old Norse in Iceland by the poet and historian Snorri Sturluson (1178/79–1241) ca. 1230. The name Heimskringla was first used in the 17th century, derived from the first two words of one of the manuscripts.
Through his adaptation this Norse literary tradition became known to a large public – Dano-Norwegian as well as European. What was written during the next century about older Norwegian history was almost invariably based on Torfæus's work. Ludvig Holberg praised the work as "one of the most impressive and wonderful histories ever to have seen the light." Torfæus died on 31 July 1719 in Stangeland, Karmøy.
Dano-Norwegian is a koiné that evolved among the urban elite in Norwegian cities during the later years of the union between the Kingdoms of Denmark and Norway (1536/1537–1814). It is from this koiné that Riksmål and Bokmål developed. Bokmål is now the most widely used written standard of contemporary Norwegian.
Ludvig Holberg, Baron of Holberg was a writer, essayist, philosopher, historian and playwright born in Bergen, Norway, during the time of the Dano-Norwegian dual monarchy. He was influenced by Humanism, the Enlightenment and the Baroque. Holberg is considered the founder of modern Danish and Norwegian literature, and is best known for the comedies he wrote in 1722–1723 for the Lille Grønnegade Theatre in Copenhagen. Holberg's works about natural and common law were widely read by many Danish law students over two hundred years, from 1736 to 1936.
A Norwegian state-funded project is currently in the process of translating all of his work into Norwegian.
Torfæus' parents were Icelandic governor Torfi Erlendsson (1598–1665) and Tordis Bergsveinsdóttir (1602–69).
Torfæus was married twice, 1.) on 9 July 1665, with the widow Anna Hansdatter (1620–16.12.1695), daughter of Hans Gabrielsen Kvinesdal and Sofie; and 2.) in 1709 with Anne Hansdatter Gammel (c. 1660–1723), daughter of councilman Hans Pedersen Gammel and Marie Clausdatter.
"Edda" is an Old Norse term that has been attributed by modern scholars to the collective of two Medieval Icelandic literary works: what is now known as the Prose Edda and an older collection of poems without an original title now known as the Poetic Edda. The term historically referred only to the Prose Edda, but this since has fallen out of use because of the confusion with the other work. Both works were written down in Iceland during the 13th century in Icelandic, although they contain material from earlier traditional sources, reaching into the Viking Age. The books are the main sources of medieval skaldic tradition in Iceland and Norse mythology.
Old Norse was a North Germanic language that was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia and inhabitants of their overseas settlements from about the 9th to the 13th century.
Scandinavia is a region in Northern Europe, with strong historical, cultural, and linguistic ties. The term Scandinavia in local usage covers the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. The majority national languages of these three, belong to the Scandinavian dialect continuum, and are mutually intelligible North Germanic languages. In English usage, Scandinavia also sometimes refers to the Scandinavian Peninsula, or to the broader region including Finland and Iceland, which is always known locally as the Nordic countries.
The North Germanic languages make up one of the three branches of the Germanic languages, a sub-family of the Indo-European languages, along with the West Germanic languages and the extinct East Germanic languages. The language group is sometimes referred to as the "Nordic languages", a direct translation of the most common term used among Danish, Faroese, Icelandic, Norwegian, and Swedish scholars and laypeople.
The Norse people or Norsemen were a group of Germanic people who inhabited Scandinavia and spoke what is now called the Old Norse language between c. 800 and 1300 AD. The language belongs to the North Germanic branch of the Indo-European languages and is the predecessor of the modern Germanic languages of Scandinavia. In the late eighth century Norsemen embarked on a massive expansion in all directions. This was the start of the Viking Age.
Gorm the Old, also called Gorm the Languid, was the first historically recognized ruler of Denmark, reigning from c. 936 to his death c. 958. He ruled from Jelling, and made the oldest of the Jelling Stones in honour of his wife Thyra. Gorm was born before 900 and died c. 958.
Sagas are stories mostly about ancient Nordic and Germanic history, early Viking voyages, the battles that took place during the voyages, and migration to Iceland and of feuds between Icelandic families. They were written in the Old Norse language, mainly in Iceland.
Rasmus Kristian Rask was a Danish linguist and philologist. He wrote several grammars and worked on comparative phonology and morphology. Rask traveled extensively to study languages, first to Iceland, where he wrote the first grammar of Icelandic, and later to Russia, Persia, India, and Ceylon. Shortly before his death, he was hired as professor of Eastern languages at the University of Copenhagen. Rask is especially known for his contributions to comparative linguistics, including an early formulation of what would later be known as Grimm's Law.
The Younger Futhark, also called Scandinavian runes, is a runic alphabet and a reduced form of the Elder Futhark, with only 16 characters, in use from about the 9th century, after a "transitional period" during the 7th and 8th centuries. The reduction, somewhat paradoxically, happened at the same time as phonetic changes led to a greater number of different phonemes in the spoken language, when Proto-Norse evolved into Old Norse. Thus, the language included distinct sounds and minimal pairs that were written the same.
The name "Ofstad" or "af Awaldzstadom" comes from Augvald was a semi-legendary Norwegian petty king portrayed in the legendary Norse sagas. If considered historical, reconstructed estimates based on saga information would have Augvald living some time in the 7th century AD. His kingdom was said to have been based in Jøsursheid, somewhere in the interior of south-western Norway. After a number of naval battles he succeeded in conquering the islands off the western coast of Rogaland. He subsequently moved his kingdom's seat to the north-east of Karmøy, the largest of those islands and adjacent to the strategically important Karmsund strait, to a site later given the name Avaldsnes, after the king. Augvald's kingdom further expanded to incorporate parts of what is today south-western Hordaland.
Kopervik is the largest town on the island of Karmøy in Rogaland county, Norway. It is also the administrative centre of the municipality of Karmøy. It is part of the traditional district of Haugaland. The 4.85-square-kilometre (1,200-acre) town has a population (2014) of 8,215; giving the town a population density of 1,694 inhabitants per square kilometre (4,390/sq mi). The municipality of Karmøy has about 42,000 inhabitants, so this means Kopervik is home to about 20% of the municipal population.
Faroese literature, in the traditional sense of the word, has only really developed in the past two hundred years. This is mainly because of the islands' isolation, and also because the Faroese language was not written down in a standardised format until 1890. Until then the Danish language was encouraged at the expense of Faroese. Nevertheless, the Faroese language soon became a vehicle for literature in its own right and has produced writers in several genres.
Ágrip af Nóregskonungasögum or Ágrip is a history of the kings of Norway. Written in Old Norse, it is, along with the Historia Norvegiæ, one of the Norwegian synoptic histories.
Morkinskinna is an Old Norse kings' saga, relating the history of Norwegian kings from approximately 1025 to 1157. The saga was written in Iceland around 1220, and has been preserved in a manuscript from around 1275.
Marcus Meibomius was a Danish general scholar. Best known now as a historian of music, he was an antiquarian and librarian, and also a philologist and mathematician.
King Ferking was a semi-legendary figure recorded in local church literature. He lived in the 7th century, controlling a realm that included western parts of island of Karmøy, in southern Norway. The name Ferking is probably derived from the nickname or title Farthegn, meaning "travelling gentleman" or "travelling merchant".
The riddarasögur are Norse prose sagas of the romance genre. Starting in the thirteenth century with Norse translations of French chansons de geste and Latin romances and histories, the genre expanded in Iceland to indigenous creations in a similar style.
Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum is a historical treatise written between 1073 and 1076 by Adam of Bremen, who made additions (scholia) to the text until his death . It is one of the most important sources of the medieval history of Northern Europe, and the oldest textual source reporting the discovery of coastal North America.
Events from the year 1697 in the Kingdom of Scotland.