|6th or 7th century||
This story was very popular during the late Middle Ages. However, there are navigatonal directions and
detailed descriptons which, plotting on a map, could give the impression that he reached America. To known
that most scholars considers his voyage as a work of liturature and not history.
St. Brendan an irish monk was told by a visitor about his voyage to the Promised Land of the Saints. Brendan and 17 other monks desided to construct a wodden framed boat, covered with ox hides.
They came, for example, to one island filled with giant white sheep, and another covered by hymn-singing birds. They found a huge pillar of crystal floating in the ocean, surrounded by pieces of marble, and a whole island on fire, from which they were pelted by hot rocks. Brendan told his fellow monks they’d reached the edge of hell. Another island appeared rocky and black, and the monks went ashore to cook a meal. As soon as the cauldron began to boil, the island started to move, and the monks scrambled back into their boat. Turns out, Brendan figured, the island was actually the ocean’s largest fish. More pleasantly, there was a spacious and woody island, and one with luxurious colors and fruit unlike anything the monks had seen before. And finally, after seven years, there was the Promised Land of the Saints, where a young man told the monks the land would be given to their successors. Brendan then returned to Ireland.
Those historians who tried to understand Brandon's voyage ageed that the sheep and the birds were most likely the Faroes. In fact, Faeroes is Danish for sheep.
Crystal pillar could have been an iceberg and marble could have been patches ob ice broken off from the iceberg.
Hot rocks, molten slag from an volcano in Iceland?
Moving island is this whales?
Drifting for twenty days and then were blown west for forty days when reaching a wooded island is elieved somewhere in the Caribbean. Than Brendan returend east.
When three medival texts would not place the Irish in North America this woulc be fairy tale. All of them came from Iceland and therefore we do have to give them more account.
In the Saga of Eric the Red, the Norse reached America, captured some natives, and taught them their language. The natives then told the Norse of a land whose people wore white clothes and marched with poles that had cloths attached to them. To the Norse who heard this story, according to the saga, this sounded a lot like a procession of Irish monks. A second saga mentioned a land west of the Norse settlement in America, “which some call Ireland the Great.” And a third had a lost Norseman wash up on American shores, where natives spoke a language that he thought sounded like that of the Irish.
In one sense, these stories made a lot of sense. The Norse knew well that the Irish monks were accomplished seamen. The Irish had beaten them to the Faroes and Iceland and Greenland, so why not America? Indeed, it was the Norse who pushed the Irish monks out of Iceland, perhaps prompting them to head west. This was sometime in the ninth century, too late for Brendan to be the first Irishman to reach America, but still well before Leif Ericsson, let alone Columbus.
There were a number of problems with this theory, however.
- First, the sagas were vague about the location of “Ireland the Great.” If the ninth-century Irish monks headed west from Iceland, they would have come to Greenland before America, and they might very well have founded a colony there.
- Second, there’s no archaeological evidence that the Irish made it to America; no one has found an Irish equivalent of Ingstad’s Norse spindle whorl.
- Third, Leif Ericsson and the Norse didn’t reach America before the end of the tenth century, more than a hundred years after the Irish monks left Iceland. So either these monks had reached Old Testamentlike ages, or they had met some Native American women and abandoned their vows of chastity.
Most modern historians, therefore, would deny Brendan’s claim. Even some of those who believed the Irish reached the West Indies weren’t sure it was Brendan.
“Over a period of two or three hundred years, many Irish monks besides Brendan made actual voyages,” wrote Geoffrey Ashe. “And as so often in legend-making, the most famous figure came to be credited with deeds not authentically his.”
Ashe concluded the Navigatio was not so much the record of a specific voyage as an amalgam of knowledge the Irish accumulated, not only from their own travels but from studying traditions and legends from Plato’s Atlantis to the Celtic “otherworld.”
Samuel Eliot Morison, the premiere chronicler of the European voyages across the ocean, would grant neither Brendan nor any Irishman an American landing, even in the West Indies.
“We are not straining the evidence to conclude that Brendan sailed for several trips . . . on the circuit Hebrides-Shetlands-Faroes-Iceland, possibly as far as the Azores,” Morison wrote in 1971. “But, discovery of America—no!
Tim Severin, a British explorer and writer, believed Morison was wrong, at least about the capabilities of the boat. To prove it, Severin stitched together forty-nine ox hides, stretched them over a wooden frame, put together a crew, and in May 1976, set sail from the west coast of Ireland. The ship—christened Brendan—reached the Faroes in June and Iceland in July. There Brendan rested until May 1977, when Severin and his crew headed west. Less than two months later, they reached Newfoundland.
Assume for the moment that Brendan reached America. Or, as Ashe did, that the Irish monks at least knew about America. The question then arises: What did Columbus know about Brendan and the Irish? Since the Navigatio was so widely known, Columbus may very well have read it, or at least heard about it. A pre-1492 globe includes “the Isle of St. Brendan,” in what could be construed as the West Indies. Chapman believed Columbus followed Brendan’s route, and intentionally hid that fact so that he could claim the New World for Spain. That seems a stretch, especially since most of Columbus’s biographers— including his own son Ferdinand and, more recently, Morison— maintained that the admiral was searching for a new route to Asia, not a New World. Indeed, even after Columbus reached America, he continued to describe it as an island, or perhaps a peninsula, off the Asian mainland.