Full text: Iceland 1930

enrich them with fresh contributions of their own, in spite of all the 
dreadful calamities that have poured in upon them. 
Historical writing has never wholly died out in Iceland. From the 
end of the thirteenth and well into the nineteenth century we have 
an unbroken succession of annals, of which there are now no less 
than 5060 different collections written by as many authors; and as 
it not infrequently happens that two or more of these annals cover 
the same period of time, they are complementary, and contain an 
enormous mass of information about the history of our country. From 
them as the main source professor Thoroddsen has, for instance, com- 
piled a book on the weather conditions in Iceland during a thousand 
years (900—1900), showing that more or less is kown about the 
weather for 525 of these 1000 years (of the first 500 years 31 per 
cent. are known; of the latter 500, 74 per cent). But our greatest 
annalistic writer is district judge Jon Espélin (1769 —1836). His histori- 
cal Annals of Iceland (fslands Arbzkur i séguformi) in twelve large 
volumes (published 1821-—1855) contain a brief history of Iceland 
from 1262—1832. But besides the annals there has been a steady 
flow of biographies from the Reformation onwards. Dean jin Hall- 
dérsson (1665—1736) wrote the Lives of the Schoolmasters at Skil- 
holt (Skélameistarar i Skilholti); the Annals of the Governors of 
Iceland (Hirdstjdraannéll), etc. Bogi Benediktsson (1771—1849) wrote 
the Lives of the District Judges (Syslumannaafir). In addition to this 
there is a number of individual ‘Lives’, some of the best of which 
are autobiographies. Many of our peasants have, both in the past and 
the present, made no small contributions to our historical literature. 
Genealogy has gone hand in hand with history, so that almost every- 
body can have his pedigree traced into the eighteenth century, and 
many much farther back, even to the first colonists of the country, The 
Icelanders have also composed remarkable historical works in Latin 
for the benefit of foreign scholars. First among these is Arngrimur 
Jénsson the “learned” (1568—1648) who wrote a number of books 
about Iceland and its history; Thormdédur Torfason (Torfaeus, 1636— 
1719) wrote Historia rerum Norvegicarum and many other works. 
Bishop Finnur Jénsson (1704—1789) is the author of Historia ec- 
clesiastica Islandiz, in 4 vols. Of those who have devoted themselves 
to historical research in the 19th and 20th centuries, we should mention 
Jén Sigurdsson, Jén Thorkelsson, Thorvaldur Thoroddsen, Valtyr 
Gudmundsson, Bogi Th. Melsted, Hannes Thorsteinsson, Jon J. Adils, 
and Pall Eggert Olason.

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