Wednesday, June 3, 2015
Maes Howe`s "Jerusalem Visitors" Pilgrimage
Narbonne, France. "So how does one connect Orkney to France? It is because of the Crusades: The legend is written down in the Orkneyinga saga - The History of the Earls of Orkney: In chapter 85 of the saga, while spending a summer with King Igni in Norway, Earl Rognvald was convinced by Eindridi the Young, who had just returned from time as a mercenary in Constantinople, to visit the Holy Land. Other landowners also encouraged the Earl to make the pilgrimage and agreed to go with him, and preparations began for the trip. In the summer (chapter 86), the party left Orkney and sailed to France and the seaport of Narbonne. The Queen of Narbonne, Ermingerd, invited Rognvald to a feast. The two fell in love, and the Earl is encouraged to settle down in Narbonne and marry Ermingerd. Rognvald declines so that he can complete his pilgrimage but promises to return on his way back. The earl, with Bishop William and other well-born companions, including Erling Skakki, left Orkney in the late summer of 1151 in fifteen ships. The fleet sailed through the Strait of Gibraltar, after which Eindridi Ungi went straight to Jerusalem with six ships while Rognvald tarried in Narbonne. During his stay there he composed several verses—included in the saga—in honour of the lovely lady Ermingard, verses which show strong influence from courtly love poetry, possibly the first such examples in skaldic verse Having visited Jerusalem, the party made its way back north via Constantinople, where they were received by the emperor and his Varangian Guard, then sailed to Apulia where they took horses for the journey to Rome, arriving back in Orkney for Christmas 1153. This evidences the wide-ranging role of the earls of Orkney as players on the world scene of twelfth-century Europe. They were now participating in the cultural and religious activities of Christian Europe rather than threatening them from the periphery." 1153 Christmas was when the Vikings taking shelter inside of Maes Howe carved their inscriptions during a snowstorm, it must have been completely dark in Dec. It is said that they were returning from the church. They mentioned that "Jerusalem visitors broke into Maes Howe" and it was the party of an earl. A single man had taken a treasure out of there 3 days before. Is this the same group as mentioned in the Orkneyinga Saga? When they say that "Crusaders" broke into Maes Howe" are they referring to themselves?