Volume 1, Chapter 15 -- Voyages of Nicolo and Antonio Zeno in 1380.
*Section 1* -- Narrative of Nicolo Zeno
*Section 2* -- Sequel of the Narrative by Antonio Zeno



Although we have admitted this article into our collection, on the authority of Ramusio and J. R. Forster, we are disposed to consider the whole as a fabrication, altogether unworthy of any credit. The first section, indeed, may possibly have had some foundation in truth, as the Zenos may have navigated about the close of the fourteenth century to the Orkneys, and some imperfect and disfigured narrative of their voyage may have fallen into the hands of Marcolini, the author or editor of these strangely distorted and exaggerated or pretended voyages. In regard to the second section, unless we could suppose, that, by Estoitland and Drogio, some strangely distorted account of different districts in Ireland were meant to be enigmatically conveyed, the whole of that section must be pronounced a palpable and blundering forgery. But it appears obviously intended by the relater, to impress upon his readers, that some portion of the western hemisphere, afterwards named America, had been visited by Antonio Zeno; and the high probability is, that Marcolini, a patriotic Venetian, had invented the whole story, on purpose to rob the rival republic of Genoa of the honour of having given birth to the real discoverer of the New World. If there be any truth whatever in the voyages of the Zenos, it is only to be found in the first section of this chapter; and even there the possible truth is so strangely enveloped in unintelligible names of persons and places, as to be entirely useless. The second section is utterly unworthy of the slightest serious consideration; and must either have been a posterior fabrication, engrafted upon an authentic, but ignorantly told narrative; or the seeming possibility of the first section was invented to give currency to the wild forgery of the second. Latin books, a library, gold, ships, and foreign trade, corn, beer, numerous towns and castles, all in the most northern parts of America in the fourteenth century, where only nomadic savages had ever existed, are all irrefragable evidence, that the whole, or at least that portion of the voyages of the Zenos, is an idle romance. To increase the absurdity, as if to try the gullability of the readers, Dedalus, a king of Scotland! is assumed to have been the first discoverer of the Western World; and his son Icarus is introduced to give his name to a civilized island, already named Estoitland in the narrative.

After this decided opinion of the falsehood and absurdity of the whole of this present chapter, it may be necessary to state, that, in a work so general and comprehensive as that we have undertaken, it did not seem advisable or proper to suppress an article which had been admitted into other general collections of voyages and travels. The remainder of this introduction is from the work of Mr J. R. Forster, extracted partly from Ramusio, and partly consisting of an ingenious attempt to explain and bolster up the more than dubious production of Marcolini: But these observations are here considerably abridged; as an extended, grave, and critical commentary on a narrative we believe fabulous, might appear incongruous, though it did not seem proper to omit them altogether.--E.

The family of Zeno, in Venice, was very ancient, and not only of the highest rank of nobility, but celebrated for the performance of great actions, and the highest offices of the state had been filled from time immemorial by persons of the family. About the year 1200, Marin Zeno assisted in the conquest of Constantinople, and he was Podesta, or governor of that city, about 1205. He had a son named Pietro Zeno, who was father to Rinieri Zeno, who was elected doge, or Duke of Venice, in 1282, and governed the republic for seventeen years, during which period he waged a successful war against the Genoese. He adopted Andrea, the son of his brother Marco, who was afterwards raised to be captain-general of the Venetian fleet, in the war against Genoa. Rinieri Zeno, the son of Andrea, was the father of Pietro Zeno, who, in 1362, was captain-general of the Venetian squadron in the allied fleet of the Christians against the Turks, and had the surname of Dracone, from the figure of a dragon which he wore on his shield. Pietro had three sons; Carlo Leone, the eldest, who was procurator and captain-general of the fleet: of the republic, and; rescued her from imminent danger in a war in which almost all Europe was leagued for her destruction; the second, Nicolo, called likewise il Cavaliere, or the knight, shewed great valour in the last mentioned war of Chioggia against the Genoese; Antonio was the youngest.

Francesco Marcolini, a learned Italian, extracted the whole of the ensuing relation from the original letters of the two Zenos, Nicole and Antonio, which is published in the collection of Ramusio; and declares that Antonio laid down all the particulars of these voyages, and of the countries he and his brother had visited, on a map, which he brought with him to Venice, and which he hung up in his house as a sure pledge and incontestible proof of the truth of his relations, and which still remained as an incontrovertible evidence in the time of Marcolini. Many have been inclined to reject the whole of this narrative because the names which it assigns to several of the countries are nowhere else to be found. After having carefully examined, and made a translation of, the whole, I am fully convinced that the narrative is true, and that it contains internal proofs of its own authenticity, and I hope fully to solve, in the course of this dissertation, all the difficulties attending the names, which have been strangely perverted by a vicious orthography.

It has been alleged that the whole narrative has the appearance of a mere fable; and it may be asked, where is Friesland and the other countries which it mentions, to be found? Who has ever heard of a Zichmuni who vanquished Kako, or Hakon, king of Norway, in 1369, or 1380? All this is very plausible; but we think a good deal may be done for clearing away the difficulties.

Marcolini extracted this relation from the original letters of the two Zenos, who were of one of the most considerable families in Venice; a family which could not be supposed to have boldly forged a story of this kind. The truth could easily have been detected, whether these brothers existed or not, and whether they ever made voyages to the north. Besides this, the map, actually constructed by Antonio, and hung up in his house at Venice, existed in the time of Marcolini, as a sure and incontestable proof of the fidelity of the narrative. How then is it possible to harbour any doubts? In this case, there must be an end of all faith in history.

I once held, that the countries described by the Zenos had been swallowed up by an earthquake; but, reflecting that so great a revolution in nature must have left some historical vestiges, or traditions, I examined the matter over again, and found that the countries described, bore a strong resemblance to the Orkneys, Shetland, Faro, and Western Islands, &c. The Zenos having represented Porland as composed of a cluster of small islands, I suspected the other names might likewise refer to collective groups. Thus Estland appeared to resemble in name the Shetland, Zetland, or Hitland Islands; and on comparing the names of Tolas, Broas, Iscant, Trans, Mimant, Dambre, and Bres, with those of Yell, Zeal or Teal, Burray or Bura, of which name there are two places, West Bura, and East Bura, and when taken collectively the Buras, Unst, Tronda, Main-land, Hamer, which is the name of a place in the mainland of Orkney, and Brassa, or Bressa, the resemblance seemed so obvious, that I no longer harboured any doubt. The land of Sorani, which lay over against Scotland, naturally suggested the Suderoe, or southern islands of the Norwegians, now called the Western Islands or Hebrides. Ledovo and Ilofe, are the Lewis and Islay. Sanestol, the cluster of islands named Schants-oer. Bondendon, Pondon, or Pondon-towny in Sky. Frisland, is Faira or Fera, also called Faras-land. Grisland seems Grims-ay, an island to the North of Iceland: though I would prefer Enkhuysan to the eastwards of Iceland, but as that was probably nothing more than an island of ice, we are compelled to assume Grims-ay, Engroneland is obviously Greenland. Estoitland must have been Winland, the Newfoundland of the moderns; and the Latin books may have been carried there by bishop Eric of Greenland, who went to Winland in 1121. Drogio lay much farther south, and the people of Florida, when first discovered, had cities and temples, and possessed gold and silver.

Icaria with its king Icarus, could be no other than Ireland.[2] and perhaps the name took its origin from Kerry; and as Icarus was chosen for the name of its first king and lawgiver, his father must of course be Dedalus, who, in all probability, was some Scottish prince, having a name of a similar sound. Neome I take to be Strom-oe, one of the Faro isles, Porland probably meant the Far-oer, or Faro islands; as Far-oe, or Far-land, is easily transmuted into Porland.

It is true that we find no such name as Zicumni among the princes of the Orkneys. The race of the ancient earls of Orkney, descendants of Jarl Einar-Torf, becoming extinct, Magnus Smak, king of Norway, nominated, about 1343, Erngisel Sunason Bot, a Swedish nobleman, to be Jarl or Earl of Orkney. In 1357 Malic Conda, or Mallis Sperre, claimed the earldom. Afterwards, in 1369, Henry Sinclair put in his claim, and was nominated earl in 1370, by King Hakon. In 1375, Hakon nominated Alexander Le-Ard to be earl for a year. But Sinclair vanquished Le-Ard, and by a large sum procured the investiture from Hakon in 1379, and we know from history, that he remained earl in 1406, and was likewise possessed of Shetland. The name Sinclair, or Siclair, might easily to an Italian ear seem Zichmni; and as Sinclair vanquished Le-Ard, who represented the king of Norway, it was no great impropriety to say that he had beaten the king of Norway. After these elucidations, there can be no reason left to doubt of the truth of this narrative of the Zenos which besides, as considered with relation to the geography of the north at that period, is of great importance.--Forst.

[1] Ramusio. Forst. Voy. and Disc, p. 158.
[2] This is a most unlucky blunder, as Icaria and Estoitland are obviously one and the same place in the narrative of Marcclini, and therefore, both must be America, or both Ireland, or both in nubibus.--E.



Volume 1, Chapter 15, Section 1 -- Narrative of Nicolo Zeno.

Nicolo Zeno, surnamed il Cavaliere, or the knight, had a strong desire to see distant countries, that he might become acquainted with the manners and languages of foreign nations, by which he might acquire credit and reputation, and might render himself the more useful to his country. Being a man of great property, he fitted out a ship with this view, at his own expence, in 1380, and sailed through the Straits of Gibraltar to the northwards, intending to visit England and Flanders. By a storm, which lasted many days, his ship was cast away on the coast of Frislanda.[1]

The vessel was entirely lost, but the crew got safe on shore, and part of the cargo was saved. Zeno and his people were soon attacked by the natives, attracted by the hopes of a rich plunder, against whom they were hardly able, in their weary and weather-beaten state, to defend themselves; but, fortunately for them, Zichmni, or Sinclair, the reigning prince or lord of Porlanda,[2] who happened to be then in Frislanda, and heard of their shipwreck, came in all haste to their relief, of which they stood in great need. After discoursing with them for some time in Latin, he took them under his protection; and finding Nicolo Zeno very expert both in naval and military affairs, he gave him, after some time, the post of admiral of his fleet, which Nicolo for some time refused, but at length accepted.

Not long afterwards, Nicola wrote an account of these circumstances to his brother Antonio, inviting him to come to Frislanda; who accordingly soon arrived there, and lived four years along with Nicolo in that country; and remained ten years in the service of Zichmni, or Sinclair, the prince of that country, after the death of his brother Nicolo.

Nicolo Zeno having been shipwrecked in 1380, on the island of Frislanda, and saved by prince Zichmni from the rude attacks of the natives, put himself and all his people under the protection of this prince, who was lord of certain islands lying to the south of Frislanda, which were called Porlanda, and were the most fertile and most populous of all the islands in those parts. Zichmni, or Sinclair, was besides this duke of Sorany,[3] a place which lies on one side of Scotland. Of these northern parts, I, Antonio Zeno, have constructed a map, which hangs up in my house; and which, though it be much decayed by time, may serve to give some information to the curious.

Zichmni, the lord of all these countries, was a man of great courage and famous for his skill in navigation. The year before the arrival of Nicolo Zeno, he had defeated the king of Norway in a pitched battle, and was now come with his forces to conquer Frislandia, which is much larger than Iceland. On account of the knowledge of Nicolo Zeno in maritime affairs, the prince took him and all his crew on board his fleet, and gave orders to his admiral to treat him with the highest respect, and to take his advice in every affair of importance.

Zichmni had a fleet consisting of thirteen vessels, two of which only were galleys, the rest being small barks, and only one of the whole was a ship.[4] With all these they sailed to the westward, and without much difficulty made themselves masters of Ledovo and Ilofe,[5] and several other smaller islands; and turning into a bay called Sudero, in the haven of the town of Sanestol[6] they took several small barks laden with fish;[7] and here they found Zichmni, who came by land with his army, conquering all the country as he went. They stayed here but a short time, and then shaped their course to the westwards, till they came to the other cape of the gulf or bay, and here turning again, they found certain islands and broken lands, all of which they brought under subjection to Zichmni, or Sinclair. These seas were all full of shoals and rocks, insomuch that if Nicolo Zeno and the Venetian mariners had not acted as pilots, the whole fleet, in the opinion of all who were in it, must have been lost; so small was the skill of their people in comparison with ours, who had been trained up in the art and practice of navigation from their childhood. After the proceedings already mentioned, the admiral, by the advice of Nicolo Zeno, determined to make for the shore, at a town called Bondendon[8] with a view to get intelligence of the success which Zichmni had met with in the prosecution of the war on land.

They here learned, to their great satisfaction, that he had fought a great battle, in which he had put the army of the enemy to flight; and in consequence of this intelligence, the inhabitants sent ambassadors from all parts of the island, agreeing to yield the country to his pleasure, and took down their flags and ensigns in every town and castle. It was therefore thought advisable to remain at Bondendan for his arrival, as they had received reports that he would certainly be there in a short time. On his arrival there were great congratulations and rejoicings, as well for the victory obtained by land as for the success of the naval expedition; and the Venetians were much honoured and extolled for their skill, every tongue being loud in their praises, and Nicolo Zeno was much applauded for his prowess. The prince caused Nicolo to be brought into his presence, and bestowed high commendations for the skill he had exerted in saving the fleet, and for the great valour he had displayed in the taking of many towns, where indeed there was no great difficulty or opposition; in reward for which he bestowed upon him the honour of knighthood, and distributed rich and liberal presents among his followers. Departing from Bondendon, the fleet returned in triumph to Frislanda, the chief city of which is situated on the south-east side of the island within a gulf, of which there are many in that island. In this gulf or bay, there are such vast quantities of fish taken, that many ships are yearly laden thence to supply Flanders, Britannia,[9] England, Scotland, Norway, and Denmark; and the produce of this fishing brings great riches into the country.

The foregoing circumstances were contained in a letter sent by Nicolo Zeno to his brother Antonio, in which he invited him to come to Frislanda; and accordingly the latter set sail for this purpose, and, having surmounted many dangers, safely joined his brother in that far distant country. Antonio remained fourteen years in Frisland or Orkney; four years of that time along with his brother, and ten years alone after the death of Nicolo. The elder Zeno ingratiated himself so much into the favour of the prince, that he was appointed admiral of a fleet which was sent out upon an expedition against Estland,[10] which lies between Frisland and Norway. The invaders committed great ravages in that country, but hearing that the king of Norway was coming against them with a considerable fleet, they departed in haste; and being assailed by a violent tempest, they were driven on certain shoals where a part of their ships were lost, and the remainder were saved upon Grisfand,[11] a large but uninhabited island. The fleet of the king of Norway was overtaken by the same storm and mostly perished; of which Zichmni, who was personally engaged in this expedition, was apprized in consequence of one of the enemy's ships having likewise been forced to take refuge in Grisland. Finding himself driven so far to the north, and having repaired his ships, Zichmni now resolved to make an attack upon the island of Iceland, which was under the dominion of the king of Norway; but finding it too well fortified and defended for his small force, and reflecting that his diminished fleet was now in bad repair, he deemed it prudent to retire. In his way homewards, however, he made an attack upon the islands of Estland, of which there are seven in number. These are Tolas, Yeal or Zel; Broas, Brassa sound; Iscant, Unst or Vust; Trans, Trondra; Mimant, Mainland; Danbert;[12] and Bres, or Bressa; all of which he plundered, and built a fort in Bres, where he left Nicolo Zeno in the command, with a sufficient garrison and a few small barks, while he returned himself to Frisland. In the ensuing spring, Nicolo Zeno resolved to go out upon discoveries; and, having fitted out three small vessels, he set sail in July, shaping his course to the northwards, and arrived in Engroveland,[13] where he found a monastery of predicant friars, and a church dedicated to St Thomas, hard by a mountain that threw out fire like Etna or Vesuvius.

In this place there is a spring of boiling hot water, by means of which the monks heat their church, monastery, and cells. It is likewise brought info their kitchen, and is so hot that they use no fire for dressing their victuals; and by enclosing their bread in brass pots without any water, it is baked by means of this hot fountain as well as if an oven had been used for the purpose. The monks have also small gardens, covered over in winter, which being watered from the hot spring are effectually defended from the extreme cold and snow, which are so rigorous in this region so near the pole. By these means they produce flowers, and fruits, and different kinds of herbs, just as they grow in temperate climates; and the rude savages of those parts, from seeing these to them supernatural effects, take the friars for gods, and supply them with poultry, flesh,[14] and various other things, reverencing the monks as their lords and rulers. When the frost and snow is considerable, the monks warm their apartments as before described, and by admitting the hot water, or opening their windows, they are able in an instant to produce such a temperature as they may require.

In the buildings of their monastery they use no more materials than are presented to them by the before mentioned volcano. Taking the burning stones which are thrown from the crater, they throw them, while hot, into water, by which they are dissolved into excellent lime; which, when used in building, lasts forever. The same stones, when cold, serve to make their walls and vaults, as they cannot be broken or cut except with an iron instrument. The vaults which they build with these stones are so light as to require no props for supporting them.[15] On account of these great conveniences, the monks have constructed so many walls and buildings of different kinds, as is really wonderful to see. The coverings or roofs of their houses are constructed for the most part in the following manner: Having carried the wall to its full height, they make it to incline or bend in gradually till it form a regular vault. They are little incommoded with rain in this country; as the climate is so extremely cold, that the first snow that falls does not thaw for nine months.

The monks live mostly on fish and wild fowl; for, in consequence of the boiling hot water running into a large and wide haven of the sea, that bay is kept from freezing, and there is so great a concourse of sea fowl and fish in that place, that they easily take as many of them as they can possibly have occasion for, with which they maintain a great number of people round about, whom they keep constantly employed either in building or in catching fish and fowls, and in a thousand other necessary occupations relative to the monastery. The houses of these natives are built on the hill near the monastery, of a round form, about twenty-five feet wide at the bottom, and growing gradually narrower as they go up, in a conical form, ending in a small hole at top, to admit light and air; and the floor of the house is so hot, that the inhabitants feel no cold within doors at any season. To this place many barks resort in summer from the neighbouring islands, from the cape above Norway, and from Trondon or Drontheim, which bring to the fathers all kind of commodities and merchandize that they have occasion for; taking fish in exchange, dried either in the sun or by means of cold, and the furs of various animals. The commodities brought here for sale are, wood for fuel, wooden utensils, very ingeniously carved, corn, and cloth for making into garments. By these means the monks are plentifully supplied with every thing they need, in exchange for their furs and fish, which are in great request by all the neighbouring nations. Monks resort to this monastery from Norway and Sweden, and other countries; but principally from Iceland. It often happens that many barks are detained here ail the winter, by the sea becoming frozen over.

The fishermen's boats of this country are made in the form of a weaver's shuttle, long and narrow, and pointed at each end; constructed of a light frame of fish bones, cased all over with the skins of fishes, sewed together in many doubles, and so tight and strong, that it is wonderful to see the people bind themselves fast within them during storms, and allow the winds and waves to drive them about, without fear of their boats splitting or of themselves being drowned. Even when they are driven against a rock, they remain sound and without hurt or damage. In the bottom of each boat there is a kind of sleeve or nose, tied fast in the middle by a string; and when any water gets into the boat, they let it run into the upper half, of the sleeve, which they then fasten with two pieces of wood, after which they loosen the under band, and squeeze the water out; and they repeat this operation as often as may be necessary with great facility, and without danger.

The water, of the boiling spring, being sulphureous, is conveyed into the monastery, and the cells of the principal friars, by means of pipes made of copper, tin, or stone; and is so hot that it heats the apartments like a stove, without communicating any disagreeable or unwholesome stench. Their sweet water for drinking is conveyed in a subterraneous canal of masonry, into a great copper reservoir in the middle of the court of the convent; and this reservoir being contained within a larger bason supplied from the boiling, spring, is continually kept of a proper temperature, and prevented from freezing. This they use in the preparation of their victuals, for drinking, and for watering their gardens. Thus they derive much convenience and comfort from the adjoining volcano, and these good friars make it their chief study to keep their gardens in order, and to erect commodious and even elegant buildings. For this latter purpose they are in no want of good workmen and ingenious artizans, as they give good wages, so that there is a great resort of workmen and artizans of every denomination; they are likewise very bountiful to those who carry them fruits, and seeds, and other articles; and as great profits are to be made, and provisions are very cheap, there is a great resort of workmen and artists of every denomination, and of traders to this place. Most of these monks speak Latin, particularly the superiors and principals of the monastery.

This is all that is known of Engroveland or Greenland, from the relation of Nicolo Zeno, who gives likewise a particular description of a river that he discovered, as is to be seen in the map which I, Antonio Zeno, have drawn of all these countries. Not being able to bear the cold of these northern and inhospitable regions, Nicolo Zeno fell sick, and soon afterwards returned to Frisland, where he died. He left two sons behind him, John and Thomas; the latter of whom had likewise two sons, Nicolo, the father of the celebrated Cardinal Zeno, and Peter, from whom was descended the rest of the Zenos who are now living. After the death of Nicolo, his fortune, honours, and dignity, devolved upon his brother Antonio; and, though he made great supplications and entreaties for the purpose, he was not permitted to return to his native country; as Zichmni, who was a man of a high spirit and great valour, had resolved to make himself master of the sea, and for this purpose made use of the talents and advice of Antonio, and ordered him to go with a few barks to the westwards, because in the summer several islands had been discovered by some of the fishermen. Of this voyage and the discoveries which were made in consequence of it, Antonio gives an account in a letter to his brother Carlo, which we here give exactly as it was written, having only altered a few antiquated words.[16]

[1] Faira, or Fara, in the Orkneys, called Farras-land, and corrupted into Feislanda or Frisland.--Forst.
[2] Mr Forster is not happy in his explanation of this word, Porlanda or Porland, which he endeavours to derive from Fara-land; precisely the same with Fris-land from Faras-land, only dropping the genitive s. Porland seems used as a general name of the earldom, perhaps connected with the strange name Pomona, still used for mainland, the largest of the Orkney islands; Frisland the particular Fara islands, or one of them.--E.
[3] Sorany or Sorani, of which Sinclair is said to have been duke or lord, Mr Forster considers to have been the Sodor-oe, or southern islands of the Norwegians, or those now called the Western Islands; and traces the corruption from the Norwegian plural Suder-oer contracted Soroer, varied Soroen, and transmuted to Sorani. All this may be possible; but it does not appear in Scots history that the Sinclairs ever held the Western Islands, and certainly not at this period: Sorani ought therefore to be looked for in Caithness; or it may possibly refer to Roslin near Edinburgh, which belonged to the family of Sinclair.--E.
[4] By this latter distinction, Zeno probably means a decked vessel.--E.
[5] It is hardly possible to mention all the little islands, and the places situated on the largest of the Orcadian Islands, which by the ancients was called Pomona, and on account of its size, is likewise called Mainland, also Hross-ey, i.e. Gross-ey, or large island. The town was called Kirkiu-og or the harbour near the church, now called by the Scots, Kirkwall.--Forst.
In this note Mr Forster wanders from the subject in hand, and his observations have no reference to the present expedition. Ledovo is probably the Island of Lewis, and Ilofe may possibly be Hay, though that conjecture would lead them too far to the south.--E.
[6] Sudero, or Suder-oe, might mean the Western Islands so called by the Norwegians; but certainly here means some bay of Sutherland, as they here met the troops of Sinclair, who had marched by land. The town of Sanestol is quite inexplicable. Though Mr Forster supposes it to have been the cluster of islands called Schant, or Shanti-oer, which he thinks is here corrupted into Sanestol: But, if correct in our opinion, that they must have been on the main land of Scotland, his conjecture must be erroneous. These conquests could be nothing more than predatory, incursions, strangely exaggerated.--E.
[7] This is a very early mention of salted fish, yet within the lifetime of William Beukels, the supposed inventor of the art of pickling herrings, who died in 1397. Professor Sprengel has shewn that herrings were caught at Gernemue, or Yarmouth, so early as 1283. In Leland's Collectanea we meet with a proof that pickled herrings were sold in 1273; and there are German records which speak of them so early as 1236. Vide Gerken, Cod. Diplom. Brandenb. I. 45. and II. 45l.--Forst.
[8] This is certainly a place in the isle of Sky called Pondontown.--Forst.
[9] Britannia in this place is assuredly put for Britany in France.--E.
[10] Estland is probably meant for Shetland, formerly called Yaltaland or Hitland, and afterwards changed into Zet-land and Shetland. This will appear more distinctly in the sequel, when the names given by Zeno to the particular islands of the group, come to be compared with, the modern names.--Forst.
[11] Grisland seems to be the island which lies to the eastward of Iceland, called Enkhuyzen; perhaps the island of Grims-ey to the north, of Iceland.--Forst.
[12] Probably Hamer, a place on the north of Mainland.--Forst.
[13] Engrgroneland, Groenland, or Greenland.--Forst.
[14] The poultry here mentioned in the text; must have been ptarmagans and the flesh that of the reindeer.--Forst.
[15] The lime or mortar here described, appears to be the terra puzzuolana or terras, a compound of lime and oxide of iron, which forms an indestructible cement, even under water; and the remarkably light stones ejected from the volcano, and used in the construction of their vault, were probably of pumice.--E.
[16] The greater part of this concluding paragraph must necessarily be in the language of the editor; perhaps of Ramusio. It contains, however, some palpable contradictions, since Nicolo Zeno could hardly be supposed to mention the rest of the Zenos, descendants of his grand-nephew, while still living himself; neither does it appear how the sons of Nicolo got back to Venice; and there is no account of Antonio ever being allowed to return at all.--E



Volume 1, Chapter 15, Section 2 -- Sequel of the Narrative by Antonio Zeno.

Twenty-six years ago, four fishing boats, which had been overtaken by a violent storm, were driven out to sea for a great many days; and on the cessation of the tempest, they discovered an island called Estoitland, which lay above a thousand miles to the westward of Frisland. One of the boats, containing six men, was cast away upon this island; and the men, being made prisoners by the inhabitants, were conducted to a fine and populous city where the king resided, who sent for various interpreters, but none could be found except one who spoke Latin. This man, who, in like manner, had been cast by accident on the same island, asked them, by order of the king, from what country they had come; and being made acquainted with their case, the king ordered that they should stay in the country. These orders they obeyed, as indeed they could not do otherwise, and they remained five years on the island, during which time they learned the language of the people. One of them was in various parts of the island, and affirms that it is a very rich country, abounding in every commodity and convenience in life, being little less than Iceland, but much more fertile, having a very high mountain in the centre, from whence four great rivers take their source, and traverse the whole country.

The inhabitants are a very ingenious and sensible people, and have arts and handicrafts of every kind as we have; and it is highly probable that they formerly carried on some traffic with Europe, as this man says he saw Latin books in the king's library, but which at present they do not understand; for they have a language of their own, and peculiar letters or characters in which it is written. They trade with Engroveland or Greenland, and get from thence furs, brimstone, and pitch. To the south of Estoitland, there is a very large and populous country, which abounds with gold. The people sow corn, and make the liquor called beer, which is drunk by the people of the north as wine is among us in Italy. They have large and extensive woods; make their buildings with walls; and have a great number of towns and castles. They build ships and navigate the sea; but they have not the lodestone, and know nothing about the use of the compass; on which account these fishermen were held in high estimation, insomuch that the king sent them with twelve ships to the southward to a country called Drogio. In their voyage thither, they had such contrary winds and stormy weather that they thought to have foundered at sea; but escaping that death, they met with a fate still more dreadful, as they were made prisoners by the savages, who are cannibals, and most of them were devoured. But the Frisland fisherman and his companions, by teaching these barbarians the way to catch fish with nets, saved their lives. This man used to go every day to the sea or the rivers, in which he caught vast quantities of fish, which he gave away among the principal people of the country; by which means he got into such high favour that he was beloved and respected by every body.

The fame of this man spread abroad through the whole country; and one of the lords, being very desirous to have him, that he might see and learn this new and wonderful art of catching fish, made war against the lord with whom he lived, and prevailing in consequence of his superior power and greater skill in war, the fisherman and his companions were given up to him as the price of peace. During thirteen years that he resided in these parts, he says that he was transferred in this manner to twenty-five different lords, as they were continually at war with each other to procure possession of him; so that by wandering about the country in this manner he became perfectly well acquainted with every part of it, He says that it is a very extensive country, and as it were a new world; but that the inhabitants are a rude unpolished people, without the enjoyment of any convenience of life; for, although they take or kill many wild animals in hunting, they have not the sense to make their skins into garments, but all go naked, and are miserably pinched with cold. They are besides extremely uncivilized and savage, continually engaged in wars against each other, in which they commit horrible ravages, and devour their prisoners. They know not the use of any metal, and live by the chase, being armed with spears of wood made sharp at the point, and use bows, the strings of which are made of slips of hide. They are divided into small tribes, each of which has its lord or governor, and the laws or customs of the several tribes differ much from each other. Farther to the southwest, however, the manners are more civilized in proportion to the increasing mildness of the climate; and there the people are not without some degree of knowledge, making use of gold and silver, and having cities and temples dedicated to idols, in which they offer up human sacrifices.

After residing many years among this savage people, the principal fisherman became desirous of returning into his own country, but his companions being without hope of ever seeing it again, wished him prosperity in his attempt, and resolved to remain where they were. Bidding them farewell, he fled through the woods, in the direction which led towards Drogio, and was received with great kindness by one of the lords of that country who knew, him, and who was a determined enemy to the lord from whence he had escaped. Thus passing from one lord to another, with all of whom he was well acquainted, as he had formerly resided with them all, he at length, and with great difficulty, arrived in Drogio, where he stayed three years. Then fortunately hearing that some small vessel had arrived on the coast, he went thither, and learned, to his unspeakable satisfaction, that they were from Estoitland. Upon this, he earnestly requested to be taken on board, which they did very willingly; and as he understood the language of the country, which the others did not, he became their interpreter. He afterwards made repeated voyages from Estoitland to Drogio and acquired great riches. After which, he equipped a bark of his own, in which he returned to Frisland, where he made a report to his lord of all that had befallen him, and of the discovery he had made of an extensive and wealthy country.

As this strange and marvellous story was confirmed by the testimony of the sailors he had brought along with him, it gained full credit; and accordingly Zichmni determined to send me, Antonio Zeno, with a fleet into these parts; and so great was the desire among the people to embark in this expedition, that our fleet was well manned and equipped without expence to the public. I accordingly set sail with a great number of ships and men, but not commander in chief as I expected, for Zichmni went in person on the expedition. Our great preparation for the voyage to Estoitland began in an unlucky hour as, three days before our departure, the fisherman died who was to have been our guide; yet Zichmni would not give up the enterprise, but took for his guides several of the sailors who had returned with the fisherman from Estoitland. Shaping our course to the westwards, we passed several islands subject to Frisland, and arrived at Ledovo, or the Lewis, where we stayed a week to refresh ourselves, and to provide the fleet with necessaries. Departing thence, we arrived on the first of July off the island of Ilofe, or Islay; and the wind being favourable, did not stop there but stood on our voyage. Not long afterwards, being in the main sea, we were overtaken by a dreadful tempest, which tossed us to and fro, at the mercy of the winds and waves for eight days, so that we knew not whereabouts we were. By the violence of this tempest, we lost many of our vessels, but after the return of good weather, we collected the remains of our shattered fleet, and having a fair wind, we stood on to the westwards, and at length descried the coast of Estoitland, and arrived in a good and safe harbour. Here we saw an infinite number of armed men running furiously towards the shore, apparently for the purpose of defending the island. Upon this, Zichmni commanded signs of peace to be made, and the islanders sent ten men to us who could speak ten different languages; but we could understand none of these, excepting one man who happened to be an Icelander. This man was brought to our prince, and gave the following account of the country and people.

The land was called Icaria, and all its kings were named Icarus, after the name, of its first king, who was the son of Daedalus king of Scotland. This Daedalus had discovered and conquered the island, and after instituting the body of laws by which they are still governed, had left them his son to be their king. After this, Daedalus[1] sailed in quest of farther discoveries, but was overtaken by a violent storm and drowned. In memory of which, they named their island Icaria, the sea surrounding it the Icarian sea, and all their successive kings Icarus. He stated, moreover, that they were perfectly contented with the state in which they had been placed by Providence, and not choosing to make the smallest change in their manners and customs, would admit no strangers into their land; and therefore requested the prince not to attempt violating the laws of their king, of glorious memory, as any such attempt would turn to his manifest destruction, since they were resolved to sacrifice their lives in defence of their laws. They were willing, however, to receive one of our men, who should be advanced to the rank of a chief, on purpose to learn our language; having already received ten different men with that view from ten different nations.

Upon this Zichmni sailed from the harbour, as if meaning to go away from the island; but being in want of wood and water, he skirted along the coast at some distance, and put into another harbour on the eastern side of the island with all his fleet. Here the mariners went on shore, and procured the necessary supplies with all possible speed, lest they might be attacked by the natives. This precaution was by no means unnecessary, for the inhabitants near this harbour made signals by fire and smoke to the rest of the country; and taking to their arms, were soon joined by others, and came down upon our men with bows and arrows, and other weapons, and in the conflict, many of them were killed, and others dangerously wounded.[2] We were therefore obliged to depart, and made a large circuit round the island, always accompanied on the shore and on the hills by a vast number of armed men to oppose our landing. Seeing that nothing could be done here, Zichmni set sail to the eastwards with a fair wind; and after six days sail, we came in sight of land, which we found to be a very good country, with an excellent harbour. We descried a mountain at a considerable distance, which emitted smoke, and Zichmni sent an hundred soldiers to explore the country, and to inquire if it were inhabited. In the meantime, we took in wood and water, and caught vast quantities of fish and sea-fowl, and procured immense numbers of eggs; so that our people, before almost famished, had now more provisions than they could eat. To this harbour, we gave the name of Port Trin, and the point that stretched out into the sea was named Cape Trin. The soldiers who had been sent out to examine the country, returned at the end of eight days, and reported they had been all through the island, quite to the smoking mountain, and that the smoke we saw proceeded from a fire at its bottom, where there was a spring of liquid pitch which ran into the sea. They said likewise, that the interior of the island was inhabited by a wild people, who were very short in stature, and timid, and hid themselves in caves.

On receiving this piece of intelligence, and considering that the island was blest with a pure and wholesome air, good soil, fine rivers, and many other advantages, Ziehmni resolved to people it and to build a town at Port Trin, and took, great pains to discover the whole of it, and to explore the seas on both sides of Engroveland, or Greenland. But many of his people began to murmur, being quite wearied with so tedious a voyage, alleging that as the winter was fast approaching, they should not be able to return home before the ensuing summer, if they made any longer delay. On this account, retaining only the row-boats, and as many men as were willing to stay with him. Zichmni sent away all the rest of the people with the ships, giving the command to me, Antonio Zeno, much against my will. Taking therefore our departure, we sailed twenty days to the eastwards, without seeing any land; on which we shifted our course to the south-east, and after five days, we came in sight of the island of Neome,[3] so that we passed Iceland without seeing it. We here procured refreshments from the inhabitants, who were subject to Zichmni, and sailed thence in three days to Frisland, where we were received with great joy, as the people thought, in consequence of our long absence, that their prince and the whole armament had been lost.

As to the particulars concerning the people and their customs, the animate, and the productions of these countries, I have written all these in a separate book, in which I have described the country, and the wonderful fishes of Frisland, Estland, Norway, Estoitland, Drogio, Icaria, and Engroveland, on both its sides. I have composed likewise, the life of my brother Nicolo Zeno, with an account of his discoveries; and a history of the life and acts of Zichmni, a prince as worthy of immortal fame as any that ever lived, having been famous for his valour, enterprising spirit, and humanity.

[1] Or Icarus, for the language in Forster is ambiguous, and does not clearly fix this important historical fact!--E.
[2] The expression is here so equivocal as to leave in doubt whether the killed and wounded were Icarians or Frislanders, or part of both.--E.
[3] Neome seems to be the isle or Stromoe, one of the Faro Islands; as it is in fact to the southward of Iceland, and only three days sail from the Orkneys, the Faras-islands, or Frisland of this author.--Forst.


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