Irish monks were one of the founders of sea expeditions in the Middle Ages. Guided by the fact that the Christian faith is the path to salvation, they embarked on the path of missionary work.
Recognized sailor of the VI century. considered according to the tradition of St. Bren-dan is the patron saint of Ireland. There are sagas about his wanderings that were extremely popular in the Middle Ages. According to legends, St. Brendan had a vision of a dove that showed the way to an unknown island, after which the saint vowed to convert pagans of unknown lands to Christianity.
St. Brendan made two voyages. The first time he went to the open sea on a raft. from inflated skins, but God patronized him, and the voyage ended well. On the second journey of St. Brendan is already on the boat. Brendan is confronted with many wonders during his voyages across the ocean. So, on the eve of Easter, Brendan and his companions disembark on the island. After reading thanksgiving prayers, travelers make a fire to warm up and prepare food. But suddenly the island starts to move: it turns out to be a huge whale Yaskonius. Travelers are seized with panic, they understand that if the whale dives, then everyone will die. But Brendan remains absolutely calm, he entrusts everyone into the hands of God and begins to celebrate Mass. And the gigantic monster was tamed "through prayer" Brendan recited. Miraculously disappeared the huge waves raised by the movement of the whale, and the turbulent eddies, the sea calmed down.
The devil, tempting Brendan, goes with him to the underworld to show him the torments of hell. One of the monks also shows a great desire to visit the "land of shadows". But in order to bring this monk back to life, the saint had to perform the miracle of his resurrection. The sagas tell that Brendan was able to convert a pagan giant he met on one of the remote islands to Christianity. In addition, along the way, he encountered such unusual phenomena as a terrifying mouse, a huge cat and translucent islands. But, having overcome all obstacles, Brendan's ship sticks to the island he had seen in his vision. In all likelihood, the Irish meant the Promised Land by this island of bird spirits.
An attempt has now been made by Irish scholars and travelers to reconstruct the voyage of St. Brendan. According to ancient drawings, a boat was built, similar to the one on which the saint sailed. It was on it that the trip took place from the coast of Ireland to the coast of America. And some of the "miracles" found their natural explanation. Icebergs and their translucent fragments could well have been perceived by members of Brendan's expedition as "translucent islands." Of course, there were more whales in Brendan's time, since the era of whaling, which brought some of these species to the brink of extinction, had not yet begun. We can safely assume that none of the companions of St. Brendan had never seen these giants near these giants before, which is why a whale-to-island comparison arose. Noisy "bird colonies", where hundreds of thousands of birds nest, have become, in all likelihood, the prototype of the island of bird spirits.
This voyage was one of the first to show the way for Europeans westward across the ocean. A few centuries later, Viking boats will sail along these sea routes.
A huge role in the development of Western European medieval civilization was played by the travels of the inhabitants of the Scandinavian and Jutland peninsulas. In France they were called Normans (northern people), in England - Danes (regardless of whether they were from Denmark or Norway), in Ireland - Finn Gauls (light foreigners - Norwegians) and Dubgalls (dark foreigners - Danes), in Byzantium - Varangians, in Russia - Varangians, and Arabs - Madhus (pagan monsters).
Viking subcivilization existed from the middle of the 8th to the beginning of the 12th centuries.
The Normans were skilled sailors. The word "Viking" itself is translated from Old Norse as "bay" or "bay", thus the Vikings are the people who kept their ships in the bays. The Scandinavian expression "go to the Vikings" meant a journey in search of wealth and glory.
The Normans had beautiful sea-river vessels. Of course, the rooks were of different sizes. But they did not exceed 30 m in length and 4.5 m in width. The ships had from 30 to 70 rowers. The rooks had a deck and a rudder. On such ships, the Vikings sailed for many days in the ocean, and at the same time could enter shallow rivers, since the draft of the boats was small. The Vikings did not know navigation devices. In the open sea, they were guided by the stars and the sun. The depth and temperature of the water in the ocean also helped them determine their location. In addition, they studied the behavior of fish, sea animals and birds, which also prevented them from getting lost. It is known that when the Vikings sailed to Greenland, they were guided along the way by the movement of schools of fish - cod and herring. A lot of practical knowledge is contained in the Scandinavian legends - sagas.
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