Teachers may wish to lecture on this information or may assign students to the information and resources included on the CMods webpage.
Students may engage in research or other projects intended to answer the following questions:
How did the Viking sailors determine their position on the globe?
One of the reasons for the many Viking settlements was their rapidly expanding population. What factors may have accounted for this expanding population?
How do the successful Viking sailing exploits relate to the ancient maps showing South America and Antarctica? (See CMod # 5 “Ancient Maps.”)
Why is the Viking settlement of North America in 1,000 AD a “fact” of history?
Explore the similarities between the effect Christianity had in the founding of the United States compared to the impact it had on Viking culture. (See CMod
3, “The American Creed.”)
Teachers may wish to ask the following questions: One of the primary rules of
historical research is giving the benefit of the doubt to the documents themselves, absent convincing evidence to the contrary. How does that principle apply to the various Icelandic sagas and to the Vinland Map? What about the Zeno Map?
Vocabulary: Celestial navigation: determining one’s position on the globe by means of angular measurements between common celestial objects or to the horizon. The Sun and the horizon were most often measured, but the Moon, planets and one or more of 57 navigational stars where also used, their coordinates having been tabulated in nautical almanacs. Besides nautical tables, a sextant and a method of keeping time were required to determine position using this method.
Fact: as in a fact of history, a statement that can be checked and either confirmed or denied. There must be a consensus of scholars in a particular matter for it to be considered a fact. Facts are often contrasted with opinions and beliefs which may be true but are not subject to verification to the same degree as are facts. Fact may also indicate findings derived through a process of evaluation, including review of testimony, direct observation, or otherwise; as distinguishable from matters of inference or speculation. What had once been thought to be facts are sometimes proven false.
Norse Sagas: The word “sagas” comes from the Icelandic language and means “what is said.” Sagas are accounts of ancient Scandinavian and Germanic history, especially about early Viking voyages including migrations to Iceland, Greenland and Vinland. The texts are epic tales in prose, often with stanzas or whole poems embedded in the text. They are commonly of heroic deeds of worthy men who were usually Vikings. Most sagas of Icelanders took place in the period 930– 1030 (Age of the Sagas) in Icelandic history. Most were written down between 1190 and 1320. The sagas of kings, bishops, contemporary sagas and the like have their own time frame. It was only recently that the sagas of the voyages to America were authenticated.