Voyage Leaders The Vineland Sagas is a book that gives an in depth description into specific voyages from both Iceland and Greenland to North America. Even though most of the leaders on each voyage had the same goals, they were all distinctively different. The leader of the first voyage described in the book was Bjarni, who was the son of HerJolf and Thorgerd. Bjarni’s goal was the set sail to Greenland. The next leader was Leif, whom later would become known as “Leif the Lucky’, he was the son of Eirik the Red of Brattahlid. Thorvald, who was the brother of Leif and also the son of Eirik the Red f Brattahlid, was the next to set sail.
The next leader would be Thornstein Erikisson, who was both Leif and Thorvald’s brother and son to Eirik the Red. The next voyage to Vinland was headed by a man named Thorflnn Karlsefni. The final voyage in the Saga of the Greenlanders was led by brothers, Helgi and Finnbogi who were Icelanders from East Fjords, and Freydis Eiriksdottir, whom was Leif’s sister. Although all of these men and women had the similar goals of finding land and sailing the world, they all went about their Journeys in very different ways, some good and some bad. As mentioned the leader of the first voyage in The Vinland Sagas, was a man by the name of Bjarni.
Bjarni had never seen Greenland so it was his desire that he and his crew set sail there. Bjarni was an optimist because even though he had never seen or sailed to Greenland he firmly believed that he and his crew were capable. He once said “Our Journey will be thought an ill-considered one, since none of us has sailed the Greenland Sea” (The Vinland Sagas, 4). This shows that although everyone will think their Journey is one they should not make, BJarni does not care because he elieves that he and his crew are fully capable of making it.
Bjarni appears to be very intelligent and wise, which are both qualities needed of a leader in this era. Numerous times throughout the Journey his crew will look to him to answer whether the land they have come across is in fact Greenland or if it is Just another piece of land. He, based on his knowledge of what Greenland looks like, is able to decipher between all the different land they see and determine which one is actually Greenland. When the crew saw the second set of land, they believed it to be Greenland, but Bjarni wisely knew it wasn’t.
They sailed another two days before sighting land once again. They asked Bjarni whether he thought this was to be Greenland. He said he thought this no more likely to be Greenland than the previous land-‘since there are said to be very large glaciers in Greenland” (The Vinland Sagas, 4). Although Bjarni is intelligent he is also stubborn and disliked, he thinks his way is best and doesn’t take into account what his shipmates think. This was made evident when his crew believed it was best that they be put ashore because they needed wood and water, but Bjarni said no and that they were fine.
That decision would be criticized by his crew and cause them to dislike him. His stubbornness is also shown when after his Journey he is asked about the other lands he encountered, he had very little too say because he didn’t care enough to explore land that wasn’t Greenland. They would eventually find the land Bjarni believed to be Greenland and settle there. originally pleaded to his father, Eirik the Red, that he in fact head the expedition. Leif was more of the possessive type as well. When Bjarni had seen land of no use he would Just continue sailing, but when Leif saw the same land he found the need to ame them. As far as this land is concerned it can’t be said of us as of Bjarni, that we did not set foot on shore. I am now going to name this land and call it Helluland… This land will be named for what it has to offer and called Markland” (The Vinland Sagas, 6). Leif was also the exploring type and a handy man. Their ship would eventually be stranded and they would decide to take their stuff ashore and spend the winter there. Leif and his crew would build houses for them to live in. Leif shows his willingness to explore when he tells his crew “l want to divide our company into two roups, as I wish to explore the land.
One half is to remain at home by the longhouses while the other half explores the land” (The Vinland Sagas, 7). Leif was also a caring and kind leader, this was evident when Tyrkir goes missing. Leif cared for Tyrkir dearly and was clearly distraught when he went missing, enough to criticize part of his crew and form a search party. Tyrkir’s disappearance would actually benefit Leif because he was able to discover than the land they had settled on contained an enormous amount of grapes and grape vines. Leif would go on to name the land Vinland.
Another act of kindness is shown when Leif allows Thorir and his crew to board his ship and spend the winter with them. This is an act of extreme kindness, because Leif didn’t know any of them personally, he was Just simply trying to help his fellow man. Thorvald, the brother of Leif, would be the next to set sail. Thorvald was different that his brother Leif in the fact that he was much more explorative. After discussions with his brother he determined that Leif had left entirely too much land unexplored and that he must be the man to go explore it. With that Leif gave him his blessing.
Throughout the exploration by Thorvald and his men, they did not encounter any other human life living on the islands. Thorvald is much more aggressive and violent than the previous leaders. Thorvald and his men would come across three men with nine men total and would kill eight of them. “Upon coming closer they saw they were three hide-covered boats, with three men under each of them. They divided their forces and managed to capture all of them except one, who escaped with his boat. They killed the other eight men and went back to the cape” (The Vinland Sagas, 11).
This is completely different from what his brother Leif did on his Journey. Leif came across others on his Journey and embraced them and allowed them to Join his ship but when Thorvald came across others he murdered them. Although aggressive and violent, Thorvald was also a coward. When his crew set up camp they were approached by men and forced to leave. Thorvald would tell him crew “We will set up breast works along the sides of the ship and defend ourselves, but fght back as little as we can” (The Vinland Sagas, 11). This shows how cowardly Thorvald is.
When he ad men out numbered he willingly killed them but when he was confronted by other men he backed down and was unwilling to fght, he would only try to survive. Ironically this would lead to his death. Thornstein would be the next to make a Journey. The reason behind his Journey was to recover the body of his dead brother Thorvald. This shows that Thornstein is him and cares for him and wants to retrieve his body. The act of this shows the difference between brothers Thornstein and Thorvald. Thornstein has other acts to show his thoughtfulness and how much he cares about his crew.
When winter hits it auses many to become fatally ill. “Thornstein asked that coffins be made for the bodies of those who had died, and that they be taken to the ship and secured away there- as when summer comes I intend to take all the bodies to EiriksfJord” (The Vinland Sagas, 13). The next leader of a Journey would be Thorflnn Karlsefni, who was an extremely wealthy man that had previously spent a winter with Leif. Thorflnn, with the approval of Leif, would marry the late Thornstein’s wife Gudrid. Even though Thorfinn was wealthy, he was a fair individual.
Often people who were wealthy were thought to be elfish but that was not the case when it came to Thorfin. Before he and his crew of sixty five men and women began their Journey he made sure to set the ground rules. “Karlsefni and his crew made an agreement that anything of value they obtained would be divided equally among them” (The Vinland Sagas, 15). This is extremely generous and fair. Thorflnn was the captain and leader of the ship, he very well could take the majority of what they find on their Journey but that’s not what he wants to do, he wants to be fair.
Thorflnn is also a very clever and brave man. They had made rades with the natives once and when the natives came back a second time it resulted in violence. After the violence Thorflnn knew that the natives would eventually return with more men and in anger, so he devised a plan. The plan was “ten men will go out on this headland and let themselves be seen there, while the rest of us go into the forest and cut a clearing for the cattle. When approaching from the forest we will take our bull and let him lead our group into battle” (The Vinland Sagas, 17).
This plan would prove to be effective and Thorflnn and his crew were able ill numerous natives and force the natives to retreat. Unlike some of the leaders previous discussed Thorfinn didn’t back down and was willing to stand up and fight. The last Journey mentioned is the once taken with the two brothers Helgi and Finnbogi, and Freydis Eiriksdottir. Freydis was the sister of Leif, Thorvald, and Thornstein. Freydis Joined the Journey and proposed that they would split everything they find evenly, giving off the illusion that she was a fair woman. In reality Fredyis was a very dishonest and evil woman.
She only cared about herself and what she wanted. She first lied to the brothers by agreeing to have only thirty men among ship, she would end up taking five extra men. When they land the brothers attempt to settle in her brother Leifs house but she tells them that her brother lent the houses to her and not them. But by far the worst thing she did was lie to her own husband to convince him and his men to kill the brothers and all of their men, and then Freydis personally killed all the women. In order to do this she told her husband “l went to the brothers, to ask to purchase their ship, as I want a larger ship.
They reacted so ngrily; they struck me badly, but you’re such a coward that you will repay neither dishonor done to me nor yourself” (The Vinland Sagas, 19). None of what she said actually happened. She is vindictive and evil. She fabricated a lie Just so her husband would kill the brothers and their crew. It is very clear that all of the leaders are very different in nature but also some have similar qualities. There are wide range of Some are brave and courageous, while the others are cowards. Even though they all desire to travel and find land, the way they each choose to carry themselves are drastically different.