An Icelandic Pilgrim amid the Crusades: Nikulás Bergsson

During the mid-twelfth century, an Icelander named Nikulás Bergsson went on a pilgrimage that took him over 4,000 miles away from his home in northern Iceland to Jerusalem in the Holy Land. We don’t know much about him, but it is clear that he was a lettered Benedictine monk.[1] Around the year 1153, however, Nikulás left his home to venture out towards the Holy Land.[2] By 1155, perhaps thanks in part to the prestige he gained through such a pilgrimage, he had returned to northern Iceland to become the abbot of the newly formed monastery at Munkathverá, where he remained until his death in either 1159 or 1160.[3] Before departing the mortal world, though, Nikulás recounted his pilgrimage to his fellow monks, who fashioned his account into an itinerary that details Nikulás’ journey across the western medieval world.

Table of Contents:

  1. The Medieval World of Nikulás Bergsson
    1. The Holy Land before Nikulás: Crusades and Jerusalem
  2. Pilgrimage in the Medieval North and Beyond
    1. Pilgrimage and Prestige in Medieval Iceland
      1. Pilgrimage in The Tale of Audun from the Westfjords
  3. There and Back Again: Nikulás’ Pilgrimage to Jerusalem
    1. An Interactive Digital Map of Nikulás Bergsson’s Pilgrimage
    2. Why Does it Matter, though?

The Medieval World of Nikulás Bergsson

During the eleventh and twelfth centuries, Iceland was still growing into its new Christian shoes. Although the island had voluntarily converted to Christianity around the year 1000,[4] they did not have a bishop until 1055, when Ísleifr Gizursson was elected so by the Althing, or the Icelandic national assembly.[5] Likewise, the island did not have its first official episcopal see until 1082, which was firmly established by Bishop Gizurr Ísleifsson at Skálholt in southern Iceland. Shortly thereafter, around 1106, Gizurr permitted the establishment of another episcopal see in northern Iceland, which was established at Hólar under Bishop Jón Ögmundarson (who also attempted to change the names used for the days of the week). But it was over 100 years after conversion before Iceland saw its first monastery, which was established in northern Iceland at Thingeyrar in 1133.[6]

The signet used for the monastery at Thingeyrar during the fourteenth century. [x]

In short, the development of Christianity in Iceland was slow in catching up to the rest of the medieval West. By the time Nikulás Bergsson came into the scene, for instance, Iceland had only just begun to establish opportunities for a monastic life on the island. Yet, even so, it is worth stressing how unique the Icelandic church was: there was a general lack of friction between secular and ecclesiastical life because the Icelandic Church (and its property) remained in the hands of Icelandic chieftains and prominent farmers until 1297.[7] In other words, despite the fact that Nikulás was a Benedictine monk, secular and sacred were never too far apart in his experience. While it is possible that Nikulás’ early life was characterized by quiet, pious work in the monastery at Thingeyrar, as Joyce Hill suggests,[8] it is just as likely (if not more so) that he was a well-to-do laymen who received a formal education via the cathedral school located at Hólar and only retired to monasticism later in life, which would have been at Munkathverá with his appointment as abbot there. In short, we don’t know enough about Nikulás to have confidence in the details of his early life. All we do know is that he came from a society where secular and sacred were closely bound, and that he left this society to venture out into the rest of the medieval world, headed for the Holy Land.

Pope Leo IX in an 11th-century manuscript. [x]

In contrast, for the rest of the medieval west, the second half of the eleventh century saw a series a reform-minded popes who, inspired by monastic ideals, sought to move away from the traditions of a secular clergy.[9] Pope Leo IX (1049-54), pictured to the left, was the first of these reforming popes. Thus, while Iceland’s church grew into a comfortable state where secular and sacred intermingled without conflict, the papacy to the south was breaking free from its secular bounds and reducing lay influence over ecclesiastical affairs. Nevertheless, even their situation was not entirely cleared of secular ‘corruption,’ for even after the twelfth century, many of the great monasteries of the medieval west were still managed by sons from influential aristocratic families.[10] Despite the successes and failures of papal ambitions, however, their reform movement led to a historical moment that most people reading this post are familiar with in some way or another: the First Crusade.

The Holy Land before Nikulás: Crusades and Jerusalem

Responding to a plea for military aid from the Byzantine emperor Alexios Komnenos in 1095, Pope Urban II (1088-99) appealed to Frankish knights in Clermont, saying:

Let those who have been accustomed unjustly to wage private warfare against the faithful now go against the infidels and end with victory this war which should have been begun long ago.[11]

The arrival of Pope Urban II in France for the Council of Clermont in 1095. From the Roman de Godefroy de Bouillon, Ms 22495, fol.15. France, 1337. [x]

As noted by Jonathan Riley-Smith, however, Pope Urban II’s appeal “was the culmination of the moment of the Church towards lay people which had begun earlier in the eleventh century.”[12] Nothing that Pope Urban II declared that day was unconventional, for his fellow reformers had been using the same rhetoric and justified themselves with the same concepts before this moment in history—the difference in 1095 was, according to Riley-Smith, that their ideas were popular among the laity, who now responded to such an opportunity with enthusiasm.[13]

Amid the high-minded reforms of the papacy, eleventh-century Christians obsessively regarded Jerusalem as the very center of the world: it was the spot where God chose to redeem humanity, and it would be the spot, at the end of time, where final judgement would be passed on their souls.[14] This obsession is best visualized in the images below (taken from Fordham Medieval Digital Projects, maps 9 and 3). To the left is a basic, printed version of a T-O map from 1472, which was the most widespread world map used throughout the medieval period. This map was inspired by Isidore of Seville’s medieval bestseller, Etymologiae, wherein he describes the world as a globe surrounded by an ocean and divided into three parts: Asia, Europe, and Africa.[15] To the right is a more detailed version of this map, which is contained in an eleventh-century copy of Isidore’s work (Clm 10058). Like all other T-O maps, Jerusalem is at the center.

Considering the importance of Jerusalem in their minds, then, it is not surprising that the eleventh century experienced a large-scale revival of pilgrimages to Jerusalem with encouragement from monasteries.[16] Within the context of this broader movement, the crusades struck contemporaries as being “like a military monastery on the move, constantly at prayer.”[17] Later authors, such as Robert the Monk, Guibert of Nogent, and Baldric of Bourgueil, thought likewise and reinforced this connection between crusading, pilgrimage, and Jerusalem in the aftermath of the First Crusade.[18] Writing 25 years after Clermont, for example, Robert the Monk wrote his own version of Urban II’s speech, elaborating on the importance of saving Jerusalem:

Jerusalem is the navel of the world; the land is fruitful above others, like another paradise of delights. … This royal city, therefore, situated at the centre of the world, is now held captive by His enemies, and is in subjection to those who do not know God, to the worship of the heathens. She seeks therefore and desires to be liberated, and does not cease to implore you to come to her aid.[19]

An early/mid-12th century map of Jerusalem (contemporary with Nikulás). [x]

After the First Crusade (1099) and leading up to the Second (1147-49), pilgrimage to Jerusalem continued to grow dramatically and the importance of maintaining a Christian hold on the holy city became even stronger. Around 1103, for example, King Eirik of Denmark (who Nikulás mentions in his itinerary) and his wife were among a new wave of high-standing pilgrims who found themselves Jerusalem-bound after the First Crusade. Nikulás’ own pilgrimage was certainly wrapped up within this broader movement, which stirred obsessively in the minds of his fellow medieval Christians. His itinerary is thus part of an “unprecedented burst of historical writing” that memorialized the capture of Jerusalem and the importance of its place within Christian hands through stories of pilgrimage to the Holy Land.[20]

Pilgrimage in the Medieval North and Beyond

Although Nikulás himself didn’t go on a crusade, it is important to know that the Crusades of his day and age, which inevitably influenced his understanding of Jerusalem and the Holy Land, were regarded as (armed) pilgrimages by contemporaries; in the medieval mind, pilgrimage and crusade went hand-in-hand (in a sense). In our minds, however, we (in the West) tend to associate pilgrimage with a harmless act of medieval Christian piety. Yet, in its essence, pilgrimage is not peculiarly Christian, European, nor medieval. As Diana Webb puts it, “[pilgrimage] has been a feature of most of the world’s religions, and its origins probably go back long before the written record.”[21] Likewise, Jonathan Riley-Smith, who we’ve mentioned quite a bit already, says that “the popularity of pilgrimage [in medieval Europe] also stemmed from the fact that Christianity had been grafted on to a pagan world of nature rites and local deities.”[22] By Nikulás’ time, however, medieval pilgrimage had developed into what we typically envision it as today: an act of Christian piety that served as a remedy (or penance) for sin.[23]

A shrine for the crown of St. Thomas Beckett of Canterbury. [x]

Another important aspect of medieval pilgrimage, however, was the cult of saints. From around the year 1000 onward, it became increasingly popular for pilgrims to visit the many shrines that were made to honor local saints all across the Christian world. These saints who were people that had once lived particularly pious lives or received a martyr’s death, either of which earned them a special place in heaven. Their shrines typically contained relics from their lives, which could range from anything between an article of clothing to a part of their body; they were thus considered to be objects through which these saints could intercede on behalf of the pilgrim, providing them with healing, answering their prayers, or performing miracles for them.[24] In his itinerary, Nikulás mentions several saints in along his route, including St. Maurice in Switzerland and St. Christina in Italy, showing that he was engaging in this practice himself.

A medieval pilgrim in traditional garb from from BL Eg 1069, f. 145. [x]

At the center of this cult of saints lay the empty tomb of Christ in the Holy Land, the sites of Jesus’ life, and the graves of Christianity’s earliest martyrs.[25] Jerusalem and the Holy Land, however, were not easy to get to, especially for those dwelling in the distant, northwestern ends of the medieval world. Nevertheless, christian pilgrimage to the Holy Land had been occurring as early as the fourth century, but the Islamic conquests of the mid-seventh century made it more hazardous for them (though not impossible) throughout the majority of the medieval period.[26] Nikulás, however, lived during a time when the Holy Land was more accessible and friendly towards himself and his fellow christians. Between 1099 and 1187, the city of Jerusalem was governed by Christian rulers. During that time, religious orders, such as the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem, were founded with the goal of improving conditions for travelers coming to and living in the Holy Land.[27] As a result, Nikulás, who made his pilgrimage just prior to 1153, benefitted from the Crusades surrounding his life.

Nevertheless, pilgrimage always came with risks: it meant rejecting the familiar, earthly comforts of home and kin in exchange for an unfamiliar road fraught with dangers and uncertainty. Furthermore, according to Diana Webb, only a “tiny minority” of western medieval Christians would have been able to undertake the long, arduous pilgrimage to the Holy Land.[28] So why did Nikulás travel further than most other pilgrims—over 4,000 miles—for his pilgrimage? Was it purely for reasons of piety?

Pilgrimage and Prestige in Medieval Iceland

According to Joyce Hill, Nikulás certainly undertook this pilgrimage for pious reasons, but there was indeed more for Nikulás to gain than personal, spiritual benefits alone. Whether Nikulás had consciously hoped for it or not, his pilgrimage earned him notable prestige back home. In 1155, shortly after his return to Iceland from Jerusalem, he received a substantial promotion: he was elected abbot of the newly-established Benedictine monastery at Munkathverá. Yet, his prestige increased even posthumously, for the account of his journey to the Holy Land was preserved and achieved authoritative status in Iceland by the fourteenth century, if not sooner. Nevertheless, Hill concludes that his prestige was always ecclesiastical in nature, rather that secular; his reputation was one of wisdom, truth, and scholarship rather than one of wealth, legal prowess, and authority.[29]

As we have discussed, however, secular and sacred were never far apart in medieval Iceland, especially during Nikulás’ time. For that reason, it is worth considering other examples of Icelandic pilgrims and the prestige that their journeys earned them within society. These accounts, however, primarily come from literature that was produced during the thirteenth century, between 75-100 years after Nikulás’ own pilgrimage. But while time inherently changes values and mentalities, these examples will still give us a good sense for the social value of pilgrimage in medieval Iceland, since the lines between secular and sacred remained blurry throughout the thirteenth century, as well (until 1297, as mentioned above).

A bound manuscript from medieval Iceland (14th century). [x]

Generally speaking, though, Joyce Hill concludes that pilgrimages in the Sagas of Icelanders are part of a broader “journey motif,” where they “are essentially elements within the prestige mechanisms of the created narrative.”[30] In other words, Hill deems all examples of pilgrimage in saga literature to be nothing more than literary motifs and thus warns against using them to draw historical conclusions about the society beyond its vellum pages. But in the words of the Icelandic historian Gunnar Karlsson, “it is impossible to write a critical history of early Iceland without referring to the sagas.”[31] Likewise, Jesse Byock has even asserted the following:

…the older view [here taken by Joyce Hill], stressing only the literary value of the [Sagas of Icelanders], is self-defeating. Because the sagas have literary value does not mean that they are devoid of sociological information. Medieval Icelanders wrote about themselves for themselves. By exploring saga literature in conjunction with other sources, we come a step closer to unearthing the essence of Iceland’s functioning medieval society.[32]

Thus, in a similar spirit, it is worth considering Nikulás’ own pilgrimage in conversation with near-contemporary literary examples. In doing so, we will better understand the motivations for Nikulás’ long journey to Jerusalem, as well as how medieval Icelanders (as a whole) regarded both pilgrimage and holy spaces during the time of the Crusades.

Pilgrimage in The Tale of Audun from the Westfjords

For the purpose of this post, however, one particularly relevant example should suffice (despite my lengthy build-up), and that is The Tale of Audun from the Westfjords. Although not a saga (in technical terms), it is nevertheless a well-developed, rags-to-riches tale wherein a poor Icelandic farmer named Audun becomes a wealthy member of his community in the Westfjords of Iceland (probably near Bardarstrand, marked on the map to the right). But although Audun’s Tale is situated in the real world of the eleventh century, it wasn’t written down until the 1220s (at the earliest), roughly 70 years after Nikulás made his pilgrimage.[33] As such, this text enlightens us not about a concrete, historical pilgrimage that took place during the eleventh century, but rather thirteenth-century attitudes about pilgrimage.

Audun’s polar bear, probably. [x]

Nevertheless, the beginning of this tale is about Audun’s seemingly foolish purchase of a polar bear in Greenland, which completely deprives him of all of his (already meager) wealth. His goal, however, was to bring that polar bear to King Svein of Denmark and give it to him as a gift. In medieval Iceland, gift-giving was a common way of creating social bonds, establishing support networks, and increasing one’s social standing, so this move was not completely out of folly—it was a gamble.[34] But while the polar bear unsurprisingly takes most of the glory, the true center of this story is a pilgrimage to Rome, which also plays a significant role in changing this poor farmer’s life. It is this pilgrimage (at least in part) that allows Audun to gain both spiritual and physical wealth, thus bringing him greater prestige back home in Iceland. And so, after accomplishing his task involving the polar bear (after some difficulties), this is what happens:

After some time had passed, Audun said to the king: “I am now eager to leave here, my lord.”

The King answered somewhat hesitatingly, “Where do you plan to go, if you do not care to remain here with us?”

He replied, “I want to make a pilgrimage to Rome.”

“If your plan had not been so noble,” the king replied, “your eagerness to leave here would have displeased me.”

The king then gave him a very great deal of silver, and he traveled south with a group of pilgrims. The king made all the arrangements for his journey and asked him to come see him when he returned.

He then went on his way until her arrived in Rome. When he had stayed there as long as he wished, he headed back. But on the way he fell terribly ill and lost a great deal of weight. All of the money the king had given him for the journey was used up, so he was reduced to vagrancy and had to beg for food. He grew bald and quite miserable.

He arrived back in Denmark at Easter…[35]

Although this account of an Icelandic pilgrim’s journey is wanting in comparison to the rich detail of Nikulás’ itinerary, William Ian Miller concludes that “the story is obviously structured with Rome in the middle.”[36] Thus, however brief it may be, it is at the very heart of the narrative for a reason. And yet Miller also concludes that Audun’s Tale remains “ultimately agnostic and mostly practical” about the connections between Audun’s pilgrimage and his social fortune; Audun’s pious pilgrimage is “simply part of the mix.” Nevertheless, the presence of this pilgrimage, Miller continues, suggests that there are “complex linkages that connect piety and property” in medieval Iceland.[37] In other words, the overall secular tone of Audun’s Tale, along with the brief treatment of Audun’s pilgrimage, seems to stem from the close relationship between piety and prestige in medieval Iceland.

When Audun returned from his pilgrimage, the tale immediately shifts its focus back to Audun’s social relationship with King Svein. Audun, however, having become so physically deformed from his illness upon traveling home from Rome, was ashamed of facing him (and especially the drunken, but well-dressed men surrounding him). As a result, Audun lingered near the king but couldn’t muster the courage to approach him. Eventually, though, King Svein takes notice and beckons him to come forward:

Then Audun came forward and fell down at the king’s feet, but the king scarcely recognized him. As soon as the king realized who he was, though, he took Audun’s hand and welcomed him.

“You have changed much,” he said, “since we last met,” and he led him inside.

Now when the king’s men saw him, they laughed at him.

But the king said, “You have no cause to laugh, for he has better provided for his soul that you have.”

It is told that sometime during the spring, the king invited Audun to remain with him permanently and told him he would make him his cup-bearer and honor him highly.[38]

Thus, while Audun’s earlier gift of a polar bear served to establish a social relationship between himself and King Svein, this pilgrimage seems to have solidified it. As Miller puts it, although Audun’s intention for going on a pilgrimage was sincere, he was still playing the social games that such a journey was inevitably intermingled with; Audun knew or hoped (and perhaps even expected) that things would go very well for him upon his return.[39] After his journey, Audun was, after all, presented with an opportunity for social mobility, since being the cup-bearer to a powerful king was a far greater a place to be in society than a poor, struggling farmer.

An arm-ring from the Viking Age. [x]

In the end, Audun refused that offer since he needed to return home to Iceland to support his mother, but the king nevertheless showered him with lavish gifts, including an entire ship and an arm-ring (both of which were gifts that Norse kings often gave to their best warriors). Thus Audun’s Tale began with a poor, humble farmer and ends with the image of an aristocratic warrior, at least in terms of social prestige. As the text itself concludes his, Audun was thereafter regarded as “an exceedingly fortunate man.”[40] For this post, however, Audun’s Tale demonstrates that pilgrimage in the medieval North was not necessarily divorced from the social practices of gift-giving and king-schmoozing.

There and Back Again: Nikulás’ Pilgrimage to Jerusalem

Having explored the medieval world of the eleventh, twelfth, and even thirteenth centuries, highlighting the effects of the Crusades during that time, and even stopping to consider what pilgrimage meant in the medieval North, it’s finally time to discuss our title figure: Nikulás Bergsson. As mentioned earlier in this post, Nikulás set off on his Jerusalem-bound pilgrimage just before 1153 and returned to his home in Northern Iceland by 1155. Upon his return, he recounted his journey to an amanuensis (a fancy term for a person who writes down oral accounts), and so his journey was preserved in an itinerary for others to read or follow.[41] As the end of his itinerary reads:

This itinerary and city guide and all this knowledge is written down in accordance with the diction of the abbot Nikulás, who was both wise and renowned, of great memory and much knowledge, gave good counsel and spoke truthfully, and here concludes this narrative.[42]

Yet, although he made that journey during the twelfth century, that detailed itinerary, which we will be exploring below through an interactive digital map, survives now only in later medieval manuscripts. Such details may not seem to make any difference, since medieval monks were quite good at copying things, weren’t they? And yet, it does matter—or at least it could. The earliest manuscript containing Nikulás’ itinerary is an encyclopedia from 1387 now known as AM 194 8vo. Astonishingly, we even know who wrote this text and precisely where it was produced (such details are often lost to medievalists): by a priest named Óláfr Ormsson working at modern-day Narfeyri in Snæfellsnes (western Iceland).[43]

Folios 21r and 21v from AM 194 8vo, provided by [x]

But why does that matter? We’re taking about Nikulás Bergsson, not Óláfr Ormsson. According to Arngrímur Vídalín, however, we should not be too quick to trust in Nikulás’ authorship of this itinerary, even though it has been attributed to him (vaguely, as “abbot Nikulás”). This post has, of course, assumed this to be truthful, and so it has been constructed entirely around Nikulás’ twelfth-century life. And yet, Vídalín makes a case for treating this medieval source as a fourteenth-century geographical treatise rather than a twelfth-century itinerary.[44] In other words, Nikulás Bergsson may have had very little to do with this text, meaning that all of the content above may not even apply to this source at all—except, perhaps, in considering how fourteenth-century Icelanders remembered those centuries. Nevertheless, most scholars still treat this source as a twelfth-century text and consider Nikulás Bergsson to be its original author. So while the seeds of doubt constantly plague academics, this post reaffirms the commonly-held assumption that Nikulás Bergsson truly did recount this itinerary to scribes in northern Iceland during the mid-twelfth century. Thus, the context of his life does matter, at least for us.

An Interactive Digital Map of Nikulás Bergsson’s Pilgrimage

After covering so much history, literature, and academic technicalities, though, it is finally time to explore the details of Nikulás’ pilgrimage. We have mentioned it a great deal, and yet have still not seen or discussed any of its intricacies. Thus, in the map below I have digitized each location mentioned in Nikulás’ itinerary and provided English quotations from the text (using three different translations) for each place Nikulás visited or mentioned.[45] In summary, Nikulás travelled over 4,000 miles from northern Iceland to Norway, and from there to Denmark before traveling through Germany, parts of modern-day France, Switzerland, Italy, and sailing around the coast of Greece, making a pit-stop in Cyprus, and arriving in the Holy Land. Everything you need to learn more, however, is contained within the map, so feel free to explore:

Why Does it Matter, though?

This post is a microhistory that has been constructed around the life and pilgrimage of a single twelfth-century Icelander whom we know very little about. Nevertheless, the story of Nikulás Bergsson’s pilgrimage to the Holy Land still grants us broader insight (albeit rather brief) into what twelfth-century Icelanders thought about the rest of the medieval world. When traveling through Germany, for example, Nikulás could not help but mention a bit of well-kept northern lore, saying that Sigurd may have killed Fafnir near modern-day Kilianstädten. Old stories were thus an important lens through which medieval Icelanders saw and experiences the world around them, even when they were Benedictine monks traveling on a Christian pilgrimage. Famous locations from heroic saga literature were just as notable and worthwhile as the locations of saints and their relics.

Traveling alone just after the Second Crusade, however, Nikulás also describes a holy Land that was bustling with activity as new Crusader churches were being built (or freshly made) in locations such as Mt. Tabor, Jacob’s Well, and even in Jerusalem itself with the Holy Sepulcher (built in 1149, just before Nikulás arrived).[46] In short, his pilgrimage provides us with a snapshot (from the perspective of an Icelander) of what the Holy Land was like during this often-discussed time in history. The details that Nikulás shares about the wider medieval world are indeed valuable to historians seeking to better understand medieval pilgrimage, commerce, and the Holy Land during the time of the Crusades. In the end, his pilgrimage, as well as the history wrapped tightly around it, has much to tell anyone who is interested in the medieval world that Nikulás wandered.

But until next time, keep wandering.



  1. In the mid-sixth century, a man known as Benedict of Nursia established a monastic tradition in the medieval west under the Rule of Saint Benedict, as it would later be called. Monks following this order were called Benedictine monks, and they took vows of poverty, obedience, and chastity. For an introduction, see Andrew Jotischky and Caroline Hull, The Penguin Historical Atlas of the Medieval World (London: Penguin Books, 2005), 56-7. ^
  2. More specifically, before the capture of Ascalon by Baldwin III of Jerusalem in August of that year: Joyce Hill, “From Rome to Jerusalem: An Icelandic Itinerary of the Mid-Twelfth Century,” Harvard Theological Review 76, No. 2 (1983): 176 and 189. ^
  3. Ibid., 177. ^
  4. The conversion of Iceland is traditionally dated to the year 1000, when the pagan lawspeaker Thorgeir Thorkelsson mediated in the island-wide dispute between pagans and their newly converted, Christian family members and neighbors. He ruled in favor of Christianity, but allowed compromises for certain pagan practices to ease the transition. For more, see Jesse Byock, Viking Age Iceland (London: Penguin Books, 2001), 300-1. ^
  5. Byock, Viking Age Iceland, 306. ^
  6. Gunnar Karlsson, The History of Iceland (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2000), 38-9. ^
  7. Byock, Viking Age Iceland, 305. ^
  8. Hill, “From Rome to Jerusalem,” 177. ^
  9. Jotischky and Hull, Atlas of the Medieval World, 40. ^
  10. Ibid., 57. ^
  11. Fulcher of Chartres, “Speech at Council of Clermont, 1095,” translated by Oliver J. Thatcher in A Source Book for Medieval History, edited by Edgar Holmes McNeal (New York: Scribners, 1905), 517. ^
  12. Jonathan Riley-Smith, The First Crusade and the Idea of Crusading (London: Continuum, 2003), 153. ^
  13. Ibid. ^
  14. Ibid., 21. ^
  15. Isidore of Seville, The Etymologies, translated by Stephen A. Barney, W. J. Lewis, J. A. Beach, and Oliver Berghof (Cambridge: University of Cambridge Press, 2006), 285. [Preview] ^
  16. Riley-Smith, The Idea of Crusading, 20. ^
  17. Ibid., 84. ^
  18. Ibid., 154. ^
  19. Robert the Monk, “Urban’s Speech at Clermont, 1095,” translated by Dana C. Munro in Translations and Reprints from the Original Sources of European History, Vol 1:2, (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 1895), 5-8. ^
  20. Jonathan Phillips, The Second Crusade: Extending the Frontiers of Christendom (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007), 34-5. ^
  21. Diana Webb, Medieval European Pilgrimage, c.700-c.1500 (Houndmills, UK: Palgrave, 2002), viii. ^
  22. Riley-Smith, The Idea of Crusading, 11. ^
  23. Webb, Medieval European Pilgrimage, 20. ^
  24. Jotischky and Hull, Atlas of the Medieval World, 60. ^
  25. Ibid. ^
  26. Webb, Medieval European Pilgrimage, 2-3, 10. ^
  27. Ibid., 22. ^
  28. Ibid., 11. ^
  29. Joyce Hill, “Pilgrimage and Prestige in the Icelandic Sagas,” Saga-Book 23 (1990-93): 433-4. ^
  30. Ibid., 436. ^
  31. G. Karlsson, The History of Iceland, 66. ^
  32. Byock, Viking Age Iceland, 24. ^
  33. William Ian Miller, Audun and the Polar Bear: Luck, Law, and Largesse in a Medieval Tale of Risky Business (Leiden: Brill, 2008), 15. ^
  34. William Ian Miller, Bloodtaking and Peacemaking: Feud, Law, and Society in Saga Iceland (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990), 80. ^
  35. Anthony Maxwell trans., The Tale of Audun from the West Fjords, in The Complete Sagas of Icelanders: Including 49 Tales, Vol. I, edited by Viðar Hreinsson, 369-74 (Reykjavík: Leifur Eiríksson Publishing, 1997), 371. ^
  36. Miller, Audun and the Polar Bear, 50. ^
  37. Ibid., 50-1. ^
  38. Maxwell trans., The Tale of Audun, 372. ^
  39. Miller, Audun and the Polar Bear, 55. ^
  40. Maxwell trans., The Tale of Audun, 374. ^
  41. Hill, “Pilgrimage and Prestige,” 433. ^
  42. Arngrímur Vídalín, “Óláfr Ormsson’s Leiðarvísir and its Context: The Fourteenth-Century Text of a Supposed Twelfth-Century,” Journal of English and Germanic Philology 117, No. 2 (April 2018): 213. ^
  43. Ibid., 212. ^
  44. Ibid. ^
  45. The three translations/sources used for the map are as follows:
    1. Angus A. Somerville trans, “The Journey of Abbot Nikolas Bergsson from Iceland to Jerusalem,” in The Viking Age: A Reader (Second Edition), edited by Angus A. Somerville and R. Andrew McDonald (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2014), 416-21.
    2. Joyce Hill, “From Rome to Jerusalem: An Icelandic Itinerary of the Mid-Twelfth Century,” The Harvard Theological Review 76, No. 2 (1983): 175-203.
    3. Francis Peabody Magoun, “The Rome of Two Northern Pilgrims: Archbishop Sigeric of Canterbury and Abbot Nikolás of Munkathverá,” The Harvard Theological Review 33, No. 4 (Oct., 1940): 267-289. ^
  46. Hill, “Pilgrimage and Prestige,” 201. ^

Section Image Credits:

  1. Wikimedia Commons, St. Benedict delivering his Rule to St. Maurus and other monks of his order. France, Monastery of St. Gilles, Nimes, 1129.
  2. British Library, Pilgrims leaving Canterbury, from Lydgate’s Siege od Thebes, Royal 18 D II f.148, 1455-1462.
  3. Rojs Rozentāls, Old Town of Jerusalem (2018), via Flickr.

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