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Ohthere and Wulfstan at the Court of King Alfred

 

Ohthere and Wulfstan at the Court of King Alfred

Ohthere and Wulfstan were two traders who had sailed around areas of the Scandinavian Peninsula. Their travels were recorded at the court of King Alfred c. 890 AD.

The prose pieces generally known as "The Voyages of Ohthere and Wulfstan" are interpolations in the Old English translation of Orosius' "Historiarum Adversum Paganos Libri-Septum".

Othere, as he tells us, lived "furthest north of all the Norwegians," probably somewhere around Tromsø in northern Norway. From there, he sailed south, down the length of Norway to Kaupang (directly north of Denmark), and north, around the North Cape and into the White Sea. Wulfstan sailed along the northern European coast from Hedeby to Truso, in Poland.

In addition to adding the accounts of Othere and Wulfstan, the ninth-century translator of Orosius also added a description of northern Europe to the opening passages of Orosius' Histories. This description, along with the stories of Othere and Wulfstan, is included here.

 Next page: The Description of Northern Europe in Orosius