Ohthere of Hålogaland
Ohthere of Hålogaland (Norwegian: Ottar fra Hålogaland) was a Viking adventurer from Hålogaland. Around 890 AD he travelled to England, where Alfred the Great, king of Wessex, had his tales written down.
Ohthere reported that he lived "north-most of all the Northmen", and that "no-one [lived] to the north of him". He spoke of his travels north to the White Sea, and south to Denmark and England, describing his route. He also spoke of Sweoland (central Sweden), the Sami people (Finnas), and of two peoples called the "Cwenas" living in Cwena land and the "Beormas". Ohthere reported that the Beormas spoke a language related to that of the Sami people, and lived in an area of the White Sea region. This is marked on the accompanying map as "Bjarmland", and has been seen by some as a reference to people of the Old Permic culture.
Ohthere's story is the earliest known written source for the terms "Norway" (Norðweg) and "Denmark" (Denamearc). Ohthere's home may have been in the vicinity of Malangen fjord in southern Troms county, northern Norway.
In modern culture
Ohthere's audience with King Alfred is dramatised in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem 'The Discoverer of the North Cape: A Leaf from King Alfred's Orosius', and Ohthere and his journey appear in the 1957 novel The Lost Dragon of Wessex by Gwendolyn Bowers.
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- Ekblom, R. (1930), "Ohthere's voyage from Skiringssal to Hedeby", Studia Neophilologica 12 (2), doi:10.1080/00393273908586845
- Helle, Knut (1991). Grunntrekk i norsk historie. Universitetsforlaget Oslo. pp. 19–21.
- Malone, K. (1933), "On King Alfred's geographical treatise", Speculum 8 (1), ISSN 0038-7134
- Masdalen, Kjell-Olav, 'Uden Tvivl - med fuldkommen Ret. Hvor lå Sciringes heal?'
- Onions, C.T. (ed.), Sweet's Anglo-Saxon Reader in Prose and Verse (14th edition), Clarendon, 1959. An excerpt from Alfred's account of Ohthere's travels.
- Thorpe, B., The Life of Alfred The Great Translated From The German of Dr. R. Pauli To Which Is Appended Alfred's Anglo-Saxon Version of Orosius, Bell, 1900, pp. 249–53. Parallel editions of King Alfred's full Old English text and a modern translation.
- Ohthere's First Voyage. University of Victoria. Retrieved on May 18, 2008. Excerpt only of original text; English translation.
- Old English Online: Lesson 4. University of Texas. Retrieved on May 18, 2008. Excerpt only of original text; detailed grammatical analysis, English translation.