A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 01 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 647 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels Volume 01.

Having demonstrated the insufficiency of these conjectures, we shall now endeavour to point out where Sciringes-heal was really situated.  Paul Warenfried, in his Historia Longobardorum, Lib. i, cap. 7. and 10. makes mention of a district, named Scorunga, in which the Winili, or Lombards resided, for some time before they removed to Mairinga and from thence, farther on to Gotland, Anthabet, Bethaib, and Purgendaid.  This Scorunga was not far from Gotland, and consequently in Sweden; and seems to have been the district in which Sciringes-heal was situated.  Add to this, that Ohthere, after having described Sueoland, or Sweden, as being to the southwards of his habitation, immediately says, “there is a port in this southern land which is called Sciringes-heal.”  By this, he seems plainly to indicate, that this place certainly was in Sweden; and all this will appear, still more evidently, if we carefully follow the course of the voyage which he describes.  First of all, he has Scotland, called Iraland, evidently by mistake, and the Orkney and Shetland islands, which lie between Scotland and Halgoland, on his right hand; and the continent is continually on his left hand, all the way, until he arrive at Sciringes-heal.  But farther, a large bay stretches to the northward, deep into the country, along the coast of which he had been continually sailing; and this bay commences quite to the southward of Sciringes-heal, and is so broad that a man cannot see across, and Gotland is directly opposite to this bay[2].  But the sea, which extended from Zeeland to this spot, goes many hundred miles up into the country to the eastwards.

From Sciringes-heal, Ohthere could sail in five days to Haethum, which lies between the Wends Saxons and Angles.  Now, by this voyage, we are enabled to determine, with still greater exactness, the situation of this place which we are searching for.  In order to get to Haethum, he left Gotland on the right[3], and soon afterwards Zeeland likewise, together with the other islands which had been the habitation of the Angles before they went to England, while those which belonged to Denmark were on his left for two days.  Sciringes-heal, therefore, is consequently in Sweden, at the entrance of the Gulf of Bothnia, which runs up into the land northwards, just on that spot where the Baltic, after having passed Zeeland, spreads into a wide gulf, extending several hundred miles into the land.  Just in this place I find the Svia-Sciaeren, or Swedish Scares, a cluster of little islands, surrounded by rocks.  Heal, in the northern languages, signifies a port, as in such places a ship might be kept in safety.  Sciringes-heal, therefore, was “the harbour of the Scares,” and was probably at the entrance of the gulf of Bothnia, and consequently where Stockholm now is; and the tract of land where these Scares lay, towards the sea, was the Scarunga of Paul Warenfried.

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