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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.

It is true that we find no such name as Zicumni among the princes of the Orkneys.  The race of the ancient earls of Orkney, descendants of Jarl Einar-Torf, becoming extinct, Magnus Smak, king of Norway, nominated, about 1343, Erngisel Sunason Bot, a Swedish nobleman, to be Jarl or Earl of Orkney.  In 1357 Malic Conda, or Mallis Sperre, claimed the earldom.  Afterwards, in 1369, Henry Sinclair put in his claim, and was nominated earl in 1370, by King Hakon.  In 1375, Hakon nominated Alexander Le-Ard to be earl for a year.  But Sinclair vanquished Le-Ard, and by a large sum procured the investiture from Hakon in 1379, and we know from history, that he remained earl in 1406, and was likewise possessed of Shetland.  The name Sinclair, or Siclair, might easily to an Italian ear seem Zichmni; and as Sinclair vanquished Le-Ard, who represented the king of Norway, it was no great impropriety to say that he had beaten the king of Norway.  After these elucidations, there can be no reason left to doubt of the truth of this narrative of the Zenos which besides, as considered with relation to the geography of the north at that period, is of great importance —­Forst.

[1] Ramusio.  Forst.  Voy. and Disc, p. 158.

[2] This is a most unlucky blunders as Icaria and Estoitland are obviously
    one and the same place in the narrative of Marcclini, and therefore,
    both must be America, or both Ireland, or both in nubibus.—­E.

SECTION I

Narrative of Nicolo Zeno.

Nicolo Zeno, surnamed il Cavaliere, or the knight, had a strong desire to see distant countries, that he might become acquainted with the manners and languages of foreign nations, by which he might acquire credit and reputation, and might render himself the more useful to his country.  Being a man of great property, he fitted out a ship with this view, at his own expence, in 1380, and sailed through the Straits of Gibraltar to the northwards, intending to visit England and Flanders.  By a storm, which lasted many days, his ship was cast away on the coast of Frislanda[1].

The vessel was entirely lost, but the crew got safe on shore, and part of the cargo was saved.  Zeno and his people were soon attacked by the natives, attracted by the hopes of a rich plunder, against whom they were hardly able, in their weary and weather-beaten state, to defend themselves; but, fortunately for them, Zichmni, or Sinclair, the reigning prince or lord of Porlanda[2], who happened to be then in Frislanda, and heard of their shipwreck, came in all haste to their relief, of which they stood in great need.  After discoursing with them for some time in Latin, he took them under his protection; and finding Nicolo Zeno very expert, both in naval and military affairs, he gave him, after some time, the post of admiral of his fleet, which Nicolo for some time refused, but at length accepted.

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