Erik the Red sets sail for Greenland in 982-983.
Erik the Red was probably so named for his red hair and beard. He was born sometime in the mid-900’s and lived a tumultuous life.
His father, Thorvald Asvaldsson (Þórvaldr Ásvaldsson), was exiled from Norway c. 960, during the reign of King Harald Fairhair, for the crime of manslaughter. He left with his son Erik to northwest Iceland, where he died.
Erik was later exiled by the Icelanders for three years because of some murders he committed around the year 982.
He married a lady named Thjodhild (Þjóðhildr) and he sired three sons and a daughter by her; explorer Leif Eiríksson, Thorvald Eiriksson (Þorvaldr), Thorstein Eiriksson (Þorsteinn) and Freydís Eiríksdóttir.
During his exile Erik took his family and sailed to an island where they lived and explored. When his exile was over he and his family sailed back to Iceland where he told the people stories about a grønn land (green land).
Many of the Icelanders were excited to see “Greenland” so the next year (985), Erik with 14 ships arrived with about 350 colonists, plus livestock and gear. They settled on the eastern shore. Erik established his family at an estate he called Brattahlid (Brattahlíð).
As the Roman Church spread it’s “desert religion” through the cold lands of the North many Heathen followed the strange cult. Many were forced to convert to the new religion through painful coercion (torture). If they would not they were executed.
Erik’s son and daughter-in-law Leif and his wife, were happy to forsake the Gods of their people and were “baptized” in Norway by none other than the law-breaker King/Saint Olaf Tryggvason.
When Leif and his wife returned to Greenland they became evangelizers and converted many there, including Thjodhild, Erik’s wife. She so heartily embraced the White Christ religion she even commissioned Greenland’s first church at Brattahlid.
Erik remained loyal to the Gods and Goddesses of his ancestors even after Thjodhild estranged herself from him and withheld sexual intercourse.
When we remember Erik the Red we remember his steadfastness, resolve, loyalty and love for the Nordic Pantheon, the Æsir and Vanir. Raise a glass in toast to Erik the Red – thank him for remaining true. I resolve in my own life to remain true to what I believe in.
A fine article is found here.