Nansen’s second major work, this book covers only the earliest period of Northern exploration and could well be titled “In Northern Myths.” He is certainly among the earliest and most scholarly, literary, and research-oriented writers of exploration history, the work verges little upon the subject of our inquiry.
p. 46, footnote 3: Both “gnomon” and “polus” are mentioned as early as Herodotus; and Athenæus [v. 42] describes the polus in the library on board the ship “Heiro” which was built by Archimedes.
p. 248, on Viking voyages: We find accounts of these voyages of discovery in the old writings and sagas, a large part of which was put into writing in Iceland. A somber undercurrent runs through these narratives of voyages in unknown seas; even though they might be partly legendary, they nevertheless bear witness in their terseness to the silent struggle of hardy men with ice, storms, cold and want, in the light summer and long, dark winter of the North.
p. 126-27, in a letter of March 3, 1551, from Carsten Grip of Kiel to King Christiern III: Grip was, as we are told in the letter, the king’s commissioner for the purchase of books, paintings, and the like. He tells the king that he has not found any valuable books or suitable pictures, but sends him two maps of the world, “from which your majesty may see that your majesty’s land of Greenland extends on both maps towards the new world and the islands which the Portuguese and Spaniards have discovered, so that these countries may be reached overland from Greenland.”
p. 194, as interesting section on the “Arab Geographers of the Middle Ages” and their views of the North.