PWP 1a: Vision for CLARIN: An example where CLARIN might have been useful

A Swedish historian Mats G. Larsson published in 1990 a book Ett ödesdigert vikingatåg (A Tragic Viking Expedition). The book is a report of research which changes our view on an Icelandic saga telling about the ill-fortuned adventures of a Swedish viking, Ingvar and his expedition to east. Earlier the saga was considered more or less result of imagination rather than reporting concrete historical events.

In short, Larsson combines the information from the old Icelandic saga of Ingvar who travelled far with evidence from other historical documents e.g. from Byzans, all rune inscriptions found in Sweden and elsewhere, Nestor's chronicle from Kiev Russia, and archeological evidence. The evidence combines into a more concrete story about the expedition and its probable route through Ladoga to Kiev and to the Black sea by pointing the coherent passages which corroborate the reconstructed course of events. As a decisive element, he discovers that the original Georgian annales from those ages were actually translated into French and published in 1849 (Boissert M., Histoire de la Géorgie, St. Petersburg). These annals explicitly mention the arrival of the vikings in Georgia in summer of 1040 and their stay and leaving eastward.

Altogether, this book opens a view, how further insight to the European past can be gained: by combining very different sources which happen to be in different languages (Old Scandinavian, Old Icelandic, Church Slavonic, Greek, Georgian, etc.). Part of the sources were books, others archeological artefacts. The saga of Ingvar had been treated in a host of studies but the critical evidence of the Georgian annals had gone unnoticed by earlier scholars - and no wonder. For a future scholar, such studies might be significantly easier, faster and more successful, if CLARIN one day could encompass the written (and spoken) heritage of Europe. Equipped with multilingual search facilities and other tools, locating and comparing the relevant documents would be much easier.

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-- KimmoKoskenniemi - 18 Jan 2007
Topic revision: r13 - 2009-05-01 - KimmoKoskenniemi
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