Accounts of Northern Lights in Scandinavia — From the Viking Era to the Renaissance

  • Asgeir Brekke
  • Alv Egeland


The oldest written records by Norwegians concerning the northern light go back to around 1000 A.D. In order to delve further back into the history of this subject, one needs to study the literature and art from the Mediterranean area and from China. Since the northern light mainly occurs in the Polar regions, the ancient philosophers living in areas around the Mediterranean and in China had very little chance to see even one or at best a very few northern lights during their lifetime because of their geographic locations. It is not possible to determine accurately when the first northern light, as seen by man, along with his impression of it, was recorded in some manner for posterity. Some people think, and perhaps for good reasons, that a great deal of the very ancient engravings which have been found in several grottos along the Mediterranean Sea are in fact pictorial representations of the northern light.


Maunder Minimum Ancient Philosopher Greek Scholar Light Phenomenon Northern Light 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Asgeir Brekke
    • 1
  • Alv Egeland
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Mathematical and Physical SciencesUniversity of TromsøTromsøNorway
  2. 2.Institute of PhysicsUniversity of OsloBlindern, Oslo 3Norway

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