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Jón Irronsson (The Kalmar Union)

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Jón Irronsson
Timeline: The Kalmar Union
Born: May, 1403
Heligáeak, Álengiamark
Died: 3rd November, 1459
St. Hafdiss, Álengiamark
Profession: Cleric, Heretic

Jón Irronsson was a Álengsk cleric often called the first Leifian Protestant for his questioning of Catholic doctrine. He is most famous for producing a vernacular Bible in a time when only the Latin educated clergy were permitted to study and interpret the scripture. This led to his trial for heresy and his execution in 1459.

Jón was born in the Quirpi Sudervik to a baker in May 1403. Educated in the Abbey school of Heligáeak he would later became a deacon at the university of St. Hafdiss. Initially he was well-liked by the university and city authorities but after reading a Hussite tract he appeared to begin questioning the Catholic church. In 1443 Irronsson was charged with slandering the Pope though this came to naught. But he was rebuked for rejecting the practise of praying to saints, quoted with saying 'we may as well pray to Odin and Freyr'. By 1448 he had denounced the practise of Latin mass arguing that a man who could not understand the bible was as good as pagan and advocated a common language bible that could be understood 'by the peasant in the field equal to the bishop in his cathedral'. Due to his views he was dismissed from his university post but was employed by the Lord of Reyrvatnstadh, as much for his notoriety as for his learning. At this time Álengiamark was politically divided into 40 or so statelets with little central authority. The separate lords and things were generally free to indulge or evict whomever they chose. Irronsson began working on a vernacular bible soon after his arrival in Reyrvatnstadh, supposedly in secret, but several of his peers in the local seminary were likely aware of his work.
Jón Irronsson (The Kalmar Union)

The burning of Jón Irronsson in November 1459

The Irronsson bible was made public in January 1459 and he immediately began working on a fully Quiripi version. However he was expelled from Reyrvatnstadh for his beliefs. The Thing of neighbouring Margirhaedeyja refused him sanctuary and he soon fell into the hands of the Althing. Whereas Queen Thyri had been lasse faire in her old age the newly crowned Adalbjorg II was eager to boost her (or at least her family's) authority and ordered his trial. Insisting on religious uniformity and its own authority the Althing, augmented with the bishops and abbots from various ecclesiastical statelets, proclaimed him guilty of heresy. He was burnt at the stake in the city square of St. Hafdiss on 3rd November 1459. Many of his closest followers recanted though three were burnt in 1460. All the painstakingly copied bibles were ordered to be destroyed, though one copy remained and was smuggled northward into Vinland where the religious situation was less overbearing.

Legacy

Subsequent editions of his bible, translated into Vinlandic vernacular, circulated widely in Leifa either openly or more commonly covertly, especially after the printing press arrived on Leifian shores in 1522, spurring the switch to Lutheranism in the Northern states.

Irronsson's bible helped codify Álengsk as a language separate from Vinlandic, indeed he helped forge many new words which were absent from Old Vinlandic often using poetic Quiripi or Mohegan words to fill the gaps. He also altered the written grammar of Vinlandic considerably, for example appending Quiripi tense endings to Norse words. This mirrored society in a way as more and more Quiripi and Mohegan speaking peasants were moving to the Norse dominated cities, drastically changing the spoken language of Álengiamark. His peer Haldór Jónsson, secretly used the bible as a basis for his Álengsk-Latin dictionary beginning a process later built upon by the playwrights and poets of Kristjanaborg and St. Hafdis during the 17th century.

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