It was first published in Hamburg in 1609 but that was not the first time that its author had taken up his pen to record his homeland’s history and challenge the writings of others.
In 1593 he had published Brevis commentarius de Islandia, in which he criticised the works of numerous authors. A principal target was Gories Peerse, a merchant who had written an entertaining but somewhat slanderous poem about the island’s geography and ethnography, but Arngrimur was not shy of attacking such well-known and substantial works as Münster’s Cosmographie.
Five years later Hakluyt included the Brevis commentarius… in his great work, the Principal Navigations…, but Crymogaea… was Arngrimur’s most influential book, and the one that inspired Danish and Icelandic historians of subsequent generations. In contemporary sheep and showing a number of early notes and marginalia, but lacking a folding letterpress table and the final 4pp of errata found in some copies, an example offered by Dominic Winter (19.5% buyer’s premium) on March 1 sold at £1150.
However, the Wiltshire saleroom could trace only one other copy at auction in the last 50 years: the complete example in a defective 18th century calf binding that sold for £3200 at Sotheby’s in 2008, in the 12th and last sale of books from the great Macclesfield Library.