Þingvellir And The Drowning Pool

We all know that Iceland's original 'government' and meeting place ("Parliament" if you will) is "one of" the oldest in the world.
The Alþingi; Icelandic for 'general meeting'), anglicised as Althingi or Althing, is the supreme national parliament of Iceland. It is one of the oldest surviving parliaments in the world. The Althing was founded in 930 at Þingvellir ('thing fields' or 'assembly fields') ...
So here I was, alongside 1 or 2 other tourists, wandering around the top of a cliff that looked out across Thingvellir National Park as the last of my Golden Circle Tour stops.

You know, it's only now looking back at the photos, that I get the sense of history of the place. I wish I had spent a little more time imagining how it would have felt 1,500 years ago being present at the very place my feet were standing.

The visitor centre was quickly ignored, maybe I popped in for a wee. Our your guide gave a useful brief overview of the area and then we were left to wander around around, down to the bottom of the cliff, along the path ending up at the lower carpark.

So, first thing to note, this is Almannagjá, a rift valley between the North American tectonic plate and, about 5km to the east, the Hrafnagjá plate boundary. People go diving in the deep pools to say they've swum between continents.

So ya wander down through and besides the imposing cliff that is an actual tectonic plate.

Next up is the place called Lögberg ("Law Rock"). No-one is absolutely sure where it is but I'm happy to go with whatever they say.

So, for two weeks every summer from the year 930 a dude (always a dude, titled the Law Speaker) stands on the rock as the annual Alþingi kicks off.
The Law Speaker, who proclaimed the laws of the Commonwealth out loud, had a special place there. He memorised the laws and had 3 years to recite all of them, but each summer he had to recite the procedural rules.

The Law Speaker was chosen by the Lögrétta, the Legislative Assembly, for a three-year term and was the only paid employee of the Commonwealth. At the Alþing, the Law Speaker was the most powerful person in the country, but in-between, he was officially powerless, although he enjoyed the esteem of his contemporaries because of his important role.
Any disputes, queries about the law etc are dispensed by this fella to those present discussing the latest news, decisions to be made, the years upcoming events etc.

A very short walk to Drekkingarhylur (the "Drowning Pool"), the subject of the photo.

This was an execution site in which women were drowned, yup women only, the men were beheaded, hung, or burned.
During the years 872 to 1262, there were no death sentences carried out. As the German influence grew through reformation, Stóridómur came into being in 1565.

A blue/white half frozen flowing pool at the base of a cliff (actually a tectonic plate) called Drekkingarhylur (the "Drowning Pool"). The rocks and cliff are dark sandstone in the weak afternoon autumn sun.

There is a sign listing the names of women executed, here they are.
Seventy-two people are known with certainty to have been executed at Þingvellir from 1602 to 1750: 30 males were be- headed, 15 hanged, and nine burned at the stake. Eighteen women were drowned here in Drekkingarhylur.

1618 - Þórdís Halldórsdóttir úr Skagafirði

1618 - Guðbjörg Jónsdóttir að austan

1647 - Björg Jónsdóttir úr Húnaþingi

1650 - Sigríður Einarsdóttir

1678 - Margrét Símonardóttir úr Árnessýslu

1684 - Helga Gunnarsdóttir úr Strandasýslu

1684 - Guðrún Jónsdóttir úr Gullbringusýslu

1687 - Borgný Brynjólfsdóttir úr Ísafjarðarsýslu

1695 - Þuríður Bjarnadóttir úr Ísafjarðarsýslu

1697 - Jóreiður Þorgeirsdóttir úr Árnessýslu

1703 - Katrín Þorvarðsdóttir af Akranesi

1705 - Kolfinna Ásbjörnsdóttir úr Kjósarsýslu

1705 - Ólöf Jónsdóttir úr Snæfellssýslu

1705 - Ragnhildur Tómasdóttir úr Strandasýslu

1708 - Hallfríður Magnúsdóttir úr Múlaþingi

1709 - Helga Magnúsdóttir úr Skaftafellsþingi

1738- Kona úr Ísafjarðarsýslu

1749 - Guðríður Vigfúsdóttir úr Snæfellssýslu
I totally believe that no-one truly dies until their name is spoken for the final time. Pick one woman's name and say it out loud to remember her, and yeah they might've been a nasty bastard but no-one deserves to be drowned.

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