An Icelandic selfie uploaded to Facebook has turned out to be six centuries old and, unsurprisingly, thought to be the oldest selfie from the North Atlantic nation.
The Officialis of the bishop at Holar cathedral in the north of the country, Ari Thorbjarnarson, scribbled his image into a manuscript many moons ago. And now the Icelandic National Archives have published a photograph of his drawing and put it on their Facebook page, it has been referred to as Iceland’s oldest selfie.
The drawing, which can be found in bishop John Craxton’s archives (1425-1435), features the words “Her er Ari – Ave Maria” – meaning “Here is Ari – Ave Maria” – alongside it. Thorbjarnarson was the bishop’s judicial vicar and shared his power over the diocese. It is believed that he may have just doodled the image during a period of boredom, completely unaware of the significance it would have almost six centuries later.
Medieval History professor Sverrir Jakobsson, from the University of Iceland, said that little is known about Thorbjarnarson apart from that he appears regularly in the archives of Skinnabok, which features documents and letters from a number of bishops of Holar and are the oldest preserved archives in the country.
However, Jakobsson noted that there was a chance Porbjarnarson didn’t do the drawing himself, claiming that he was possibly an unpopular member of the church community and the figure was drawn by someone else as a way of making fun of him.