Olaus Magnus, A Description of the Northern Peoples, 1555: Volume II, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Olaus Magnus, A Description of the Northern Peoples, 1555

Volume II, 1st Edition

Edited by P.G. Foote

Hakluyt Society

374 pages

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Hardback: 9780904180435
pub: 1999-01-31
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Description

The Swedish scholar and prelate, Olaus Magnus (1490-1557), last Catholic archbishop of Uppsala, lived the latter half of his life in exile. His devotion to his country and his people never faltered, nor his determination to give them a glorious place on the European cultural map by his writings. On his justly famous Carta Marina, published in Venice in 1539, he promised a fuller account of the North and its marvels. This he accomplished in January 1555 when he issued from his own press in Rome his magnificent Historia de gentibus septenrionalibus. This quarto volume of 815 pages, divided into 22 books and a total of 778 chapters, was lavishly illustrated with some 480 woodcuts, most of them closely relevant to the technical matters discussed by the author. The book was an immediate success, and half a dozen editions appeared in the century after Olaus’s death. It became even better known in an epitome published in Antwerp in 1558, which was also frequently reprinted and translated. This appeared in English in 1658, but it is only with the present version, complete with illustrations, that the whole work is made available to the English-reading world. It is indeed only the second full translation to appear in modern times, preceded a Swedish version published in four parts between 1909 and 1925. There is little history in the sense of chronological narrative in Olaus Magnus’s Historia. It is rightly regarded as an ethnographic essay on an encyclopaedic scale, touching on a vast variety of topics, snowflakes and sea-serpents, elks and artillery, sables and saltpetre, watermills and werewolves. Much of it was culled from ancient authorities- it was a matter of patriotic pride to identify the Swedes as the only legitimate descendants of the Goths- but much of it was derived from the author’s personal observations, especially those made on his early travels in North Sweden. His pioneering and sympathetic account of the Lapps and their way of life has attracted p

Table of Contents

Contents: Editor's preface; Introduction; Bibliography; Text: Books 1-5 (with notes).

About the Series

Hakluyt Society, Second Series

Routledge is pleased to be the publisher for the Hakluyt Society.

The Hakluyt Society has for its object the advancement of knowledge and education, particularly in relation to the understanding of world history. The society publishes scholarly editions of primary sources on the 'Voyages and Travels' undertaken by individuals from many parts of the globe. These address the geography, ethnology and natural history of the regions visited, covering all continents and every period over the last two thousand years. Such texts, many previously available only in manuscript or in unedited publications in languages other than English, are the essential records of the stages of inter-continental and inter-cultural encounter.

Established in 1846, the Society has to date published over 350 volumes. All editions are in English. Although a substantial number of the Society's past editions relate to British ventures, with documentary sources in English, the majority concern non-British enterprises and are based on texts in languages other than English. Material originally written in Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French or Dutch has regularly appeared, material in Russian, Greek, Latin, Ethiopic, Chinese, Persian or Arabic occasionally.

All editions contain an introduction and scholarly annotation, giving both the general reader and the student a degree of assistance in understanding the material and providing guidance on the relevance of the episodes described, within the context of global development and world history. Volumes are often generously furnished with maps and contemporary illustrations.

Information about the Society may be obtained from the Administrative Assistant at the following address:

Hakluyt Society, c/o Map Library, The British Library, 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DG, UK

Email: office@hakluyt.com

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HIS000000
HISTORY / General