When Giants Roamed the North: Swedish Scholarship in the Age of the Antiquaries

Project: Dissertation

Project Details

Layman's description

The ancient model of antiquarian research resurrected and refashioned in the fifteenth century by Italian humanists such as Cyriac of Ancona, Flavio Biondo, and Angelo Poliziano comprised a spirit of progress, a sense of intellectual community, and a set of methodological principles whose influence over the course of following three centuries spread to the farthest reaches of the civilized world. Scholars from Lisbon to London combined the study of ancient texts with the investigation of coins, statues, ruins, monuments, and inscriptions in a bold attempt to reconstruct the cultural geography of the ancient world: a world whose boundaries, confined originally to those of classical Greece and Rome, were gradually extended during the early modern period to encompass the shadowy barbarian outposts of the Britons, Gauls, Batavians, and Sarmatians. Yet in few of the countries of Europe was the antiquarian model of scholarship embraced more fervently than in Sweden, where the state-funded Riksantikvarieämbetet and Collegium Antiquitatum converged with the pre-existing cult of the Goths in the project to secure a venerable historical and cultural pedigree for the fledgling Swedish empire. This dissertation will attempt to reassess the history of Swedish antiquarianism by placing it in the broader context of early modern European scholarship.
Effective start/end date2009/09/012013/12/31