Truth in Renaissance Historiography: The Case of Johannes Magnus

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingPaper in conference proceeding


The 19th century rise of history as an academic discipline set new standards for acceptable methods of writing history. This greatly influenced the opinions historians held of older historical works, such as the Historia de omnibus Gothorum Sueonumque regibus (History of all the Kings of the Goths and the Swedes) by the Swedish archbishop Johannes Magnus (1488-1544). The work has been criticised for the absence of a proper critical approach to sources and for its lack of truthfulness. Johannes Magnus’ work is still regarded with a degree of suspicion in this respect.
Paradoxically, the very definition of the word historian in the Renaissance was an author who dealt with true things, and Johannes Magnus himself writes that his work was characterized by truth. This statement indicates that his notion of historical truth (as well as that of his contemporaries) was different from that of later historians. This article proposes a way of approaching Johannes Magnus’ notion of historical truth by comparing his version of an event with that of his source and discussing the differences.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Specific Literatures
  • History


  • Historia de omnibus Gothorum Sueonumque regibus, Renaissance, historiography, truth, Johannes Magnus, Jordanes
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Classical Tradition in the Baltic Region
Subtitle of host publicationPerceptions and Adaptations of Greece and Rome
EditorsArne Jönsson, Gregor Vogt-Spira
PublisherGeorg Olms Verlag AG
ISBN (Print)978-3-487-15583-8
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Publication categoryResearch
EventColloquium Balticum XI Lundense - Lund University, Lund, Sweden
Duration: 2012 Nov 82012 Nov 10

Publication series

PublisherOlms Verlag


ConferenceColloquium Balticum XI Lundense
Internet address

Related activities

Nilsson, A. (Organiser)
2012 Nov 82012 Nov 11

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

Nilsson, A. (Role not specified)
2012 Nov 82012 Nov 10

Activity: Talk or presentationPresentation

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