Olaus Magnus. Historia de gentibvs septentrionalibvs. Antwerp, 1558.

Olaus Magnus. Historia de gentibvs septentrionalibvs. Antwerp, 1558.

People of southern Europe had always suspected the existence of monsters and strange practices in the far north. And to their delight, their suspicions were confirmed by this book, the first major work on the peoples, geography, economy, and fauna of northern Europe. Its author, Olaus Magnus (1490-1557), was a Swedish ecclesiastic resident in Rome. He intended Historia de gentibvs as an explication of his great map of the lands of the north published in 1539. Woodcuts in the book show northern peoples, including Lapps and Finns, engaged in their daily occupations. In its use of mythology it shows the anxiety with which Western Europeans viewed the far north.

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