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Category  10 -  Olaus Magnus - History of the Nordic Peoples (from 1555) - Illustrations with comments - Page 5

Illustrationer med förklaringar till Olaus Magnus "Historia om de nordiska folken" (utgiven år 1555)       


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Book 5, Ch. 14. On the Giant Efforts of Arngim and Orvar Odd.

The woodcut shows Orvar Odd to the left with a rudderstock as his only weapon. His fellow fighter Hjalmar lies unconscious on the ground. The other fighters are their enemy the, sons of Arngrim. The ships brought the combatants to the island of Samsö. The battle ended with Orvar Odd killing the twelve enemies.
1300 x 600 px.

Book 5, Ch. 16. On the Killing of the Bear and the Drinking of Its Blood.

The woodcut shows how the warrior Biarke has killed a bear with his remarkable long sword. He orders his servant Hialte to drink the blood of the bear. This would make Hialte stronger.
1250 x 600 px.

Book 5, Ch. 17.  On Regner, Called Ludenbyxa (Ragnar Lodbrok).

The Norwegian Ragnar Lodbrok has to defeat two serpents before he would marry the daughter of a king. We see him fighting the snakes protected with a skin helmet and a coat of sheepskin. One serpent spits out venom. This is killed by a sword. The other is killed by a lance. The royal family is following the combat from the windows behind.
1300 x 600 px.

Book 5, Ch. 18.  On Alf, the Defender of Chastity.

Alf, a suitor to the princess Alvilda kills two serpents who are guarding her chastity. To vex them he wears a bloody hide over his armour. One snake (a vipera) is killed with a red-hot piece of iron he holds with a pair of tongs. The other (a
n anguis) is killed with a sword. 1300 x 600 px. Note that the illustrations of ch. 17 and 18 are mixed up in Olaus Magnus History.
Book 5, Ch. 19. On the Tricks of Fridlef.

Fridlef and his men besieged the town of Dublin. To set the town in fire, he fastened burning mushrooms under the wings of swallows. The swallows returned to their nest in the town and set it ablaze. Also here a serpent is killed with a red-hot iron held by a pair of tongs.Book
5, Ch. 19. 1300 x 600 px.
Book 5, Ch. 21 On king Harald’s Fight against the Tame Dragon.

The Norwegian king Harald has together with a servant been thrown into a dungeon where they as a punishment would be killed by a dragon. But Olaus Magnus tells how the king cut the dragon in the navel with a razor knife and how the servant beats the dragon with a skull and a thighbone until it bleeds to death.
1300 x 600 px.
Book 5, Ch. 22 On Frode’s and Fridlef’s Fights with Serpents.

The woodcut shows how Frode (or Fridlef), coated in armour, kills a serpent which is guarding a treasure.
1300 x 600 px.
Book 5, Ch. 24 On Tug-of-War with Interlaced Osiers or Ropes

King Frode gives Erik and Vestmar the ring of rope with which they will fight tug-of-war with the life as risk.
1250 x 600 px.
Book 5, Ch. 25. On Single Combat.

The woodcut shows a combat between two fully armoured men. The one to the right has got a cut in his shoulder. His shield is broken. He has dropped it on the ground and holds his broad-sword with two hands. The situation looks better for the man to the left.
1300 x 600 px.
Book 5, Ch. 25. On Single Combat.

A similar combat scene, but not so well drawn as the earlier. These fighters have no heavy armour. 660 x 400 px

Book 5, Ch. 26 On Boxing Gloves and Gymnastic Competitions.

Two men are boxing. Their hands are wrapped up with leather straps.
1300 x 600 px.
Book 5, Ch. 27 On Viking Expeditions of Highborn Maids.

Two female warriors
, of royal family according to the crowns on their heads, are participating a sea battle. The ship to the right has a steering oar as common on viking ships. 1300 x 600 px.
Book 5, Ch. 28 On Martial Exercises of Women.

This chapter has nothing to do with Scandinavia. Olaus Magnus discuss amazons and other female warriors trough history. The woodcut shows two female riders with their hair hanging down and dressed in short skirts. One is armed with a rider’s axe, the other with a combat axe. 1300 x 600 px.
Book 5, Ch. 29 On similar Examples from Foreign Peoples.

This rather simple illustration shows a scene from a war. It is hard to see any connection to the subject Olaus Magnus writes about.
1041 x 400 px.
Book 5, Ch. 29 On similar Examples from Foreign Peoples.

This second woodcut from the same chapter shows a riding Amazon with bow and arrow and hanging hair.
400 x 550 px.
Book 5, Ch. 30 On Wars, Led by Famous Women.

We see three women in armour and with crowns on their heads. The left one is armed with bow and arrows; the next carries also a sword. The woman to the right holds an orb and a sword.
1300 x 600 px.
Book 5, Ch. 31 Continuation.

A scene with men and horses. No connection with Olaus Magnus’ story about brave women.
1020 x 400 px.
Book 5, Ch. 32. Continuation on the Martial Women and Especially on the Splendid Queen Amalasventa.

The woodcut shows a female warrior of high rank.
400 x560 px.
Book 6, Ch. 1. On Mines and How They are Found.
The artist shows a mountain with mine galleries and ore bodies. The four points of the compass are stated with North (SEP) at the top of the
picture. 1300 x 600 px.
Book 6, Ch. 4. On Separating Mines with Marks.
To the left in this woodcut a treadmill manned with three persons. On the shaft of the mill a rope is winded. In one end an ore barrel is mounted. A man is grabbing the barrel in order to unload it. Two miners hang on to the other end of the rope which will take them down into the mine.  The black rectangles to the right represent mines. The symbols at the tops of the mountains indicate different owners, royal or nobles.
1300 x 600 px.

Book 6, Ch 6. On Skills of Blacksmiths.<

Four water wheels are lying along a river. One powers a pair of bellows, the other three tilthammers. Three bridges are crossing the river. A blacksmith with a leather apron is standing to the left. A man at the forging furnace in the background is manually handling another pair of bellows, not powered by a water. 1300 x 600 px.

Book 6, Ch 7. On Different Procedures at the Casting of Metals.

To the left probably a blast furnace for iron ore. In the middle a furnace for extracting silver. To the right a melting furnace for copper provided with bellows. The melting metal flows into three moulds, marked with different owner symbols. In the foreground two barrels with osmund iron for sale.

1300 x 600 px.
Book 6, Ch 10. On Rock Trolls.

We see a mine where a miner is working to the left. His tools are a sledge and a wedge. In the middle ore is hoisted up to the ground level. To the right a rock troll is working with an iron bar. Over the mine a nice landscape with trees, houses, corn fields and a stream.
1300 x 600 px.
Book 6, Ch 11. On Ore Mountains that are Hit by the Lightning.

A cloudy sky emits flashes of lightning. Three ore bodies from a mine are marked with black triangles where the flashes hit. The building at the top and another to the right are set ablaze. The man to the left is also struck by lightning. His helmet has fallen off his head. 1300 x 600 px.
Book 6, Ch 12. On Coins and Coin Makers.

The woodcut shows a coin maker master and his assistant (probably a journeyman). They are both sitting at an anvil and preparing coins with hammers for the later final coinage. Finished coins are lying at the tables. They are marked with one crown, two crowns or three crowns (the coat of arms of Sweden), but also with a cross. To the right we see a container with money made of leather with silver nails. At the bottom corner to the right two square Danish coins, ”klippingar”. 1300 x 600 px.
Book 6, Ch 17. On Goldsmiths.

To the left a goldsmith showing a ring in his hand and further two on the table. In the middle a man who is considering to buy a gold ring to his daughter to the right. On the goldsmith’s table we also see a cup and some knifes, probably of gold or silver. In the cupboard to the left in the background we see more of the goldsmith’s smaller products. On the shelf to the right a cup, two jugs, a cup and a chalice are standing. The daughter and the father wear dresses of rich people, the daughter has a tiara on her head and wears a large necklace.
1300 x 600 px.
Book 6, Ch 20. On Furriers and Different Kinds of Furs.

Two men are sewing together pieces of skin at the table in a furriers workshop. Thread and a pair of scissors are lying at the table. Curried skins are hanging in the background. A man, dressed in expensive furs stands to the left of the table and is paying a sum of money. A man at the left side of the woodcut carries a bale of skins over his shoulder. Note also the dog at the bottom left corner. 1300 x 600 px.
Book 7, Ch 1. On Manufacturing of Crossbows and Arrows.

A crossbow maker sits and stirs in his glue pot. To the left two different devices for stretching the string of a crossbow. In the background a line of ten different kinds of arrows. 1300 x 600 px.
Book 7, Ch 3. On Different Kinds of Weapons.

In the row of weapons we a Nordic-Russian battle-axe to the extreme left, the 2nd and the 5th from the left are halberds, the 4th a bardisan, the 7th and the are 8th maces. The next three are daggers and the weapon to the extreme right is a sabre. 1340 x 600 px.
Book 7, Ch 4. On the Armed Mobilization of the People.

The man is riding with a rallying stick in his hand. This stick is burned in on of the ends and has a piece of rope in the other. This symbolizes what will happen to someone who do not forward it to others when war is threatening. He and his household will be hanged with ropes and his farm will be burnt down. When the rallying stick is carried around, all fit men shall mobilize in about one week, equipped with arms and food. 1300 x 600 px.

Olaus Magnus "Historia de Gentibus Septentrionalibus" (History of the Nordic Peoples), published in Rome 1555

Page 5 

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© 2007 Lars Henriksson

Updated: 2008-01-13