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Category  10 -  Olaus Magnus - History of the Nordic Peoples (from 1555) - Illustrations with comments - Page 1

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


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Book 1, Chapter. 1. On Bjarmaland (the Land in highest North), its Location and Constitution.
The star at the top of this woodcut is the Pole Star, a star permanently in position over the North Pole. The sun at the bottom left shows that daylight in the polar areas begins before the sun rises. The sun to the right shows the fact that the sun never reaches zenith. 1300 x 600 px.

Book 1, Ch. 2. On Finnmark and its Inhabitants.
The picture is divided in a light part (with the sun) and a dark part (with the moon). This illustrates that the year in the far North consist of one day and one night only. The latin word “LUX” means “light”, the word “TENEBRA” means “darkness. 1300 x 600 px.
Book 1, Ch. 3. On Seven Foreign Brothers.
The woodcut illustrates the legend of the seven brothers  sleeping in a cave at foot of high mountain at the shore of the ocean. The place is located in the high north where the cold and unpleasant wind “Circius” reigns. The men are dressed like the people in the old Rome and have been sleeping for many years. 1300 x 600 px.
Book 1, Ch. 4. On the Country of the Skrickfinns (Skifinns).
The picture shows a hunter with skis, otherwise there are no signs of winter. The trees are green, fishes are drying in the air. The man is hunting a capercaillie and a hind. 1300 x 600 px.
Book 1, Ch. 5. More on the Location and Nature of the Land.

The picture shows three hunters with skis. You can see a sporting dog in the foreground and fleeing reindeers in the background. 1300 x 600 px.
Large size - high resolution
Book 1, Ch. 6. On the Names of the Winds and Their Effects.
We see a ship surrounded by winds from all directions.
1300 x 600 px.
 Book 1, Ch. 7. On the Necessity to Study the Winds.
The woodcut shows a naval ship with a man aft studying the weather. In front of him is a compass (incorrectly) divided into thirteen points.
1300 x 600 px.
 Book 1, Ch. 8. On Predictions of the Character of the Winds.
Winds are according to Olaus Magnus created when cold vapours (left) mix with hot vapours (right). 
1300 x 600 px.
 Book 1, Ch. 9. On the Necessity of the Knowledge of Winds.
The picture at top show the effects of the cold and dry winds Circius (from NNW) and Aquilo (from NNE). The picture at the bottom show Occidens (from the west) is cold and humid, Auster (from the south) is warm and humid. Oriens (from the east) brings in this case snow. 1400 x 2000 px.
 Book 1, Ch. 10. On the Violent Wind Circius.
On this woodcut you see a rider with sword who tries to escape from the strong gale blowing from the west.
1300 x 600 px.

Book 1, Ch. 11. On the Fury of Cyclones and Hurricanes.

A tornado is blowing from right to left on the picture. A tree is pulled up from the ground. The church to the right loses its spire and the house nearby loses its roof.
1300 x 600 px.
Book 1, Ch. 12.  On different Effects of Thunderstorms and Lightnings.

This woodcut shows the lightning strike a tree. A farmer tries to protect his cattle from the lightning by blowing in a horn. The cattle are attacked by insects. 1300 x 600 px.
Book 1, Ch. 13. On Strange Effects by Stroke of Lightning.

The woodcut shows the dangers of the lightning. The church in the middle is ablaze. The cattle and the trees have been stricken by the lightning. A man in a boat with two animals tries to escape. The boat is of the type used on streaming rivers in the north of Sweden.
1300 x 600 px.
Book 1, Ch. 14. On Rings that are Seen on the Sky in Wintertime and Their Effects.

The woodcut shows a parhelion phenomena on the sky. The four cardinal points are indicated: ME = south, OR = east, S = north and OC = west. A ship is wrecked in a terrible storm. Two surviving members of the crew are seen among the waves.
1300 x 600 px.
Book 1, Ch. 15. On Suddenly Appearing Rings and about the Effects of Comets.

Also this woodcut shows parheliona in the sky. To the left a comet from the sky that kills some cattle. Olaus Magnus has probably the famous periheliona in Stockholm 1534 in mind. This phenomena is documented on the  painting “Vädersolstavlan”.
1300 x 600 px.
Book 1, Ch. 16. On Rings that in Springtime Show on the Firmament.

The picture also shows halo phenomena. Sol = sun in Swedish.
1300 x 600 px.
Book 1, Ch. 17. On the Reflections of the Sun.

Another illustration that shows halo phenomena around the sun.
1300 x 600 px.
Book 1, Ch. 18. On Lunar Halos and More About the Reflections of the Sun.

The artist depicts three lunar halos in this woodcut.
1300 x 600 px.
Book 1, Ch. 19. On the Severe Cold.

woodcut illustrates the hard cold at the sunset. It is “fuming” from the open water. The men are dressed in coats, hats and boots of fur.
1300 x 600 px.
Book 1, Ch. 20. On Hoarfrost and Snowfall.

A scene from the north. To the left a Laplander’s sledge (ackja) pulled by a reindeer. To the right people travelling by horse and sleigh. It is snowing so much that the visibility is poor.
1300 x 600 px.

Book 1, Ch. 21. On the Varying Shapes of Ice.

To the left a river tumbling down from a mountain. At the top of the river there are ice floes. There are faces in the river, unknown why. In the middle stands a church with a firehouse in the front. To the right there is a house with long icicles. 
1300 x 600 px.
Book 1, Ch. 22. On the Varying Shapes of Snow.

The two squares at left top are windows with covered with ice. At left bottom a snowfall. To the right we see snow chrystals.
1350 x 600 px
Book 1, Ch. 23. On the Youth’s Snow Castles.

On this woodcut Olaus Magnus shows a Snow Castle with defenders to the left. It is attacked by other boys who tries to intrude trough tunnels and who are bombarding them with snowballs. Behind a snow-wall in the middle of the picture, some faces are seen. It is boys which brings forward “battering rams” under protection of storming screen.
1300 x 600 px.
Book 1, Ch. 24. On Horse Races on the Ice.

The woodcut shows a race with horse towards a goal consisting of a flag with two crossed arrows. The horses are galloping. The horses seem to be equipped with crampons at their feet. The horses have no saddles.
1300 x 600 px.
Book 1, Ch. 26. On Lodgings on the Ice for Travellers.

The way on the ice is strangely only marked with one single tree. The house to the right seems to been built of stone directly on the ice, perhaps not very realistic. The inns are marked with wreaths on poles. The artist shows a rider and a horse and sleigh. There is a hole in the ice in the nearest left corner.
1300 x 600 px.

Book 1, Ch. 27. On Rides on the Ice with Open Channels.

A man transports four barrels in a sledge pulled by a horse. They travel on a ice floe. There is large parts of open water on the illustration.
1300 x 600 px



Book 1, Ch. 28. On Ice Equipment.

Up in left corner there are some primitive skates. Nearby a pair of felt shoes. Under the shoes are drawn different types of ice axes. Still lower there are ice shoes with crampons. In the middle of the woodcut there are horseshoes used on the ice. The things to the right were fishing gear.
1300 x 600 px.

Book 1, Ch. 29. On Bauta Stones and Rune Stones of the Geats.
The woodcut shows a part of the Province of Västergötland. To the left the waterfalls of Trollhättan. Lake Vänern is diminished. We see the river mouths of the Provinces  Dalsland and Värmland in the north. Left of these Frändefors. At extreme right the castle of Aranäs and SW the town of Lidköping. South of this Skara with the towers of its cathedral. On the cape in the middle rises Kinnekulle. At bottom the monuments which Olaus Magnus tells about in this chapter.
1300 x 600 px.
Book 1, Ch. 30. On Gravestones.

The woodcut shows ancient gravestones from Sweden.
1300 x 600 px.


Book 1, Ch. 31. On Memorial Stones of Two Brothers.

This picture illustrates the old tale of two Swedish brothers which got the prediction when they were young that they would kill each other. To avoid this, they separated and both moved other countries far away. But when they were old men they returned to Sweden. Near the town of Jönköping they met without recognizing each other. Their dogs began to fight and the men began to quarrel because of this. It ended with a fight in which both died.
1300 x 600 px.

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

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© 2007 Lars Henriksson

Updated: 2008-01-12