Sunday, October 28, 2007

My Library #1: Rudbeck's Atlantica (1679)

One afternoon in the late nineties, I took a break from reading Olof Rudbeck’s letters at Lund University in southern Sweden, and went for a walk. Passing the cathedral and several cafes where I had spent many afternoons practicing my Swedish with patient friends, I entered an antiquarian bookstore. I browsed a bit, and then struck up a conversation with the man behind the counter. “Do you have anything on Olof Rudbeck?” I asked, hoping for something, or anything that I had not already read. “No, I don’t think so,” he said, looking down and shaking his head. But just to make sure, he went to the back to take a look. A few moments later, he returned with a first edition of Olof Rudbeck’s Atlantica.

Above (right) is the title page to the Atlantica (Swedish Atland eller Manheim). Rudbeck wrote the text in Swedish and his colleague, the classicist and professor of eloquence Anders Norcopensis translated it into Latin. The page (left) discusses a few of Rudbeck’s 102 “proofs” why Atlantis must have been in Sweden. Later volumes would offer additional support for his theory. For more on the Atlantica, see post "My Library" or read more about it in Finding Atlantis.