The Humanist Greek Heritage of the Swedish Empire

Link to research portal of Lund University
Tartu University Library, Janika Päll

Goals of the project

In the Baltic Sea Region interest in the ancient Greek past and the study of the Greek language took off in the 16th century. In the Swedish Empire, Greek assumed a specific role in the cultural and educational system, reinforced by the Lutheran Reformation and the educational precepts of Philipp Melanchthon. Reading and writing Greek had an important position in the curricula of schools and universities. Following examples further south, scholars began to create and publish literary works in a revived variety of the language called Humanist Greek. By writing in an international language, scholars expressed their ideas and erudition to an educated community across the region. Helleno-Nordica intends to study a network of cultural, political and economic relations, united by a common idea of re-vitalising an ancient language and reusing its culture. The aim of the four subprojects of Helleno-Nordica is to discover, publish and study previously unknown material, and to open new perspectives in the understanding of the role of historical Greece and its language in the development of European cultural history, especially in the Swedish Empire. The overall ambition is to show how the Greek past and the use of Humanist Greek were central for developing a common approach to scholarship and education in the Early Modern Baltic Sea Region. Despite the different experiences of the Baltic Sea countries in the 19th and 20th centuries, these common roots are still relevant today. Tartu team is responsible for two subprojects: 1) Coordination and creation of HUG-Database, a bibliography of Humanist Greek manuscripts and imprints from Great Sweden, providing information on authors and institutions where they worked. Together with other teams, coordinated by Lund, Tartu is responsible for fieldwork and research for data with a focus on Eastern Baltic shores; 2) Sub-project "Ancient authors addressing modern readers: Greek humanism at the Eastern Coasts of Baltic Sea." is focused on Humanist Greek text production in or imported to Estonia and Latvia and the study of the patterns of influence of Central European Humanist Greek tradition in the Swedish overseas provinces, tracing the development of genres and cross-influences of German and Swedish, protestant and catholic. The supplementary focus is on the study of patterns of use and reinterpretation of ancient Greek culture in university dissertations.

Humanist Greek in Early Modern Estonia and Livonia:
a bridge to modern and ancient European culture

Estonian Research Council project PUT 132
Tartu University Library, Janika Päll

Goals of the project

The project „Humanist Greek in Early Modern Estonia and Livonia – a bridge to modern and ancient European culture“ is dedicated to texts in Humanist Greek: literary and scientific production in atticizing Greek language by humanist scholars, students and literati of nonGreek origin, in Early Modern Estonia and Livonia from 1550-1720. The focus of the project is on Humanist Greek in Reval/Tallinn, Dorpat/Tartu and Pernau/Pärnu; Riga and Mitau/Jelgava are studied as part of the cultural network (scientific and cultural exchange from interpersonal relationships and school system to textual tradition).

The broader goals of the project:

  • to form a research group focusing on Humanist Greek and establish a network on the study of humanist Greek, based on a collaboration and exchange between researchers and libraries
  • to establish the position of Humanist Greek studies in the framework of the study of society and humanities in early modern period.

The immediate goals of the project:

  • to inventory all humanist Greek texts printed or created in or by scholars of early modern Estonia and northern Livonia and to publish these texts with commentaries.

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