SCARCE SWEDISH IMPRINT
Historiae Arctoae libri tres.Strengnes, excudebat Johannes L. Barkenius, 
FIRST EDITION. Small 4to. pp. (xx) 415 (xvii) 168 (xvi) (i 4 cancelled as usual). Roman letter, with Italic. T-p within woodcut architectural frame. T-p dusty and remargined to verso, not touching text, next torn and repaired without loss, a few old marginal repairs at beginning and end, slight yellowing, occasional minor marginal spotting, a few ll. a little dusty. A goodcopy in C18 half vellum over marbled boards, a bit worn. C17 inscription Laur. Qvist [Laurentius/Lars Qvist] and couple of early casemarks to front pastedown, Swedish binder’s inscription ‘Carl Friedrich Borg bok bindaren’ 1735 to inner spine lining.
A good copy of the first edition of ‘the first extended, comprehensive history of Sweden’ (‘Nordisk’, 906) and ‘the most ambitious piece of [Swedish] historiography’ of the C17 (Kalevich, ‘Compilation’, 6). Laurentius Paulinus Gothus (1565-1646) was Archbishop of Strengnes, Sweden. In 1622, he promoted the establishment of the first printing press of the town, with the financial assistance of King Gustavus Adolphus. The present is one of the most famous outputs of this provincial press (Cotton, ‘Gazetteer’, 272). ‘Historia’ provides an account spanning the Creation, as most C16 national histories, to the death of Gustavus Adolphus in 1632; it also includes a geographical survey of Sweden and a summary of the most important historical events. Whilst Paulinus did not engage in fresh archival research, he produced a major compilation of all available sources, especially Olaus Magnus. The account of early history includes astronomical observations and criticism of astrological forecasts, as well as the first migrations to Sweden after the Flood. It is followed by a description of Swedish territories, including Lapland, and of Finland, Norway, Livonia, Estonia, Lithuania, Denmark and even Muscovy; it then focuses on Sweden, discussing its politics (to Gustavus Adolphus), religion (especially the extirpation of paganism), customs and laws. The second section follows the chronology of Swedish kings from before the Flood to 1492. The catalogue of the ‘Bibliotheca Heberiana’ (1835, n.3320) states that copy was ‘very scarce, with the suppressed leaves’, pointing the reader to ‘Lord Strangford’s note’ on the subject. Percy Smythe, 6th Viscount Strangford (1780-1820) was ambassador to Sweden in 1817-20. We have not been able to identify this note or discover anything about suppression; it may concern i 4 which is cancelled.Minnesota, Illinois and Yale copies recorded in the US.Graesse V, 172; Brunet IV, 444 (footnote); Estreicher, Bib. Polska, 217; Bib. Livoniae historica, 2020. H. Cotton, A Typographical Gazetteer (Oxford, 1831); Nordisk Familjebok (Stockholm, 1888); A. Vetushko-Kalevich, Compilation and Translation (Lund, 2019).