Author: Magnus Olaus, 1490 - 1557
Title: Historia de Gentibus septentrionalibus, earumqve diversis statibus, conditionibus, moribus, ritibus, superstitionibus, disciplinis, excercitiis, regimine, victu, belleis, structuris, instrumentis, ac mineris metallicis, & rebus mirabilibus, necnon uniuersis pene animalibus in Septentrione degentibus, eorum cum natura. Cum Indice locupletissimo.
Title in English: The History of Northern Tribes and Their Various Locations, Conditions, Customs, Rites, Superstitions, Disciplines, Teachings, Ruling, Diet, Wars, Construction, Tools, and Metal Minerals as well as Unusual Matters, and Nearly all the Animals of the North and Their Nature. with an Especially Extensive Index.
Published: Romae, (Colophon: Apud Ioannem Mariam de Viottis Parmensem, in aedibus Birgitttae), 1555.
Format: 815 pages.
Binding: 1 full volume sheepskin binding (early nineteenth), smooth spine, gilt, title .
Marginalia: This book is in the margin some scholarly annotations of the time.
First edition of Magnus' great work "Historia de gentibus septentrionalibus", which is the first larger geographical-ethnographical description of Scandinavia and constituting one of the most important sources on the Northern peoples customs and daily life in the 16th century.
In reality, this famous work is a large commentary and notes to Olaus Magnus' own map, the famous "Carta Marina", which he published in Venice in 1539, of which only two copies are known. The Carta Marina ("Map of the Sea" or "Sea Map"), is the earliest map of the Nordic countries that gives details and place names. Only two earlier maps of Scandinavia are known, those of Jacob Ziegler and Claudius Clavus. The "Carta Marina" is reproduced here in smaller size.
The woodcut illustrations and views are of the greatest importance to the cultural history of the Nordic countries, as they illustrate the religions, folklore, occupations, as well as the geographies, fauna etc. of the Scandinavian people. They have since been reproduced a number of times. The artist is not known, but they are probably carved after sketches by Olaus Magnus himself.
Reference: Swedish Books 1280-1967, No. 18. - Collijn "Sveriges Bibliografi intill Ar 1600", II: p. 221 ff. - For "Carta Marina" see Ginsberg "The History of the Nordic Map": 33.