History of the project.

The Database of Nordic Neo-Latin Literature is a result of an inter-nordic research project, which ran during the years 1987-91. This 'Nordic Neo-Latin Project' involved latinists from all five Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Swede n. The project was funded by the national humanistic research councils of all five countries, and it was directed by prof. Minna Skafte Jensen, University of Odense, Denmark. (A list of other contributors is avail able).

Apart from the database, the project also resulted in various studies within the field of Nordic Neo-Latin, and a 'History of Nordic Neo-Latin Literature' (cf. bibliography).

Current editors of the database are prof. Lars Boje Mortensen, University of Bergen, Karen Skovgaard-Petersen, The Royal Library, Copenhagen, and Peter Zeeberg, The Society for Danish Language and Literature, Copenhagen.

The WWW-version was prepared by Hans Morten Kind, University of Bergen.

Corrections and additions are welcome. Please contact Lars Boje Mortensen.


The database contains descriptions of Nordic Neo-Latin printed texts, defined as follows:

By 'Neo-Latin' is meant texts written in Latin between the reformation (c. 1530) and 1800.

By 'Neo-Latin printed texts' is meant: books or prints (irrespective of length) which include texts in Latin - i.e.: a book in Swedish which includes a laudatory poem in Latin may be included.

By 'Nordic' is meant texts written by or addressed to persons from the Nordic countries (Denmark (including the duchies Schleswig and Holstein), Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) plus texts which to a substantial extent treat of Nordic matters.

By 'persons from the Nordic countries' is meant: persons who were born in, had their education in, or lived in one of the Nordic countries.

There are no limitations as to genre, topic or the like.

The printed material from this period is extremely large, and the database covers only selected parts of it - varying from country to country, but generally the selections are based on existing national bibliographies (cf. below: 'current state').

Contents and structure.

This database is meant as a tool for students of the history of literature, science, ideas etc., and therefore , apart from basic data such as author, title and year, it aims primarily at describing the contents of the prints registered.

The scope of the database, therefore, is not bibliographical, in the technical sense. Detailed transscriptions of titlepages, descriptions of signatures etc. will not be found here. On the other hand, the descriptions are normally based on independent examination of the books themselves, and will often present much information not available elsewhere.

The registrations of the texts vary greatly as to length and elaborateness, but certain basic data, such as author, short title, and year and place of print, will always be given. In addition to this a registration will normally provide a closer descri ption of the contents of the print, including: full text of the titlepage, a table of contents, a list of secondary authors, keywords, incipits of poetry etc. The paragraph 'parts of the text' has a special significance, as the single parts of the text ma y here be given numbers to which other paragraphs may refer.

In total a registration may cover the following 38 paragraphs, six of which (marked with *) are always filled in. Abbreviations used for crossreferences within the documents are given in brackets.

* Date of registration (DATE).
Date of registration and revisions, if any, plus the initials of the responsible scholar.
* Copy registered (COPY).
Indication of the library and the shelf-mark of the copy used for the registration.
Other libraries (LIBR).
Libraries in which the book is to be found. This information usually relies on existing bibliographies, an will therefore often reflect a situation from the beginning of this century.
Books of reference (REFE).
Bibliographies and other books of reference which have been used for the registration.
* Author (AUTH).
Name(s) of the author(s). These may be given in Latin, in the vernacular, or both.
Dedicatee (DEDI).
* Short title (BRTI).
* Place of publication (PLAC).
* Year of publication (YEAR).
Printer (PRIN).
Work in which the text occurs (WORK).
In more complex cases, one part of a book may be given a separate registration. In such cases this paragraph will refer to the registration of the book as a whole.
Editor (EDTR).
Translator (TRAN).
Commentator (COMM).
Persons involved in a disputatio (DISP).
If the text is a dissertation, the names of the opponent(s) or respondent(s) may be noted here.
Life of main author(s) (LIFE).
Years of birth and death, and nationality of the author(s). In the case of persons who were born in one country but lived in another, more than one country may be mentioned. Countries in brackets refer to the present-day situation.
Date and/or place of composition (COMP).
If the known date of composition differs substantially from the year of print, or if the text was written in a country not mentioned in the paragraph LIFE, this may be stated here.
Full text of titlepage (TITL).
Apart from high and low case lettering, typography will not be indicated.
Normalized titlepage (NTIT).
A philological edition of the text of the titlepage with normalized orthography and punctuation. Presupposes that the previous paragraph has been filled in.
Full text of colophon (COLO).
Apart from high and low case lettering, typography will not be indicated.
Pages/leaves/volumes (PAGE).
Indiates the number of volumes, pages or leaves.
Number of lines or books/songs in poetry (VERS).
Coat(s) of arms (ARMS).
Indication of the number of arms which are depicted, and/or list of the persons whose arms are depicted.
Illustrations (ILLU).
Indicate of the number of illustrations, and/or descriptions of them.
Parts (PART).
Numbered list of contents. If possible, it will be indicated which is the main part.
Other authors (OAUT).
If the print contains texts (e.g. laudatory poems) written by others that the main author(s) these may be listed here, normally with reference to the relevant number in the previous paragraph.
Keywords (KEYW).
Keywords describing the contents and form of the text(s). A list of possible keywords is available.
Language (LANG).
Form (FORM).
'Prose' or 'poetry'.
Metre (METR).
The following four groups are used: 'Hexameters', 'elegiac couplets', 'lyrics' (i.e. any other metre based on quantity), and 'rythmics'.
Incipit (first verse) of poems (INCI).
Contemporary persons (CPER).
Names of contemporary persons mentioned in the text. By 'contemporary' is meant 'after 1500'.
Previous persons (PPER).
Names of persons from previous periods mentioned in the text. By 'previous' is meant 'before 1500'.
Contemporary works (CWOR).
Names of contemporary texts mentioned in the text. By 'contemporary' is meant 'after 1500'.
Previous works (PWOR).
Names of texts from previous periods mentioned in the text. By 'previous' is meant 'before 1500'.
Full text (TEXT).
The entire text or parts of it may be given here.
Bibliographical references (BIBL).
References to secondary literature about the text.
Miscellaneous notes (NOTE).
Open for comments on the text (e.g. a summary of the contents or observations on its literary models), or on the copy used for the registration (e.g. owner's signatures or binding).

Current state

At present (March 2004) the base includes descriptions of c. 2400 Nordic Neo-Latin prints.

The contributions of each country may be described as follows:

Denmark: All Latin texts from the period 1536-1600 (both years included) which are registered in Lauritz Nielsen: Dansk Bibliografi I-II (Koebenhavn 1919, 1931-33). All Latin texts from the period 1601 - c. 1610 which are included in Bibliotheca Danica I- V (Koebenhavn 1961-63), with the exception of texts concerned with personal history (= Vol. III, 2). To this has been added a series of Holsatian texts from the period 1536-1600 (Holstein not being included in Nielsen's bibliography), a series of texts wr itten by foreigners and dedicated to Danes within the same period, and a few later texts.
c. 950 documents.

Finland: Occasional literature from the period 1562-1713 (both years included) which are registered in Toini Melander: Personskrifter hänförande sig till Finland 1562-1713 (Helsingfors 1951): Orations, poetry and the like published at the event of births, weddings, deaths, funerals, namesdays, anniversaries, travels, academic degrees etc.
c. 800 documents.

Iceland: Mainly texts from the 16th and the last half of the 18th century. A large part of the material consists of Latin translations of Icelandic medieval texts with explanations and commentaries.
c. 150 documents.

Norway: All Latin texts from the period 1519-1650 (both years included) which are registered in Lauritz Nielsen: Dansk Bibliografi I-II (Koebenhavn 1919, 1931-33)., Hjalmar Pettersen: Bibliotheca Norwegica I (1. ed.: Oslo 1889), and H. Ehrencron-Müller: F orfatterlexicon omfattende Danmark, Norge og Island indtil 1814. I-XII (Koebenhavn 1924-1935).
c. 170 documents.

Sweden: All Latin texts from the period 1523-1600 (both years included) which are registered in Isak Collijn: Sveriges Bibliografi intill år 1600 I-III Uppsala 1927-38). To this are added some texts of varied contents from the 17th century and a series of political texts from the beginning of the 18th century.
c. 330 documents.

Plans for the future.

The database is open for new material. Registrations of single books as well as of whole groups of books may, and will, be added from time to time.

In 2004 a number of records relating to Henrik Rantzau will be added.

Those who whish to supply data for the database should contact the editor: Lars Boje Mortensen.