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Swedish Book History - “Swedish Contributions to Classical Philology” by Per Rålamb

The Swedish Antiquarian Booksellers Association, Svenska Antikvariatföreningen alerted ILAB to the recently published bibliography: “Swedish Contributions to Classical Philology” by Per Rålamb.
Published on 24 May 2019
Ralamb

This bibliography contains 330 editions of the Greek and Roman classics, including the church fathers, printed in Sweden and its historical territories and on the continent in the original languages and translations into Swedish or into other languages prior to 1800. Many with detailed commentaries in an attempt to identify the core edition or editions used as a source text for each issue. It also includes some previously unrecorded editions. A remarkable work in the field of bibliography and representation of one aspect of Swedish book history.  

The introduction reads:

“While there are bibliographies that have captured segments of the Greek and Roman editions printed, translated or edited by Swedes, none of these works are complete. The purpose of this study has been to catalogue all editions of Greek and Roman classics, including the church fathers, printed in Sweden and its historical territories in the original languages or translations into Swedish or into other languages prior to 1800. The secondary aim has been to identify all such editions edited or translated by Swedes and printed on the continent prior to 1800. The third aim has been to identify when possible the core edition or editions used as a source text for each issue. The fourth aim has been to collect information from bibliographies as to the general awareness of the edition, its considered scarcity as well as the perceived quality of the work. The titles have been selected based on defined criteria. I have purposely excluded school dissertations, except for those which include an entire section by a classical author and not just selections. Editions printed on the continent before the particular scholar arrived in Sweden have been included in order to identify textual roots as well as revisions or changes that may have taken place in later issues.”


Per Rålamb, author of the publication writes:

I have been collecting 16th century editions of the Greek and Latin classics for about thirty years and developed a parallel interest in the editions printed in Sweden sometime in early 90s. I began the bibliography as leisure time exercise in about 1995.

After numerous visits to various Swedish University and Institutional Libraries over the years to collate early editions, I found not just several previously unrecorded variant editions, but also some entirely unrecorded editions. I also solved the dilemma regarding the identity of the person behind the anonymous translation of Marcus Aurelius into French printed in Paris 1651.

The Marcus Aurelius (or Marc Antonin) is of bibliographic interest as the French bibliographies (Barbier) attributed the translation to a Swede named 'Balbisky', but with no further details. The Swedish bibliographies determined it was Jesper Kruus because of the initials B.I.K. printed after the preface.  After lengthy research, I managed to identify him as Matthias Palbitzki. My entire finding was documented in two separate articles - one published in the US in English and a separate in the Swedish Journal Biblis.

The book can be purchased by the Swedish antiquarian bookshop Centralantikvariatat

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