Johann Boemus

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Title page of Johannes Boemus: Mores, Leges Et Ritus Omnium Gentium. - Lyon, 1541.[1]

Johann Boemus (Bohm, Bohemus) (c.1485-1535) was a German humanist, canon of Ulm Cathedral, traveller, and Hebraist. He was compiler and author of the first ethnographic compendium of the Early Modern period in Europe.[2][3]

His Omnium Gentium Mores, Leges et Ritus was published in 1520. It was reprinted multiple times in the sixteenth century, including a 1571 edition.[4] There were later editions, accumulating related treatises by other scholars.[5] It influenced Sebastian Muenster's Cosmography, and helped inspire the Hauptchronik of Sebastian Franck.[2] It helped set the stage for subsequent investigations of the connections of law to culture, including Paul Henri Mallett's Northern Antiquities (1770).

There were English translations by William Waterman (1555) (The Fardle of Facions)[6] and Edward Aston, The Manners, Lawes and Customs of all Nations (London: G. Eld, 1611). This book is cited as the first scientific approach to ethnography available in English.[7]


  1. ^ "Boehme, Johann: Mores, Leges Et Ritus Omnium Gentium. - Lyon, 1541". Retrieved 5 November 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Donald F. Lach, Asia in the Making of Europe: A Century of Wonder. Book 2: The Literary Arts (1994), p. 336
  3. ^ Justin Stagl, A History of Curiosity: The Theory of Travel, 1550-1800 (1995), p. 115
  4. ^ Omnium gentium mores, leges et ritus ... nuper collecti et novissime ... - Johann Boehme - Google Boeken. Retrieved 5 November 2013. 
  5. ^ Arnaldo Momigliano, On Pagans, Jews, and Christians (1987), p. 22
  6. ^ "The fardle of facions: Boemus, Joannes, ca. 1485-1535: Free Download & Streaming: Internet Archive". 10 March 2001. Retrieved 5 November 2013. 
  7. ^ David Keane, Caste-based Discrimination in International Human Rights Law (2007), p. 38