Lapponia (book)

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Tiltle page of Lapponia

Lapponia is a book written by Johannes Schefferus (1621 - 1679) covering a very comprehensive history of Northern Scandinavia topology, environment and Sami living condition, dwelling-places, clothing, gender roles, hunting, child raising, shamanism and pagan religion. It was published in late 1673 and closely followed by English, German, French and Dutch translations. Adapted and abridged version were also followed where only original chapters on shamanism and religion was preserved but the others replaced with tales on magic, sorcery, drums and heathenism.

The book uses "Lap" mainly to notice that Samis are still pagan and it is concluded that Lap is a word introduced by the Danish historian Saxo Grammaticus (ca. 1150 - 1220) to distinguish Sami peoples living near the ocean (coast-fenni) and in the woodland (lapp-fenni).

It was aimed to meet rumors, or as the council Magnus De La Gardie saw as degrading propaganda, from (particular German) pamphlets claiming the Swedes had used "Sami magic" on the European battlefields.

The book was not until 1956 (after 300 years) fully translated to Swedish (as Lappland, Acta Lapponica 8, Uppsala 1956). Its references is, however, based on "clergy correspondence" letters, i.e. reports made by priests.

A smaller part of the geographical region described in the book is today named Lappland (or Laponia.)

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