The Helleno-Nordica Project

The project HELLENO-NORDICA started in 2017. The core group of researchers of Helleno-Nordica are spread across three institutions and three countries around the Baltic Sea: Tartu University Library (Estonia), Lund University (Sweden), Helsinki University (Finland). The leader of the porject is Johanna Akujärvi from Lund University. One of the aims of the project is to creat a HUG-Database. It will be a bibliography of Humanist Greek manuscripts and imprints from Great Sweden, providing information on authors and institutions where they worked.

Interest in learning, reading, and writing ancient Greek was revived in Florence and other Italian cities during the Renaissance and spread across Europe aided by the new technology of printing. It spread to the Baltic Sea Region in the 16th century and assumed a specific role in the cultural and educational system. The rise of interest in ancient Greek culture and language was closely linked to the humanist movement and the Lutheran Reformation. Helleno-Nordica aims to examine this specifically northern European approach to the study and use of the ancient Greek past and its language in the early modern period, focusing mainly on Protestant areas: Great Sweden, its gymnasia and universities (Uppsala and its daughters).

Humanist Greek was used for many genres, but most often it was used to compose various occasional paratexts, such as dedicatory, gratulatory, and commemorative poems or short prose texts to mark disputations, orations, promotions, departures, weddings, funerals etc., printed either separately, in collections or in the same publication as the main texts. There are also longer texts, such as dissertations and orations written in Greek verse or prose, letters, collections of poetry as well as paraphrases, often hexametric, of biblical books and narratives as well as of didactic stories like Heracles’ choice between virtue and vice. More curious texts are applications for scholarship, chronosticha and rhectorial addresses to students and academic staff in Humanist Greek.