Voice of a Waning Empire: Selected Latin Poetry of Magnus Ronnow from the Great Northern War

Studia Latina Upsaliensia No. 344


Edited by: Elena Dahlberg
January 2015
Uppsala University
Distributed by Coronet Books
ISBN: 9789155490256
384 Pages
$99.50 Paper original


The thesis contains selected Latin poetry by the Swedish poet Magnus Rönnow (1665‒1735), composed during the Great Northern War. The Carolean age (1654–1718) was the hey-day of Latin literature, eloquence and poetry in Sweden. Rönnow was one of the last Latin poets in this tradition, and indeed one of the most outstanding. Stylistically and linguistically, his works are truly ingenious pieces of Baroque Neo-Latin verse. Propagandistic in their contents, they comment upon the major events of the war and mirror the contemporary ideological debate in a most interesting way.

In Chap. I, Introduction, I give an account of the historical and socio-cultural situation that generated these poems. This is followed by a survey of leading ideas and motifs, ancient and contemporary. In addition, a thorough analysis of Magnus Rönnow’s language and style is provided. Special attention is paid to Augustan poetry, primarily Horace, as the main source of inspiration. All this is done on the basis of a comparative study of contemporary Latin texts from both Sweden and neighbouring countries, especially Denmark and Russia.

In Chap. II, Edition, Translation and Commentary, the edited Latin poems are provided with an English translation in prose and a commentary. The latter part aims to elucidate Rönnow’s possible models and sources and intertextual bounds to other Latin literature, both ancient and Early Modern.

This dissertation is the first modern edition of Magnus Rönnow’s Latin poetry and also the first comprehensive comparative study of Neo-Latin literature produced during the fatal struggle for supremacy in the Baltic Region at the turn of the 18th century.