Scandia


Scandia

Scandia was a name used for various uncharted islands in Northern Europe by the first Greek and Roman geographers. The name originated in Greek sources, where it had been used for a long time for different islands in the Mediterranean region. [Rubekeil, Ludwig (2002). "Scandinavia in the light of ancient tradition". In" The Nordic Languages: an international handbook of the history of the North Germanic languages". Eds. Oskar Bandle et al., Vol I. Berlin and New York: de Gruyter, 2002. ISBN 3110148765, p. 601.] In the Iliad the name denotes an ancient city in Kythira, Greece. [Blackie, John Stuart (1866). "Homer and the Iliad". Notes, Philological and Archaeological. Edmonston and Douglas, 1866. [http://books.google.com/books?id=cDERAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA262&dq=homer+and+the+iliad+scandia Digitized] 30 August 2006.]
[
Olaus Magnus.] The first attested written source using the name for a Northern European island is the work of Roman Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia of circa AD 77. [Helle, Knut (2003). "Introduction". "The Cambridge History of Scandinavia". Ed. E. I. Kouri et al. Cambridge University Press, 2003. ISBN 0-521-47299-7.] Pliny described "Scandia" as an island located north of Britannia. [ [http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?lookup=Plin.+Nat.+4.30 Chapter 30. (16.)- BRITANNIA] .". The Natural History. Pliny the Elder." John Bostock. Taylor and Francis, 1855.] This island does not appear to be the same as the island Pliny calls "Scatinavia", located near Cimbri. In Claudius Ptolemy's Geographia, written in the second century AD, Scandia is described as the most easterly of the Scandiae islands, a group of islands located east of the Cimbrian peninsula. This is the region where Pliny had located "Scatinavia". The name "Scandia" was therefore after Ptolemy generally associated with the southern part of Scandinavian peninsula by the early Roman geographers, who thought of Scandinavia as an island.

When Scandinavian scholars became familiar with the Roman records in the Middle Ages, Scandiae was used as an alternative Latin name for Terra Scania. The early 13th century Latin paraphrase of the Scanian Law is called "Lex Scandiae provincialis". [Herzog, Johann Jakob et al. (1896). "Realencyklopädie für protestantische Theologie und Kirche". J. C. Hinrichs Theology, published 1896. [http://books.google.com/books?id=DLejqNnqVq0C&pg=PA518&lpg=PA518&dq=lex+scandiae+provincialis&source=web&ots=MXd4NNKcAn&sig=QQOd_lsY9LgE4cWTgTu94UGwJzw#PPA518,M1 Digitized] 15 November 2006.]

In the 16th century, Olaus Magnus, a Swedish cartographer who was familiar with Pliny's writings, created a map where he placed the name "Scandia" in the middle of today's Sweden. In Olaus Magnus' map, the name denotes an area including "Svecia" (Svealand), "Gothia" and "Norvegia" (Norway), where he places various tribes described by the ancient geographers.

Although mainly a historical name, Scandia is still occasionally used today as a Latin name for Scandinavia. The Scandinavian Bishops Conference, an Episcopal Conference organized by the Roman Catholic Church since 1923, is called "Conferentia Episcopalis Scandiae".

References


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