Archive of Papers Authored by Hans Aili


Revision Date: 25 January, 2019 - edited 8 November 2019. This a project page subjected to constant change.


During my active (salaried) years as Professor of Latin, enjoying multifarious teaching duties and a lot of administrative ones,  I published a modest number of papers - academic or popular - that are now rather difficult to find in their printed form. I have therefore decided to re-read them, correct all errors I can find, and publish them anew as pdf-files on my homepage. They are intended for free downloading and reading by interested colleagues and other readers. If you refer to them, please do so  in the customary academic manner and by giving the homepage address!


The present trend in Swedish academia is to require that scholars climbing the academic career tree should endeavour to publish their work at international publishing houses of high reputation or in the "best" academic journals. I am not comfortable with this requirement, as it contains the belief that the quality of the books or papers is guaranteed by the name of the publishing company. This is certainly open to question, as there are a number of incidents, of quite recent date, where reputable publications within the sciences have published falsehoods. One glaring example is the wide-spread, eminently false rumour about the dangers of child vaccinations. This rumour was given extra force by a research paper, containing false information, but published in a highly respected medical journal.


In my opinion the reverse statement is true: viz. that the quality of the works published is the only warranty for the publishing company's good name.


As a consequence, I shall in future publish everything I have written and will write here, on my own home-page. If my work turns out to be good enough, it will be read and quoted. If not, I hope it will be criticised for its faults.


The papers are ordered here in a kind of chronological order, namely the period when the author in question lived. Caesar first, St. Birgitta last.


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Academic Papers


1. A challenging paper on Caesar's account of the Elks roaming the German forests, and the German way of hunting it. I hope to demonstrate that his descriptions are not so inept as they appear to be. The third version of this paper which was first published in 1995 and reprinted under a new heading and with a number of corrections in 2009. My new version corrects remaining errors and adds a bit of sting to my arguments. Reference: Aili, H., "Caesar's Elks: Interpolation, Myth, or Fact?" in: Eranos, Acta philologica Suecana 105 (2008 / 2009, revised 2017): 4-17.


2. On The Rape of Lucretia.  A paper originally published in 2008, revised and extended in December 2017. I attempt to shed a new light on Livy's story and its place in his history of the downfall of the Kings of Rome. Reference: Aili, H., "Inflexible Roman Women. The Case of Lucretia", Hortus troporum, Florilegium in honorem Gunillae Iversen, edd. Alexander Andrée & Erika Kihlman. Stockholm 2008, Acta universitatis Stockholmiensis, Studia Latina Stockholmiensia 54:327-342. Revised version of 2017.


3. On Propertius' Views on Women's Jealousy. Published 2007 and revised 2017. I take up an old challenge issued by A.E. Housman, who had no great regard for the competence and judgement of his contemporaries in Classical scholarship. I hope  to show that the question he raised was more complicated than he thought. Reference: Aili, H., "Housman's Conundrum Concerning a Woman's Jealousy - Critical Notes on Propertius, Elegia 3,15", Eranos, Acta philologica Suecana 104/1 2007 (2006): 73-82. Revised version of 2017.


4. King Magnus Birgersson (a k a Magnus Ladulås) wrote his last will and testament in 1285. It is a document that shows a great number of rhetorical devices, some of them of real beauty. Reference:  "Ne memoria nostri pereat - Rhetoric and Preoccupation with Oblivion in a King's Last Will." in: Aili H - af Trampe P, Tongues and Texts Unlimited. Studies in Honour of Tore Janson on the Occasion of his Sixtieth Birthday. Stockholm: Institutionen för klassiska språk 2000. Revised version of 2017.


5. St. Birgitta of Sweden. One of my major contributions to scholarship is my work on St. Birgitta of Sweden; I have published critical editions of the Latin text of her Revelations: Sancta Birgitta, Reuelaciones. Book IV, Stockholm 1992, and Sancta Birgitta, Reuelaciones. Book VIII, Stockholm 2002. This work inspired me to invite Professor Jan Svanberg of Art History at Stockholm University to join me in a project concerning the earliest manuscripts of the Revelations as well as the earliest portraits of the saint herself. This work took a couple of decades but resulted in Aili,H & Svanberg, J., Imagines Sanctae Birgittae. The Oldest Illuminated Manuscripts and Panel Paintings Related to the Revelations of St. Birgitta of Sweden. Stockholm 2003. These three works are only extant in as books, not online. However, at a conference arranged at Seconda Università di Napoli, Santa Maria Capua Vetere, in 2006, I presented a summary of my work on the manuscripts. This conference paper can be downloaded here, now slightly edited. Reference: Aili, H.,  "The Manuscripts of Revelaciones S. Birgittae." in: Santa Brigida, Napoli, L'Italia. Atti del Convegno di studi itali-svedese. Santa Maria Capua Vetere, 10-11 maggio 2006, edd. O. Ferm, A. Perriccioli Saggese, M. Rotili. Napoli 2009: 153-160.


I don't think any author of academic texts will ever be quite certain that the latest version of a paper is also the last and definite one. Whenever you open a book or paper you've published, the first thing that strikes your eyes is a printing error, and as you re-read the text, you will find things to add, remove or improve on. The papers presented here will therefore be subjected to re-reading and correction from time to time. Only the latest version will be available on this home page, and the version date will be indicated on the end page of each paper.



Grammatical Stuff


I will also put a couple of syntactical studies of questions of Latin syntax here, written in Swedish and written in a vague ambition to clear up questions that I think Latin grammars make too complicated for students' comfort. I am not a modern grammarian but stick to the traditional terminology, for, whatever new names you use to describe and analyse Latin morphology and syntax, the language itself remains obstinately itself.


6. Verbum infinitum in Latin. One of the subjects that caught my attention while teaching Latin is the nature of the verbum infinitum, that is, those Latin verb forms that have no personal forms (1st, 3nd, 3rd in the singular and plural) but serve instead as nouns and adjectives: gerund, gerundive, infinitive, participle and supine. I have collected large number of examples culled from Golden Age Latin, have grouped them according to their function, and offer them here in their complete grammatical periods with a Swedish translation and indication of their sources. A work in progress that now enjoys a technical pause.



Swedish Propaganda from the Great Nordic War (1700-1721)


Sweden's status as a great European power effectively ended in 1721, when the Peace Treaty of Nystad awarded all her Baltic provinces, including the fortress of Nyen on the river Neva, to Czar Peter I of Russia. This concluded the actions of the Great Nordic War, where Sweden under King Charles XII was at first victorious against her three major enemies, Denmark, Saxony and Russia. The series of victories ended in 1709, with the King's defeat at Poltava. He died during the siege of the Norwegian fortress of Frederikshald, in 1718.


In the 1990s I worked within a pan-Nordic literary project entitled Nordic Neo-Latin Literature, planning an anthology of Swedish propaganda poetry from this war - it was a fertile subject for Swedish poets, who were often highly placed servants of the King. This work is still in the making, but as a presentation I can offer an introductory paper in Swedish. The anthology, if ever finished, will be entitled Bellona Carolina. Swedish Wartime Poetry, 1700-1721.




After the Thirty Years-War Sweden was one of the great military powers in Europe, and even a revolutionary statesman like Oliver Cromwell felt the need to pay homage to Queen Kristina. Thus, in 1654, he sent an extraordinary Ambassador, Sir Bulstrode Whitelocke accompanied by an embassy staff of eighty persons, to the Queen. He included a portrait of himself to which Andrew Marvell added two Latin poems. These are presented here with a Swedish translation. An English translation will follow. The portait is one of three belonging to Nationalmuseum, Stockholm.


As a spin-off of my translation into Swedish of Peter Artedi's Ichthyologia (Leyden 1738), I made trial translations of his texts into English. One of these is his description of the Herring (Harengus Clupea Lin.) and, in order to put this text into a scientific perspective, I translated the corresponding texts of Sir Francis Willughby's De historia piscium (London 1686) and John Ray's Synopsis methodica (London 1713). I have not found any translation into English of any of these three works, so, even if it is a trial work, it is a pioneering one.