War Booty as Identity Markers in 17<sup>th</sup> Century Sweden Archives and libraries

Emma Hagström Molin
Stockholm University, Sweden

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Ingår i: Current Issues in European Cultural Studies; June 15-17; Norrköping; Sweden 2011

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 62:31, s. 287-292

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Publicerad: 2011-11-22

ISBN: 978-91-7519-993-1

ISSN: 1650-3686 (tryckt), 1650-3740 (online)


During the many wars of the 17th century; the Swedish army took a large amount of war booty. Along with the well-known pieces of fine art; it was also customary to capture whole archives and libraries. Taking war booty from the enemy was in accordance with international law at the time; for instance as proclaimed by Hugo Grotius in his classic De jure belli ac pacis (1625). Scholars today claim that the Swedes took booty more systematically and on a larger scale than any other European state at that time; especially when it came to archives and libraries. This paper argues that the books and documents that were taken as booty were not just used practically; as literature; by the Swedes. On a symbolic level the goods were used as identity markers; useful in the making of various identities that could be aristocratic; religious; historical or national. This took place at a time when the Swedish elite strived to reach a European cultural standard; and the paper demonstrates how political culture; objects and an elite European identity were thoroughly linked together.

The examples discussed below are all part of my dissertation project; with the working title Archives and Libraries as Swedish War Booty during the 17th Century. Political culture; material culture and identity.


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