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Olaus Rudbeck (also known as Olof Rudbeck the Elder, to distinguish him from his son, and occasionally with the surname
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became the ...
ized as ''Olaus Rudbeckius'') (13 September 1630 – 12 December 1702) was a Swedish scientist and writer, professor of medicine at Uppsala University and for several periods '' rector magnificus'' of the same university. He was born in Västerås, the son of Bishop Johannes Rudbeckius, who was personal chaplain to King
Gustavus Adolphus Gustavus Adolphus (), also known in English as Gustav II Adolf or Gustav II Adolph, was the King of Sweden from 1611 to 1632, and is credited for the rise of Sweden as a great European power ( sv, Stormaktstiden). During his reign, Sweden ...
, and the father of botanist Olof Rudbeck the Younger. Rudbeck is primarily known for his contributions in two fields: human anatomy and linguistics, but he was also accomplished in many other fields including music and botany. He established the first botanical garden in Sweden at Uppsala, called Rudbeck's Garden, but which was renamed a hundred years later for his son's student, the botanist
Carl Linnaeus Carl Linnaeus (; 23 May 1707 – 10 January 1778), also known after his Nobility#Ennoblement, ennoblement as Carl von Linné#Blunt, Blunt (2004), p. 171. (), was a Swedish botanist, zoologist, taxonomist, and physician who formalised binomia ...
.


Human anatomy

Rudbeck was one of the pioneers in the study of lymphatic vessels. According to his supporters in Sweden, he was the first to discover the lymphatic system and is documented as having shown his findings at the court of Queen
Christina of Sweden Christina ( sv, Kristina; 18 December 1626 – 19 April 1689), a member of the House of Vasa, was Queen of Sweden from 1632 until her abdication in 1654. She succeeded her father Gustavus Adolphus upon his death at the Battle of Lützen, bu ...
in the Spring of 1652. However, he did not publish anything about it until the fall of 1653, after
Thomas Bartholin Thomas Bartholin (; Latinized as ''Thomas Bartholinus''; 20 October 1616 – 4 December 1680) was a Danish physician A physician (American English), medical practitioner (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth English), me ...

Thomas Bartholin
, a Danish scientist, had published a description of a similar discovery of his own. (For other early discoverers of the lymphatic system, see Gasparo Aselli and Jean Pecquet). Rudbeck's research led to the Queen's support of his career. To facilitate his studies of human anatomy, he had a cupola built on top of Gustavianum, a university edifice, and in it was built an arena-like ''Theatrum anatomicum'', where dissection could be carried out in front of students. The cupola still remains and is a landmark in Uppsala. The "Gustavianum" stands in front of the cathedral, and is still part of the university.


Historical linguistics

Image:Rudbeck Atlantis.jpg, 180px, An illustration from 1689 in Olof Rudbeck's book ''Atlantica'' where he shows himself surrounded by Hesiod, Plato, Aristotle, Apollodorus of Athens, Apollodorus, Tacitus, Odysseus, Ptolemy, Plutarch and Orpheus. Between 1679 and 1702, Rudbeck dedicated himself to contributions in historical-linguistics patriotism, writing a 3,000-page treatise in four volumes called ''Atlantica'' (''Atland eller Manheim'' in Swedish) where he purported to prove that Sweden was Atlantis, the cradle of civilization, and Swedish the Adamic language, original language of Adam from which
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became the ...
and Hebrew had evolved. His work was criticized by several Scandinavian authors, including the Danish professor Ludvig Holberg, and the Swedish author and physician Andreas Kempe, both of whom wrote satires based on Rudbeck's writings. His work was later used by Denis Diderot in the article "Etymologie" in ''Encyclopédie'' as a cautionary example of deceptive linking of etymology with mythical history. David King (historian), David King, in his biography of Rudbeck, notes that he developed a system for measuring the age of old monuments and graves by the thickness of the humus accumulated over them – which, though many of his conclusions were erroneous, anticipated the methods of modern archaeology and was far in advance of most historians and antiquarians of his time.David King, "Finding Atlantis" ( Epilogue) Despite the criticism targeting his linguistic theories and despite the priority dispute with Bartholin, Rudbeck remained a national icon in Sweden for many years. His son, Olof Rudbeck the Younger, continued his linguistic work and also became involved in providing an "intellectual reason" for power during a period when Sweden aspired to a position as one of the great powers of Europe. Rudbeck the Younger added speculations about the relationship between Sami languages, Sami and Hebrew languages to his father's long list of fantastical linguistic relationships. A nephew of Olaus the Elder, Petter Rudebeck, also wrote antiquarian books going even further, purporting to locate the scene of the Trojan War and ancient city of Troy in southern Sweden. The above-mentioned David King noted that, while specific conclusions of father and son Rudbeck about the relationships of various languages to each other were disproven, they anticipated the later systematic study of Indo-European languages, and the scientific proof that languages distant from each other geographically and historically are indeed related.


Legacy

Rudbeck was active in many scientific areas, including astronomy, and left many traces still visible in the city of Uppsala today. During the course of a fire that destroyed most of Uppsala in 1702, a large portion of Rudbeck's writings was lost. Rudbeck himself directed the people of the city, shouting orders from a roof while his house burned down. He died the same year, shortly after the fire, and was buried in Uppsala Cathedral at the transept. (Since then, Swedish monarchs have frequently been crowned over his grave.) The Nobel family, including Ludvig Nobel, the founder of Branobel, and Alfred Nobel, the founder of the Nobel Prizes, was a descendant of Rudbeck through his daughter Wendela, who married one of her father's former students, Peter Olai Nobelius. The plant genus ''Rudbeckia'' was named by the botanist
Carl Linnaeus Carl Linnaeus (; 23 May 1707 – 10 January 1778), also known after his Nobility#Ennoblement, ennoblement as Carl von Linné#Blunt, Blunt (2004), p. 171. (), was a Swedish botanist, zoologist, taxonomist, and physician who formalised binomia ...
in honor of both Rudbeck and his son.


See also

* Atlantis * Confusion of tongues * Location hypotheses of Atlantis * Olof Rudbeck the Younger


References

* King, David. ''Finding Atlantis: A True Story of Genius, Madness, and an Extraordinary Quest for a Lost World.'' Harmony Books, New York, 2005. . * (See p. 216.)


External links

* {{DEFAULTSORT:Rudbeck, Olaus 1630 births 1702 deaths 17th-century Swedish physicians Swedish anatomists Burials at Uppsala Cathedral Nobel family People from Västerås Rectors of Uppsala University Swedish architects Swedish-language writers Uppsala University alumni 17th-century Swedish writers 17th-century male writers 17th-century Swedish male actors