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Origin of Lapponia

Geographic name of Lapland differs by different authors. For example, Johannes Magnus called it Lappia. In his book (in preface) he called land stretched to the north as Lappia. Most likely that Magnus borrowed this name from Saxo Grammaticus. In his fifth work «Gesta Danorum» he gave description of regions Iarnbergs, Helsings, Iamtors together with Lappian being given under the rule of person named Dimar.

Origin of Lapponia

Other scientists dealt with mapping called Lapland as Lapponia. Among them is Johannes Magnus’s brother - Olaus. He made a geographic map of Scandinavia giving explanation that letter «C» stands for three large regions: Lapland, Skrifinnia and Biarmia.

Not long time before Jacob Ziegler wrote a book about northern regions enumerating the names of its provinces. Here he mentioned Lapland by describing very rapid and fast rivers flowing between the Lapland mountains.

Some researchers take the Finnish word Lappi that means «the last» or «edge». Therefore, the country located on the very northern part of the Bothnic Gulf has the same name. Johann Tornei applies the same theory. In his works he describes local people-Lappish being called so due to inhabiting the boundary of the north. So, they are the end or concluding as they live at the end of the earth. As Finnish word for end or edge is Lappu, Tornei treated it as a probable origin of the local people’s name.

Other honorable at that time scientist Zakhary Plantin believed that the name came from Lapp. This word in the local dialect means stranger, outcast or cast, exile – the verb lappe. The name is probable and can be explained as it comes from the history of the Lappish people. Based on scientists’ statements, Lappish descended from Finnish. Initially, both peoples lived together but then by some reasons Finnish exiled the Lappish from its territory that served as the name of the people. It should be noted that Lappish were called so by its Finnish countrymen, the representatives of the people called themselves other way.

The confirmation is found when one compares Lappish word Lapp meaning outcast and Finnish lappi meaning ended, edge, limited. As the first word has an unfavorable meaning, rich and prominent Lappish don’t like when they are called like that. In that name they see humiliating comparison to outcasts which were exiled from their land to strange lands at the end of earth.

Lapland was given its name not by the will of the local people but by Finnish writers. They were the first to use this term, then Swedish took it and then it was used by Germans and further on the East by Russians. Local people call its land by different names depending on the region. Locals living near Umea area call it Sabmienladti, inhabitants of Torneo - Smeednan. These names came from terms Same and Sabmi - like locals call themselves and its people.

It is hard to set the date when the country got its name as Lapland and locals as Lappish. It is known for sure that the names appeared relatively not long ago because they are not found in the ancient works of Antonio August, Ptolemeus, Solonius and Rutilius. Tacitus mentioning the Finns and its neighbors didn’t use modern names. Present terms were not used by ancient gothic writers or islandic or Norwegian authors in time of Olaf (king), Hetrik, Rolf and Boz.

And even scientist Adam of Bremen who carefully collected all the information concerning the North for his work «Scandinavia» didn’t use such terms. Sturleson who gave detailed description of the northern land didn’t mention the Lapland at all.

Distinguished scientist Kluwer being honored by Grotius in his tale «On Ancient Germany» interpreted names lupionts, bastarns, venets taken from Tabula Peutingeriana as a mentioning about Lapland inhabitants. Bastarns occupied the territory between head of Visla and Pont rivers. Venets were their neighbors. They lived closer to the shore of Vened Gulf after which the territory belonged to Finns. As a consequence, lupions are the people neighboring to Finns. Later, they were called Russian Lappish, but Germans, Norwegians and Danish called them Lapper.

It is well-known that the author of Tabula Peutingeriana lived in early times than Theodosius the Great. It means that it is about 600 years that divided him and Adam of Bremen. Therefore, Kluwer idea is far-fetched. Such mentioning about Laplands can’t occur in his works due to time and far away location. Moreover, Velzer proved that geographical knowledge of the Tabula Peutingeriana’s author is weak. Adam of Bremen lived in time close to our epoch and geographically – to northern people he studied but didn’t write about them. Besides, his deep studies described people who personally visited these lands.

Furthermore, the scientist in the Tabula called the Sarmatians – the Lupions, but the Lappish are not the Sarmatians. The scientists didn’t find a common mentioning that the Sarmatians inhabited the north so far. It allows concluding that the Lupions mentioned above couldn’t be the Lappish as the people who lived there during creation of this tabula were not known to Danish, Norwegian and Gothic writers. But they lived really close to present Lapland.

The first person who used term Lapland and who was already mentioned above was Saxo Grammaticus. His work «History of Danes» tells about large regions of the Narnbers and Yampts as well as both Lappia.

Life and activity of Saxo Grammaticus is of about 1190 AD. This means that Adam of Bremen who was popular in 1077, lived 113 years before Grammaticus. Most likely the name of the country that we used to hear now (Lapponia, Lappia) is known during that time period.

In case the name Lapland was introduced earlier then Adam of Bremen would certainly use it as he was accurate with data. Following Saxo Grammaticus, about 300 years after, this term was used by Erik of Uppsala who worked with a map of Lapland in 1479.

Following Erik of Uppsala was Jacob Ziegler. He indicated the name of the country and gave description of all northern regions. It is him who propagated the name Lapland over the entire Europe. Although Saxo Grammaticus mentioned this name earlier, it was known only within the boundaries of Finland and Sweden. However, Jacob Ziegler in his work propagated it around the whole world.

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