Rex Vandalorum – The Debates on Wends and Vandals in Swedish Humanism as an Indicator for Early Modern Patterns of Ethnic Perception
Robert Nedoma (Wien) und Sven Hakon Rossel (Wien)
Wiener Studien zur Skandinavistik, Wien (2006)
For more than four hundred years, up to the accession of the present king Carl XVI Gustaf in 1973, did the Swedish monarchs hold the title “King of the Wends“. The first evidence of this claim dates from the reign of Gustav I Vasa (1523-1560), who adopted the title Sveriges, Göthes och Wendes Konung in official sources around the year 1540. In Latin documents, the threefold title was translated as rex Suecorum, Gothorum Vandalorumque. The equation of Wendes konung, “King of the Wends”, and rex Vandalorum, “King of the Vandals” in administrative and diplomatic usage provides a vantage point for discussing the relationship between these two ethnonyms in Swedish humanist resp. gothicist thought. This specific case study on Wends and Vandals promises valuable insights concerning the patterns of self-perception, the concepts of identity and otherness as well as the importance of ethnicity in the scholarly discourses of early modern Sweden.