Archive for December, 2017


December 26, 2017

Stina Helmersson – Uno Roendahl, “Herulerna – Det bortglömda folket” [The Eruli – The Forgotten People], 2005, Epona Förlag, Villands Vånga, Sweden, 260 pages.


A relatively recent publication of a book on the ancient Germanic people of the Eruli (Heruls) (Stina Helmersson – Uno Roendahl, “Herulerna – Det bortgloemda folket” [The Eruli – The Forgotten People], 2005, Epona Foerlag, Moellerydsvaegen 104, SE-290 38 Villands Vaanga, Sweden, 260 pages) is an event of great importance. It is the first complete book on the Eruli to be published in Sweden. This does not mean that there has been a lack of interest. There is an extensive academic material published in the 1900s. The Eruli are also well documented in classical literature.

There is some disagreement among scholars concerning the original homeland of this people. Denmark (more specifically Jutland or as the Romans called it the Cimbrian Peninsula). One of the questions is if the Eruli really were a people. Although the authors of the present book present numerous evidence of archaelogical finds that could be connected to the Eruli there can still be doubt. If a people is defined as an ethnical or geographical entity it is hard to place this people who appeared at so different places as Denmark, Ukraine and Iceland.

Was it in reality a ‘war guild’ (Kriegerverband) of mercenaries, a self defined warrior aristocracy connected to the designation of ancient Nordic title of earl? Thus the Eruli could in reality have a´sworn an oath to each other and to Odin directly. Then they could have taken up recruits from other Germanic peoples and grown in number (see for instance Haakon Stang, The Naming of Russia, Oslo 1996).

Of interest is also the question if the Eruli (if they were indeed a people) was a ‘Gothic people’ or something else. The Byzantines believed that peoples like the Gepids, Vandals and other Germanic peoples of the Era of Great Migration were Gothic peoples. The historian Prokopios in De bello Vandalico, III, ii, 2-5, iii, thought so:

“There were many Gothic nations in the past, just as today, yet greatest and most important are the Goths, Vandals, Visigoths, and Gepaedes…And there were some who called these nations Getic (note: in ancient times Goths and Getae were often confused). All these, while distinguished from one another by names, as stated, do not differ in anything else at all. For they have white bodies and fair hair, and are tall and handsome…they are all of Arian faith (note: as were most if not all Germanic peoples on the continent. One of the reasons for the quick downfall of Germanic states on the continent and in North Africa, was that they were detested and persecuted as heretics by the Roman church), and have only one language called Gothic; and it seems to me, they all came originally from one tribe…”

So what of the Eruli? There is one exception, wrote Zonaras:

After Valerianus, his son Gallienus was empowered of the Roman Empire, and having been left in the Occident while his father was fighting the Persians, in order that he resist those who planned ill against Italy and were ravaging Thrace. He with not more than 10,000 [men] vanquished 300,000 Alamans by Milan. Thereupon he crushed the Eruli, this people which is Scythian, and Gothic. He also made war against the Franks…

The Eruli in Ukraine and Russia

This reviewer is especially interested in the Eruli and Gothic campaigns in the Black Sea area, Asia Minor, and Greece in the years between 267 and 270 AD. It seems that the two peoples, the Goths living on the southern Ukrainian coast, operated together during these raids. The Goths traveled mostly overland, and the Eruli acted mainly as sea-raiders. Some of the ancient Greeks thought of the Eruli as just a maritime branch of the Goths. Unfortunately the new Swedish book deals only with these raids in a few lines. After all the Germanic raiders destroyed both Athens and Byzantium and there is still a wall in Athens designated the Erulian Wall, built of the ruins of the first destruction to secure against new attacks by the Eruli. They never came because both Goths and Eruli were defeated by Roman armies in the Balkans.

Important in this context is that most scholars believed the Eruli lived in southern Ukraine from around 250 AD during centuries. Their area was north and south of the Sea of Oziv. On the Ukrainian side it was the region around the cities of Melitopol, Berdyansk and Mariupol as well as Taganrog in Russia. Very little is known in the West on archaelogical research going on in that area if any. Is there any interest in Ukraine in the Eruli? How much is devoted to the Eruli and the Era of Great Migration in Ukrainian history books? Thus it would be of interest to create knowledge of the new Swedish book on the Eruli in Ukraine but also among Ukrainian scholars in the United States and Canada.

How the Eruli Came To Migrate To Iceland

One of the most positive aspects of the new book is the fact that Iceland is brought into focus by the authors. The Icelandic scholar Barthi Guthmundsson has for decades been almost forgotten. He was for many years chief of the Archival Museum connected to the National Museum of Reykjavik. He published an important book on the history of the Icelanders (Upprunni islendinga: published in the United States as The Origin of the Icelanders.) The original book was published shortly after Guthmundsson’s passing away in 1960. The general belief is that Iceland was settled by Norwegians but Guthmundsson has claimed that several Eruli families settled in Iceland. In his book he presents the influence of East Germanic culture in Iceland, which he believed came from the Eruli. A number of scholars in Scandinavia and elsewhere believe that the Eruli brought the runes to the north, as that people migrated widely. It is true that there are runic inscriptions in Scandinavia dated as far back as 200 AD but the greater number of inscriptions in Denmark, Norway and Sweden are from 700 AD and later. The Byzantian historians wrote about one part of the Eruli returning to Scandinavia in 512 AD, settling near the Gauti of Goetaland in southern Sweden, the Gauti believed to be the ancestors of the Goths.

As Helmersson-Roendahl note the theories of Guthmundsson have been presented in a new edition of the book Kuml og haugfé – ur heithnum sith á Islandi (2002). The book was originally authered by Kristján Eldjárn, who for a long time was Chief Archeologist in Iceland. In the new edition a number of leading archaelogists have participated. Five ship graves found on the island republic are all in areas where the Eruli families possibly settled.

Helmersson-Roendahl also bring up the important horse sacrifices and horse graves found in not only southern Scandinavia but also in Hungary and Slovakia. This cannot be a coincidence. Great influence on the East Germanic peoples have come from southern Ukraine and further east in Central Asia via the Huns. In Altai horse sacrifices existed as late as in the 1930s ! In an article in an academic Croatian migration journal I have pointed out, as does the authors of the new book, to the Vaetteryd iron age grave field in central Scania in southern Sweden where close by several horse skeletons and broken horse equipment has been found.

For those interested in ancient Germanic peoples this book is a treasure. There is evidence in classical literature (Prokopios), as mentioned above, that the Eruli returned to Scandinavia and settled either in the province of Blekinge or the part of Smaaland province that is called Vaerend. Helmersson-Roendahl present the unique runestones in Blekinge that connect to the Eruli but also finds of gold coins of Roman origin. The Eruli later came to Norway from where they possibly migrated to Iceland, so the authors of the new book. The Eruli were inventive and independent minded. Both men and women of their people brought culture, belief and traditions. The new book on the Eruli in Sweden belongs in libraries and homes not only in Scania but in Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Iceland and why not in Ukraine, Canada and the United States. It should be translated into English.

The author is not aware of the reception of the new book in Iceland. Maybe one could hope that the private institute Snorrastofa (in memory of Snorri Sturluson) might be interested in taking up the theories of Barthi Gudmundsson at some conference. For more on Snorrastofa see brochures “Snorrastofa – Cultural and Medieval Centre in Reykholt, Iceland” and Ecomuseum – Snorrastofa”.


December 26, 2017

Jutland, Denmark, the Urheimat 

Around 200 AD the Dani drove out the Eruli from their original home in Jutland, the most likely Urheimat. The Norwegian linguist, Professor Sophus Bugge, in the early 20th century, held the view that the Danes, who originated from the Scandinavian peninsula, drove out the Eruli. There is in Jordanes ”Getica”, according to Bugge, no indication of from where the Eruli were exiled. Bugge thought that it could be reasonable to assume that they followed the Goths to southern Ukraine some time before the middle of the 3rd century AD.

Eruli ethnology

Greek historian Prokopios (Procopius, latin) in his “History of the Wars” wrote about the customs of the Eruli. He was very negative and as a Greek looked down on the Eruli:

In ancient times they used to appease their gods by human sacrifice. Old or sick people were supposed to seek death voluntarily. Relatives built a high pile of wood, whereupon the aging person climbed. Then another Erulian – not a relative – also climbed the pile, armed with a dagger, with which the victim was killed. This done the person climbed down from the pile, it was set on fire, and the burned remains were later buried. A self-respecting widow was, according to Prokopios, expected to commit suicide by hanging herself beside the tomb of her husband.

Present day Croatia

The Eruli, who migrated to the Danubian area and Illyricum in present day Croatia, also according to Prokopios, made themselves masters of the peoples around them including the Langobards. The Eruli also settled around the Sea of Azov at the Black Sea in present day Russia.

Eruli on the north coast of the Black Sea

Later Eruli fleets participated in the Seventh Gothic-Roman War (262 – 270 AD). In 267 – 268 Gothic and Eruli fleets crossed the Black Sea to the mouth of the river Danube and plundered Moesia (present day Romania). From there they continued to Byzantium, which was stormed by night. The fleets continued to plunder the Greek archipelago in spite of a Roman fleet attempting to stop them. Athens was stormed after a four week siege.

Athens, Greece

In 268 AD the Eruli took part in a Gothic attempt to defeat the Roman empire. Around 200,000 Goths with Eruli and other federates on 6,000 ships, according to probably exaggerated Roman sources, crossed the Bosporus and plundered the Greek archipelago, Crete, Cyprus and once more Athens was taken.

Western Eruli, the Rhine delta

Decades later (around 286 AD) Western Eruli, Rugi and Saxonians attacked Romans in the Rhine delta and Britannia. The attacks were successfully averted but historians have been puzzled about these attacks. West Eruli do not appear elswhere in the sources.

The first Erulian King Alarich was elected in 335 AD and 13 years later his Eruli were defeated by the Gothic army under King Ermanarich (Ermenrich, Joermunrekr).

Eruli conflict with the Langobards

Between 490 and 520 AD Eruli and Langobards battled each other. King Rhodoulphos (Rodulf) of the Eruli started a war against the Lombards. The Eruli lost a crucial battle (probably AD 494) in which the king was killed. Most Eruli fell but some managed to save themselves settling in Rugiland (present day Austria). The Rugians had by then left for Italy with the Goths.

Eruli in Rugiland

The Eruli did not stay long in Rugiland. Around 512 AD they settled “near the Gepids” in the Danubian region north of present day Beograd, Serbia. After some conflicts they were accepted by the Romans as federates, apparently on Roman soil, south of the Danube.

In Sweden: via Scania to Blekinge

Some time between 512 and 545 AD the Eruli, so Prokopios, returned to their ancestral home in Scandinavia ’at the very extremity of the world’. These men were led by many of royal blood and traversed many nations on their trek northwards. They passed the nations of the Dani, without suffering violence at the hands of them. Coming then to the ocean, they took to the sea, and put in at Thoule (Thule, a name for Scandinavia) and remained on that island (Greeks and Romans falsely believed Scandinavia was an island). Elsewhere Prokopios stated that the Eruli settled near the Goths (Gautoi) and some researchers believe it was was in the present southeastern Swedish province of Blekinge (from around 1000 until 1658 Danish territory).

Lacking a king the Eruli around 545 AD sent some of their nobles to Thoule to search out and bring back a suitable person of royal blood. When they reached the island, according to Prokopios, they found many of royal blood. They selected one man who pleased them most and set out with him on the return voyage. But this man fell sick and died when they had come to the country of the Danes. The men therefore returned a second time to Thoule and secured another man, whose name was Datios. He was followed by his brother Aordos and two hundred youths of the Eruli in Thoule.

Meanwhile the Eruli in Illyricum had, on the advice of the Roman Emperor Justinian, chosen another of royal blood as king, Souartouas. When the group of Eruli returned from Thoule with their candidate the people deserted Souartouas and choose Datios from Scandinavia as their king. Souartouas managed to flee to Constantinople and Emperor Justinian was furious and attempted to reinstate his candidate. The Eruli terminated as result their treaty with the Romans and joined in treaty with the Gepidi instead.

Some sources claim that the a part of the continental Eruli finally perished in battles with the East Roman Emperor.

It is believed, according to some sources, that the returning Eruli brought the runes, which were introduced by the Goths, when they were settled on the western side of the Black Sea. The title ’erilaR’, that can be found on a number of Iron Age runestones in Sweden and Norway, could be synonymous with ’Erul’, but also possibly ’priest’ or jarl (chieftain and the same word as the English ’earl’).

Nordic Peoples Migration Project 500 BC – AD 600

Bertil Haggman, “Eruli Influence in South Scandinavia: Migration and Remigration, journal Migrcijske teme, University of Zagreb, Croatia, 1999, pp. 215 – 227.


December 15, 2017

Washington Times on December 13, 2017, published news on a new study by the Rand Corporation that says US forces are poorly structured. Excerpts below:

The study, “U.S. Military Capabilities and Forces for a Dangerous World,” presents the stark conclusion that the American military needs to reform its structure and war fighting plans to better deal with military challenges.

U.S. forces currently are larger than needed to fight a single major war and have failed to keep pace with military advances by major powers (note that would be the three emoires on the world island that are presently challenging the West: Russia, China, and Iran).

…Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in a speech last month warned that American military advantages over China and Russia are eroding and said more investments are needed.

The Rand study recommended that instead of readying military forces to fight two regional wars in overlapping time frames, the military needs to shift the focus toward battling the five main adversaries today: China, Russia, North Korea, Iran and Islamic terrorist groups.

The scenarios call for a new force structure prepared to wage one major war against Russia or China; or forces ready to wage one major war and a regional conflict against North Korea or Iran. The third option is a force structure for two major wars, a buildup that requires larger numbers of combat brigades, fighter squadrons and warships.

The report states that the current approach to force planning and resource allocation by the Pentagon has “placed too little emphasis on modernizing the capabilities, posture, and operating concepts of U.S. forces for power projection.”

“The result — a force that is insufficiently robust to face the challenges posed by the most-capable adversaries — poses growing risks to the viability of the United States’ most-important security relationships.”Military reforms are needed to counter the growing power of America’s adversaries.

For example, to deal with China, the military needs to speed up development of faster, longer range air-to-surface and air-to-air missiles, more stocks of regional based cruise missiles; more electronic warfare gear, more stealth drones and satellites hardened from attacks along with space weapons such as missiles and jammers.
Many of those same weapons are needed to defeat Russia in a conflict as well as deploying three heavy combat brigades in the Baltic States and one in Poland.

To counter Iran, the report recommends improved mine countermeasures deployed in the region and greater close-in defenses for warships.


December 13, 2017

Tidskriften Contra har i ett veckobrev i december 2017 publicerat en artikel om Jerusalem. Se nedan:

Jerusalem är Israels huvudstad. Officiellt sedan 1950. Det är bara att kolla i vilket referensverk som helst. Jerusalem är Israels huvudstad. Ändå envisas världens länder med att ha sina ambassader i Tel Aviv. De sista två ambassaderna i Jerusalem (Costa Rica och El Salvador) stängdes 2006.

Jerusalem Embassy Act lades fram som ett förslag i Kongressen av senatorn Bob Dole (som blev republikanernas presidentkandidat 1996, han förlorade mot Bill Clinton). Den 23 oktober 1995 röstade Kongressen om Jerusalem Embassy Act, som gick ut på att den amerikanska ambassaden skulle flyttas från Tel Aviv till Jerusalem. Förslaget vann med 374-37 i Representanthuset och med 93-5 i Senaten. Flytten skulle vara genomförd till 1999. Bill Clinton ansåg emellertid att lagen var ett ingrepp mot hans ”executive privilege”, det vill säga att Presidenten står för den verkställande makten. Både George W Bush och Barack Obama har hållit fast vid den ståndpunkten och har trots Kongressens beslut vägrat att flytta ambassaden. Den 5 juni 2017 antog Senaten en resolution som innehöll en hänvisning till Jerusalem Embassy Act. Resolutionen antogs med röstsiffrorna 90-0!

Trump hade som vallöfte att flytta ambassaden från Tel Aviv till Jerusalem.

Av europeiska länder har Tjeckien officiellt erkänt Jerusalem som Israels huvudstad, men låter det anstå att flytta ambassaden tills en förhandlingslösning nåtts på konflikten i området.

Sverige då? Vi utmärker oss som vanligt negativt. Sverige har som ett av mycket få länder ett generalkonsulat i Jerusalem. Men inte för att hålla kontakten med Israel utan med “palestinska myndigheten”. Det är sammanlagt bara tio länder som har konsulat eller generalkonsulat i Jerusalem.


December 13, 2017

1.1 The Enforcement Service (exekutionsväsendet)

The Enforcement Service is a state service. Historically it was paid for by local authorities. The local district was headed by a country bailiff (landsfiskal) in the rural areas and in the cities by a city bailiff (stadsfiskal). He was also district police commissioner and district prosecutor.

In 1965 police, public prosecution and enforcement administration were reorganized and the three services were taken over by the state and three separate authorities were introduced: the police administration, the public prosecutor administration and the enforcement administration. During the period 1965 – 1988 there were in all 81 districts of local enforcement authorities (kronofogdemyndigheter). Head of each authority was a chief enforcement officer. A reorganization in 1988 created 24 county enforcement administrations (länskronofogdemyndigheter) each headed by a county enforcement director (länskronodirektor), which is an administrative appointment. Already in 1997 the Enforcement Service was again reorganized and 10 regional enforcement authorities (regionkronofogdemyndigheter) were created each headed by a Regional Enforcement Director (regionkronodirektör). Later in 2006 a National Enforcement Administration, one single administration with a number of regional offices was created for all of Sweden.

There are mainly three categories of personnel in the Enforcement Administration. Enforcement officers (who have a law degree and experience of court service as assistant judges), enforcement personnel (responsible for the field operations of the authority) and office personnel.

Earlier a Department for Administration of the Enforcement Service was divided into two sections: Enforcement Law Section and Enforcement Administration Section.

The board’s main responsibility was however supervision of direct taxation and a number of other taxes.

It was also supervisory authority for such services as Civic Registration and Administration of General Elections. The department responsible for the Enforcement Administration was actually one of the minor roles of the board.

The total number of employees in the Enforcement Service countrywide is around 2,900.

1.2 Public and Private Claims

The Enforcement Administration is responsible for the collection of both public and private claims. Public claims (allmänna mål) are debts to central and local authorities (taxes, VAT, excise duties, social security contributions but also for instance television licenses and parking fines).

Private claims (enskilda mål) are based on judgements by general and administrative courts. But they also include titles based on Summary Procedure of the Enforcement Administration, repossessions and evictions ordinarily based on summary decisions.

The enforcement cases (utsökningsmålen) are based on public claims of several kinds as noted above. The handling of enforcement cases differ. They can mainly be divided into two categories: the first category is claims in which the Regional Enforcement Authority can apply for bankruptcy and decide on its own to stop enforcement procedures.

Concerning for instance foreign taxes the Enforcement Authority does not have that right. are accounted for to the applicant authority when collection is completed. Limitation in the enforcement cases is generally five years from the end of the year the tax originally had to be paid).

1.3 Enforceable judgements, decisions and orders

Enforcement claims in private cases are, as mentioned above, mainly based on court judgements and titles. Judgements of the general courts: the District Court (tingsrätten), the Court of Appeal (hovrätten) and the Supreme Court (Högsta Domstolen) and the Administrative Court (länsrätt, now förvaltningsdomstol), the Administrative Court of Appeal (kammarrätt) and the Administrative Supreme Court (Regeringsrätten, nu Högsta Förvaltningsdomstolen) can all be enforced.

Some private documents can also be enforced as for instance contracts for child and spousal support. The general rules on the enforceable titles can be found in Chapter 4 of the Enforcement Code. For more on codes, acts and statutes see section 4.4 below) but the title or judgement must be legally binding. An important exception to this general rule is that all titles and judgments involving an obligation to pay can be enforced without being legally valid. Default judgements can also be enforced in the same way as injunctions to pay.

Chapter 4 Section 1 contains a more detailed account of rules on the enforcement of various judgements and titles.


December 2, 2017

Dr. Sigfrid Leopold of Snäckestad (in Vanga, northeast of Kristianstad) was born in 1640 in Spremberg, Germany, and is buried in the local churchyard. He emigrated to Sweden and married Helena Broomé (1655 – 1725), who was a daughter of a renowned English chemist, Tomas Broom, who had also emigrated to Sweden in the 17th century.

Dr. Leopold was a medical doctor and influenced by German pietism. Snäckestad developed into a Pietist center in province Scania, southern Sweden, for early Swedish pietism.

One of his sons, Thomas C. Leopold (1693 – 1771) was a Pietist prophet and martyr in Sweden. He served 32 years in prison for his beliefs and died in 1771 in Fortress Bohus, a correctional facility on the Swedish west coast.

Another son of Dr. Leopold was Daniel Leopold (1698 – 1737), who became a customs officer. A son of his, grandson of Dr. Leopold of Snäckestad, Carl Gustaf Leopold (enobled af Leopold; 1756 – 1829) rose to become state secretary of King Gustavus III and a member of the Swedish Academy. He first attracted attention as a poet with ”Ode on the Birth of the Prince-Royal Gustavus Adolphus” in 1778. He was later also private secretary to the king. One of the successes of his was the tragic theatrical play ”Virginia”. C G Leopold also translated the poem ”An die Freude” by Friedrich von Schiller into Swedish. This German poem is now with music from Ludwig von Beethoven (part of the Ninth Symphony) the anthem of the European Union and the European Council.


December 2, 2017


Pietism in the Army of Sweden’s King Charles XII in Siberia from 1709 to 1722 is an important part of the history of pietism in Scandinavia. After the battle of Poltava in 1709 in Ukraine the king and his ally, Ukrainian Hetman Ivan Mazepa managed with a few of their armies to escape to Ottoman territory (present day Moldavia). King Charles left it to his leading generals to decide if the main Swedish army was to retreat to the Crimean Khanate, an ally of Sweden, to continue the fight, or surrender. The over 20,000 strong army including almost 2,000 women and children did surrender and the captives were marched by foot to Moscow to be humiliated in a march through the Russian capital guarded by Russian officers and soldiers. After this end to the march from the village of Perevolochna to Moscow the prisoners were divided up. A great part was sent to the capital of Siberia, Tobolsk, while others were forced to work in the newly established Russian shipyards at St. Petersburg on the Baltic Sea and Voronets on the Black Sea.

Many of the prisoners, their wives and children died during the years in captivity and it is estimated that only 25 percent of them could return to Sweden in 1722 after the Peace Treaty at Nystad, Finland, was signed in 1721.

The First Contacts

In his thesis ”Yttre kyla och inre glöd – Pietismen bland Karl XII:s Karoliner i Sibirien 1709-1722” (Freezing Outside and Fire inside – Pietism among the Army of Charles XII in Siberia 1709-1722) in history of theology Marcus Johansson has in 2012 (University of Stockholm) brought to life the harrowing experience of the soldier families in Tobolsk and how they reached out for spiritual guidance to the leading pietist in Germany, August Hermann Francke of Halle.

Johansson in his work has studied both published and unpublished material. He concludes that the evangelical movement had its origin in the piety of the Swedish soldiers of the age combined with their situation of deprivation in captivity. The spiritual origins came from Halle and German pietism. The focus was on conversion, struggle against sin and participation in conventicles combined with social activities in education in a school that in practice was a children’s home. Bible reading was important, the views concerning divine retribution and the belief that grace only could save man. The representatives of the state Church of Sweden allowed the pietists in Tobolsk to express their religious belief as long as it did not compete with Lutheran orthodoxy.

Pietism, Francke and the Swedish Prisoners

Pietism began with Philipp Jakob Spener (1635 – 1705), who was born in Alsace and had a devout Christian upbringing. in Rappoltsweiler, a village in upper Alsace, northwest of what is present day Colmar, France. He was raised by his devout Christian and pious parents, and entered the University of Strassburg in 1651 and completed his studies in 1659. After that he did some travelling, first to Basel in Switzerland, and then to Geneva, Switzerland. Here, he listened to the preachings of French reformed preacher Jean de Labadie (1610 – 1674) who was calling for a true belief and holy living.

In 1675 he published his Pia desideria proposing reform. Firstly he suggested a greater emphasis and use of the Bible, including institute small group Bible studies. The second proposal was about the priesthood. Thirdly he wrote that knowledge of Christian doctrine was not enough, for Christianity consisted also of practice. The unbelievers and heretics should be prayed for, corrected with loving admonition and led back to Christianity by living a godly example of the Christian life was the fourth proposal. This approach should be used instead of disputation, polemics and virulent personal attacks. Fifthly, universities and schools should encourage godly, instead of worldly, living amongst their students. The sixth proposal was that sermons should be written with the goal of instilling faith and its fruits in the listener to the greatest possible degree. There was generally a very positive public response to the book, but also opposition.

In 1686 Spener was called to become court preacher in Saxony. Shortly after the arrival in Dresden Spener was informed about a conventicle which was administered by August Hermann Francke (1663 – 1727) and Paul Anton (1661 – 1730). Francke had studied at Leipzig University and later lectured there but his employment was terminated and conventicles were forbidden by the Saxon government.

Later Francke was ordained as pastor in Erfurt but had to leave the city in 1691. Soon thereafter he was called to Halle and appointed professor of Greek and Oriental languages. Halle would later be known around the world as a center of pietism. It was in Halle that Francke started to develop his famous foundations. He started a school for poor children and later in 1696 an orphanage, a hospital, a bookstore, a home for widows, a library, a bakery, a brewery and an art museum. A print shop for bibles was opened in 1697. In 1710 a Bible Institute was created and the world’s first Bible Society. Pietism in Scandinavia first took hold in Denmark and Francke helped the Danes to send missionaries to the trading post of Tranquebar, India.

In 1713 nine Swedish officers imprisoned in Tobolsk had written to Francke in Halle requesting aid in education, medical facilities, and libraries. He was positive and provided money, medicine, books and equipment. This resulted in the creation of pietist institutions for the prisoners in Tobolsk. Swedish soldiers started to carry devotional booklets written by Francke and printed in Halle. When he passed away in 1727, the pietist movement had been born and continued to thrive.

The short overview above is based on The Rise of German Pietism in the 17th Century by James Paulgaard. It is available on Internet but was first published as a thesis in History 285.6, University of Saskatchewan, Canada, December 1,1998.

Halle was earlier in East Germany and during the Soviet occupation until 1989 – 1991 the foundations of Francke suffered great damage from neglect. They were restored in the 1990s and Halle now houses a study center, libraries and archives devoted to Pietism and the Early Enlightenment. The large orphanage is once more in perfect condition.

Swedish Explorers of Siberia 1700 – 1761

The Great Northern War (1700 – 1721) ended catastrophically for Sweden. After initial successes the main Swedish army was defeated in Ukraine. The Swedish prisoners in Tobolsk in Siberia in many cases contributed to the exploration of the region. Some returned to Sweden and others joined and remained in Russian service.

Commander Waxell (see below), for instance, joined the Russian Navy after the Great Northern War in 1725.

Halle pietism had a representative in Moscow, Pastor Ulrich Thomas Roloff. The Swedish Cavalry Captain Curt Friedrich von Wreech, who had been converted to pietism, founded a school in Tobolsk in the spirit of Francke (see above). This took place in 1713/14. The German preacher and founder of pietist institutions also sent Christoph Eberhard (1675-1750) as pastor to the prisoners in Tobolsk. Eberhard and Wreech published reports on the prisoners from 1718-1725.

Many of the reports of the Swedes on Siberia preceded those of the two Germanled Russian Siberian expeditions of Daniel Georg Messerschmidt (1685-1735) and Georg Wilhelm Steller (1709-1746). Von Stralenberg took part in the Messerschmidt expedition.

Commander Sven Larsson Waxell

Born in Stockholm 1701. Father: Lorenz Waxell, innkeeper. Mother: Christina Waxell, born Sandberg.

Waxell, born too late to participate in the Russian-Ukrainian campaign of King Charles XII, served first in the British navy but travelled to Russia in 1725, joined the Russian navy and rose to mate. Participated with among others German natural scientist Georg Wilhelm Steller under Dane Vitus Bering in the Russian Imperial Great Northern Expedition, that discovered Alaska. It was Waxell who saved the crew of one of Bering’s ships when stranded on Bering Island. After returning to St.Petersburg after the expedition was completed Waxell commanded several Russian naval ships between 1751 to 1761. Promoted to Commander he was stationed at the Kronstadt Naval Station. Waxell died on 14 February 1761. His son Lars (Lavrentiy) Waxell, who had also joined the expedition at the age of 12, was along with the two other sons, Vasiliy and Saveliy, knighted in Russia in 1778. Professor Lönnberg (see underneath) in 1907 corresponded with a Russian Imperial Chamberlain de Waxell, who claimed to be a descendant of Sven Larsson Waxell.

Source: Professor Einar Loennberg, “Sven Larsson Waxell. Ett 200-aarsminne” in Yearbook of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 1941, pp. 259 – 299.

Lt. Colonel Philip Johan Stralenberg

Born in Stralsund, then Swedish Pomerania. Produced the first reliable map of Siberia. Returned to Sweden from Russia after 1721. Promoted to Lt.Colonel. In 1740 appointed Commander at Karlshamn, Province of Blekinge, Sweden. Died 1747 and is buried in Getinge, Province of Halland, Sweden.

In 1730 his geographical work on the northern and eastern parts of Europe and Asia was published. Later it was translated into English, French, Spanish and Russian. Stralenberg was with Daniel Gottlieb Messerschmidt (1685 – 1735) on his Siberian expedition with Karl Gustaf Schulman

Literature: Einar Bratt, “Karolinen Philip Johan von Stralenberg och hans sibiriska karta” in Meddelanden från Kungl. Armemuseum, 1966.

Cavalry Captain Petter Schönström

Schoenstroem lived for ten years in a city on the River Kama. He cooperated with Stralenberg collecting data for the Siberian map.

Literature: Carl Hallendorff, “Petter Schönströem och Stralenbergs karta” in Yearbook Ymer, 1925.

Lorents Lange

Lange was a Swede in German service. He accompanied the British surgeon Thomas Garvine on an expedition to China. Wrote a diary published in Das veränderte Russland by Friedrich Christian Weber. Lange made six journeys to China. He stayed in Siberia and was appointed Vice Governor in Irkutsk and wrote six diaries. One, covering the years 1720- 1722, was published in French and German in 1726. The Swedish author August Strindberg in 1878 in Historiskt bibliotek published a Lange biography. The origin of Lange is shrouded in mystery. Born in the 1690s his name has not been found in the Swedish army muster rolls.

Sergeant-Major of Artillery Johan Gustaf Renat 

Sergeant-Major Renat came to Tobolsk 1715 and joined a Russian expedition to Central Asia. He eturned to Sweden 1733 after spending a long time in Kalmykia. Renat did not write on his experiences but there is an exchange of letters between Bishop Benzelius and Renat (on Benzelius see elsewhere in these notes). Renat brought back to Sweden two Chinese maps of Eastern Central Asia captured by the Kalmyks (they are now in the Uppsala University Library).

Literature: Hans Krook, “Karolinen Johan Gustaf Renat och hans kartor” in Yearbook Ymer 1948. Renat´s military service record is in Biografica, National Military Archives, Stockholm.

Corporal Heinrich Busch

Tsar Peter decided during the Great Northern War that Swedish prisoners of war, who had navigational experience and knowledge, were to be sent to the Russian Far East. Busch started as a sailor in the Swedish navy but later joined the cavalry. Captured at Viborg (now Russian Vyborg) Busch joined an expedition under Kozak Kozun Sokolov which in May 1714 reached Yakutsk and in July1714 Ochotsk at the coast. A ship was built and the group sailed north in July 1716. It reached Ola and drifted to Kamchatka. After overwintering the expedition went to sea again in May 1717 and returned to Ochotsk in July that year.

Lieutenant Ambjörn Molin, North Scanian Cavalry, Swedish Army

Molin left Tobolsk in July 1716 and returned in December 1718. He took part in a Siberian expedition and was involved in shipbuilding on the Sea of Ochotsk. When returning to Sweden he wrote, on request of Archbishop Erik Benzelius, the younger, on Tartars in northeastern Asia.

Captain Johan Bernhard Müller, Karelian Dragoon Squadron, Swedish Army

Mueller joined a Greek-Orthodox missionary expedition led by the Metropolit of Siberia and Tobolsk, Filofey Lechtunskiy. It lasted for three months. Müller was in Russian service and ended his career as First Commissar.

Literature: Johan Bernhard Mueller, Das Leben und Gewohnheiten der Ostiaken (Berlin 1720).

Second Lieutenant Johan Christoffer Schnitzker, Gyllenstierna´s Dragoons, Swedish Army

Schnitzker joined Russian service and in 1712-1714 escorted a Chinese diplomatic mission through Russian territory to the Kalmykian Khan in Saratov on the Volga. Schnitzker rose in the ranks to Lt.Colonel but returned to Sweden after the peace in 1721.

Literature: Johan Christoffer Schnitzker, Beraettelse om Ajuchiniska Calmuckiet (Stockholm 1744).

Fortification Officer Johan Anton Matern

Matern cooperated with Stralenberg. He was allowed in 1715 to travel from Tobolsk to Tomsk and back.

Quartermaster Daniel Capell and artist Karl Gustaf Schulman

Capell and Schulman joined the Daniel Gottlieb Messerschmidt Russian Siberian expedition. Capell died on the way. In 1721 Stralenberg and Schulman found inscriptions of an unknown kind at a tributary to the river Yenitsey. Schulman copied the inscriptions. The secret of the Old Turkic inscriptions was in the 19th century solved by the Danish linguist Vilhelm Thomsen , who concluded that they were in a Turkic “runic” script. Unfortunately little is known about Schulman’s life and later career.

Stralenberg (or Messerschmidt) were the first to classify languages in Finno-Ugrian, Samoyedic, Tungusic and Turkic. They presumed these languages belonged to the “Tartar” language. In reality they belong to the Altai languages. The classification, however, preceded Judge William Jones classification of Indo-European languages in 1786.


Bertil Häggman is an attorney and author born in 1940 in Helsingborg, Sweden. He received his Master in Law degree at the University of Lund, Sweden, in 1964. From 1969 he was a Senior Enforcement Service Officer and Enforcement Service Officer, Sweden, 1969 – 2001 serving first as Assistant Judge, Sweden, 1967 – 1969.



Franck, Margit, 1988: Karolinernas skola i Tobolsk. I: Karolinska Förbundets Årsbok. 1987.

Furseth, Inger & Repstad, Pål, 2005: Religionssociologi. En introduktion. 2005.

Halldorf, Joel, Av denna världen? Emil Gustafson, moderniteten och den evangelikala väckelsen. 2012.

Hanson, Bradley, Modern Christian Spirituality: Methodological and Historical Essays. 1990.

Hellgren, Lars, Fromhetslivet bland karoliner i Ryssland och Sibirien. I: Julhälsningar till församlingarna i Göteborgs stift. 1997.

Hope, Nicholas, German and Scandinavian Protestantism 1700 to 1918. 1995.

Källström, Arvid, Bidrag till den svenska pietismens historia. 1894.

Matthias, Markus, August Hermann Francke (1663-1727). I: The Pietist Theologians. An Introduction to Theology in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries. 2005.

Nordbäck, Carola, Samvetets röst. Om mötet mellan luthersk ortodoxi och konservativ pietism i 1720-talets Sverige. 2004.

Odenvik, Nathan, August Hermann Francke – ett trosliv, verksamt genom kärlek. 1945.

Ward, William Reginald, The Protestant Evangelical Awakening. 1992.

Early Evangelicalism – A Global Intellectual History, 1670-1789. 2006.

Swedish Explorers of Siberia

Professor Alf Åberg, Fångars elände – Karolinerna i Ryssland 1700 – 1723, Stockholm 1991 (on Swedish prisoners of war in Russia during the Great Northern War).

Ambassador Gunnar Jarring, “Edvin Petrovich Zinner om de karolinska krigsfångarnas insatser för utforskandet av Sibirien”, Yearbook of Karolinska Förbundet (KFÅ) 1979 – 1980.

Yuri Semyonov, Sven Waxell och den skandinaviska insatsen i Sibirien (1953).

Yuri Semyonov, Die Eroberung Sibiriens (1955). Semyonov lived in Berlin during the Second World War and cooperated with the prominent Bavarianborn German geopolitician General von Niedermayer, who was a professor in the German capital. The Russian LL.D Semyonov later settled in Sweden and lectured at the University of Uppsala, Sweden, until retirement. For more on Semyonov see Theo Hartman’s article on the Carl Schmitt reception in Sweden (Schmittiana 1998).

Catalogue Pietas Hallensis Universalis – Weltweite Beziehungen der Frankeschen Stiftungen im 18. Jahrhundert. 1995.

Catalogue Die Grosse Nordische Expedition – Georg Wilhelm Steller (1709-1746) – Ein Lutheraner erforscht Sibirien und Alaska – Eine Ausstellung der Frankeschen Stiftungen zu Halle. 1996 (information on Waxell, Stralenberg, and Lange).
Bertil Häggman, “Pietism and Exploration of Siberia – Sweden’s Role 1709 to 1761”, International Conference “Daniel Gottlieb Messerschmidt (1685 – 1735) – Europa entdeckt Sibirien. Erforschung Sibiriens seit dem frühen 18. Jahrhundert und die Bedeutung für die europäische Wissenwelt”, Halle, November 12 – 16, 2014.


December 2, 2017

Washington Times on November 20, 2017, published a commentary by Ilan Berman, a leading US foreign policy expert on what is actually the main political problem in the Middle East. Excerpts below:
Iran is on the march in the Middle East.

…accounts out of Iraq, Lebanon and beyond has pointed to an inescapable conclusion: Iran is erecting a new empire in the region.

Already three years ago, the contours of Iran’s regional ambitions were coming into focus. With the seizure of Yemen’s capital, Sana’a, by the country’s Iranian-supported Houthi rebels in the fall of 2014, the Islamic Republic of Iran could effectively claim control of four Arab regional capitals (including Beirut, Damascus and Baghdad).

Since then, Tehran’s grip on those territories has only tightened. In Syria, Iran’s strategic footprint has expanded steadily, to the point at which Tehran is now reportedly planning a permanent military presence in the country as part of its partnership with the regime of Bashar Assad.

In Lebanon, working via its chief terrorist proxy, Hezbollah, the Islamic republic has become…dominant in national politics…

Meanwhile in Iraq, Iran’s support for the hashd al-shaabi, the powerful Shiite militias that now dominate the country’s Ministry of Interior, has made it a key stakeholder in (and the most likely winner of) the country’s national elections next year.

And in Yemen, the expanding power of the Houthis, and the threat that they pose to neighboring Saudi Arabia as well as to American forces in the Gulf, has had everything to do with growing political and military support from Tehran.

…Iran’s imperial project is now accelerating in at least two ways.

First, mounting evidence from the Syrian theater indicates that Iran has succeeded in deploying a formidable expeditionary force of fighters there. Historically, Iran’s clerical army, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, has served as the regime’s dedicated foreign legion. But the Syrian civil war has provided Iranian officials with an opportunity to marshal a supplemental cadre of irregular fighters and “volunteers,” drawn from Iraq’s Shiite militias as well as places like Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen.

The result is a secondary Iranian proxy force that, according to some estimates, could number as many as 200,000 men under arms, and which can be deployed by Tehran to other theaters in the future, once the war in Syria dies down.
Second, Iran has succeeded in establishing resupply routes to funnel both personnel and materiel to the Levant….Iran’s growing control over Iraq via the Hashd al-Shaabi has created a land corridor that provides a direct transport link into Syria for Iranian forces and arms. This has been supplemented by an “air bridge” of flights spearheaded by Iran’s national air carrier, Iran Air, which has helped to ferry both guerrillas and Guardsmen to the Syrian front. The end result is a zone of Iranian control stretching from territorial Iran all the way to the Eastern Mediterranean.

What has made all this possible? A large portion of the blame rests with the 2015 nuclear deal concluded between Iran and the P5+1 powers. That agreement proffered enormous economic benefits to the Islamic Republic in hopes that, over time, it would lead to a moderation of the Iranian regime. Instead, the opposite has happened. The extensive sanctions relief built into the deal has provided Iran’s ailing economy a much-needed fiscal shot in the arm, and freed up funds that Iran has poured into its proxy forces and its military modernization efforts.

Today, policymakers in Washington remain preoccupied with degrading and defeating the Islamic State terrorist group in Iraq and Syria. As a result, they have paid scant attention to how other regional actors might be empowered by our counterterrorism fight.

Comment: Iran is a long-time challenger of the West. The Persian Sassanian empire has been the organizational model (third to seventh century AD) for the Islamic Iranian state. The statecraft offered a bureaucracy, an effective military system and diplomacy intelligence. Muslim rule is built on classical Persian documentation such as the tenth century Book of Kings and the epic Shahnama.

The Sassanian empire was centered on a Persian “power state”. The Book of Government (seyasat-nameh) by Nizam al-Mulk (d. 1092 AD) was prepared as aid to helping sustain fundamentalist Islam, but the origin of the work is completely Iranian.

Persia was also the home to the Assassins (ca 1000 to 1275 AD).

Iran is a megastate and empire on the world island. It is the home of endemic conspiracy thinking. The coastline in the south constitutes half of the Arabian Gulf. With Oman it controls the vital Strait of Hormuz.

Russia was for a long time a provider of arms to Iran. Moscow has also since the 1990s provided Iran with nuclear materials and technology for missile systems. Iran also has military cooperation with North Korea despite. Another threat to the West (including Israel) is that Iran is actively seeking Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). Hezbollah and Hamas are terrorist partners of Iran.