COLLeGIUM: Studies across Disciplines in the Humanities and Social Sciences


COLLeGIUM is a scholarly, open-access journal published by the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, a research institute for advanced study in the humanities and social sciences at the University of Helsinki. The journal consists of electronic volumes written or edited by the Fellows of the Collegium. The first volume appeared in June 2006 and the second volume in July 2007. All studies published in the series are internationally refereed.

ISSN 1796-2986


Recent Submissions

  • Unknown author (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2015)
  • Unknown author (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2015)
  • Isoaho, Mari (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2015)
  • Kuismin, Anna (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2015)
    Efraim Lindgren (1834–1909), a modest country tailor from south-western Finland, produced a curious chronicle around 1880. Lindgren started by copying annals from Ajantieto, the list of historical events published as an appendix to the Hymnal of the Finnish Lutheran Church. Yet the closer he came to his own time, the less concerned he was with ‘big’ history. Instead, local events and the chronicler’s own life became his main interests. This article explores the biographical and cultural contexts of Lindgren’s chronicle. It also touches upon sources of historical consciousness among the non-elite and unschooled in nineteenth-century Finland.
  • Kivistö, Sari (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2015)
    This article focuses on the tradition of false chronicles in the early modern period, presenting some famous impostors and forgers, their motives, methods and justifications for their work. One interesting figure in the history of forgeries was Alfonso Ceccarelli (1532–1583), a medical doctor who, in order to acquire easy money, began composing fictive historical documents such as family trees that traced a family’s roots to important bishops, popes and ancient heroes. To give credibility to these fictive genealogies, Ceccarelli compiled historical manuscripts, which he passed off as genuine documents, and he referred to non-existent chronicles to verify his claims. When his frauds and forgeries were finally revealed and he was publicly accused in court, Ceccarelli confessed that he had indeed created many kinds of documents, but he appealed to his good intentions and insisted that when he added something to an old book, he justified it by adding truth. Ceccarelli’s case is particularly fascinating because he was severely punished for his forgeries; before his death he produced an apology that questioned the distinctions between true and false histories. This article argues that Ceccarelli’s story reveals important conventions in traditional historiography (to use his expression) and broadens our notions of the functions and significance of such falsifications in rewriting the past.
  • Gejrot, Claes (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2015)
    This article deals with the Diarium Vadstenense, a Liber memorialis originating in Vadstena, the abbey founded by Saint Birgitta of Sweden. Written by a succession of Birgittine friars, this parchment manuscript is still preserved in its original form. It records internal, monastic events from the founding of the abbey in the second half of the fourteenth century to the time the last brother left the community, after the Reformation. Glimpses from the world outside the abbey are seen here and there throughout the text. However, during a central part of the fifteenth century, some of the entries were extended, and the writing changes character. These texts can be seen as a more or less continuous chronicle, tendentiously describing the complicated political situation in Sweden in the 1460s, a time marked by wars and conflicts. Indeed, parts of the texts were so controversial that they were later (partly) erased by a cautious medieval ‘editor’. The focus in this article will be on the time frame when the text was written, the personal views and opinions of the writers, confidentiality, political bias and censorship.
  • Bagge, Sverre (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2015)
    The radical difference between the past and the present is mostly regarded as an invention of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, which marks the origin of the modern understanding of history. Does this mean that in the Middle Ages there was no idea of the past being different? The article will examine this question on the basis of one text, Snorri Sturluson’s Heimskringla, which deals with the history of the Norwegian dynasty from Roman times until 1177. The focus will be on two events, the introduction of Christianity and the unification of the kingdom under one king.
  • Guimon, Timofey V. (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2015)
    The article is dedicated to a detailed study of a selected series of events reported by Rus’ chroniclers from the eleventh to the early fourteenth centuries.1* Items of information contained in the Primary Chronicle, as well as in the Laurentian, Hypatian (to 1200) and First Novgorodian (to 1352) Chronicles are catalogued, classified and analysed as a means of reflecting on guidelines that the chroniclers might have followed. Firstly, remarks on different kinds of events are counted in each chronicle and the percentages compared; this gives a general impression of the interests of the Old Rus’ chroniclers. Secondly, the distribution of four kinds of remarks (events in princely families, changes of ecclesiastical hierarchs, the building of churches, natural phenomena and disasters) is studied in connection with the history of the texts. In general, the analysis corroborates Mark Aleshkovsky’s point that recording these ‘non-political’ events is typical of the annalists who describe the present or recent past (those who wrote on the distant past dealt mostly with political events). But in some cases the situation seems more complicated: the repertoire of events reported in a chronicle could depend on the personal attitudes of annalists or their patrons, as well on the activity of a later compiler or reviser.
  • Bobrov, Aleksandr G. (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2015)
    The article deals with predictions of the future in the Old Rus’ chronicles. From the point of view of the chroniclers, Christian saints and other godly persons had the divine gift of knowing future events. By contrast, predictions by their enemies were always wrong because God resisted their prophecies. Only an enemy who converted to Orthodoxy could have the gift of prophecy. Yet surprisingly, according to the chroniclers, pagan priests and princes were able to predict the future. Medieval chroniclers repeatedly addressed this issue of foretelling, and they questioned why non-Christians had such a gift. The chroniclers attributed this fact to God’s will, to the desire to tempt people and to demonic possession. Pagans could not only be aware of impending death, but alsp could try to avoid it. Chroniclers understood the future as already existing; nevertheless, knowledge of it could help avoid unwonted accidents. Images of pagans with magic gifts, including the ability to predict the future, might demonstrate the chroniclers’ religious dualism.
  • Isoaho, Mari (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2015)
    The Primary Chronicle of Kiev was largely influenced by the popular apocalypse known as the Revelation of Pseudo-Methodius. Embracing an historical view of the Revelation, the later chronicler connected the catastrophes and wars during his lifetime with a larger concept in which the end of the world was attentively awaited. In this scene the nomadic tribe with mastery over the Eurasian steppes at the time, the Polovtsy – better known in the west as Cumans – were seen as the Ishmaelites, a nation whose onslaught was a prelude to events preceding the end of the world. In this article I will discuss the Revelation’s crucial theme, namely the Last Emperor, as treated in the Primary Chronicle. I argue that the role of the Last Emperor was invested in two warlords of the Polovtsy wars: first, in Prince Svyatopolk (ruled 1093–1113), whose Christian name, Michael, had vital significance and even pre-ordained his faith as shown in the Chronicle; and second, after Svyatopolk’s death in 1113, in his follower, Vladimir Monomakh (ruled 1113–25), who was of Greek descent.
  • Wahlgren, Staffan (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2015)
    In this article I will discuss the presentation of the past and, to some extent, the present (or immediate past) in selected Byzantine chronicles of the ninth and tenth centuries, from prosopographical-political, geographical and other perspectives. Particular emphasis will be placed on the Chronicle of Theophanes the Confessor and the Chronicle of Symeon the Logothete. My main contention will be that changes in a narrative’s form can, to a considerable degree, explain why the knowledge therein is so different in each text. In other words, how a text is organised decides the kind of information it will contain, and therefore, the value of a text as an historical document is very much dependent upon its form.
  • Kahlos, Maijastina (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2015)
    Late Antiquity from the third to the sixth centuries was the era of the development of the great Christian narrative, an interpretatio Christiana of the history of humankind. This meant reassessing and relocating past histories, ideas and persons on the historical mental map. In this construction of the past, Christian writers built on the models of the preceding tradition, creating competing chronologies and alternative histories. This article analyses the concept of history conveyed by two Christian fourth- and fifth-century historians, Eusebius of Caesarea and Orosius, and discusses the various ways in which these writers created the Christian past. One of the ways was to determine the greater antiquity of Christianity in comparison to the Greco-Roman tradition. This led Eusebius to develop his synchronistic chronology of the human past in his Chronici canones. In his approach, Eusebius developed further the Greek chronographic tradition for Christian apologetic purposes. Another way was to interpret history as guided by divine providence. For example, for Orosius in his Historiae adversus paganos, the appearance of Christianity in the Roman Empire was part of the divine plan for humankind. The concept of divine providence was also connected with ideas of divine favour and anger. In the world view of ancient Christian writers such as Orosius, divine retribution played an important role in explaining the adversities of humankind. Even though Orosius is usually dismissed in modern scholarship as a crude and unsophisticated historian, his ideas deserve a more nuanced reading. This article argues that both Eusebius and Orosius developed their views of history in contention with other, prevailing views of the past. Both writers aimed to challenge these views – Eusebius with his synchronistic chronology and Orosius with his reappraisal of the entire history of Rome.
  • Isoaho, Mari (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2015)
  • Collis, Robert (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2014)
    This article draws on a rare extant manuscript of the Melissino Rite, preserved in the archives of the Prince Fredrik Masonic Centre in The Hague, as well as on other primary material, in order to examine the pivotal role played by Pyotr Ivanovich Melissino (1726-1797) in forming an Illuminist-Masonic milieu in St. Petersburg from the mid-1760s. Melissino and his high-grade Masonic Rite have hitherto been largely overlooked by scholars, yet this article aims to emphasize the formative influence he played in Russia in creating an “invisible chapter” in which select initiates could embrace currents of Illuminist thought (alchemy, theosophy and Christian Kabbalah in particular). Scholars have principally examined the development of Illuminism in the second half of the eighteenth century within the restricted space of the Chapters of high-degree Freemasonry in France (and to a lesser extent in Germany and other European countries). Little attention has been paid to Illuminism in Russia prior to rise of the Rosicrucian Circle associated with Nikolai Novikov and Johan Schwarz in Moscow in the 1780s. Thus, this article seeks to re-examine the Melissino Rite as part of a pan-European phenomenon, whilst also highlighting its importance within the sizeable aristocratic Masonic milieu in Russia.
  • Artemyeva, Tatiana V.; Mikeshin, Mikhail I. (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2014)