Den statskloka resan: Adelns peregrinationer 1610–1680
- Location: Humanistiska teatern, Thunbergsvägen 3 A, 752 38, Uppsala
- Doctoral student: Winberg, Ola
- About the dissertation
- Organiser: Historiska institutionen
- Contact person: Winberg, Ola
This thesis deals with foreign travel undertaken by the Swedish nobility during the 17th century. The first part contains a close examination of Swedish university orationes on the importance of foreign travel.
The focal point of these speeches is prudentia, ‘prudence’, ‘practical judgement’, ‘discretion’, which is considered to be indispensably necessary for statesmen, and preferably acquired by traveling abroad.
The second part of the thesis deals with traveling in practice. Journals, letters and accounts are scrutinized in order to map where the travellers went, and how much time and money they spent in various places and on different activities. The results show that the more or less compulsory studies at Dutch and German universities were combined with exercitia, i. e. physical exercises, most prominently dancing, fencing and riding. From the 1620s France became more important, and also, from the 1640s, Italy. As their British, Danish, Dutch and German peers, the Swedish noblemen after their sojourn in Paris visited the Loire valley and also made Il giro d’Italia. The growing importance of Paris became evident from the middle of the century: Although it proved extremely expensive, the noblemen spent as much time as possible in the French capital, which was by now compendium orbis, the place where everything desirable in the world was to be found, where exercitia of the best kind flourished and where exquisite manners could be acquired.
The third part of the thesis studies how the travellers acted when they arrived at home. A study relating to the 1660s demonstrates that a returning grand tourist had to spend a considerable amount of money on conspicuous consumption to reinstate himself in the society and position himself as a liable state servant and marriage partner.
A general result of the thesis is that traveling undertaken by the nobility formed a part of the 17th century state building process and that it was used as a means of competition both within the nobility and between the nobility and the rapidly growing class of bourgeois civil servants.