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Arngrímur Jónsson the Learned
Arngrímur as depicted on the 10 Icelandic Krónur bank note.

Arngrímur Jónsson the Learned (Icelandic: Arngrímur Jónsson hinn lærði) (1568 – June 27, 1648) was an Icelandic scholar and an apologist.

In 1593 he published Brevis commentarius de Islandia, a "Defense of Iceland" in Latin, in which he criticized the works of numerous authors who had written about the people and the country of Iceland. His main target was a poem by Gories Peerse, a merchant who had written an entertaining and somewhat slanderous poem about Icelandic geography and ethnography. Arngrímur also, however, criticized substantial works such as the Cosmographie of German scholar Sebastian Münster.

His critique, Brevis commentarius de Islandia, was reprinted in 1598 in Richard Hakluyt's Principal Navigations of the English Nation. This defense of Iceland and subsequent works were important for introducing European scholars to the ancient literature of Iceland and the richness of the manuscripts present there.

It also played a formative role in the development of European nationalism, participating in the ethnographic insult and counterinsult by which European countries came to distinguish themselves in print.

In his historical writings Arngrímur had access to texts no longer extant, most importantly a large fragment of Skjöldunga saga which was later lost completely. His works on legendary Danish and Swedish kings are the most important evidence for the contents of the lost saga.

He is pictured on the now obsolete Icelandic 10 krónur banknote. See Icelandic króna.


  • Brevis commentarius de Islandia
  • Crymogæa, an apologetic writing in which Arngrímur defends Iceland
  • Supplementum Historiæ Norvegicæ
  • Rerum Danicarum fragmenta
  • Ad catalogum regum Sveciæ annotanda
  • Anatome Blefkeniana
  • Epistola pro patria defensoria
  • Apotribe virulentæ et atrocis calumniæ
  • Athanasia (in memory of Guðbrandur Þorláksson)
  • Specimen Islandiæ historicum
  • Gronlandia
  • Arngrimi Jonae opera latine conscripta, ed. by Jakob Benediktsson, Bibliotheca Arnamagnaeana, 9-12, 4 vols. (Copenhagen 1950-57)

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