Christiern Pedersen, born in Helsingør, Denmark ca. 1480 and he died 16th January 1554 in Helsinge.
A man of many labels, Canon, Humanist-Scholar, Writer, Printer and Publisher.
Went to School in Roskilde and studied from 1496 on the University of Greifswald. Received a baccalaureate-degree form there in 1498 and is from 1505 known to have been a Canon with the Lund Cathedral.
Went to study at the University of Paris, 1508-1515, where he in 1511 got a Master of Arts degree. During his stay in Paris he soon got the taste for writing, translating and publishing. In that time Paris was the undisputed capital of the still new Printed Press. Fiddling first with the idea of publishing a new Latin-to-Danish lexicon, which he himself wrote, to replace the way over-due 300-year-old French-made Latin compendium (“Alexanders Doktrinale”) still used as standard in the schools of Denmark. He personally knew it all to well.
And so in 1510 he published a new Latin-Danish lexicon, called Vocabularium ad usum Dacorum .
Soon a much larger idea formed in him. He wanted to re-publish the huge 300-year-old chronicle of Denmark, Gesta Danorum, made by one Saxo. Only one problem, where is the original manuscript?
By that time most knowledge of this work came from a summery called Compendium Saxonis located in Chronica Jutensis, of ca. 1342. Un-doubtful this is also from where Christiern Pedersen knew of it.
Christiern Pedersen began to send letters to friends all over Denmark, to try and locate the original Saxo work. All to no avail, friend after friend, monastery after monastery, bishop after bishop could not help him. They either did not have it or did not want to release it to him.
He finally himself travelled to Denmark to search though libraries and monasteries, but still could not find one.
Unexpected a letter arrived from Archbishop Birger Gunnersen of Lund that said that he had found a copy in his district and it would be made available to Christiern Pedersen.
With the help of Jodocus Badius Ascensius (also known as 'Josse Bades'), which relationship with Christiern Pedersen had now grown to more than just a professional one, they published this new work-over of Gesta Danorum, titled Danorum Regum heroumque Historiae, 15th March 1514, in Paris.
This is today the oldest known complete copy of Saxo’s Gesta Danorum.
Returned to Lund and worked for Archbishop Birger Gunnersen and in 1522 became Kanzler with the new Archbishop, Johann Wess . Lost some of the reputation he had gained for his work, under the successor of the Archbishop, Aage Sparre . He was among other things accused of treason. Christiern Pedersen left for Germany. As he was loyal to King Christian II, he followed him in exile to Netherlands in 1526, after meeting him in Berlin, where he spend the next five years in the then Dutch city of Lier.
He did not return to Denmark before 1532, and got permission to settle in Malmø, where he opened a Printed Press shop. Anyway his nobility ‘friends’ did not like too much his continually loyalty toward the now fallen King Christian II and it did not get better when later he active participated in the Civil War (Grevens Fejde ) on the losers side.
During his stay in Netherlands, 1529, he renounced his Catholicism (and his Canon status) and became Lutheran.
Married Else Jacobsdatter in 1534 in Malmø, who dies during childbirth in 1539. Sold his Printed press shop and moved to Copenhagen in 1541.
During these years he translated, what was to become the crown of his life work, which sometimes earns him the title ‘the father of Danish literature’, the Bible to Danish. Finished in 1543 but first published in 1550. This work, Biblia, is not only a masterpiece of translation, but also technical a work of wonder, with excellent done graphics and woodcuts. This is the first complete Danish Bible translation. It was printed by Ludwig Dietz in 3000 copies.
He live the last 10 years of his life, tho sick, but still working, with relatives in Helsinge.
Of notable works from Christiern Pedersen we find;
- 1510, Vocabularium ad usum Dacorum (A Latin-to-Danish Lexicon)
- 1514, Danorum Regum heroumque Historiae (re-publishing of Saxo's Gesta Danorum)
- 1515, "Jærtegnspostil"
- 1529, "Det Ny Testamente" (A translation of the New Testament)
- 1533, "Nøttelig Legebog faar Fattige och Rige Unge och Gamle" (A medical book)
- 1534, "Karl Magnus Krønike" (A free re-write of Charlemagne legends)
- 1534, "Kong Holger Danskes Krønike" (A free re-write based on the French 15th century 'Ogier le Dannoys')
- 1550, "Biblia - Christian d.3.s Bibel" (Translation of the Bible,- this is the first complete Danish Bible translation)
Additional a reversed edition of the Danish ‘Rimkrøniken’ and a Danish translation of Saxo’s Gesta Danorum. It was never published and was lost in the Copenhagen University-library fire of 1728.
He has published and/or written many other smaller things.
- Apoteker Sibbernsens Saxobog, C. A. Reitzels Forlag, Copenhagen, 1927
- Anders Sørensen Vedel , Den Danske Krønicke Saxo-oversættelse 1575 udgivet i facimile af Det danske Sprog- og Litteraturselskab, G. E. C Gad, Copenhagen, 1967
- Helle Stangerup, Saxo Hans værk – Hans verden, Høst & Søn forlag 2004, ISBN 87-14-29949-6