Kuvalähde: Suomen Kansallismuseo.
PORTHAN, HENRIK GABRIEL
(1739 - 1804)
historian, docent in oratory, honorary counsellor, "the father of Finnish history writing"
 

Henrik Gabriel Porthan (1739-1804), known as the father of Finnish history writing, was born in Viitasaari as the son of a clergyman, but studies took him a long way away from Central Finland. Porthan graduated as a Master of Arts from the Academy of Turku in 1760. His research and teaching work was very extensive. He was appointed docent in oratory (Latin) in 1762. In addition he gave occasional lectures in such fields as philosophy, pedagogy and history. Porthan was a competent historical researcher and folklorist. He published as a Latin series of dissertations research studies on Finnish folklore, language and history. In his dissertation series De poesi Fennica he rejected the idea that Finnish and Hebrew were related, studied the ancient faith held by the Finns, published an investigation into dialects of the Finnish language and expounded on Finnish folklore in a pioneering fashion. Furthermore he wrote on the subject of Finnish superstitions. In 1770 he and his friends founded the Aurora Society in Turku and edited Finland's first newspaper 'Tidningar Utgifne af Et Sällskap i Åbo' which the society published. Porthan also took part in the founding of Suomen Talousseura, a society concerned with economic affairs, in 1797.


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