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Elias Lonnrot
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    (April 9, 1802-March 19, 1884)
    Born in Sammatti, Finland
    Author, physician and botanist
    Co-founded Finnish Literature Society (1831)
    Compiled the Kalevala, the national epic of Finland (1835, 1849)
    Also wrote 'Kantele' (1829), 'Kanteletar' (1840), 'Sananlaskuja' (1842), and 'Flora Fennica' (1860)
    Compiled first Finnish-Swedish dictionary (1866-1880)
    Wrote 'Flora Fennica' (1860), the first scientific work published in the Finnish language
    Last name used as an author abbreviation in botany indicating an individual as the author when citing a botanical name
    Died in Sammatti, Finland
    He got married at the age of 47.
    His wife was 21 years younger than him.
    He financed his travel budget with money obtained from card playing.
    He loved to drink heavily at times.
    As a doctor, he often prescribed traditional methods of healing to his patients due to the expensive cost of medicine.
    His academic work caused undesirable linguistic division within his own family, what with his son conversing to him in Finnish while his wife and daughters talked to him in Swedish.
    Ironically, he spoke Finnish very rarely during his later years despite being considered the second father of written Finnish.
    Some biographers criticized him for his lack of understanding of complex phenomena like theater, philosophy, and refined poetry.
    He was one of the first scholars to speak and write in both Swedish and Finnish.
    He helped contribute to the establishment of a distinct Finnish identity.
    His work in linguistics resulted in Finnish scientific words sounding Finnish rather than having Greek or Latin etymologies.
    He eventually stopped drinking and founded Finland's first temperance society.
    His son died of meningitis, one of his daughters died of diphtheria, and his wife and two of their daughters died of tuberculosis.
    His university studies in Turku were disrupted by a fire that forced him to complete them in Helsinki. (1832)
    The Kalevala inspired J. R. R. Tolkien's 'The Lord of the Rings' and 'The Silmarillion'.
    It also inspired Jean Sibelius to compose 'Kullervo'. (1892)

Credit: Big Lenny

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