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MARULIC DAYS 2013 in the city of Split in Croatia - COLLOQVIVM MARVLIANVM XXIII
By Darko Žubrinić | Published  05/6/2013 | Croatian Language , Science , Events , Education , Culture And Arts | Unrated
The Heritage of Classical Antiquity in Renaissance Texts

The city of Split, Croatia

Marko Marulić's (1450-1424) memorial plaque on the hause of the Marulić family in Split.
Polaganje vijenca na Marulićevu spomen-ploču (kuća obitelji Marulić): Maja Munivrana, Tamara Tvrtković, Irvin Lukežić

The 2013 COLLOQVIVM MARVLIANVM XXIII, under the title  The Heritage of Classical Antiquity in Renaissance Texts, has been organized by the Split Literary Circle - Marulianum, Split, Croatia, 19-20 April 2013. This international conference was held in the Institute of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts in Split. It was a part of a much larger cultural event, The Marulić Days 2013, named after Marko Marulić 1450-1524 (Marcvs Marvlvs), a Croatian Renaissance writer, who was living in the city of Split.


The Heritage of Classical Antiquity in Renaissance Texts
Organised by: Split Literary Circle – Marulianum
Split, 19-20 April 2013

Institute of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts in Split,
Brothers Radić Square, 7


Moderators: Henry R. Cooper, Jr., and Bratislav Lučin

8.30 Institute of the Croatian Academy

Relja Seferović (Dubrovnik): Ancient Foundations and Contemporary Divagations: Faith and Credibility in the Work Historia Ragusii of John of Ravenna (Iohannes de Ravenna)

Vlado Rezar (Zagreb): The Greek Verses of Damjan Beneša (Damianus Benessa)

Maja Matasović and Ana Oreški (Zagreb): The Ancient and the Christian in the Epic De vita et gestis Christi of Jakov Bunić (Iacobus Bonus)

Neven Jovanović (Zagreb): The Zadar Elephant and Gnat: The Polemic of Nardino Celinese (Nardinus Celineus) and Palladio Fosco (Palladius Fuscus) around 1510.

László Jankovits (Pécs): Janus Pannonius' Andromeda Poem as an Ethopoeia

Milenko Lončar (Zadar): Using Script against Undesirable Readers (II): A Coded Message of Antun Vrančić (Antonius Verantius)

György Palotás (Szeged): Politics and Literature in the Elegies of Mihovil Vrančić (Michael Verantius)

Péter Kasza (Szeged): Lupus in Elegia. About the Literary Context of the Querelae of Mihovil Vrančić (Michael Wrantius)


8.30 Institute of the Croatian Academy

Moderators: Maja Matasović and Neven Jovanović

Bratislav Lučin (Split): Antiquity in Pocket Format: The Codex Miscellaneus of Juraj Benja (Georgius Begna) and Petar Cipiko (Petrus Cepio) (Marc. Lat. XIV 124 [4044])

Tamara Tvrtković (Zagreb): Reflections and Influences of Antiquity on the Genre Inventory of Croatian Latinist Historiography

Divna Mrdeža Antonina (Zadar): Ancient Authors in the Lyrics of Dinko Ranjina

Irvin Lukežić (Rijeka): The Revival of the Ciceronian Myth of Learned Leisure in the Croatian Renaissance Tradition

Henry R. Cooper, Jr. (Bloomington, Indiana): Christian Hebraism in the Renaissance and Reformation: Croatia?

Franz Posset (Beaver Dam, Wisconsin): The “Rock”. Marcus Marulus’ Theological Patrimony Concerning the Interpretation of Mt 16,18: “You are Peter and upon this Rock I will build my Church”

Šime Demo and Jan Šipoš (Zagreb): Marulić's Linguistic Excursions

Branko Jozić (Split): The Two Characters of Marulić: His Attitude to the Classical Heritage


The city of Split, Croatia

Predstavljanje knjige Franza Posseta: Neven Jovanović, Bratislav Lučin, Franz Posset, Mladen Parlov

Predstavljanje knjige Mladena Parlova Propagator fidei (s Marulom na putu): Branko Jozić, Mladen Parlov, Ivan Bodrožić


Henry R. Cooper, Jr.
Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, USA

Christian Hebraism – the study by Christian scholars of the Hebrew language and Jewish texts, especially the Hebrew Bible – was a fundamental part of both the Italian Renaissance and the Protestant Reformation. This paper traces the development of Christian Hebraism from St. Jerome (5th century) to the end of the 16th century. It outlines the explosive growth in Hebrew studies by Christians, which was begun modestly in the mid-fifteenth century by Giovanni Pico della Mirandola and Giannozzo Manetti, but rapidly developed in the sixteenth century by Johannes Reuchlin, Desiderius Erasmus, Phillip Melanchthon, and, for our purposes particularly important, Matija Vlačić Ilirik. By century’s end, however, Christian Hebraism had lost its Renaissance impetus, that is, “the nostalgia for the most ancient testimony,” and was replaced by more scholarly and less religious approaches to Holy Scripture. The paper examines the differing interests in Hebrew language and literature on the part of Roman Catholic, Lutheran, and Reformed figures. And then it endeavors to look more closely at elements of Christian Hebraism in Croatian lands, especially Istria and territories adjacent to Venice, Slovenia, and Hungary, and among Croatian scholars, first and foremost Vlačić, but a few others, as well. Finally the paper speculates upon the question of why, in the otherwise vigorous Croatian Renaissance culture, Christian Hebraism did not flourish among the Croats. Was the “disgust with the present,” which so strongly motivated humanists to plunge deeply into classical Latin, Greek, and ultimately Hebrew sources in search of older and better truths, felt differently by Croatian humanists? Or was the very complex historical, political, religious, and linguistic situation of Croatia in the sixteenth century an impediment to the development of Christian Hebraism there?

Šime Demo and Jan Šipoš
University of Zagreb

Although linguistics as a completely autonomous discipline is, depending on the viewpoint, only about a century or two old, reflections on language are as old as language itself. In older periods, dealing with language was mostly of a pragmatic nature, directed to, for example, surmounting language barriers. However, theorizing motivated by philosophical or ideological concerns was no rarity. A copious, diverse, polyglot and learned oeuvre like that of Marulić constitutes an interesting corpus for the observation of reflections on the eastern Adriatic of medieval Christian and humanist glottological stances. This presentation will discuss the questions of the works of Marulić in which metalanguage can be found, the forms that it takes, the levels of description to which it relates, how frequent and applicable it is in the individual literary kinds, what its purpose is and the worldview tradition it comes from, as well as other questions that necessarily arise in this context.

László Jankovits
University of Pécs

Janus Pannonius’ poem, entitled in the tradition Verba Andromedae, pugnante adversus cetum Perseo, represents the speech of the mythical Ethiopian princess chained to the rock as a sacrifice to the sea monster and watching the hero Perseus fighting the beast. The aim of this paper is to show the role of different ancient sources in the composition of the poem. As well as phrases and ideas in various works by ancient poets, some of the Hellenistic rhetorical manuals used in the school of Janus could provide a generic model for the poem.

The myth of Andromeda is summarized or elaborated in Hyginus, Ovid and Manilius. According to the treatise entitled De ordine docendi ac studendi, written by Janus’ former classmate, the heir to the school, Battista Guarini, all of these authors formed part of the curriculum. In Hyginus’ Fabulae (64) we can find only a summary of the myth. The most detailed rendering can be found in Ovid’s Metamorphoses (4, 665–739); however, Ovid’s narrative focuses on the words and deeds of Perseus, while Andromeda plays a subordinate role. As regards the idea of Janus’ poem, the most likely source is Manilius’ Astronomicon (5, 538–631) where the poet gives a more detailed description of Andromeda’s sympathy for Perseus. As in Janus’ poem, in Manilius’ rendering of the myth there is a strong emphasis on Andromeda’s will to sacrifice herself.

Despite the obvious parallels, however, those sources do not offer a key to the composition of the poem. As many times in Janus’ oeuvre, there is a rhetorical preparatory exercise that could serve as a basis for elaborating the mythical theme, i. e. the ethopoeia, a speech that represents a person through his/her words. The poem seems to fit into the time structure of this exercise. According to the prescriptions of the Hellenistic handbooks, the speech in an ethopoeia begins in the present, then it moves to the past, and it finally hints at the future. The paper will analyse the poem as a subtype of the exercise, namely the pathetic ethopoeia that represents the momentary passions of a person, often evoked by an unexpected event. An ethopoeia can be a monologue or a speech addressed to someone else. Janus mixes these possibilities and utilises other rhetorical devices. In the first part he offers a comparison between the past and the present situation in the form of a monologue. In the second part there follows a speech addressed to Perseus. In this speech Andromeda uses personal topoi in order to show that it is not worth risking the hero’s life in order to rescue her; at the same time the speech is arranged according to the rhetorical means of remotio. Departing from the practice of the regular ethopoeia, in the last part of the speech Andromeda does not suggest the future. Janus leaves open the end of the fight in order to emphasize the passion of love that dominates over fear: whatever her fate, the heroine of the poem wishes only for the survival of her suddenly beloved hero.

Neven Jovanović
University of Zagreb

Ten years ago, in 2003, Lorenzo Calvelli drew our attention to the rediscovery of a codex with the Latin compositions of Nardino Celinese, Italian humanist from Maniago (in Friuli). Nardino’s manuscript is today in Osimo, in the Library of the Instituto Campana, MS 18. L. 13). This codex is interesting for the history of Croatian humanism because Nardino Celinese was a magister publicus in Zadar in approximately the 1508-1521 period, and because several of the compositions are directly related to people of Zadar such as Paula and Saladino Soppe, Cornelia Detrico, Bernardino Gallelli, Palladino Begna, Federico Grisogono. In addition, Ilija Tolimerić [Aelius Tolimerius] from Šibenik, Ilija Crijević [Aelius Lampridius Cervinus] from Dubrovnik and the captain of Zadar Augustino Mulo are featured, as is Nardino’s professional colleague Palladio Fosco, another teacher in Zadar. We are particularly interested here in the relationship of the two teachers, because of a polemic that has been frequently mentioned but insufficiently illuminated. An essential part was played in this, it turns out, by the heritage of classical literature. The disputatious humanists brought into the debate Virgil, Macrobius, Pliny the Elder, Ausonius, Martial, the Alexandrian grammarians and more besides. The presentation will describe the texts that comprise the polemic (four epigrams and four prose letters), identify the classical texts and authors cited and interpret their rhetorical function in the polemic. Finally, we shall propose some conclusions about the humanist culture of Zadar in the early 16th century.

Branko Jozić
Marulianum, Split

We are right in calling Marulić a leading figure of humanism not only in Split but also in Europe at large. He really does, in his interest in antiquity, his enthusiasm and the measure to which he had mastered the ancient heritage, show all the characteristics of the Renaissance man. But his attitude to antiquity is never unambiguous, and two seemingly incompatible Marulić personae appear before us. One Marulić ponders and interprets ancient monuments, procures, reads and excerpts works of pagan authors. In addition, he writes “according to the law of the old poets”, to which he refers in matters of poetics, themes, motifs and expression. Such emulation is particularly clear in direct quotation, in a number of borrowed phrases, in choice of lexis and in many deliberate or unconscious reminiscences. But in the second Marulić, instead of a reverential attitude to the “ancient and holy poets”, we come upon a programmatic deviation from the Greeks and Romans, indeed, upon open and combative enmity. The paper will first of all consider different trends that appear in the Renaissance to do with the ancient heritage, and then, taking examples from Marulić’s works, endeavour to reply to questions started up by his contradictory attitudes to the classics.

Péter Kasza
University of Szeged

In about 1528, the Dalmatian humanist, Michael Wrantius wrote two quite long elegies both entitled Querela Hungariae in Austriam. What makes these poems interesting is that they are the first representatives in Hungary of Querela literature, which became highly popular in the later decades of the 16th century. The two poems at first glance seem to be a simple school exercise of a young, Cracow-educated humanist based upon topoi. However, a scrutiny of their literary  surroundings will produce a more refined impression. These elegies aim to defend the Hungarian king, John Zápolya against the accusations of his Habsburg counterpart. In the poems, the Hungarian king is symbolized by a wolf, which is unsurprising since this animal figures in the coat of arms of the Zápolya family. But is this the only reason?

We can mention more poems from these years, written by pro-Habsburg poets, violently attacking King John (e.g. the poems of the Silesian humanist, Georgius Logus). In common to these poetic lampoons is the depiction of Zápolya as a wild, bloodthirsty wolf. I am convinced that young Wrantius wrote his elegies in full awareness of these poems, to the challenges of which he wished to respond. The emblem of Zápolya depicted a wolf as well, and according to Paolo Giovio this emblem was created by the Croatian humanist Stephen Brodarić, who wrote the motto as well. Bearing this in mind, we can see how the Dalmatian-Croatian humanists of the surroundings of King John tried to defend their ruler against the Habsburg propaganda at both literary and visual levels. According to the aforementioned, the main aim of my planned lecture is to put the origin of the two elegies of young Michael Wrantius into a literary and visual context, thus complementing the lecture of my young colleague, György Palotás, who will analyze these elegies from the point of view of genre.

Milenko Lončar
University of Zadar

Last year’s contribution concerning the coded messages of the Vrančić brothers remained unfinished, for that of Antun could not be deciphered. Neither Bosančica (i. e. the Croatian Cyrillic Script) nor Glagolitic led to a solution, and neither did Mihovil’s signs. The methods used in decoding Mihovil’s hidden information were unable to help. Attempts at recognising the starting word did not succeed. The first four and the sixth signs were different, and the fifth and the sixth the same, but a search of Antun’s family correspondence did not reveal a satisfactory word or phrase. The assumption that a future participle could be expected on the basis of the main clause also proved fruitless. The preceding Latin text ended with the words quin breui. The ending of the future participle is characteristic, and hence easier to spot. All that was left was to hope to guess some word on the basis of the context, which word would be the key to unlock the whole of the message. The circumstances in which Antun in 1546 wrote to Mihovil are that as envoy of the Queen of Transylvania, Isabella, he was at the court of the king of France, Francis I, in expectation of rapid success, while Transylvania was exposed to constant pressures from the Ottomans, Austria and Protestantism. And indeed, the key was hidden in the Latin name of Antun’s second home, Transsiluania. But the content of the message was in fact fairly general: Antun hoped that he would soon send a herald with great tidings to Transylvania. He must have been too cautious a diplomat to have confided the most important details to a private letter.

Bratislav Lučin
Marulianum, Split

Frequently referred to but almost completely unstudied, the codex of Juraj Benja and Petar Cipiko is one of the most important documents of early Croatian humanism. Pioneering contributions were made by Theodor Mommsen (1873) and Giuseppe Praga (1932), after which a reliable if not entirely exhaustive description was given by Pietro Zorzanello (1985).

The current paper will give a complete codicological description and a full list of the contents that comprise the manuscript. The first part consists of the work of Pseudo-Sextus Aurelius Victor De viris illustribus urbis Romae, which was copied in 1435 by Juraj Benja of Zadar. Receiving the manuscript as a gift from his friend the Zadar humanist, Petar Cipiko of Trogir continued between 1435 and 1440, to copy various texts into it: letters of Cicero, the correspondence of Pseudo-Plutarch and Pseudo-Hippocrates; excerpts from the works of Aulus Gelius, Jerome, Claudius Ptolemy, Macrobius and other writers; differentias verborum (pairs of Latin synonyms with short explanations of the differences in meanings); Latin and Greek epitaphs and so on. From the point of view of form and content it is a typical codex miscellaneus, and is entirely consistent with the typological description given for such manuscripts by Sebastiano Gentile and Silvia Rizzo (2004). In view of the small size, and still more of the character and order of the writings, it can well be considered a kind of working notebook for Cipiko, a humanist vademecum.

It has already been observed that Cipiko’s transcriptions are very important for the epigraphy of early humanism. However, an analysis of this codex as a whole shows that it gives an invaluable insight into the circulation of ancient texts between the two coasts of the Adriatic and, in particular, into the range of the humanist reading of Petar Cipiko. Apart from that, this research shows that the exchange of texts between these two early collectors of the ancient written heritage, Juraj Benja and Petar Cipiko, was much more vigorous even than we had previously known. It has already been noted that after Petar’s death, the codex came into the possession of Bernardo Bembo, who entered a number of annotations in his own hand. However, researchers did not spot that it also contains a note by Petrus de Coriolanibus, which would tend to support the conclusion that the last word has not yet been spoken of the history of the codex.

Irvin Lukežić
University of Rijeka

One of the first Romans who managed to establish a balance between leisure and work, between otium and negotium, was Marcus Tullius Cicero, famed orator, philosopher, statesman and writer. Thanks to his great fame, learning and popularity, Cicero became the creator of a new Roman myth, that of learned leisure. His famed saying otium cum dignitate had the significance of being a recommendation meant for honourable and responsible men. According to Cicero, the good man, vir bonus, has, alongside his professional business and duties, seriously to devote himself to studies, to writing, to familiar and erudite conversation amd meditation, while still finding time for family and friends, spending time occasionally in rural leisure. Cicero recommended learned leisure to his contemporaries for the sake of their personal development in humanism. As with everything else, this endeavour at spiritual improvement had to be approached moderately and temperately, so as to lead to the expected results. At the end of the Middle Ages, in the surrounds of Dubrovnik, and between Trogir and Split, as well as on the neighbouring Dalmatian islands, a previously unknown culture manifested in the building of aristocratic villas appeared, opening up a new space of individual freedom. It is true that this freedom was the privilege of only the very prosperous urban patriciate and the landowners whom this form of culture would provide the ability to display their own material power, wealth and taste. It would also become a part of their awareness of self, their identity, views on the world, manner of thinking and conduct.

These structures were in a sense the spiritual and architectural heirs of the old Roman villas that were once scattered over the eastern shores of the Adriatic, from Istria to southern Dalmatia. Withdrawal into the idyllic peace of solitude became a custom that was nurtured by many humanist writers. One of the earliest examples of this is given by the Trogir humanist Koriolan Cipiko, who in his fortified villa devoted himself to reading and to the cultivation of his garden. It is known that as a sixty-year-old, Marko Marulić, too, retired from the urban bustle of his native Split for the sake of meditation and literary work to the estate of his friend and gossip Don Dujam Balistrilić, located in Nečujam Bay on the island of Šolta. Many and famous were the Hvar and Dubrovnik men of letters who followed the noble principles of Roman learned leisure. Among the leading devotees of this practice were Petar Hektorović, Hanibal Lucić, Ilija Crijević, Sabo Bobaljević Glušac, Nikola Vitov Gučetić and many other contemporaries. It is thus well justified to speak of the revival of the ancient Ciceronian tradition of the celebrated Tusculum in Dalmatia during the 15th and 16th centuries.

Maja Matasović and Ana Oreški
Croatian History Institute / University of Zagreb

The epic De vita et gestis Christi of Jakov Bunić is the first humanist epic in the literature of Western Europe to recast the New Testament in verse form. This work fits into the Counter Reformation activities of the Church, as well as into the current principles of humanism, which can be seen in the combination of the Christian theme and idea and the vocabulary, form and motifs of Roman literature. Bunić is very familiar with his material and the theoretical theological outline, since the main task of his work was counter-reformatory: conveying to the audience the basic Catholic principles and interpretations of the gospel mysteries for didactic purposes, which unfolded in the then fashionable framework of classical literature. It is this conjunction that will be investigated in this paper.

The objective is to discover the borders to which this merger was carried out, and whether there were any limits, i.e. any rules as to what from the Classical heritage could, and what must not, be compared to the Christian. We find in the epic certain phenomena that do not seem compatible with the Catholic worldview, such as the abstract concepts of Mercy and Justice that are mentioned as if they were deities. God is called regnator Olympi and even Iuppiter, while Satan is equated with Orcus, and hell with the ancient subterranean world. Although Bunić’s epic was encouraged by Pope Leo X, who also commissioned Vida’s Christias, published two years later, it can be assumed that most of Bunić’s ideas about how to tell the adventures of Jesus’s life are his own and hence worthy of study. Also needing to be considered is how much influence there was from earlier literary traditions and depictions outside the Scriptures, how much fiction and personal experience was imported into the Bible images, since Bunić might have described cities and sea journeys from firsthand experience. How much, on the other hand, was Bunić consistent with the settled Christian iconography (for example in the depiction of the Holy Ghost as a dove or a flame) and terminology (for example, the language and images in which, especially in Isaiah, the coming of the Messiah is foretold)? There is no doubt that Bunić was very well acquainted with his epic models, particularly Virgil and Ovid, echoes of whom are to be found in the whole of the work. What a study of these questions about the principles of combining the ancient and the Christian can give us in addition is perhaps an answer to the question of whether all this ancient terminology, metaphorical language and form were simply a demonstration of learning, of keeping up with the literary and cultural trends of the time, or whether they were a genuine contribution to the vitality of the depiction of the life and acts of the most important figure in the Christian world.

Divna Mrdeža Antonina
University of Zadar

The heterogeneity of theme and the origins of the poems in the collection Pjesni razlike (Divers poems) (Florence, 1563) has several times been the subject of interest of researchers (for example, J. Torbarina, M. Kombol, S. Malinar, T. Bogdan). In part, the thematic diversity of the collection has to do with Ranjina’s poetic eclecticism with respect to the love poetry contemporary with him, but in a certain number of poems was directly spurred by the author’s programmatic selection of readings from Antiquity. This can be seen in poems of a secular nature that were created under the influence, if only indirect, of ancient poets. Since the author claimed to be an innovator in the field of poetry, the paper will also consider how much and in what way his reforming procedures entailed the implementation of ancient models that before Ranjina figured relatively modestly in Croatian secular lyrics of the 16th century. For this purpose, a comparison will be made of an example of a textual subject in Ranjina’s poems in the ancient tradition and in Croatian lyricists older than Ranjina, who brought antiquity into Croatian poetry only with restraint. Particularly interesting, of course, are long poems, because of the mobility of rhetorical resources compared with the ethos to which they pertained, that is, the separation of the rhetoric and the communication aspect of the lyric with respect to textual consciousness.

György Palotás
University of Szeged

Older Hungarian literary history intervened totally unhistorically when it appropriated Renaissance literature in Hungary for Hungarians alone (e.g. that of Janus Pannonius or Mihovil Vrančić, mentioned in the title of his paper), and evaluated it only in the context of the history of Hungarian literature. This was of course incorrect. Tibor Klaniczay (1996) wrote: ”Something that was not separated from the national point of view in its own age, something that is a common heritage, cannot be justly qualified by posterity as the exclusive national property of one people or another.”

The Polish source published in eighteen volumes, known by the name of Acta Tomiciana, includes several contemporary Latin sources referring to the Kingdom of Hungary at the beginning of the 16th century. Stanisław Górski (1497–1572), who worked as a secretary of the Bishop of Cracow, Piotr Tomicki, was the compiler of the collection. The main elements of this collection are laws, letters, documents concerning foreign affairs and other chancellery memoranda. In the eleventh volume the publisher inserted two poems from a huge amount of unpublished manuscripts from Warsaw. This publication included two poems: Querela Hungariae de Austria (The complaint of Hungary about Austria) and Alia querela Hungariae contra Austriam (Another complaint of Hungary against Austria). According to the short foreword, written in the margin by Górski, the poems are the compositions of a certain Michaël Wrantius Dalmata. He can be identified as Dalmatian-Bosnian-born Mihovil Vrančić (1507–1571), who was also an active humanist in Hungary. We can read in the foreword that he was a student of Stanislaus Hosius (1504–1579), the famous Polish humanist, when he was no older than fifteen. From the printed collection, the elegies must have been made in the year 1529, directly before the Turkish assault upon Vienna. Numerous motifs appear in connection with the topos of querela Hungariae, and these poems show close relations with some classical Latin literary work. For example the topos of “fertile Pannonia” (fertilitas Pannoniae) – or the description by Vrančić in another work glorifying his homeland, Laus Dalmatiae in 1522 – show many parallels with Cicero’s laudatio of Sicily (Cic. in Verr. 2.2.2–8). Renaissance rhetorical works certainly looked to Cicero as basis for their imitations; however, part of Virgil’s work (Georgics) – an encomium upon Italy – can also be classified as an example of an influential classical model (Verg. georg. 2.136–176). The plaintive and bitter intonation of the poems, as well as their structure, which is reminiscent of the epistle form, was influenced mainly by Ovid’s work (Heroides), from among the ancient authors.

The works of Mihovil Vrančić can provide valuable statements not only from the perspective of the history of literature and research into topoi, for they also, principally from the point of view of Hungarian history, elucidate John Zápolya’s difficult path in foreign politics, the Turkish-Hungarian alliance’s ideological background in 1528 and the internal political dissensions of the Hungarian nobility. These elegies are among the few literary works which dealt with Zápolya and his procedures in foreign affairs, and are unique for the times.

Franz Posset
Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, USA

The lay theologian of Split, Marcus Marulus (1450-1524), shows a distinct interest in the patrimony not only of classical, pagan antiquity but also of the Church Fathers and the Sacred Scriptures. With his philosophical and theological focus and with his retrieval of biblical and patristic theology he fits squarely into the wider picture of the Devotio Moderna and the Renaissance humanism of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Marulus is part of the movement back to the sources (ad fontes). The three volumes of his Repertorium are splendid proof of this return. Those volumes form his classical, biblical, and patristic repertoire which will be taken into consideration here next to his study of the Biblia Latina itself which he has at hand in an edition of 1489. The center of attention will rest on the heritage of biblical and ancient Christian theology (Patristics) in Marulus’ Latin works with respect to one of the most contentious verses of the entire New Testament, Mt 16, 18, and the meaning of the ‘rock’: “And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church”. There are basically three options for interpreting the ‘rock’: (a) the person of Peter, (b) the faith of Peter as he expressed it with respect to Jesus Christ as the Son of God, or (c) Jesus Christ himself as the Rock. Marulus as a Christocentrist prefers the traditional interpretation of the ‘rock’ as it is handed down from the fathers and the doctors of the Church through the centuries. The idea that the rock in Mt 16, 18 would be Peter is an idea that became popular in the Catholic Church only during the Catholic Counter-Reformation, but it is a concept completely foreign to the lay theologian of Split.

Vlado Rezar
University of Zagreb

An unpublished manuscript collection of poems by the Latinist Damjan Beneša (1476-1539) is kept in the archives of the monastery of the Friars Minor in Dubrovnik, call number 78. All told, the more than 8000 Latin verses constitute three books of epigrams, a book of eclogues, two books of lyric poems, a book of satires and some miscellaneous poems (on the whole translations). In a formal and stylistic point of view, this poetic enterprise rests on poetic models from classical antiquity. Its tone is also given by seven translations into Latin of Greek epigrams from the collection Anthologia Palatina, a translation of a longish elegy of Gregory of Nazianzus, and in particular by nine original epigrams composed in Greek. The latter, Beneša’s poetic production in the second linguistic medium of humanism, are something of a unique occurrence among the extant oeuvres of Croatian humanist poets, and for that reason are important to Croatian literary and cultural history. However, these poems still have not been transcribed, let along studied in detail for their content, style and grammar. At the beginning of the 19th century they were judged harshly by the scriptor Graecus of the Vatican Library Girolamo Amati as being hard to read and understand, while a century later they were only presented in bare outlines by a student of Beneša, Đuro Körbler. This paper then will present the results of just such a basic and previously wanting philological treatment of some sixty extant verses of Beneša’s Greek poetry.

Relja Seferović
Institute for Historical Sciences
of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts in Dubrovnik

The humanist Giovanni Conversini, aka John of Ravenna (1343-1408), attracted the interest of researchers even among the historians of the Dubrovnik Republic, who followed up with interest in his idiosyncratic manuscript the views of a learned outsider of the life style and mentality of inhabitants of the city beneath Srđ hill. Thanks to the endeavours of later historians, domestic and foreign, John of Ravenna’s character has been portrayed skilfully and richly, providing us a complete biography of a man of learning, a courtier, teacher and writer who, very much connected with the cultural circle of Padua and Venice, worked from 1384 to 1387 as a notary public in Dubrovnik. The years of this employment incited him to set forth certain personal disappointments and discontents in a not very large text formally named Historia Ragusii, where instead of the traditional events, we are greeted by the author’s own personal confession addressed to some unknown Venetian friend, shot through with brilliant threads of ancient learning. On the basis of the editions existing today we would judge that a similar approach marked other works by John of Ravenna, from memories of days spent in company with the magnates of Padua to copious correspondence with other men of letters. However, it is through his unpublished Dubrovnik History that shines a natural and familiar, easily intelligible connection between the fretful
everyday practice in the notary’s office of a medieval commune and intellectual flights to eternal questions of morality, peace, hope and faith, to which his restless, adventurous and always discontented spirit aspired. The excessive materialism that he saw in the Dubrovnik of his time, the devotion to trade and the acquisition of ephemeral goods led to mordant comments mocking his employers and their employees, contempt for the naivety of the people and negligence of the natural history of city and surroundings.

To the extent that these personally motivated barbs disturb the classical rule about the writing of history sine ira et studio, it is perhaps the only example in which the author has turned from his selected path of learning and the promotion of the ancient spirit. Having built his ethical principles almost equally on pagan, neo-Platonic and Stoical as well as Judaeo-Christian worldviews, John of Ravenna in his search for an ultimate calm looked beyond the stars, wishing to make up for his shaken faith in his fellow man by ennobling himself. This is why Historia Ragusii comes across as the author’s intimate conversation with a suppressed personality, a text that with its complexity invites diverse interpretations and represents as it were a landmark next to the origins of classical Dubrovnik historiography.

Tamara Tvrtković
Croatian Institute of History, Zagreb

It is generally known that antiquity, from the period of humanism onwards, has affected all forms of artistic and learned expression in the most diverse ways. Even a simple survey of the genres of the Croatian Latinists will reveal the powerful influence of antiquity. This paper will endeavour to show what the genres adopted from antiquity were, and in what way they were adapted, or given shape, in accordance with the requirements of the day by a specific branch of Croatian Latinity, historiography. The past can be shaped in various degrees, from a form that is very broad and extensive to the extremely concise, the merely hinted, and in the most diverse ways. Because historiography had only quite recently split off from literature and began to function independently as a discipline, the ways in which shape was given to past events were narrated in very different genres, not necessarily those that today we would define as specifically historiographic. As well as in the classical genres (the annales, historiae, commentarii and vitae), historiography also put forward its views of the past in genres borrowed from rhetoric (oratio), philosophy (dialogus) and from other areas. The genres and a genre inventory will be defined using examples mainly of prose works but also works written in verse that in their content belong to historiography. Subsequently, attention will be devoted to which genre from antiquity changed, and how much, and which elements underwent change, or completely vanished. On the basis of this, the reasons for adopting individual genres will be defined, and the existence of genre continuity from antiquity to humanism and later periods as well will also be demonstrated.

The city of Split and its environs

Maja Matasović, Ana Oreški, Bratislav Lučin, Henry Cooper, Jr.

Neven Jovanović, Šime Demo, Jan Šipoš, Maja Matasović

Formated for CROWN by Darko Žubrinić
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