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Internet publication of Corpus of Ioannes Dantiscus Texts & Correspondence
information about the project

Anna Skolimowska (director of the project) and Magdalena Turska
with collaboration of Katarzyna Jasińska-Zdun

Manuscript transcription
Tatiana Abukhouskaya, Marijke De Wit, Joanna Gutek, Justyna Jadachowska, Katarzyna Jasińska-Zdun, Konrad Kokoszkiewicz, Tomasz Ososiński, Paulina Pludra-Żuk, Anna Skolimowska, Isabella Żołędziowska

Text encoding
Katarzyna Jasińska-Zdun, Anna Skolimowska, Katarzyna Tomaszuk, Isabella Żołędziowska

Digitalization of microfilms of primary sources
Witold Grzechnik

The index of proper names of persons, places and institutions has been developed with the help of Marek A. Janicki and Katarzyna Gołąbek .

The authors will be grateful to users for submitting their opinions, critical remarks and any errors noticed.
The authors wish to thank the owners of the primary sources for the texts for giving their consent to the facsimiles of the sources being presented on the internet.



The project “Internet publication of Corpus of Ioannes Dantiscus’ Texts & Correspondence” is part of the research program Registration and Publication of the Correspondence of Ioannes Dantiscus (1485-1548) launched in 1989 at the University of Warsaw. Ioannes Dantiscus’ correspondence forms Central-Eastern Europe’s largest collection of letters (over 6,000 letters, approx. 12,000 source documents) related to the Polish royal court and its partners across the contemporaneous world. It is a unique source of information for researchers of Polish and European Renaissance history, literature, culture and history of ideas. It documents the role of Poland and Polish diplomacy in Renaissance Europe and provides valuable information on the cultural and intellectual elite of the time, who shared a community of spiritual formation defined by Latinity (Latinitas) and the Christian religion (Christianitas).

The publication of Dantiscus’ correspondence was suggested many times starting from the 18th century, but the huge volume of paleographically diverse manuscript material and its dispersion across the archives and libraries of Europe made such a demand impossible to fulfill. Some of the letters (ca. 30%) were printed in various publications of sources (the most important being Acta Tomiciana, Stanislai Hosii Epistulae, Herzog Albrecht von Preussen und das Bistum Ermland), and as annexes to scientific studies. Some of these editions present only summaries or translations of the source texts, some, especially older ones, are of no great value as academic editions. The fragmentary and dispersed nature of these publications means it is necessary to gather and systematize the information about them in an inventory of the entire correspondence. This kind of inventory is a prelude, well-tested in European editing, to the publication of collections of Renaissance correspondence (e.g. the inventory of Justus Lipsius’ correspondence or the publication of Philip Melanchthon’s correspondence registers).

Detailed information about the project

Text encoding in TEI standard

In the work on the internet edition of the Corpus of Ioannes Dantiscus’ Texts & Correspondence, the advanced method of text encoding according to the TEI standard was used, as it enables to record various levels of information regarding contents and structure in human-readable textual form, incorporates the features of a database and enables migration of data to and from other information systems due to growing popularity of XML as an exchange format. Last but not least it enables easy transfer to digital publication, e.g. in form of a web site. The research team working on the project adapted the TEI standard to the needs of correspondence from the early modern era.


The Corpus of Ioannes Dantiscus’ Texts & Correspondence contains inventory data on the entirety of Dantiscus’ correspondence (sender, addressee, incipit, dating, data on the original source, data on publication in print) and all the Latin texts written by Dantiscus (letters, poems, speeches, documents, other texts ) collected in the Corpus of Ioannes Dantiscus’ Latin Texts as well as a selection of other correspondence texts (letters to Dantiscus, Dantiscus’ letters in German). The selection was based on the research needs of the program as a whole. The Corpus of Ioannes Dantiscus’ German Texts, containing letters, records and other texts, is currently being edited as well. Some of the German texts are already available in their full text versions.

To avoid further delay in achieving the main purpose of the internet edition, namely making available a searchable text, we have decided to publish materials finished in terms of editing (critical apparatus) even if they have yet to receive a complete commentary and indexes. The commentary and indexes are being added on an ongoing basis.

Arrangement of the texts

All the texts in the Corpus and all the sources for the texts have been assigned identification numbers.

Numbers starting with IDL refer to letters from Dantiscus’ correspondence.

Numbers starting with IDP refer to Dantiscus’ poems.

Numbers starting with IDT refer to all other texts.

Number starting with IDS refer to sources (manuscripts and early printed books).

The Corpus is presented on three levels:

1. The list of texts contains basic information on the texts, e.g. for a letter this will be the sender, addressee, place and date of dispatch, for a speech it will be the patron, addressee and date of presentation, for a poem it will be its title and/or incipit, etc.

2. The text database, besides data from the list of texts, contains a text’s incipit, in the case of a letter - the date and place of receipt, data on the original source, data on publication in print.

3. The text database + texts in extenso + facsimiles of the primary sources.

The first two levels – the list of texts and the text database – are accessible without any restrictions.

Access to the texts in extenso and the facsimiles of sources requires users to log in and obtain a password.

The default arrangement of the texts is chronological. Undated texts are listed last. Texts with approximate dating are arranged according to the terminus ante quem. It is possible to sort the texts using other criteria, such as the title, author, addressee, place where written, incipit, current place of storage etc.

Texts whose primary source includes more than one page of manuscript or early printed book have been divided according to the division in the primary source. This does not apply to poems.

Graphic form of text


The original graphy of the Latin texts has not been preserved. The orthography has been standardized in accordance with the traditional Central European rules of modern Latin, e.g. the Stuttgart edition of Philipp Melanchthon’s correspondence (Melanchthons Briefwechsel: Kritische und kommentierte Gesamtasugabe, red. Heinz SCHEIBLE, Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt 1977-).

Because Latin, contrary to vernacular languages, developed to a very limited extent in the modern era, we decided standardization would be of greater benefit than transliteration of the texts, the main advantage of which is that it documents linguistic trends.

The decision to apply standardization was dictated by concern for the text’s clarity and searchability, but also by the impossibility of determining the author’s vision of a text’s graphic form in the case of sources that were not fair copies, and in the case of fair copies – the frequent lack of consistent notation.

We considered introducing a second layer of text into the Corpus, namely a transliteration of the primary source, but abandoned this in the case of Latin texts because it would mean having to revise a large amount of text previously transcribed according to different rules , those initially adopted for the book edition of the series Corpus Epistularum Ioannis Dantisci . However, to enable users to view the external form of the sources and compare the transcription with the source notation, the Corpus includes facsimiles of all the primary sources of the correspondence whose owners agreed to have the sources presented on the internet.

Principles of standardization of Latin text

  • notation of the phonetic group ti, diphthongs ae and oe, and geminates according to ancient Latin rules
  • phonetic differentiation between the letter u (vowel) and v (consonant) (e.g. vitium, universum)
  • no letter j (e.g. Ioannes, ieiunium, alii)
  • no usage of ii or y to denote a long i (e.g. sincerus, ocissime)
  • no usage of ch in place of the ancient c (e.g. carus)
  • no usage of ch in place of the ancient h (e.g. mihi, nihil)
  • reverse assimilation of the end consonants of prefixes in compound verbs
  • keeping the s after the prefix ex- (e.g. exspecto)
  • leaving out the aspirate h in words which were not aspirated in antiquity (e.g. abundantia)

Proper nouns (mainly place names) that have a generally accepted Latin spelling have also been unified according to the above principles. The graphy was not unified in the following cases:

  • Non-Latin proper nouns are transliterated.
  • Fragments of text in vernacular languages are transliterated.
  • The notation of numbers preserves the differentiation between Roman and Arab numerals. All Roman numerals are written in majuscule.

All the abbreviations in the Latin texts have been deciphered without additional marking, except for ambiguous or doubtful cases which are deciphered in round brackets ( ); if necessary, extra remarks are included in the critical apparatus.

In the case of variants occurring in antiquity, the decisions have been arbitrary, based primarily on the usage of a given form in the modern era.

List of major ancient variants
form used in the CIDTCvariant
cotidiecottidie, quotidie, quottidie
compounds with -cumque (eg. utcumque, quocumque)-cunque
ending -i in ablative (eg. superiori, veteri)ending -e in ablative (eg. superiore, vetere)
oportunitas, oportunusopportunitas, opportunus
tempto (and compounds)tento


In the editing of the German texts, transcription with elements of transliteration has been adopted, to enable the Corpus to be used for historical as well as linguistic studies.

The lemmatization of all the words in the Corpus of Ioannes Dantiscus’ German Texts is being considered for the future, with the aim of producing a searchable option for the Corpus.

The rules of transcription are based on the following publications:

  • Johannes SCHULZE, Richtlinien fĂĽr die äuĂźere Textgestaltung bei Herausgabe von Quellen zur neueren deutschen Geschichte, in: Blätter fĂĽr deutsche Landesgeschichte 98, 1962, s. 1-11
  • „Empfehlungen zur Edition frĂĽhneuzeitlicher Texte“, erarbeitet von der Arbeitsgemeinschaft auĂźeruniversitärer historischer Forschungseinrichtungen, in: Archiv fĂĽr Reformationsgeschichte 72, 1981, s. 299-315
  • Bernard BARBICHE, „Conseils pour l’édition des textes de l’époque moderne“, in: L’édition des textes anciens XVIe-XVIIIe siècle, B. BARBICHE, M. CHATENET (eds.), Paris, 1991
  • Dieter HECKMANN, Entwurf eines Leitfadens zur Edition deutschsprachiger Quellen (13.-16. Jh.) (25. Juli 2000; Stand: 17. September 2010).

The following universally accepted normalization standards are used in the transcription:

  • The allographs s and Ĺż are recorded as s.
  • The letters u and v as well as i and j are used according to their phonetic value – u and i as vowels, v and j as consonants
These rules do not apply to names and proper nouns, which are provided in transliteration.

Duplicated consonants are given according to the original because of their potential value for linguistic studies. This also applies to double consonants at the start of a word.

Ligatures have been separated without extra mention. The only exception is Ăź, which is used next to ss and sz according to the original notation.

Diacritical marks and superscripts over vowels have been left in. A dot over an i and a hook over a u is treated as part of the letter and is not marked additionally in the transliteration.

Words spelled as one or as separate words are recorded according to the form found in the source. If it is hard to tell whether there is a space between words, the spelling that makes the text easier to understand has been chosen.

Capital letters are used at the beginning of sentences, proper nouns and names.

All abbreviations are explained in brackets. Due to the inconsistency of 16th-century orthography, when different explanations of an abbreviation are possible, the individual habits of the scribe are taken into account. If the source material is insufficient to explain them, rules widely applied at that time and in that community are followed. If there is doubt, all probable explanations are given.

Obvious omissions, forms that differ from those used in other letters or ones that change a word’s meaning and make it incompatible with the context, are considered to be errors of the scribe and have been corrected, such corrections are noted in the critical apparatus (see also: “brackets and graphic symbols used”).

Other vernacular languages

Next to letters in Latin and German, Dantiscus’ correspondence also includes (a small number of) letters in Spanish, Polish, Italian, Flemish, Czech and French.

In case of texts in these languages, it was decided to use transliteration.


Modern punctuation has been introduced, but in such a way as to prevent conflict with the punctuation of 16th-century source materials. The parentheses and question marks introduced by the author have been preserved. In the German texts, a full stop follows ordinal numbers when expressed with figures.

In case of German texts, the original punctuation has been preserved alongside the modern one, but marked with virgules.

The text has been divided into paragraphs compatible with the graphic indications observed in the 16th-century sources, as discussed in the chapter on the record of the text.

Modern usage of capital letters has been introduced. The abundant titles in the texts start with minuscule, except places where author addresses the receiver in the third person.


Brackets are used in the source text as follows:

  • Ambiguous abbreviations are deciphered in round brackets ( ), which are also used to denote the brackets used by a given text’s author.
  • The editors have filled in damaged or poorly legible fragments of text in square brackets [ ].
  • Words and letters that the editors believe should be added are put in brackets < >
  • Words that the editors believe should be removed from the text are put in braces {}.

Crossed-out portions of text

In a great many cases the primary source for a letter is a rough draft. This kind of source is characterized by numerous corrections to the text made by its author. As far as possible, such corrections have been recorded. Portions of text crossed out during editing are shown in a strikethrough font, e.g. dominus.


The source texts are provided with critical apparatus, referring mainly to the primary sources and in justified cases also to secondary ones.

Factual comments and similia are still in preparation. They are updated continually. In the edition, the fragments of texts to which the critical apparatus applies have been marked with a lighter font color, similia are highlighted in yellow, and commentary in gray. The text of the commentary will appear when you move the cursor onto the highlighted fragment.


Indexes are still in preparation. They are updated and improved continually. Only information concerning senders, addressees, places of sending and receiving of the letters and places of writing of the other texts (except poems) is completed.

The indexes list persons, groups, corporations, institutions and places mentioned in the texts, both those that are named directly and those mentioned descriptively (also with a pronoun). The reference is the text’s identification number. Numbers starting with IDL refer to letters from Dantiscus’ correspondence, with IDP - to Dantiscus’ poems, and with IDT - to all other texts.

The indexes include source texts and footnotes. The authors and titles of the quoted works and their places of publication has been omitted. The index lists most important and frequent forms of the given names of persons and places as well as selected contemporary variants of names referring the reader to the main entry. The names of institutions (except some orders and leagues) are listed under the name of the place, country or state where they operated. Latin variants are in italics.

The primary form of the name is the one which has traditionally been used by English-language scholars. Hence it has been based primarily on historical and language considerations, and only secondarily on the present-day forms of names based on ethnic and national criteria. Hence, the chosen forms are those most widely and frequently used in the period and confirmed in sources, and also recorded in the historiography of the period. The historical German forms of names of towns that once lay in Royal Prussia and in Ermland (Warmia) are used (except Gdańsk).

It will be soon possible to obtain the index search results in the form of a concordance showing the source terms indicating a given item surrounded by a larger portion of text (minimum 1 sentence). To this aim, the first occurrence of a given item in each sentence of text is indicated. References to the authors (in the case of letters – the senders) and addressees of the texts have not been marked, except for addresses and signatures and, if there is no address or signature – the allocution.