» Corpus of Ioannes Dantiscus' Latin Texts
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Poetic works of Ioannes Dantiscus – introduction

Ioannes Dantiscus was a neo-Latin poet valued by his contemporaries. His poetic output dates back to his student days. In 1517 he received the poet's laurel from Emperor Maximilian. Throughout his life Dantiscus composed poems of various genres – epigrams, elegies, epithalamia, silvae, occasional poems, epitaphs. His poems, like his letters, include a variety of topics – court life, eroticism, politics, history, mythology, autobiographical elements, and finally theology. What seems worth noting are the occasional verses, circulating in manuscript and printed copies, which can be treated as a special type of “poetical journalism”. With those poems the author presented his own opinions as well as his ruler’s views about current political affairs. A collection of Dantiscus' religious hymns was published near the end of his life.

Most of Dantiscus’ known poetic works were examined by Stanisław Skimina in his monograph Twórczość poetycka Jana Dantyszka (Cracow, 1948) and then published by him in the volume Ioannis Dantisci poetae laureati Carmina (Cracow, 1950). The poems' texts in the Corpus were derived from that edition. Thanks to research on Dantiscus’ correspondence, fifteen works unknown to Skimina were found recently: an epitaph for Johannes Reineck (IDP 95) (which Skimina mentions as being lost), a two-part epitaph for Alfonso de Valdés (IDP 96, IDP 103), five poems under the joint title Pro Caesare et Gallo (IDP 97, IDP 98, IDP 99, IDP 100, IDP 101), a bitter reflection on heresy in the contemporary world in elegiac distichs (IDP 169), contained in a letter to Johannes Magnus (IDL 1441), an epicedion and epitaph for Jean Lalemand (IDP 161), and a cycle of five poems dedicated to Alfonso de Valdés, entitled De duabus Lucretiis, barbara et Romana (IDP 181, IDP 182, IDP 183, IDP 162, IDP 184). The following works of whose existence we know from the sources have yet to be found: Contra Lutherum, De filio prodigo , and another (after the epitaph for Reineck) poetical reply (IDP 168) to the epigram by Johannes Poliander sent to Dantiscus in the letter of November 14, 1538 (IDL 1987), on the theological problem of justification through faith.

Skimina rightly refuses to acknowledge Dantiscus’ authorship of the parody entitled Hymnus ad laudem vini, which was attributed to him by his contemporaries (cf. the Seminary Library in Sandomierz, MS 1688 (Poemata Andreae Cricii Episcopi), p. 188-189). This false attribution was continued by some subsequent editors (Boehme, Ganszyniec), where in fact 14th-century versions of this work are known. The praise of beer (Encomium cerevisiae), which has also been published under Dantiscus’ name a few times (in manuscript sources sometimes it is attributed to Dantiscus, sometimes to Andreas Cricius), could be of medieval origin as well. Neither of these works is included in the Corpus, nor is the epigram carrying the title De Pecunia in Skimina’s edition. This couplet, which in fact is a slightly inaccurate reading of an excerpt from Horace (Hor. Epist. 1.6.36-37) written down in Dantiscus’ own hand, was also translated into German and published under Dantiscus’ name with several of his own works in the anthology Polnische Renaissance (Frankfurt am Main, 1996). Another poem, attributed in manuscript sources to Dantiscus, entitled Prosa de martyribus aulicis (IDP 180), which is a artful parody of Johannes Roullet’s hymn O beata beatorum martyrum sollemnia has been recently included in the Corpus.

Anna Skolimowska
Translated from Polish by Joanna Dutkiewicz

Main references related to Dantiscus’ poems
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