Humanist Latin

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thesaurus
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Humanist Latin

Post by thesaurus » Tue Oct 23, 2007 1:16 am

I've lately taken an interest in the early humanism and the likes of Erasmus and Thomas More. I know they were key proponents of Latin and classical education, but I don't know much about their works or contemporaries. I think it's interesting that one of the classics of English literature, Utopia, was written in Latin.

What are some good and interesting humanist Latin texts and authors? I'd love additions to Erasmus and More, as I'm quite ignorant on this subject. How do you find their Latin compares to the that of the ancients?

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Post by annis » Tue Oct 23, 2007 1:58 am

The book Scribes and Scholars (Reynolds & Wilson) along the way of explaining the transmission of Greek and Latin works spends some time on the famous Renaissance collectors of manuscripts, including occasional discussion of their Latin style. If you can find a library to get that for you it might be a good place to start.

The style of Gian Francesco Poggio Bracciolini (just Poggio most of the time) was held in high esteem, and his rather naughty Facetiae can easily be found on the web in Latin and translation. More than that others will have to say.
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Post by Kasper » Tue Oct 23, 2007 2:24 am

How about the stultitiae laus, by Erasmus ipse?
“Cum ego verbo utar,” Humpty Dumpty dixit voce contempta, “indicat illud quod optem – nec plus nec minus.”
“Est tamen rogatio” dixit Alice, “an efficere verba tot res indicare possis.”
“Rogatio est, “Humpty Dumpty responsit, “quae fiat magister – id cunctum est.”

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Post by Turendil » Tue Oct 23, 2007 2:48 am

the books are dated. However when going to look for a book that shows the transmission of classical culture I recommend Durant's History of Civilization.
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Post by adrianus » Tue Oct 23, 2007 7:44 pm

Salve Thesaure. Christopher Celenza discusses Bruni, Valla, Ficino, Alberti, in <i>The Lost Italian Renaissance: Humanists, historians and Latin's Legacy</i> (2006) --very good, and really gets stuck into examining 19th-early-20th century understandings of the renaissance period and intellectual history. Julia Gaisser published <i>Pierio Valeriano on the Ill Fortune of Learned Men</i> (the Latin text and parallel English translation) in 1999 and it's good for the study of style to have a ready recent translation (when you're a learner like me). And Francoise Waquet's <i>Latin or the Empire of a Sign</i> (2001) is a great read that incidentally discusses Renaissance Latinity but in a wider description of the fortunes of Latin from the 16th to the 20th century. Erasmus's correspondence is very interesting to read (together with editor Allen's notes) because he went everywhere and knew everyone, and when the Latin is beyond me (as it often is) I can turn to the letter translations in the more recent English version of Erasmus's collected works (in the University library).

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Post by Interaxus » Tue Oct 23, 2007 11:37 pm

There's a whole series published by the Harvard University Press called the 'I Tatti Renaissance Library' devoted to works written in Latin during that period. You get the text + facing translation.

I bought a volume "On Discovery" by one Polydore Vergil. As an appetizer, here's Polydore on the invention of printing:

Tantum enim uno die ab uno homine literarum imprimitur quantum vix toto anno a pluribus scribi posset. Ex quo adeo disciplinarum omnium magna librorum copia ad nos manavit ut nullum amplius superfuturum sit opus quod ab homine quamvis egeno desiderari possit.

(And the translation: "In one day just one person can print the same number of letters that many people could hardly write in a whole year. Books in all the disciplines have poured out to us so profusely from this invention that no work can possibly remain wanting to anyone, however needy".)

Anyone else reminded of Google Books? :)

Cheers,
Int

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Post by Cédric » Wed Oct 24, 2007 6:48 am

You may find lots of Neo-latin books (incl. More's Utopia ;)) at this address : http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/neo.html
Last edited by Cédric on Thu Oct 25, 2007 9:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by adrianus » Wed Oct 24, 2007 8:19 am

The <i>Ill fortune of learned men</i> book is in the University of Michigan series <I>Recentiores: Later Latin Texts and Contexts</i> at http://www.press.umich.edu/series.do;js ... 2A?id=UM91 Your I Tatti series seems great, Interaxe. I see that there are downloadable PDF extracts from 13 of the Latin-English I Tatti Renaissance series available at http://www.hup.harvard.edu/itatti/forthcoming.html The pdf on Polydore Vergil even has Book II Chapter VII which includes your quote, Interaxe. Handy for translation exercises or just to test your comprehension of writing from the period.

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Post by Gonzalo » Wed Oct 24, 2007 1:16 pm

Hi,
I would recommend the next data-base:
http://www.philological.bham.ac.uk/bibl ... /index.htm

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Post by cantator » Wed Oct 24, 2007 3:11 pm

annis wrote:The book Scribes and Scholars (Reynolds & Wilson)....
A terrific book, most engaging. Recommended++
Similis sum folio de quo ludunt venti.

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Post by ingrid70 » Wed Oct 24, 2007 8:29 pm

Interaxus wrote:
(And the translation: "In one day just one person can print the same number of letters that many people could hardly write in a whole year. Books in all the disciplines have poured out to us so profusely from this invention that no work can possibly remain wanting to anyone, however needy".)

Anyone else reminded of Google Books? :)

Cheers,
Int
See http://entoen.nu/media.aspx?id=259 : they say:
Printing, that's not going to stay...people will always want handwritten books.

Ingrid

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Post by thesaurus » Thu Oct 25, 2007 6:11 am

These are some great resources. Thanks everyone! I'm definitely going to try out "Scribes and Scholars" as well as the stuff on the Italian renaissance. I haven't heard of any of the Italian authors mentioned here. Durant looks really cool too, but at 11 volumes it might take me a while. I'll probably try to get my hands on "The Ill Fortune of Learned Men," and "The Empire of the Sign," too.

Maybe I'll try hitting some of the primary texts after reading up on the background. The I Tatti series has me pumped up!

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Post by Kyneto Valesio » Sun Oct 28, 2007 2:05 am

Right on Gonzalo! The library of humanistic texts at the Philological Museum is invaluable. In particular I will recommend the academic comedy Pedantius. It is a stitch! And to my mind far more funny than Terrence or Plautus. Regarding the Museum, what I like is that you can open both the original and a translation in separate tabs and alternate between them and our online dictionary Words.

Seriously everbody, check out Pedantius. If enough folks agree on its merit we could even produce scenes using online recording software for the LATINUM PODCAST. Just a thought. Here is a review of the play from the Cambridge History of English and American Literature:

Pedantius is an admirable combination of Plautine machinery and types with the conditions of English university life in the later sixteenth century. The lovesick pedant of southern comedy is here transformed into a Cambridge humanist, who is the unsuccessful rival of a freedman for the hand of a slave girl Lydia, and whose rhetorial flights avail him nothing except to stave off payment of his tailor’s bills. But the pedant is not merely modernised, he is individualised into a caricature of Gabriel Harvey. This is vouched for by Nashe in Have with you to Saffron Walden, where he declares that, in “the concise and firking finicaldo fine schoolmaster,? Harvey, “was full drawen and delineated from the soule of the foote to the crowne of his head.? Internal evidence confirms the identification. Not only is Pedantius, as was Harvey, according to the view of his enemies, a fop and a sycophant, but phrases from the Cambridge rhetorician’s works occur repeatedly in the play, and his Musarum Lachrymae is directly named. As satellite and contrast to the main figure appears another contemporary academic type, the solemnly argumentative, logic-chopping philosopher Dromodotus.

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Post by Kyneto Valesio » Sun Oct 28, 2007 2:18 am

Oh... duh I forgot to mention. Although I am sure the Tatti series is a noble effort, I personally have been disappointed by the books in the series that I have owned and tried to read. I say "tried" because Ficino's platonic philosophy is a horrific bore! I challenge anyone to get through one of those volumes. I didn't enjoy Boccacio's book about famous women any more. Anyway, almost all if not all the women were actually mythological starting with Eve or Juno or someone. It too was a bit boring although it wasn't as bad as Ficino. What's more, Tatti books are expensive and the philogical museum is free. Although, of course, it is hard to curl up in bed with your laptop.

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Post by thesaurus » Mon Oct 29, 2007 7:35 pm

I'll keep that in mind about Ficino. I have to admit when I was browsing through the list I didn't exactly jump at the thought of reading six volumes of neo-platonic speculation. I love Plato as much as the next man, but I have better things to do than immerse myself in the extended, dated, and misguided trivialities of such commentators.

But I did pick up a copy of Vergil's "On Discovery" from the library and I'm quite pleased with it so far. I've only dabbled in it, but I like the vast and varied scope, combined with the interesting discussions of historical, intellectual, and cultural relics. Regardless of the accuracy of Vergil's judgements, I'm learning a lot because of all the sources he refers to. Also, I like the Latin. It seems to be classical in style, yet it isn't as challenging as Cicero. I get the pleasure of increased understanding and sight reading without feeling like I'm "cheating" somehow with 'watered down' Latin. I hope it aids my understanding of the ancient Romans. Someone correct me, though, if I'm wrong in my comparison between humanist and classical Latin.

I'm looking forward to checking out Pope Pius II's stuff later on.

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Post by Kyneto Valesio » Mon Oct 29, 2007 11:49 pm

I just read the Tati blurb concerning Polydore Vergil's De inventoribus rerum. Good luck with it.

I wish someone would give Foresett's Pendantius a try.

http://www.philological.bham.ac.uk/fors ... tents.html

It is a truly engaging work. I am no critic but I think it is plain out and out funny. And, It's Ciceronian but you don't have to put up with Cicero. I recommend it to everyone.

From the Introduction to the hypertext edition by Dana Sutton of the UC Irvine: << Writing for the immediate entertainment of the university community, with no especial thought for the world at large or for posterity, Forsett was free to satirize people, institutions, and ideas familiar to the citizens of his restricted so ........In limning his main character, Forsett does not reveal all his features at once. By a sort of fan dance, we are first shown the surface Pedantius. Only towards the end of the play are we given deeper insight into his character, as it is revealed that he is in fact a fraud. After he has dispatched Bledus with the money to purchase Lydia, as he thinks, he observes that it is time to resume his usual pedant’s mask (1739f., ad praelegendi me munus personamque revocabo, a line that is toned down in the manuscript redaction of the play). When the baffled haberdasher Gilbert expostulates that words do not feed a family, this mask momentarily slips and he retorts that words indeed do feed families, if they happen to be Ciceronian ones (1942). In the same cynical spirit, he concludes a speech with a significant quotation from Cicero (1700f.), nihil tam incredible, quin dicendo fiat probabile (“nothing is so incredible that saying does not make it believable?). Here is a man who understands all too well the power of the spoken word. Towards the end of the play he is revealed as a bogus pedant in another way. NOTE 6 It is only in the lesson he gives to Parillus at V.ii that the appalling depths of his incompetence are plumbed. All of this prepares us for Crobolus’ final verdict (2123) that he is a verbivendulus, a mere word-monger. The portrait is further complicated. Mixed in with his bathetic bombast when he learns of Lydia’s supposed death is a note of real pathos. To some extent, anyway, he really is a broken man. There may be something terribly misguided about the nature of his love for Lydia, shown especially in the six reasons for loving he enumerates at 639ff., but who is to say he does not love her at all? Pedantius’ climactic downfall is not quite a stock comic situation of a gullible man being subjected to a practical joke. Forsett has given us something considerably richer and more complex than such a stereotyped dénouement or a simple lampoon of Harvey [the Cambridge professor of rhetoric who is supposedly the inspiration of satire].>>

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Post by annis » Fri Nov 16, 2007 9:41 pm

thesaurus wrote:" and "The Empire of the Sign," too.
This is turning out to be a great book (full citation: Latin or the Empire of a Sign, by Françoise Waquet). By rights I ought to hate it — the title has two words that scream "post-modern claptrap" at such volume the dustjacket makes my ears bleed. Nonetheless it's full to bursting with lots of interesting information, more than enough by far to make up for the occasional whiffs of Theory™.
William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
τίς πατέρ' αἰνήσει εἰ μὴ κακοδαίμονες υἱοί;

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Post by thesaurus » Fri Nov 16, 2007 10:01 pm

I sense you and theory don't get along well?

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Post by annis » Fri Nov 16, 2007 10:11 pm

thesaurus wrote:I sense you and theory don't get along well?
That is an understatement.
William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
τίς πατέρ' αἰνήσει εἰ μὴ κακοδαίμονες υἱοί;

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Post by adrianus » Sat Nov 17, 2007 12:20 am

Waquet's approach is definitely not a post-modernist clap-trappy one. The title may have been dictated by the publishers for marketing reasons, to suggest a level of theoretical/semiological analysis that isn't actually in the writing. But her purpose seems to be to stake out the territory, and make her subject accessible and entertaining for the most part (to those who like reading about Latin, at least). And she does try to cover a lot of ground from a lot of perspectives. She concentrates more on surveying the recent history (since the Renaissance) of Latin in European culture and examining popular myths and assumptions about its role in scholarly communication, education and as a class weapon, and so on. It's great for the questions it raises, and it's maybe a little disappointing for her unwillingness to theorize about explanations, but I suppose life is too short and you've got footnotes and a bibliography, after all. For example, to the question of whether the insistence on the classical norm by humanist reformers of Latin ultimately contributed to the language's demise, she says simply (p.273), "No matter from our point of view...Latin disappeared because it no longer meant anything to the contemporary world." Does that make you smile? It does me, although I'd still like to entertain myself by thinking about the question.

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Post by Kyneto Valesio » Wed Nov 21, 2007 6:19 pm

Noster moderator nuper scripsit haec de facetiis a Iohanne Francisco Poggio Braccioline scriptis:

The style of Gian Francesco Poggio Bracciolini (just Poggio most of the time) was held in high esteem, and his rather naughty Facetiae can easily be found on the web in Latin and translation. More than that others will have to say.

No dicerem me retem funditus scrutavisse. Nihilominus multis paginis quaesits nullam editionem huius opusculi latine exaratam usquam inveni. Itaque miror quis vestrum mihi auxilio sit? In antecessum gratias plurimas per auras afflo. Totus Vester Cynetus.

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Post by annis » Wed Nov 21, 2007 6:54 pm

rectene intellego? non potes latinam Facetiarum editionem invenire?

http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/poggio.html
William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
τίς πατέρ' αἰνήσει εἰ μὴ κακοδαίμονες υἱοί;

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Post by CanadianGirl » Wed Nov 21, 2007 11:05 pm

I've never heard of Waquet's book, but you guys have got me so intrigued, I'm looking for it. Also Turendil's advice is good-just look for Durant's "The Reformation" & "The Renaissance" as excellent background for this era, very enjoyable writing & they mention everything in this fascinating period. You can get used copies for next-to-nothing.
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Post by Kyneto Valesio » Thu Nov 22, 2007 2:31 am

Yes ... moderator humanissime...you understood perfectly well - perhaps better than I expressed myself. Pro situm apud bibliothecam latinam prolatum ingentes gratias persolvo. Pedem illuc dirigo continuo! Vale quam optime.

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