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A new name in Dubrovnik Humanism: Michael Caelius Gradius

Vlado Rezar orcid id ; Filozofski fakultet Sveučilišta u Zagrebu, Zagreb, Hrvatska

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 929 Kb

str. 5-15

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The epigrams and odes of the humanist Damjan Beneša (Damianus Benessa, 1476-1539) are the segment of his poetic oeuvre that affords the best prospect onto the literary stage of the Dubrovnik of his time as well as onto his personal intellectual universe. The picture that is constructed by the names of persons whom Beneša honoured with his poetical encomia correlates well with the conventional image of the literary historical canon of humanist Dubrovnik. And while the only unexpected thing in connection with Beneša’s verses addressed to well-known Dubrovnik humanists would be if they were by chance not found in his epigrams and odes, the fact that there are as many as six Beneša poems dedicated to a certain Caelius and his literary work is quite remarkable because it is not backed up by anything in the literary history data about the figures involved in Dubrovnik humanism in the early 16th century.
The article reveals that Beneša is referring to a highly original Miho Gradić, son of Marin, and known as Caelius. To date he has been completely unknown and for unexplained reasons utterly forgotten. Miho was most probably born after 1465, certainly before 1472, and died on the island of Šipan in 1527, probably from the plague, for it was raging in the Dubrovnik area at that time. He acquired an outstanding education in Florence as pupil of the famed Demetrios Chalkokondyles (1423-1511), the editor of the first printed edition of the Iliad and the Odyssey in 1488. Ilija Crijević (Aelius Lampridius Cervinus) was correct in sensing that Caelius would be an ornament to his homeland. Giovanni Bembo mentioned his Latin translations of the orations of Demosthenes, which still have to be found, while in Berlin there is a manuscript of his translation of the Anabasis of Xenophon. This is the oldest of any of the preserved Latin versions of Anabasis, since two older manuscript translations have been lost, and the first printed edition derives from 1533. Finally, as Bembo and Beneša testify, Caelius did not only do translations but also wrote Latin verse; however, of the volume, content and fate of this body of work, for the moment, alas, there is nothing at all to be said.

Ključne riječi

Giovanni Bembo, Damjan Beneša (Damianus Benessa), Miho Gradić (Michael Caelius Gradius), Dubrovnik, Renaissance humanism, translations from Greek into Latin, Demosthenes, Xenophon, Anabasis

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