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An Unknown Letter of Pope Adrian VI to Marko Marulić

Branko Jozić orcid id ; Marulianum, Split, Hrvatska

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 255 Kb

str. 149-155

preuzimanja: 612



Even during his lifetime, Marulić was a writer with a worldwide reputation, and was often cited as an authority. It was probably for this reason that the Dominican preacher Dominik Buća asked him to lay before the pope the fraught condition of the Christians and the perils that, particularly after the fall of Belgrade in 1521, threatened the whole of Europe. Acceding to his request, the Split writer addressed the newly elected Pope Adrian VI a letter that was printed in Rome on April 30, 1522, even before the new pope’s enthronement. Ascending the papal throne, in the tangled ecclesiastical, social and political conditions of the time the pope took various steps (in line with those that Marulić had urged),but it has been unclear so far whether he personally replied to the Split humanist. In this paper a newly found bibliographic item is discussed suggesting that such a reply really did exist.
This clue is found in the second (H-M) volume of the bio-bibliographic lexicon of Antonio Possevino Apparatus sacer ad scriptores Veteris & Novi Testamenti, eorum interpretes, [...] poetas sacros, libros pios, quocumque idiomate conscriptos (Venice, 1606). In this volume alone, more than two and a half thousand authors are discussed, among them, on pp. 385-386, Marko Marulić. Possevino knows nothing of his life, but cites the fifteen editions of the De institutione, Evangelistarium, Quinquaginta parabolae. At the very beginning of this volume there is an article about Adrian VI: on p. 2, in the list of his works, Possevino among other things notes: Praeter alias vero insignes eius epistolas extant eae, quas scripsit ad Senatum Ciuitatis Bambergensis, atque ad singulos quosque Principes, & Ecclesiasticos Laicos eiusdem argumenti, sed praesertim ad Ducem Saxoniae Fredericum, in cuius ditione viuebat Germanici incendij fax Lutherus. Et aliam ad Marcum Marulum virum optimum, atque doctissimum plenam honoris, & erga illum beneuolentiae. Romae quoqe impressam. This information was repeated several times (with certain variations) in similar bio-bibliographic surveys (Henri-Louis de Chasteigner de la Rocheposay, Ludwig Jakob a S. Carolo, Giovanni Palazzi)
Naturally, it might be thought that Possevino knew of Marulić’s letter to Adrian, but was confused as to who was sender and who was recipient. But the actual formulation of Possevino – the pope sent a letter to »the excellent and very learned man«, a letter »full of respect and benevolence for him« – would tend to suggest rather that the compiler of the lexicon was well informed (perhaps that he had the pope’s letter in his hands).The information that the letter to Marulić was printed, in Rome itself (Romae quoque impressam), even aroused hope that an extant copy might be found. But unfortunately, research to date has not been productive.
Pope Adrian VI probably knew of Marulić. He could well have found out about the Split writer not only from his books but also from Thomas Niger, Marulić’s close friend. After the fall of Belgrade in 1521 the pope of the time, Leo X, had sent Niger to the court of Charles V, as a person of the highest rank in the European diplomatic world, to lobby for an anti-Ottoman war. Niger acquainted the newly elected and still unthroned Pope Adrian VI of the losses being suffered by the Christian people and the perils that loomed over the whole of Europe. It is perhaps for this mission that Marulić’s letter to Adrian VI was in great haste prepared and printed.

Ključne riječi

Marko Marulić, Pope Adrian VI, Toma Niger, Antonio Possevino, epistolary communication

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