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Original scientific paper

Greek Epigrams of Damianus Benessa

Vlado Rezar ; Filozofski fakultet Sveučilišta u Zagrebu

Full text: croatian pdf 775 Kb

page 157-170

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Full text: english pdf 158 Kb

page 176-176

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Damianus Benessa (1476-1539), a Latin poet of Dubrovnik, is generally considered to be one of the most versatile representatives of Humanism on the east coast of the Adriatic in the early 16th century. Remembered mostly by his voluminous Christian epic De morte Christi, composed in some 8500 Latin hexameters which happened to be published from the autograph only in 2006, Benessa is the author of another surviving manuscript which contains his smaller scale poetry: this very manuscript totals some 8000 Latin verses distributed in three books of epigrams, a book of eclogues, two books of lyric poetry and a book of satires. The apparent humanistic concept of this poetic venture, based on the generic models of classical antiquity, has been even more emphasized by Benessa’s seven Latin renditions of Greek epigrams belonging to the Anthologia Planudea and especially by nine original epigrams that he composed in ancient Greek. This particular segment of Benessa’s oeuvre, a total of 30 elegiac couplets written in the second linguistic medium of Humanism, is a unicum among the surviving works of Croatian humanist poets and therefore has an undisputed importance for Croatian literary and cultural history. However, Benessa's Greek poems, along with the most of aforementioned Latin poems from the same manuscript, remained almost completely unexplored up to our age, due to poor readability as well as to questionable comprehensibility and literary value. This paper presents the results of the basic philological analysis of Benessa’s poetic production in Greek, and tries to explain its origin in the context of contemporary Greek poetry in Italy.


Damianus Benessa, Dubrovnik, humanist poetry in Greek, epigram

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