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Colloquia Maruliana ..., Vol. 5, 1996.

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On the Marginal Notes in the Judita

Bratislav Lučin

Puni tekst: hrvatski, pdf (107 KB) str. 31-55 preuzimanja: 3.338* citiraj
APA 6th Edition
Lučin, B. (1996). O marginalnim bilješkama u Juditi. Colloquia Maruliana ..., 5, 31-55. Preuzeto s
MLA 8th Edition
Lučin, Bratislav. "O marginalnim bilješkama u Juditi." Colloquia Maruliana ..., vol. 5, 1996, str. 31-55. Citirano 21.05.2019.
Chicago 17th Edition
Lučin, Bratislav. "O marginalnim bilješkama u Juditi." Colloquia Maruliana ... 5 (1996): 31-55.
Lučin, B. (1996). 'O marginalnim bilješkama u Juditi', Colloquia Maruliana ..., 5, str. 31-55. Preuzeto s: (Datum pristupa: 21.05.2019.)
Lučin B. O marginalnim bilješkama u Juditi. Colloquia Maruliana ... [Internet]. 1996 [pristupljeno 21.05.2019.];5:31-55. Dostupno na:
B. Lučin, "O marginalnim bilješkama u Juditi", Colloquia Maruliana ..., vol.5, str. 31-55, 1996. [Online]. Dostupno na: [Citirano: 21.05.2019.]

Marko Marulić accompanied his Croatian epic, the Judita, with notes printed in the margins, next to the verses they refer to. The present article offers, for the first time, their complete coverage.
According to the criterion of function these notes can be divided into two groups: those denoting something said in the versified text and those explaining the things said in the verses. The author of the present article gives to the first the name of marginal titles and to the second that of glosses.
The marginal titles can be classified according to the contents of what they denote: similes, who talks (and to whom), smaller content wholes (the subject of description, a change in action, the start of a new narrative unit), the periphrases of the time of the day, moralizing comments and sententiae. It is obvious already from this brief summary list that the marginal titles denote the characteristic elements of an epic structure. They are signals of the author’s poetic self–reliance in transforming a biblical model into an epic poem. The same kind of marginal titles may be found in Marulić’s Latin epic the Dauidias.
The author divides the glosses appearing in the Judita into two groups: the glosses in a narrower sense, where one word used in the verses is explained in the margin by another one, more familiar to the reader, and the glosses in a wider seanse, those in which scholarly data, allusions and proper names are explained by one or more sentences and where the sources of the data and names are, on one hand, the Bible and, on the other, Classical mythology and history.
Why did Marulić deem such explanations necessary? In the introductory epistle with which he dedicates the Croatian epic to his godfather, don Dujam Balistrilić, Marulić stresses that he wrote it for those who know neither Italian nor Latin. In other words he addressed it to the reader who could read only in the mother, Croatian tongue. The only narrative poetry accessible to this reader before the appearance of the Judita were versified saints’ lives. It is worth noting that Marulić in his dedication emphasizes that the work was written po običaju naših začinjavac (according to the custom of our začinjavci: the word denotes anonymous Croatian medieval poets), meaning that he wrote in Croatian language and traditional versification (doubly rhymed dodecasyllabic lines). Yet, he quickly adds that he also did it po zakonu onih starih poet (abiding by the law of those old poets), i. e. in obedience to the poetic principles of the Classical epic. As a true Renaissance author he did not want to renounce the poetic principles of an elevated literary genre, particularly since he knew that his epic would be read with delight not only by uncultivated readers, bud also by his learned Humanist compatriots, well read in Classical epics, but nevertheless highly pleased with the prospect of reading an epic written in the Croatian language.* With his marginal explanations Marulić helps the uncultivated reader to understand his culturally demanding text. Therefore he explains for his loanwords and rare words (glossae), as well as erudite biblical and classical references with which he adorned his work (in the invocation, in similes and particularly in the three catalogues).
The author finds out that in his glosses with biblical argument Marulić draws largely on the abbreviated biblical stories from his compendium the De Veteris Instrumenti uiris illustribus commentarium, suitable passages from which he addition-ally abbreviates and translates into Croatian. It is a well–known fact that the Judita was written in 1501, while the De Veteris Instrumenti… was completed at the end of the second decade of the 16th century. This leads us to conclude that the glosses were not written contemporarily with the verses, but at a later time, in all probability in the period when the poet was preparing his manuscript for the long desired print (the Judita was first published in 1521).
The glosses with Classical contents are particularly important since in them Marulić, for the first time in the Croatian language, retells some twenty stories from Classical mythology and history. Bringing forth the catalogue of beautiful women, in a vivid and plastic way he explains to the reader who were such women as Daphne, Syrinx, Deianira, Helen; in the catalogue of brave women he gives descriptions of Pallas, Diana, Hecuba, the Amazons; in the catalogue of gluttons and drunkards he retells episodes from the lives of Alexander the Great, Mark Antony etc. The author of the present article points to the fact that Marulić’s source for these glosses were often Plutarch’s Parallel Lives.
Marulić’s concise stories from the Bible and classical antiquity have a value of their own, as prose texts in Croatian. Even in the narrow margins and on a marginal occasion Marulić insistis on vivacity, harmony and precision of style. He attains vivacity by amassing verb forms (the aorist, the participles) and by employing a narrative technique in rhetoric known as percursio. He gains haramony and transparency by figures of repetition and by a particular arrangement of words (parallelism, chiasmus).

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