Vivat Germania latina, Vivat Latinitas teutonica!

Hans Helander

The Gustavis of Venceslaus Clemens

1. The Historical Background

Religious antagonism had put its hall-mark on the history of Western Europe since the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. The maturity and culmination of these conflicts were marked by the great German war which lasted between 1618 and 1648, post eventum called the Thirty Years' War. The first phase of the war, up to 1630, was characterized by a series of disastrous Protestant defeats. The most spectacular of these was the Catholic victory on the White Mountain, in 1620, over the Elector Palatine, Frederick, the poor "Winter" King of Bohemia. This was a fatal blow to Protestant aspirations, a traumatic event that would echo throughout European history for a long time to come. During the course of the 1620s, other victories were won by the Catholic armies, which were led by the brilliant generals Tilly and Wallenstein. A Danish army intervened in 1625, only to be crushed by Tilly two years later. Wallenstein occupied a large part of Denmark and most of the southern shore of the Baltic Sea. The Protestant cause seemed to be lost.

It was in this situation, in the midsummer of 1630, that the Swedish King, Gustavus Adolphus, brought his country into the war. His participation marked the turn in the tide. In September 1631 he defeated Tilly at Breitenfeld, and the rapid campaign that followed through Germany, all the way to Bavaria, was a victorious, triumphal march that amazed all of Europe. Public attention was, of course, not diminished when Gustavus Adolphus shortly afterwards died the death of a hero in the battle of Lützen, in November 1632.

2. The propaganda literature and its main themes

From the very beginning of the war the Muses had been enlisted in the struggle. Both sides produced literature of various genres to support their views on the war efforts: historiographical works, orations, pamphlets and leaflets, dramatic works and epic poems. A considerable part of these works was written in Latin.

The Swedish participation in the war called for eloquent vindications, which were also promptly delivered, in all genres, by Protestant authors. Common to the works that were now written to defend the Swedish and Evangelical cause were certain themes and notions linked to the Swedish King. These form a cluster of motifs that occur in most works produced at this time. The most conspicuous of these ideas were the following:

Gustavus Adolphus was the King of the Goths, the oldest nation of the world [1] . The ancestors of the Goths had earlier been the lords of the world, and now their heirs and successors follow their footsteps, orbes olim domini ... denuo haeredes atque indubitati successores, as Daniel Heinsius put it. Gustavus, Suecorum, Gothorum Vandalorumque Rex, enters the European theater, the scene of so many Gothic triumphs.

The King entered the scene as a Rescuer and Deliverer from evil. The cause of German Protestantism had seemed lost for many years, as we have seen. In this time of despair, the Swedish King was linked to current apocalyptic, chiliastic, and Rosicrucian ideas, and from the outset he was hailed, by the Evangelical Christians, as the Lion of the North (Leo Septentrionis), of whom the prophets had spoken. [2] He is the one who shall come, and crush the Dragon, the Beast and Babylon, which are all names referring to the Pope and the Catholic church.

The King is also the the Avenger and the Redeemer, Vindex et Sospitator. He is Liberator Germaniae. Through him Religion and Freedom, Religio et Libertas, are saved. He is the immediate agent of God, he fights with the help of God and the conquering weapons, cum Deo et victricibus armis. The last-mentioned phrase became the King's motto and was used so often that it could be abbreviated C.D.E.V.A. The origin of the expression is found in Virgil's victricia arma. [3]

Anagrams were in vogue, as we know, and the Swedish propaganda also exploited the remarkable fact that an anagram of GUSTAVUS was AUGUSTUS. This could not possibly be mere coincidence! Instead, it must be interpreted as a clear divine indication of the role Gustavus Adolphus was predestined to play on the stage of the Welttheater he now had entered.

3. Epic works

Latin epic works form an important part of the literature that was produced to extol the deeds of the Swedish King. There are four great works belonging to this genre, published between 1632 and 1649 and - interestingly enough - not written by Swedes, but by grateful foreigners. They represent an enormous bulk of literature, more than 30,000 verses, and they are rich in expressions of the ideas of their times. Thus, they are well worth paying attention to. It is all the more notable that they have passed practically unnoticed by scholars and historians up to our own time. [4] They are the following:

(1) the Bohemian Venceslaus Clemens (1589-1640?), Gustavidos libri IX, quibus Gustavi II vere Magni et Augusti, Suecorum, Gothorum, Vandalorum ... Regis Serenissimi, Victoriarum heroicarum, rerumque per Germaniam gestarum series carmine Heroico narratur (Leyden, 1632);

(2) the Dutchman Johannes Narssius (born in 1570), Gustavidos sive de bello Sueco-austriaco libri tres (Hamburg 1632); Gustavidos liber quartus (ibidem 1634);

(3) the French Huguenot Evurtius Jollyvet (1604-1662), Fulmen in Aquilam seu Gustavi Magni, serenissimi Svecorum, Gotthorum, Wandalorum Regis ... Bellum Sueco-Germanicum. Heroico-Politicum Poema (Paris 1636);

(4) the French Huguenot Antoine Garissoles (1587-1651), Adolphidos sive de bello Germanico, quod incomparabilis heros Gutavus Adolphus magnus Suecorum, Gothorum Vandalorumque rex pro Germaniae procerum et statuum liberatate gessit libri duodecim. Montauban 1649.

It goes without saying that these poems are inspired by the great Latin epic tradition, above all by Virgil, but also the silver Latin epics.

Yet , I think that the reader of these epic works will be struck by the fact that the poems are so different in character. In Venceslaus Clemens's work, the history and martyrdom of Bohemia is present all the time. Johannes Narssius writes from a basis of Dutch experience. The Frenchmen, although they are Protestant, had to let the religious controversy stand in the background and they choose instead to concentrate on the King and the historical background.

4. Venceslaus Clemens and his Gustavis

In this paper I shall concentrate on the first work in this list, the Gustavis of Venceslaus Clemens. [5] He was born in Zebrák in Bohemia probably about 1589. [6] Very early he showed an obvious talent as a Latin poet and published his first Latin verses in 1607. [7] Being an ardent Protestant, he had to go into exile after the disastrous battle on the White Mountain. He then led a life of wandering, trying in several places to earn his living by writing Latin poems for various patrons. Several of these works in various ways celebrate the Protestant cause. In 1627, he then went into the service of the great Swedish Chancellor Count Axel Oxenstierna and for some years he stayed close to this great statesman and the Swedish army, in Prussia, in northern Germany, and Poland. He then went to Leyden, where he matriculated at the University and came in close contact with famous scholars such as Daniel Heinsius and Marcus Zuerius Boxhornius. It was during this time that he published his Gustavis and also his Lechias, which is a homage to Vladislaus IV of Poland. In 1634 he went to England, where he wrote Trinobantias, a poem on the city of London [8] and Gartierias (sive aurea Periscelis), a poem on the Order of the Garter. Apparently, he died in England, possibly shortly before 1640.

His Gustavis was published in 1632, in Leyden. It consists of nine books. The text of the poem is preceded by a preface and a dedication to Axel Oxenstierna. The epic poem in itself comprises 208 pages in quarto, some 6.800 verses, which means an average length of about 760 verses for each book.

The first book begins with a flourish, with a magnificent allegorical scene that is typical of the baroque age and its literary taste. Personified Religion (RELIGIO) is introduced on the scene, she is weeping and complaining that she, and Liberty also, have been exiled from Germany. RELIGIO is assisted on both sides by her daughters Piety and Faith (PIETAS and FIDES).

RELLIGIO variis affecta afflicta periclis,

Teutonicis ejecta palam de finibus exul

Iamque abitura viam prodit, non talibus unquam

Conspecta ante modis / ... / [9]

Assistunt Gnatae geminae, PIETASque FIDESque

Par constans morum, caeli ambae pignus ... [10]

Religio is utterly exhausted, and with bitterness she remembers the happiness of the good old times when the people of Germany had seen the true evangelical light and abandoned the idle teaching of the Pope; when they lived in love of the word of Salvation, worshipped and adored Jesus and realised that all other things are mere false inventions of men and empty ceremonies of Baal:

Ibimus extorres. Alieno Sole calentes

Quaeremus sedes? An sit super angulus uspiam

Tutus ab insidiis, Latiaeque tyrannidis expers?

Visurae, si quae tellus incognita turbis

Extra anni Solisque vias jacet? Ibimus illuc! [11]

/ - - - /

Postquam me nuper Superum Pater ac hominum Rex

Clemens aspexit, coelesti et luce revisit,

Vejovis Ausonii [12] nugasque relinquere jussit,

A nocte, a tenebris, ad vivi luminis ignes

Aptata revocavit ope, et sublimibus auxit

Divitiis, mihi, quum GERMANIA libera sedem

Asseruit ...

/ - - - /

O quam laetati! Qualem Paeana canebant!

Sancta SALUS homines coeli mulcebat amore,

Non nisi de CHRISTO sermo est mediisque repertis

Itur queis Superum ad fastigia celsa polorum,

Missas tum faciunt missas, venalia sacra

Detestantur,amant verbum coeleste Salutis,

Quamve fidem lex sancta docet, vox alta TONANTIS

Quem monstrat IESUM, laudant, venerantur, adorant,

Cetera quae fiunt hominum commenta, Baalis

Sacra putant, vanos cultus, relegandaque Sacra

Trans maris extremi fluctus, Garamantas et Indos. [13]

Now the happy times are gone. The Spaniards rule the world, the Liga-Santa is gaining territory all the time; the influence of the monks is increasing, the monks with their hoods and ropes, who think that they are holy because of their tonsures. Germany has become a theater of the most terrible war, RELIGIO has been forced to witness acts of the most terrible cruelty. Religion cannot stand this any longer; she decides to go to her heavenly Father and try to get help from Him. In a long speech she addresses God and complains about the present situation in Germany. The first book ends with a passionate prayer: "Have mercy on me, Heavenly Father. How can you look at these enormities without interfering? Do you not have any thunderbolts left? Is your right arm exhausted? Punish the impious Evildoers":

Aspicis ista? patique potes? Jam deficit ignis?

Dextera fessa tua est? ... [14]

Verte tuas acies, contorque fulmen in hostem,

Sentiat o superesse DEUM, superesse Tyrannis

Sentiat Ultorem, tremat unum cuncta videntem,

Cuncta gubernantemque et nutu cuncta moventem ... [15]

These are typical examples of Clemens's style, full of allusions to the ancient poets, and yet creative and vigorous. Sources of inspiration are not only the ancient authors but also Renaissance and contemporary writers. For example: The attack on the monks, which I mentioned, contains expressions that are conspicuously similar to the wordings in Buchanan's famous attacks on monastic life. It is almost self-evident that Clemens had read Buchanan.

The end of the book, when RELIGIO ascends to God, her father, to ask him for help, is as a whole conceived under compact classical influence. The reader will at once think of how Thetis appeals to Zeus in the Iliad, how Venus complains to Jupiter in the Aeneid, and so forth. And it is quite clear that Clemens owes much to Claudian, too. It is my firm opinion that Claudian's spirit moves upon the face of the whole work.

The second book begins with God's answer to the complaints of RELIGIO. "Do not be afraid, my daughter, stop lamenting ... ":

Parce metu mea Nata mihi, quae pectore sacro

Concilias mortale genus, desiste querelis

/ - - - / [16]

Parce metu, mea Nata is exactly what Jupiter says to Venus in the first book of the Aeneid (1,257), when he comforts her and tells her that she need not worry about Aeneas. Here, God tells Religion that a great Hero will soon help her. His name is not mentioned at once, but God says that he has recently defeated the Danes, the Russians and the Poles. And in days of old his ancestors, the Goths, conquered almost all of Europe. The reader begins to understand: Aha! This must be Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden!

When RELIGIO understands this she rejoices. She appears to Gustavus Adolphus while he, alone, is just deliberating upon the outcome of the great German war. And she tells him the history of the Reformation, in the form of a fable, or allegory. [17] She narrates that there was a Goose (Anser), who wanted to warn people with its call (exactly as the geese had warned the defenders of the Capitoline hill when the enemy were attacking). But a terrible Dragon (Draco) captured the goose and burnt it. After a while, however, there came a Swan (Olor), who continued the good work of the Goose, telling people about the Truth. But now the Dragon and the Beast have entered the scene again. In this critical situation a Lion will come to save the world!

Most of Clemens's readers must have understood this fable. The Goose is the first reformer, Johan Hus. (Hus is 'goose' in Czech.) And there was a legend that Hus, when he was led to his execution and tied to the stake said: "To-day a goose is burnt, but after me there will come a swan." (This must have been a fairly well-known story, which is also iconographically presented in contemporary art: I have seen at least a couple of paintings of Luther with a swan at his side) And the Lion is of course the Lion of the North. So - the allegoresis of the fable is: The Goose is Hus, the Swan is Luther, and the Lion is Gustavus Adolphus. Behold the history of the German Reformation, in the form of an allegorical epitome! Venceslaus Clemens gets into raptures at this point.

SALVE dulcis OLOR! tua vox, qua conficis HYDRAM

ANSERIS et sancti bene coeptos perficis ausus,

Immensas Orbis laudata perambulat oras!

Felix! o felix GERMANIA nostra fuisset,

Si discat melius per vos bona parta tueri!

/ - - - /

At LEO nunc veniat. Veniet Leo tempore fixo.

Vae tibi! Vae Babylon scelerata, tuisque Cynaedis!

Vae tibi, Vae Meretrix ... [18]

The third book of Clemens's Gustavis describes the preparations for participation in the German war. Clemens here cleverly uses the great patterns of epic poetry, the topoi that were to be found in Homer and Vergil, for instance. The enumeration of heroes and nations that go to war has a long tradition in poetry, dating back to Homer (the catalogue of ships) [19] . It became a characteristic feature of the Roman epic tradition (to be found e.g. in Virgil, the seventh and tenth books); [20] characteristically exaggerated by the Silver Latin authors. [21] I think it is correct to say that the catalogue tendencies of Latin poetry become even more accentuated in Neo-Latin. [22]

Clemens includes a catalogue of the nations that gather under Gustavus Adolphus's banner to take part in the great war in Germany. They are Germans, Frenchmen, Bohemians, Scots, Englishmen and others:

Coguntur SVEONES gnari tolerare labores

Castrorum, durata gelu, fortissima dextris

Corpora, conveniunt Alemannica corda potentes

Robore Germani, Latii crudele Tyranni

Quos odium caepit, juvenes in utrumque parati.

Vincere, seu pulcrae certo succumbere morti,

Accedunt flavi crispato vertice Galli,

Devictumque genus, damnatum ad flagra, Bohemi; [23]

Accedunt et Scotigenae, pictique Britanni,

Gens habilis ferro, properare facillima mortem,

Tot Bellatores Populi, tot Martis alumni.

Accedunt alii; vix tot Ductore sub uno

Confluxere manus, ac tot discrimina vocum. [24]

Immediately after this enumeration of nations, Clemens describes how the fleet is enlarged with new ships, men-of-war are built, and in connexion with this the author tells us how whole forests, beeches, nut-trees, pines, poplars, oaks, alders, plane-trees, mountain-ashes, are cut down to supply the needs of the navy; the elaborate passage becomes a catalogue of trees, reminiscent of the classical forerunners in this field [25] :

Parte alia duro fiunt navalia ligno,

Silva capax aevi, validaque incurva senecta

Materiem ratibus vectat, populantur amoenae

Umbrae tot nemorum, cadit eminus ardua fagus,

Chaoniaeque nuces, veterum data pabula mensis,

Procumbunt piceae, aptantur ameta carinis,

Populus, iliciaeque trabes, Pinusque vetustae,

Alnus amica vadis, Platanus nec inhospita Ponto,

Annosaeque Orni, haud undis penetrabile robur ,

Humanumque abies certo potura cruorem.

Sternitur innumeris Arctoum classibus aequor,

Et Pelagus longa velorum cingitur umbra ... [26]

But Clemens cares also for other things than wars and conflicts: Love gets its place in his poem, too. The Swedish Queen, Maria Eleonora, bids farewell to her husband and grieves over his departure. She is sorry that she has not had a son, who might recall the features of his father during the King's absence. And she exclaims:

O mihi si saltem parvus GUSTAVULUS aula

Luderet ante oculos ... [27]

The contemporary readers were surely able to recognize the parallel at once. These are almost the same words that unhappy Dido used when Aeneas left her to sail to Italy: Si quis mihi parvulus aula/ luderet Aeneas. [28]

In the following books, from book four and onwards, the military campaign in Germany is depicted. Clemens in the fifth book mentions himself as a poeta minor, who went with the Swedish army. [29] He says he tries, without having the necessary talent, to sing of arms and the Gothic man, in the manner of Virgil. Clemens compares the Swedish King to Gideon, the Hero of the Book of the Judges in the Old Testament.

In the fifth book we encounter the theme of "The Council in Hell", which was ultimately derived from Claudian. This is also to be expected: Ever since the end of the 16th century, the Concilium infernale had been a favourite motif in Protestant Latin authors, used in order to describe the real origin of the Spanish, Habsburg and Papal ambitions, the true devilish forces behind the Counter- Reformation. [30]

"The Council in Hell" always begins in the same way in the Protestant version at this time: The Devil receives reports about the success of the Evangelical Faith on earth. He becomes very upset and immediately convenes a council, in which the participants are devils and furies, harpies and monsters of all kinds. Satan addresses them: "You have to pull yourself together!" he says "We must find new ways and methods to spread evil and catastrophes all over the world." In Clemens's work it is Tisiphone, the worst among the Furies, that finds a solution. She suggests that she be permitted to release her disgusting offspring on the earth. Everyone agrees to this, and it is done. The evil offspring turns out to be the Jesuits, who together with the Dragon and the Babylonian Harlot (who is the Pope) try to do as much evil as they can. The Jesuits are called Locustae, exactly as they are in other Protestantic works of propaganda at this time. [31]

In the eighth book, Clemens gives gruesome pictures of the fall of the city of Magdeburg, here called Parthenope, "the city of the virgins", a translation of the German name into Greek (we sometimes find the Latinization, too, Virginum civitas). When Tilly took Magdeburg by assault in May 1631, the Catholic soldiery killed more than 30.000 people. [32] The fall of this city is a theme that is common to all the Protestant authors at this time: Clemens warns his readers that he will scarcely be able to tell about the atrocities committed. Tilly's cruelty is illustrated through the speech which Clemens makes him give before the storming:

Irrrue, miles, ait, totamque a sedibus imis

Evertas Vrbem, sint vici et compita tecta

Ossibus; omne feri; nullo discrimine habeto

Aetatem Juvenum atque Senum sexumque minorem.

Sit miles, Matrona, Puer, Vir, Virgo, Senator:

Caedatur, mentem miseratio nulla fatiget.

Expue cordolium, affectus sepone dolentes.

Hunc nidum ferro flammisque abolere jubemus.

Irrue. Quid cessas? Haec stat sententia mentis.

Cuncta furor populetur edax! Rape! Perde! Trucida!

Sparge cruore Solum! Jace flammas, dirue muros! [33]

In the ninth, and last book, Clemens gives a vivid description of the battle of Breitenfeld, in September 1631. The brilliant Swedish victory is here depicted as a decisive victory for the just cause, and Tilly's devastating defeat as a retribution and divine retaliation for the terrible fate of Magdeburg. Clemens writes with real inspiration, he rejoices, he is full of optimism. Germany is in the hands of Gustavus Adolphus, the cause of Protestantism is saved at last, Frederick of Pfalz, the poor Elector Palatine, will be able to return to his realm; RELIGIO and LIBERTAS can now return to Germany. The poem thus ends with jubilant exclamations:

Tantae molis erat Latias arcere Locustas. [34]

Sunt igitur SUPERI, est Pietas et Numen ab alte

Respicit adflictos, juvat aegros, curat egenos ... [35]

Quem (=Gustavum) Populi, quem Regna timent, quem Solis ab ortu

Solis ad occasum, curru sublimis eburno

FAMA vehit, loquiturque suas VICTORIA lauros

Illi, nec tantum praesentia, at omnia retro

Secula magnanimi Victoris Nomina cedunt.

Quem, sidus quassis velut auxiliare carinis

Submisere Dei, per eum quo prisca resurgat

Libertas, et Relligio revirescat avorum.

Cum Pietate Fides redeat ... [36]

So - Clemens's Gustavis begins with a flourish, goes on practically throughout in the high and inspired style, and it ends with a flourish. He wrote about things that concerned him, he was clearly quite passionately engaged in the themes that he treated.

In this kind of literature, we do not have to do with learned exercises, written by isolated retrospective scholars. On the contrary: Latin was still the main means of communication in Europe, and we see in this work a good example of how the Latin authors skilfully recruited all genres, all literary devices available and let them do service for King and country and for the True Religion. We are confronted with a very vital and very contemporary literature.

We see how the revolutionary processes that formed early modern Europe also formed the literature of the period. It is true that the Latin literature of the age mirrors classical ideals and echoes the ancient world and its authors. But the ancient world just delivers the tools, whereas it is the modern world, the new nation states and the fatal religious struggles that are the urging forces which produce and motivate the literary works, that give them their content, and aim, and purpose. [37]


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Starnawski, Jerzy, (with the cooperation of Jozef IJsewijn), "Clemens Venceslaus Zebracenus a Lybeo Monte, Lechiados libri IV (ca 1632-1635)" (In: Humanistica Lovaniensia XXI (1972):281-384).

[1] Johannes Magnus had stated that the Goths were the descendants of Magog, the grandson of Noah. Magog's sons were Sven and Gethar (also named Gog), who became the ancestors of the Swedes and the Goths. (Historia de omnibus Gothorum Sveonumque regibus, 1554, I, Chapters 4-5.)

[2] The ideas about the avenging Lion of the North found their source in a number of passages in the Prophets, notably the following: Isaiah 41:25 ("I stirred up one from the north, and he has come, from the rising of the sun, and he shall call on my name; he shall trample on rulers as on mortar, as the potter treads clay."); Jeremiah 50:9 ("For behold, I am stirring up and bringing against Babylon a company of great nations, from the north country; and they shall array themselves against her."); 4 Esdras 11:37 ("And I looked, and behold, a creature like a lion was aroused out of the forest, roaring. And I heard how he uttered a man's voice to the eagle, and spoke, saying ... "). The eagle that is mentioned here and finally crushed by the lion was of course identified with the Habsburg Empire.

[3] See Planer III:51. The expression is modelled on Virgil, Aen. 3,54 res Agamemnonias victriciaque arma secutus.

[4] Werner Milch just mentions the existence of these four great epic works, but it is evident that he has not read them. He just sighs (p. 36): "Nur erwähnt seien vier unendlich lange lateinische Chroniken ... "(followed by a bare enumeration).

[5] In Jöcher's Allgemeines Gelehrten Lexicon there is a very small article about him with the misleading information that he was an Italian. Adelung's Fortsetzung und Ergänzungen zu ... Jöchers allgemeinem Gelehrten Lexico corrects this and provides us with a better article about him. In Humanistica Lovaniensia XXI (1972):281-283 Jerzy Starnawski has given a summary (in cooperation with Josef IJsewijn) of what he has found out about his life (as an introduction to the edition of Clemens's Lechias, ibid. pp. 284-384). In addition to the information to be found in Starnawski, I would like to mention Nils Ahnlund's study on Axel Oxenstierna (Axel Oxenstierna intill Gustav Adolfs död. Stockholm 1940), in which we get a picture of Clemens and his relations with the Oxenstierna family (pp. 502 ff and passim).

[6] He is sometimes called Zebracenus. In later years, he used to add "a Lybaeo Monte" to his name. (So he did on the title page of his Gustavis.) This noble name was given to him in 1630 (corresponding to the Czech Z Libé Hory) See Starnawski 1972, p. 282.

[7] Adelung even contends that "er war einer der besten Lateinischen Dichter ... seiner Zeit" (p. 363).

[8] The Trinobantes were a people in the south-east part of Britain, in Essex and the southern parts of Suffolk, mentioned by Caesar and Tacitus.

[9] p. 5.

[10] p. 5.

[11] p. 6. These lines are absolutely teeming with allusions to the Augustan poets: We notice the Horatian alieno sole calentes (Carm.2,16,18 f.), the Virgilian extra anni solisque vias (Aen. 6,796) and the Ovidian ibimus illuc (Met. 8,186; slightly changed from illac). The Latia tyrannis is of course the Rule of the Pope. In Protestant propaganda the Pope is often called Baal Latius and similar things.

[12] Vejovis Ausonius is of course the Pope.

[13] p. 7 f. We notice that God is called Tonans, in the best classical style (this is an instance of what is called Ethnicismus styli), furthermore that Clemens is fond of paronomiastic expressions (missas tum faciunt missas) and that there there are again echoes from the great ancient poets, such as the Virgilian Garamantas et Indos in the last line.

[14] p. 18.

[15] p. 21.

[16] p. 23.

[17] p. 30 ff.

[18] pp. 32 f.

[19] Iliad 2, 484 ff.

[20] Aen. 7,641 ff. and 10,163 ff.

[21] e.g. in Lucan 1,392 ff. ; Stat. Theb. 12,611 ff.

[22] It may be contended that this happened under the influence of the many handbooks that contained enumerations of precisely this kind, the important collections that were called Cornucopia, Florilegium and Officina etc. Conversely, it is important to realize, I think, that these publications appeared because of the need for such literature, a need that was the result of the combination of the classical tradition and the baroque spirit, whose main features were always hypercharacterization, richness of style and overloaded discourse

[23] The Bohemians are said to be devictum genus , damnatum ad flagra since they, and Frederick V ("the Winter King") had been beaten on the Weissser Berg in 1620 and their country had become the victim of ruthless oppression.

[24] Gustavis 3, p. 47f. .

[25] The tree-catalogue theme originates in Homer, with the wood-gatering for Patroclus's pyre (Il. 23,114 ff.) Ennius imitated Homer (Ann. 187 ff., quoted by Macrobius, Sat. 6,2,27), and Virgil made use of the theme in Aen. 6, 179 ff. and 11,135 ff. The Latin Silver Age poets further developed the motif (Lucan 3,440 ff. , Silius 10,527 ff. and Statius, Theb. 6,90 ff.).

[26] Gustavis 3, p. 48. Statius' s catalogue of trees in Theb. 6, 90 ff. (see the previous note) is quite visibly the most important source; several phrases are directly taken from that passage.

[27] p. 49.

[28] Virgil, Aen. 4,328 f.

[29] p. 95.

[30] The literary motif of "The Infernal Council" originates in the poems of the late ancient Latin poet Claudius Claudianus. During the Middle Ages it occurs now and then, although in a form that reveals inspiration also from other sources than pagan Roman poetry. The hey-day of the motif is the Renaissance, especially the 16th and the 17th centuries, which witness a revival of the interest in Claudian. We meet the motif in Jacopo Sannazaro (De partu virginis), in Marco Girolamo Vida (Christias), in Torquato Tasso (Gerusalemme liberata) and in Milton (Paradise Lost). "The Infernal Council" has attracted the attention of several scholars previously, but most of them confine themselves to mentioning as examples the authors just enumerated. (Cf. Olin Moore's essay "The Infernal Council". In this essay, I want to stress the importance of the motif in late 16th and early 17th century Protestant Latin poets in England (William Alabaster, Thomas Watson, Thomas Campion, Michael Wallace and Phineas Fletcher). The motif is also employed by the Frenchman Antoine Garissoles in his Adolphis, mentioned above, by patriotic Danish writers in the middle of the 17th century (Christen Aagard and Henrik Harder) and by the talented Swedish professor poeseos Andreas Stobaeus, who wrote his epic work on the Narva battle on the threshold of the 18th century.

[31] Cf. Phineas Fletcher's Locustae, written in 1627 and recently edited by Estelle Haan.

[32] In their descriptions, the poets often allude to the Ilioupersis in the second book of the Aeneid.

[33] p. 156 f.

[34] p. 193. Cf. Verg. Aen. 1,33.

[35] p. 201.

[36] p. 202.

[37] Cf. the present author's article "Neo-Latin Studies: Significance and Prospects" (in: Symbolae Osloenses, vol. 76, 2001, pp. 5-44.

Autor (author): Hans Helander
Dokument erstellt (document created): 2002-08-13
Dokument geändert (last update): 2002-08-26
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