Inter-cultural Transmission of Intellectual Traditions in the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period. A comparative perspective


Anna Horeczy

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The Italian cultural mediation in discovering the ancient thought in Poland in the 15th and the first half of the 16th Century. Circulation of translations and comments by Leonardo Bruni and the reception of humanism in Poland

The aim of my research is to find out to what extent the translations by the Italian humanists contributed to the popularization of the ancient thought in Poland. The translations and comments by Leonardo Bruni (or Leonardo Aretino), who is considered one of the most famous translators from Greek into Latin at the beginning of the 15th century, have been selected to serve as a case study. Bruni translated the most important works on practical philosophy of Aristotle such as the Nicomachean Ethics, Politics and Economics as well as works of Plato that had not been translated into Latin before, such as Gorgias and Crito. Moreover, he translated works of Xenophon, Plutarch, Saint Basil the Great, Demosthenes and Aeschines. The 15th century and the first half of the 16th century in Poland is a very interesting period for research focused on the transfer of intellectual traditions. This period makes it possible to observe the dissemination of humanist ideas in the medieval culture. In this project I am going to investigate the presence of the translations and comments made by Leonardo Bruni in Polish book collections of the 15th and the first half of the 16th century. Next, the author is going to examine which works of Bruni were present in the collections, determine their quantity and find out which works were absent. It is of interest to the author to compare the diffusion of Bruni’s translations and comments in the Polish, Italian as well as German book collections. The second step will be to determine the modes of reception of these translations based on the analysis of the marginal glosses, notes, comments and quotations. The author is going to describe various modes of reception of these translations and examine how this reception is related to the intellectual formation of the recipients, as humanistic thought was sometimes presented in the “medieval” form, e.g. in the comment of Jan of Stobnica to the Introduction to Moral Philosophy by Leonardo Bruni. This research will contribute to completing the knowledge on the reception of the ancient Greek thought and humanism in Poland of the 15th and the first half of the 16th century.

Anna Horeczy is a PhD student at Medieval Society and Culture Section at Tadeusz Manteuffel Institute of History of the Polish Academy of Sciences and prepares the thesis on the reception of the Italian culture at the Cracow University from the second half of 14th to the 16th century. She has studied at College of Interdepartmental Individual Studies in the Humanities of Warsaw University and graduated magna cum laude in Italian Philology and in History at Warsaw University. Recipient of the scholarship of Socrates-Erasmus Program at Ca' Foscari University of Venice.