The correspondence of Livonia’s most influential humanist: David Hilchen

Back in the spring of this year the COST-funded Reassembling the Republic of Letters action organized its third and final training school, EMLO ‘on the road’. At the suggestion and invitation of Dr Kristi Viiding, who is working on the Livonian humanist and lawyer David Hilchen [Heliconius] (1561–1610), this two-and-a-half-day event was hosted by the Under and Tuglas Literature Centre of the Estonian Academy of Sciences, Tallinn, and was dedicated to the preparation of epistolary metadata for inclusion in a union catalogue of early modern correspondence.

EMLO is truly delighted at the close of the year to be publishing the first installment of metadata for the inventory of David Hilchen’s correspondence. Under the direction of Dr Viiding, who serves currently as General Secretary of the International Association of Neo-Latin studies, The Hilchen Project is compiling an inventory of the humanist’s entire correspondence, and — in addition to publication of this listing in EMLO — the work of the project will form the basis for a future critical edition. About eight-hundred letters written over a range of more than three decades survive from Hilchen’s private correspondence. The vast majority of these are in Latin, and many letters include short passages or phrases in Greek

This inventory is being published in EMLO in two installments. The first consists of the basic metadata for ninety-eight surviving letters sent by and to Hilchen prior to his departure from Livonia at the end of January 1603. The second installment will contain the letters written during the humanist’s exile in Poland between March 1603 and May 1610 (the month preceding his death), and these will be added to EMLO in the autumn of 2019. For the present, we trust EMLO’s users enjoy exploring the catalogue, and we look forward greatly to continuing our work with Dr Vidiing and her team in the course of the forthcoming year.

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