Ioannes Dantiscus: the Corpus of Texts and Correspondence

Publication in EMLO today of the inventory of the correspondence of Ioannes Dantiscus marks the culmination of a collaboration between two major international projects: the ‘Registration and Publication of Ioannes Dantiscus’ Correspondence’ project at the University of Warsaw and our own ‘Cultures of Knowledge’ research project here at the University of Oxford. In turn, this partnership was facilitated within the network of a third pan-European initiative ‘Reassembling the Republic of Letters, 1500–1800‘ (funded by the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) [Action IS1310]) and, thanks to the fortuitous alignment, users of EMLO are able now to access records for 6,117 letters, each of which links to the relevant description and text in the ‘Corpus of Ioannes Dantiscus’ Texts & Correspondence‘ [CIDT&C] database hosted in Warsaw.

The humanist and neo-Latin poet Ioannes Dantiscus (1485–1548) rose to prominence in the service of the Polish King Sigismund I Jagiellon and Queen Bona Sforza as their most significant diplomat and—once ordained Bishop of Kulm (1530/33–1537) and subsequently Bishop of Ermland (1537–1548)—as an eminent politician. Dantiscus’s surviving correspondence embodies one of the largest epistolary collections of his age, and amongst his correspondents numbers an impressive array of rulers, noblemen, political and diplomatic figures, humanists, and scholars. The ‘Registration and Publication of the Correspondence of Ioannes Dantiscus’ project, led initially by Professor Jerzy Axer and now under the direction of Professor Anna Skolimowska, has overseen publication online of Dantiscus’s texts and correspondence. In Anna’s words, Dantiscus’s correspondence provides ‘a unique source of information for researchers of Polish and European Renaissance history, literature, culture, and history of ideas. It documents the role of Poland and Polish diplomacy in Renaissance Europe and provides valuable information on the cultural and intellectual elite of the time, who shared a community of spiritual formation defined by Latinity (Latinitas) and the Christian religion (Christianitas).’

Preparation of the metadata for upload to EMLO has been carried out in a number of stages, the first of which was in 2018 at a Training School—EMLO ‘on the road’—held in Tallinn with support from the Reassembling the Republic of Letters COST Action, and subsequently it was  scheduled around ongoing work in Oxford on the AHRC-funded Networking Archives project. Moving forward in partnership with CIDT&C, the intention is to update the metadata in EMLO at regular intervals to match the continuing editorial work in Warsaw. For the most up-to-date information, however, users of EMLO are urged to make use of the links provided in the letter records to consult the ‘Corpus’ database where, with an interface in English and Polish, they will find in extenso transcriptions of the primary sources, together with critical apparatus. We hope EMLO’s users will relish this opportunity both to examine Dantiscus’s correspondence in the context of EMLO’s union catalogue and to explore the texts in the ‘Corpus of Ioannes Dantiscus’ Texts & Correspondence‘.

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