Desiring the Barbarian: Latin, German and Women in the Poetry of Conrad Celtis

by David Price
Desiring the Barbarian: Latin, German and Women in the Poetry of Conrad Celtis
David Price
The German Quarterly
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University of Texas at Austin
Desiring the Barbarian:Latin, German and Women in the Poetry of Conrad Celtis

One of the central questions for scholars of early modern German literature remains the relationship of Latin to German literary culture. For the most part, critics have slighted the massive efforts by humanists to nurture Latin literature and bemoaned the subsequent neglect of German. Indeed, the overwhelming majority of earlier scholars celebrated Ulrich von Hutten, a gifted Latinist, for his decision to breakwith Latin humanism and to begin writing in German. Nonetheless, while the modern scholarly bias is against Latin, recent work has documented beyond any doubt that in the 16th century authors assumeda hierar- chy of languages in which Latin was su- perior to Germans2

Conrad Celtis, renowned as the arch- humanist of Germany, embraced and propagated the elitism of Latin humanism. With the elan of a crusader, he not only advocated a classical style in Latin poetry and prose, but also attributed cultural su- periority, if not exclusivity, to Latin hu- mani~m.~

In his simple paradigm, classical Latin held a culturally high level, and other languages, be they medieval Latin, Czech, or German, were of a lower status.* Fur- thermore, Celtis predicated every kind of cultural advancement on renewal in the language arts because, as he believed, lan- guage informs human consciousness and social institutions. Such a linguistic basis for anthropology, in conjunction with his high-low paradigm of languages, has far- reaching effects on his poetry, Nevertheless, Celtis's poetry evinces a more complex view of language and culture. Though he never disavows the superiority of Latin, some of his poems illustrate desire for, in addition to revilement of, the lower sphere of Ger- man.

Though his scattered comments, taken together, do not sustain a philosophical sys- tem, Celtis adopts a linguistic grounding for anthropology to bolster his propagation of humanism. Like other humanists, he de- fends his interest in poetry and rhetoric on the premise that language is the most distinctive quality of humanib5 In this re- spect, the humanists revived the ancient argument that the command of language both differentiated man from beast and resulted in the formation of human society, Cicero, for example, espoused this idea with particular forcefulness:

Hoc enim uno praestamus vel maxime feris, quod conloquimur inter nos et quod exprimere dicendo sensa possumus. . . . Ut vero iam ad illa summa veniamus, quae vis alia potuit aut disperses hornines unum in locum congregare aut a fera agrestique vita ad hunc humanurn cultum civilemque deducere aut iam constitutis civitatibus leges iudicia iura describere?'

IIn this one respect we are most superior to wild animals: we can talk together and we can express our thoughts in language. . . . But, to come to the most impor- tant issue concerning language, what other force would have been able to assemble mankind from many different places, or to bring its wild, barbarian exist- ence to a state of human culture and civilization or, after societies had been es- tablished, to define laws, courts and justice?]
The German Quarterly 65.2 (Spring 1992) 159

In hisinaugural address at the University of Ingolstadt (1492),Celtis defends his goal of reforming language studies on the grounds that language has the power to civilize man. Like Cicero, Celtis arguesthat language in- stilled a senseofsociety, politics and theology in the masses of primitive man:

Quod si philosophi et poetae primi theo- logi, si antiquitati creditur, homines vagos et palantes lenitis per eloquentiam crudis eorum anirnis a pecorum lustris et sperm- bus in As et socialia tecta convocavere, religionem deorumque meturn et cultum multis et variis argumentis docuere et dein legibus et institutis rexere . . .

[hloreover, considering that the philos- ophers and the first theological poeteif we are to believe antiquity---ummoned mankind, at that time vagranki and no- mads, away from the dens and caves of animals into the cities and social dwell- ings, softened their crude minds by ora- tory,taught them religion and the fear and worship of the gods, and ahrwards gov- erned them by laws and institutions.. .I'

This concept is so basic to Celtis's program that he repeats it with considerable em- phasis at the beginning of his peroration:

Cogitate non sine causa facturn esse, quod Graeci Romanique imperii auctores tanta opera et vigilantia illis rebus studuerint et earum rerum praeceptores summis ho- noribus ornaverint, nisi intellexissent lin- guae viribus sapientiaeque partibus hominum coetus, urbes, religiones, de- orum cultum et sanctissimos mores am- plissimaque imperia conservari et gubernari posse.

mflect that it was no accident that the founders of the Greek and Roman empires tended them (i.e., philosophy and elo- quence) so carefully and honoured the teachers of them with the highest public offices (which they would never have done) if they had not realized that assemblies of men, cities, religions, the cult of the gods, the most virtuous habits in social life and the most powerful empires can all be preserved and governed by the power of the tongue.18

Making his point with suitably humanistic ornament, Celtis goee on to cite one of the mast famous similes from the Aenezd, the comparison of Neptune quelling the winds to a dignified man who calms a violent mob with the force of his words: "Ille regit dictis animos et pectora mulcet." We rules their minds and calms their breasts with his words.]

Because language is perceived to be the source of civilization, the unlettered man emerges asa crude and dangerous barbar- ian. Although Celtis is daring enough to lo- cate barbarians among the princes, many of his caustic passages object to generally '%barbaric9' conditions in Germany10 The term "barbarian" is, it is worth noting, etymologically associated with linguistic deficiency and cultural bias. It comes from a root meaning to babble, or speak in- coherently,ll and in Greek it came to mean a foreigner, especially a Persian, who spoke a different language. In the context of Latin grammar, barbarism designates either a mispronunciation or a corruption of Latin morphology ("barbarolexis"). Therefore it is not accidental that "barbarian," a crucial term to the humanists, unites an anthro- pological and a linguistic sense. The hu- manists not only decry the "barbarian" as a man with deficient verbal skills, but also imply that his humanity is inferior. This bias, of course, is all the more powerful since, to the humanist, language means classical Latin. It is on this basis that humanists proclaim with self-righteous fer- vor that decadent Latin must be rooted out to improve the condition of man. It is symptomatic ofthis outlook that Celtis even goes so far asto imply that the Hussite Wars are a linguistic aswell asa cultural-political issue. According to him, no one should tol- erate a religion which a barbaric language informs: "Incentro Germaniae nostrae per- tinacis religionis opulentissimum peregri- me linguae regnum toleramus."12 Dn the center of Germany, we tolerate the rule of a stubborn religion, lavish in its use of a foreign tongue.]

This linguistic concept of man results in a basic dichotomy in Celtis's view of Ger- man culture. Virtually all of his references to latinity create a tension between his un- abashed German patriotism and his verbal and anthropological understanding of bar- barism. Celtis, of course, is well known for the intensity of his German patriotism, though it actually seems to arise from a sense of inferiority vis-his the Italian hu- manists.13 In order to prove that Germany had had interesting Latin poets, he pro- duced the first editions ofLigurinus and the works of Hmtsvitha of Gandersheim.14 He also was the first German humanist to lec- ture on Tacitus's Germania and, like many early humanists, heaped abundant praise on the accomplishments and promise of Maximilian I. Despite all this, Celtis often characterizes Germans as barbarians. For example, he concludes an invective against an old "etaster,"probably Johannes Ried- ner,l5 with a wish to silence his barbarism:

Sed iam barbara comprimantur ora,
Vel Celten cithara audies relicta
Arcurn tendere cum suis sagittis
Et Phoebi iaculis ferire linguam
Mordacem, stolidam, licentiosam.le

But now check your barbarian tongue, or you will hear Celtis, after he has put aside his lyre, pull a bow with its arrows, and with the barbs of Phoebus he will strike that sharp, stupid, unrestrained tongue of yours.]

Although it congratulates the academic ac- complishments of a certain Sigismund Fusilius of ~reslau,'~

Odes 1.11also charac- terizes vernacular culture, German or other- wise, as barbaric. Only Latin frees Fusilius from the anthropological constraints of his mother tongue:

Primus exosus heras veternum

Exuens scabras nitidus loquelas,

Barbaras voces et avita crassae

Murmura linguae.

Iamaue Romano erudiendus ore

1ndis pulchrum decus expetendo,

Quae probant docti ingenuo calentes

Pectoris igne.18

Eou, aa the first, hated the lethargy of the older people and, in your refinement, you threw off those scabrous words, the bar- barous speech, and the ancestral babble of a crude language. And now, mastering the Roman tongue, you put on a beautiful or- nament by seeking what scholars approve, whose hearts burn with noble passion.]

According to the poem, Fusilius achieves high standing by becoming expert in Latin (''Romano erudiendus ore"). This elitist view of the power of latinity explicitly denigrates popular culture. Indeed, in order to succeed, Fusilius must separate himself from Ger- manculture: "Sperne mendacis rabiosavulgi / Murmura" (lines 21-22). [Scorn the rabid babbling of the mendacious hordes.] The "rabiosa murmura," linkedto theUavita crassae murmura linguae" (lines 15-16), assign vernacular culture, in most derogatory terms, to a lowly level.

Celtis's Ode to Apollo (Odes 4.5), probably his most famous poem, also deprecates German-language culture, despite overrid- ing optimism concerning the future of the arts in Germany In Celtis's opinion, his country is not yet versed in Apollo's art, though it will be eager to learn:

Phoebe, qui blandae citharae repertor,
Linque delectos Helicona Pindum et
Et veni nostris vocitatus oris

Carmine grato!
Cernis, ut laetae properent Camenae
Et canant dulces gelido sub axe.
TLIveni incultam fidibus canoris

Visere terram!
Barbarus, quem olim genuit vel acer
Vel parens hirtus Latii leporis
Nescius, nunc sit duce te docendus

Pangere carmen. ..19

[Phoebus, inventor of the charming lyre, leave your beloved Helicon and Pindus, and, summoned by the pleasant poetry, come to our shores. You see how the happy native muses hasten to meet you, and they sing sweet songs under the cold sky. Come to visit our country not yet versed in lyric poetry. Now the barbarian, who is ig- norant of Latin gracefulness and whose parent was savage or rough, must learn to

make song under your guidance.]

Celtis's low esteem of German-language cul- ture is all too clear. He even goes on to say that with Apollo's latinity the German bar- barian will sing the songs of ~r~heus.~'

The finale, though, best represents Celtis's bias against vernacular culture: "Barbarus sermo fugiatque, ut atrum / Subruat omne.'" [Put barbarian speech to flight so that all darkness will be swept away.] None- theless, as a result of its understated concern for competition with Italy, the poem betrays some respect for German culture. For example, the rustic German ("barbarus") of the poem is at the very least potentially capable of accomplishing Celtis's high poetic goals. Furthermore, Celtis implies that German culture has already achieved some refine- ment even without Apollo's assistance. On the one hand, Apollo is summoned by sow which please him (lines M),and, on the other, native muses ("Camenae"), already present in Germany, will come to meet him. The ambivalence toward Germany shows that Celtis was stuckon the horns of a dilem- ma: as a patriot, he exalts Germany, but, as a humanist writer and propagandist, he is compelled to revile its literary backward- ness.

Despite his high-low paradigm of lan- guages, Celtis does express admiration, though infrequently and always tempered by criticism or irony, for Germanpoetry. The best example of this is Arnores 3.9, a poem that records his praise of some German poems he had received from Ursula, his lover in Mainz. Curiously, he describes the poems' effectiveness in effusive hyperbole, but does so ina tentatively subjunctive for- mulation:

Ursula Germanis misit rnihi cannina ver- bis, Fulmina quae possent frangere rauca Iovis Excuterentque suum Neptuno blanda tridentem

Et Marti gladium Mercurioque lyram. 0quotiens placidae dedimus nunc oscula

chartae Et quotiens nobis illa releda lit! Eius enim videor praesentes cernere vul

Durn sua luminibus perlegu script. meis. Sed lacrimae produnt veros sibi mente calores, Confudit scriptas cum quibus illa

Wrsula sent me some German songs, which would be able to fracture the loud thunderbolts of Jove, and those seductive songs would shake the trident from Neptune's hand, aswell asthe sword from Mars and the lyre fhm Mercury. Oh how often have I now kissed the delightfbl page and how many times reread it? For I seem to see her face present when I peruse the words with my eyes. But her tears, which she shed on the written letters, betraythat her passion was genuine.]

Initially, the subjunctive element in the de- scription of the poems'impact seems to mean that they would have such an overwhelming effect were they to be sent to the gde.But, ultimately, the actual meaningemerw that they would be overpowering, if cast in Latin Daspite this obvious disregard for German, Celtis concedes a certain beauty to Ursula's poems. After all, their content, though not style, is capable of moving the gods. It is interesting that Celtis attributes, above all else, genuineness to the vernacular poems. That her hce appeam on the written page as a result of her tears having blud the ink evokes a double image of the poems'authen- ticity: she appears in the German poems as she is; and her tears thereon prove that the emotions she expresges are heartfelt. Consequently, the page, asa true representation of the lover, is worthy itselfofbeing kissed (line 5).The German poems, soit seems, can have an absolute level of sincerity and genuine- ness, perhaps, one suspects, in contrast to the artificiality of the Latin aesthetic.

Yet despite such a complex image of genuine emotion, the fact remains that the poems are not written in Latin:

Felix si Latiam didicisset femina linguam, Iam respondissent verba Latina meis.

Non Proba, non Sappho nec Hrcxrvita blandius illa Scripisset lyricis carmina do& modis. Nemo Germanas Latialia verba puellas Edocet aut cupiat verba Latina loqui. Quamvis femineis scateat Germania claustris Et Latiis verbis nocte dieque canant, Sacra tamen Latias intelligit ulla Camenas: Tantum simplicitas barbariesque placet.23

uf the blessed woman had learned Latin, Latin words would now answer mine. Nor would Proba, Sappho, or Hrotsvitha have written learned poems more sweetly in the lyric style. No one properly teaches Ger- man girls Latin; no one wants them to speak Latin. Although Germany abounds in women's convents, and they sing in Latin night and day, nonetheless no holy woman understands Latin poetry. So happy are they with their ignorance and barbarity.]

From the case of Ursula, Celtis moves quite abruptlytothesituationinconvents--anodd association-and by extension to the ig- norance of women throughout Germany. Celtis raises the conventional criticism that the nuns do not even know enough Latin to understand the liturgy they perform:

Sed redeo: sacros quid prodest pallere versus, Nocte dieque suos sollicitare deos? Dum canit et nescit, quid sacro carmine poscat: Sic solet in medio va- boare f~ro.~~

[But I return to my subject: What good does it do to sing the psalms and to im- plore the gods day and night? While she sings, she doesn't know what she is asking for in her prayer. It's the equivalent of a cow bellowing in the midst of the market.]

Celtis, however, does not just regret the limited education available to women, he also scorns women for being satisfied with their barbarism. Furthermore, their defi- cient Latin makes them virtually subhuman according to Celtis's linguistic sense of anthropology: they are like mooingcows (line 50). Celtis also depicts the ignorant women as being venal, if not also lascivious, as a result of their illiteracy in Latin. According to him, women's min& wander, because of their inability to understand, from the holy service at hand to contemplation of their pmpects of attracting a noble suitor.26

In the poem's conclusion, Celtis leaves off his invective against ignorant women to finish his tribute to Ursula and her writing. Yet humor and irony, in addition to his cultural-linguistic bias, undercut the tribute. He asserts that, by teaching her the art of Latin poetry, he will raise her from her status of cultural inferiority to the level, presumably, ofSapphoand Hrotsvitha. Cel- tis, however, exposes his lackof seriousness by proposing, with intentional humor, erotic techniques for achieving this goal:

Tunc mea lingua tuis infundet verba label- lis Et dabitur versu syllaba quaeque tuo; Hanc tibi nunc longam per basia longa notabo. Oscula rapta dabo, cum brevis ulla venit.26

men my tongue will pour words into your lips, and every syllable will be given. I will indicate, for you, the long syllables through long kisses, and I will give quick kisses when a short syllable comes.]

The unusual method of indicating vowel quantityaside, Celtis's eroticconceit ofgiving Ursula his tongue raises other problems. In his scheme, Ursula does not develop a poetic voice; rather, after having discredited her German poetry, Celtis imposes his own Latin voice in its stead. In this condition, her status as a Latin poet defines her identity, And this Latin identity, however contrary to reality, willbe worthy of Celtis's attention: "HOC mox perpetui statuam tibi carmen honoris, /Quad referat laudes, dock puella, tua~.'~

[Soon I will compose this song for your eternal honor to praise you, learned girl.] In fact, Celtis insists on burying her with the identity of a Roman poetess; her epitaph will read: 'Wr- sula, Romanis quae scripsit carmina verbis / Hic iacet et Musis plectra sonora tulit. ,ed [Ursula, who wrote songs in Latin and brought forth lyric poetry pleasing to the muses, liea buried here.] In the context of the poem, it is clear that theglory Celtis promisee is not to be realized. His praise, then, of what she is not, and the false identity he imposes on her, undermine not only the cautious praise of her German poetry but also the in- tegrity of her identity. She and her poetry remain of the lower order, despite Celtis's admission of the attractiven- of both.29

Celtis implies that the woman, asshe is constructed in his poetry, is a barbarian. The other women of his poetry, though all are deemed worthy of his eternal devotion, are characterized to different degrees as being unlearned illiterates, at least in the strict Latin sense. Barbara, the Liibeck lover about whom Celtis has relatively little to say (but whose name, of course, speaks), is only criticized for her slurred speech when she gets drunk.30 Elsula, the girl- friend in Regensburg, is more obviously il- literate in Latin. He castigates her for being unreceptiveto his song: 'Quod si Germani fastidis dona poetae131 /Nonmea in invitam munera ferre ~olo."~~

[But if you scorn the gifts of the German poet, I do not intend to bear gifts to a reluctant woman.] In Odes 2.7, a poem to which I shall return, she ap pears to be incapable of appreciating Celtis's Latin poetry; it, in contrast to a rival's German songs, leaves her cold. Hasilina, the subject of much of Celtis's best erotic poetry, comes off even worse. Like all "non-classical" women, according to Celtis, Hasilina scorns books:

Utque solent doctas mulieres spernere Musas Et tenet invisos quaeque puella libros, Qui mos barbaricis noshis solet esse puel-


Sic tu fastidis, femina cruda, libros. At non talis erat famosi Lesbia ~atis.~~

ks women are wont to scorn the learned muses and each one hates books-a custom our barbaric girls usually havethus you, crude woman, hate books. But the Lesbia of the famous poet was not of your ilk.]

While woman remaim the object of Celtis's desire, she is, mast emphatically, inferior on linguistic and cultural gmun~l.5.~~

In this respect,she parallels the Germany of Celtis's poetry. Indeed, such parallelism is not ac- cidental since, ashe stresses,the four women represent the four corners of Germany.35 Cel- tis praises his country in his patriotic fervor, but also reviles it as the seat of barbarism, just as he fluctuates between exalting and degradinghis lovers. Moreover, it is impor- tant to note that Celtis's emotional vacilla- tion is not just his attempt to imitate the frustrated lover of Roman erotic poetry. It is explicitly grounded in his linguistic concept ofanthropology. Celtis's womenresemble the fhithlew or unreceptive women of Roman love lyric, but they arerepugnant to an even greater degree because of their illiteracy in Latin. The high-low paradigm of Latin and German is so important that, even when the literary accomplishments of a woman would appear to be admirable (as in Ursula's case), her lack of Latin consigns her to an inferior status.

Aman singularly confident of his views, Celtis isforceful and generally unequivocal in his advocation of an exclusively Latin humanism for Germany. Nonetheless, as we have seen, the realm of German letters creeps into his poetry. Moreover, in Odes 2.7, despite a re&irmation of allegiance to his Latin program, Celtis reveals envy of vernacular literature. The elegy is to an ex- tent a conventional lament to Elsula, his Regensburg lover, that draws on the an- cient motif of the exclusus amator:

Elsula, cur silenti Nocte, dum stant agminibus sidera con- globatis Et quies alta rebus, Ad tuos ptes tacitis luminibus sacerdos Tevocat et canora Barbito mollem et tremulo gutture dam querelam Succinit, ut furentes Incitet flammas fidibus saucia corda pul- sans? 'hque voluta pallis Exilis stratis tepidis incubitans fenestris,

Dulcia plectraque hauris. Ast ego ut te carminibus Latiis vocavi, Altius ipa dormis. Quam grave est me per patriam fieri poetamCarmina sola ~lantern!~~

mlsula, why is it that, during the silent night, when the stars stand with their numbers amassed, and everythng is in a deep sleep, a priest, with silent visage, calls you at your door and sings a gentle complaint with melodious lyre and trem- bling voice in order to stir up raging flames when he strikes the heart wounded by his playing? Wrapped in bedcovers, you jump up, and lying by the warm window, you drinkin his sweet poetry. Alas!When I call you with my Latin songs, you sleep more soundly How hard it is for me to become a poet in my country, as I give only songs. 37I

Proper understanding of this poem depends on recognizing that the priest, usually astock figureof ignorance in humanist literature, is singing German song. That explains the emphasis Celtis places on "carminibus Latiis" (line 12) at the poem's abrupt turning point. There is no doubt that the poem is supposed to be, above all, an epigrammatic insult to his mistress. As elsewhere, Celtis portrays his rival as a corrupt cleric.38 Fur- thermore, Elsula's inability to respond to Latin poetry is intended as the supreme in- sult that reveals her cultural baseness. While the combination of moral and linguis- tic failings puts her, of course, on a low pedes- tal, the poem attests the effectiveness of the vernacular poet. In fact, Celtis dignifies the image of the priestly serenader. That he ad- dresses the door suggests that Celtis portrays his rival in the classical garb of the poet singing a paraklausithyron (even though he usesGerman), and the description of him singing (lines 5-8) would also be wor- thy of a classical lyric poet. The rival poet's dignity is all the more impressive in light of the typically comic situation of the priest trying to seduce a woman. In every respect except language, the priest would appear to be the ideal erotic poet. But his poetry has one quality that differentiates it from Celtis's

classical style: Elsula responds to it, "drinking" it in freely Nonetheless, the final four linesstand in contrastto the portrayal of the priest's artistry, Celtis turnsaway from the picture of serenading, to lament the poor reception his own poetry has found. Else- where, as for example in the preceding Odes 2.6, he complains that his work has failed to gain admiration, though he hopes that a fu- ture generation willbe more imp- with his poems: "Quo si non placeam vim, past fatatamen me / Non defunctus honor manet ae~o.'"~[If I do not find favor during my lifetime, nonetheless after my death my glory, still intact, remains for ever.] In his reproach to Elsula, however, he concedes that his latinity impedes reception and, fur- thermore, that a German song can have beauty and force, though it still remains in- ferior to his Latin poems, no matter how im- potent they may be.

In reviewing the evidence of Celtis's at- titude toward German culture, it is clear that a linguistic concept of man, one which establishes the absolute centrality of lan- guage, exacerbates the cultural bias in- herent in the humanist high-low hierarchy of Latin and German. The opprassive side of this bias is evident in Celtis's disinterest in German-language culture and his am- bivalent portrayal of women.40 Nonethe- less, some of Celtis's poetry, while it, too, preserves the linguistic prejudices of the In- golstadt speech, qualifies his condescending posture toward women and Ger- man culture. There is, after all, a basic ambivalence in outlook: Celtis fuels the spreading fervor of national patriotism, but also, using, it seems, the same language of Italian critics, condemns Germany's cul- tural insuffciencies. Similarly, women are objects of his desire-at least asvehicles for poetry-but they are also discredited as brutish illiterates. It is telling that even in those poems which express deep-seated bias against German-language poetry (for example, Odes 2.7,4.5, andhres 3.9) he records the success of individual, though fictional, German poets. Obviously, to Cel

tis, Latin is the language with the power to civilize and ennoble. But German, it turns out, has a measure of forcefulness, especially in love poetry.At the very least,

he the possible existence Of a powerfulGermanarsam*ria toemerge petition with his humanist poetry.

lSee Giinter Heas, "Deutsche Literaturge- schichte und neulateinische Literatur: Aepekte einer geetorten Rezeption," in Acta Conventus Nec- Ldni Amstelohemis, ed. P. Tuynman, G.C. Kuiper and E. KeBler (Munich: Fink, 1979) 493-


2Although he is concerned with the function of Latin-German bilingualism in satire, Giinter Hess, in his Deutsch-lateinische Nwrenzunft (Munich: C.H. Beck, 1971), gives abundant evi- dence for the hierarchy of Latin and German.

31n a brief discussion ofAmores3.9, Heas notea the obvious importance of Latin: 'CEret die lateini- sche Sprachebene verbiirgt jene poetkche und literarische Dignitiit, welche ebenbiirtige literari- sche Korreepondenz ermoglichte." Though his pur- view is limited to Amores 3.9, Hess is the only scholar to comment on this tension between Latin and German in Celtis's poem. See Deutsch-lateinische Narrenzunft 37-38.

4For a useful discussion of high-low paradigms in culture, see Peter Stallybrass and AUon White, The Politics and Poetics of Dansgression (London: Methuen, 1986) 2-6.

6Petrus Mosellanus, in Oratio cle van'arum lin- guarurn cognitione pwanda (Lipsiae: in officina Valentini Schumann, 15181, fol. B2", eloquently describee the importance of language to man: "Ac primum omnium quis neacit orationis usum unicum esse, quo nos naturae princeps, et mundi fabricator deus prae caeteris donavit, et supra re- liquomm animalium vilem conditionem evexit, quoque proxime, ad suae imaginis divinitatem ac- cedimus? In aliis sane dotibus non est quod nobk ipsi placeamus, quando magnitudine infinitk par- tibus nobis superioree sunt elephanti, ferocia su- perant leones, velocitate vincunt cervi, robore tauris cedimus, breviter in nullo non fuit illis natura mater, nobis noverca. Sola eat oratio, quae nos homines facit. Sola cuius beneficio brutis prae- ferimur." In his Epitorna Rhetorices (n.p., 1496), fol. A 4: Jacob Locher records the argument that culture was impossible without the language arb: "Oratoriaprincipium dedit societatis humane. Hec vitam humanam moreeque civil- a fera ac beetiali vivendi coneuetudine 8e-d. ...Sine qua [i.e., eloquential non populi: non urbee: non imperia: non regna stare poasent."

6De or&ore 1.8.3233, in Cicem, Rhetoricc4ed.

A.S. Wilkins (Oxford: Clarendon Prees, 1951). Cicero's assertion that man waa superior to beasts because of language waa also very influential; see De inventione, ed. H.M.Hubbell (Cambridge, Maes.: Harvard UP, 1968), 1.4.5: "Acmihi quidem videntur hominee, cum multk rebus humiliorea et inflrmioree sint, hac re maxime beetiie praeetare, quod loqui pmsunt." Heinrich Bebel, for example, claimed in the preface to hie Connina (Impreesum in Reutlingum: per Michalem Greiff, 1496), fol. A2=: "Nam cum in multia aliis cormorum bonis Bestie sint superior- horninibus ut Leo fortitudine. linx vi~u. cervua annositate, tigris pedum per- nicitate etc. Sola autem oratione longe vincuntur."

7Text and translation are from Leonard Forster, Selections from Conrad Celtis (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1948) 48-49. All other tramlatiom, except subsequent onee of the Ingol- stadt speech, are my own.

qext and translation quoted from Foreter, Conrad Celtis 60-61. vigil,Aeneid, 1.153; Forater, Conrad Celtis


loSee Foreter, Conrad Celtis 50-2: "Atqui illa--cum magna animi amaritudine dice semina sunt, quare principes nmtri alienia oculk videntes semper indodi maneant ludibrioque apud alim habeantur et vero nomine barbari irrideantur, quod illi in tanta felicitate temporum ingenuaa ah et earum studiosos negligant nihil- que vilius et abiectius in eorum curiia sit, quam qui literarum peritiam verbo aut habitu profiteantur; tantum barbaries nmtra nobis placet et intracta- bilk animi morbus."

llSee Der kleine Pauly: Lexikon cler Antike (Munich: Deutacher Taechenbuch Verlag, 1979) 1: 1545-47, under "Barbaren" in the Wachtrige."

12Forster, Conrad Celtis 54. The foreign language in this case is Czech.

13SeeLewis Spitz, Conrad Celtis: The German Arch-Humanist (Cambridge, Maes.: Harvard UP, 1957) 93-4, for a discuaeion of Italian inaulta to German culture and their impact on Celt& and the humaniata.

14See, for example, Spitz, Conrad Celtis 97-9. 16Foreter, Conrad Celtis 98-9, describes the animosity between Celtk and Riedner. 16Celtk,Odes 2.16.21-25 (p. 48).Allreferencea

to Celtin'e Odes are to the following edition: Con- 99Amores 1.9.31-35 (p. 20).

radue Celt& Protucius, Libri Ohm Quattuor, Liber Epodon, Cmen Saeculare, ed. Felicih Pindter (Leipzig: Teubner, 1938).

17Forster, Conrad Celtis 84,identifies Fusilius as Sigiemund Gossinger (died 1504).

l80des 1.11.13-20 (p. 14).

190des 4.5.1-12 (p. 99). See Eckart Schiifer, Deutscher Horaz (Wieebaden: Steiner, 1976) 4 (especially note 161, for a concise account of the Horatian influence on this ode.

200rpheue is a symbol of the civilizing power of poetry. See, for example, the paaaage in the epeech at Ingolatadt in Forster, Conrad Celtis 62: "Quocirca non inhoneeta illa poetarum allegoria eet, qua Orpheue beluas, Amphion eaxa, ille quidem demulsisee, alter commovieee et, quocunque vellet, duxisee: effedum est, ut quae via eloquentiae quodve poetae munua met, metaphors ostenderent, dum trucee et immanee intractabilea- que animoe ad mansuetudinem, animum rectum, patriam animare possunt."

210des 4.5.23-24 (p. 100).

22Amores 3.9.1-10 (p. 64). The Amores are cited according to: Conradus Celtie Protuciue, Quattuor Libri Amorurn Secundum Quattuor Latera Germaniae and Germania Generalis, ed. Felicitaa Pindter (Leipzig: Teubner, 1934).

23Amores 3.9.13-22 (p.64).

?4mores 3.9.47-50 (p. 65). The image of "in medio vacca boare foron eeema to be drawn from Ovid,Ars matoria 3.450.

26~eeAmores 3.9.51-54 (p. 65): "Sicque datur tenerie occasio multa puellie, /Plurima quodtacita crimina mente ferant. / Et cum deberent animoe intendere verbis, / Intendit tempua sacra puella procis."

26Amores 3.9.59-62 (p. 65).

27Am0res 3.9.73-74 (p. 65).

28Amores 3.9.75-76 (p. 65).

29~eeAmores 2.8.105ff. (p. 43), for another example of Celtis'e manner of definingthe woman'e


30See Amores 4.9.11-18 (p. 86): "Barbara, vesano quid fledis lumina motu / Signaque dae oculie non mihi viea priue? / Ebria Germano vitio auffiea laboras, / Nam titubant greeau lingua pedeaque suo. / Quid iuvat insano pectus lymphare veneno / Et male compoaito gutture verba loqui? / Hei mihi, Teutonicae non reddia, Barbara, vm / Dacica cum Scoticie, Barbara, verba vomem!"

31Since thia clearly refers to Celtis, the eeme of "Germanue poeta" ie a Latin poet from Germany. 32Am0res 2.9.6142 (p. 42).

34It is consistent with this outlook that Celtis'e bogus letter from Hasilina tohimaelfis not written in Latin, even though its style is unusually studied. For an illuminating discussion of the faked Czech letter from Hasilina, aee Ursula Heee, "Erfundene Wahrheit: Autobiographie und litera- rische Rolle bei Conrad Celtis," in Bil&ngsexklu- sivita und volkssprachliche Literatur, ed. Klaus Grubmiiller and Giinter Heee ('Ribinen: Niemey- er, 1986 [= Akten des W. internationalen Germm nkten-Kongresses, vol. 71) 13647.

36Thia is implicit in the title of the Amores: Quattuor Libri Amorurn Secundurn Quattuor Latera Germaniae. For further discueeion of the etructure of the Amores, see Adalbert Schroeter, Beitr6ge zur Geschichte der mulateinkchen Poesie Deutschlands und Hollands (Berlin: Mayer and Miiller, 1909) 17.

360des 2.7 (p. 39).

37~hie poem ie aleo available in Fred J. Nichols, An Anthology of Neo-Latin Poetry (New Haven: Yale UP, 1979) 44649. Celtis also, it aeema, makee a diatindion between the prieet'e einging and his own, probably unsung, poetry.

38See, for example, Amores 1.13 ("Ad Haailinam cum eacerdote deprehensamn) and 2.6 ("Ad ELulam interlunio apud aacerdotem latentem").

390des 2.6.13-14 (p. 39).

40Bytb,I only mean the condeecendingpor- trayal of female lovers in his poema, all of which certainly contain more etylization, if not outright fiction, than reality. It is known, for example, that Celtis greatly admired the learning of Carih Pirckheimer. Moreover, it ie tellingthat, in his only eurvivingletter to her (which is written in Sapphic atrophee), Celt& praiees her above all for her mm- petence in Latin:

Virgo, Rhomana benedoda lingua,

Viginum clam iubar et corona,


0eoror, noatrie merit& Camenie

Digna, et aeterno mihi vinda amore,

Charitas lingua mihi dam Latina

Candida verba,

Teutonis ram decus essub oris,

Virgo Rhomanis similis puellis.

Quoted from Ham Rupprich, Der Briefiechsel des Konrad Celtk (Munich: C.H. Beck, 1934) 484-

85. For a discueeion of Celtin'e aeeociation with Caritaa Pirckheimer, eee Stephen Wailw, 'The Literary Relatiomhip of Conrad Celt& and Caritas Pirckheimer," Daphnis 17 (1988): 423-40.

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