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Abstract  

The first humanist Latin epic in Hungary was written by the Transylvanian humanist of Moravian origin, Stephanus Stierxel (or Taurinus, in his latinized name). The work appeared in 1519 in Vienna, under the title Stauromachia id est Cruciatorum Servile Bellum. The present study reviews the previous interpretations of the epic, which chose as its subject the 1514 peasants' revolt, led by Gyrgy Dsza. Some of the interpretations state that the author's sympathy is expressed towards the noblemen, who fell victim to the riots; some state the opposite: the author stands on the side of the peasants. According to the author of the present study, neither of these views is well founded. He supports his opinion with genre-analysis, showing that the work is an epic-parody, based on the Homeric Batracomyomachia, translated and made widely known by Reuchlin. On the other hand he shows that the author of the epic, following the Erasmian Riccardo Bartholini, condemns both the arrogance of the aristocracy and the cruelty of the peasants: both classes help to destroy the unity of Christian Europe, opening a way to the Islamic conquerors waiting at the borders. This is the reason why the author of the epic chose Lucan's epic on the Roman civil war as his moral guide in his historic pessimism, and adapted the motives of this work according to his own poetic goals. Imitation of Lucan in such format is unprecedented in the whole European Neo-Latin literature.

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