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Dávid MolnárTokaj-Hegyalja Egyetem, Sárospatak, Hungary

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Abstract

Although the name of Ferenc Hunyadi is known in Hungarian literary history mainly for his Hungarian-language historical song about the peril of Troy, there also exist more than five thousand lines of Latin poetry by him which have not been collected or published since the 16th century. Another eleven of his poems are known from a manuscript written by a Unitarian pastor in the early 17th century. A further, one-distich poem was recorded by István Szamosközy. The date of composition of his poems in manuscript can be placed roughly between the end of 1586 and 1599. In addition to these, there is also a manuscript kept in Oxford in which Hunyadi gives prescriptions for febrile diseases. As a starting point for further research, this paper summarises what is currently known about Hunyadi and his works.

Abstract

Although the name of Ferenc Hunyadi is known in Hungarian literary history mainly for his Hungarian-language historical song about the peril of Troy, there also exist more than five thousand lines of Latin poetry by him which have not been collected or published since the 16th century. Another eleven of his poems are known from a manuscript written by a Unitarian pastor in the early 17th century. A further, one-distich poem was recorded by István Szamosközy. The date of composition of his poems in manuscript can be placed roughly between the end of 1586 and 1599. In addition to these, there is also a manuscript kept in Oxford in which Hunyadi gives prescriptions for febrile diseases. As a starting point for further research, this paper summarises what is currently known about Hunyadi and his works.

1 About Ferenc Hunyadi

Except for a few anecdotes, almost nothing is known about Ferenc Hunyadi. According to Péter Bod, he was „jó Deák’s mind szép tudományu Orvos Doktor” [a notable scholar [doctor?] in both Latin and medicine], who also had a good reputation as a “cheerful and playful man”.1 In a letter, Mátyás Aszalai called him a unique embellishment of the Hungarian genius (unicum Hungarici ingenii decus).2 We may also add, based on János Kemény's autobiography that Hunyadi was “a good politician, courtly, jocular and a notable insider of his time who had done many illustrious deeds.”3 By presenting and analysing the few known sources I will try to systematise what is known or assumed about Hunyadi's life. The most reliable information we have is the exact time of his death, recorded by Lestár Gyulaffi, the chancellery secretary of the Principality of Transylvania: “Torda [Turda, RO], 27 October 1600, 2 a.m.”4

We can only infer his date of birth from two pieces of data. One of them is the uncertain time of his university studies. It is known that after a long European peregrination Hunyadi was residing in Padua between 1580 and 1583. The other is the year 1569, when his Hungarian-language history of Troy was written. The dilemma of the later interpreter arises from these dates and their implications: either Hunyadi wrote his ‘History of Troy’ at a suspiciously young age or, contrary to the general practice of the time, he finished his university studies at a relatively old age. (The average age at 16th-century Italian universities was between 18 and 25.5) Even if our author was very talented, the writing of his ‘Trojan History’ would have required at least an elementary school education, which means that he could not have been younger than 16 at the time of its composition. Therefore, if we try to calculate a roughly plausible date of birth, we cannot really assume it to have been much before or much after 1550.

Considering the quality of his historical song, 1550 as a year of birth suggests a suspiciously young author, which means that he would have finished his university studies at the age of about thirty-four. All of this is further complicated by a related reference in the medical book of György Lencsés. Lencsés gives6 a prescription for pleurisy from a certain “Ferencz doctor”, who is identified as Ferenc Hunyadi by József Spielmann.7 Since the relevant scholarly literature has long been in agreement that Lencsés began to write ‘Ars medica’ in the first half of the 1570s and finished it in 1577, Hunyadi would have been a doctor by then with a university degree. If his year of birth is assumed to be around 1550, it would not be impossible that he graduated somewhere in the first half of the 1570s. However, the records detailed below seem to contradict this.

According to the catalogue edited by Miklós Szabó and Sándor Tonk which lists the early modern university students from Transylvania and covers their university education, Ferenc Hunyadi was born in Bánffyhunyad (Huedin, RO).8 This statement was probably based on the words of István Weszprémi, who wrote in his medical history in the last quarter of the 18th century that “Hunyadi is called from his birthplace”.9 He certainly had a sister, Borbála Hunyadi, who died in October 1609 (before the 25th).10

1.1 Padua

The following, very precise piece of information – already mentioned above – refers to Hunyadi's university studies in Padua. On 17 December 1583, his name appears as a witness at a hearing concerning the poverty of a certain Sebastianus Silvius (who probably wanted a scholarship or a reduction in the price of his university degree). According to the record, this Silvius obtained a degree in philosophy (doctor artium et philosophiae) at the University of Cracow and left the city in 1578 to study law and obtain a doctorate in Padua. The important detail is that he had been studying there for three years. One of the witnesses would be our author, about whom we can read this in the minutes: “Mister Ferenc Hunyadi, a university student (artium scolaris) from Hungary, a resident of the Pozzo della Vacca district of Padova, testified that he has known mister Sebastianus Silvius for three years.”11

This is scanty, but at least concrete information from which some kind of a conclusions can be deduced. The most important feature is that Hunyadi is referred to in the text as “artium scolaris”, which means that he cannot have obtained his medical doctorate until the end of 1583. Hunyadi had known Sebastianus Silvius for three years, so if they first met in Padua, he must have been living and studying in the city from at least 1580 and at the latest from 1581 onwards. The sentence also tells us where he was living at this time: in the former Pozzo della Vacca quarter, next to the Basilica of St. Anthony (perhaps in the present area between Via Ospedale Civile 12 and 22).12 It was an affluent area at the time, and was particularly popular with – mainly Polish – students who were renting houses or apartments there because of its proximity to the university buildings.13

What little scholarly literature exists on the subject presents Hunyadi as a pupil of the philologist and physician Girolamo Mercuriale, but this assumption is shaky.14 It is true that Mercuriale was teaching in Padua at the time, but Hunyadi's two poems dedicated to Mercuriale point instead in the direction of our poet's Polish connections.

Even if there is no sign of his medical degree yet, we should not deny him the existentce of such a degree. Since his poem ‘Ephemeron’ is written about the journey of Andrew Báthory, the newly appointed Cardinal, from Rome to Kraków, it is perhaps not a bold assumption that if he travelled with Báthory, Hunyadi must have graduated at some time previously. We know for sure that the Cardinal and his entourage left Rome on 26 July 1584. Báthory arrived in Rome on 10 November 1583, where he had been waiting for eight months because of the diplomatic and political turmoil over his appointment as cardinal.15 As we have seen above, Hunyadi was still in Padua at the end of December, and even if we allow for a comfortable trip to Rome over two or three weeks, he should have left Padua by the beginning of July 1584 at the latest. Although we do not know exactly when he received his doctorate, it is highly probable that even if he had obtained his degree in early 1584, he was unlikely to embark on a winter journey of almost 500 km. All this leads us to the conclusion that Hunyadi left Padua in the spring or maybe June of 1584 to join Andrew Báthory in Rome.

However, the only terse and uncertain source we have for what Hunyadi might have done before his years in Padua is still István Weszprémi:

“Ferenc Hunyadi, who was so called after his birthplace, after having received considerable support for his studies in Transylvania, travelled to Belgian territories, visited the famous schools in England and France, and finally arrived in Italy where he chose the excellent University of Padua and – in order to unite medicine with philosophy in wedlock – was awarded the wreath of doctor of medicine with the solemn praise of the academia.”16

If we consider Weszprémi to be a well-informed and reliable author, we can try to clarify Hunyadi's peregrination on the basis of this quotation. The considerable support for his studies to which Weszprémi refers almost certainly came from Stephen Báthory, whose Hunyadi became one of his court physicians later. This assumption is confirmed by the nearly three thousand hexameter poem about Báthory which Hunyadi published in Venice in 1583. However, this brief text also contains further information about his studies in Padua. The most important thing is that according to the quotation above, he did indeed obtain his doctorate. But it also contains other information. The mention of “wedlock” is not just a metaphor by Weszprémi, but a reference to the degree ceremony at the university of Padua. The ritual steps of the ceremony were the following:

Before the candidate received the biretta as a final act, he was given a closed book, relevant to the subject of his university studies, to symbolise his knowledge that was deposited in the book, and then opened it, which meant that as a doctor he could now teach from books. Then came the golden ring, with which the new doctor symbolically married himself to the knowledge he had acquired at university. Weszprémi's passage above can be understood in three ways: either Hunyadi had already obtained a baccalaureate degree somewhere, which was a prerequisite for the doctorate in medicine in Padua, or he had first obtained a doctorate in philosophy somewhere and now in medicine, or he obtained a doctorate in philosophy and medicine at the same time. (This latter practice is the rarest and had largely disappeared by the 16th century. But it was characteristic earlier – for example, the philosopher Pietro Pomponazzi had obtained two doctorates, one in philosophy and one in medicine.)17 Based on Weszprémi's text, the most likely assumption is that Hunyadi already held a bachelor's degree when he obtained his doctorate. If, on the other hand, he only took the doctoral examination in Padua, he must have obtained his baccalaureate degree somewhere else, in Germany, France or England, during his earlier peregrinations.

Here, however, it is worth drawing attention to Péter Bod's aforementioned characterisation of Hunyadi as „jó Deák ’s mind szép tudományu Orvos Doktor” [“a notable scholar [doctor?] in both Latin and medicine”]. If we understand this sentence to mean that he was not only a doctor of medicine, but also a “Deák doctor”, then perhaps he really had earnt a doctorate in philosophy somewhere before. Weszprémi had read Bod's ‘Magyar Athenas’, but he also used other sources concerning Hunyadis's education which Bod had not consulted. The above quoted passage from Weszprémi about the “wedlock with philosophy” does not exclude the possibility that our poet already had a doctorate in philosophy, and this would also be a better explanation why his peregrination had been so long.

1.2 The Low Countries

Weszprémi mentions Hunyadi's studies in France, but up till now we have found no evidence of such a period. However, the term “Belgicae orae” (Belgian territories) is worth a closer look. At the end of the 16th century, there was no independent Belgian state, but within the Low Countries the term “Belgian territories” was still a traditional term referring to the former Roman province. Weszprémi published the second volume of his medical history in 1778, in which he wrote about Hunyadi, and at that time the area was still under Habsburg rule under the name of Belgium Austriacum. Weszprémi may have been thinking of this area, which does indeed cover the territory of modern Belgium. According to his description, Hunyadi first travelled to the southern part of the Low Countries, and only subsequently did he visit the “prestigious schools” (nobiliores scholae) of England and France. At that time, there were only two universities in the Low Countries: Leiden and Leuven.

The University of Leiden can be excluded for a number of reasons: the main argument against it is that Leiden is not located on Belgian territory. The second counter-argument is that it was only founded in 1575 by William the Silent, Prince of Orange as a counterpoint to the Catholic University of Leuven. Finally, the third counter-argument is that Hunyadi was obviously trying to avoid the northern areas of the Low Countries, because this was the most war-torn area of the Eighty Years' War (Hunyadi also refers to this in the ‘Ephemeron’: incumbit sociali Belgia bello). Taking all this into account, the only place where Hunyadi could have studied was the University of Leuven, which was still an important intellectual centre at the time.

1.3 England

Weszprémi also says that Hunyadi had been on peregrination to England before France and Padua. But it should be noted that very few Hungarian and Transylvanian students matriculated in English universities and the known students with documented sources were almost all Calvinist. Only two Hungarian students are known to have matriculated between 1550 and 1580 (one at Oxford, one at Cambridge); neither of them was Ferenc Hunyadi. So it is certain that officially he did not study at a university in England in the 1570s, but he could have visited either Oxford or Cambridge.18

Another interesting trace of his possible journey to England has survived: a late 16th-century medical manuscript kept in the Ashmolean collection of the Bodleian Library in Oxford.19 The first manuscript of the colligatum contains an inscription: “per Franciscum Hunniadium” [from Ferenc Hunyadi]. The question (which may strengthen Weszprémi's claim about Hunyadi's journey to England) is: how did Hunyadi's writing get to Oxford?

There are two clues to answering this question: one is the Ashmolean collection itself, and the other is the three-word entry about Hunyadi. The manuscript can be clearly traced back to Elias Ashmole (1617–1692), one of the most respected, versatile personalities and patrons of the 17th century: a Masonic politician, book and art collector, astrologer, alchemist and doctor of medicine.20

The other, more interesting starting point is the inscription itself, which attributes the manuscript to Hunyadi. The origin of the inscribing hand is also clear: it is Richard Napier's. (This can be said with certainty because Ashmole's collection has almost 200 manuscripts by him, some of which are autographs.) And who was Napier?21 Born in Exeter in 1559, he went to study theology at Exeter College, Oxford in 1577, where he graduated with a Master's degree in 1586. He left the city in 1589 and was ordained as a priest and served for the rest of his life as a pastor in a small village, Great Linford. There is nothing unusual about this as a typical intellectual career in the period. But according to the sources, in addition to his priestly duties he was also a magician, astrologer, alchemist and physician. He said that his main helper was Raphael the Archangel himself, with whom he communicated regularly. Besides the archangel, he could also invoke other lower angels in the heavenly hierarchy. Raphael was particularly helpful. He not only told the pastor which patients could be cured and which could not, but also dictated various medical prescriptions. Napier was so popular that thousands of his patients are known to us, on some of whom he kept medical-astrological diaries and notes. He died while praying in St. Andrew's Church, Great Linford in 1634. But what is particularly important in relation to Hunyadi is that Napier had a rich library in which he had collected a special collection of books, not only on medical subjects. One of these was Hunyadi's manuscript. We also know about the future of Napier's library: after his death it became the property of his nephew, Sir Richard Napier (1607–1676),22 also an astrologer and physician, who bequeathed his own and his uncle's book collection to his eldest son Thomas (b. 1646). It seems that he was not interested in this intellectual legacy, so he sold the family estate in 1679 and the collection of books and manuscripts was acquired by Elias Ashmole.

The medical manuscript of Ferenc Hunyadi fits perfectly into Napier's collection. The possible history of the manuscript also links very well with another person and his library, Napier's mentor, a certain Simon Forman (1552–1611).23 Forman could also have been the possessor of the Hunyadi-manuscript because he bequeathed his collection of medical, astrological, philosophical and alchemical manuscripts and books to Richard Napier. Forman also studied at the university of Oxford. He enrolled at Magdalen College in 1573, but never graduated. However, he managed to cure himself of the plague, which made him a sought-after physician from 1591 onwards. Despite his professional successes, he was often imprisoned. According to some records, he predicted his death in 1611 to the day.

Based on the information available at present, Hunyadi's peregrination can be reconstructed as follows. He may have started his study trip with the support of Stephen Báthory sometime in the 1570s. He was probably a Catholic and so, avoiding the prestigious Protestant German universities, he might have first begun his university studies in the southern part of the Low Countries, at the Catholic university of Leuven. He then went to England, and probably from there back to France, and finally obtained his doctorate in Padua.

1.4 Biographical fragments, assumptions

In connection with Hunyadi's biography, we must certainly refer to Jenő Pataki's claim according to which Hunyadi supposedly bandaged the wounded in the Livonian War: “He already had a certain skill in the art of healing, because during the war of István Báthori, King of Poland, against Ivan the Terrible, the Russian Tsar in 1580–1581, we find the young Hunyadi in the king's army, and he was very diligent in bandaging the wounded. He learned his skills from the barber-surgeons who worked there, and as an educated young man he easily gained experience… The Hungarian soldiers were treated by Hunyadi. Hunyadi started his foreign journey after the battles with Ivan the Terrible.”24

What Pataki bases this on is unclear. I have not yet found any source to support it. If Hunyadi really only began his European study trip after 1581, he would have had less than three years to visit schools in Europe and study in Padua. But what could he have done before then? Was he a soldier who could bandage wounds by the age of 30? Or was he just a barber who worked in Bathory's military campaigns? Endre Veress wrote about this as follows, also without any reference: “Ferenc Hunyadi first studied for years in the schools of Belgium, England and France, and then used his elementary medical knowledge to serve King Stephen Báthory during his three campaigns against Russia. At the end of this period (early 1581) he may have come to Padua to continue his studies, where he obtained a medical degree and seems to have gone to Cracow at the King's call.”25

So, contrary to Pataki's claim, Veress says that Hunyadi studied in the schools of Belgium, England and France before the Livonian War, but did not obtain a degree and went to Padua only after the war.

More certain information about Hunyadi's life is only available from the period after his graduation from Padua. Again quoting Weszprémi: “When he later returned home from foreign lands, his medical skills were so quickly recognized that he was given a prestigious position as a court physician under István Báthori. And when the latter died soon afterwards in 1586, he gained the same dignity from Zsigmond Báthori, the elected Prince of Transylvania, to whom Hunyadi was so attached throughout his reign that he never left the unstable prince after his exile until the day of his death.”26

Therefore, after Hunyadi returned from Padua, he was given a court physician's post by Stephen Báthory. Weszprémi's Latin term archiater also means “chief court physician”, but this is doubtful, considering that there were several other prominent physicians at the court of the Polish king. It is not known exactly when he entered Báthory's court service, but it is certain that on 20 October 1584 he returned to Kraków from Rome accompanied by the newly appointed cardinal, Andrew Báthory.27 Knowing the time of Stephen Báthory's death (12 December 1586), Hunyadi cannot have had much time to prove his medical competence: a few weeks, maybe a few months. Besides, it is also known that in 1586 he accompanied Andrew Báthory on another diplomatic trip to Rome. To be precise, they left Kraków on 22 March 1586 and arrived in the Eternal City three months later on 24 June, from where they left in a hurry at the beginning of 1587 because of the death of Stephen Báthory.28 All this suggests that Hunyadi worked in Báthory's court not for two years, but perhaps less than a year.

So, according to Weszprémi's book, he did not become a doctor in the court of Andrew Báthory, but in that of the 14-year-old Sigismund Báthory, starting, perhaps, in 1587 or some time after Sigismund's election as Prince of Transylvania in December 1588.

There is a brief record of his court life at Sigismund's side from the summer of 1590 in the Saxon family chronicles by Marcus Fuchs, Christian Lupinus and Johannes Oltard. According to one of the entries, Hunyadi – accompanied by the Italian doctor Marcello Squarcialupi – was in Gyulafehérvár (Alba Iulia, RO) on 31 July 1590, and while they were observing a partial solar eclipse, he predicted to the prince the downfall of the Ottoman Empire.29

The aforementioned chronicle also states that on 2 May 1593, Sigismund Báthory – travelling incognito to Kraków, from where they would return on 11 June – was accompanied by a certain “Ferenc Doctor”.30 This doctor could, again, be none other than Hunyadi.

With few additions, the same may be read in the notes of Lestár Gyulaffi, who also mentions this journey, although dating it slightly differently (8 May to 13 June).31 Gyulaffi also mentions a journey a few years earlier, in 1589, without names. It cannot be said for sure, but Hunyadi is usually found in the Prince's company, so it is quite possible that he accompanied Sigismund on this winter journey to Transylvania.32

For the sake of chronology, it is worth mentioning the anecdote about Hunyadi from Transylvanian Prince John Kemény's (1607–1662) autobiography, who, according to Péter Bod, was not only a “cheerful and playful man”, but his jokes were also considered worthy of remembrance. This story takes place some time between the autumn of 1594 and autumn of 1595.33 The other “jocular” anecdote about the cautious Hunyadi is also known from John Kemény and supposedly happened at the beginning of the campaign of Wallachia against the Turks in October 1595.34

However, the notes of István Szamosközy stand in sharp contrast to the cautious, war-averse Hunyadi of these anecdotes. We know through him – and through János Baranyai Decsi – that in the autumn of 1595, “Ferencz Doctor” took part in the campaign of Sigismund Báthory and Michael the Brave, Prince of Wallachia, as well as in the glorious siege of Giurgiu on 28 October.35

The next record of the doctor's activities is a letter addressed to Baranyai Decsi, according to which Hunyadi was in Prague in the first half of 1596. Although the letter is not dated, it is possible to reconstruct Hunyadi's whereabouts by linking it to the travels of Sigismund Báthory. It seems most likely that he left Gyulafehervár on 2 January 1596 in the prince's entourage (which was small, as is shown by the fact that Nuncio Visconti ordered stables near Prague for only sixteen horses) and arrived in Prague on 4 February 1596 via Kassa (Košice, SK), Olomouc, and Rožmberk nad Vltavou. On this trip, as in Kraków, Báthory wanted to keep his identity secret and travelled in disguise as a member of Visconti's entourage. They set off on the backward journey on 10 March and arrived in Kolozsvár (Cluj, RO) on 6 April, passing through Vienna and Pozsony (Bratislava, SK).36

There is another record of the fights Hunyadi took part in during the summer of the same year. We know of a letter by Hunyadi thanks to a copy by Szamosközy according to which our author was also present, accompanied by Sigismund Báthory, at the siege of Temesvár (Timișoara, RO) in June 1596.37

According to a document of the Chapter of Gyulafehérvár dated 20 November 1597, Ferenc Hunyadi owned a corner house in the former “Olaz ucza” (Italian Street) in Gyulafehérvár.38

On the basis of all this information it is quite safe to assume that Hunyadi accompanied Sigismund on his 1597 visit to Prague. That means that they left Gyulafehérvár after 6 January and arrived back in Kolozsvár from Prague on 24 March, from where Báthory went to Gyulafehérvár.39 There is no record of Hunyadi's whereabouts during these troubled years, but he probably remained in the service of Sigismund Báthory. This is also confirmed by Szamosközy's note that Hunyadi followed Sigismund to the Duchy of Opole and Racibórz in the summer of 1598 and then back to Transylvania in August.40 But the next record, from the time of Andrew Báthory's short reign as Prince of Transylvania, is certain: Ferenc Hunyadi died in Torda at the age of about 50 at 2 a.m.on 27 October 1600.

2 Hunyadi's works in Hungarian

2.1

István Weszprémi mentions a funeral elegy in Hungarian which Hunyadi sang at the grave of Stephen Báthory. Weszprémi writes in his work that he saw this now lost Hungarian elegy in the literary collection of Dániel Cornides.41

2.2 Az régi és híres neves Trója városának tíz esztendeig való megszállásáról és rettenetes veszedelméről [On the occupation and terrible peril of the old and famous city of Troy for ten years]

The only known work in Hungarian by Ferenc Hunyadi is his Trojan History (inc. Históriák immár nagy sokak vóltak). It is a six-part work consisting of 575 four-line stanzas. From the second strophe of the sixth part, there is an acrostic with the author's name: “Franciscus Huniadinus”. This also reveals the circumstances and time of composition in the last stanza: ”Másfélezer, és az hatvankilencben,/Mikoron írnának ennyi üdőben,/Az Trójáról való emlékezetben,/Sok Krónikákból írák ezt versekben.” [In 1569, when it was written in verses from many chronicles in memory of Troy.]

Its only corrupted manuscript survives in the Csoma Codex42 from 1638. The first edition was printed by Heltai's widow (Heltainé) in Kolozsvár in 1577.43 Ten other editions are known to have followed up until 1776. It is worth mentioning that the melody of the work is also known, as indicated by the title page of the 1577 edition: “Az Mátyás Király Historiájának notájára,” [To the tune of the story of King Matthias], which refers to a known historical song by Ambrus Görcsöni. According to the relevant scholarly literature, the first edition of Görcsöni's work was published between 1570 and 1573. If this is the case, then it was not Hunyadi who wrote the melody notation for his Trojan History in 1569, but the Heltai printing house in 1577. The following score (Fig. 1) shows what the melody looks like with the text of the first stanza:

Fig. 1.
Fig. 1.

The melody of Hunyadi's ‘Trojan history’

Citation: Hungarian Studies 36, S; 10.1556/044.2022.00199

Hunyadi's ‘Trojan history’ is important in Hungarian literary history because it is not only the first known, but also the most detailed interpretation of the popular story in Hungarian. Although Imre Fekete's 1546 biblical story about Samson also mentions an older song about the Trojan story in the melody notation of his work („Trója nótájára” [to the melody of Troy]), nothing is known about it, since there is no copy.44 Perhaps this is the same melody notation (“Az Trója nótájára. Avagy: Nagy sok szent Írásokról emlék” [On the melody of Troy, id est: A memory of many holy Scriptures]) that appears at the beginning of András Szkhárosi Horvát's 1544 song titled “Kétféle hitről: a Krisztusbéli és a pápai foltos hitről” [On two kinds of faith: the faith in Christ and the maculated Papal faith]. But perhaps it refers to another song about the Trojan story, because the melody notation attributed to Szkhárosi only appeared for the first time in Péter Bornemisza's 1582 songbook.45 The name of Sebestyén Tinódi may also be mentioned, whose ‘Iason and Medea’, from around 1538 and remaining in manuscript, also belongs to the Trojan Cycle, but its storyline does not reach the beginning of the Trojan war.46 In addition to these, there are three other works from the 16th century that actually deal with the Trojan War, or at least with a part of it. The closest in time to Hunyadi's poem is a historical song from 1570 by the “Anonymous of Léva”, but this focuses on the love story of Helen and Paris in 289 stanzas, while the Trojan War covers only 54 strophes of ruined scenery, warning of the dangerous vanity of love.47 Mátyás Csáktornyai's song from 1592 focuses on a single, brief episode of the ten-year war in 188 stanzas: the contest between Aiax and Ulysses for the weapons of the dead Achilles.48 The third historical song is Péter Huszti's ‘Aeneis’, which may also have been written around 1569–1570, but the Trojan War and its mythological background is only a 156-strophe introduction to Aeneas' adventures.49 Compared to these, Hunyadi's poem really does summarise the Trojan War in 575 stanzas. The background to the war is not discussed: it begins with the birth of Hector and ends with the destruction of Troy, from which only Antenor and Aeneas manage to escape.

It cannot be said that anyone has been particularly interested in Hunyadi's ‘Trojan history’ in the last hundred years. And those who were, such as György Király50 and Lajos Dézsi,51 had a rather poor opinion of it. However, the greatest merit of the text is indicated by the uncertainty of its sources: there is no specific source because the composition is Hunyadi's own. In his paper on the subject György Király pointed out the following influences on Ferenc Hunyadi's ‘Trojan history’: a Latin translation of Homer; Virgil and his commentaries by Servius, Ovid, Aelius Donatus' ‘Vita Vergilii’; Dictys Cretensis' ‘Ephemeris belli Trojani’; Dares Phrygius' ‘De excidio Trojae historia’; Guido delle Colonne's ‘Historia destructionis Troiae’; Armannino da Bologna's ‘Fioritas’; Ubertino Clerico's ‘In Nasonis Heroidas commentum’ and Raffaele Regio's ‘Enarrationes’. Nevertheless, Király admits that he cannot really point to any direct and certain sources. And when there are so many possible sources and they are uncertain, it is impossible to speak of direct influence(s). Therefore, as long as no direct Latin source is found, we can safely assume that Hunyadi wrote his poem after his own head, perhaps influenced by his school readings, as he himself notes: “from many chronicles”. In this case, it is not merely a Hungarian translation of a Latin source text, but a Hungarian interpretation of the Trojan War which attempts to tell the story in a popular form, in the guise of the historical authenticity of the chronicle as a genre. Hunyadi's other literary virtue is the many colourful details and the small changes compared to Homer's story and his later adaptations.52 This is where our poet's inventio poetica comes into play: how to insert such small changes into a given story, and how to coat the characters, plot and background with such a glaze that the well-known story seems almost imperceptibly new.

3 Hunyadi's printed poetry in Latin

3.1

Hunyadi's first known work in Latin appeared in 1583 in a volume praising Stephen Báthory, published in Venice by Ippolito Zucconelli under the summary title “In laudes serenissimi, atque potentissimi D. D. Stephani regis Poloniae” [Praising of Stephen, the most serene and powerful king of Poland].53 It is telling that Hunyadi's work is the longest poem in the volume, with 2893 hexameters. Our poet divided the panegyric into four parts. He begins with an introductory invocation in 66 hexametres (inc. Medoaci ad ripas secreta nuper in umbra), and then, with dense mythological figures and symbols, he writes about the birth of Báthory in 234 hexametres (“Stephanu genethlia” [i.e.: Στεφάνου γενέθλια; Stephen's birthday celebration]) (inc. Lampridem opprobrium titulis, et inania regni). In fact, it is an occasional poem in the genre of genethliacum or natalitium, which introduces a laudatory “mini-epic.” The third part deals with Báthory's childhood and youth under the title Stephanu paedia [sic!] [i.e.: Στεφάνου παιδιά] in 1015 hexameters (inc. Vos modo quae vada leta Sami vitreumque Tibiscum).

In the panegyric, the certamen (contest) entitled “Virtus et voluptas” is the most important and most elaborate example of the parable of the “Judgement of Hercules” (that is the Pythagorean letter Y) in the period.54 The female figures of Virtus (Virtue) and Voluptas (Pleasure), whom he sees approaching the Y-junction from a distance, vie for the soul of the young Báthory. Voluptas is light (but Hunyadi uses the term levis to refer to several other attributes at the same time: not only light, but also inconstant, even smooth-faced and hairless, like a youth), while the other, Virtus, is almost male (vultu paene vir est), with dishevelled, shaggy hair. The young Báthory is faced with a difficult choice: to follow one or the other on the road. Virtus is accompanied by allegorical female figures: on his left, the virginal Pudicitia (chastity), the consistent Constantia (Constancy), the grey Fides (Faith), Honor, the goddess of honesty, the enduring Gloria, while on his right, Iustitia (Justice), Pietas (Piety), Temperies (Temperance), the judging Prudentia (Prudence) and finally Pudor (Decency). In contrast to Virtus, Voluptas also has his own allegorical accompaniment: Libido (Desire), Luxuries (Lustfulness), Somnus dulcis (Sweet Dream), the loving Euan (the personified cry of joy of the Bacchanalia), Irae faciles (the quick Anger), the wine-stinking Ebrietas (Drunkenness), Simultas (Enmity), the dumb Cupid, Torpor putris (the putrid Stupor), the horned Superbia (Haughtiness), the unrestrained Ambitio (Flattery), Visus salax (lustful Gaze) and Tactus adulter (unchaste Touch). Virtus and Voluptas goddesses, through their rhetorical monologues, try to persuade Bathory to follow their own path of righteousness. Voluptas is trying to allure the future king to her side, winking from her fragrant couch with swelling breasts, coaxing and luscious kisses. However, Virtus warns of the dangers of lust by using ancient mythological imagery and the examples of the tormenting god of rot, Phthisis, as well as Syphilis. Besides, it was Virtus who had led the Huns across the Alps. Instead of a moist bed, she offers a path of virtue which heroes such as Grand Prince Álmos, King Béla, Matthias Corvinus, Pál Kinizsi and Captain György Thury had trodden in the past. Finally Báthory, turning away from Voluptas, chooses the right path of Virtue. After this point, in the “Studium sapientiae” [Study of wisdom], Hunyadi discusses the future prince's philosophical, poetic and other studies as part of the path of virtue. According to Hunyadi, the young Báthory's education was encyclopaedic, even outstanding compared to the humanist educational ideals. In addition to the phenomena of natural philosophy and astronomy, he was well familiar with the authors of the various schools of philosophy: besides Plato and Aristotle, he knew Democritus, Pythagoras, Heraclitus, Cato the Younger, the Cynics, the Stoic Cleanthes, and even the Chaldean Oracles and the Corpus Hermeticum. He practised his eloquence through the works of Isocrates and Demosthenes, and he spiced up Livy, Pliny, Terentius and Cicero with the light spirit of Plautus. Whether Báthory was well educated in all of this, we do not know, but it is clear that these authors were part of Hunyadi's classical ideal of literacy. He concludes this third chapter on Báthory's youth with his return from the court of Vienna and his dream of a sorrowful, suffering allegorical female figure representing Hungary (lines 1182–1315). The final, fourth and most extensive chapter (Stephanu basilia [Στεφάνου βασιλεία]) is about Stephen's reign as Prince of Transylvania and Polish kingship, written in 1578 hexameters. It deals with the Battle of Kerelőszentpál in 1575; at an extended length (800 lines) with the removal of the last obstacle to the Polish kingdom of Báthory, the siege of the Hanseatic city, Gdańsk in 1577; and the three campaigns of the Livonian War between 1579 and 1581.

3.2 Epigrammation; Votivum

It was also during this time that two other short poems by Hunyadi were published, once more in Venice, written for books by Girolamo Mercuriale, a physician and professor in Padua. These are Hunyadi's best-known poems which came to be published numerous times in various medical books right until the 19th century. These two poems have led to the assumption by the scholarly literature that he had been a pupil of Mercuriale. As I have pointed out above, this is not impossible, but one wonders why Hunyadi does not refer to such a relation in the poems. The poems themselves suggest Polish connections instead. According to the title page, the first poem, entitled ‘Epigrammation’, was published at the beginning of Mercuriale's work on children's diseases in 1583 (inc. Ecqua poli regio trifidi quis angulus orbis). This Venetian edition was published by Jan Hieronim Chrościejewski (his humanist name is Iohannes Chrosczieyoioskius or Ioannes Groscesius), a physician from Poznań, and dedicated to the Senate of Poznań. Hunyadi praises the personalised publication with its witty images, mythological allusions and quite a bit of humour in 43 hexameters. In the epigram, Hunyadi also inserts a heraldic poem about the coat-of-arms of the city of Poznań (Fig. 2). In addition to the two keys crossed, which open the way to virtue, at the gate of the city in the coat-of-arms, the poet inserted Mercuriale's book as the third key. This book is supposed to be the key which opens the way of life (vitae iter) which may prolong the life of children, as well as extend the life of young people, fathers and even old people.

Fig. 2.
Fig. 2.

Coat-of-arms of Poznań

Citation: Hungarian Studies 36, S; 10.1556/044.2022.00199

The other poem is only 28 hexameters long and is entitled ‘Votivum’ (inc. Parve liber gelidos mundi visure Triones). It was published at the beginning of Mercuriale's book about poisons and poisoning, also printed by Paolo Meietti together with the book about children's diseases, with a separate title page, according to which the date of publication is 1584. This work was also edited by a Polish doctor of medicine, Wojciech Szeliga of Warsaw (Albertus Scheligius Vbarschaviensis). Hunyadi's poem is not really about Mercuriale – it is closer to being a laudatory poem packaged inside a book recommendation. The book on poisons sent to the north was a good opportunity for Hunyadi to praise Stephen Báthory, and even, to some extent, the Polish editor in Warsaw.

3.3 Ephemeron

The ‘Ephemeron’ is a 1466-hexameter itinerary, interspersed with mythological and ancient historical allusions, which tracks the roughly 2200-km journey of Cardinal Andrew Báthory from Rome to Kraków in the summer of 1584 (inc. Tu mihi quae rerum causas arcanaque Paesti) (Fig. 3). He divided his work into three parts and – for some reason – dedicated it to the captain-general Ferenc Dobó, and not to Andrew Báthory. The first part begins with Báthory's appointment as cardinal on 4 July 1584 and describes the route from Rome to Padua. Before leaving Rome, after the newly appointed cardinal's oration, Rome, personified, says a sorrowful farewell to Báthory and in response he, too, bids farewell to the Eternal City. The much more reliable diary of royal secretary and diplomat Stanisław Reszka, who accompanied Báthory, differs from Hunyadi's itinerary at several points.55 In the prologue, he compares his work to a “premature foetus” (foetus abortivus) – a text which he produced day after day during the journey at the request of Andrew Báthory, who wished to see the collected material finally produced in book form.

Fig. 3.
Fig. 3.

Andrew Báthory's journey (the map made by Béla Nagy)

Citation: Hungarian Studies 36, S; 10.1556/044.2022.00199

According to the description of the first part of the itinerary, the stops were the following: Rome - Capranica - Caprarola (villa Farnesia) - Narni - Todi - Spoleto - Foligno - Camerino - Tolentino - Macerata - Ancona - Senigallia - Fano - Urbino - Pesaro - Rimini - Cesena - Forlì - Faenza - Bologna - Ferrara - Mantova - Cremona - Lodi - Milan - Venice - Padua.56

Station of the second stretch of the journey were: Padua - Treviso - Cividale del Friuli - Spilimbergo - Osoppo - Venzone - [Carnic Alps] - Pontebba (the border between Venice and Austria) - [Carinthia] - Tarvisio - Arnoldstein - Villach - Friesach - Neumarkt in der Steiermark - Pöls - Knittelfeld - Leoben - Bruck an der Mur - Neunkirchen - Wiener Neustadt - Traiskirchen - Pozsony57 - Nagyszombat - Szenc - Nyitra - Léva - Zsarnóca - Besztercebánya - Késmárk - Czorsztyn - Nowy Targ - Wieliczka - Kraków.58

The last part of the ‘Ephemeron’ is a laudatory poem which focuses on the person of Andrew Báthory. It seems to be more closely connected to the panegyric of Stephen Báthory discussed above than to the ‘Ephemeron’ itself. It is a supplement to the family history which continues and concludes the glorification of the Polish king with the laudation of the nephew of great hope, tracing Andrew's life through his childhood, youth and studies.

3.4 Ob felicem Stephani ad oppidum Mechoviam adventum

This book of poems was published together with the Ephemeron. It is like an appendix, or rather an epilogue, which was written by Hunyadi to celebrate the occasion when Andrew Báthory, several months after his return from Rome, finally met Stephen Báthory in Miechów on 14 March 1585.59 This little volume seems very scrappy compared to the ‘Ephemeron’. It contains eleven poems, of which the last three were added to the end of the appendix book ‘Ob felicem’ after the death of István Báthory (12 December 1586). The lack of compositional cohesion indicates some haste in the publication. It is also interesting that although a very cordial and intimate meeting had taken place between the two Báthory brothers, which was also the occasion for the composition of the volume, Hunyadi dedicated his booklet, or at least the most significant poem, to Stephen Báthory's secretary, Pál Gyulay. The first composition is a welcoming, laudatory poem entitled ‘Aula cardinalis illustrissimi regem venientem alloquitur’ in 223 hexameters, divided into nine parts (inc. Tot votis optata dies, dilataque longum). After the 20 hexameters of introductory welcome, the symbols of the provinces and countries under his rule or considered as his dependencies are presented in front of the king, in order to praise Báthory: Poland, Lithuania, Russia, the Duchy of Prussia, Livonia, Podolia and Transylvania. The poem ends with a greeting addressed to the royal court itself. The other longer poem ‘Serenissimus Rex ad nepotem’ is an oration in twenty-eight hexameters, which Stephen gives to his nephew Andrew (inc. Ut te chare nepos per multa pericula vectum). The funeral poems are preceded by three other epigrams and hymns which also praise the king. One of these threnodies, entitled ‘B. B.’, probably refers to the monogram of Balthasar Báthory (1555–1594), brother of Andrew, and mourns his execution (inc. Hei mihi quantis pater o Deorum). It is the irony of fate that this four-distich hymn, originally intended as the last piece, ends with a request to the Parcae to weave the thread of Báthory's life to be a long one (in. Europae columen quo Rege Polonia regnat). They did not. And so the composition – originally intended as a volume of joy – is shaken by the sudden death of the king and ends with three mourning poems consisting of 53 Sapphic stanzas put into the mouths of the Báthory brothers.

Based on this, deliberations concerning the time of composition of the Ephemeron volume may be summarized as follows: the itinerary itself was written some time after 20 October 1584, to which the booklet ‘Ob felicem’ was added later. This, however, can only have happened after the meeting in Miechów on 14 March 1585. The third part – i.e. the three mourning songs finishing the booklet ‘Ob felicem’ – was certainly written by Hunyadi in a hurry after 12 December 1586, and thus the volume cannot have been published in its entirety until after that date, but – according to the title page – still in the same year.

3.5 Piis manibus D. Stephani Bathorei quondam Poloniae regis inclyti

Almost two years after the death of Stephen Báthory, Hunyadi published his short anthology on the death of the king. In his foreword, he dedicated the book to Sigismund Báthory, the Prince of Transylvania. In a letter dated 1596, Mátyás Csáktornyai wrote to Lestár Gyulaffi that he would send him “a part of the poems of doctor Hunyadi” (obviously a manuscript) and another of his works, a “book on the deification” of Hunyadi, which he attached to the letter. He also requests Gyulaffi to copy out the poems he likes, and send the originals back to him by his servant as soon as possible.60 The book to which Csáktornyai may be referring is the ‘Piis manibus’, which begins with the ‘Divi Stephani Bathorei Apotheosis’. It is interesting to note lines 180–184 which describe the symptoms that caused Báthory's death. It is also worth mentioning that Mátyás Aszalai refers to the same volume in his letter to Hunyadi. He describes that he had found, in some hidden place, a fragment of a manuscript of Hunyadi's elogiums praising Stephen Báthory, which he read through and then burst out writing poems himself. Aszalai goes on to send his two distichs, together with the letter, to the “illustrious doctor, prolific poet and renowned philosopher” (Medico praestantissimo, Poetae felicissimo et Philosopho nobilissimo).61

Twenty-one of the twenty-two poems in the booklet mourn the death of Báthory. However, the last and second longest poem in the volume – which is “off-topic”, so it seems that Hunyadi inserted it later – is much more interesting: ‘Victoria Othonis.’ (This poem is dedicated again to Pál Gyulay.) On the one hand, the poem is a historical-philological work in hexameters that criticizes Bonfini's edition of János Zsámboky (Iohannes Sambucus) in connection with the story of the Hungarian expeditions in the 10th century and the 955 victory over them of Otto the Great at Augsburg. On the other hand, it is a poetic paratext which – as if in a box – encloses Hunyadi's four-line epitaph mocking the pro-Habsburg Zsámboky in his death. The poem itself also contains detailed geographical references, using works by ancient and contemporary authors. It is particularly interesting that Hunyadi defines the ancient homeland of the Ugric Hungarians as “Iuhra” (or Yugra).62 Probably he also knew Sigismund von Herberstein's ‘Rerum Moscoviticarum commentarii’ of 1549, which shows an area on a map with the inscription “Iuhra, inde Ungarorum origo”. This is the area on the eastern side of the Northern Ural mountain range where the Finno-Ugric-speaking Khantys and Mansis live to this day. Hunyadi also writes that the Hungarians had originated from this area, taking their name from the Ugric name: Ugrus = Ungarus.63

Returning to the epitaph mocking Zsámboky, this is a piece of logogryphus, a subgenre of the technopaignion, related to the poetic riddle and plays on Zsámboky's humanist name, Sambucus (the elder):

Historiae fur Ungaricae, non author et author

Et sine doctrina doctor, non arbor et arbor

Sambucus iacet hic: nulliscius, omnisciusque,

Exspue qui transis, cinerique imminge viator.

(Thief of Hungarian history: not an author, although an author. A teacher without knowledge: not a tree, although a tree. An elder lies here: ignorant and omniscient. Whoever walks here, spit and piss on the ashes, traveller!)

As regards the other poems in the volume, it is worth mentioning the first, 283-hexameter ‘Apotheosis’ which describes the death and deification of Stephen Báthory with rampant mythological images (inc. Scilicet hoc nostris Europa miserrima damnis). The book also includes an elegy entitled ‘Monodia,’ which Hunyadi allegedly “sang” at the king's tomb, eight epicedia for the funeral, six elogiums and three four-line poems addressed to the image of the king. He closes his collection of funeral poems with a chronostich which contains the birth, reign and death of Báthory: VIX noVIes seX, bIs qVInos reX, VIDerat annos/bIssenI bIssena haVsIt noX anXIa MensIs.

The first of the elogiums is worth highlighting here, because it is perhaps the earliest example of the technopaignion and of combinatorial poetry in Hungarian literary history. The poem brings words into action as elements of a playful coordinate system on the x and y axes. The original 1588 edition does not explicitly call attention to this reading. Weszprémi was the first to interpret the poem in this way and indicates this typographically.64 These are two distichs, each line of which contains six words, which need to be read out horizontally to produce the hexameters and pentameters. The first line contains the vocative of six nouns, the second line the imperative of six verbs in the second person singular, the third line the accusative of six nouns, and the fourth line again contains six nouns in the ablative. All elements of the consecutive lines are permutable, since all variations will be grammatically correct. If we think of it as a tangible object, then we have a hexagonal body with four levels, which, like the rows of a Rubik's Cube, can be rotated on top of each other.

DaciaMusaFidesGradivePoloniaRoma
funderesolverigaproiicesterneseca
planctusoragenasgaleamdiademacapillos
cordeelegisfletuverticefrontemanu
TransylvaniaMuseFaithMarsPolandRome
pouropenwetthrowcovercut
lamentmouthcheekshelmetdiademhairs
from heartto elegywith cryfrom headon foreheadwith hands

4 Hunyadi's poems in manuscript

Twelve of Hunyadi's shorter poems survive in manuscript. One of them – a single distich – was transcribed by the historian István Szamosközy from Sigismund Báthory's aeneum tormentum named Wolf, cast on 2 April 1593 and inscribed with Hunyadi's distich (inc. Sum Lupus, Alpinum nomen ne temnito Lector).65

The other eleven were written down by the Unitarian pastor Johann Broser of Jád66 (Livezile, RO) probably in 1601, at the end of a copy of a copy of Ephemeron under the summary title ‘Carmina eiusdem’ [Poems from the same]. The colligatum is now kept in the Old Hungarian Book Collection of the Biblioteca Academiei Române, Filiala Cluj.67

Eight of these poems were written in a satirical tone, echoing the humorous Hunyadi of the anecdotes. Perhaps the most interesting of them is the poem in six distichs (inc. Tu contra cives iniusta bis induis arma) which sharply criticises the actions and inconsistent policies of his lord, Sigismund Báthory. The surprising thing is that Hunyadi remained loyal to the prince – at least officially – right until the end of his life. This poem adds some nuance to this impression. According to the second line of the poem, Sigismund had already fled twice, which means that Hunyadi wrote it some time after 21 March 1599. Therefore, this is the last known poem by our poet.

Due to the theme and the internal references, the other poems are sure to have been written after the death of Stephen Báthory, between the end of 1586 and the beginning of 1587. Two of these poems are epitaphs composed on the death of the king (‘Epitaphia divi regis Stephani’), which were not included in the volume of ‘Piis manibus’ (inc. Hic me coniectum curis odioque meorum; inc. Quid mihi pro victo pacata Polonia Moscho). The other, twelve-line poem blames Báthory's two “heretic” Italian physicians for the king's death (inc. Marte invictus eram, vicit mors saeva, quis author). Although Hunyadi does not give their names, they are well known thanks to the pamphlet literature that has emerged around them: Niccolò Bucella and Pietro Simone Simoni. In his poem on the deification of Stephen Báthory, he also blames the latter for the king's death, and scolds him throughout a number of lines using the appropriate mythological apparatus (lines 139–185). According to Hunyadi, entrusting the health of the king to the “clown” Simoni is like entrusting a lamb to a wolf. His other two short poems summarise the dangerous political situation in Poland after Báthory's death (‘In tumulum Polonicum’), which Hunyadi may have written in 1587, before Sigismund III Vasa was elected king of Poland on 27 December, replacing the other aspirant, Maximilian III, Archduke of Austria (inc. Dum duo germani certant de paupere regno; inc. Unum non poteras tolerare Polonia regem). Hunyadi also wrote two mocking poems on the same subject (‘In legatum pontificum claudum’): on a limping papal nuncio to Pope Sixtus V, probably one Annibale de Capua, archbishop of Naples. The nuncio is lame not only in body but also in spirit, writes our poet. Now that Stephen Báthory is no longer alive, the Papal States are destined to limp without support. As Sixtus V died in August 1590, these poems were written some time between 1587 and 1590 (inc. Claudus Apostolica quid vult legatus ab urbe; inc. Claudicat huc Sexti claudus legatus et illuc). The fifteen-hexameter poem ‘In Stanislaum quendam Czolek Polonum perduellem’, as the longest of the manuscripts, was written in a malicious tone and deals with the dissolute life and deeds of a certain Stanisław Czolek (Czołek?) (inc. Qui sanum Phalarin immansuetumque Neronem). The penultimate of these poems mocks the title magnificus of an unnamed nobleman who never did anything to deserve this title or rank (inc. Cum tu nil magnum, nil parvum feceris unquam). The last poem was written on the death of a friend named Emericus (inc. Hic iacet Emericus qui nulli vixit amicus). Perhaps this is the same Imre Szikszai who is the addressee of Hunyadi's letter published by Szamosközy.

5 Medical work

Despite the fact that most of the sources refer to Hunyadi as a physician, the only known trace of this is the aforementioned Oxford manuscript which deals with the cure of “putrid” and “withering” fever. The title of Hunyadi's manuscript is ‘Brevis et compendiosa curatio febris putridae atque hecticae’. It is closest to being a collection of prescriptions which he may have selected from various sources. Hunyadi gives detailed recipes for the treatment of these fevers ranging from rose water, lily syrup, vinegar, wine, resin oil, ashes and various plants or their sap such as endive, wheat, barley, spinach, parsley, chamomile, aloe vera, etc. He also recommends a number of ointments and tinctures for compresses, and finally suggests around ten further remedies to alleviate the side effects (e.g. dehydration) of the persistent fever. The manuscript is interesting in that, judging by the dense inscriptions in the margins, Hunyadi's booklet was actually used in England, rather than lingering in a desk drawer for centuries.68

6 Correspondence

Five humanist letters written by Hunyadi have survived. One undated letter (summer of 1592?) was addressed to Cinzio Passeri Aldobrandini, cardinal deacon of San Giorgio in Velabro.69 Another letter was addressed to Pope Clement VIII in 1594. Two further letters were addressed to ###János Baranyai Decsi. The first of these was written in the first half of 1596 and the second must date to some time after 1596. Baranyai Decsi's answer to the first letter (dated Aug. 16, 1596) has also survived. Szamosközy copied Hunyadi's letter in Hungarian to Imre Szikszai (June 14, 1596). In addition, there are two extant letters, undated letters from a certain P. Schlick's (Slik) and Mátyás Aszalai's (“Mathias Azalaÿ”) addressed to Hunyadi.70

To sum up: this is all we know at the moment about the life and works of Ferenc Hunyadi. Even our limited knowledge of his life is based on assumptions. His known works give us a picture of a scholarly court poet with a profound humanist culture whose geographical area of activity stretched roughly along the Kraków-Gyulafehérvár axis.

Summary of biographical data:
1550?Born in Hunyad county
During the 1570sIn Lower Countries, France and England
1580/81–1584 July at the latestUniversity studies in Padua, medical doctorate
From 20 October 1584In Kraków
24 June 1586–early 1587In Rome
1587In Kraków
[1589 winter?Transylvanian tour, including Besztercebánya?]
31 July 1590Gyulafehérvár
2 (or 8) May 1593–11 (or 13) June 1593Journey to Kraków
Autumn 1595 (28 October)Campaign of Wallachia (siege of Giurgiu)
2 January–6 April 1596Journey to Prague
June 1596Siege of Temesvár
Summer 1598Duchy of Opole and Racibórz
27 October 1600, 2 a.m.Death at Torda
Ferenc Hunyadi's printed works
1569:Az régi és híres neves Trója városának tíz esztendeig való megszállásáról és rettenetes veszedelméről [On the occupation and terrible peril of the old and famous city of Troy for ten years]
Manuscript: Csoma Codex (1638), 27r–66v [Library and Information Centre of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, K 72]
Editions:
  1. Historia de obsidione decennali antiquissimae et excelsissimae urbis Troianae atque ruina memorabili [e]tc. Az regi es hires neves Troia várasánac tiz esztendeig valo meg szallasáról és rettenetes veszedelmeröl. Kolozsvár, Heltainé, 1577 [RMNy 388].

  2. Debrecen, Hoffhalter, 1582 [RMNy 508].

  3. Kolozsvár, Heltai, 1586 [RMNy 586].

  4. Németlövő [Deutsch-Schützen, A], Manlius, 1592 [RMNy 703].

  5. Kolozsvár, Typ. Heltai (Abrugi), 1631 [RMNy 1503].

  6. Kolozsvár, Typ. Heltai, 1651 [RMNy 2370].

  7. Lőcse, Brewer, 1656 [RMNy 2649].

  8. 1676 [RMK I 1199];

  9. Lőcse, s.t., 1692 [RMK I 1428].

  10. Eperjes, Spaizer, 1729; 11) s.l., s.t., 1776. A highly fragmented remnant of another ed. is kept in ELTE University Library and Archives (RMK I 43a), which was supposedly published in Bártfa between 1630 and 1636.

Modern edition: Dézsi 1930, 50–118.
1583:In opus de morbis puerorum epigrammation Francisci Hunniadini Transilvani
Editions:
  1. De morbis puerorum tractatus locupletissimi, variaque doctrina referti non solum medicis, verumetiam philosophis magnopere utiles; ex ore excellentissimi Hieronymi Mercurialis Foroliviensis medici clarissimi diligenter excepti, atque in libros tres digesti: opera Iohannis Chrosczieyoioskii cum licentia, et privilegio. Venetiis, Apud Paulum Meietum Bibliopolam Pat., 1583, *3v–*4v, [RMK III 5439].

  2. Hieronymus Mercurialis, De morbis puerorum. Item de venenis et morbis venenosis. Quibus adiuncta est censura Hippocratea. Basileae, Ex officina Pernea per Conrad Waldkirch, 1584):(4r-v, [RMK III 5443; VD16 M 4817].

  3. De puerorum morbis tractatus locupletissimi; varia doctrina referti, nec solum medicis, verum etiam philosophis magnopere utiles; Ex ore excellentiss. Hieronymi Mercurialis Foroliviensis, medici clarissimi, diligenter excepti, atque in libros tres digesti: opera Johannis Groscesii. Addita Alexandri Tralliani de Lumbricis epistola, cum eiusdem Mercurialis versione. Eiusdem de venenis et morbis venenosis libri II. seorsim editi. Omnia quam ante accuratius expressa; cum indice. Francofurti, Apud haeredes Andreae Wecheli, 1584, (:)3v– [(:)4r], [RMK III 5446; VD16 M 4818].

  4. De morbis puerorum tractatus locupletissimi variaque doctrina referti, non solum medicis, verumetiam philosophis magnopere utiles; ex ore excellentissimi Hieronymi Mercurialis Foroliviensis medici clarissimi, diligenter excepti, atque in libros tres digesti: opera Iohannis Chrosczieyoioskii.Cum licentia, et privilegio. Venetiis, Apud Paulum Meietum Bibliopolam Patavinum, 1588, [†3v–†4v], [RMK III 5484].

  5. De morbis puerorum tractatus locupletissimi, varia doctrina referti non solum medicis, verumetiam philosophis magnopere utiles; ex ore excellentissimi Hieronymi MercurialisForolivien. medici clarissimi diligenter excepti, atque in libros tres digesti: opera Iohannis Chrosczieyoioskii. Venetiis, Apud Iuntas, 1601, [*3r–v].

  6. De morbis puerorum tractatus locupletissimi, varia doctrina referti non solum medicis, verumetiam philosophis magnopere utiles; ex ore excellentissimi Hieronymi Mercurialis Forolivien. medici clarissimi diligenter excepti, atque in libros tres digesti. Opera Iohannis Chrosczieyoioskii. Venetiis, Apud Iuntas, 1615.

  7. Hieronymus Mercurialis, Tractatus varii de re medica, a variis Medicis olim ex ipsius ore excepti, nunc vero, post eius obitum, in gratiam studiosorum Medicinae evulgati […]. Lugduni, Sumptibus Antonii Pillehotte sub signo sanctissimae Trinitatis, 1618, [N6v].

  8. Hieronymus Mercurialis, Tractatus varii de re medica, a variis Medicis olim ex ipsius ore excepti, nunc vero, post eius obitum, in gratiam studiosorum Medicinae evulgati […]. Lugduni, Sumptibus Antonii Pillehotte sub signo sanctissimae Trinitatis, 1623, [N6v].

  9. Degli elogii degli huomini letterati scritti da Lorenzo Crasso parte seconda. All’ illustrissimo, et excellentissimo signor Cavalier Alvise Sagredo. In Venetia, Per Combi, & La Noù, 1666, 43–44.

  10. Fridericus Boernerus, De vita moribus meritis et scriptis Hieronymi Mercurialis Foroloviensis commentatio. Brunsvigae, Stanno Keiteliano, 1751, 39–40.

  11. Fridericus Boernerus, Noctes Guelphicae sive opuscula argumenti medico-literarii antehac separatim edita nunc collecta revisa aucta, accedunt primitiae Wittembergenses sub muneris professorii auspiciis publice propositae. Rostochii et Wismariae, Apud Io. Andr. Bergerum et Iac. Boednerum, 1755, 58–59.

  12. Weszprémi 1778, 88–89.

Modern editions:
  1. Erwin Mehl, Hieronymus Mercurialis, ein alter Streiter für die Leibesübungen: Zu seinem 400. Geburtstag, in Die Leibesübungen 6 (1930), 570.

  2. Veress (1941), 569–570.

  3. Weszprémi (1962), 192–196.

1583:[Untitled]
Edition: Viridarium poetarum tum Latino, tum Graeco, tum Vulgari eloquio scribentium. In laudes serenissimi, atque potentissimi D. D. Stephani regis Poloniae, Magni Ducis Litvaniae, Russiae, Prussiae, Semogitiae, Kioviae, Liboniaeque Domini, ac Principis Transilvaniae. In duos Libros divisum, ed. Hippolytus Zucconellus. Venice, ad Signum Hyppogriphi, 1583 (RMK III 722), I, 72–171.
Modern edition: the first part was published by Veress (1941), 570–572.
1584:Votivum Francisci Hunniadini Transil[vani] in editionem operis
Editions:
  1. In: Hieronymus Mercurialis, De venenis et morbis venenosis tractatus locupletissimi, variaque doctrina referti non solum Medicis, verumetiam Philosophis magnopere utilis, ed. Albertus Scheligius Vbarschaviensis. Venice, Meietti, 1584, *4r–v (RMK III 5450).

  2. Basel, Waldkirch, 1584, z4v (VD16 M 4817).

  3. In: De morbis puerorum… Frankfurt, Apud heredes Andreae Wecheli, 1584, (:)iiiv-(:)iiiir (RMK III 5446; VD16 M 4818).

  4. De venenis… Velence, Meietti, 1588 (RMK III 5485).

  5. Velence, Giunta, 1601, A3r-v.

  6. In: Hieronymi Mercurialis, Foroliviensis, in Patavino Gymnasio medicinam practicamin suprema cathedra, deinde Bononiae, ac denique Pisisin supraordinario loco multis annis cum celebritate, et auditorum utilitate profitentis, opuscula aurea, et selectiora […] Accedit novum consilium de ratione discendi medicinam, aliasque disciplinas hactenus editum. Ad clarissimum, et excellentissimum virum Ioannem Stephanum medicum, et philosophum, civem Venetum, patritiumque cenetensem. Venetiis, Apud Iuntas, et Baba, 1644, F2v.

  7. In: Weszprémi (1778), 89–90.

Modern editions: Veress (1941), 568; Weszprémi (1962), 196–198.
1586:Ephemeron seu itinerarium Bathoreum: continens reditum ab urbe Roma in Poloniam, Illustriss[imi] Principis ac D[omini] Domi[ni] Andreae Bathorei etc. S. R. E. Cardinalis ampliss[imi].
Edition: Kraków, Lazarus, 1586 (RMK III 750).
Copies: 1. Biblioteca Academiei Române, Filiala Cluj, B.M.V.C. 398/k; 2. Oxford, Bodleian, Lib.Polon. A 349; 3. Wrocław, Ossolineum, sdXVI-133; 4. Párizs, Bibliothèque Mazarine, 8° 21,253–7.
1586:Ob felicem et exoptatissimum serenissimi Poloniae Regis Stephani ad oppidum Mechoviam adventum ac cum illustrissime Cardinale nepote congressum. Carmen gratulatorium.
Edition: In: Ephemeron 1586, D8v–F3v (RMK III 757).
1588:Piis manibus D[omini] Stephani Bathorei quondam Poloniae regis inclytii
Edition: Kraków, Lazarus, 1588 (RMK III 773).
Copies: 1. Biblioteca Academiei Române, Filiala Cluj, B.M.V.C. 398/j; 2. Wrocław, Ossolineum, sdXVI-132.
Ferenc Hunyadi's works in manuscript
After 2 April 1593:(inc. Sum Lupus, Alpinum nomen ne temnito Lector)
Modern edition: 1) Szilágyi (ed.), Szamosközy István…, 1877, 147,147; 2) Balogh (1985), 282.
1586–1599:Carmina
12. Dec. 1586. – Early 1587
Epitaphia divi regis Stephani (inc. Hic me conjectum curis odioque meorum)
Aliud (inc. Quid mihi pro victo pacata Polonia Moscho)
Manuscript: Biblioteca Academiei Române, Filiala Cluj, Old Hungarian Book Collection: B.M.V.C. 398/k, F4r–F4v.
Modern edition:Szabó (1963), 71.
Aliud (inc. Marte invictus eram, vicit mors saeva, quis author)
Manuscript: Biblioteca Academiei Române, Filiala Cluj, Old Hungarian Book Collection: B.M.V.C. 398/k, F4v–F5r.
Modern edition:Szabó (1963), 71.
1587 – 27 Dec. 1587
In tumulum Polonicum (inc. Dum duo germani certant de paupere regno)
Aliud (inc. Unum non poteras tolerare Polonia regem)
Manuscript: Biblioteca Academiei Române, Filiala Cluj, Old Hungarian Book Collection: B.M.V.C. 398/k, F4r.
Modern edition:Szabó (1963), 71.
1587–1590
In legatum pontificum claudum (inc. Claudus Apostolica quid vult legatus ab urbe)
Aliud (inc. Claudicat huc Sexti claudus legatus et illuc)
Manuscript: Biblioteca Academiei Române, Filiala Cluj, Old Hungarian Book Collection: B.M.V.C. 398/k, F4r.
Modern edition:Szabó (1963), 69, 70.
After March 1599
[Untitled] (inc. Tu contra cives iniusta bis induis arma)
Manuscript: Biblioteca Academiei Române, Filiala Cluj, Old Hungarian Book Collection: B.M.V.C. 398/k, F3v.
Modern edition:Szabó (1963), 69.
???
In Stanislaum quendam Czolek Polonum perduellem (inc. Qui sanum Phalarin immansuetumque Neronem)
In quendam magnificum (inc. Cum tu nil magnum, nil parvum feceris unquam)
Epitaphium cuiusdam (inc. Hic iacet Emericus qui nulli vixit amicus)
Manuscript: Biblioteca Academiei Române, Filiala Cluj, Old Hungarian Book Collection: B.M.V.C. 398/k, F5r–F5v.
Modern (incorrect) edition:Szabó (1963), 72, 73.
???
Brevis et compendiosa curatio febris putridae atque hecticae (inc. Febris a fervore dicta est quoniam nostra corpora febriendo…)
Manuscript: Oxford, Bodleian Library, Ashmole collection (ms. 1425, 1r–14v).

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3

Kemény (1980), 21–22.

4

„Moritur Franciscus Huniadinus Thordae 27. Octobris hora 2-a a media nocte.” Gyulaffi (1893), 121.

9

„Hunyadi (Franciscus) a patria ita cognominatus…”, Weszprémi 1962, 190–191.

10

Gálfi (2015), 90, 91; Gálfi (2016), 82 (no. 246), 180.

11

„1583. dec. 17, Pad. in comuni i. pal. ad banchum utilium. Coram – i. u. doctoribus d. Flaminio Bradiolo priore, d. Antonio de Comitibus et d. Melchiore de Cartulariis duobus ex senioribus, d. Antonio Bradiolo altero ex – syndicis et d. Ubertino Fabiano vicecontradictore – collegii, – comparuit d. Sebastianus Silvius – pro faciendo probationes e notabili sua paupertate pro consequendo conventum gratis. – I. u. doct. d. Michael Quarantaoto testis – deposuit se cognoscere d. Sebastianum – et credere – esse pauperimum, tum quia etiam anno preterito cupiebat suscipere insignia doctoratus et nunquam potuit invenire – pecunias, – tum etiam quia ex aspectu et habitu apparet ipsum esse pauperimum; et scire ipsum studuisse legibus in hoc Gymnasio per circa tres annos – et substinuisse publice conclusiones suas. – D. Petrus Slovatius Pollonus art. et med. doct. habitator in vico Purciliae testis – deposuit se cognoscere d. Sebastianum Silvium art. et phil. doct. promotum in Accademia Cracoviensi et scire ipsum esse adeo pauperem et non habere modum ex se vivendi nisi aliorum ope sustentaretur. Interrogatus de studio, respondit iam quinquennio elapso ipsum d. Sebastianum discessisse ex Gymnasio Cracoviensi, ubi una cum ipso teste publicus proffessor erat, et credere huc statim accessisse causa studii. – D[ominus] Franciscus Honiadinus Hungarus art[ium] scol[aris] habitator Pad[ue] in contr[ata] Puthei Vacce – deposuit se cognoscere a tribus annis – d[ominum] Sebastianum Silvium.” Martellozzo Forin (2008), 1203.

13

Here lived, among others, the future Polish Chancellor Jan Zamoyski, to whom Hunyadi also dedicated a poem, the poet Philip Sidney, the diplomat Henry Wotton, the sculptor Giovanni Maria Mosca and the natural philosopher Cesare Cremonini. There is also information about another Hungarian from these years, György Hoffmann of Pozsony, who – as royal secretary of the Chamber of Kassa – lived here in the house of a certain Catarina Murara in 1571. Mencsik (1910), 36.

15

Horn (2002), 64–79.

16

„Hunyadi Franciscus a patria ita cognominatus, insignibus doctrinae subsidiis in Transilvania praemunitus iter Belgicas oras suscepit, nobiliores Angliae et Galliae Scholas perlustravit, et novissime in Italiam penetravit, ibi praecipuam sedem Gymnasium Patavinum sibi delegit, et quia Medicinam philosophiae amico simul iniunxisset connubio, in sollemni academiae panegyri Doctorum Medicinae laurea coronatus est.”

17

Grendler (2002), 172–178, 331.

18

The reason why there were no Hungarian students enrolled is that they had to take the oath to the Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England. Thus, the most important sources for English studies are the account books of Oxford and Cambridge colleges, and the guest books of the Bodleian library. Gömöri (2005), 5–22.

19

Ashmole collection, ms. 1425, 1r–14v.

23

Forman's name is most often mentioned in literary history in connection with Shakespeare. His diary is the first known report of the performances of Shakespeare's plays in 1610 and 1611 (Macbeth, Winter's Tale and Cymbeline). Kassell (2004).

25

Veress (1941), 206–207.

26

”…posteaquam vero peregrinum illud solum cum patrio denuo commutasset, ita celeriter medendi promtitudine inclaruit, ut apud Stephanum Bathorium, nuper Transilvaniae Principem, nunc Poloniarum Regem, splendidum Archiatri locum occuparet, et illo mox an. 1586. e vivis sublato, eamdem apud Sigismundum quoque Bathorium electum Transilvaniae Principem rite sustineret dignitatem, cui in toto principatus sui regimine tam arcto fidei adhaesit vinculo, ut ne exsulantem quidem vacillantis ingenii Principem ad extremos usque vitae dies umquam deserverit.” Weszprémi (1962), 190–193.

28

Ib., 98–99.

29

”1590. Fuere etiam 2. ecclypses circa illa tempora. altera solis, altera lunae, utramque Serenissimus Princeps per specillum perelegantissimum conspiciens, quid signifi caret, ab adstantibus sibi Doctoribus, Francisco Hunyadino, et Marco Sqvarcialupo, quaerit, qui dum respondent: minari ecclypses istas interitum Turcis, idque futurum a quodam sub polo nostro etc. etc. Ibi gestabundus Princeps dixit: o utinam ego essem, per quem humiliaret Deus Turcam.” Trausch (ed.), Chronicon Fuchsio-Lupino-Oltardinum, 1847 83 (n. 196).

30

“Princeps d. 2. Mai, cum fratruele, Balthasare Báthori, clanculario, paucis Proceribus Regni consciis, in Poloniam Cracoviam tendit, Stephano Bodonio, Francisco Medico, mutato habitu, paucis sibi adjunctis, indeque equis valde macilentis 11. Junii revertitur.” Trausch (ed.), Chronicon Fuchsio-Lupino-Oltardinum, 1847, 91 (n. 198).

32

From this corrupted text, it is at least clear that Sigismund Báthory was not at all averse to “fajtalankodás” (fornication): “1589. Télben, hogy az fejedelemmel az országot megkerűlénk, akkor lének az sok [fajtalanságok] minden heleken, az hol elmentünk, de kiváltképpen Beszterczén [az városbeli leányokat és az…].”

34

Ib., 22.

35

Szilágyi (ed.), Szamosközy István…, 1881, 52; E. Abaffy–Kozocsa, kiad., Szamosközy István…, 1991, 33. See also: Farkas (2006).

36

Erdősi (1995), 24–67 (48–53, 64 n. 207, n. 211).

37

Szilágyi (ed.), Szamosközy István…, 1881, 58–61; E. Abaffy–Kozocsa, kiad., Szamosközy István…, 1991, 146–149.

38

Bogdándi–Gálfi (2006), 353–354 (no. 958).

40

Szilágyi (ed.), Szamosközy István…, 1877, 113–114.

41

„Naenias lugubres Elegiaco Carmine Hungarico ab archiatro hoc scriptas et ad tumulum Regis defuncti decantatas, eruditissimus Patriae Civis, Daniel Cornides, in ditissimo promtuario suo litterario adservat; ob sermonis vernaculi ligati nitorem daturi olim popularibus nostris aliquod illarum specimen.” Weszprémi (1962), 202–203.

42

Library and Information Centre of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, K 72, 27r–66v.

45

Bornemisza (1582), 198r (RMNy 513).

46

Szilády, kiad., RMKT XVI/1, 371–381. Lásd még: Dézsi (1911); Király (1917), 11–13.

51

Dézsi (1930), 457–458, 459.

52

Cf. Király (1917), 16–17.

54

Lásd: Tóth (2001), 19–21.

57

From Padua to Tarvisio: https://goo.gl/maps/4NpYbsYs4gPcaVZT7; From Tarvisio to Neunkirchen: https://goo.gl/maps/cEyNkBWqhjPzCSWy5; From Neunkirchen to Zsarnóca: https://goo.gl/maps/mkjrjNtzXsyunaFq7

58

From Zsarnóca to Kraków: https://goo.gl/maps/x2Q6wwBbkm2jXHK27; However, Reszka's itinerary does not exactly give the above route. We know from Reszka that they left Rome on 26 July 1584 and arrived in Bologna on 17 August, but after Foligno they visited Assisi at Báthory's request, which is not mentioned by Hunyadi. Then Hunyadi's text only hints at the three-day detour to Milan, writing about Cardinal Carlo Borromeo, who welcomed them to his home (they arrived on 28 August).

60

„Bene memor dicti, mitto ad Generositatem Vestram Domini Doctoris Huniadini carminum fragmenta, quae quidem penes me sunt, unacum libello eiusdem apotheosico, cui sunt illa ad calcem adnexa; si quae ex istis Generosae Dominationi Vestrae desiderantur, exscribere licet. Libellum remitti velim per hunc ipsum famulum meum.” Gyulaffi (1881), 113.

61

Szabó (1881), 479: „Vide quam me sollicitum praestem in pervestigandis tuis scriptis Francisce, unicum Hungarici ingenii decus. Nuper cum ubique gentium illa disquiro, accidit, ut fragmenta quaedam manuscripta elogiorum Divi Stephani Regis obscuro plane in loco repererim. Quae simul atque perlegi, continere me haud potui, quin in hosce versiculos, quos tibi legenda nunc mitto, erumperem.” Aszalai's two poems: 1) Salve Pegasidum decus immortale sororum,/Salve Paeoniae Nobilitatis honos. 2) Sic vivam Phoebo, sic vivam gratus Iaccho/Obsequar ut iussis vir memorande tuis. See also: Szabó (1963), 67–68.

62

Probably he also knew Sigismund von Herberstein's ‘Rerum Moscoviticarum commentarii’ of 1549, which shows an area on a map with the inscription “Iuhra, inde Ungarorum origo”.

63

For a summary of the Jugria theory, see: Gombocz (1926), Vásáry (2008).

65

Szilágyi (ed.), Szamosközy István…, 1877, 147.

66

See: Ősz (2014), 336–337. His name on the title page of the first book of the colligatum reads, „Joannis Brosseri Jadensis Biblioth. R. Lycei Claudiop. 1602.” Below this is added the following: „Continentur praeter reliqua etiam Poemata Varia Francisci Hunniadini.”

67

B.M.V.C. 398/k. The volume containing the name of Brosserus is signed: B.M.V.C. 398/a.

68

For a more detailed analysis of the manuscript, see: Molnár (2018), 101–111.

69

Szabó (1881), 478. Manuscript: Library and Information Centre of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Ms 5086/3.

70

For the letters, see: Szabó (1881), 472–480. Letter to Imre Szikszai: Szilágyi (ed.), Szamosközy István…, 1881, 58–61; E. Abaffy–Kozocsa, kiad., Szamosközy István…, 1991, 146–149.

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Hungarian Studies
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