The First Traces of Humanism in the Southern Low Countries – Michiel Verweij, Royal Library of Belgium

Tuesday, November  18th, 16:00, Theology Faculty, OBS 38, Court Room

The First Traces of Humanism in the Southern Low Countries: Italian Manuscripts and Classical Texts in Brabant and Flanders by  Dr Michiel Verweij, Royal Library of Belgium

Proto-Humanism was essentially an individual matter. In the Southern Low Countries neither the court of the Dukes of Burgundy nor the University of Leuven were very active as centres of humanism in the 15th century. Latin manuscripts of Italian provenance, destined for the Dukes’ library, were translated into French and transformed in luxurious volumes, richly decorated. In Leuven, it was the abbey of Park which showed an interest in classical texts. Its abbot, Diederik van Thulden, had lived in Rome for years, and he must have brought something of the new learning to the north. A similar case is that of the Bruges merchant Anselmo Adorno, who went to Italy in 1470 and returned with a very nice volume of the historian Rufus Festus. The present paper is part of a study into early humanists’ interest in classical authors and the way this interest shows in the manuscripts.

Dr Verweij is the Curator of Manuscripts at the Royal Library of Belgium. His most recent book is Adrianus VI (1459-1523): de tragische paus uit de Nederlanden (2011).

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