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  • Celtis, Conrad

    lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.5pt;font-family:"Meridien-Medium","serif"; color:black'>(14591508)

    humanist poet

    Born into a Franconian peasant family in a village

    near Würzburg, after leaving home Conrad Celtis

    was educated at the Universities of Cologne, HEIDELBERG,

    Rostock, and LEIPZIG. Celtis was one of

    Celtis, Conrad 303

    the first German humanists to visit Italy

    (148687). After 10 years of wandering he came

    to resent the Italian attitude of cultural superiority

    and was determined to rescue his fellow Germans

    from medieval barbarism. He sought to

    promote literary societies among the humanists as

    a means of combating the scholastics and of creating

    a truly German culture. After his time in

    Italy he studied mathematics and poetry at the

    University of Cracow. Then he became a professor

    of rhetoric at the University of Ingolstadt and in

    1497 accepted an invitation from the emperor

    MAXIMILIAN to be a professor at the University of

    Vienna. There he established a College of Poets

    and Mathematicians, wrote poems and plays, and

    taught until his death in 1508.

    Conrad Celtis earned a reputation as the

    finest lyric poet among the German humanists.

    His reputation as a poet resulted in Emperor

    Frederick IIIs crowning him as the first German

    poet laureate of the Empire. In his verses he imitated

    the Roman writers Horace and Ovid. His

    poetry described mountains and streams that are

    alive in the spirit of a nature pantheism that

    sought inspiration in the religion of forest and

    field and of the ancient Germans and in the

    teachings of the Druidic priestly fraternity.

    Celtis was an outspoken champion of classical

    scholarship. Perhaps he had an exaggerated

    faith in the power of the printed word and

    expected that the thought of the ancients would

    reveal the knowledge of the universe. He

    expressed a love for medieval German culture

    and a strong German patriotism. Celtis along

    with Heinrich Bebel made Tacituss Germania the

    key book of German HUMANISM, on which he

    published and lectured. His study of the Roman

    past made him curious about his own German

    past. He and his friends contributed to his Germany

    Illustrated. His epic poem, Ligurinus, praised

    Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, as his poem

    Norimberga praised Nürnberg.

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