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Pavao Skalić protiv Pier Paola Vergerija

Jovanović, Neven

The paper reconstructs the chronology and gathers testimonials about the quarrel between two exules Christi (“exiles for Christ’s sake”) who came to reformation Germany from the Roman Catholic South: Pier Paolo Vergerio from Koper and Paul Skalić (1534-1575) from Zagreb. The young Skalić, former Vienna Hofkaplan who broke with papacy in 1555-1557, was a newcomer, of much less propagandistic value in comparison with thirty six years older Vergerio, bishop of Koper and papal nunzio, with almost a decade longer reformation activity (from 1548). Both, however, had to compete for influence and favour of German reformist magnates, especially Christoph, Duke of Württemberg, and Albrecht, Duke of Prussia. Skalić tried to strengthen his position by making fantastic, although impressively documented and argued (and, at that time, hard to verify) claims to be descended from the della Scala, medieval rulers of Verona. When others, Vergerio among them, tried to refute his claims, Skalić retaliated aggressively, in July 1560 circulating a pamphlet on his adversaries. In January 1561, a commission appointed by the Duke Christoph brokered a reconciliation between Skalić and Vergerio, but, when Skalić by the end of 1561 went to Königsberg and started a dazzling carreer at the court of the Prussian Duke Albrecht, another champion of reformation, Vergerio tried to counter that by spreading warnings about Skalić’s unfounded aspirations to nobility; also, Vergerio’s nephews were employed by the Duke Albrecht as diplomats, so Skalić was competing with Vergerio’s family in Prussia as well. In 1563, Skalić published a book of Satirae philosophicae, including in it the pamphlet against Vergerio from 1560. This text, De statu huius mundi, is a set of 22 dramatic dialogues “in the style of Terence”, with characters named Aristippus, Democritus, Empedocles, Euphorbus, Mastinus, Facinus, Brunorus etc. The main character is the vile, greedy, dissolute Aristippus (with the same goals in life as the Greek philosopher from Cyrene), who has committed an immense number of wrongdoings and crimes. In winter of 1563, Vergerio presented an official complaint before the Duke of Prussia and the University of Königsberg, but did not achieve anything; Skalić’s influence with the Duke was too strong, and the fantastic adventurer from Zagreb will be removed from power in Prussia only by the intervention of the King of Poland in 1566. We present the contents of Skalić’s satyrical dialogues De statu huius mundi, recognize their literary origin not only in Terence, but even more in Lucian’s Dialogues of the Dead, and suggest that they are connected with the tradition of German Reformationsdialog as polemical vehicle (which has been adopted during 1550’s by Vergerio as well in his attacks on the papacy).

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