Historie – Otázky – Problémy

Mělník humanists at the close of the pre-White-Mountain era

Abstract: The aim of the study was to point out that even the small royal dowry town of Mělník was not standing on the cultural periphery of the pre-White-Mountain Bohemia, and to emphasize that, in cultural respect, the end of this era stood out among other periods of Mělník’s history. Some of the men who were either born here or came to work in the town became distinguished humanist writers on the supra-regional level, like the members of the Mělník-based Větrovský or Morávek family, or others like Matouš Hosius or Jan Civilius who came to settle in the town. We can follow a continual, almost uninterrupted succession of teachers of the Mělník school, who were all active as writers and who represented the intellectual elite of their time. It was in many respects thanks to them that the Mělník educational institute ranked among prestigious town schools of its time and managed to acquire a certain reputation. The school was also crucial for the town since it attracted academics who later settled there on a permanent basis. Their ascent among the local bigwigs often followed a similar pattern. As a rule it was started by a marriage to a widowed burgess, continued by obtaining city rights and giving up teaching activity, being promoted to the post of town clerk, and culminated by joining the body of local counsellors or even aldermen. Some of the teachers even managed to accede to the highest ranking posts in the Mělník administration and became primates (Daniel Klaudyán) or imperial reeves (Jan Siderius). It was both these functions that marked the career of one of the castle marshals with outstanding intellectual interests, Martin Prušek, author of a lovely collection of renaissance vocal motettos. There were also other teachers who, after a short stay, left the town and reached the peak of their career elsewhere. The study concentrated especially on the career and the remarkable social ascent of the intellectuals; in future, however, there remains important work to be done focusing on a thorough analysis of their work, literary, scientific and musical.

Key words: Mělník, humanism, school system and education, Šimon Větrovský (Anemius), Jiří Morávek, Martin Prušek of Prušov

PhDr. Jan Kilián, Ph.D., působí v Regionálním muzeu v Teplicích a na FF UJEP v Ústí nad Labem ( jankilian@email.cz)