The Neo-Latin Epigram

A Learned and Witty Genre

Edited by Susanna De Beer, Karl A.E. Enenkel, and David Rijsser

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Edited volume - paperback

The epigram is certainly one of the most intriguing, while at the same time most elusive, genres of Neo-Latin literature. From the end of the fifteenth century, almost every humanist writer who regarded himself a true ‘poeta’ had composed a respectable number of epigrams. Given our sense of poetical aesthetics, be it idealistic, post-idealistic, modern or post-modern, the epigrammatic genre is difficult to understand. Because of its close ties with the historical and social context, it does not fit any of these aesthetic approaches. By presenting various epigram writers, collections and subgenres from the fifteenth to the seventeenth century, this volume offers a first step towards a better understanding of some of the features of humanist epigram literature.

Contributions by: Karl A.E. Enenkel, Stephan Busch, Marc D. Lauxtermann, Jan Bloemendal, Donatella Coppini, David Rijser, Susanna De Beer, Christoph Pieper, Han Lamers, Maarten Jansen, Tobias Leuker, Juliette A. Groenland, Johannes Jansen, Moniek van Oosterhout, Ingrid D. Rowland.

Karl A.E. ENENKEL, Introduction: The Neo-Latin Epigram: Humanist

Self-Definition in a Learned and Witty Discourse

Stephan BUSCH, Versus ex variis locis deducti. On Ancient Collections

of Epigrams

Marc D. LAUXTERMANN, Janus Lascaris and the Greek Anthology 

Jan BLOEMENDAL, The Epigram in Early Modern Literary Theory:

Vossius’s Poeticae Institutiones

Donatella COPPINI, The Comic and the Obscene in the Latin Epigrams

of the Early Fifteenth Century 

David RIJSER, The Practical Function of High Renaissance Epigram:

The Case of Raphael’s Grave

Susanna DE BEER, The Pointierung of Giannantonio Campano’s

Epigrams: Theory and Practice 

Christoph PIEPER, Genre Negotiations: Cristoforo Landino’s Xandra

Between Elegy and Epigram 

Han LAMERS, Marullo’s Imitations of Catullus in the Context of his

Poetical Criticism 

Maarten JANSEN, Epigramma cultum and the Anthologia Palatina:

Case Studies from Michael Marullus’ Epigrammata

Tobias LEUKER, Incisività sublime: l’arte epigrammatica di Aurelio

Orsi nel giudizio di Giambattista Marino

Juliette A. GROENLAND, Epigrams Teaching Humanist Lessons: The

Pointed Poems and Poetics of the Latin School Teacher Joannes

Murmellius (c. 1480-1517)

Johannes JANSEN, The Microcosmos of the Baroque Epigram:

John Owen and Julien Waudré 

Moniek VAN OOSTERHOUT, Hugo Grotius and the Epigram

Ingrid D. ROWLAND, Angelo Colocci’s Collections of Epigrams


Format: Edited volume - paperback

Size: 240 × 160 × 20 mm

350 pages

ISBN: 9789058677457

Publication: December 24, 2009

Series: Supplementa Humanistica Lovaniensia 25

Languages: English

Stock item number: 57489

David Rijser is lecturer in Classical Latin at the University of Amsterdam.
Karl Enenkel is Professor of Latin Philology of the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität (WWU), Münster.

Susanna De Beer is post-doctoral researcher in Neo-Latin at Leiden University.

Pardon the pun, so common in epigrammatic poetry: this is a great book about small poems. In fact, it is a work that goes beyond its primary goal of gathering and publishing the fifteen papers presented at the conference The Neo-Latin Epigram. Towards the Definition of a Genre, held at the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome (KNIR), in April 2006. It achieves an additional objective: to become an essential reference work for the study not only of Neo- Latin epigrammatic poetry but also of the epigram in general.
Reviewed by Ricardo da Cunha Lima, Universidade de São Paulo (, Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2011.09.16


The volume concludes with a genial essay by Ingrid Rowland on Angelo Colocci's collection of epigrams, emphasizing his contribution to our knowledge of metrics in medieval and humanist poetry. It is admittedly a difficult task to pin down the essence of the epigram, but these essays provide good insights into its elusive character.

CHARLES FANTAZZI, East Carolina University, Renaissance Quarterly, Vol. 64, No. 1 (Spring 2011), pp. 166-167