Epistolae Obscurorum Virorum

Epistolae Obscurorum Virorum


(Letters of Obscure Men), an early 16th-century German satire written in Latin by the humanists C. Rubeanus, H. von dem Busche, and U. von Hutten. It was published anonymously in two volumes (1515–17).

These parodic letters, written as if by churchmen, ridicule the ignorance, stupidity, religious fanaticism, and moral wretchedness of scholastics. They also expose the vices of papal Rome and the parasitism and profligacy of monks. The lively and witty satire of the Epistolae obscurorum virorum dealt a heavy blow to obscurantists on the eve of the Reformation.


Epistolae obscurorum virorum, vols. 1–2. Edited by A. Bömer. Heidelberg, 1924.
In Russian translation:
Pis’ma temnykh liudei. Moscow-Leningrad, 1935.


Istoriia nemetskoi literatury, vol. 1. Moscow, 1962.
References in periodicals archive ?
Creating Anti-eloquence: Epistolae obscurorum virorum and the Humanist Polemics on Style.
In the first quarter of the sixteenth century the humanists tend to take a moderate position, on occasion even ridiculing a belief in the efficacy of witchcraft as in the satires, Epistolae Obscurorum Virorum (Letters of obscure men), Eccius dedolatus, and Erasmus's Moriae Encomium (Praise of Folly).
139] It is closer in spirit to the Epistolae Obscurorum Virorum with its mockery of lusty clergymen who think they can attain the object of their desire using witchcraft--waxen images woven with hair from the head of the beloved, incantations, magic names and other mumbojumbo.
For the Epistolae Obscurorum Virorum see Holborn (vii), Mehl, and Overfield's chapter on "The Reuchlin Affair (247-97).
Language, Class and Mimic Satire in the Characterization of Correspondents in the Epistolae obscurorum virorum.