Epistolae Obscurorum Virorum

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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 ?
Most modern-day Germanists (and PhD candidates) are likely familiar with the humoristic classic keyed to the controversy, Epistolae obscurorum virorum / The Letters of Obscure Men.
Not until the concluding chapter does one learn that it is taken from The Letters of Obscure Men (whose authors observed that "Erasmus taketh his own part').
This book on stylistic virtues and--especially--stylistic vices focuses on the Letters of Obscure Men (Epistolae obscurorum virorum), an anonymously published work in two parts (1515-17) that contains more than 100 letters.
The phenomenon of loquacity is discussed: the Letters of Obscure Men are extremely prolix in matters which would hardly deserve any detailed attention.
Although abundant quotations of the Letters of Obscure Men are incorporated in this study to illustrate the various vices, they never become more than illustrations.
On the Eve of the Reformation: Letters of Obscure Men.
The Letters of Obscure Men (Epistolae obscurorum virorum, usually abbreviated as EOV) is a virulent satire that may well qualify as the century's most comic book after Rabelais.
While neither the De asse or the Letters of Obscure Men makes easy reading, even for competent Latinists (the first because its language is so sophisticated and the second because it is so colloquial), both can be read and understood by Renaissance specialists in literature and history.