Conrad Celtis

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Celtis, Conrad


(also C. Celtes; real name Konrad Pickel). Born Feb. 1, 1459, in Wipfeld, Franconia; died Feb. 4, 1508, in Vienna. German humanist and writer. Wrote in Latin.

Celtis was educated in Cologne, Heidelberg, and Leipzig. In 1487 he was named Germany’s first poet laureate. He lived in Italy from 1487 to 1489 and in Kraków from 1489 to 1491. He became a professor in Ingolstadt in 1491 and in Vienna in 1497. During his residence in Vienna the city developed into an important center of humanism. Celtis’s first work was Ars versificandi et carminum (The Art of Versification and Poesy; 1486). His play Ludus Dianae (Diana’s Game; 1501), a musical allegory based on a mythological theme, and his amatory lyrics, including many odes, were imbued with the joyous spirit of the Renaissance.

Celtis founded several literary societies in Germany and Austria. He attempted to bring together various humanists to produce a scholarly historicogeographic description of Germany; only Celtis’s description of Nuremberg (published 1922) was completed. A collector and publisher of old texts, Celtis published in 1501 a manuscript, found by him, by Hroswitha of Gandersheim. Celtis supported the unification of Germany and condemned the strife among the German princes.


Oratio in gymnasio in Ingelstadio. Edited by J. Rupprich. Leipzig, 1932.
In Russian translation:
“K Apollonu,” “O drevnosti” (poems). Inostrannaia literatura, 1973, no. 8.


Istoriia nemetskoi literatury, vol. 1. Moscow, 1962. Pages 207–09.
Purishev, B. Ocherki nemetskoi literatury XV–XVII v. Moscow, 1955. Pages 30–34.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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This popular volume (which takes its title from a sentiment of Mornigliano) could be viewed as the vademecum (or handbook) of Germania Rezeptionsstudien for those intimidated by the author's 2005 Negotiatio Germaniae: Tacitus' "Germania" und Enea Silvio Piccolomini, Giannantonio Campano, Conrad Celtis und Heinrich Bebel (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Hypomnemata 158).
Hence his fame spread beyond the Roman Studium and the Italian humanist networks to Northern Europe via the students he attracted (e.g., Conrad Celtis) and his surprisingly few published works.
There is no question that the epigram was one of the central genres in Neo-Latin literature, attracting such poetic luminaries as Jacopo Sannazaro, Michele Marullo, Giovanni Pontano, Angelo Poliziano, Conrad Celtis, Thomas More, Ulrich van Hutten, George Buchanan, and Hugo Grotius.
Patriotic poetry was also favored, as represented by such figures as Conrad Celtis and Ulrich von Hutten.
Apart from encyclopaedia and handbook entries under 'Dichterkronung' and the like, there have been a few important articles, notably by Karl Schottenloher in 1926 and more recently by Dieter Mertens and Theodor Verweyen, but Albert Schirrmeister is the first to devote a whole book to the subject, although even his study, based on his Freiburg im Breisgau dissertation, focuses on a small segment of the history of the phenomenon, the years between the laureation of Conrad Celtis by Frederick III in 1487 and that of Nikolaus Mameranus by Charles V in 1555, and thus including the thirty-odd poets laureated by Maximilian I.
It must have been through them that he knew Conrad Celtis, a passionate German nationalist and the doyen of a specifically German humanism, for whom he worked.
The taste for a literature based on imitation of the classics began in this area at the end of the fifteenth century, when Filippo Buonaccorsi and Conrad Celtis passed through Cracow.
Such ideas were spurred on by a nascent linguistic-cum-national self-consciousness, by, among others, Conrad Celtis, who did, after all, call Durer alter Deus.
Hard on the heels of Gernot Michael Muller's book in the same series, Die 'Germania generalis' des Conrad Celtis Tubingen: Niemeyer, 2001), a study of Celtis's historiographical thinking in the wake of the discovery of Tacitus's Germania (see MLR, 98 (2003), 757-59), comes Jorg Robert's excellent investigation of Celtis's Amores (Nuremberg, 1502), the first important cycle of Neo-Latin verse produced in Germany.
1521), who belonged to the circle of Willibald Pirckheimer, lived at the Schottenkloster in Vienna from 1518 and there made contact with Conrad Celtis. He was the author of poems and the compiler of an anthology of poems on the passion of Christ, for which Albrecht Durer produced a series of woodcuts.
Die 'Germania generalis' des Conrad Celtis: Studien mit Edition, Ubersetzung und Kommentar.
By concentrating on the time between 1487, the year Conrad Celtis was crowned poet laureate by Emperor Frederick III, and 1555, when Charles V bestowed the poet's crown on a certain Nikolaus Mameranus, Schirrmeister focuses on a period when the humanists tried to redefine their social position and their cultural identity.