Janus Pannonius

Janus Pannonius

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Janus Pannonius was a Croatian
Croats are a South Slavic ethnic group mostly living in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and nearby countries. There are around 4 million Croats living inside Croatia and up to 4.5 million throughout the rest of the world. Responding to political, social and economic pressure, many Croats have...

 and Hungarian Latinist, poet
A poet is a person who writes poetry. A poet's work can be literal, meaning that his work is derived from a specific event, or metaphorical, meaning that his work can take on many meanings and forms. Poets have existed since antiquity, in nearly all languages, and have produced works that vary...

, diplomat
A diplomat is a person appointed by a state to conduct diplomacy with another state or international organization. The main functions of diplomats revolve around the representation and protection of the interests and nationals of the sending state, as well as the promotion of information and...

 and Bishop
A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

 of Pécs
Pécs is the fifth largest city of Hungary, located on the slopes of the Mecsek mountains in the south-west of the country, close to its border with Croatia. It is the administrative and economical centre of Baranya county...

He was the only truly significant poet of the Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 in the Kingdom of Hungary
Lands of the Crown of St. Stephen
The historical term Lands of the Crown of Saint Stephen was used to denote a group of territories connected to the Kingdom of Hungary within Austria-Hungary...

 and one of the better-known figures of Humanist poetry in Europe. He was born in a small village near the Drava
Drava or Drave is a river in southern Central Europe, a tributary of the Danube. It sources in Toblach/Dobbiaco, Italy, and flows east through East Tirol and Carinthia in Austria, into Slovenia , and then southeast, passing through Croatia and forming most of the border between Croatia and...

 river in a corner of Slavonia
Slavonia is a geographical and historical region in eastern Croatia...

. Janus’s father was a Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

n nobleman, but little is known about his family background. His mother, Borbála Vitéz, was the sister of Archbishop Vitéz.

Pannonius was brought up by his mother; then in 1447 his uncle sent him to Italy for a humanist
Renaissance humanism
Renaissance humanism was an activity of cultural and educational reform engaged by scholars, writers, and civic leaders who are today known as Renaissance humanists. It developed during the fourteenth and the beginning of the fifteenth centuries, and was a response to the challenge of Mediæval...

 schooling. He attended the School of Guarino da Verona
Guarino da Verona
Guarino da Verona was an early figure in the Italian Renaissance.He was born in Verona, Italy and later studied Greek at Constantinople, where for five years he was the pupil of Manuel Chrysoloras. When he set out to return home, he had with him two cases of precious Greek manuscripts which he had...

 at Ferrara
Ferrara is a city and comune in Emilia-Romagna, northern Italy, capital city of the Province of Ferrara. It is situated 50 km north-northeast of Bologna, on the Po di Volano, a branch channel of the main stream of the Po River, located 5 km north...

 where the pupils were educated in Latin and Greek authors under the guidance of a noted teacher of the Italian Renaissance
Italian Renaissance
The Italian Renaissance began the opening phase of the Renaissance, a period of great cultural change and achievement in Europe that spanned the period from the end of the 13th century to about 1600, marking the transition between Medieval and Early Modern Europe...

. The young boy was considered the brightest pupil of his generation by both his teachers and fellow-students. He soon revealed his ability to write poetry according to the rules of classical prosody; he was around thirteen when he wrote his first epigrams. His higher education was completed at the University of Padua
University of Padua
The University of Padua is a premier Italian university located in the city of Padua, Italy. The University of Padua was founded in 1222 as a school of law and was one of the most prominent universities in early modern Europe. It is among the earliest universities of the world and the second...

 in canon law, and after making an educational tour of Rome, he returned to the Kingdom of Hungary
Kingdom of Hungary
The Kingdom of Hungary comprised present-day Hungary, Slovakia and Croatia , Transylvania , Carpatho Ruthenia , Vojvodina , Burgenland , and other smaller territories surrounding present-day Hungary's borders...

 in 1458, the year of Matthias’s accession to the throne. For a time, he worked at the Royal Chancery, and soon became the Bishop of Pécs and later Vice-Chancellor of the country. Janus Pannonius was thus an influential intellectual in the kingdom, and one who never severed his connections with some of the leading philosophers of his time.