Nicolaus Olahus. Repere istoriografice

1 February 2010

Cornelia Popa-Gorjanu

This work presents the evolution of the historiographical approaches of Nicolaus Olahus in the Romanian historiography. This subject was already discussed in a few works by the Hungarian historians, in the nineteenth century, while the Romanian historians were still hesitating to approach it. Nicolae Iorga, for example, expressed in one of his works a reticent position, declaring that the biography and works of Olahus represented a subject of second importance for the national history of Romanians. The main reason of his vacillation was the fact that Olahus, although Romanian by origin, was active largely in a Hungarian milieu. In contrast to this position, in the 1930s the historian Ioan Lupaş and the classicist Ştefan Bezdechi, both from Cluj, published several studies and articles on the biography and selected aspects from the writings of the humanist, within a project aimed at the recuperation of the history of the Romanians who lived and were active in non-Romanian settings. Several articles and one book, published by these two authors, have outlined the main subjects treated during later debates and historical investigations, such as the question of Olahus’ origin, the kinship ties between Olahus family and the ruling dinasty of Wallachia (Dăneşti or Drăculeşti, both descending from Basarab), the description of Transylvania, the commentaries about Romanians or the literary virtues of his poetry. During the first two decades after the Second World War the subject was almost abandoned. This situation changed in 1965, when Corneliu Albu reopened the subject and discussed the presence of Olahus in the Low Countries. In 1968, the commemoration of 500 years from his death occasioned the publication of a number of studies and articles by Maria Holban, Alexandru Tonk, Andrei Kovács, Corneliu Albu, Aurelian Sacerdoţeanu. In the same year appeared the volume Nicolaus Olahus (Nicolae Românul) (1493-1568). Texte alese (Nicolaus Olahus (Nicolaus the Romanian) (1493-1568). Selected texts), edited by I.S. Firu and Corneliu Albu. Six years later, Corneliu Albu discussed the epistolary sources preserved from this humanist in the volume Nicolaus Olahus. Corespondenţă cu umanişti batavi şi flamanzi (Nicolaus Olahus. Correspondence with Batavian and Flemish humanists).After 1974, the Romanian historiography focused on minor aspects of the biography and writings of Olahus. Since 1990s, a renewed focus on this subject is becomes noticeable. Among the authors who dealt with the subject were Alexandru Tonk, Iacob Mârza, and especially Pompiliu Teodor, who suggested the necessity of reexamining Olahus’ work in his study entitled „Nicolaus Olahus – Istoric umanist” (Nicolaus Olahus – humanist historian). Maria Capoianu, translator of Olahus’ writings, published in 1974 by Corneliu Albu, has published in late 1990s two works, Nicolaus Olahus Europeanul(Nicolaus Olahus the European) and another work containing translations in Romanian. Concomitantly, in Jassy, appeared the bilingual edition of Hungaria, published by Gyöngyvér Antal. A few studies and one monograph were also published in the early 2000 by Cristina Neagu, who focused mainly on the literary aspects of Olahus’ writings.

Nicolaus Olahus; Romanian historiography; epistolary sources; “Hungaria”; humanist historian