The page of Janus Pannonius, English biography

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Janus Pannonius

Biography

Born August 29, 1434 in Csezmicze; died Mareh 27, 1472 in Medvevár. Poet. Hungarian name: János Csezmiczei. Took Latin name from Pannonia, an area south and west of Danube. Descendant of lesser aristocracy in poor economic circumstances. Raised for a time by widowed mother; beginning in 1447 he attended famous humanistic universities of Ferrara, Padua, and Venice with support of János Vitéz, Bishop of Várad. Studied under Guarino da Verona at Ferrara. Spent 14 years in Italy with interruptions. Began to write poetry while in Italy, mainly panegyrics. Named canon of Várad in 1454. Obtained doctorate and went on tour of Italy before his return to Hungary in 1458, where he received post in Royal Chancellery in Buda and soon became Bishop of Pécs (1459-1472). Headed delegation to Rome in 1465 to seek help from Pope Paul II against Turks. Accompanied King Mátyás on military expedition to Czechoslovakia in 1468 and then assumed responsibility for defense of southern Hungary. Appointed viceroy of Slavonia about 1470. Participated in plot against King Mátyás and died during escape.
Had a very significant role in the development of Hungarian literature. Strong humanist, Hungary's first lyric poet of contemporary note. First to give individuality high place and to view mainly reality and lyricism of Hungarian life. Preserved many experiences of his daily life in numerous epigrams. Expression of personal thoughts highly lyrical. Today his elegiac poetry is more valuable than his earlier poetic creations. He also translated Homer, Plutarch, and Demosthenes into Latin. A volume of his colletted works became part of the library of King Mátyás.
Some of his poems have been translated into Italian.

Hungarian Authors. A Bibliographical Handbook by Albert Tezla
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