Esuli e dissidenti: Cicerone come modello del principe A.M. Kurbskij - Exiles and Dissidents: Cicero as Paradigm for the Prince A. M. Kurbskij

  • Vittorio S. Tomelleri, VST Università di Macerata


In April 1564 the Prince Andrej Michajlovič Kurbskij, one of the Tsar’s generals engaged in the Livonian war (1558-1583), defected to Lithuania and entered the service of King Sigismund II. Immediately afterwards there ensued a polemical correspondence between him and Ivan the Terrible, in which the deserter tried to defend his behavior, claiming to be a victim in exile rather than a traitor to his country. Within the exchange of accusations and offenses, an important part is played without any doubt by Ciceronian textual material: Kurbskij inserted the Slavonic translation of Paradoxa Stoicorum II and IV into his third and last letter to the Tsar. In this way he strove to assert his cultural superiority
over his less educated rival and at the same time to show that he was suffering from the same tragic destiny as his literary and  philosophica-lrhetorical model. The present paper deals with some historical and cultural aspects of Cicero’s reception in the sixteenth century, with particular attention to the currently less known Paradoxa Stoicorum and its major influence on Renaissance epistolography.


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Author Biography

Vittorio S. Tomelleri, VST, Università di Macerata

Vittorio S. Tomelleri, graduated in Classical Philology and Historical Linguistics at the State University of Milan in 1991, later on he received his PhD in Slavonic Philology from the Sapienza University of Rome (1997). He was awarded an Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship to work at the University of Bonn in Germany (June 1998 – May 1999). In 2002 he became associate professor of Slavistics at the University of Sassari; since 2005 he has been teaching Slavonic Philology and Russian language at the University of Macerata (Department
of Humanities). His main research interests include medieval translations from Greek and Latin into Church Slavonic, aspectology, history of Soviet linguistics and writing systems (with particular reference to the Caucasus area).