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Portraying the Prince in the Renaissance: The Humanist Depiction of Rulers
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11/6/2014 to 11/8/2014
When: 11/6/2014

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Portraying the Prince in the Renaissance: The Humanist Depiction of Rulers in Historiographical and Biographical Texts International Conference

Location: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Dates: 06-08.11.2014
Organizers: Patrick Baker, Johannes Helmrath, Ronny Kaiser, Maike Priesterjahn
Contact: Maike Priesterjahn (

What role do rulers play in historical texts and what determines the way they are portrayed? More fundamentally, what qualifies a text as a work of history, and what functions do such writings have? These questions are especially relevant to the age of Renaissance humanism. As contingency and human agency accrued greater relevance for historical narrative than they had possessed in the Middle Ages, the figure of the ruler was accorded a more explicit function as a shaper of history. The conference Portraying the Prince in the Renaissance, hosted by Collaborate Research Center 644 “Transformations of Antiquity” at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, explores these themes, considering the national or regional, personal, discursive, and generic parameters that promoted this paradigm shift and decisively influenced the way rulers were depicted in humanist texts.

Conference Program

Thursday, 6 November 2014

15.30 JOHANNES HELMRATH (HU Berlin) Welcome and Introduction

Historiographical Portrayals

16.00 STEFAN SCHLELEIN (HU Berlin) “Guter König, schlechter König? Die Darstellung Heinrichs V. und Heinrichs VI. von England in Polydor Vergils Anglica Historia”


17.15 THOMAS SCHWITTER (Bern) “Der Herrscher in der sozialen Ordnung: Karl VII. im Übergang von der tradierten zur humanistisch geprägten Historiographie in Frankreich ”

18.00 MAIKE PRIESTERJAHN (HU Berlin) “Kaiser-König-Krieger? Karl der Große in Paolo Emilios De rebus gestis Francorum (1539)”

Friday, 7 November 2014

Exemplary Words, Deeds, and Appearance
Chair: FELIX MUNDT (HU Berlin)

9.00 HESTER SCHADEE (Exeter) “How to Let the Facts Speak for Themselves: Narrative Strategies for Portraying Alfonso ‘the Magnanimous’ of Naples”

9.45 ENIKÖ BÉKÉS (Hungarian Academy of Sciences) “The Role of Physiognomy in Descriptions of King Mattias Corvinus”


Princes between Poetry and Prose
Chair: PATRICK BAKER (HU Berlin)

11.00 JEROEN DE KEYSER (Leuven) “Picturing the Ideal Patron: Francesco Filelfo and Francesco Sforza”

11.45 LUKA ŠPOLJARIĆ (Zagreb) “The Fashioning of an Illyrian Prince: South Slavic Lords through the Humanist Lens”


Biographical Portrayals

14.30 GARY IANZITI (University of Queensland) “Pier Candido Decembrio and the Limits of Suetonian Biography”

15.15 WOLFGANG STROBL (Freiburg) “Einhard Reloaded. Donato Acciaiuoli und die Karlsbiographik im italienischen Renaissance-Humanismus”


Serial Lives

16.30 MARKUS SCHÜRER (Dresden) “Herrscher in der kompilatorischen Biographik der Renaissance: der Fons memorabilium universi des Domenico Bandini”

17.15 RONNY KAISER (HU Berlin) “Ein Frage der Quantität? Zu den Funktionen der Herrscher in Franciscus Irenicus’ Germaniae Exegesis (1518)”

18.00 MARC LAUREYS (Bonn) “Auf den Spuren Paolo Giovios? Herrscherdarstellung in Jacobus Sluperius’ Elogia virorum bellica laude illustrium”

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Epic Portrayals
Chair: RONNY KAISER (HU Berlin)

9.00 THOMAS HAYE (Göttingen) “Cosimo de’ Medici in der Cosmias des Giovanni Mario Filfelfo (1426-1480)”

9.45 CHRISTIAN PETERS (Münster) “Verbis phucare tyrannos? – Zeitgenössische Herrscher als Heroen und Götterlieblinge im lateinischen Epos des 15. Jahrhunderts”

10.30 FLORIAN SCHAFFENRATH (Innsbruck) “Riccardo Bartolinis Austrias (1516) – ein Epos über Maximilian I. zwischen Vergil und Lucan”


Ars vitae scribendae

11.45 KIRA VON OSTENFELD (Columbia University) “How to Write a History of the King: Juan Páez de Castro, Charles V, and Royal Historiography”

12.30 PATRICK BAKER (HU Berlin) “Latinitas, dignitas, brevitas: Princes between Lorenzo Valla and Bartolomeo Facio”

13.15 Summary ALBERT SCHIRRMEISTER (Paris)

13.30 Conclusion of the Conference

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