Nicholas of Modrus, ‘The Glory of Illyria’: Humanist Patriotism and Self-Fashioning in Renaissance Rome
The dissertation reconstructs and contextualizes the life of Nicholas bishop of Modruš (ca. 1427–1480), most often evoked as a papal diplomat who played an important role in the events surrounding the fall of the Bosnian kingdom to the Ottomans in 1463, subsequently spending the rest of his life in the provinces of the Papal States where he formed his grand library and engaged himself with philosophical and antiquarian matters. In a word, the Nicholas of Modruš imagined today is one painted with broad strokes, a result of the fact that the bulk of his oeuvre still remains buried in manuscript, and his career at the papal Curia largely unstudied. By introducing an ample amount of unpublished material into discussion, establishing a new dating for a number of his works, correcting a number of mistakes and assumptions, and finally addressing various previously unconnected paths of research, the dissertation sheds new light on the role of Nicholas of Modruš on the stage of Renaissance Rome. Therefore, just as any other biography, so this dissertation too is selective. While it is divided into four sections that treat chronologically four successive phases of Nicholas’ life, it is the Part I and Part II, discussing the first years of his Curial career, that bring particularly two questions under close scrutiny: the bishop’s humanism and his patriotism.
The dissertation combines a wide range of extant documentary, epistolary, literary, codicological and palaeographical evidence, published and unpublished, most of which find their place among the Appendices.