Iociscus 1569 Oratio
Oratio de ortu, vita, et obitu Ioannis Oporini
ORATIO DE OR-
TV, VITA, ET OBITV IOANNIS
Oporini Basiliensis, Typographicorum Ger-
maniae Principis, recitata in Argenti-
nensi Academia ab Ioanne Hen-
rico Hainzelio Augustano.
AVTHORE ANDREA IOCISCO SILESIO,
Ethicorum in eadem Academia professore.
Adiunximus librorum per Ioannem Opo-
rinum excusorum Catalogum.
VEL INVITIS PIRATIS:
QVOD PER PIRATAS LICEAT.
Excudebat Theodosius Rihelius,
M. D. LXIX.
Magnifico viro domino Ioanni Cratoni à Crafftheym, Consiliario & Medico Caesareo intimo II. Andreas Iociscus S.
Oratio de ortu, vita et obitu Ioannis Oporini Basiliensis, Typographorum Germaniae principis, recitata in Argentinensi Academia, ab Ioanne Henrico Hainzelio Augustano.
Duo sunt potissimum, quibus vita nostra informatur, praecepta et exempla. Illa ex principijs legis naturae deriuata, quid sequendum fugiendúmue sit, docent et praescribunt: Haec verò, speculi instar, hominum mores oculis subijciunt, & quid cuiuis ex vsu sit demostrant. Vtraque sanè, ad virtutis culturam in animis ingenuis, vim habent euidentem & momentum maximum. De praeceptis ac disciplina honestè & cum virtute instituenda vitae, non ita pridem praeclarè dictum est. Ego, cui has dicendi partes, ipsa consuetudo & praeceptorum authoritas imposuit, non alienum ab officij & aetatis meae ratione facturum me putaui, si exemplum in medium adferrem, quo & ad virtutis decus, & promtam sedulitatem in studijs adhibendam, mecum adolescentes inuitarentur.p
Instituam autem breuem ac nudam: veram ta-
Celebris fuit olim, eaque honesta de Homeri patria multarum, ciuitatum contentio, quae ex tam praeclari ciuis splendore, plurimum claritatis sibi pollicebantur. Ita obscura patria, vel vnius illustri virtute inclarescit. Magnus etiam eorum est numerus, quibus ad aeternam nominis memoriam, &
Natus est igitur Ioannes Oporinus, anno Christi, supra millesimum, quingentesimum, seiptimo: Mense Ianuario, die conuersionis Pauli.
Nascentem excepti Basilea, loci natura, coeli temperie, & agrii bonitate peramaena, atque ob Mu-
Auus Oporini in hac vrbe honores publicos geßit: & aedilitio functus munere, integritatis singularis, diligentiae, & spectatae virtutis laudem habuit. Is cùm re satis esset lauta, vnicum filium à pueris statim ad liberalium artium studia adhibebat. Sed pestiferum nouercae odium, pium facilis patris consilium
Non quaeuis plantae sub quouis crescunt coelo: multae aliò translatae felicius & laetius proueniunt. Ita nec vbique benè agendi occasiones offeruntur. Praeclarè Plutarchus dicit: τὴν ἀρετὴν, ὥσπερ ἰσχυρὸν καὶ διαρκὲς Φυτόν, ἐν ἅπαντι ριζοῦσθαι τόπῳ, Φύσεώς τε χρηστῆς, καὶ Φιλοπόνου Ψυχῆς ἐπιλαμβανομένην. Rectè etiam Themistocles cuidam Seriphio, obijcienti: Non ipsum sua, sed patriae gloria illustrem,
Praeter virtutem dotis nihil ab vxore acceperat: nec ipse quicquam praeter industriam ad eam attulerat. Hinc tantae omnium rerum difficultates obijciebantur, vt continuo labore suum vix victum exsarcirent. Quare, cùm ob domensticam hanc inopiam, liberorum prosperitas, in propria potius, post Dei benedictionem, industria, quàm relictarum opum abundantia, posita videretur, studiosè parentes dabant operam, vt in se ipsis certa & duratura vitae praesidia collocata haberent. Pater igitur ipse diligenter filium litterarum rudimenta docere: & in publicum ludum litterarium ducere: & à praeceptoribus tradita exigere ac repetere. Mater verò nihil quae foemineas decerent manus, negligere. Qua sedula cura factum est, vt & aerumnae domesticae liberorum secundo successu dulcescerent: et vocationis duriusculi labores mitigarentur.
Caeperat tum iuuentus in scholis melius institui: quòd litterae suum iam nitorem, doctorum studio reciperent: et bonorum authorum scripta, integritati restituta, in hominum manibus versarentur. Proinde cùm in Oporino ingenij acumen in ipsa pueritia emineret, atque indoles nescio quam meßis ubertatem & autumnalem foecunditatem promitteret: Pater nihil eorum, quae naturae bonitatem, in filio elucescentem ornatura putabantur, praetermittebat: licet omnia, qua facultatem emergendi praebere possent, accisa admodum forent.
Postquam igitur domi feliciter, litterarum rudimenta percepisset: ob patris inopiam, huc Argentinam descendit: & in pauperum scholasticorum contubernio, quatuor ferè annos vixit. Docebat eo tempore in hac vrbe Gebuuilerus, doctus informandae iuuentutis, pro temporis illius ratione, & Oporini captu, moderator. Quo magistro et duce tum Oporinus vsus, tantum profecit, vt & latinè, purè atque expeditè loqueretur, & Graecae linguae, non prorsus ignarus, cum multorum admiratione haberetur. Maturitatem aetatis & iudicij adeptus, patriam repetit: perfectae eruditionis (cuius acquirendae, ibi facultas erat maxima) laude ductus. Viros igitur doctos (quorum frequenti multitudine, peculiari ciuitatis genio, semper felix Basilea fuit) sedulò audiuit: & eorum institutione iudium de artibus humanioribus, quarum gu-
Hac vitae conditione ibi degens, venit in familiaritatem Xylotecti, canonici apud Lucernenses: coniungebat eos et ingeniorum similitudo, (quae ad coalescendos animos plurimum habet momemti) et politior litterarum cultura. Xylotectus enim doctum et lepidum, vt ea ferebant tempora scribebat carmen: & Oporinus eo non erat inferior. Non multò pòst Xylotectus Euangelij puritatem amplexus, amplißimos illos reditus deseruit, ducta´que vxore, Basileam conceßit, vbi deinde pestis contagione infectus, vitam cum morte commutauit. Oporinus quoque monasticae scholae pertaesus, amicum sequutus, Basileam redijt: coeptum semel studiorum cursum continuaturus, & cum laude confecturus. Sed cùm nec tum quidem ulla subsidia à quoquam subministrarentur, Graecos Theologos, vt Irenaeum et alios describendos suscepit: quos magno sumti Ioan. Frobenius Graecè in publicum
Consilium Oecolampadij sequutus Oporinus, Theophrasto se adiunxit, et quàm diu Basileae fuit, ab eius consuetudine nunquam discessit: imò etiam domestico eius vsus consortio, operam ipsi suam, famuli
Hippocratem ferunt, medicinae discendae, adeò fuisse studiosum, vt vel retrimenta gustare non dubitarit: morbi materiam inde exploraturus. Cleanthem quoque, scientiae desiderio ita exarsisse Laëtius scribit, vt noctu hortulano cuidam, aquas hauriendo (vnde et Φρεάντης dictus est) quaestum faceret: quo paupertatem suam sustentare, et interdiu Philosophiae vacare posset.
Non leuior certè ardor discendi in Oporino nostro fuit: nec minor molestiarum sustinendarum inuicta tolerantia. Cùm enim Theophrastus contra reliquorum medicorum placita, assereret hominis temperiem non nisi ex vrina alcali hoc, est, sui quis per triduum omni cibo et potu abstinuisset, cognosci posse: Oporinus se ipsum triduo macerauit: et exiguum quid in phiala T<h>eophrasto adferens, iudicium doctoris sui requisiuit. At ille ridens, et stultum eum, qui tam facilè obtemperasset, vocans, phialam parieti allisit.
Solebat praeterea Theophrastus vino madidus, noctu, strico gladio per dimidium ferè horae, cum laruis depugnare: non absque Oporini, qui eodem in conclaui, cubiculari suo lecto latebat, magno metu et periculo: Inde Oporinum ad dictata excipienda excitabat: quae tàm experditè recitabantur, vt daemonum instinctu, ea sufferi Oporinus, se putasse sa-
Hoc statu, et his moribus biennium ferè Basileae Theophrastus vixit: quo quidem tempore, ita artem suam probauit, vt propter summam felicitatem in desperatis morbis curandis, in magna esset admiratione. Erat ibi Canonicus quidam nobilis à Lichtenfels, deploratae valetudinis: Eum Theophrastus, pactus precium centum florinorum (quos promtè offerens, numeraturum se summa etiam voluntate Canonicus pollicebatur) tribus Pilulis Laudani sui (medicamenti genus est, quo in extrema tantum necessitate vtebatur) saliua subacti, feliciter restituit. Tam breui spacio, et quidem re vt uidebatur exili, sanatus Canonicus, pactis non stetit: Dignus certè, qui longioribus morbi cruciati-
Promiserat Theophrastus, Laudani conficiendi rationem Oporino se traditurum: Qua spe pellectus eum in Alsatiam est comitatus: et biennium adhuc hominis importunitatem tulit. Tandem impetraturum se à magistro suo, quod cupiebat, diffidens, eum deseruit: Accelerabat abitum, Theophrasti impietas. Vocatus enim à rustico aegro, cùm Eucharistia usum intelligeret, suae arti iam non locum esse apud illum qui alium auxiliatorem quaereret, (horrendum dictum) aiebat. Quòd si ex animo ita sensit Theophrastus, quis non blasphemam hominis impietatem detestaretur? Sin autem excusatione hac vti voluit Theophrastus, ne, prioris felicitatis famam iam morituri, exitu corrumperet, ac remedia sua infamaret: non magis prudens et
Non multo pòst Oporini vxor, qua cum octennium uixit, Lucernae obijt: quò bonorum suorum causa quotannis ascendebat. Amplam quidem haereditatem ex facultatibus mortuae coniugis sibi obuenturum putabat: tantùm tamen abfuit, ut aliquid obtineret: vt etiam iure rem experturus, fraude affinium non leue damnum fecerit. Docebat eo tempore Graecam linguam Basileae, magnus ille Grynaeus Heydelberga illuc accersitus. Is Oporinum propter ingenij et morum elegantiam, et Graecae linguae praestantem cognitionem, plurimum diligebat: et hic vicissim Grynaeum praeceptorem, omni cultus et pietatis studio reuerenter obseruabat. Proprium hoc bonorum virorum esse solet, vt eorum miserijs vehementer afficiantur: qui si in promtu esset emergendi facultas Reipu. aliquando ornamento forent: praecipuè cum suae durae quondam sortis memores dignum et pium existiment, pro virili sua, aliorum prostratas fortunas subleuare, ac constituere. Subinde igitur Grynaeus res Oporini promouere: studia eius et ingenium alijs commendare: omnibus denique hu-
Quare cum sacram scripturam explicare, authoritate senatus, Grynaeus iuberetur: effecit, vt in eadem profeßione, et collegij procuratione, cui antihac praefuerat, sibi Oporinus substitueretur. Ad studia itaque et secundas nuptias reuersus, magna cum laude et auditorum fructu, munere isto scholastico est functus. Mira enim in docendo erat perspicuitas, dexteritas, et erudita facilitas. Plutarchi vitas Graecè scriptas, frequentibus auditoribus, doctè et prudenter enarrauit: quorum pars aliqua Parens meus quoque fuit: tum temporis, vnà cum illustri Heroe Lazaro à Schuendi, et viro amplißimo Georgio à Steten Augustano, studiorum causa Basileae viuens. Domum cum suis discipulis, quos nominaui, et alijs compluribus, reuersus Oporinus praelecta, accuratè ab ijsdem exigere pro sua erga auditores propensione solebat. Huius beneficij, quo nihil maius, nihil sanctius, nihil diuinus, discipuli deinceps memores: gratitudienm suam Oporino praeceptori luculenter demonstrarunt. Nam ipse Schuendius Oporinum, fatalibus suis aerumnis tantùm non oppressum, non semel subleuauit. Par Stetensis fuit liberalitas. Parentis mei in Oporinum studium
Hac vitae conditione biennium ferè Oporinus exegit: cum vxore sumtuosa, tribus matris proluuium imi-
Non defuit tuo quoque crescendi cum dignitate occasio: nisi vis fati in Typographicas difficultates omnino eum abpreptum & demersum voluisset.
Academiae enim praesides de Oporino ingenio ac profectu, multis iam maturae eruditionis testimonijs editis, probato, insigne & euidens in Rempub. emolumentum sibi polliciti: satis amplos ex Canonicatu D. Petri reditus (quos facultatum, vt vocant, professoribus, magistratus Basiliensis piè destinauit) ipsi, Iuris doctrinam explicantem Cl. Iureconsultum Bonifacium Amerbachium, quem, (licet enim ex ipsius ore haec dicere) socerum tum certè non sperasset: Et eo doctrinae genere ob id magis delectatum se eße, dulci recordatione iuuenilis studij, dicebat: quòd legum constitutiones, ex fontibus, sacrae scripturae deductas, Philosophorum saniorum, Platonis nimirum & Aristotetlis, riuulis irrigaret. Iu-
Non esse hominis uiam eius: nec viri dirigere gressus suos, Oporini exemplo conspicuum esse potest.
Nam vt Hercules apud Prodicum, in biuio subsistens, secum vtram viam ingrediatur deliberat: Sic Oporinus noster, in omnem occasionem experrectus, pluribus conditionibus propositis, haesit dubius. Sed tamen nec Medicum, à quo non alienus erat, nec Iurispurdentiae, ad quam honoris spes & ingens opum vis, inuitare et allicere debuerat, studium est
Plenis itaque velis in typographicum mare delatus Oporinus, naufragium primim per Vuinterum fecit: qui vxoris luxu perditus, praeter officnam nihil reliquit. Hanc tamen à creditoribus, septingentis florinis aliunde mutuò acceptis (precio mercem longè superante) redimere est coactus. Ita prius, quàm in herba meßis esset, tristis hyemis saeuitia, autumno suus perijt fructus.
His initiis, hoc aere, & antea cum Vuintero contracto: & tum emta ipsius officina acculumato, Typographicam negociationem coepit: Subinde versuram faciens, omni conatu ob pecuniarias difficultates, in nihilum, peiusúe relabente:
Non aliter, quàm qui aduerso vix flumine lembum,
Remigijs subigit, si brachia fortè remisit,
Atque illum in praeceps proro rapit alueus amni. Non enim tantum à parentibus nihil ad eum redijt, sed pecuniae numerum haud exiguum, sexcentos penè florinos excedentem, quem ab Ludouico Bero Canonico, suo à matre affini, iam destinatum sperabat, infortunio quodam mirabili amisit. Nam Francofurtum proficiscens: in hospitio Mulbergensi insignia gentilicia, Germaniae more, fenestrae inseri curârat. Pictor veritatis imaginem, fuscatam Religionem monastico habitu indutam calcantis finxit. Id cùm resciuisset Berus, indignè adeò tulit, vt nomen illius è tabulis eraserit.
Tantis licet, molestijs laboraret Oporinus, neruis omnibus rei benè gerendae incisis: nihilominus in genti animo aerumnas omnes perferre ac superare: et vt eluctari poßit contendere, institutum in re litteraria iuuanda suum vrgere: doctorum virorum animis se insinuare, cùm litterarum crebritate ceu fomento beneuolentiam alendo, tum alijs officijs ijsdem gratificando.
Deseruerat tùm parens eius artem suam, ne idola, & id genus imagines pingeret. Illum Oporinus innumeris grauißimarum expensarum molestijs, vndiquaque circummuentus, pi?e aluit, fouit, sustentauit, nihil´que ipsi, quàm diu superfuit, defieri est passus: Iisdem pietatis officijs sorores
Quod igitur ad primum attinet, omnes hoc libenter concessuros spero, optima et doctißima, cum vetustate, tum vtilitate veneranda, et magnifacienda scripta, ex Oporini officina prodisse: Reipub. magis commodo, quàm proprio fructu labores suas metientis. Sacra inprimis, in hominum manus cura sua & diligentia peruenire cupiebat: vnde à Casparo Bruschio, Palatini iure, datis etiam hac de re codicillis, Dei Opt. Max. notarius contra Antichristum & inferorum portas est nuncupatus.
Oporini certè beneficio Biblijs à Castalione, viro doctißimo & innocentißimo in latinum sermonem conuersis, fruimur: quem etiam Religionis causa patria extorrem, cum familia satis numerosa, solus diu aluit: vt & plurimis alijs doctis certi subsidij loco semper Oporinus fuit.
Erga operas praeterea, quas librorum impreßio postulat: supra facultatum rationem, & modum liber alitatem exercuit: vt earum misertus, non absque graui saepe detrimento, illas ab alijs Typographis nescio quid incommodi ex infrequenti mercatu metuentibus dimissas, susciperet, ac non rarò, supra quinquaginta sustentaret.
Quid inde curarum et anxietatis ad Oporinum redierit, maior mea est imbecillitas, quàm vt oratione poßim exprimere. Herculeas potius aerumnas sibi quis optarit, quàm quotidie cum hoc hominum genere conflicati. Taceo quòd nullum opus, nisi à semetipso correctum lucem viderit. Quod porrò sumtus eam in rem fecerit, iam non attinet dicere. Facilè eos quiuis ex grauißima rei familiaris iactura aestimauerit. Non defuerunt tamen qui magnificentia sua, vbi ille defecerat, paratißimo ipsi subsidio erant, ac saepe omni ope destitutum tempestiuè subleuabant. Digna aeterna memoria & praedicatione magnificentia est Cl. & doctißimi virorum Ludouico Grempij I.C.ti celeberrimi, Reip. huius vrbis aduocati: & Ioannis Sturmij Rectoris & praeceptoris nostri, omni pietatis studio, perpetuò obseruandi: qui debitae pecuniae non exiguam summam Oporino mortuo remiserunt. Idem fecit Typographus doctißimus Henricus Petri, qui quadringentos florenos in vsum Typogra-
Altera Typographi cura est, vt cum fructu suo, exemplaria impressa distrahat: & laborum, sumtuum´que fructum percipiat. <griechisch> hanc partem vocauimus. Ea iucunda et larga superati laboris compensatrix, spe praemij: pro varijs aerumnis implere mercatores et singulari voluptate solet perfundere. Verùm & hîc omnia sibi aduersa est expertus. Francofurtum enim quotiescunque venit, non aliter, ac si in carnificina torqueretur, foeneratorum iniurijs miserè exagitatus fuit: adeò vt animi magnitudo & vis, vel hoc calamitatis genere perspicua, laudem, sortis autem atrox asperitas, commiserationem mereatur.
Vulgò quilibet suae fortunae faber dicitur: quàm vere ipsa testatur experientia: eorum´que exempla, qui duriori aliquo preßi casu, homines´que Deos´que accusant: rati vel illorum iniquitate vel horum permißione, miserias in humanum genus inundare atque immitti: quas propria tamen culpa attrahunt, & attractas indiligentia sua cumulant. Incuriam hanc equidem, haud facilè Oporino nostro tribuerim: vel etiam vitio duxerim. Negari tamen non potest, rerum eum suarum, nimium ferè socordem in hac fuisse parte. Nam & in anno
Eò etiam perfidiae & iniquitatis quorundam est progressa malitia, vt neglecta omni pietate, charitate, & honestate: nulla habita boni, aequíue ratione, pro sorte centum florinorum, viginit, imò etiam triginta, vsurae turpißimae loco ab ipso exegerint: Quàm miseris modis, curarum aestus, & sollicitudo, hinc exorta, Oporinum exercuerit, dici vix potest. Tantum tamen abfuit, vt de pertinaci suo studio aliquid remitteret, vel laboribus & molestijs succumberet, varietate & magnitudine aerumnarum fractus: vt, quod Iuno apud Tragicum de Hercule queritur, superarit & creuerit malis, iráque fortunae frueretur: in laudes suas eius vertens odia. Summum iuuandis humanioribus disciplinis studium, & indefessum conatum vel illud Aldinum testatur, quod instituto suo accommodatum Musaei foribus praefixerat.
Quisquis es, rogat te Oporinus, etiam atque etiam: vt si quid est, quod à se velis, perpaucis agas: deinde acturum ab eas: nisi tanquam Hercules defesso Atlante, veneris suppositurus humeros. Semper enim erit, quod & tu agas: & quotquot huc attulerint pedes.
Atque has quidem difficultates Oporinus est perpessus, Nonnunquam tamen eadem ipsa fortuna blandiori vultu, in amicum complexum veluti odio exaturata, libidinis´que sua ducta paenitudine, reditura videbatur: dum illum & principum gratiae: magnorum fauori: omnium verò amori & beneuolentiae felcitier insereret.
Nam ipse Imperator Ferdinandus, hominis probitatem amplexus, clementißimè se Oporino dedit: et ut merces eius improfessae Brisaci (oppidum illud est ad Rhenum peramoeno loco, & natura, & opere munito, situm, vbi portorium Austriaci colligunt.) praeterueherentur, benignißimè conceßit. Sed Oporinus, futura compendia vel dispendia parum diligenter considerans, hanc quoque neglexit commoditatem.
Palatinus etiam Elector Fridericus, Oporini integritatem, & in excudendo industriam admiratus, Heidelbergam eum accersiuit: vbi res suas forsan melius stabilire potuisset: nisi praenatalis soli dulcedine maximè opimas conditiones repudiasset.
Expatiatus erat aliquando ad Ioan. Rodolphum
Et vt ex infinitis vnum enumerem, Andreas Vesalius, cum Oporino familiarißimè diu est versatus, Anatomiae suae, opere typis ipsius commisso: cuius etiam consilio & instinctu, praeclaro quidem, sed inauspicato Arionis symbolo est vsus.
In hoc laborioso vitae genere cum secunda vxore, Maria Ficina vixit Oporinus triginta & aliquot annos, grauißimis, hominum improborum iniuria, factis naufragijs. Mortua est illa, peste, marito Francofurti in nundinis absente, anno supra millesimum quingentesimum sexagesimo quarto. Eadem hora, manè quarte, qua eam expirasse domum reuersus cognouit, pulsum quendam, ad spondam lecti Oporinus sensit: quo aliquid mali portendi ad famulum, iuxtà cubantem dixit. Delectabatur illa, vt memorauimus, insolente pecuniae effusione: parùm sollicita, quanto labore, & periculis mediocres etiam opes constarent: Aliàs perita artium quibus indulgentiores mariti capiuntur, & ad obsequia vxorum flectuntur. Nam vt Menander dicit. <griechisch> <griechisch> Constat rara, vel potius nulla inter eos intercessisse iurgia: dum illa facilitatis mariti non ignara, ingenium eius blandè tractaret: & continuis Typographiae laboribus defatigatum ac tantum non oppressum, & morum & sermonis commoda elegantia reficeret: operarum praeterea ignaua importunitate concitatum prudenter permul-
Defuncta coniuge administrandae rei familiaris moles, ipsi soli Oporino incumbebat: cui oneri, alioqui sexcentis negocijs distentus, & numerosa operarum multitudine obrutus, cùm sufficere non poßet: rebus suis ita postulantibus & cogentibus: semestri elapso, tertiam duxit: Elisabetham, Eucharij Holzachij F. animi, corporis, & fortunae dotibus ornatißimam matronam, viduam Ioannis Heruagij iunioris, eodem pestilentiae malo extincddti. Huius officina cum Oporini coniuncta, maioribus eum inuoluit molestijs. Nam vxoris beneficio & opibus auctus: cùm aliquantulum à perennibus istis aerumnis resporare inciperet, & in portu, omni exemtus periculo Arion nauigare videretur: in Oceanum typographicum tunc demum est prouectus.
Sed qualemcunque hanc prosperitatem immaturum coniugis fatum intercepit. Ea enim in Thermas Badenses Heluetiorum profecta, ex doloribus matricis, quarto coniugij mense Basileam reuersa expirauit.
Tunc demum Oporinus grauißimum vulnus accepit. Nam breui illo tempore, gustum aliquem coniugalis amoris fidei, pietatis sensit: & quid esset in coniugio uiuere didicit. Erat ea festiuo et commodo ingenio: et opes suas ad publicam litterarum vtilitatem
Catastophen fabulae, laetiorem Deus esse voluit. Moerorem enim ex intempestiuo Heroissae suae obitu perceptum facilè discußit coniunx quarta (qui quidem quaternarius, vitae cum coelestis, quàm adeptus est: tum prolis susceptae, indicium statuatur) prudentia moderata, probitate, fide, ac pia in maritum beneuolentia, priori non inferior: eo etiam superior: quòd Oporinum in extremo iam aetatis actu, filio virtutis, eruditionis, & diligentiae paternae (fortunam enim & ille ex alijs discat) haerede beauerit.
Ea est Faustina, Clarißimi Iureconsulti Bonifacij Amerbachij F. Vlrici Iselini, Iurisperiti, vidua: & ipsa mirando Dei consilio Oporino iuncta, cùm praeter nominis honestam existimationem nihil in Oporino, à muliere iuuencula esset expetendum.
Haec res mariti diligentius perpendens: eum´que aetate iam grauem, laboribus istis ferendis imparem esse videns: aßiduè instare ipsi & orare, vt vendita officina, sese expediret.
Difficulter quidem coniugis precibus ceßit Oporinus: quòd stationem hanc, in quam à Deo esset collocatus, temerè deserendam, & priuato ocio publicum commodum postponendum non putaret: saepe etiam diceret: Molestiae typographicae finem, mortem ipsam, iam propinquam excepturam esse. Victus tamen iustis vxoris precibus, Typographiam vendidit, nunquam suarum rationem subducta summa. Non multò pòst suscepit filium Emmanuelem, prouidentiae diuinae testimonium, ipso natali suo 25. Ian. 1568. anni: quasi & hoc imminentis mortis, non dubium esset omen. Laetitiam quam inde percepit Oporinus, iudicabunt isti, quorum omnis in prole vnica, nominis & generis propagatrice, stat cura. Nullae ad doctos mittebantur litterae, in quibus Oporinuli (ita enim apud amicos vocitare solebat) non fieret multa mentio.
Sed nec tum quidem liquido, & ab omni parte solido gaudio frui licebat. Complures enim molestae et impeditae curae ab importinis et malè feriatis hominibus inijciebantur: quae cùm senis animum acerbius ferirent, ac sauciarent, vitae tandem finem Opo-
Elatus est humeris Academiae, comitatu omnium ordinum honorificentißimo: sepultus in summo templo, in societate clarißimorum virorum, Grynae, Oecolampadij, Munsteri, & aliorum qui viuacibus ingenij monumentis nominis perpetuitatem sibi pepererunt.
Concionem funebrem habuit, reuerendus vir D. Simon Sulcerus, Theologus doctißimus, & puritatis Euangelicae diligentißimus cultor.
Mortem eius luctus omnium bonorum consequutus est: nec defuit foeneratorem strepitus, qui & viuum sceleratè expilarunt: & mortuo, contumeliosè insultare non erubuerunt: Cùm tamen ijdem ipsi, praeter paupertatem patriam: summam erga alios liberalitatem, aeris istius alieni non postrema fuerint causa: cuius numerum immanis illa secundae vxoris prodigalitas, vt dixi, & priuignorum profusio auxit.
Hunc vitae finem, Ioannes Oporinus habuit, de studijs nostris optimè meritus: & ob id dignus, cuius memoria, cum virtutis perpetua commendatione omnium bonorum labijs celebretur atque efflorescat. Qualiacunque n. ea fuerint, quae mortem eius exceperunt: eiusmodi tamen sunt, ut nec aeternam illius beatitudinem, cuius initia moriturus percipiebat:
Quin potius, eam speramus fore posteritatis gratitudinem: vt praeconijs suis existimationem Oporini sit confirmatura, qui etiam in tanta rei familiaris angustia: ex tam paruis atque exilibus initijs incremento sumto, in curanda Typographia, adeò magnificus esse potuerit.
Gratias verò vobis ago, grauiss. & doctiss. auditores: quòd & me de Oporino balbutientem audire tam patienter: & Oporini manibus nobiscum parentare non estis dedignati.
Mortis Ioan. Oporini praesagia Coelius II. Curio obseruauit & scripsit.
Catalogus librorum per Ioannem Oporinum excusorum, secundùm ordinam alphabeticum, adiecta impreßionis forma.
IONNES OPORINVS BAS.
VIRTVTVM HAEREDE EX. IV.
PVB. LACHRIMIS: PRIVATA
DIS notus et
Quantula sint hominum corpuscula disce viator:
Iociscus, Andreas: Oratio de ortu, vita, et obitu Ioannis Oporini Basiliensis, Typographicorum Germaniae Principis, Straßburg: Theodosius Rihel, 1569.
— VD16 J 305.
— View at Google Books here or here or here
• in: Vitae selectae quorundam eruditissimorum ac illustrium virorum, ed. by Christian Gryphius, Breslau: Christian Bauch, 1711, pp. 601–634 (Vita), 634–636 (Mortis Ioan. Oporini praesagia), 637–693 (Catalogus librorum), 694–704 (Epigramme).
— View at Google Books here
• in: Vitae selectae XVII. eruditissimorum hominum, ed. by Christian Gryphius, Breslau: Daniel Pietsch, 1739.
— View at Google Books here
A reissue of the 1711 edition with a new title-page and preface only (Titelausgabe).
English Raw Translation
Generated by ChatGPT on 28 February 2023. Attention: This translation is a machine translation by artificial intelligence. The translation has not been checked and should not be cited without additional human verification.
BY ANDREAS JOSEPHUS GOCZ, PROFESSOR OF ETHICS IN THE SAME ACADEMY.
We have appended a catalogue of books printed by Johannes Oporinus.
EVEN AGAINST PIRATES: WHICH IS PERMISSIBLE THROUGH PIRATES.
STRASBOURG, Printed by Theodosius Rihelius, 1569
Greetings to the distinguished man, Lord Ioannes Crato de Crafftheim, Imperial Councilor and Physician.
Not long ago, in our academy, we paid tribute to the late Oporinus with a brief speech, most distinguished Crato, dear patron and lord. His outstanding contributions to the literary republic deserved this demonstration of our respect and piety towards him, which we offer through this expression of tribute to Oporinus. There were several reasons why I hesitated to make this public, for fear of being accused of rashness by those who might believe that his life was not well described, given that they may not have been as familiar with his habits as he was. However, since it is customary for good and learned men to view this act of benevolence and humanity favorably, and I learned that they wished for this testimony to be made public, I acted in accordance with their authority, knowing that I need not fear the accusations of the wicked. During the same month that Oporinus was afflicted with his illness, he kindly entrusted me with a financial matter to be settled with a friend of great renown (whose assistance he had experienced before), as I was descending to Argentum. I took this opportunity to discuss his difficulties, his life course, which he had pursued since the beginning of his printing business, up until that day. Much of what he experienced during those tumultuous times was revealed in that conversation, although I omitted many details that could have caused pain to others. Many of the details about Theophrastus and the continuation of history were related to me by several distinguished and learned men who had heard them directly from Oporinus himself. Therefore, I need not be accused of being biased. I have always detested the insolence of those who attack the living with a certain satirical sharpness or ridicule them, and who point a finger at them. Or those who malign and insult even the dead, contrary to the sacred law of Athens. However, especially in your distinguished name, dear patron, I wanted to show that I was aware of how highly you valued Oporinus, and that if those of a different medical persuasion attempted to attack me in a more vicious manner, I could count on your certain and steadfast protection. Your honesty will prompt you to regard my efforts favorably, and your benevolence will continue to support me as it has in the past. If my studies are worthy of honoring your excellence and erudition, I will conduct myself in such a way that you will understand that it was not a lack of opportunity but rather a lack of readiness on my part. Farewell to the dead. In Argentum, on the fourth Ides of March, MDLXIX.
Speech on the Birth, Life and Death of Johannes Oporinus of Basel, the Prince of German Printers, given at the University of Strasbourg by Johann Heinrich Hainzel of Augsburg.
There are two main things that shape our lives: precepts and examples. The former, derived from the principles of natural law, teach and prescribe what should be followed and avoided. The latter, like a mirror, reflect people's behavior and demonstrate what is useful to each person. Both certainly have a significant impact and importance for cultivating virtue in noble minds. It has recently been said excellently about teaching precepts and discipline to live with honor and virtue. As someone who has been assigned these speaking roles by custom and the authority of my mentors, I thought it appropriate to provide an example to inspire young people to strive for both the glory of virtue and diligent pursuit of studies.
I will provide a brief and simple account: a true narrative about the birth, life, and death of Johann Oporinus, the prince of German printers, by the testimony of all the foremost authorities, I hope. He who was recently taken from human affairs left his mourning family and a great longing for his goodness, leaving a clear example of human fragility and slippery inconstancy for all to see. For he shone, more than in any other, in our Oporinus, as a plaything of deceitful fortune, which in this one illustrious document demonstrated how fragile our affairs stand, subject to perpetual vicissitudes and various, even frequent, changes. It is an act of humanity to honor the memory of the deceased with piety and to vindicate their honest reputation from the calumnies of the wicked with any protection. But it is our duty to do justice to Oporinus, who has so well deserved of our literary Republic, which brings these rightful things, which, although they fill a spacious orb with the light of his own virtue, bring little fame to the name of Oporinus. Thus they openly testify our piety towards the deceased.
Once there was a famous and honorable contention among many cities about the homeland of Homer, which promised much splendor from the illustrious citizen. So an obscure homeland became famous because of the virtue of one. There is also a great number of those for whom the nobility of their homeland has brought not a little weight to eternal fame and the so-called happiness. So it would not be difficult to show by examples that mutual services are handed down on both sides for the perpetuation of their reputation. Therefore, it will be rightly acknowledged by us all, who sometimes desire to pay homage with similar piety, if we do not seem to detract from the happiness which the homeland increases for Oporinus or envy him this praise as a citizen, which our illustrious Argentum, which gave him birth and hospitably provided for Oporinus as a student of the rudiments of letters in this school, rightly asserts. I would indeed wish for the ability to speak that would correspond to the virtues of this man. But if I fail to satisfy the splendor of my speech for the most learned ears of my most grave listeners, I trust that you will show me favor for my lack of ease in speaking, especially since the narration of sad events shuns the adornment of speech, and even the rivulets of any eloquence dry up in the greatest grief, just and plentiful tears.
Therefore, John Oporinus was born in the year of Christ, above one thousand five hundred and seven, in the month of January on the day of the conversion of Paul. Basel welcomed his birth, a city celebrated for the natural beauty of its location, the mildness of its climate, and the fertility of its soil, as well as for being a safe and reliable residence for scholars. Some believe that it acquired its name from Basil Minucius, a former envoy of Julius Caesar in these lands, while others propose different origins for the name. Those who follow the evidence of ancient monuments believe that it was named after its free passage. However, it is not our purpose to delve into this matter at present.
Oporinus had a father, Johann Herbst, a distinguished painter by trade and a devoutly religious man of good character. The family name was later changed from its vernacular language to Greek. Oporinus borrowed the phrase from Martial: "If autumn gave me a name, I would be called ὀπωρινός; if harsh winter, the stars would call me χειμερινός," and cleverly and appropriately adopted it, foreseeing that someday he would enter into the printing business with Robert Winter, who later changed his name to Chymerinus.
Oporinus' grandfather held public offices in this city and served as an aedile. He was praised for his exceptional integrity, diligence, and outstanding character. When his son was a boy, he immediately enrolled him in the study of the liberal arts. However, his stepmother's wicked hatred thwarted his father's good intentions. As a result, he was driven out of his father's house by this evil, and was entrusted to a notary of the Republic. He used the notary's domestic habits to improve his writing skills. However, he was more inclined towards the elegant art of letters, and was drawn towards this art by his father's friend, a painter. When he returned home and was asked to demonstrate his diligence in writing, he confessed that he had devoted himself to the art of painting. His angry father treated him harshly and threatened that he would never be allowed to return to his sight. Thus, he became a refugee from his homeland, and excluded from the hope of recovering his father's love and property, he devoted himself entirely to the art of painting. With his successful diligence, he progressed to become one of the most prominent artists of his time. He left his homeland and devoted himself to learning everything about his art and the opportunity to establish himself.
And indeed, at that time he left his homeland and went directly to Switzerland in search of opportunities to learn his craft and establish himself. Not all plants thrive in every climate; many thrive better when transplanted elsewhere. Similarly, opportunities to excel are not always available everywhere. Plutarch said it well: "Virtue, like a strong and enduring plant, takes root in every soil, nurtured by a kind nature and a diligent soul." Themistocles also responded correctly to a Seriphian who accused him of seeking glory not for himself, but for his country: "You speak the truth," he said, "for neither I nor you would have achieved fame if you were a Seriphian or I an Athenian. For the power of virtue is such that, having acquired a good nature, it takes root anywhere in the world, and, being stimulated by frequent and honorable actions, it produces the most abundant harvest." Oporinus' father clearly approved of this, as he diligently cultivated his natural goodness and so brilliantly illuminated his own virtue with the fame he received from his city that he proved himself a worthy citizen of his country. While he was practicing his craft in Switzerland, he lost his father, so they sent people to find his only heir, his son. They arrived in Switzerland, where they had agreed he would be, but the man who was looking after him, fearing a loss of profit that he was making from the young man's industry, denied that he was with him when the young man left. Thus, due to the greed and injustice of his master, he was deprived of his paternal inheritance, which was quite ample, and went to Basel, where he so demonstrated his industry that he easily won the favor and goodwill of the good people of the country. Delighted with the place and the people's ways, he settled there and married Barbara Kupfart, a woman of good reputation. From her, he had three daughters (one of whom, a great citizen of the literary republic, gave birth to the outstanding philosopher and doctor Theodorus Zwingerus; and after her first husband's death, she was given in marriage to Conrad Lycosthenes, whom she supported with her diligent care even when he was sick and lost), and he had this Johannes in the year I mentioned, just a little before a parricide was torn apart with white-hot tongs. His mother, still carrying him in her womb, witnessed this horrific event and was so shaken by it that she impressed the marks on Oporinus.
Beyond the dowry, he received nothing from his wife, and he himself had brought nothing but industry to their marriage. Therefore, such great difficulties were presented in every matter that they could barely scrape by with their own labor. Thus, due to this domestic poverty, the prosperity of their children seemed to depend more on their own industry than on the abundance of inherited wealth, and so the parents diligently sought to place certain and lasting safeguards in themselves, after God's blessing.
The father, therefore, carefully taught his son the rudiments of letters and took him to public schools, demanding and reviewing what the teachers had taught. The mother, for her part, neglected nothing that would become a woman's hands. With this diligent care, the domestic hardships were sweetened by the children's success and the harsh labors of their calling were alleviated.
As a young man, he was better educated in school, as his studies were now enriched by the efforts of learned teachers and the works of good authors, which had been restored to their integrity and circulated among people. Therefore, when his intellectual acumen shone through in his childhood, and his character promised a certain richness and autumnal fecundity, the father did not overlook anything that was thought to adorn the son's natural goodness, even though everything that could provide an opportunity to rise was extremely limited.
After he had successfully acquired the rudiments of learning at home, due to his father's poverty, he came down to Strasbourg and lived for nearly four years in the company of poor scholars. At that time, Gebwiler, a learned instructor of youth, was teaching in the city and serving as a mentor to Oporinus, adjusting his teaching according to the demands of the time and Oporinus's abilities. Under this master and guide, Oporinus made so much progress that he could speak Latin correctly and fluently and was not entirely ignorant of the Greek language, earning the admiration of many. Having attained maturity of age and judgment, he returned to his homeland, led by the praise of having obtained a complete education, which he had the greatest opportunity to acquire there. Diligently attending to learned men (of whom Basel was always fortunate in the abundance of), he learned from their guidance how to judge of the liberal arts, the taste for which he had acquired. However, he could not continue this course for long, as poverty in his homeland denied him domestic support, and he had no hope of obtaining aid from elsewhere. He therefore went to St. Urban's Abbey (a monastery located in Switzerland under the rule of Lucerne), where he taught the youth who were to be admitted to the college someday. At that time, the indolence of the monks and the misuse of good things had not yet prevailed over the custom of instructing boys in this way.
While living there under those circumstances, he came into acquaintance with Xylotectus, a canon at Lucerne: they were brought together by their similarity of intellect (which has great importance in bringing together souls) and refined culture of literature. Xylotectus was a learned and elegant man who, as they say, wrote poetry during that time, and Oporinus was no less capable. Not long after, Xylotectus embraced the purity of the Gospel and abandoned his vast wealth, taking his wife and settling in Basel, where he later died after being infected by the plague.
Oporinus, tired of monastic school, followed his friend and returned to Basel, intending to continue his studies and complete them with honors. However, as no assistance was provided by anyone, he took up the task of describing Greek theologians, such as Irenaeus and others, whom Johannes Frobenius had translated into Greek for the public. Thus, the constant financial difficulties and severe poverty hindered Oporinus. Finally, in 1527, he married Xylotectus' widow, believing that he could only merit his friend's greatness by enduring the burden of a morose and austere old woman. What he endured from her, however, is not pleasant to recount. Anyone can easily imagine the bitterness of the troubles that were imposed on him by his imperious and harsh wife, for Oporinus himself often said that he suffered the same fate as Socrates, who learned to philosophize under Xantippe's tutelage. Indeed, Oporinus' tolerance in enduring his wife's insults was no less than that of Socrates. Just as Socrates was bombarded with many insults, he merely replied that he knew that after so many thunderstorms, rain would eventually come. Likewise, Oporinus endured his wife's insistent behavior with great patience in similar cases. At that time, Oporinus was running the literary school of his country, and he was a skillful craftsman in handling young minds' studies, as he moderated the education of brilliant minds. There are still quite a few people who attribute their knowledge of the first rudiments and solid education to Oporinus. However, his academic life was quickly interrupted.
For when the excellence of nature urged him on to nothing but the highest, and stimulated by the praises of the learned men who were then alive, he could not rest. Perhaps he was also ashamed of his present insignificance (which usually accompanies the most arduous labours of schoolmasters) and began to think of another method of study which would place him in a more secure and enduring position of prosperity, freed from those constant annoyances. While Oporinus was pondering over this, Johannes Oecolampadius, who was the first to profess the sincere doctrine of Christ's Gospel at Basel, observing the remarkable and versatile talents of the man but noticing that he was hostile to litigation, suggested that he devote himself to the study of medicine, especially as Theophrastus Paracelsus was then there boasting arrogantly that he would make an outstanding doctor within one year. Theophrastus came to Basel at the beginning of the Reformation and, on the recommendation of Oecolampadius and with the approval of the Magistrate, was received into the city as a professor of medicine. At that time, the University was completely scattered and the professors had either been expelled or had left the city voluntarily. Therefore, with the help of Oecolampadius, he easily obtained a position in medicine at the University.
Following Oecolampadius' advice, Oporinus joined himself to Theophrastus and never left his company as long as he was in Basel. He even served him as his personal assistant, performing the duties of his servant and amanuensis, hoping that by his diligent service he would attain a perfect knowledge of the art which this Doctor boasted of so much. Therefore, with great admiration and a large following, even of those who were famous for their wisdom and learning in that excellent art, Theophrastus taught Oporinus carefully, and he faithfully translated what was said in German by Theophrastus (for he taught medicine in the vernacular, contrary to custom) into Latin. Theophrastus indeed had a very limited knowledge of Latin, as Oporinus often affirmed, but his memory was so fortunate that he could recite entire passages of Galen accurately and rapidly. Everything that Oporinus translated from his mother tongue, whether it was not understood in dictation or received confusedly in reading, Theophrastus approved. This made Oporinus often suspicious that there might be some deception involved in such ready agreement. When Theophrastus went out with his disciples to collect herbs and came across a plant whose name he did not know, he would say that it was of no use. The ardor for learning that was in Oporinus can be recognized from this, that he patiently endured the mad behavior of a drunken man so that he could progress in the study of medicine with some benefit, worthy of such great labors.
They say that Hippocrates was so devoted to learning medicine that he did not hesitate to taste excrement to explore the material of diseases. Laëtius writes that Cleanthes was also so passionate about knowledge that he would make a profit by drawing water at night from a gardener (hence he was called Φρεάντης) to support his poverty and be able to devote himself to philosophy during the day.
Likewise, there was no less ardor for learning in our Oporinus, and he endured the difficulties with unwavering tolerance. For when Theophrastus asserted against the views of other physicians that the temper of a person could only be known by their urine being alkaline, he who had fasted from all food and drink for three days, Oporinus also starved himself for three days and brought a small amount of urine to Theophrastus for his judgment. But Theophrastus laughed and called him foolish for obeying so easily, and he slammed the flask against the wall.
Moreover, Theophrastus used to get drunk on wine and fight imaginary monsters with a drawn sword for almost half an hour at night, not without Oporinus, who hid in the same room on his bed, with great fear and danger. Then he would wake Oporinus up to take notes, which were recited so skillfully that Oporinus often said he thought he had suffered them by the instigation of demons. And indeed, many of those notes that have been printed were written by Oporinus himself, who, being easy-going, communicated them without difficulty to people of that sect. What about the fact that he was often forced to indulge in drinking bouts, which the doctor enjoyed excessively, but was not constant in them, as his energies were more suited to literary pursuits than to revelry, and frequent drunkenness could not be borne. Oporinus's faithfulness and diligence are extensively praised by Theophrastus, who admits in a certain booklet that he had experienced only one faithful Oporinus among many servants.
With these habits and in this condition, Theophrastus lived in Basel for almost two years, during which time he proved his art to be so successful that he was greatly admired for curing desperate illnesses. There was a certain noble Canon from Lichtenfels there who suffered from a lamentable illness. Theophrastus agreed to a price of a hundred florins (which the Canon promptly offered and promised to pay even more willingly) and successfully restored him with three pills of his Laudanum (a type of medicine used only in extreme necessity). The cured Canon, though healed in a short time and apparently easily, did not keep his promise, and was indeed worthy of being tormented by longer illness and pain. Therefore, Theophrastus went to court. When the usual and prescribed settlement was reached by the magistrate, Theophrastus was so dissatisfied with the meager price of his art that he repeatedly attacked the magistrate, to the point where the injured magistrate feared punishment. So, some men of great authority, who were eager to honor him, warned Theophrastus not to persist, even to Oporinus himself, and he went down to Alsace, leaving behind his alchemical vessels with Oporinus.
Theophrastus had promised to teach Oporinus how to make Laudanum, and had been lured by this hope to accompany him to Alsace. He endured the man's importunity for two years, but eventually abandoned him, despairing of obtaining what he desired from his master. Theophrastus' impiety hastened his departure, for when he was called by a rustic who understood the use of the Eucharist, he declared that his art had no place with someone who sought another helper (a shocking statement). If Theophrastus truly felt this way, who would not detest the blasphemy of such impiety? But if Theophrastus wanted to use this excuse to avoid ruining the reputation he had earned from his previous successes and tarnishing his remedies, he does not seem to have been any more prudent and urban than the man who, when asked by a dying patient how he could help him, replied, "May death be far better for you." Theophrastus' writings approving of magic still exist, and he claimed that a pious man could use the works of the devil, just as a thief could. D. Vuolfius Vuisenburgius of Basel still exists, who in a public lecture, when Theophrastus affirmed that if God did not help, the devil would, countered by saying the opposite, but was burdened by many accusations and gave in to the man's fury. This was indeed the reason for Oporinus' departure from Theophrastus. Having left him, he returned to his wife's command in Basel, having previously received a portion of Laudanum from him, which he had been saved by as if by a divine wand not long afterwards. For the sake of purging, he had taken precipitated mercury, and a quarrel had broken out with his wife, so he had left the house at night and gone to his father. He drank copious amounts of water on the way, and because he did not want to disturb his sleeping father by knocking on the doors, he sat outside in the cold, and his body, especially his head, swelled so much that the doctors despaired of his life. While he lay there for some time, and one day was alone in bed, he remembered Laudanum and went to the purse in which it was kept, and swallowed three pills. He fell asleep, and when his wife returned from the assembly, where she had hoped to find him dead, his swelling had subsided, and he emerged unscathed. Theophrastus' great intelligence is certainly demonstrated by the remarkable efficacy of this medicine. If he had added piety and more refined learning to this natural excellence, he would have been no less of a physician than Aesculapius or Jupiter (like that Menecrates). Not long after, Oporinus' wife, with whom he had lived for eight years, died in Lucerne, where he went every year for the sake of his goods. He thought he would obtain a considerable inheritance from his deceased wife's property, but he was so far from obtaining anything that he even caused serious damage by deception to his relatives. At that time, he taught Greek in Basel, where he was summoned by the great Grynaeus of Heidelberg, who greatly admired Oporinus for his intelligence and elegant manners and his excellent knowledge of Greek. Grynaeus, in turn, respected Oporinus as his teacher and observed him with every mark of respect for his culture and piety. It is characteristic of such good men to be deeply affected by the misfortunes of others, and if the opportunity arose to emerge from their own difficulties, they would be an ornament to the Republic. Especially when they remember their own harsh fate, they think it worthy and pious to lift up the fallen fortunes of others, and to establish them as much as they can. Therefore, Grynaeus promoted the interests of Oporinus, commended his studies and abilities to others, and did everything possible to assist him with kindness, honor, and personal gain.
When Grynaeus was ordered by the Senate to explain the holy scriptures, he arranged for Oporinus to replace him as head of the same profession and college that he had previously led. Thus, he returned to his studies and second marriage and carried out his scholarly duties with great praise and benefit to his listeners. He had an amazing clarity, dexterity, and learned ease in teaching. He skillfully and wisely explained the lives of Plutarch, written in Greek, to his numerous listeners, of whom my father was one. At that time, he lived in Basel with the illustrious hero Lazarus von Schwenckfeld and the great man George Stettheimer for the sake of their studies. Oporinus would return home to his pupils, whom I have named and others, and demand excellence from them according to his affection for his listeners. His disciples were mindful of this great, holy, and divine favor, and demonstrated their gratitude to their teacher, Oporinus, brilliantly. Schwenckfeld himself supported Oporinus several times, almost overwhelmed by his fatal trials. Stettheimer was similarly generous. I do not want to extol my father's devotion to Oporinus' studies, thinking it is my duty to express proper respect to my own teachers with the same willingness. But let us return to the subject at hand.
As the head of the college, Oporinus offered an honorary position to Erasmus of Rotterdam, who was returning to Basel to await the end of his life. When they came to embrace each other and join hands, Oporinus grasped Erasmus' hand too firmly, causing him great pain. Whether seriously or jokingly, Erasmus was said to have been pleasant, kind, but still serious in his personal encounters. Oporinus was apparently stunned. Erasmus noticed this and kindly asked for wine to be poured and encouraged him to recover his spirits. Oporinus sat down with his companions (who were frequenting Erasmus' visit) and, after a drink or two, he spoke to Erasmus with a learned and dignified speech worthy of Erasmus himself. They departed, not without the spark of mutual affection, which always nurtured the flames of true benevolence.
Oporinus spent about two years in this condition of life, accompanied by his extravagant wife and their three children, who imitated their mother's extravagance. As expenses began to exceed his income, he began to think about leaving the academy, especially after a controversy arose between Grynaeus and Carolostadius about the degrees awarded in the school. This untimely event caused many to leave the academy. He then began to print with his brother-in-law, Robert Winter, neglecting other things and devoting himself entirely to this.
There was also an opportunity for you to increase your dignity, if fate had not wanted to snatch you away and plunge you into typographical difficulties.
The heads of the academy had already published many testimonies of Oporinus's talent and progress in mature erudition, and had promised themselves a notable and clear benefit to the republic. They had assigned him ample revenues from the Canon of St. Peter (which the magistrates of Basel had piously designated for the professors of faculties) to teach the doctrine of law, along with the famous jurist Bonifacius Amerbach, whom Oporinus did not expect to become his father-in-law. Oporinus said he was particularly pleased with this kind of teaching, because he irrigated the streams of legal constitutions drawn from the sources of sacred scripture and the wiser philosophers, especially Plato and Aristotle. Amerbach had so skillfully combined the study of law and pure philosophy that he easily surpassed other jurists and was not inferior to the most learned philosophers. However, Oporinus, who was averse to flexible discussions on both sides of cases (which Amerbach taught according to his own method) and who loved a life removed from litigation, neglected this opportunity in such a way that if some hope of struggling with present difficulties had been proposed, he would not have embraced it willingly. For if the heads of the school, the scribes, had confirmed the promised income, which he had requested, and had paid him the money he had already printed with Winter, he would have willingly acquiesced to their wishes. But the magistrates, who were reluctant to have their integrity called into question, left him to his own discretion and fortune.
The example of Oporinus illustrates that the way of a man is not in his control, nor can he direct his own steps.
As Hercules deliberated which path to take, standing at the crossroads according to Prodicus, our Oporinus, awakened to every opportunity, hesitated uncertainly with several conditions proposed. Nevertheless, he did not pursue the study of medicine, which he was not unfamiliar with, nor did he seek to entice or attract himself to the study of law, which offered prospects of honor and great wealth. Instead, he embraced the art of typography, which he had never before considered. This was a clear indication that God Almighty wisely and providentially directs the end and purpose of our actions. He knew that this was the most expedient way to propagate His Word, glorify His name, and ensure our salvation. Just as typography prevented Oporinus from pursuing unfruitful studies and a less stable and durable path that would have brought less prosperity, it also contributed significantly to the benefits of the Republic of Letters and benefited others at his own expense.
Thus carried on full sails into the sea of typography, Oporinus suffered his first shipwreck through Winter, who, ruined by his wife's extravagance, left nothing but his workshop. Oporinus was forced to buy it back from his creditors for seven hundred florins borrowed from elsewhere (the price exceeding the value of the goods). Thus, before the harvest was reaped, the severity of a sad winter and the loss of his autumnal fruit befell him.
With this capital, along with the contract he had previously made with Winter and the newly acquired workshop, he began his typographic business. However, he soon fell into debt, despite his best efforts to overcome financial difficulties:
Just as the one who struggles to move a boat against a strong current, Using oars, if by chance he slackens his arms.
This misfortune was not only due to his parents' lack of financial support, but also to a remarkable stroke of misfortune that caused him to lose a considerable sum of money - almost six hundred florins - which he had expected to receive from Ludwig Berus, a canon and his mother's relative. When Oporinus traveled to Frankfurt, he had the family coat of arms installed in the window of his room at the Mulberg Inn, in the German manner. A painter had created an image of the Truth crushing error, depicted as a monk, underfoot. When Berus learned of this, he was so outraged that he erased Oporinus' name from the family records.
Despite the many difficulties and challenges faced by Oporinus, with every nerve for conducting affairs well cut, he persevered and overcame all hardships, striving to struggle and urging his own initiative in promoting literary pursuits. He endeavored to win the favor of learned men, fostering goodwill through the abundance of letters, and also by showing them kindness through other services.
His father had abandoned his art, not wanting to paint idols and images of that sort. Oporinus, burdened with countless heavy expenses and surrounded on all sides, piously nurtured, fostered, and supported him and allowed him to continue as long as he was able. He extended the same kindness to his sisters (for he had lost his mother early on). Two things were particularly noteworthy in this printer: the poetic (that copies should be compared and printed) and the mutable (a part of the fine art of the Platonic Sophist to ensure that the same types were conveniently used again). As Homer says, "as he used fortunate diligence in printing, so he was completely without success in distribution."
As for the first point, I hope that everyone will willingly agree that the best and most learned works, venerable both for their antiquity and utility, have come from Oporinus's shop, with his labors benefiting the republic more than himself. He was especially keen to see sacred works pass into the hands of men through his own care and diligence. Therefore, he was called by Caspar Bruschius, by Palatine law, God's notary against Antichrist and the gates of Hell, with even codices given to him for this purpose.
We certainly enjoy the great benefit of having the Bible translated into Latin by the highly learned and innocent man, Castellio, whom his homeland expelled for the sake of religion. He supported himself and his large family for a long time and was always a reliable source of help for many other scholars.
Furthermore, he went beyond his means and resources to publish books, showing great freedom. He often took on the burden of publishing works that other printers refused to print due to the lack of demand, sometimes supporting over fifty of them.
My weakness prevents me from fully expressing the level of care and anxiety that Castellio experienced. One would prefer the labours of Hercules rather than being in conflict with this kind of people every day. Not to mention that no work would see the light of day unless he corrected it himself. As for the expenses incurred, it is not worth mentioning. Anyone can estimate the high cost of personal loss. However, those who were ready to support Castellio with their own magnificence when he was in need, and often supported him when he was in great need, are worthy of eternal memory and praise. These include the illustrious and highly learned men Ludovicus Grempius, a celebrated advocate of this republic, and our Rector and teacher, Johannes Sturm, who always showed devotion and generosity, and who, after Castellio's death, generously remitted a considerable sum of money owed to him. The highly learned printer, Heinrich Petri, also did the same by graciously giving four hundred florins to support Castellio's printing press.
The care of the printer is that through his diligent work, he may produce printed copies with profit, and thus reap the benefits of his labor and expenses. This part of his work is enjoyable and rewarding, compensating for the hardships he endures, with the hope of receiving a reward. He often fills the hearts of booksellers with joy and satisfaction. However, he has also experienced many adversities. Whenever he came to Frankfurt, he was miserably tormented by the injustices of usurers, as if he were being tortured in a slaughterhouse. His fortitude and strength, which were clearly evident in the face of such calamities, deserve praise, but the cruel harshness of his fate deserves compassion.
It is often said that everyone is the architect of their own fate, as experience itself testifies. Those who are burdened by some difficult circumstances blame both humans and gods, believing that either the injustice of the former or the permission of the latter causes misery to inundate and afflict the human race. However, they themselves attract these miseries through their own faults and worsen them through their carelessness. I cannot easily attribute this negligence to our Oporinus, nor would I blame him for it. Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that he was too negligent in this aspect of his work, even in carefully describing the names of printers and the accounting of received and spent money. His carelessness was so great that he often suffered indignity from his lack of trustworthiness, to the extent that he held up to eight thousand florins in the names of those with little liquidity.
The malice of some people even extended to perfidy and injustice, as they shamefully demanded interest rates of twenty or even thirty percent for a sum of one hundred florins, without any regard for piety, charity, or honesty. The degree of suffering and anxiety that Oporinus experienced from this can scarcely be described. Nevertheless, he was far from giving up his determination or succumbing to the burdens and troubles he faced. Instead, he surpassed and grew stronger in the face of these evils, and enjoyed the anger of fortune, turning the hatred of others into praise of himself. His dedication to the humanities and his indefatigable efforts are evidenced by the dedication he placed on the door of the Museo, which he tailored to his own purposes, and the works of Aldus bear witness to this as well.
The care of typography is such that, with its own benefit, it produces printed copies and receives the fruit of labor and expense. We have called this part [of the book production] the pleasant and ample reward for the labor surpassed, with the hope of a prize: it is used to fill the merchants' various troubles and imbue them with singular pleasure. However, he has experienced all kinds of adversity here. Whenever he came to Frankfurt, it was no different than if he were being tortured in a butcher shop, and he was miserably tormented by the usury of the moneylenders, to such an extent that his magnanimity and strength of spirit, which were clearly evident in this type of calamity, deserve praise, but the harshness of fate deserves compassion.
It is commonly said that every man is the architect of his own fortune, as experience itself truly testifies, and the examples of those who, pressed by some harsh circumstance, blame men and gods, believing that either their injustice or the permission of the gods floods and brings misery to humanity, even though they themselves attract these misfortunes by their own fault and aggravate them through their own carelessness. Indeed, I would not easily attribute this negligence to our Oporinus, nor would I even consider it a fault. Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that he was too negligent in this aspect of his affairs. For even in the careful recording of the names of subscribers and of the received and spent funds, he was extremely careless, and in pledging and disbursing his own money for the sake of others, he was very lenient. Indeed, he was often deceived in this matter, to the point where he had eight thousand guilders in unreliable names but without the desired security of his debtors.
The malice and wickedness of some even extended to the point of neglecting all piety, charity, and honesty, and without any consideration of what is good and fair, they demanded twenty or even thirty percent interest in lieu of a hundred guilders from Oporinus himself: how this caused the waves of his anxieties and worries to rise and how it affected him can scarcely be described. Nevertheless, he was so far from relaxing his steadfast commitment to his work or succumbing to exhaustion and difficulties that he surpassed and grew in his misfortunes, enjoying the anger of fate and turning it into praise for himself. The constant pursuit of the humanities and his tireless efforts to promote them testify to his high aspirations, as does the fact that he had placed them at the forefront of his enterprise by placing them at the entrance to the Musaeum, in keeping with his original plan.
Whoever you are, Oporinus begs you again and again, if there is anything you desire from him, to keep it brief, and he will act on it, unless you come to him like Hercules to support his shoulders when he is weary from Atlas' burden. There will always be something for you to do, and for everyone who comes here.
And Oporinus endured these difficulties, but sometimes the same fortune, driven by a gentler mood and exasperated by its own desire, seemed to return to him with open arms, embracing him as a friend and introducing him happily to the favor of princes, the benevolence of the great, and the love and goodwill of all.
Emperor Ferdinand himself, embracing the man's probity, gave himself to Oporinus most graciously, and in order to avoid the collection of unpaid taxes in Brisach (that is, the town situated on the Rhine in a beautiful place, both by nature and by construction, where the Austrian customs duty is collected), he granted him a benign...
For Emperor Ferdinand himself, embracing the honesty of the man, showed himself most merciful to Oporinus, and graciously allowed that the unpaid dues of his in Brieg (that town is situated by the Rhine, in a pleasant place, both by nature and fortified by work, where the Austrian customs are collected) should be overlooked. But Oporinus, not considering future gains or losses carefully enough, neglected even this advantage.
The Elector Palatine, Frederick, also admired Oporinus's integrity and diligence in printing and invited him to Heidelberg, where he perhaps could have established his affairs better if he had not rejected most advantageous conditions because of his attachment to his native soil.
He had once gone to Johannes Rudolf Stoer, the abbot of Morbach, for some business matter. When he was not immediately admitted, he returned home and sent rather bitter letters to the abbot, in which he showed that he felt himself insulted and treated like a buffoon. But because it was foolish to tell the truth to fools, he affirmed that he would also tell the truth. Hence he attacked the foolish pride of courtiers, who usually become insolent and arrogant in all administration and rule, by exploiting the ignorance and stupidity of monks. For Oporinus was, as all who know him know, very eager for the pursuit of truth, with unsullied candor and inviolable integrity. The abbot, to keep the cicada from being taken by the wing, most cordially invited Oporinus, and, after the death of the very learned Sigismund Gelenius, he transferred the annual salary that he had conferred on him to Oporinus, in order to enrich his own library. Oporinus was fortunate in the friendship of learned men, who adorned him with both writings and dedications, expecting that by their own works they would gain no small dignity and praise if they appeared in the eyes of others under the name of Oporinus.
And so that I do not enumerate one from the infinite, Andreas Vesalius, after having spent a long time with his close friend Oporinus, entrusted his anatomy work to his own printing: he also used Arion's symbol, which was indeed a brilliant but inauspicious idea, by his advice and instinct.
In this laborious life with his second wife, Maria Ficina, Oporinus lived for thirty and some years, with the most serious injuries caused by wicked people's malice, in shipwrecks. She died of the plague, with her husband absent at the Frankfurt fair, in the year above one thousand five hundred and sixty-four. At the same hour, the fourth in the morning, when he returned home and found out that she had passed away, Oporinus felt a certain pulse in the bed next to him, indicating something bad was coming to the servant lying next to him. As we mentioned earlier, she delighted in extravagant spending of money, and was not very concerned about how much work and dangers even moderate wealth required. On other occasions, she was skilled in the arts that captivate husbands who are more indulgent and bend to their wives' wishes. For, as Menander says, there were rare, or rather no disputes between them, while she, not unaware of her husband's easy-going nature, treated him with flattery, and refreshed him with the elegance of her manners and speech, worn out by continuous labor in printing and almost overwhelmed by the number of works, prudently appeasing him and soothing him in time.
After the death of his wife, the burden of managing the family affairs fell solely on Oporinus, who, already burdened with six hundred businesses and overwhelmed by a multitude of printing jobs, could not cope. Thus, his circumstances demanded and forced him to take a third wife, Elizabeth, the most elegant woman in spirit, body, and fortune, ornamented with the qualities of Eucharius Holzach's son, a widow of Johann Herwagen Jr., who had also succumbed to the pestilence. His workshop, combined with that of Oporinus, brought him greater troubles. For, by his wife's help and wealth, when he began to breathe a little from those perennial hardships and seemed to sail into the typographical ocean, exempt from all dangers, he was then finally launched into the ocean of typography.
But whatever prosperity he had was cut short by the premature fate of his wife. She had gone to the Baden Baths of the Swiss, and returned to Basel in the fourth month of her pregnancy with pains in her womb, only to die soon after. It was then that Oporinus suffered his most grievous wound. For in that brief time he had tasted some of the love, faith, and piety of married life, and learned what it meant to live in matrimony. She was of a cheerful and easy-going disposition, and willingly contributed her own wealth to the public good of literature, in concert with her husband's efforts. Thus, with this promptness, she demonstrated her loyalty to Oporinus, and her commitment to advancing literature along with her husband. Though he was so cruelly punished by fortune, he bore the death of his Heroissa (for thus he honored her name on account of her noble spirit and virtuous qualities as a matron) with great moderation and gravity. For he had already strengthened his mind with frequent trials, and had learned how to bear hardships without being caught unprepared, as Theseus says in Seneca.
But God willed that the story have a happier ending. The fourth wife, who, in addition to her respectable reputation, was not inferior to her predecessor in prudence, integrity, faith, and devotion to her husband, easily dispelled the grief caused by the untimely death of his Heroissa. Indeed, she was even superior to her, in that she became the inheritor of Oporinus in the twilight of his life, having borne him a son of virtue, erudition, and filial diligence (for he too shall learn his fortune from others).
She is Faustina, the widow of the distinguished jurist Boniface Amerbach, daughter of Ulrich Iselin, also a jurist, and herself joined to Oporinus by the wondrous providence of God, when, apart from her good reputation, there was nothing to be expected of a young woman from Oporinus.
This matter the husband considered more carefully, and seeing that he was already old and unable to bear such labors, he persistently urged and begged him to sell the print shop and free himself.
At first, Oporinus was reluctant to comply with his wife's requests, believing that leaving the position to which God had assigned him would be reckless, and that sacrificing the public good for personal ease was unacceptable. He often said that the end of his printing troubles, even death itself, was fast approaching.
Nevertheless, he eventually yielded to his wife's just pleas and sold the print shop, never deducting any of his own expenses. Not long after, he had a son named Emmanuel, a divine testament to Providence, born on his own birthday, January 25, 1568, as if to confirm that his impending death was an undeniable omen. The joy that Oporinus derived from this will be understood by those whose sole concern is the propagation of their name and lineage through a single offspring.
No letters were sent to learned men in which Oporinulus (as he was called among friends) was not mentioned extensively.
However, even then, he was not able to enjoy clear and solid joy from all sides. Numerous annoying and troublesome cares were imposed on him by importunate and poorly paid individuals, which, when they hit the old man's mind more harshly and hurtfully, eventually brought Oporinus' life to an end. For in the fifth month after Emmanuel's birth, he began to succumb to a cold and an epidemic headache, even though his body was otherwise healthy. For he was never otherwise sick, except for the paralysis he suffered when he was on his way to Vueittmoseros (who, in 1558, saved him from the hands of pirates when they had already almost drowned Arion, saved by a thousand Joachimites guarding the Dolphin, and he alone, at least by name, was satisfied with their testimony). On the twentieth day, namely the sixth of July, 1568, around nine o'clock in the morning, he peacefully departed from this life, full of miseries, with the patience that was consistent with his past life, proving and testifying his innocence, piety towards God, and some sense of future happiness, even though nature had made many attempts at an imperfect anointing.
On the fourteenth day of his illness, overcome by sleep, he lay for a long time on his back. Finally, after taking a deep breath, he uttered these words: "It is well, if someone is so advised." When asked by those present what he meant by this, he replied that he had seen, in a dream, a self-playing clock hanging above his bed, and that it had struck the hours. After it had finished, the weight that drives the mechanism had fallen into his chest and awakened him. He added that he had perceived a sweet sound as if from the vibration caused by this impact.
He was esteemed by the Academy and accompanied by the most honorable members of all ranks. He was buried in the highest temple, in the company of distinguished men such as Grynaeus, Oecolampadius, Munsterus, and others who had earned the perpetuity of their name through their living intellectual monuments.
The funeral sermon was given by the Reverend Mr. Simon Sulcerus, a very learned theologian and diligent worshipper of the purity of the Gospel.
His death was mourned by all good people, but there was no shortage of the clamor of usurers who had exploited him even while he was alive, and who did not hesitate to insult him contemptuously after his death. However, the same people, in addition to poverty, showed great generosity towards others, and their debt was largely due to borrowing money. The vast prodigality of his second wife and the extravagance of his stepchildren increased the number of his debts, as I said.
This was the end of the life of Johannes Oporinus, who had deserved very well of our studies, and was therefore worthy of having his memory celebrated and flourished with perpetual commendation of virtue by the lips of all good people. Whatever events led to his death, they are such that they will not disturb his eternal happiness, which he perceived the beginning of before he died, nor will they disturb the true virtues he possessed during his lifetime.
Rather, we hope that future generations will express their gratitude, and that their praises will confirm the reputation of Oporinus, who even in the great difficulties of his personal life, and from such humble beginnings, was able to achieve such magnificence in the printing business.
Finally, I thank you, my most esteemed and learned audience, for patiently listening to my stuttering about Oporinus, and for not disdaining to join us in mourning his loss.
The death of Ioannes Oporinus. Coelius II observed and wrote about the signs.
On the day of the funeral procession for Rachelis Bernardi Brandis, if I remember correctly, on June 14th, 1568, after the service was dismissed, Oporinus and I went to his house together. And so, on the occasion of his funeral, we began to discuss death. When I said that after seeing so many of my children die with such eagerness, death did not seem as fearful to me as it is commonly thought to be, and that I had dedicated myself to it, he asked me, "And with what kind of mind did our Augustine depart?" I said, "With the same mind that he had for the sacred sermon, for his studies, and even for his meals when he was hungry. With a calm, steady, cheerful, and even happy expression, and with a similar desire." "It is amazing," he said, "in what ways the Lord tempers the bitterness of death for his own, so that it is clear that he wanted to remove all the bitterness of death from them. For what sudden apoplexy takes away from some, without any sense, delirium takes away from others with great sweetness, lethargy and a kind of stupor takes away from others in a way that they do not even think about death, let alone have any sense of it. We saw this happen to my relative Conrad Lycosthenes, whose extraordinary piety and honesty you know well. But in those cases where the mind remains intact until the end, the longing for that blessed life is so strong that all bodily tortures are either disregarded or not felt. And indeed, from the time when God granted me my little Emmanuel in this declining age, I began to be tired of this life, especially now, when nothing is heard except for the killing of good people, proscriptions, plundering, wars, robberies, and all kinds of evil." "You are right, my Oporinus," I said, "and you think piously. And I wish we could see these things from that pure heaven rather than from this foul mire." When I said this, we arrived at his house, where I wanted to leave him. "No, not at all," he said, "but I will go with you to your home, wherever that may be, so that I can spend this time with you. I do not know when we will be together again." "If you wish it, and if it is not a bother to you, it is the most pleasant and enjoyable thing for me," I said. And so, we went toward the great temple speaking about the same things: and when we arrived there, he said, "Let us see where Augustine's body was buried." We went and he looked at the tombstone, read the epitaph, approved of it, especially the inscription on the upper threshold that was engraved: "Gateway of Life." "Truly," he said, "the Gateway of Life, for there is no other way to eternal life except through death. And so, it is all the more desirable and, when it comes, should be accepted with joy." Then he began to explore the entire place as carefully as if it were his own home. "Oh," he said, "so many good bodies lie here. Five virgins, three of them yours, one of them Blessed Brand, the fifth Isingrinij, and indeed four men, Castalio, Isingrinius, Frobenius, and your Augustine. I want to add myself as the tenth to this group, if it should happen that I depart from this life before you and be buried in this corner beyond all of yours. For it is beautiful to be buried even when dead among good and pious people, isn't it? Who among us will depart first and be placed in God's bosom is unknown, but whenever that happens, I want to be buried with my dearest children on that blessed day. Having said these things, we parted ways, and he led me back to my home with great kindness. And immediately, I recounted to my loved ones these things as if they were omens of his death.