The main aim of the paper is to urge a correction in Jan Kochanowski’s translation Euripides’s Alcestis (v. 67), edited posthumously by Jan Januszowski in the volume Fragmenta albo pozostałe pisma (1590). In the Greek text (Prologue, l. 67) Apollo prophesizes that a man on the way back from wintry Thrace (Θρῄκης ἐκ τόπων δυσχειμέρων) (the reference to King Eurystheus’ horses enables us to identify him as Heracles) will snatch Alcestis from the hands of Death. In the Polish version of Apollo’s prophesy we fi nd the phrase ‘do zimnej Trąby’ (‘cold Tube’). The philological investigation undertaken in this paper has two goals to achieve. Firstly, it reconstructs the literary tradition of presenting Thrace as a land of severely cold climate (Homer, Livy, Virgil, Horace, Ovid, Statius). And secondly, it takes into consideration the meaning of this poetical landscape in Kochanowski’s Latin poetry and proposes the emendation of what must have been a printer’s error.
This article contains a bilingual, Latin-Polish, edition of a letter written by Erasmus to John Sixtin (Ioannes Sixtinus), a Frisian student he met in England. In it Erasmus describes a dinner party at Oxford to which he was invited as an acclaimed poet. In the presence of John Colet, leader of English humanists, table talk turned into learned conversation. Erasmus’s contribution to the debate was an improvised fable (fabula) about Cain who, in order to become farmer, persuades the angel guarding Paradise to bring him some seeds from the Garden of Eden. His speech, a showpiece of rhetorical artfulness disguising a string of lies and spurious argument, is so effective that the angel decides to steal the seeds and thus betray God’s trust. Seen in the context of contemporary surge of interest in the art of rhetoric, Erasmus’ apocryphal spoof is an eloquent demonstration of the heuristic value of mythopoeia and the irresistible power of rhetoric.