Studies in the Relations between Politics and Culture in Polish History
Edited By Jacek Soszyński and Agnieszka Chamera-Nowak
The Jagiellons vis-a-vis the Book and the Education of the Nobility
Education of heirs to the Jagiellon thrones
During the fifteenth century, the approach of European social elites towards upbringing and educating their children underwent significant changes. These modifications applied both to the prospective successors to regal thrones and to children from the less distinct strata of society. Before the fifteenth century, little attention had been paid to the intellectual instruction of a prince: a future ruler was supposed to be acquainted with constitutional matters concerning his country and to display character and physical prowess. With the advent of the renaissance, harmonious development of soul and body became the model. Such upbringing was to be overseen by a special tutor, selected for this task by the parents and the parliament. Tutors of the young members of the Jagiellonian dynasty were directed in their efforts by European humanist pedagogical treatises (e.g. De librorum educatione by Enea Silvio Piccolomini, De re militari by Vegetius, or by De institutione regii pueri of unknown authorship). Władysław and Casimir, sons of King Władysław Jagiełło, were educated by Wincenty Kot of Dębno, a man of the world, doctor of canon law, and future archbishop of Gniezno. It is precisely the choice of the person of the tutor which proves false the opinion prevalent in modern Polish historiography, that King Casimir was illiterate.1 In turn, the sons and daughters of Casimir received a different, more sophisticated, rearing. Modern historians are aware of the names of their tutors and...
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