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Re: About Thaddeus Hajek

Rene Zandbergen wrote:

> Many thanks to Rafal for his interesting (at least to me)
> contribution.

Thank you.

> Pier Andrea Mattioli. We have to beware of a red herring
> here. Mattioli has been brought in connection with the
> VMs because someone read his name in a marginal note
> on f17r of the VMs, but this cannot be corroborated.
> I must admit that I am a bit confused about the Mattioli/
> Hajek connnection. To my understanding, the herbal in
> question is essentially Dioscorides', but it deserves
> special interest since it was written not in Latin but
> in the vernacular (in this case Czech). Now whether
> Hajek or Mattioli was responsible for the Czech version
> in unclear to me. I have also seen a reference to Hajek
> as a student of Mattioli...

Both the new Web page I quoted and _Ottuv slovnik naucny_
make it clear that Hajek translated Mattioli's herbal.
The latter reference gives the title as (diacritics stripped
for readability):

   _Herbar jinak bylinar velmi uzitecny a figurami 
    peknymi... ozdobeny_, u J. Melantrycha, Praha 1562

which can be translated as:

   _Herbal or herbal most useful and with beautiful 
    figures... adorned_, [printed] at J. Melantrych, Praha 1562

The first two words are - obviously - synonyms in Czech
but I find no synonym for herbal in English :-)

> Taking these two things together, I think it is reasonable
> to assume that if the VMs was at Rudolf's court prior to
> 1600 he *must* have seen it. And he may have mentioned it
> in his writings...
> If the VMs only appeared in Prague after 1600, then a
> lot of theories have to be revised.

On loooking again at _Ottuv slovnik naucny_, I noticed there
is an entry for Simon Hajek, the father of Tadeas, which
I had overlooked. He was born ca 1485 in Prague and died
there is 1551. In 1509 received BA at Prague university,
in 1515 was the headmaster of St. Michael school, and
in 1519 became burgher of Prague Old City.

What MAY be relevant, however, is that he wrote several
books on... linguistics (well... in the broad sense).
They were concerned with the grammar of the Czech language
and included:

    Tabula de proprietate participiorum et eorum 
        discrimine juxta genera et tempora (1547)

    Tabula congruitatis quarundam 
        locutionum Bohemicarum (1549)

At the end of his life he wrote the first handbook of 
the Czech language (unpublished, known from a description 

Now, the curious "lists" of very similar but slightly
different words in VMs *might* be lists of declined
and conjungated words. It is perhaps going too far
with wild hypotheses - but he may well have designed
a script which would represent Czech phenemes better
than the Latin alphabet.

> Rafal, I assume that you're Polish and can therefore read
> Czech. Have you seen the three books by Ivan Svitak about
> Dee, Kelly and Westonia?

Unfortunately not. When I became aware of them (ca 1995),
they were already unavailable and Svitak had been dead.
The ephemeral publishing house (which I think was his
own one-man company) had ceased to exist. 

I have, however, talked to people who read them and
they did not find them anything special. In fact Svitak
(a former marxist philosopher and propagandist) wrote
them in English in California (where he emigrated 
after 1968) and they were apparently published in some 
sort of underground publishing house. Curiously,
the Library of Congress does not know about that
"editio princeps" while it lists the Prague translations.
The latter, however, were published without references
which (seemingly) had been included in the English

Anyway, I doubt there can be anything there which comes
from primary sources (as these were not available to
him in California) - so I would guess they just rehash
the factual material from other books in Czech.
The fact that references were removed for the Czech
version make me suspicious of their value. Nevertheless,
I would obviously like to see them and confirm or change
this opinion.

As you met Lubos Antonin in Prague, you may also have 
met Michal Pober - he is trying to trace the elusive
California editions of Svitak's books (but so far with
no success).

Best regards,