czwartek, 22 lutego 2018

Copernicus, a friend of an early Tolkien!

Niklas Koppernigk or Nicolaus Copernicus (1473–1543)

Fabian von Lossainen
(ca. 1470–1523)
J. R. R. Tolkien's ancestors were most probably the noble Tolks vel Tolkiens from the goods in Tolko (German Tolks) and Tołkiny (German Tolksdorf) in Prussia (today in the Masuria region in Poland). One of these early Tolkiens was a famous bishop of Warmia (German Ermland), Fabian von Lossainen (Polish Fabian Luzjański). He was born ca. 1470 being a son of Martin von Lossainen, commandant of the castle and city of Reszel (Warmia/Ermland) and Elżbieta Kościelecka from the Polish nobility. As a child he was taken hostage by the Teutonic Knights in revenge for his father's defense of Reszel. His last name is also listed as von Lossainen, von Lusian, de Lusian, de Lossainen, from Łęźany, and Tetinger de Lossainensis (see the Tolk/Tolkien family tree below).

Fabian "Tolkien" first studied probably in Koenigsberg (Polish Królewiec), Prussia. Later  he studied in Cologne (from 1486), at the University of Bologna (from 1490, doctorate in canon law in 1500) and in Ferrara (in 1491). He was a canon of the cathedral chapter of Warmia/Ermland (1490); in the chapter he was a colleague of Niklas Koppernigk (Nicolaus Copernicus or Mikołaj Kopernik), famous astronomer (with whom he studied in Bologna). Luzjański was also a legal counselor of Bishop Łukasz Watzenrode of Ermland. He was elected bishop of Ermland by its cathedral chapter on 5 April 1512. Shortly after his election, he was ordained a priest. This most famous early Tolkien (or descendant of Matthias Tolk von Markelingerode) died on 30 January 1523 in Lidzbark Warmiński. Buried in the cathedral in Frombork.
I have found a letter from bishop Fabian "Tolkien" to Nicolaus Copernicus and his colleague Heinrich Snellenberg (whole collection of Copernicus' letters can be found here). Maybe one of my readers wants to help me to translate this letter from Latin (or German) into English?

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