Latin was Scotland’s third language in the early modern period, alongside Scots and Gaelic, and the reign of King James VI and I is considered to be a golden age of Scottish neo-Latin literature.
Corona Borealis considers Latin texts by Scottish authors written between James’s birth in 1566 and his removal to England in 1603, and highlights the role of Latin in Scottish cultural life. The production of Latin poetry by Scots grew exponentially in the decades immediately following the Protestant Reformation (1560), bolstered by a new focus on renaissance education in Scotland’s schools and universities, and Scottish neo-Latinists were part of a European community of humanist scholars fascinated by the Classical past.
Verses by George Buchanan, Patrick Adamson, Thomas Craig of Riccarton, Thomas Maitland, Hercules Rollock, Henry Anderson, and Andrew Melville – most of which have never appeared in translation before – are presented with facing English translations. Steven J. Reid and David McOmish provide clear, accessible editions of each text, along with scholarly introductions and detailed linguistic and historical notes.
Introduction (Steven J. Reid)
- Genethliacon Jacobi Sexti Regis Scotorum (A birth-poem for James VI, King of Scots) by George Buchanan
- Genethliacum Serenissimi Scotiae, Angliae, et Hiberniae Principis, Iacobi VI, Mariae Reginae filii (A birth-poem for the most serene Prince of Scotland, England and Ireland, James VI, son of Queen Mary) by Patrick Adamson
- Iacobi Serenissimi Scotorum Principis Ducis Rothesaia Genethliacum, 1566 (On the birth of James, most serene Prince of Scots, Duke of Rothesay, 1566) by Thomas Craig of Riccarton
- Iacobi VI, Scotorum Regis inauguratio (The consecration of James VI, King of Scots) by Thomas Maitland
- De misero statu Scotiae, propter intestina bella, verbi Dei fastidium, et perniciosam Papistarum in ea commorationem (On the wretched state of Scotland, on account of its internal wars, contempt for God, and the pernicious group of Papists dwelling there) by Hercules Rollock
- Panegyris, Ad Serenissimum Potentissimumque Regem Iacobum VI, Perthanam urbem ingredientem v Cal. Iunias, M D LXXX (A panegyric to the most serene and powerful King James VI, upon entering the city of Perth five days before the calends of June 1580) by Henry Anderson
- Paraenetica de procerum Scoticorum reditu ab exilio ad Kal. Novemb. anno. 1585 (A paraeneticon on the return of the Scottish nobles from exile, 1st November 1585) by Hercules Rollock
- De augustissimo Iacobi VI Scotorum Regis, et Annae, Frederici 2, Danorum Regis filiae conjugio, 13 Kal. Septemb. 1589. in Dania celebrato, Georgio Scotiae Mareschallo sui regis vicem obeunte, epithalamium (A wedding-poem on the most venerable marriage of James VI, King of Scots, and Anna, daughter of Frederick II King of Danes, held in Denmark on the 20th of August 1589, with George, Earl Marischal of Scotland standing in place of his majesty) by Hercules Rollock
- STEFANISKION ad Scotia Regem, habitum in coronatione reginae, 17 Maii, 1590 (The small garland given to the King of Scotland on the coronation of the queen, 17 May 1590) by Andrew Melville
- Principis Scoto-Britannorum Natalia (On the birth of the prince of the Scoto-Britons) by Andrew Melville
Cover image: Jason and Medea, tapestry, Oudenaarde, late 16th century. Fondation Toms Pauli, Lausanne (Photo Cedric Bregnard). Used by kind permission.
Cover design: Mark Blackadder.
Last updated 3 October 2020.