“Mors atra” and “mors bona” – Two Ways of Presenting Death in Renaissance Latin Epitaphs Cover Image

„Mors atra” i „mors bona” – dwa sposoby przedstawiania śmierci w łacińskich epitafiach renesansowych
“Mors atra” and “mors bona” – Two Ways of Presenting Death in Renaissance Latin Epitaphs

Author(s): Jarosław Nowaszczuk
Subject(s): Literary Texts
Published by: Instytut Badań Literackich Polskiej Akademii Nauk
Keywords: "mors atra"; "mors bona"; "mors pulchra"; "mortis persona"; Renaissance Latin Epitaphs

Summary/Abstract: Renaissance epitaph writers worked out a substantial number of repeatable phrases ("loci communes") to refer to the cases of death. They were employed both to weep the deceased ("comploratio") and to create the various motifs of consolations ("consolatio"). In the former, epitaph writers referred more readily to the anthropomorphic vision of death as a person ("mortis persona"), which was crystallized at the decline of Middle Ages, and described its appearance and actions. The phrases of consolation were introduced when death was seen not as a specific person, but as a phenomenon. The building of consolatory phrases was often accompanied by the circumstances of the demise of the person to whom the text was dedicated. The death could also be considered good ("mors bona") when it was foreseen, i.e. when the person prepared himself for his death and passed away surrounded by his relatives or by someone he loved. Moreover, death could be one’s praise ("mors pulchra") when the person died doing his duty, especially defending his country and religion.

  • Issue Year: 2008
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 5-16
  • Page Count: 12
  • Language: Polish