Francesco Benci's Quinque Martyres

Introduction, Translation and Commentary


Author: Paul G. Gwynne
In 1583, five Jesuit brothers set out with the intention of founding a new church and mission in India. Their dream was almost immediately, and brutally, terminated by local opposition. When their massacre was announced in Rome, it was treated as martyrdom. Francesco Benci, professor of rhetoric at the Collegium Romanum, immediately set about celebrating their deaths in a new type of epic, distinct from, yet dependent upon, the classical tradition: Quinque martyres e Societate Iesu in India.
This is the first critical edition and translation of this important text. The commentary highlights both the classical sources and the historical and religious context of the mission. The introduction outlines Benci’s career and stresses his role as the founder of this vibrant new genre.

This volume is the first one for a new subseries in the 'Jesuit Studies' series: 'Jesuit Neo-Latin Library'.

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Paul Gwynne, PhD (1990), The Warburg Institute, University of London, is professor of Medieval and Renaissance Studies at The American University of Rome. He has published many articles and two monographs on Neo-Latin poetry: Poets and Princes: the Panegyric Poetry of Johannes Michael Nagonius, (Brepols, 2012); Patterns of Patronage in Renaissance Rome: Francesco Sperulo: Poet, Prelate, Soldier, Spy, 2 vols (Peter Lang, 2015).

“Paul Gwynne has produced a superb edition of the Quinque Martyres, the Latin with a fluent English translation on the opposite page and an abundance of footnotes catching every echo of classical precedent.”
Alastair Hamilton, The Warburg Institute. In: The Heythrop Journal, Vol. 61, No. 3 (May 2020), p. 526.

“Gwynne’s edition is multiple-user-friendly and may be profitably consulted by students of the classical tradition and neo-Latin literature […] as well as of early modern Catholicism and the Asian missions.”
Yasmin Haskell, The University of Western Australia. In: Journal of Jesuit Studies Vol. 5, No. 4 (November 2018), pp. 696-698.

“This edition of Quinque martyres will be a useful resource for literary scholars and historians of religion. Gwynne’s translation is elegant and highly readable. He has also done excellent editing work, which includes many pages of commentary on the Latin text and a comprehensive introduction that highlights the literary and rhetorical aspects of the poem.”
Alejandro Cañeque, University of Maryland. In: Archivum Historicum Societatis Iesu, Vol. 87, Fasc. 174 (2018-II), pp. 536-539.

Acknowledgments List of Abbreviations List of Illustrations Introduction  The Scope of this Book  A Note on the Text and Commentary  A Note on the Vocabulary

Part 1 Francesco Benci and the Heroic Impulse

Francesco Benci, Professor of Rhetoric The Portuguese and Jesuits in Goa and Salcete The Five Companions: Talis ab Vrlini coetus se fuderat urbe (QM. 5.606) Synopsis of the Quinque martyres The Quinque martyres and the Epic Tradition Benci and Virgil Amplificatio Benci and Contemporary Neo-Latin Epic: Vida’s Christiad and Barga’s Syrias Ekphrasis in the Quinque martyres The Later Reception of the Quinque martyres

Part 2 The Quinque martyres

Book 1. Text and Translation Book 2. Text and Translation Book 3. Text and Translation Book 4. Text and Translation Book 5. Text and Translation Book 6. Text and Translation Commentary Appendix 1. Prefatory Letter and Liminary Verses Appendix 2. A Poetic Altercation and Reconciliation Appendix 3. Report of the Massacre by Niccolò Orlandini (Latin) Appendix 4. Report of the Massacre by Alessandro Valignano (Italian) Appendix 5. Verses below the Five Engravings of English Martyrdom Prefaced to Ecclesiae militantis triumphi Bibliography Index of Proper Names Index Locorum Citatorum
Neo-Latin specialists, religious, political and cultural historians; scholars of reception studies and the classical tradition will find the edition useful; the description of art objects; religious buildings and Heaven will interest art historians.