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 Richard's relationship with Cambridge University

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Constantia

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PostSubject: Richard's relationship with Cambridge University   Thu May 01, 2014 1:19 pm

I'm exploring Richard's relationship with Cambridge University, including surprisingly cordial relations with its chancellor, Thomas Rotherham, after Richard released Rotherham from the Tower in answer to a plea from the university. Of course, Richard's donations to King's and Queen's Colleges were partially responsible for his good relationship with the university as both duke and king, but I don't think those donations fully explain their view of him as a "right high and mighty prince, in whom singularly resteth the politic governance, peace, and tranquility of the realm of England"--a description written while he was Lord Protector. A letter written by Rotherham expresses gratitude to "the most renowned Prince the King of England and France and Lord of Ireland, Richard, after the conquest the Third" for "liberally and devoutly" conferring many benefits on the university and decrees that on the second day of May every year during Richard's lifetime, the entire university will say prayers "for the happy state of the same most renowned prince and his dearest Consort Anne" and will perform "a mass of requiem diligently and devoutly . . . for the soul of the same most illustrious Prince Richard" the moment they hear of his death (Annals of Cambridge, volume 1). Of course, after Bosworth, Cambridge referred to him as "Richard the Third, late in fact but not of right king of England,” but that's the worst thing they said about him in the official records. In 1494, the University covenanted with Thomas Barrow Archdeacon of Colchester [to whom Richard gave the Great Seal before Bosworth], to keep an anniversary for him in [Saint Mary's] church, to pray for the souls of Richard the Third, Henry the Seventh, Margaret Countess of Richmond, etc." (!!!)

Anyway, my main reason for writing this post is to ask the help of any Latin scholars out there in translating the following letter from Cambridge to Richard (which the editor of the Annals unfortunately doesn't translate):

Quote :
PREILLUSTRISSIME PRINCEPS

CUM vestram Universitatem immaculatam Cantabrigie Illustrissimi Principes Antecessores vestri accumulatissimis amplexati sunt favoribus ejusdem Universitatis privilegia ratificando et amplificando. Et jam nuper clementia ipsa Divina ad Re giam ipsam Celsitudinem vos quam felicissime extulerit nostram esse permaxime censuimus ut ad illam vestram Celsitudinem votis omnibus et affectibus convolemus quatenus non minori benignitate quam vestri Antecessores prenobiles vestram ipsam Universitatem amplexari dignetur Regia vestra Magestas. Sed et pinguori quadam spe vestre penes nos Regie Caritatis confovemur ex hoc quod cum hujus Divine Sortis vestre Regie Sublimationis adhuc ignari foremus et Ducatu Gloucestrie solum militaret nobilitas vestra. Nos AMATORES ostendimus cum illud Statutum apud. nos usq. ad Seculi fines observandum edidimus quod quotiens ad Crucem publicam S[anti] Pauli Londoniis aliquis Alumpnus nostre Matris verbum Dei seminabit vestram ipsius Nobilitatem specialiter precibus suis recommendabit. Istud Inclitissime Princeps Memoriale nemini usquam mortalium concessimus Dignetur ergo generosus ille Regius animus hec pectore nunquam abolere hecq. vota nostra et Scripta Supplicatoria vestra Regniq. prosperitate Altissimum Regem Regum exorabimus Fidelissimi Oratores. E Cantabrigia vicesima Luce Julii.

INSIGNISSIMO Regnorum Anglie et Francie Regi Ricardo nostro Metuendissimo.

My eternal gratitude to anyone who can help me. (There may be errors as I copied it from a digital version of the Annals, not from the Google Books site, which won't let you copy and paste.)
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PostSubject: Re: Richard's relationship with Cambridge University   Thu May 01, 2014 7:50 pm

I have a friend in Italy who has a friend there who's a Latin scholar, so I've sent it to her to see if the friend can make anything of it. Only trouble is, her English isn't great....
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Constantia

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PostSubject: Re: Richard's relationship with Cambridge University   Fri May 02, 2014 8:09 pm

Thank you very much. So far, I have "Very illustrious Prince . . . ." and something about his ancestors' generosity to "spotless Cambridge"! (I took Latin in high school, but amo, amas, amat won't get me very far!
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PostSubject: Re: Richard's relationship with Cambridge University   Sat May 03, 2014 3:14 am

Unfortunately my Italian friend Stella says that the Latin scholar will be unavailable for a while, as she has just become a grandmother! So she has passed it on to her own daughter Giulia who also reads Latin.

This won't be as satisfactory because Giulia's expertise is in Roman Latin, not Mediaeval - but it will give us at least a rough idea to tide us over until the Mediaeval Latin scholar is all babied-out.

I can make out a bit more than you, but not enough to be useful. I can see illustrious something antecedents, and the university's privileges being ratified and amplified, something about the Duke of Gloucester as soldier (at least I'm guessing "militaret nobilitas" means something like "noble warrior"), and then I think it finishes off something like "Signed by King Richard ruler of England and France" and I've no idea what "nostro Metuendissimo" means except it probably involves some sort of superlative.- "the most" something or other - since bellissimo is most beautiful ("belle" the mostest)..
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Constantia

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PostSubject: Re: Richard's relationship with Cambridge University   Sat May 03, 2014 9:37 am

I don't think medieval Latin is that different from Roman Latin--a matter of a few additional words and some simplified endings if I recall correctly. I can actually read a bit more than the bits I listed. For example, nostro is "our"; Crucem is "Cross," and vestram Celsitudinem is "your Highness." It's not so much the words as the inflections that make it difficult for someone like me who's completely out of practice and never progressed much beyond De Bello Gallico.

Anyway, please thank your friends for me. Meanwhile, I'll plug on as best I can with Wheelock's Latin.
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PostSubject: Re: Richard's relationship with Cambridge University   Thu May 08, 2014 3:25 pm

OK, I have it. It's going to take some thrashing out to make it coherent because it's been translated by people whose Latin is probably rather better than their English, but at least it gives us a rough idea. This is what Stella says:

It wasn't easy, because it's not classic Latin. And there were some words about which we didn't know if they were badly transcribed, because they didn't seem to exist; one of them is, for example, "pinguori". And another is "Alumpnus" that probably was "Alumnus"?
Another problem is due to the fact that in English only the "you" is used, when speaking to another person, no matter how important is this person. In Latin, and Italian, however, the third person is used, especially when talking to important people or to a superior. So there was a lot of things to consider every time a possessive adjective was present, as you can guess, or the meaning could became the contrary.

Anyway, here it is, and since I doubt that in the near future my friend will have time to do it, I hope that this will be of help. [cut]

Translation: The illustrious kings, your predecessors, loved your immaculate University of Cambridge with sympathy (and) increased favors, by ratifying the privileges of the University itself (the exceptional laws ? ). And as soon as the divine mercy in person so happily raised you to the Altitude properly, we were of the opinion, once all voted and well-disposed, to rush to your height, your Royal Majesty, that you would, with no less generosity than your noble predecessors, consider that your own university is ours. (note: here I would change the place of "your" and "ours" because it would sounds better than literally translated, here - but in both cases the meaning seems the same, anyway: the University is his and theirs) (Btw, also in the following sentence the use of possessive adjectives sounds a bit odd, one would consider the word "hope" not "your hope" but "our hope") But, even more relaxed, we warmed, charitable King, a few of your hope in our possession (a little bit of hope for us), because, although we were hitherto unaware of this divine fate, your Royal Highness, your nobility served only the duchy of Gloucester. (Less literally, I'd say: Because although we were unaware of the divine fate that waited you, who then were only the Duke of Gloucester - and here I'd loose the point and would link the sentence with the following one)

We have declared FRIENDS when we established the famous Statute that we must observe (respect) until the end of time and, therefore, all the times that some disciple among us will spread the word of the Mother of God at the public Cross of Saint Paul in London (it's strange to read it as Londoniis, because we know that the latin word was Londinium, so even if the ending (the desinence) changes the letter "o" doesn't fit with the first half of the word, that is the root word, "Lond" - we think that the place is London, unless you know of another place that could be involved) and will recommend especially your high value with his prayers.

Illustrious sovereign historian,(strange use of this word, or was Richard known as a historian, also?) this thing has not been bestowed to none among mortals in any place. Therefore, loyal prayers, we will pray the High King of Kings so that (your) generous Royal spirit, with this in mind, do not (will not) ever want to repeal these writings and pleading for your prosperity and (for the prosperity of the ) Kingdom (Reign) . From Cambridge , the twentieth day of July.

To the most eminent our formidable (feared) Richard King of the Kingdoms of England and France.
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PostSubject: Re: Richard's relationship with Cambridge University   Fri May 09, 2014 9:35 am

I will try to work out a more coherent version of this, but it'll probably take a few days.  What we have here is a text in Mediaeval Latin, translated into Italian by somebody who reads Roman Latin, and thence translated into English by an Italian who reads no Latin, and whose English, though extensive, is rather mangled.  But I have a lot of experience of editing Stella's English into something less mind-boggling, so we should be able to sort it out.

Update: Stella and I are working on this even as I write. Essentially it says "we've promised to say prayers for you, so you should give us money" but with a lot of flowery padding.
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PostSubject: Re: Richard's relationship with Cambridge University   Fri May 09, 2014 3:02 pm

OK, I'd still like to know what the Mediaeval Latin scholar says once she's finished baby-kissing, and it would be good if we could see the actual hand-written document because there are almost certainly some mistranscriptions and typoes in the book version (and they definitely are in the actual book, not just your cut-'n'-paste), but we're pretty sure it goes something like this:

More-than-illustrious Prince

The illustrious kings who were your predecessors showed their love and sympathy for your immaculate University of Cambridge by ratifying and extending the University's special privileges.  And as soon as the Divine Mercy in person had so happily raised you to your proper Altitude, once we had all voted and all were shown to be well-disposed, we were of the opinion that we should hasten to your height, your Royal Majesty, and that you, no less generous than your noble predecessors, would consider our university to be yours.  But we felt more secure and somewhat warmed by your hope in us [i.e. by some value which he saw in them], charitable King, because, although we were hitherto unaware of the divine fate which awaited you, your Royal Highness, your nobility being then only in the service of the Duchy of Gloucester, we declared our FRIENDSHIP when we established the famous Statute which we must observe until the end of time and, therefore, every time one of our disciples spreads the word of the Mother of God at the public Cross of St Paul in London, he will especially recommend your high value in his prayers.  Illustrious sovereign historian, this thing [i.e. the prayers at the public cross described in the previous sentence] has been bestowed on no other mortal anywhere.  Therefore we will pray with loyal prayers to the High King of Kings, so that your generous Royal spirit, bearing this in mind, will not ever wish to repeal these documents, and we will plead [in the afore-mentioned prayers to the King of KIngs] for your prosperity and for the prosperity of your Kingdom [or reign].  From Cambridge, the twentieth day of July.

To the most eminent our formidable [or feared] Richard King of the Kingdoms of England and France.


I know it's peculiar but we're nearly 100% sure that "Princeps Memoriale" means "sovereign historian".  Maybe it's a reference to Richard's scholarly interests and liking for listening to university debates. Also if Stella, her daughter and nephew understand this correctly, Cambridge had instituted special prayers for Richard before he was king, and probably before he was Protector, suggesting some kind of special *personal* relationship. I mean it's natural for the university to kiss-up to a new king, but to have insitituted special prayers for a mere Duke whose power-base was a long way away suggests an individual connection with him as a person.
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Constantia

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PostSubject: Re: Richard's relationship with Cambridge University   Sun May 11, 2014 3:16 pm

Thanks very much to you and your friends. I don't know when I'll have a chance to get back to this document (probably not for several months), but when I do I'll try to find and correct the oddities in the original Latin that result from digital transcription. (It's especially bad for eighteenth-century documents with the long s that looks like an f and marginal notes that get garbled and mixed in with the main text.

Anyway, thanks again for all your help, and tell your friends that I greatly appreciate their efforts.
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PostSubject: Re: Richard's relationship with Cambridge University   Sun May 11, 2014 4:24 pm

It's not the digital transcription that's at fault - I got a pdf of the book, and the oddities are in the actual printed book. Any errors occurred when the author - Walford, wasn't it? - transcribed it from the original document (or possibly when the scribe first wrote it down). "Alumpnus" for example has just got to be "alumnus"...

...and I've just realized that Stella rendered that as "disciple" because she didn't know that "alumnus" was a word in English. So that should be "...every time one of our alumni spreads the word..."
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PostSubject: Re: Richard's relationship with Cambridge University   Tue May 13, 2014 8:20 pm

Thanks. I'll make a note to correct "disciple" to "alumnus."
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PostSubject: Re: Richard's relationship with Cambridge University   Tue May 13, 2014 8:41 pm

I wonder about this passage. If Stella's family have got it right then it seems that Cambridge had started saying prayers for Richard while he was still Gloucester, which suggests a special relationship, and there's that bit which the Italian mob have rendered as "sovereign historian". People have suggested that before he went to Middleham as a teenager Richard studied at the Inns of Court - but I wonder if he instead studied history at Cambridge? It would certainly explain the "our university is yours" riff.
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Constantia

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PostSubject: Re: Richard's relationship with Cambridge University   Thu May 15, 2014 12:54 pm

I'll see what I can work out on my own when I get the chance and then compare my own feeble efforts with what your friends came up with. It will be a while as I expect to be very busy for the next few months.
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