We are at the centre of Latin civilization – Italy. Milan, Florence and before Venice and Rome with their monuments, and the cultural heritage of Latin-Christian civilization, made a great impression on us. We are now in Bologna visiting the oldest university in Europe, where many eminent Poles have studied, including Copernicus, W. Kadłubek, Jan Kochanowski.
And in the 19th century, at the Academy of Mickiewicz at the Bologna University lectured on Polish literature, a poet and conspirator, Teofil Lenartowicz. He, the “Mazovian lyricist”, as he called himself, explained in his lectures the situation of enslaved by the partitioning powers Poland, built among Italians who also lived in Latin culture, sympathy for the Polish nation.
Because we, Poles, are from the Latin civilization, and not Byzantine or Turanian, which belongs to the Eastern culture, our writers shone in exemplary Latin in European society. Latin for centuries was the official language in Poland until the reform of Konarski and the Educational Commission, which balanced both Polish and Latin languages. The influence of Latin and therefore the culture of antiquity must have been incredibly large since all Polish schools considered Latin and the works of its Roman authors as the main goal of education, until the fall of Royal Poland.
In the 16th century, it was introduced Greek into parish nurseries! Poland considered Latin as the second language until the 19th century, and language is, after all, the content of culture. Classical studies from the moment of communion with the Roman Church was extremely popular in Poland. They studied Aristotle, Plato, Cato, Cicero, Seneca, Plutarch. Virgilius fulfilled an exceptional post partition’s role. Polish people read “Aeneid” in which the poet described the sufferings of Trojan exiles, after the loss of the homeland. It was for Poles comforter that the sufferings of the exiled and without a homeland will not be in vain that “they are only a means of recovery of the lost homeland”.
The beginnings of the Renaissance, or Rebirth, fell in Italy as early as the 14th century, and in Poland mainly the 15th and 16th century, when Greek and Roman philosophy of “arts and sciences” was revived. It is a cultural current that was eagerly welcomed and supported by Polish rulers and formed an entire epoch and posterity.
Renaissance humanism was a turn towards humans, it was enormous current based on rational, not mystical thinking. The measure was a man and his needs. In connection with this view, scholars created the law that depended on scholars, not on the ruler who was “the law.”
It should be emphasized here that the University of Bologna was independent of monarchs as early as 1200 AD. However, in the Russian Empire after the fall of the Eastern Empire, the Tsar was the only law. It is a characteristic of the Turanian civilization. And according to Feliks Koneczny in this civilization, the ruler “is the owner of the entire state, all and everything, and all the people are in his captivity. He may, if his grace, admit others to some form of property and personal freedom, but both always only until further notice. This is what characterizes this civilization. Today Turanian civilisation in a form like the description of Feliks Koneczny appears in Russia. Mono-rulership in this country aspiring to the status of a superpower is- the norm.”
However, let us add to it Byzanteism, which, according to Koneczny “carries with itself the disappearance of social and spiritual forces, the disappearance of creativity and the inevitable collapse of the state “then we have an interesting mixture inherited from Byzantium and Tatars. And this combination of the features of the Turanian and Byzantine civilizations gives a mixture of these two cultures completely different from the Latin civilization, characterized by a personalistic approach to people where politics is subordinated to morality. Contrary to the Mongols, who used to live in the Ordens, the Cossacks and the Russians, Koneczny notice a lack of morality in their rulers.
There are also huge differences in culture and thinking, and they are visible to this day, which does not make easy agreements at the diplomatic level. Especially, when imperial and autocratic thought dominate. In culture autocratic, despotic – man did not matter, while in Latin culture, in the Renaissance – man was the centre of attention!
A great expert in antiquity, a Hellenist, philologist and historian, who lectured in St. Petersburg, homeland to Byzantine despotism, aroused much opposition when he wrote in the “Ancient World”: “This is the border of cultures, languages, religion, conscience, souls. Impassable. Only a fight to the death can decide it.”