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Letter #2714

Marco de la TORRE to Ioannes DANTISCUS
Cracow, 1544-04-12

English register:

Marco de la Torre explains he did not reply to Dantiscus’ last letter due to a serious illness that incapacitated both his hands and his mind.

Then, plague raged in Cracow for five months. More than 300 people died daily. Completely healthy, unexpectedly succumbing to the disease, they died on the second or third day. There was a shortage of labour to bury the dead, so corpses lay in fields, orchards and gardens. The few who seemed to recover died of emaciation due to the food shortage. Trade was halted, and refugees were not allowed to enter nearby localities so they were forced to return to the site of the epidemic.

Many clergymen also died. Most of Marco de la Torre’s fellow friars survived thanks to the powder dissolved in wine that Marco ordered them to take. He also ordered the powder to be distributed from dawn till dusk among the poor in the garden of the convent’s cloisters. Those who took the medicine in time and had access to food, survived. He was greatly saddened by the death of four of the friars distributing the medicine.

Marco de la Torre always remembers Dantiscus’ generosity, kindness, courage and courtesy. He regrets that he cannot keep company with him more often. He thanks him for the honour of having had Dantiscus as a guest at the convent.

He describes the state of his health: he still suffers from catarrh, which went away for the duration of the plague, only to return in October. Due to his illness he is forced to send his Provincial (minister), a learned man of impeccable reputation [Francesco Lismanino], to celebrate services for the queen [Bona].

He notes that Poland’s rulers (serenissimi principes nostri) are planning to go to Lithuania.


            received Heilsberg (Lidzbark WarmiĹ„ski), 1544-04-22

Manuscript sources:
1fair copy in Latin, letter and signature in the same hand, BK, 230, p. 99-102
2register with excerpt in Latin, English, 20th-century, CBKUL, R.III, 32, No. 611
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