Zamanja’s Latin Translation of the Odyssey

Bernard Zamanja (alias Brno Džamanjić, Bernardus Zamagna) was born in 1735 in Dubrovnik, and died there in 1820. He started his education at the Jesuit college in his home town, and later moved on to Rome, where his teachers included his fellow Dubrovnik citizens Ruđer Bošković and Rajmund Kunić.

Kunić and Zamanja shared an affinity for Greek-to-Latin translations. Both were members of the Academia dell’Arcadia literary academy, founded in Rome as a reaction to the baroque.

The members, who called themselves Arcadians, promoted the Neoclassical il buon gusto.

Their aesthetic principles were evident in Kunić’s and Zamanja’s works. Kunić’s Illiad and Zamanja’s Odyssey were interpretations of Homer wherein the translators demonstrated their erudition and skill in composing Latin verse, offering to their audience refined Neoclassical epic poetry.

Both works show considerable influence by the Roman poet Virgil. Zamanja exhibited particular resourcefulness in translating the traditional Homeric epithets.

Zamanja’s Odyssey was first printed in Siena in 1777, and was later also published in Venice and Zadar.

The Department of Classical Philology at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb is currently processing the text as part of its Croatian Neo-Latin Epic Poetry project.