Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

(Properly SPIESHAYM or SPIESHAM)

Distinguished humanist and statesman, born at Schweinfurt, Lower Franconia, in 1473; died at Vienna, 19 April, 1529. In 1490 he matriculated at the University of Leipzig , went to the University of Vienna (1493) to continue his humanistic studies, and in 1494 entered there on a course of medicine. At this early age he edited the "Liber Hymnorum" of Prudentius, and made a reputation by his lectures on Virgil, Horace, Sallust, and Cicero. He was acquainted with Emperor Frederick III. In 1493, in reward for a panegyric on the life of St. Leopold of Austria, he was crowned as poet laureate and received the title of Master of Arts from Maximilian. Soon after this he was made a doctor of medicine, and in 1500 rector of the university. Maximilian made him his confidential councillor and appointed him curator of the university for life. Cuspinian also received the position of chief librarian of the Imperial Library, and superintendent of the archives of the imperial family. As curator of the university he exercised great influence on its development, although he was not able to prevent the decline caused by the political and religious disturbances of the second decade of the sixteenth century. He was on terms of friendship with the most noted humanists and scholars; the calling of his friend Celtes to Vienna is especially due to him. Celtes and he were the heading spirits of the literary association called the "Sodalitas Litterarum Danubiana". In 1515 Cuspinian was prefect of the city of Vienna. Emperor Maximilian, also Charles V at a later date, sent him on numerous diplomatic missions to Hungary, Bohemia, and Poland. He brought about a settlement of the disputed succession between the Hapsburg line and the King of Hungary and Bohemia ; another of his missions was to accompany Bona Sforza, the bride of King Sigismund of Poland, to Cracow. His literary activity covered the most varied domains. Although his poetical writings are of little importance, and his manuscript "Collectanea medicin." of no great value, nevertheless he attained a high reputation as a collector and, to some degree, as an editor of ancient and medieval manuscripts. Among other publications, he edited in 1511 L. Florus, in 1515 the "Libellus de lapidibus"of Marbodius, and the medieval chronicler Otto of Freising. Important as a contribution to the study of ancient history is the publication which first appeared, after his death in 1553, namely, the "Fasti consulares", with which were united the "Chronicle" of Cassiodorus and the "Breviarium" of Sextus Rufus. Another valuable work of Cuspinian is the "History of the Roman Emperors", prepared during the years 1512-22 (in Latin, 1540, and in German, 1541). For a long time, especially after the battle of Mohács, he busied himself with the Turkish question and printed both political and historical writings on the subject, the most important of which is his "De Turcarum origine, religione et tyrannide". His best work is "Austria, sive Commentarius de rebus Austriæ" etc., edited by Brusch in 1553 with critical notes. A kind of diary (1502-27), which throws much light on his political activity, was published in "Fontes rerum austriacarum" (1885), I, 1 sqq. A life of Cuspinian, not always reliable, is found in the complete edition of his works by Gerbelius (Commentationes Cusp., Strasburg, 1540); a more complete edition of his works appeared at Frankfort in 1601.


More Encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 4:1-6
1 I, the prisoner in the Lord, urge you therefore to ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
1 [Psalm Of David] To Yahweh belong the earth and all ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 12:54-59
54 He said again to the crowds, 'When you see a cloud ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 24th, 2014 Image

St. Anthony Mary Claret
October 24: Claretian archbishop and founder. Anthony was born in Salient in ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter