Title: “The Words of My Mouth Shall They Be, Yet the Will of the Greeks” : a Representation of the “Diplomatic Mission” in Act III of Troas by Łukasz Górnicki


Bajer, Michał (1981- )

Date issued/created:


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Article : original article


Odrodzenie i Reformacja w Polsce T. 60 (2016) Special Issue


Institute of History of the Polish Academy of Sciences ; Kłopotek, Natalia. Tr.


Instytut Historii im. Tadeusza Manteuffla Polskiej Akademii Nauk

Place of publishing:



p. 221-261


The study is an analysis and interpretation of a scene from Łukasz Górnicki’s tragedy Troas (1589), a translation of Seneca’s Troades. A comparison to the original as well as the description of changes introduced by the translator serve to capture a special phenomenon of emphasising the analogy between Ulysses’s and a diplomat’s activity. Starting with the main character’s first line, the words: “durae minister sortis” were translated as “Ja, co poselstwo niosę”. The analysis of this issue shows that the role of Ulysses (who does not negotiate with a representative of a sovereign country, but with a captive woman) cannot be equated with the role of an ambassador. Conversely, it combines in itself the features characteristic of diplomatic staff of various ranks, including characters operating on the edge of the law. The consilium ascribed to Ulysses enables to explore the secret of Andromacha by observing physical symptoms of emotions. This makes it possible for Górnicki to define the main character’s ingenuity as “dowcip odwrócony na nice” which, irrespective of Seneca’s original, refers to the terminology used earlier in Dworzanin polski, where dowcip (wit) is the equivalent of ingegno. Among the ethical elements of Ulysses’s speeches one should name, above all, his desire to convince Andromacha to accept the Greek’s line of argumentation. This, in turn, provides good framework for parallelism with the New Testament (Lk 2:35). The last part of the work, devoted to pathos, addresses the problem of a mismatch between the role of Ulysses and diplomacy codes in Górnicki’s times. The main character does not limit himself to conducting well thought-out negotiations, but he also uses direct violence. Similar dissonance in character construction seems to make the representation of diplomatic practices in Górnicki’s translation a problematic task, given the socio-political tensions in Europe in the second half of sixteenth century.


Odrodzenie i Reformacja w Polsce


60 SI

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Resource Identifier:

oai:rcin.org.pl:65062 ; 2450-8349 ; 0029-8514 ; 10.12775/OiRwP.2016.SI.07


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Creative Commons Attribution BY-ND 4.0 license

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Copyright-protected material. [CC BY-ND 4.0] May be used within the scope specified in Creative Commons Attribution BY-ND 4.0 license, full text available at: ; -

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Institute of History of the Polish Academy of Sciences

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Projects co-financed by:

Ministry of Science and Higher Education ; Activities popularizing science (DUN)



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