The early modern craze for titles

As the Republic of Letters expanded in the late 17th/early 18th centuries, gentlemen began to assume titles which were, let’s say, a bit generous. Johann Burkhardt Menke’s Charlatanerie des savans (1715) brings such persons up short –

Since the beginning of the Restoration of the Sciences, has not this fury for Titles, & if I dare to speak so, this Titlemania, been carried as far as giving a simple Jurist the title Invincible monarch of the Empire of Letters. Do not expect that I speak to you here, Messieurs, of these Scholastic Doctors, Doctors Angelic, Seraphic, Illuminated, Subtle, Admirable, Universal, well-founded, very-resolute; nor of this Visionary, who according to the report of several people worthy of belief, had his Portrait engraved on a steel plate underneath a Crucifix, to which he inquired laconically, Lord Jesus, do you love me? And the Saviour responded to him emphatically, Yes, very-illustrious, very-excellent, & very-learned Lord Segerus, Crowned poet of his Imperial Majesty, & very-worthy Rector of the University of Wittenberg, Yes, I love you.

(From Anne Goldgar’s Impolite Learning)

About Huenemann

Curious about the ways humans use their minds and hearts to distract themselves from the meaninglessness of life.
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