Wacław Koler


May 28, 2022

Wacław Koler Anthraceus (German Wenzel Koehler, born in Ściegny, died 1546) - Polish physician (Bachelor of Medicine) and polymath, teacher of Greek and other classical languages, according to Kazimierz Morawski, a pioneer of Greek studies in Poland, one of the first Hebrewists in Krakow and probably the first homo trilinguis (a person fluent in three foreign languages) in Poland, one of the first Polish numismatists.

Curriculum vitae

He came from a peasant (or coal) family, but his brother inherited and ran the agricultural property. He studied at the University of Krakow (matriculation in the academic year 1498/1499). He studied during the period of increased interest in antiquity and humanism, when the first lecturers of the Greek language, Joannes Silvius Siculus Amatus and Constantius Claretti de Cancellariis, began teaching in Krakow, from whom he probably acquired knowledge of the Greek language. In 1500 he became a bachelor of arts in philosophy, and in 1507 a master of liberal arts. He lectured free of charge at the philosophical department of Latin classics. He also began a five-year medical studies, although it is unknown when he graduated from it. Probably in 1519 he was already a medical bachelor. He did not become a certified doctor of medicine. In 1513 he was the senior of the Hungarian Dormitory, taking care of order and peace there. In the same year, he resumed university lectures after a six-year hiatus. He knew Latin, Hebrew and Greek. As a Greek teacher, he is known from the memoirs of his contemporaries (eg Jerzy Liban from Legnica or Jan Antonin), because he himself did not include such information anywhere or it was not preserved in known sources. It is not known exactly where he taught (at the university or in the Hungarian Dormitory). Leonard Cox, an English humanist who in 1518, while in Krakow and publishing a panegyric in honor of the University of Krakow, mentioned in this work, among others, about him. The end of his teaching of Greek probably took place between 1517 and 1520, but it could also have taken a little longer. He specified the name on Anthraceus, which in Latin means black and comes from the Greek ἄνθραξ (anthrax), meaning coal. He was widely known under this pseudonym. Before 1533, he married a widowed patrician from Krakow, which contributed to his acquisition of a considerable fortune, and therefore he began collecting books and coins. Jan Ptaśnik included him among the first Polish numismatists. After his death, his library consisted of 86 volumes (15–20 items were written in Greek or were devoted to Greek literature). He had about a hundred books, but he gave some of them to Jerzy Liban while he was still alive.


External Links

Wacław Koler at IPSB