Marko Marulić

Aug 18, 1450 - Jan 5, 1524(73)

Punishment for lewdness

A legend about the reasons for Marulić's ascetic life that circulated in Dalmatia.

Italian travel writer Giuseppe Antonio Costantini, staying on Hvar, collected bizarre and interesting folk anecdotes. During his trip to Split, he heard an oral story about a love affair from Marulić's youth. He wrote it down in 1732. He titled the story "The Punishment of Debauchery" and published it in the book "Critical, entertaining, moral, scientific and professional letters", which was extremely popular throughout Europe.

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Some Split prince had a daughter or sister in his house. According to the story, she was kissed by two young noblemen, one from the Papalić family, and the other named Marko Marulić. Their love relationship developed so much that the young men secretly visited the girl through the window. That window looked out onto an alley that was not very busy during the day and was empty at night.

The forbidden kissing between the girl and the two men lasted for several months. The woman took turns bringing friends into the room. One evening he was the first to enter, and the other the second. Until one evening.

That evening, it was Marulić's turn to enter the girl's room. Papalić begged and begged him to let him go. He, in turn, will allow him to climb another two or three nights, if he so desires. It was not easy to persuade Marulić. Nevertheless, he satisfied Papalić and his wish.

Papalić therefore climbed into the room with Marulić's help. The latter waited patiently on the street. An hour passed in no time. But Papalić did not come down. Marulić was a bit angry with his friend, who wouldn't wait for him all night! Soon, two full hours passed, and there was no sign of Papalić. The writer was getting impatient.

Dawn soon began to break, and no sounds came from the room. Marulić was waiting for his friend. Fear slowly grew in him. Namely, he did not want Papalić to suddenly come down while there were people on the street, so that a serious crime would be discovered in the light of day. While he was standing like that, indecisive and worried, Marulić saw a mass falling from the corner of his eye. The object, hitting the ground, produced a loud noise.

At first, Marulić thought that it was his friend who had fallen from the window by accident or in a hurry. He looked back. But it was not Papalić lying on the street, but a large bag. An hour later, thrown from a height onto the sack, the pulley also fell. Trembling, Marulić approached the unusual bag. Reluctantly, he drove her away. What he will see in her will change his life.

Marulić, opening the bag, saw his friend's head severed from the body and his entire body cut into pieces. He almost fainted because of the horrible scene. But the fear for his own life overcame the feeling of disgust.

Marulić took the sack to the neighboring square. He called a porter who happened to be nearby and, pretending that there was something else in the bag, he loaded the load onto his shoulder, hiding the pulley. Marulić buried his unfortunate friend in his own house.

According to tradition, after repenting of his own sins and thinking about God's favor that saved him from the death he almost escaped, Marulić retreated to the island of Šolta. There he lived a solitary life and hermitage, doing penance for his transgressions.

The veracity of this tradition has not been confirmed, and it is possible that it was inspired by saintly legends that were circulating in Europe at the time. In his youth, the writer really dedicated his verses to a respectable girl, and Božičević's biography states that the writer lived as a hermit on Šolta, flogging and punishing himself for his sins. But the reason for his virtuous life is not explained anywhere...

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