The Correspondence of Amandus Polanus of Polansdorf

Primary Contributors:

Iva Lelkova

Portrait of Amandus Polanus. Engraving. (Source of image: Wien, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Bildarchiv und Grafiksammlung, Porträtsammlung, Inventar-Nr. PORT_00110978_01)

Amandus Polanus of Polansdorf (1561–1610)

Amandus Polanus of Polansdorf was a renowned Reformed theologian from Silesia. After studying in his native Troppau [Opava], Breslau [Wroclaw, Vratislav], Tübingen, Basel, and Geneva (1577–1584), and serving as a tutor to the family of Zerotin during the studies of Jan Diviš of Žerotín in Heidelberg and Basel (1584–1590), he taught at the Bohemian Brethren school in Ivančice. Between 1591 and 1595 he served as a tutor to Ladislav Velen of Žerotín, travelling with him from Moravia to Strasbourg and Basel. He spent most of his professional life in Basel, where he became professor of Old Testament in April 1596 and later that same year married the daughter of the professor of ancient languages, Johann Jakob Grynaeus (1540–1617). He served as a dean of the theological faculty between 1598 and 1600, and again later between 1601 and 1609, and he was rector of Basel University in 1600 and 1609.

Partners and Additional Contributors

This catalogue has been created by Iva Lelkova as part of her work within the Czech Academy of Sciences project ‘Correspondence networks between Central and Western Europe: From Comenius and Kircher to Hartlib and Oldenburg’, which funds cooperation between the Institute of Philosophy at the Czech Academy of Sciences and the University of Oxford. Thanks are due to Marc Kolakowski, the Cultures of Knowledge visiting scholar during the academic year 2014–15, for his invaluable assistance with preparation of the metadata prior to upload.


Polanus’s correspondence connects communities of scholars within the Czech Lands as well as many from the Czech Lands with those in the Basel Reformed centre, something which illuminates the practices of localized and long-distance scholarly exchange. A number of letters in this collection are no more than short notes sent to his fellow Swiss colleagues, and the correspondence has proved to be an invaluable source of information about Polanus’s life and work.

Scope of Catalogue

Currently the calendar of Polanus’s correspondence remains to be completed; what is published here thus far has been created on the basis of research in just three Swiss archives: Universitätsbibliothek Basel, Zentralbibliothek Zürich, and Staatsarchiv des Kantons Zürich. Some of Polanus’s letters from the Czech archives, especially those with the Zerotin family, were taken from the printed edition Korrespondence Karla st. z Žerotína. (Dopisy 1591–1610), ed. František Dvorský, in Archiv český, 27 (1904). Further research in Czech and other archives is required, however, to complete the calendar, and metadata will be added as part of the ongoing collaboration between Prague and Oxford.

Further resources


Werner Baumann, ‘Johan I. von Pfalz-Zweibrücken, Michael Philipp Beuther und die Basler Theologen Grynaeus und Polan’, in Blätter für pfälzische Kirchengeschichte und religiöse Volkskunde, 73 (2006), pp. 9–15.

Werner Baumann, ‘Ernst Friedrich von Baden-Durlach, Felix Platter und Polan’, in Theologische Zeitschrift, 59 (2003), pp. 335–41.

František Dvorský, ed., ‘Korrespondence Karla st. z Žerotína (Dopisy 1591–1610)’, in Archiv český, 27 (1904).

Heiner Faulenbach, Die Struktur der Theologie des Amandus Polanus von Polansdorf (Zurich: EVZ-Verlag, 1968).

Josef Gebauer, ‘Amand Amos Polan z Polansdorfu’, in Biografický slovník Slezska a severní Moravy, vol. 6 (Ostrava, 1996), pp. 100–02.

‘Polanus, Amandus’, in Josef Hejnic and Jan Martínek, eds, Rukověť humanistického básnictví v Čechách a na Moravě, vol. 4 (Prague, 1973), pp. 217–18.

Étudiants tchèques aux écoles protestantes de l’Europe occidentale à la fin du 16e et au début du 17e siècle, ed. František Hrubý and Libuše Urbánková-Hrubá (Brno, 1970).

František Hrubý, ‘Kalvínský theolog a bouře opavská r. 1603’, in Český časopis historický, 37, nos. 3–4 (1931), pp. 593–601.

Robert Letham, ‘Amandus Polanus: a neglected theologian?’, in The Sixteenth Century Journal, vol. 21, no. 3 (1990), pp. 463–76.

Bernhard Riggenbach, ‘Polanus: Amandus P. von Polansdorf’, in Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie [ADB], Band 26 (Leipzig: Duncker & Humblot, 1888), p. 381 f.

Ernst Staehelin, Amandus Polanus von Polansdorf (Basel: Helbing & Lichtenhahn, 1955).

Ernst Staehelin, ‘Die Lehr- und Wanderjahre des Amandus Polanus vonPolansdorf’, in Basler Zeitschrift für Geschichte und Altertumskunde, vol. 44 (1945), pp. 37–77.

Josef Zukal, ‘Polanové z Polansdorfu. Památná rodina opavská 16. věku’, in Časopis Matice moravské, 51 (1927), pp. 99–123.

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