LATIN PROVERBS AS A TWO-WAY ROAD OF CULTURAL TRANSFER
Using several examples from different periods of Croatian neo-Latin literature, this paper attempts to demonstrate that proverbs could serve as a means of cultural transfer in two directions – not only from a well-established Latin tradition to other languages under its influence, but also in the opposite way, from a vernacular culture to neo-Latin literature. In the history of European culture the Latin language played a major role in the transmission of Roman and Greek antiquity – neo-Latin literature of various periods, as well as vernacular
literatures, operated within the generic frames structured long before their time and these frames were gradually more or less reshaped to fit the changes in the needs and tastes of more recent literary ages. The role of Latin in transmitting literary, scientific, spiritual and other developments throughout the Latinophone world is a well-known fact. Writing in Latin provided poets and scholars with an opportunity to share their ideas with the rest of the Latin-speaking world and, in some cases, it gave them a chance to become a part of the common European
heritage. In the same way proverbs or wise thoughts – these representations of knowledge and notions of truth specific to various oral cultures – incorporated in Latin texts by their writers, whether spontaneously or deliberately, were able to contribute to the corpus of Western literature. Without attempting to track their further destiny, this paper points out the possibility of the existence of such cases.