Outside of the borderland areas of Plauen, i.e. Germany and Bohemia (Czech
Republic), almost no one knows the name Paulus Niavis, originally born Paul
Schneevogel (Snowbird in German) in the town of Eger in 1460 just as the Age of
Latin would begin to die as universal language for most of Western European
scholars and elite. It was also when the Age of Discovery and Imperialism for
Europeans was just getting ready to begin.
Paul Schneevogel grew up in the town of Plauen
and went off to college in Ingolstadt.
Next, he then received his masters degree in Leipzig.
Schneevogel would then serve first as a school master Chemnitz and later
as a rector in Halle. Finally, he went to work as City Recorder for Zittau and later for
the town of Bautzen. Along his journey he changed his name to
Latin, Paulus Niavis.
NOTE: Bautzen and Zittau are two of the six towns
where the ancient language of Sorbian, an ancient Slavic language still used
within the German, Polish and Czech borders.
They are the only remaining native minority in the 3-state region. Most
had been forced to assimilate into one of the more dominant cultures centuries
Niavis was a great educator and sought to reform Latin so it
would become more interesting to more students.
Moreover, Niavis hated rote learning and wanted the language of Latin to
become more truly universal. His reforms included the writing and publication
of a the Iudicium Iovis in 1495, but
earlier he had produced the work Dialogus parvulis scholaribus ad latinum
idioma perutilissimus which was
his first attempt at trying to write a novel in Latin.
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