16th May 2013
Five hundred years ago, on St Mary Magdalene’s Day (22 July) 1513, Scots master poet, or makar, Gavin Douglas completed his translation into Scots of the Roman Virgil’s (70-19 BC) Latin work The Aeneid, called Eneados in the Scots version. Arranged originally in 12 books, The Aeneid told the tale of Prince Aeneas who, fleeing from the sack of Troy, had various adventures before arriving in Italy and founding a city which later became Rome. It was, of course, a piece of political propaganda, used by various rulers down the ages, but the story was very popular throughout Europe. Gavin Douglas (1474-1522) was a son of Archibald 5th Earl of Angus and, highly educated, made a career for himself in the Church. In 1503 Douglas became provost of St Giles church in Edinburgh and was created bishop of Dunkeld in 1515. Gavin Douglas was also a noted writer in the Scots language and was, indeed, a leading figure among a generation of poets and writers who set out to cultivate and enhance the identity, registers and style of the language. His completion of the Eneados marked a watershed in European, and world literature. At that point no great work of Classical Antiquity had been fully translated into Scots so Gavin Douglas was raising the Scots language to new heights, something which had yet to be achieved in the sister language of England.
To celebrate this cultural event, Dr Jamie Reid Baxter has organised ‘Eneados 500: The Glory of Scotland, 1513 AD’, to take place on Sunday 21 July 2013. Beginning at 3.15pm, in Augustine United Church, 41 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh, poet Rab Wilson will perform excerpts from the Eneados with commentary by Jamie Reid Baxter. A second event will take place that evening, beginning at 6pm sharp, to be held in St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh, during which James Hutchinson will direct a ‘Sang Scule’ concert which will reconstruct a high mass for St Mary Magdalene using the Mass for Six Voices by the Scottish Renaissance composer Robert Carver (1487-1568) who was canon of Scone. Entry to both these events is free. If you would like more information please contact Dr Jamie Reid Baxter at email@example.com .