mardi 10 septembre 2013

Guinea/Spain: The fabulous destiny of the guinean slave, Juan Alfonso de Sessa!

From Juan de Sessa to Juan Latino!

         Son of black slaves from Guinea who was born
in the household of Don Luiz Fernández de Córdoba, the Count of Cabra, in Baena, in 1518. Brought with her ​​mother in Seville, he is sold. He became page to Earl Don Luiz Fernandez de Cordoba and his wife Dona Elvira,  capita of Cabra (Cordoba province/Spain). When the Count died in 1530, his wife Dona Elvira moves the family to Granada (city back from the hands of Moroccans by the Christians in 1492). His son Don Gonzalo of the same age as their slave Juan Latino began his studies at the school of Pedro Mota in Granada. The young page accompanies the school to carry her books and notebooks. While his master is in class, he takes the opportunity to train and read books. Freed from slavery by his young master, he can finally learn with him. Very interested in medicine, he is discouraged by his comrades and opts for learning Greek and Latin. It was at this time that his comrades nicknamed him Juan Latino and he abandons his slave’s name of Juan Alfonso de Sessa.

The Negro  Juan Latino, “Licenciado”, without prejudice because of the color of his skin!

         With his master, Juan Sessa accesses the University of Granada (founded in 1526) encouraged by Pedro Mota, one of the first graduate  in literature in this University in 1532. He surprised his teachers by translating "Horace". He began giving private lessons. In 1546, he graduated from "Bachillerato (Bachelor)" of the University of Granada with 38 other students from Master Benito Peso. Thanks to his good reputation, he became a friend and protégé of Archbishop Pedro Guerrero, Archbishop of Granada since 1546. The latter manages to persuade the Duke of Sessa to give Juan Latino hand of his sister Carlobal Anna, who was his student. She gives him four beautiful Métis: Juana, born on June 30, 1549, Bernardino, born in 1552, Anna, born in 1556 and Juan baptized on March 5, 1559. In 1556, he graduated 'Licenciado (license)"in letters "without prejudice because of the color of his skin", explains historian Martin Ocete. After teaching the letters in his old school while providing private lessons in Latin and Greek grammar. On the recommendation of Archbishop Pedro Guerrero, he succeeded his late former master Pedro Mota (died in 1566) and holds the Chair of Grammar at the University of Granada. On October 18, 1565, he delivered a remarkable speech at the opening of the academic year.

“I thought you were the shadow of one of this gentlemen!”

         In 1576 and in 1587, he also gives lectures at the University Cloister, became blind, he nevertheless continues to provide teaching. Intelligent and sophisticated, he mocked provocations related to his skin color and called himself "The Negro Juan Latino". One day, there reports, Carceres Espinoza, Gregory Sylvester welcomes all his friends and fails Juan Latino. Astonished, Juan asked why. Scots replied: "I thought you were the shadow of one of this gentlemen" alongside his friends and the Duke of Sessa, Archbishop Pedro Guerrero, he meets the dignitaries of Granada. On April 12, 1569, he was received by Don Juan of Austria, the illegitimate son of Charles V and the younger half-brother of King Philip II. The last years of his life were saddened by the death of Archbishop Pedro Guerrero (1576) and his wife Ana Carlobal (3 May 1576) followed on 3 December 1576 by death of his friend and patron the Duke of Sessa. He totally lost his sight and left teaching. He died in Granada on November 20, 1597 and is buried in St. Mary's Church. Besides his famous collection of poems entitled "Austriad" published in 1537, his literary work includes both poems and elegies in Latin vilgilienne of inspiration poems and prose works in Spanish. Whoever signed "Magister Latinus" contributed to the development of the gold age "Humanist" movement literature in Spain. In 1605 , he was cited by Cervantes, in his preface to "Don Quixote." He is considered as the most important African-born scholar in early modern Europe.

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