Works of Teofilo Folengo (1491-1544) and Giovanni Battista Folengo (1490-1559),
and a few pieces on Pietro Bembo (1470-1547) as well as on some of the other clever writers of poetry and prose in Latin, Italian and Macaronic Latin 

This is a non-commercial resource site for the diffusion and understanding of the publications of the Folengo brothers and a few other writers of the Renaissance era offered by Ann E. Mullaney, PhD. [For adults only.]

Something new: Hoe of Hoes: An Interpretation?

Toward an understanding of the works of Giovanni Battista Folengo, which pose as biblical commentary but might better be called parody.

Giovanni Battista Folengo: A Tool Kit for Adults

PDFs on Google Docs: GB Folengo PDFs

GB Folengo Overture June 21 2018

Updated 1543 Psalms transcription: GB Folengo Psalms Public Feb 25 2021.pdf

FRESH: GB Folengo 1555 Commentaries on James, Peter and John January 17 2021

If you are in a rush, just scroll down to the brief biography and portrait by Romanino of Teofilo right below the list of all their publications. Or see a brief presentation: Overview of Teofilo Folengo's writings no. 1

Or take a Quiz designed to encourage scholars to become fluent in the lexique erotique: The Adult Renaissance: A Quiz

And as a desperate measure, see my ancient dissertation: Teofilo Folengo: Ecce Homo, Yale, 1984

Pietro Bembo

Pietro Bembo and the Erotic Lexicon March 15 2020

Bembo's Attack on Dante Illustrated January 2017

Pietro Bembo, Motti, with English translation and notes, Draft, July 2019

The Erotic Lexicon

A partial list of Italian writers using the erotic lexicon, c. 1300-1555

Here is the beginning of a collaborative database. I have entered about 2,200 words from Jean Toscan's Lexique erotique and invite scholars to add entries from other sources:

Erotic Lexicon Database

Pacificus Maximus (c.1406-1506). Before Covid-19 shut down much of the world's population, I had been at home for nearly two months with an unnamed virus. During this time, I thoroughly enjoyed reading the poetry of Pacifico Massimi in a helpful French edition by Juliette Desjardins, 1986. The only problem with the volume by Desjardins, was that the original text is presented as a photocopy and is hard to read. So, once we were under lockdown here in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, I set to work digitizing Pacifico's 1489 edition of 100 poems, Hecatelegium. I think the best way to present this work for now, is to get people to read it and translate it. Very funny elegies: Pacifico is disarmingly self-deprecating and self-aggrandizing. He also wrote another hundred poems which Desjardins has translated and annotated, and if our quarantine continues you may hear more from me about that. For now, here is Pacifico Massimi's book of 100 elegies, -- which he published when he was already 80 years old -- just waiting for your translations (which I will happily add, with or without your name): 

Hecatelegium by Pacifico Massimi 1489 April 2020

Publications (ongoing project)

For each text as a whole, and for their separate parts, the goal is to have the following:
1. Description of contents
2. Reproduction of the original edition, digital or photocopy edition
3. Transcription of the original (with minimal alterations)
4. Translations
5. Commentaries and discussions
6. Works on the brothers Folengo and related matter

Digital copies of many of the Folengo brothers' original texts can be found at Google Play Books.


MERLINI COCAI POETAE MANTUANI LIBER MACARONICES LIBRI XVII NON ANTE IMPRESSI. Venetiis in aedibus Alexandri Paganini. Inclito Lauredano Principe. Kalen. Ianua. M.D.XVII. (Seventeen Macaronic Books by Merlin Cocaio, Mantuan Poet. Venice, Alessandro Paganini Press. With the Illustrious Doge, Loredan [ruling]. Jan. 1, 1517.)

Description: Called Paganini (P) after the publisher), this is a beautiful work printed in graceful Italic font, just 27 lines to a page, with explanatory and humorous glosses on the margins of the pages. The volume is written in Macaronic Latin, it contains a 10 page letter of presentation about the author Merlin Cocaio, a pseudonym personality, by Aquario Lodola (likely another pseudonym). This if followed by two eclogues and then the main work, an epic poem called Baldus (for the titular hero): 6,114 hexameters in 17 books with argomenti preceding each book.

The volume is online, at Google Play Books: Merlini Cocai poetae mantuani liber macaronices libri 17

A copy one may download is available through Open Library:

Teofilo Folengo: Liber macaronices 17, 1517

Original Macaronic Latin: Epistola from Aquarius Lodola

English: Discovery of the Text and Praise of Merlin by Aquario Lodola

Selections found at  Poeti d'Italia in lingua latina:; also at the Perseus Digital Library, Renaissance Collection, Teofilo Folengo:

These texts are offered from the critical edition by Massimo Zaggia, Macaronee minori, all four editions of the shorter Macaronic works (Zanitonella, Moscheide and Epigrammi): translation into Italian, detailed notes and a glossary (Torino: Einaudi, 1987).

Two reprints of the 1517 edition with some variations: Macaronea: Cesare Arrivabene, Jan, 1520 and Agostino da Vimercate, Nov. 17, 1520.  

A reprint, roughly, of the Paganini edition above, with claims of an expurgated text, and some illustrations.

Digital photocopy of the Arrivabene edition from the French National Library:  

3. Comparison of glosses from the 1517 Paganini and the 1520 Arrivabene: A painstaking work of questionable utility: the 1517 and 1520 Glosses of Baldus compared and translated into English

Eternal Merlin
A magical image by Rowan Pope, 2009


OPUS MERLINI COCAII, Poetae Mantuani Macaronicorum totum in pristinam formam per me Magistrum Acquarium Lodolam optime redactum, in his infra notatis titulis divisum. Tusculani Apud Lacum Benacensem. Alexander Paganinus. M.D.XXI DIE V. IANUARII. (The Macaronic Work by Merlin Cocaio, Mantuan Poet, all excellently restored to pristine condition by me, Magister Acquario Lodola, divided into the sections noted below, Toscolano, Lago di Garda, Alessandro Paganini [Press], January 5, 1521.

The greatly expanded second edition is known as the Toscolana, for the town in Northern Italy where Paganini had his press. There are many more prefatory pieces (see list below), and the Baldus is now twice as long (12,668 hexameters). 51 woodcut prints illustrate the story nicely. Additionally there many more eclogues, a mock-epic between flies and ants, a list of errors corrected, a table of contents, a sonnet, and more. Each page is packed: there are 37 lines per page on a smaller area of print than the 1517 edition. About 100 copies of this edition are still in existence today. Some of these also feature a dialogue about the poet and letters from him to and from the editor.

There were many republications of this popular edition: 1564, 1572, 1573, 1580, 1585, 1613, 1692 and on.

Both the 1613 and the 1692 editions offer new woodcut prints -- both sets are quite beautiful.

Four versions of illustrations: Baldus before Gaioffo.pdf


1521 Folengo BALDUS Woodcuts

1573 Folengo BALDUS Woodcuts

1585 Folengo BALDUS Woodcuts

1613 Folengo BALDUS Woodcuts


Online: Full text with letters to and from the editor Paganini (but not the Dialogus Philomusi):

Photophotocopy edition sponsored by the Associazione degli  Amici di Merlin Cocai, and the Comune di Bassano del Grappa, 1994.

Prefatory pieces

The second, 1521 edition called Toscolana (T) for the town on the Lago di Garda where is was printed is twice as long as the first edition and contains many many extras:

1. A new Angry letter from Aquario Lodola to Scardaffus

Aquario Lodola to Scardaffo

2. A significantly altered version of the 1517 Prefatory letter by Aquario in Praise of Merlin

Aquario Lodola in Praise of Merlin (1521)

3. An Apologetica by Merlin

Merlin's Apology

4. A "Normula macaronica de sillabis" a few paragraphs explaining Macaronic Latin metrics

Macaronic Metrics

5. A letter from Merlin to the printer Paganini, claiming that he does not want to relinquish his own copy for publication, and a response from Paganini telling him that he got a copy of the text from Federico Gonzaga; a letter to the reader from Paganini, and a response from the author (Merlin); plus an archival letter to Paganini from Federico Gonzaga with the offer of his copy. These letters are found in a small percentage of the 1521 copies known, sometimes the letters are accompanied by the Dialogus Philomusi (below).
Five letters concerning the publication of the 1521 volume

6. Dialogus Philomusi a dialogue in Latin which reveals information about the author (Philomusus) as a young man, found only in a small fraction of the 100 known exempla.

Dialogus Philomusi Nov 4 2012


Parts of volume available in DRAFT transcription: Toscolana Baldus, searchable text and marginal glosses, needs spelling and punctuation corrected.

Toscolana Baldus Aug 25 2011

Other works in the Toscolana volume: 

Eclogues now called Zanitonella, and Libellus: Epistolarum et Epigrammaton: see volume by Massimo Zaggia and others listed above, 1517. 

Orlandino, Venice, Fratelli da Sabio, 1525.

Description: 8 books of Italian octaves, a polemical work, containing Lutheran ideas and many sexual allusions, ostensibly the story of young Orlando (Roland in French chivalric epics).

Orlandino: Online from the critical edition annotated by Mario Chiesa, (Padova, Antenore, 1991).    /mediateca/libri/f/folengo/orlandino/pdf/orland_p.pdf

There could be earlier versions available online as well as the 1773 Orlandino with notes: 


Apologia de l'autttore, Venice, Fratelli da Sabio, 1526.
An archly funny defense of his outspoken Orlandino:
Apology: Original and English translation

Chaos del Triperuno, Venice, Fratelli da Sabio (and Nicolo Garanta), January 1, 1527.

Description: a fabulous exploration of the interior self, in a variety of prose and poetry styles, in Italian, Latin and Macaronic Latin.

Good clean digital copy of the 1527 edition of Chaos del Triperuno:

A good digital photocopy of the 1546 reprint of the Chaos: 

Photocopy edition of the 1527 reprint: from a copy owned by Roberto Stringa, through Amici di Merlin Cocai, (Bassano, Graffiche Fantinato, 2010).

Transcription of the original, based on the much altered text of U. Renda, and still in need of correction 

but with all the marginal glosses and

Transcription of the original with ongoing draft of English translation:  Chaos del Triperuno, with English April 18 2016  


Some aspects of the epic Baldus and the autobiographical Chaos compared:

Allegorical Reading article July 2011
Lettura allegorica (the above article translated into Italian)

Other editions of Chaos:

Teofilo Folengo: Opere Italianeedited by Umberto Renda, Scrittori d’Italia, Bari: Laterza, 1911, vol. 1:,%20Teofilo

Le opere maccheroniche di Merlin Cocaio edited by Attilio Portioli, Mantova: Mondovi, 1889, vol.3:


La Humanita' del figliuolo di Dio, In ottava rima, per Theophilo Folengo Mantoano. (The Humanity of the Little Son of God, in octaves by Teofilo Folengo Mantuan)
Venice, Aurelio Pincio, August 14, 1533. 

Italian octaves, books, approximately 100 octaves per book. Poetic retelling of Bible stories, with some personal commentary -- see for example a moving rendition of the Story of Susanna, Book 1.36-76; appears tinged with coded sexual concepts, as are his other (Latin) works published in 1533. Beautiful digital photocopy of the original Italian at Google Play Books. 

Masterful critical edition by Simona Gatti Ravedati: La umanita del figliuolo di Dio by Teofilo Folengo, edited and annotated by Simona Gatti Ravedati, Alessandria (Torino), Edizioni dell'Orso, 2000.

1533 (1534)

Dialogi quos Pomiliones vocat, Varium poema, Janus. In Promontorio Minervae ardente Sirio 1533 (Punta Campanella near Naples, July, 1533)

This volume contains three separate but connected works in Latin

Dialogi, quos Pomiliones vocat (Dialogues which he calls Dwarves), 154 pages of brilliant prose, mostly in dialogue format, written by Giovanni Battista Folengo, 

Varium poema  (Diverse Poems) a collection of Latin poems by Teofilo and 

Janus, (Janus) a 559 hexameter narrative poem also by Teofilo. 

A photocopy edition of the whole volume is available through the Associazione degli Amici di Merlin Cocai (Bassano del Grappa, Grafiche Fantinato, 2011) Transcription of the 1533 volume:

Transcription of the 1533 volume by the Folengo brothers,
October 14 2014

Latin Spell-check: Philippe Brasciano and Marjorie Burghart headed a team
that offers a (free!) Latin Spell-check program which proved very helpful
in correcting the Latin text of the Pomiliones. Thank you!

This volume is full of sophisticated humor and boundless word-play. Readers might want to keep in mind Johan Huizinga's comment "... the whole mental attitude of the Renaissance was one of play," from his book Homo ludens: a study of the play element in culture, 1944. 

Introduction of the 1533 Volume
and an Invitation to the Adult Renaissance

While the transcription is over 99% correct (please let me know of any mistakes you find), the same cannot be said for my translations: here too, any help you can provide will be welcome.


Pomiliones with English March 7, 2017

A few notes: Pomilio 3 calls attention to itself by playfully mocking Vittoria Colonna and her husband. Pomilio 6: the sexual discourse comes through clearly on pages 73-75, and one begins to suspect that the censors the Folengos refer to were not screening for sexual innuendo.
The centerpiece of Pomilio 7 is a theme, there is one path to beatitude, and variations. Many witty naughty variations. But the brilliance of G. B. Folengo’s comedy act should not blind us to his important messages. Note his observation that in the olden days diverse paths to beatitude were seen as real, like the grapes of Zeuxis, p. 90. His remarks on Luther are particularly exciting, because the Folengo brothers were right there when Luther was changing the world of Christianity, pp. 96-9


Varium poema


Varium poema with English August 2020

Additional Notes and Illustrations to the Varium poema May 5 2014


Janus with English November 6, 2014

Preliminary Commentary on Folengo's Janus

Commentario provvisorio sul Janus, translated by Gabriele Codifava and Ann Mullaney

            Varium poema and Janus online: currently available in versions altered from the original:
Poeti d'Italia in lingua latina:

Perseus Digital Library:

A partial list of words used in the classical Roman period and 1500 years later by the Folengo brothers taken from an annotated English edition and translation of the Priapeia, a collection of poems to and about Priapus: Coded Latin words listed in both the Smithers and Burton 1890 English edition of the Priapeia and in the Folengos' 1533 volume. 

c. 1535 (no date of publication given)

Macaronicorum Poema. Cipadense. The third version of the Macaronic works and the last published by the author.
Reissued in 1555 by Boselli

(More info to follow sometime in 2014)

Two Prefatory pieces, one at the beginning of the volume, one at the end.
Francesco Folengo a gli lettori (Francesco Folengo to the readers)
Nicolo Costanti alli lettori

My current favorite quatrain from one of the "Epigrammata" at the end of the volume, "Ad Baldum de Ira":

Quae semel vento ruit acta pinus
Haud reviviscit, nec Acer, nec Ilex,
Nescit heu certa, semel hinc quod exit,
Lege reverti.

(That Pinus has fallen, once downed by the wind, it can hardly revive, nor [can] the Maple, or Holm Oak. Once it has gone from here, alas, it’s unable, by firm law, to go back.)

Works published posthumously:

1552   Merlini Cocalii Poetae Mantuani Macaronicorum Poemata

             Known as  V, for Vigaso Cocaio: 

Baldus translated into Italian and annotated by Mario Chiesa, Turin: UTET 1997

Earlier Italian versions:
Giuseppe Tonna translation, text edited by G. Dossena) Il Baldo (Milano, Feltrinelli, 1958).
Emilio Faccioli, Baldus, (Torino, Einaudi, 1989).
Baldo translated into English by Ann Mullaney, text by Mario Chiesa, I Tatti, (Harvard U Press) 2007, 2010.


Vigaso Cocaio to the readers Italian and English

1539 La palermitana (posthumous, first published in 1876).

Interesting work in terza rima: Folengo appears in the manger at the birth of Jesus, other biblical stories

Hagiomachia. (Battles of the Saints.) Probably written around 1540.

First published (in part) by Antonio Rafanelli, 1898-1902, Salerno, Fruscione e Negri.
Hagiomachia di Teofilo Folengo, edit. Antonio Rafanelli
Available at Perseus: 


Giovanni Battista Folengo, 1490-1559:

Extensive publications after the Dialogi, quos Pomiliones vocat, 1533 (above):

Detailed Bibliography of works available online and in rare book libraries, and at the end of this list of books is a reproduction and translation of the humorous opening page of the 1543 edition of the Psalms:

Works by Giovanni Battista Folengo Jan 2018