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Isabel Pope

revised by Tess Knighton

[Fermoselle, Juan de]

(b Salamanca, July 12, 1468; d León, late 1529 or early 1530). Spanish poet, dramatist and composer. He was born Juan de Fermoselle in Salamanca, where his father was a shoemaker; it has been suggested that he was of Jewish descent. One of at least seven children, he, like several of his brothers, pursued a career that brought him into contact with the higher echelons of society. Diego de Fermoselle was professor of music at Salamanca University from 1479 until 1522, and may well have taught his younger brother. Juan became a choirboy in the cathedral in 1484, where another of his brothers, Miguel, was a chaplain. By 1490, when he, too, briefly held a chaplaincy at Salamanca Cathedral (a position he was forced to resign as he was not ordained), he had adopted the name Juan del Encina, probably his matronymic, but also perhaps a conscious reference to the Castilian holm oak as well as the ilex of Virgil’s bucolic poetry which clearly exerted considerable influence over him. He would have coincided with the great Spanish humanist Antonio de Nebrija at Salamanca, where he studied law probably between ...