Terrisio di Atina, who lived in the first half of the 1200, was a magister (professor) at the Studium (university) in Naples, and a circle of students had to be built around him, ready to joke.
We received three humorous letters relating to the teaching activity: in the last one, the professor Terrisio, “cui nomen est terroris”, that is “who has the name of terror”, reminds students of the “honest” habit of giving gifts to the professor.
In fact, it should be remembered that in carnival time – the period in which every rule is subverted and overturned – students should make gifts to their teachers; and Terrisio, points out, in the concluding verses, that capons would be welcome.
“Est honestum et est bonum
Ut magistro fiat donum in hoc carniprivio,
Qui nos pascit et repascit in suo convivio.
Ipse prebet lectiones,
Et nos pingues huic capones aportemus singuli,
Ut a fonte fecundemur nos qui sumus rivuli.
Ergo, quale bonum, sibi fiant dona caponum,
Per que fervente possimus habere docentem”.
“It is an honest and good thing
that in this carnival a gift is made to the master,
who nourishes us and re-nourishes us at his banquet.
He gives us lessons, and we all bring big capons to him,
so that we are reinvigorated by the source, we who are the streams. So, for the good, capons are given to him as gifts,
thanks to which we can have a passionate teacher.”