The Tale of Two Lovers

The Tale of Two Lovers (Latin: Historia de duobus amantibus) ( 1444) is a novel by Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini, the future Pope Pius II. It is one of the earliest examples of an epistolary novel, full of erotic imagery. The first printed edition was published by Ulrich Zell in Cologne between 1467 and 1470.

The Tale of Two Lovers
Euryalus Sends His First Letter to Lucretia - Google Art Project.jpg
Manuscript of Historiam, containing Euryalus primam epistolam ad Lucretiam mittit (Euryalus Sends His First Letter to Lucretia)
AuthorAeneas Sylvius Piccolomini
Original titleHistoria de duobus amantibus
GenresEpistolary novel
Set inSiena, Italy
PublisherUlrich Zell
Publication date
  • Written 1444
  • Published 1467

The novel is set in Siena, Italy, and centres on the love story of Lucretia, a married woman, and Euryalus, one of the men waiting on the Duke of Austria. After an uncertain beginning, in which each is in love but unaware that it is reciprocated, they begin a correspondence, which takes up much of the rest of the novel. Before writing his first love-letter, Euryalus quotes Virgil in defence of his position, Amor vincit omnia et nos cedamus amori (translated: "Love conquers all; let us all yield to love!").[1]

The lovers were identified by some with Kaspar Schlick, the chancellor of Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor and a daughter of the elder Mariano Sozzini, Aeneas' law teacher at the University of Siena.

In 1462, it was translated into German by Niklas van Wyle who dedicated it to his patron Mechthild of the Palatinate.[2][3]

Translations have been made into several languages, including English.


  1. ^ Verg. Eclogue 10, line 69, quoted by Euryalus in a soliloquy before the first letter.
  2. ^ Pius II (1988). Eurialus and Lucretia. 9062039995. p. 65. ISBN 9062039995.
  3. ^ Morrall, E. J. (1980). "The Tale of Eurialus and Lucretia by Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini and Niklas von Wyle". Neuphilologische Mitteilungen. 81 (4): 428–438. JSTOR 43343364.


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