(Celje, ca. 1430 – Constance, April 25, 1496)

Taught the emperor to speak Slovene

"Thomas de Cilia" was the first humanist teacher of the Emperor Maximillian I, later a strong supporter. In this role, he was very important for further development of renaissance humanism north of the Alps. It is most likely that he took on the role as he was appointed to the imperial office, but surely in 1471 when he presented the then 12-year-old heir to the imperial throne two of his manuscripts, kept today by the Austrian National Library. As a seasoned jurist and diplomat, he later on inducted the young heir to the stately, administrative, and foreign policy affairs. It is rather interesting that, in addition to Latin, Tomaž of Celje also taught his protégé Slovenian. Historical research has shown that Emperor Maximillian also spoke, albeit rather poorly, Slovenian. Supporting the thesis that he was taught Slovenian by Tomaž Prelokar is the fact that the pioneer of humanism in the Austrian lands, Aeneas Silvius (otherwise an opponent of Celje, who went on to become Pope Pius II), subscribed to the principle that all living languages are equal, which he both preached and practiced in the upbringing of the young Emperor Ladislaus the Posthumous. Humanists who were lucky enough to be close to the Emperor obviously found it very important that the rulers of peoples speaking a number of different languages speak several languages and benefit from such knowledge. Tomaž Prelokar was surely no exception in this respect.

Notable Celje natives in Europe:

Notable Europeans in Celje: