John Caius the Elder

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John Caius or Kay, sometimes called the elder, (fl. 1480), was an English poet.

Kay was the English translator of the Siege of Rhodes,[1] an account of the unsuccessful Ottoman assault on Rhodes in 1480. The original Latin text Obsidionis Rhodiæ urbis descriptio (1480) had been written by Gulielmus Caoursin, the vice-chancellor of the order of the knights of St John of Jerusalem and an eye witness to the siege. The English translation was printed c. 1481-84.[2]

Kay dedicates his translation to Edward IV, as whose 'humble poete lawreate' he describes himself. But the expression does not necessarily imply that the writer held any official position at court. The dedication also refers to time spent abroad in Italy, possibly studying, but beyond this details of his biography remain unclear and debated.[3]


  1. ^ Guillaume Caoursin, trs. John Kay, [The siege of Rhodes], ([1481-4]).
  2. ^ E. G. Duff thought that the type was consistent with that used by Lettou and Machlinia in the years 1482-1484. See, E. G. Duff, Fifteenth-century English Books, Bibliographical Studies (1917), p. 21.
  3. ^ Leader asserts that Kay was the same person as Cauis Auberinus, however, the identification cannot at present be regarded as definitive, see Leader, Damian Riehl, 'Caius Auberinus: Cambridge's first professor' In A Distinct Voice: Studies Leonard E. Boyle (2001), pp. 322-327

 "Caius, John (fl.1480)". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.