Petrarch's Letters to Classical Authors

Petrarch's Letters to Classical Authors

by Petrach

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Overview

This version of Petrarch's Letters to Classical Authors is a 1910 edition with an introduction.

It is hardly necessary to dwell upon Petrarch's extensive correspondence. He was the leader of the learned men of his age, and all his prominent contemporaries whether in the political world, or in the religious world, or in the scholarly world were numbered among his friends. Corresponding so incessantly with all men and on all topics, Petrarch's letters soon grew into an unmanageable mass.

Petrarch published many volumes of his letters, including a few written to his long-dead friends from history such as Cicero and Virgil. Cicero, Virgil, and Seneca were his literary models. Most of his Latin writings are difficult to find today. It is difficult to assign any precise dates to his writings because he tended to revise them throughout his life.

In addition, Petrarch collected his letters into two major sets of books called Epistolae familiares ("Familiar Letters") and Seniles ("Of Old Age"), a plan suggested to him by knowledge of Cicero's letters. He kept out of Epistolae familiares a special set of 19 controversial letters called Liber sine nomine that contained much criticism of the Avignon papacy. These were published "without names" to protect the recipients, all of whom had close relationships to Petrarch. The recipients of these letters included Philippe de Cabassoles, bishop of Cavaillon; Ildebrandino Conti, bishop of Padua; Cola di Rienzo, tribune of Rome; Francesco Nelli, priest of the Prior of the Church of the Holy Apostles in Florence; and Niccolò di Capoccia, a cardinal and priest of Saint Vitalis. His "Letter to Posterity" (the last letter in Seniles) gives an autobiography and a synopsis of his philosophy in life. It was originally written in Latin and was completed in 1371 or 1372--the first such autobiography in a thousand years (since Saint Augustine).

Product Details

BN ID: 2940014883160
Publisher: Balefire Publishing
Publication date: 08/17/2012
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 902,459
File size: 11 MB
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About the Author

Francesco Petrarca (July 20, 1304 – July 19, 1374), known in English as Petrarch, was an Italian scholar, poet, and one of the earliest humanists. Petrarch is often called the "Father of Humanism". In the 16th century, Pietro Bembo created the model for the modern Italian language based on Petrarch's works, as well as those of Giovanni Boccaccio, and, especially, Dante Alighieri. This would be later endorsed by the Accademia della Crusca. Petrarch's sonnets were admired and imitated throughout Europe during the Renaissance and became a model for lyrical poetry. He is also known for being the first to develop the concept of the "Dark Ages".

Petrarch's influence is evident in the works of Serafino Ciminelli from Aquila (1466-1500) and in the works of Marin Držić (1508-1567) from Dubrovnik. The Romantic composer Franz Liszt set three of Petrarch's Sonnets (47, 104, and 123) to music for voice, Tre sonetti del Petrarca, which he later would transcribe for solo piano for inclusion in the suite Années de Pèlerinage.

In November, 2003, it was announced that pathological anatomists would be exhuming Petrarch's body from his casket in Arquà Petrarca, in order to verify 19th-century reports that he had stood 1.83 meters (about six feet), which would have been tall for his period. The team from the University of Padua also hoped to reconstruct his cranium in order to generate a computerized image of his features to coincide with his 700th birthday. The tomb had been opened previously in 1873 by Professor Giovanni Canestrini, also of Padua University. When the tomb was opened, the skull was discovered in fragments and a DNA test revealed that the skull was not Petrarch's, prompting calls for the return of Petrarch's skull. The researchers are fairly certain that the body in the tomb is Petrarch's due to the fact that the skeleton bears evidence of injuries mentioned by Petrarch in his writings, including a kick from a donkey when he was 42.

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