HOME

TheInfoList




Francesco Petrarca (; 20 July 1304 – 18/19 July 1374), commonly
anglicized Linguistic anglicisation (or anglicization, occasionally anglification, anglifying, or Englishing) is the practice of modifying foreign words, names, and phrases to make them easier to spell, pronounce, or understand in . The term commonly refers ...
as Petrarch (), was a scholar and poet of early
Renaissance Italy The Italian Renaissance ( it, Rinascimento ) was a period in Italian history The history of Italy covers the Ancient Period, the Middle Ages and the modern era. Since classical times, ancient Phoenicians, Magna Graecia, Greeks, Etruscan civil ...
, and one of the earliest
humanists Humanism is a philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, existence, knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity, awareness, or understanding of someone or some ...
. Petrarch's rediscovery of
Cicero Marcus Tullius Cicero ( ; ; 3 January 106 BC – 7 December 43 BC) was a Ancient Rome, Roman statesman, lawyer, scholar, philosopher and Academic skepticism, Academic Skeptic, who tried to uphold optimate principles during crisis of ...

Cicero
's letters is often credited with initiating the 14th-century Italian
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in ...

Renaissance
and the founding of
Renaissance humanism Renaissance humanism was a revival in the study of classical antiquity Classical antiquity (also the classical era, classical period or classical age) is the period of cultural history between the 8th century BC and the 6th century AD cent ...
. In the 16th century,
Pietro Bembo Pietro Bembo, ( la, Petrus Bembus; 20 May 1470 – 18 January 1547) was an Italian scholar A scholar is a person who pursues academic and intellectual activities, particularly those that develop expertise in an area of Studying, study. A scho ...

Pietro Bembo
created the model for the modern Italian language based on Petrarch's works, as well as those of
Giovanni Boccaccio Giovanni Boccaccio (, , ; 16 June 1313 – 21 December 1375) was an Italian writer, poet, correspondent of Petrarch Francesco Petrarca (; 20 July 1304 – 18/19 July 1374), commonly anglicized Linguistic anglicisation (or angliciza ...

Giovanni Boccaccio
, and, to a lesser extent,
Dante Alighieri Dante Alighieri (), probably baptized Durante di Alighiero degli Alighieri and often referred to simply as Dante (, also ; – 14 September 1321), was an Italian poet A poet is a person who creates poetry Poetry (derived from t ...

Dante Alighieri
. Petrarch would be later endorsed as a model for Italian style by the
Accademia della Crusca Accademia (Italian for "academy An academy ( Attic Greek: Ἀκαδήμεια; Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. "Common Greek"), also known as Alexandrian dialect, common Attic, Hellenistic or Biblical Greek, was ...
. Petrarch's sonnets were admired and imitated throughout Europe during the Renaissance and became a model for
lyrical poetry Modern lyric poetry is a formal type of poetry which expresses personal emotions or feelings, typically spoken in the first person. It is not equivalent to song lyrics, though song lyrics are often in the lyric mode, and it is also ''not'' equi ...
. He is also known for being the first to develop the concept of the "
Dark Ages Dark Ages or Dark Age may refer to: History and sociology *Dark Ages (historiography), the use of the term ''Dark Ages'' by historians and lay people **Byzantine Dark Ages (7th–8th centuries), period of large-scale transformation but obscure du ...
,"Renaissance or Prenaissance
''Journal of the History of Ideas'', Vol. 4, No. 1. (Jan. 1943), pp. 69–74; Theodore E. Mommsen, "Petrarch's Conception of the 'Dark Ages'" ''Speculum'' 17.2 (April 1942: 226–242);
JSTOR JSTOR (; short for ''Journal Storage'') is a digital library founded in 1995 in New York City. Originally containing digitized Digitization
link to a collection of several letters in the same issue.
which most modern scholars now find misleading and inaccurate.; Same volume, Freedman, Paul
"Medieval Studies"
pp. 383–389.


Biography


Youth and early career

Petrarch was born in the
Tuscan Tuscan may refer to: Places * A person from, or something of, from, or related to Tuscany, a region of Italy * Tuscan Archipelago Currency * Tuscan pound * Tuscan florin Linguistics * Etruscan language, an extinct language which gives its name t ...
city of
Arezzo Arezzo ( , , ; lat, Arretium) is a city and ''comune The (; plural: ) is a Administrative division, local administrative division of Italy, roughly equivalent to a township or municipality. Importance and function The provides essent ...

Arezzo
on 20 July 1304. He was the son of
Ser Petracco Ser Petracco (Pietro di Parenzo di Garzo; 1267—1326) was the father to the Italian poet Francesco Petrarch. His father was Ser Parenzo, son of Ser Garzo who reputedly lived to be 100. They all were notaries, the same office that Ser Petracco hel ...
and his wife Eletta Canigiani. His given name was ''Francesco Petracco,'' which was
Latinized Latinisation or Latinization can refer to: * Latinisation of names, the practice of rendering a non-Latin name in a Latin style * Latinisation in the Soviet Union, the campaign in the USSR during the 1920s and 1930s to replace traditional writing sy ...
to ''Petrarca.'' Petrarch's younger brother was born in
Incisa in Val d'Arno Incisa in Val d'Arno is a ''frazione'' of the ''comune'' (municipality) of Figline e Incisa Valdarno, in the Metropolitan City of Florence, Tuscany, central Italy, located about southeast of Florence. It was a separate comune until 1 January 2014. ...
in 1307.
Dante Alighieri Dante Alighieri (), probably baptized Durante di Alighiero degli Alighieri and often referred to simply as Dante (, also ; – 14 September 1321), was an Italian poet A poet is a person who creates poetry Poetry (derived from t ...

Dante Alighieri
was a friend of his father.
J.H. Plumb Sir John (Jack) Harold Plumb (20 August 1911 – 21 October 2001) was a British historian, known for his books on British 18th-century history. He wrote over thirty books. Biography Plumb was born in Leicester on 20 August 1911. He was educate ...
, ''The Italian Renaissance'', 1961; Chapter XI by Morris Bishop "Petrarch", pp. 161–175; New York, American Heritage Publishing,
Petrarch spent his early childhood in the village of Incisa, near
Florence Florence ( ; it, Firenze ) is a city in Central-Northern Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of Italian Peninsula, a peninsula delimited by the Al ...

Florence
. He spent much of his early life at
Avignon Avignon (, ; ; oc, Avinhon, label= Provençal or , ; la, Avenio) is the prefecture A prefecture (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. L ...

Avignon
and nearby
Carpentras Carpentras ( or ; Provençal dialect, Provençal Occitan: ''Carpentràs'' in classical norm or ''Carpentras'' in Mistralian norm; la, Carpentoracte) is a Communes of France, commune in the Vaucluse Departments of France, department in the Provenc ...
, where his family moved to follow
Pope Clement V Pope Clement V ( la, Clemens Quintus; c. 1264 – 20 April 1314), born Raymond Bertrand de Got (also occasionally spelled ''de Guoth'' and ''de Goth''), was head of the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Cathol ...

Pope Clement V
, who moved there in 1309 to begin the
Avignon Papacy The Avignon Papacy, also known as the Babylonian Captivity, was the period from 1309 to 1376 during which seven successive pope The pope ( la, papa, from el, πάππας, translit=pappas, "father"), also known as the supreme pontiff () o ...
. Petrarch studied law at the
University of Montpellier The University of Montpellier (french: Université de Montpellier) is a French public research university A research university is a university A university ( la, universitas, 'a whole') is an educational institution, institution of highe ...
(1316–20) and
Bologna Bologna (, , ; egl, label=Bolognese Bologna (, , ; egl, label=Bolognese dialect, Bolognese, Bulåggna ; lat, Bonōnia) is the capital and largest city of the Emilia-Romagna region in Northern Italy. It is the seventh most populous ...
(1320–23) with a lifelong friend and schoolmate called Guido Sette. Because his father was in the legal profession (a
notary A notary is a person authorised to perform acts in legal affairs, in particular witnessing signatures on documents. The form that the notarial profession takes varies with local legal systems. A notary, while a legal professional, is distinc ...
), he insisted that Petrarch and his brother also study law. Petrarch, however, was primarily interested in writing and
Latin literature Latin literature includes the essays, histories, poems, plays, and other writings written in the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originall ...
and considered these seven years wasted. Additionally, he proclaimed that through legal manipulation his guardians robbed him of his small property inheritance in Florence, which only reinforced his dislike for the legal system. He protested, "I couldn't face making a merchandise of my mind," as he viewed the legal system as the art of selling justice. Petrarch was a prolific letter writer and counted
Boccaccio Giovanni Boccaccio (, , ; 16 June 1313 – 21 December 1375) was an Italian writer, poet, correspondent of Petrarch, and an important Renaissance humanist. He was known par excellence as the Certaldese, and one of the most important figur ...

Boccaccio
among his notable friends to whom he wrote often. After the death of their parents, Petrarch and his brother Gherardo went back to Avignon in 1326, where he worked in numerous clerical offices. This work gave him much time to devote to his writing. With his first large-scale work, ''
Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', ...
'', an
epic Epic commonly refers to: * Epic poetry, a long narrative poem celebrating heroic deeds and events significant to a culture or nation * Epic film, a genre of film with heroic elements Epic or EPIC may also refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media ...
in
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
about the great
Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened to ''Romans'', a letter in the New Testament of the Christian Bible Roman ...
general
Scipio Africanus Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus (, , ; 236/235–183 BC) was a Roman general and statesman, most notable as one of the main architects of Rome's victory against Carthage Carthage was the capital city of the ancient , on the eastern side ...
, Petrarch emerged as an European celebrity. On 8 April 1341, he became the second
poet laureate A poet laureate (plural: poets laureate) is a poet A poet is a person who creates poetry. Poets may describe themselves as such or be described as such by others. A poet may simply be a writer of poetry, or may perform their art to an audie ...
since
classical antiquity Classical antiquity (also the classical era, classical period or classical age) is the period of cultural history History (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, ...
and was crowned by Roman ''Senatori'' Giordano Orsini and Orso dell'Anguillara on the holy grounds of Rome's Capitol.Pietrangeli (1981), p. 32 He traveled widely in Europe, served as an ambassador, and (because he traveled for pleasure, as with his
ascent of Mont Ventoux thumbnail, 250px, View of Mont Ventoux from Mirabel-aux-Baronnies The Italian poet Petrarch Francesco Petrarca (; 20 July 1304 – 18/19 July 1374), commonly anglicized as Petrarch (), was a scholar and poet of early Renaissance Italy, an ...
) has been called "the first
tourist at the archaeological site of Chichén Itza. in Vienna. Tourism is travel for pleasure or business; also the theory and practice of touring (disambiguation), touring, the business of attracting, accommodating, and entertaining tourists, and th ...

tourist
". During his travels, he collected crumbling Latin
manuscripts A manuscript (abbreviated MS for singular and MSS for plural) was, traditionally, any document written by hand – or, once practical typewriter A typewriter is a machine, mechanical or electromechanical machine for typing characters s ...

manuscripts
and was a prime mover in the recovery of knowledge from writers of
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg , map_caption = The te ...
and
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geogr ...
. He encouraged and advised
Leontius Pilatus Leontius Pilatus (Greek language, Greek: Λεόντιος Πιλάτος, Leontios Pilatos, Italian language, Italian: Leonzio Pilato; died 1366) was a Calabrian scholar and was one of the earliest promoters of Greek language, Greek studies in Weste ...
's translation of
Homer Homer (; grc, Ὅμηρος , ''Hómēros'') was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally re ...

Homer
from a manuscript purchased by Boccaccio, although he was severely critical of the result. Petrarch had acquired a copy, which he did not entrust to Leontius, but he knew no
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
; Petrarch said, "Homer was dumb to him, while he was deaf to Homer". In 1345 he personally discovered a collection of
Cicero Marcus Tullius Cicero ( ; ; 3 January 106 BC – 7 December 43 BC) was a Ancient Rome, Roman statesman, lawyer, scholar, philosopher and Academic skepticism, Academic Skeptic, who tried to uphold optimate principles during crisis of ...

Cicero
's letters not previously known to have existed, the collection ''
Epistulae ad Atticum ''Epistulae ad Atticum'' (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to ...
'', in the Chapter Library (''Biblioteca Capitolare'') of
Verona Cathedralfile:Duomo (Verona) - Facades.jpg, 250px, West front file:Duomo di Verona - navata centrale.jpg, 250px, Central nave Image:Verona Duomo3 tango7174.jpg, 250px, Main Chapel Verona Cathedral ( it, Cattedrale Santa Maria Matricolare; Duomo di Verona) is ...

Verona Cathedral
. Disdaining what he believed to be the ignorance of the era in which he lived, Petrarch is credited with creating the concept of a historical "
Dark Ages Dark Ages or Dark Age may refer to: History and sociology *Dark Ages (historiography), the use of the term ''Dark Ages'' by historians and lay people **Byzantine Dark Ages (7th–8th centuries), period of large-scale transformation but obscure du ...
".


Mount Ventoux

Petrarch recounts that on 26 April 1336, with his brother and two servants, he climbed to the top of
Mont Ventoux Mont Ventoux (; oc, Ventor, label= Provençal ) is a mountain in the Provence region of Southern France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a country primarily located in Western Europe ...
(, a feat which he undertook for recreation rather than necessity. The exploit is described in a celebrated letter addressed to his friend and confessor, the monk
Dionigi di Borgo San Sepolcro Dionigi di Borgo San Sepolcro Augustinians, OESA (Roberti of Roberti, Dennis) (''Circa, c.'' 1300 – 31 March 1342) was an Augustinians, Augustinian monk who was at one time Petrarch's confessor, and who taught Giovanni Boccaccio, Boccaccio at ...
, composed some time after the fact. In it, Petrarch claimed to have been inspired by
Philip V of Macedon Philip V ( grc-gre, Φίλιππος ; 238–179 BC) was king (Basileus ''Basileus'' ( el, βασιλεύς) is a Greek term and title A title is one or more words used before or after a person's name, in certain contexts. It may signify ...

Philip V of Macedon
's ascent of Mount Haemo and that an aged peasant had told him that nobody had ascended Ventoux before or after himself, 50 years before, and warned him against attempting to do so. The nineteenth-century Swiss historian
Jacob Burckhardt Carl Jacob Christoph Burckhardt (25 May 1818 – 8 August 1897) was a Swiss historian of art and culture and an influential figure in the historiography of both fields. He is known as one of the major progenitors of cultural history. Sigfrie ...
noted that
Jean Buridan Jean Buridan (; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Ro ...
had climbed the same mountain a few years before, and ascents accomplished during the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...
have been recorded, including that of
Anno II, Archbishop of Cologne Anno II ( – 4 December 1075) was Archbishop of Cologne from 1056 until his death. From 1063 to 1065 he acted as regent A regent (from the Latin : ruling, governing) is a person appointed to govern a state ''pro tempore'' (Latin Language, Lati ...
. Scholars note that Petrarch's letterFamiliares 4.1
translated by Morris Bishop, quoted in Plumb.
to Dionigi displays a strikingly "modern" attitude of aesthetic gratification in the grandeur of the scenery and is still often cited in books and journals devoted to the sport of
mountaineering Mountaineering, or alpinism, is the set of outdoor activities Outdoor recreation or outdoor activity refers to recreation Recreation is an activity of leisure, leisure being discretionary time. The "need to do something for recreation" is a ...

mountaineering
. In Petrarch, this attitude is coupled with an aspiration for a virtuous Christian life, and on reaching the summit, he took from his pocket a volume by his beloved mentor, Saint Augustine, that he always carried with him.
For pleasure alone he climbed Mont Ventoux, which rises to more than six thousand feet, beyond Vaucluse. It was no great feat, of course; but he was the first recorded of modern times, the first to climb a mountain merely for the delight of looking from its top. (Or almost the first; for in a high pasture he met an old shepherd, who said that fifty years before he had attained the summit, and had got nothing from it save toil and repentance and torn clothing.) Petrarch was dazed and stirred by the view of the Alps, the mountains around
Lyon Lyon or Lyons (, , ; frp, Liyon, ) is the third-largest city and second-largest urban area of France. It is located at the confluence of the rivers Rhône The Rhône ( , ; german: Rhone ; wae, Rotten ; it, Rodano ; frp, Rôno ; oc, ...

Lyon
s, the , the Bay of
Marseilles Marseille ( , , ; also spelled in English as Marseilles; oc, Marselha ) is the prefecture A prefecture (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languag ...
. He took 's '' Confessions'' from his pocket and reflected that his climb was merely an
allegory As a literary device A narrative technique (known for literary fiction Literary fiction is a term used in the book-trade to distinguish novels that are regarded as having literary merit, from most commercial or "genre" fiction. However, the b ...

allegory
of aspiration toward a better life.
As the book fell open, Petrarch's eyes were immediately drawn to the following words: Petrarch's response was to turn from the outer world of nature to the inner world of "soul":
James Hillman James Hillman (April 12, 1926 – October 27, 2011) was an American psychologist A psychologist is a professional A professional is a member of a profession or any person who earns a living from a specified professional activity. The term a ...
argues that this rediscovery of the inner world is the real significance of the Ventoux event. The Renaissance begins not with the ascent of Mont Ventoux but with the subsequent descent—the "return ..to the valley of soul", as Hillman puts it. Arguing against such a singular and hyperbolic periodization, Paul James suggests a different reading:


Later years

Petrarch spent the later part of his life journeying through northern Italy as an international scholar and poet-diplomat. His career in the Church did not allow him to marry, but he is believed to have fathered two children by a woman or women unknown to posterity. A son, Giovanni, was born in 1337, and a daughter, Francesca, was born in 1343. He later legitimized both. Giovanni died of the plague in 1361. In the same year Petrarch was named
canon Canon or Canons may refer to: Places * Canon, Georgia Canon is a city in Franklin County, Georgia, Franklin and Hart County, Georgia, Hart counties in the U.S. state of Georgia (U.S. state), Georgia. The population was 804 at the 2010 census. His ...
in
Monselice ''"Monselice is the most picturesque town I have seen in Italy. It has an old ruin of a castle upon the hill and thence commands a beautiful and extraordinary view. It lies in the wide plain – a dead level – whereon Ferrara, Bologna, Rovigo, Es ...
near
Padua Padua ( ; it, Padova ; vec, Pàdova) is a city and ''comune'' in Veneto, northern Italy. Padua is on the river Bacchiglione, west of Venice. It is the capital of the province of Padua. It is also the economic and communications hub of the a ...
. Francesca married
Francescuolo da BrossanoFrancescuolo da Brossano was the son-in-law and heir of the Italian medieval poet Petrarch. Biography Born in Milan, Francescuolo ("Little Francesco") was named executor of Petrarch's testamentum. He married Petrarch's daughter Francesca in 1361, ...
(who was later named executor of Petrarch's
will Will may refer to: Common meanings * Will and testament A will or testament is a legal document that expresses a person's (testator A testator () is a person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or at ...
) that same year. In 1362, shortly after the birth of a daughter, Eletta (the same name as Petrarch's mother), they joined Petrarch in
Venice Venice ( ; it, Venezia ; vec, Venesia or ) is a city in northeastern Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of delimited by the and surrounding ...

Venice
to flee the plague then ravaging parts of Europe. A second grandchild, Francesco, was born in 1366, but died before his second birthday. Francesca and her family lived with Petrarch in Venice for five years from 1362 to 1367 at
Palazzo Molina , the official residence of Emperor of Japan. File:Korea-Seoul-Blue House (Cheongwadae) Reception Center 0688&9-07 cropped.jpg, The Blue House, the official residence of the President of South Korea. A palace is a grand residence, especially a ...
; although Petrarch continued to travel in those years. Between 1361 and 1369 the younger Boccaccio paid the older Petrarch two visits. The first was in Venice, the second was in Padua. About 1368 Petrarch and Francesca (with her family) moved to the small town of Arquà in the
Euganean Hills The Euganean Hills ( it, Colli Euganei ) are a group of hills of volcanic origin that rise to heights of 300 to 600 m from the Padovan-Venetian plain a few km south of Padua. The ''Colli Euganei'' form the first Regional park established in the Ve ...
near Padua, where he passed his remaining years in religious contemplation. He died in his house in Arquà early on 20 July 1374—his 70th birthday. The house hosts now a permanent exhibition of Petrarchian works and curiosities; inside is the famous tomb of Petrarch's beloved cat, who was embalmed, among other objects. On the marble slab, there is a Latin inscription written by Antonio Quarenghi:
Petrarch's will (dated 4 April 1370) leaves 50
florins The Florentine Florentine most commonly refers to: * a person or thing from Florence, a city in Italy * the Florentine dialect Florentine may also refer to: Places * Florentin, Tel Aviv, a neighborhood in the southern part of Tel Aviv, Is ...
to Boccaccio "to buy a warm winter dressing gown"; various legacies (a horse, a silver cup, a lute, a
Madonna Madonna Louise Ciccone (; ; born August 16, 1958) is an American singer-songwriter and actress. She is considered Cultural impact of Madonna, one of the most influential figures in popular culture and has often been referred to as the "Honor ...
) to his brother and his friends; his house in Vaucluse to its caretaker; for his
soul In many religious, philosophical, and myth Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or origin myths. The main characters in myths are usually non-humans, such as ...
, and for the poor; and the bulk of his estate to his son-in-law, Francescuolo da Brossano, who is to give half of it to "the person to whom, as he knows, I wish it to go"; presumably his daughter, Francesca, Brossano's wife. The will mentions neither the property in Arquà nor his library;
Petrarch's library The poet Petrarch Francesco Petrarca (; 20 July 1304 – 18/19 July 1374), commonly anglicized as Petrarch (), was a scholar and poet of early Renaissance Italy, and one of the earliest humanists. Petrarch's rediscovery of Cicero Ma ...
of notable manuscripts was already promised to Venice, in exchange for the Palazzo Molina. This arrangement was probably cancelled when he moved to Padua, the enemy of Venice, in 1368. The library was seized by the lords of Padua, and his books and manuscripts are now widely scattered over Europe. Nevertheless, the
Biblioteca Marciana The Marciana Library or Library of Saint Mark ( it, italic=no, Biblioteca Marciana, but in historical documents commonly referred to as ) is a public library A public library is a library A library is a collection of materials, books or ...
traditionally claimed this bequest as its founding, although it was in fact founded by
Cardinal Bessarion Bessarion ( el, Βησσαρίων; 2 January 1403 – 18 November 1472) was a Catholic Church, Catholic cardinal bishop and the titular Latin Patriarch of Constantinople and one of the famed Greek scholars who contributed to the great rev ...
in 1468.


Works

Petrarch is best known for his Italian poetry, notably the '' Rerum vulgarium fragmenta'' ("Fragments of Vernacular Matters"), a collection of 366 lyric poems in various genres also known as 'canzoniere' ('songbook'), and ''I trionfi'' ("The
Triumphs ''Triumphs'' (Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance language *** Regional Italian, r ...
"), a six-part narrative poem of Dantean inspiration. However, Petrarch was an enthusiastic Latin scholar and did most of his writing in this language. His Latin writings include scholarly works, introspective essays, letters, and more poetry. Among them are ''
Secretum Secretum may refer to: *Secretum (book), a book by Petrarch *, a book by Monaldi & Sorti *Secretum (room) at the British Museum *A ''sigillum secretum'', a special seal (device), seal used for private correspondence {{Disambig ...
'' ("My Secret Book"), an intensely personal, imaginary dialogue with a figure inspired by
Augustine of Hippo Augustine of Hippo (; la, Aurelius Augustinus Hipponensis; 13 November 354 – 28 August 430), also known as Saint Augustine, was a theologian and philosopher of Berber Berber or Berbers may refer to: Culture * Berbers Berbers or ''Im ...

Augustine of Hippo
; ''
De Viris Illustribus ''De Viris Illustribus'', meaning "concerning illustrious men", represents a genre of literature which evolved during the Italian Renaissance in imitation of the exemplary literature of Ancient Rome. It inspired the widespread commissioning of gro ...
'' ("On Famous Men"), a series of moral biographies; ''Rerum Memorandarum Libri'', an incomplete treatise on the
cardinal virtues Cardinal virtues are four virtues Virtue ( la, virtus) is morality, moral excellence. A virtue is a trait or quality that is deemed to be morally good and thus is Value (ethics), valued as a foundation of principle and good moral being. In ot ...
; ''De Otio Religiosorum'' ("On Religious Leisure") and '' De vita solitaria'' ("On the Solitary Life"), which praise the contemplative life; ''
De Remediis Utriusque Fortunae ''De remediis utriusque fortunae'' ("Remedies for Fortunes") is a collection of 254 Latin dialogues written by the humanist Francesco Petrarca (1304–1374), commonly known as Petrarch. The dialogues, completed towards the end of Petrarch's life, ...
'' ("Remedies for Fortune Fair and Foul"), a self-help book which remained popular for hundreds of years; ''
Itinerarium An ''itinerarium'' (plural: ''itineraria'') was an Ancient Roman In historiography, ancient Rome is Roman people, Roman civilization from the founding of the Italian city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the collapse of the Western Roman E ...
'' ("Petrarch's Guide to the Holy Land"); invectives against opponents such as doctors, scholastics, and
the French The French people (french: Français) are an ethnic group primarily located in Western Europe and nation that shares a common Culture of France, French culture, history, the French language and is identified with the country of France. The ...
; the ''Carmen Bucolicum'', a collection of 12 pastoral poems; and the unfinished epic ''
Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', ...
''. He translated seven psalms, a collection known as the ''
Penitential Psalms The Penitential Psalms or Psalms of Confession, so named in Cassiodorus's commentary of the 6th century AD, are the Psalms Psalm 6, 6, Psalm 32, 31, Psalm 38, 37, Psalm 51, 50, Psalm 102, 101, Psalm 130, 129, and Psalm 143, 142 (6, 32, 38, 51, 102 ...
''. Petrarch also published many volumes of his letters, including a few written to his long-dead friends from history such as
Cicero Marcus Tullius Cicero ( ; ; 3 January 106 BC – 7 December 43 BC) was a Ancient Rome, Roman statesman, lawyer, scholar, philosopher and Academic skepticism, Academic Skeptic, who tried to uphold optimate principles during crisis of ...

Cicero
and
Virgil Publius Vergilius Maro (; traditional dates 15 October 7021 September 19 BC), usually called Virgil or Vergil ( ) in English, was an ancient Rome, ancient Roman poet of the Augustan literature (ancient Rome), Augustan period. He composed three ...

Virgil
. Cicero, Virgil, and
Seneca Seneca may refer to: People and language *Seneca (name), a list of people with either the given name or surname *Seneca the Elder, a Roman rhetorician, writer and father of the stoic philosopher Seneca the Younger *Seneca the Younger, a Roman Stoi ...
were his literary models. Most of his Latin writings are difficult to find today, but several of his works are available in English translations. Several of his Latin works are scheduled to appear in the Harvard University Press series ''I Tatti''. It is difficult to assign any precise dates to his writings because he tended to revise them throughout his life. Petrarch collected his letters into two major sets of books called '' Rerum familiarum liber''
Letters on Familiar Matters
) and '' Seniles''
Letters of Old Age
), both of which are available in English translation. The plan for his letters was suggested to him by knowledge of
Cicero Marcus Tullius Cicero ( ; ; 3 January 106 BC – 7 December 43 BC) was a Ancient Rome, Roman statesman, lawyer, scholar, philosopher and Academic skepticism, Academic Skeptic, who tried to uphold optimate principles during crisis of ...

Cicero
's letters. 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 Florence ( ; it, Firenze ) is a city in Central-Northern Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of Italian Peninsula, a peninsula delimited by the Al ...

Florence
; and Niccolò di Capoccia, a cardinal and priest of San Vitale (Rome), Saint Vitalis. His "Letter to Posterity" (the last letter in ''Seniles'') gives a
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). While Petrarch's poetry was set to music frequently after his death, especially by Italian madrigal (music), madrigal composers of the Renaissance music, Renaissance in the 16th century, only one musical setting composed during Petrarch's lifetime survives. This is ''Non al suo amante'' by Jacopo da Bologna, written around 1350.


Laura and poetry

On 6 April 1327, after Petrarch gave up his vocation as a priest, the sight of a woman called "Laura" in the church of Sainte-Claire d'
Avignon Avignon (, ; ; oc, Avinhon, label= Provençal or , ; la, Avenio) is the prefecture A prefecture (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. L ...

Avignon
awoke in him a lasting passion, celebrated in the ''Rerum vulgarium fragmenta'' ("Fragments of Vernacular Matters"). Laura may have been Laura de Noves, the wife of Count Hugues de Sade (an ancestor of the Marquis de Sade). There is little definite information in Petrarch's work concerning Laura, except that she is lovely to look at, fair-haired, with a modest, dignified bearing. Laura and Petrarch had little or no personal contact. According to his "Secretum", she refused him because she was already married. He channeled his feelings into love poems that were exclamatory rather than persuasive, and wrote prose that showed his contempt for men who pursue women. Upon her death in 1348, the poet found that his grief was as difficult to live with as was his former despair. Later in his "Letter to Posterity", Petrarch wrote: "In my younger days I struggled constantly with an overwhelming but pure love affair—my only one, and I would have struggled with it longer had not premature death, bitter but salutary for me, extinguished the cooling flames. I certainly wish I could say that I have always been entirely free from desires of the flesh, but I would be lying if I did". While it is possible she was an idealized or pseudonymous character—particularly since the name "Laura" has a Linguistics, linguistic connection to the poetic "laurels" Petrarch coveted—Petrarch himself always denied it. His frequent use of ''l'aura'' is also remarkable: for example, the line "Erano i capei d'oro a ''l'aura'' sparsi" may both mean "her hair was all over Laura's body", and "the wind ("l'aura") blew through her hair". There is psychological realism in the description of Laura, although Petrarch draws heavily on conventionalised descriptions of love and lovers from troubadour songs and other literature of courtly love. Her presence causes him unspeakable joy, but his unrequited love creates unendurable desires, inner conflicts between the ardent lover and the Christian mysticism, mystic Christian, making it impossible to reconcile the two. Petrarch's quest for love leads to hopelessness and irreconcilable anguish, as he expresses in the series of paradoxes in Rima 134 "Pace non trovo, et non ò da far guerra;/e temo, et spero; et ardo, et son un ghiaccio": "I find no peace, and yet I make no war:/and fear, and hope: and burn, and I am ice". Laura is unreachable and evanescent – descriptions of her are evocative yet fragmentary. Francesco de Sanctis praises the powerful music of his verse in his ''Storia della letteratura italiana''. Gianfranco Contini, in a famous essay ("Preliminari sulla lingua del Petrarca". Petrarca, Canzoniere. Turin, Einaudi, 1964), has described Petrarch's language in terms of "unilinguismo" (contrasted with Dantean "plurilinguismo").


Sonnet 227


Dante

Petrarch is very different from Dante and his ''Divina Commedia''. In spite of the metaphysics, metaphysical subject, the ''Commedia'' is deeply rooted in the cultural and social milieu of turn-of-the-century
Florence Florence ( ; it, Firenze ) is a city in Central-Northern Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of Italian Peninsula, a peninsula delimited by the Al ...

Florence
: Dante's rise to power (1300) and exile (1302); his political passions call for a "violent" use of language, where he uses all the registers, from low and trivial to sublime and philosophical. Petrarch confessed to Boccaccio that he had never read the ''Commedia'', remarks Contini, wondering whether this was true or Petrarch wanted to distance himself from Dante. Dante's language evolves as he grows old, from the courtly love of his early Dolce Stil Novo, stilnovistic ''Rime'' and ''Vita nuova'' to the ''Convivio'' and ''Divina Commedia'', where Beatrice Portinari, Beatrice is sanctified as the goddess of philosophy—the philosophy announced by the Donna Gentile at the death of Beatrice. In contrast, Petrarch's thought and style are relatively uniform throughout his life—he spent much of it revising the songs and sonnets of the ''Il Canzoniere, Canzoniere'' rather than moving to new subjects or poetry. Here, poetry alone provides a consolation for personal grief, much less philosophy or politics (as in Dante), for Petrarch fights within himself (sensuality versus mysticism, profane versus Christian literature), not against anything outside of himself. The strong moral and political convictions which had inspired Dante belong to the Middle Ages and the libertarian spirit of the Medieval commune, commune; Petrarch's moral dilemmas, his refusal to take a stand in politics, his reclusive life point to a different direction, or time. The free commune, the place that had made Dante an eminent politician and scholar, was being dismantled: the ''signoria'' was taking its place. Humanism and its spirit of empirical inquiry, however, were making progress—but the papacy (especially after Avignon) and the empire (Henry VII, Holy Roman Emperor, Henry VII, the last hope of the Guelphs and Ghibellines, white Guelphs, died near Siena in 1313) had lost much of their original prestige. Petrarch polished and perfected the sonnet form inherited from Giacomo da Lentini and which Dante widely used in his ''Vita nuova'' to popularise the new courtly love of the ''Dolce Stil Novo''. The tercet benefits from Dante's terza rima (compare the ''Divina Commedia''), the quatrains prefer the ABBA–ABBA to the ABAB–ABAB scheme of the Sicilian School, Sicilians. The imperfect rhymes of ''u'' with closed ''o'' and ''i'' with closed ''e'' (inherited from Guittone's mistaken rendering of Sicilian School, Sicilian verse) are excluded, but the rhyme of open and closed ''o'' is kept. Finally, Petrarch's enjambment creates longer semantic units by connecting one line to the following. The vast majority (317) of Petrarch's 366 poems collected in the ''Canzoniere'' (dedicated to Laura) were ''sonnets'', and the Petrarchan sonnet still bears his name.


Philosophy

Petrarch is traditionally called the father of Humanism and considered by many to be the "father of the
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in ...

Renaissance
." In his work ''Secretum (book), Secretum meum'' he points out that secular achievements did not necessarily preclude an authentic relationship with God. Petrarch argued instead that God had given humans their vast intellectual and creative potential to be used to their fullest. He inspired humanist philosophy which led to the intellectual flowering of the Renaissance. He believed in the immense moral and practical value of the study of ancient history and literature—that is, the study of human thought and action. Petrarch was a devout Catholic and did not see a conflict between realizing humanity's potential and having religious faith. A highly introspective man, he shaped the nascent humanist movement a great deal because many of the internal conflicts and musings expressed in his writings were seized upon by Renaissance humanist philosophers and argued continually for the next 200 years. For example, Petrarch struggled with the proper relation between the active and contemplative life, and tended to emphasize the importance of solitude and study. In a clear disagreement with Dante, in 1346 Petrarch argued in his '' De vita solitaria'' that Pope Celestine V's refusal of the papacy in 1294 was as a virtuous example of solitary life. Later the politician and thinker Leonardo Bruni (1370–1444) argued for the active life, or "civic humanism". As a result, a number of political, military, and religious leaders during the Renaissance were inculcated with the notion that their pursuit of personal fulfillment should be grounded in Classical era, classical example and philosophical contemplation.


Legacy

Petrarch's influence is evident in the works of Serafino dell' Aquila, Serafino Ciminelli from L'Aquila, Aquila (1466–1500) and in the works of Marin Držić (1508–1567) from Dubrovnik. The Romantic era, 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''. Liszt also set a poem by Victor Hugo, " O quand je dors" in which Petrarch and Laura are invoked as the epitome of erotic love. While in Avignon in 1991, Modernist composer Elliott Carter completed his solo flute piece ''Scrivo in Vento'' which is in part inspired by and structured by Petrarch's Sonnet 212, ''Beato in sogno''. It was premiered on Petrarch's 687th birthday. In November 2003, it was announced that pathology, pathological anatomy, anatomists would be exhuming Petrarch's body from his casket in Arquà Petrarca, 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 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.


Works in English translation

* Francesco Petrarch, ''Letters on Familiar Matters (Rerum familiarium libri),'' translated by Aldo S. Bernardo (New York: Italica Press, 2005). Volume 1, Books 1–8; Volume 2, Books 9–16; Volume 3, Books 17–24 * Francesco Petrarch, ''Letters of Old Age (Rerum senilium libri),'' translated by Aldo S. Bernardo, Saul Levin & Reta A. Bernardo (New York: Italica Press, 2005). Volume 1, Books 1–9; Volume 2, Books 10–18 * Francesco Petrarch, ''My Secret Book'', (''Secretum''), translated by Nicholas Mann. Harvard University Press * Francesco Petrarch, ''On Religious Leisure (De otio religioso),'' edited & translated by Susan S. Schearer, introduction by Ronald G. Witt (New York: Italica Press, 2002) * Francesco Petrarch, ''The Revolution of Cola di Rienzo,'' translated from Latin and edited by Mario E. Cosenza; 3rd, revised, edition by Ronald G. Musto (New York; Italica Press, 1996) * Francesco Petrarch, ''Selected Letters'', vol. 1 and 2, translated by Elaine Fantham. Harvard University Press *Francesco Petrarch, ''The Canzoniere, or Rerum vulgarium fragmenta,'' translated by Mark Musa, Indiana University Press, 1996,


See also

* Otium


Notes


References

* Bartlett, Kenneth R. (1992). ''The Civilization of the Italian Renaissance; a Source Book''. Lexington: D.C. Heath and Company. * Morris Bishop, Bishop, Morris (1961). "Petrarch." In J. H. Plumb (Ed.), ''Renaissance Profiles'', pp. 1–17. New York: Harper & Row. . * Hanawalt, A. Barbara (1998). ''The Middle Ages: An Illustrated History'' pp. 131–132 New York: Oxford University Press * * Kallendorf, Craig. "The Historical Petrarch," ''The American Historical Review'', Vol. 101, No. 1 (Feb. 1996): 130–141.


Further reading

* Bernardo, Aldo (1983). "Petrarch." In ''Dictionary of the Middle Ages'', volume 9 * Celenza, Christopher S. (2017). ''Petrarch: Everywhere a Wanderer''. London: Reaktion. * Hennigfeld, Ursula (2008). ''Der ruinierte Körper. Petrarkistische Sonette in transkultureller Perspektive''. Würzburg, Königshausen & Neumann, 2008, * Hollway-Calthrop, Henry (1907)
''Petrarch: His Life and Times''
Methuen. From Google Books * Kohl, Benjamin G. (1978). "Francesco Petrarch: Introduction; How a Ruler Ought to Govern His State," in ''The Earthly Republic: Italian Humanists on Government and Society'', ed. Benjamin G. Kohl and Ronald G. Witt, 25–78. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. * Nauert, Charles G. (2006). ''Humanism and the Culture of Renaissance Europe: Second Edition''. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. * Rawski, Conrad H. (1991). ''Petrarch's Remedies for Fortune Fair and Foul'' A Modern English Translation of ''De remediis utriusque Fortune'', with a Commentary. * James Harvey Robinson, Robinson, James Harvey (1898)
''Petrarch, the First Modern Scholar and Man of Letters''
Harvard University * * A. Lee, ''Petrarch and St. Augustine: Classical Scholarship, Christian Theology and the Origins of the Renaissance in Italy'', Brill, Leiden, 2012, * N. Mann, ''Petrarca'' [Ediz. orig. Oxford University Press (1984)] – Ediz. ital. a cura di G. Alessio e L. Carlo Rossi – Premessa di G. Velli, LED Edizioni Universitarie, Milano, 1993, * ''Il Canzoniere» di Francesco Petrarca. La Critica Contemporanea'', G. Barbarisi e C. Berra (edd.), LED Edizioni Universitarie, Milano, 1992, * G. Baldassari, ''Unum in locum. Strategie macrotestuali nel Petrarca politico'', LED Edizioni Universitarie, Milano, 2006, * Francesco Petrarca, ''Rerum vulgarium Fragmenta. Edizione critica di Giuseppe Savoca'', Olschki, Firenze, 2008, * Plumb, J. H., ''The Italian Renaissance'', Houghton Mifflin, 2001, * Giuseppe Savoca, ''Il ''Canzoniere'' di Petrarca. Tra codicologia ed ecdotica'', Olschki, Firenze, 2008, * Roberta Antognini, ''Il progetto autobiografico delle "Familiares" di Petrarca'', LED Edizioni Universitarie, Milano, 2008, * Paul Geyer und Kerstin Thorwarth (hg), ''Petrarca und die Herausbildung des modernen Subjekts'' (Göttingen, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2009) (Gründungsmythen Europas in Literatur, Musik und Kunst, 2)


External links


Petrarch and his Cat Muse


from the ''Catholic Encyclopedia''
Excerpts from his works and letters


* * * *



translated by Tony Kline.
Francesco Petrarch
at ''The Online Library of Liberty'' * s:la:Liber:De remediis utriusque fortunae, ''De remediis utriusque fortunae'', Cremonae, B. de Misintis ac Caesaris Parmensis, 1492. (Wikisource, Vicifons) *
Petrarch and Laura
Multi-lingual site including translated works in the public domain and biography, pictures, music.

April 2004 article in ''The Guardian'' regarding the exhumation of Petrarch's remains
Oregon Petrarch Open Book
– A working database-driven hypertext in and around Francis Petrarch's Rerum Vulgarium Fragmenta (''Canzoniere'')
Historia Griseldis
From th
Rare Book and Special Collections Division
at the Library of Congress * Francesco Petrarch
''De viris illustribus''
digitized French codex, a
Somni

Petrarch's Vision of the Muslim and Byzantine East - Nancy Bisaha, Speculum, University of Chicago Press
{{DEFAULTSORT:Petrarch Petrarch, Italian Renaissance humanists Italian Renaissance writers 1304 births 1374 deaths Bibliophiles Book and manuscript collectors Christian humanists Italian male poets Italian Roman Catholics People from Arezzo Rhetoricians Roman Catholic writers Sonneteers 14th-century Italian historians 14th-century Italian poets 14th-century Italian writers 14th-century Latin writers