July 20, 1304
Comune of Arezzo
|Died||July 19, 1374 69) (aged|
Arquà, Padua, Republic of Venice
(now Padua, Italy)
|Resting place||Arquà Petrarca|
|Alma mater|| University of Montpellier |
University of Bologna
|Literary movement||Renaissance humanism|
|Notable works|| Triumphs |
|Notable awards||Poet laureate of Padua|
|Partner||unknown woman or women|
Francesca (born in 1343)
|Relatives||Eletta Canigiani (mother)|
Ser Petracco (father)
Gherardo Petracco (brother)
Francesco Petrarca (Italian: [franˈtʃesko peˈtrarka] ; 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's letters is often credited with initiating the 14th-century Italian Renaissance and the founding of Renaissance 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, to a lesser extent, Dante Alighieri. Petrarch would be later endorsed as a model for Italian style 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,"which most modern scholars now find misleading and inaccurate.
Petrarch was born in the Tuscan city of Arezzo on 20 July 1304. He was the son of Ser Petracco and his wife Eletta Canigiani. His given name was Francesco Petracco, which was Latinized to Petrarca. Petrarch's younger brother was born in Incisa in Val d'Arno in 1307. Dante Alighieri was a friend of his father.
Petrarch spent his early childhood in the village of Incisa, near Florence. He spent much of his early life at Avignon and nearby Carpentras, where his family moved to follow Pope Clement V, who moved there in 1309 to begin the Avignon Papacy. Petrarch studied law at the University of Montpellier (1316–20) and Bologna (1320–23) with a lifelong friend and schoolmate called Guido Sette. Because his father was in the legal profession (a notary), he insisted that Petrarch and his brother also study law. Petrarch, however, was primarily interested in writing and Latin literature 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 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 , an epic in Latin about the great Roman general Scipio Africanus, Petrarch emerged as a European celebrity. On 8 April 1341, he became the secondpoet laureate since classical antiquity and was crowned by Roman Senatori Giordano Orsini and Orso dell'Anguillara on the holy grounds of Rome's Capitol.
He traveled widely in Europe, served as an ambassador, and (because he traveled for pleasure,as with his ascent of Mont Ventoux) has been called "the first tourist". During his travels, he collected crumbling Latin manuscripts and was a prime mover in the recovery of knowledge from writers of Rome and Greece. He encouraged and advised Leontius Pilatus's translation of 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; Petrarch said, "Homer was dumb to him, while he was deaf to Homer". In 1345 he personally discovered a collection of Cicero's letters not previously known to have existed, the collection Epistulae ad Atticum , in the Chapter Library (Biblioteca Capitolare) of Verona Cathedral.
Disdaining what he believed to be the ignorance of the centuries preceding the era in which he lived, Petrarch is credited or charged with creating the concept of a historical "Dark Ages".
Petrarch recounts that on 26 April 1336, with his brother and two servants, he climbed to the top of Mont Ventoux (1,912 meters (6,273 ft), 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, composed some time after the fact. In it, Petrarch claimed to have been inspired by 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 noted that Jean Buridan had climbed the same mountain a few years before, and ascents accomplished during the Middle Ages have been recorded, including that of Anno II, Archbishop of Cologne.
Scholarsnote that Petrarch's letter 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. 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 Alpinist 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 Lyons, the Rhone, the Bay of Marseilles. He took Augustine's Confessions from his pocket and reflected that his climb was merely an allegory of aspiration toward a better life.
As the book fell open, Petrarch's eyes were immediately drawn to the following words:
And men go about to wonder at the heights of the mountains, and the mighty waves of the sea, and the wide sweep of rivers, and the circuit of the ocean, and the revolution of the stars, but themselves they consider not.
Petrarch's response was to turn from the outer world of nature to the inner world of "soul":
I closed the book, angry with myself that I should still be admiring earthly things who might long ago have learned from even the pagan philosophers that nothing is wonderful but the soul, which, when great itself, finds nothing great outside itself. Then, in truth, I was satisfied that I had seen enough of the mountain; I turned my inward eye upon myself, and from that time not a syllable fell from my lips until we reached the bottom again. ... [W]e look about us for what is to be found only within. ... How many times, think you, did I turn back that day, to glance at the summit of the mountain which seemed scarcely a cubit high compared with the range of human contemplation
James Hillman 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:
In the alternative argument that I want to make, these emotional responses, marked by the changing senses of space and time in Petrarch's writing, suggest a person caught in unsettled tension between two different but contemporaneous ontological formations: the traditional and the modern.
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 in Monselice near Padua. Francesca married Francescuolo da Brossano (who was later named executor of Petrarch's will) 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 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; 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 his daughter Francesca (with her family) moved to the small town of Arquà in the Euganean Hills near Padua, where he passed his remaining years in religious contemplation. He died in his house in Arquà early on 20 July 1374—his seventieth 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:
Etruscus gemino vates ardebat amore:
Maximus ignis ego; Laura secundus erat.
Quid rides? divinæ illam si gratia formæ,
Me dignam eximio fecit amante fides.
Si numeros geniumque sacris dedit illa libellis
Causa ego ne sævis muribus esca forent.
Arcebam sacro vivens a limine mures,
Ne domini exitio scripta diserta forent;
Incutio trepidis eadem defuncta pavorem,
Et viget exanimi in corpore prisca fides.
Petrarch's will (dated 4 April 1370) leaves 50 florins to Boccaccio "to buy a warm winter dressing gown"; various legacies (a horse, a silver cup, a lute, a Madonna) to his brother and his friends; his house in Vaucluse to its caretaker; for his soul, 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 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 traditionally claimed this bequest as its founding, although it was in fact founded by Cardinal Bessarion in 1468.
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"), 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 ("My Secret Book"), an intensely personal, imaginary dialogue with a figure inspired by Augustine of Hippo; De Viris Illustribus ("On Famous Men"), a series of moral biographies; Rerum Memorandarum Libri, an incomplete treatise on the cardinal virtues; De Otio Religiosorum ("On Religious Leisure")and De vita solitaria ("On the Solitary Life"), which praise the contemplative life; De Remediis Utriusque Fortunae ("Remedies for Fortune Fair and Foul"), a self-help book which remained popular for hundreds of years; Itinerarium ("Petrarch's Guide to the Holy Land"); invectives against opponents such as doctors, scholastics, and the French; the Carmen Bucolicum, a collection of 12 pastoral poems; and the unfinished epic Africa . He translated seven psalms, a collection known as the Penitential Psalms .
Petrarch also 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, 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'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; 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).
While Petrarch's poetry was set to music frequently after his death, especially by Italian madrigal composers of the 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.
This section needs additional citations for verification .(April 2017)
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 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 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 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").
|Original Italian||English translation by A.S. Kline|
Aura che quelle chiome bionde et crespe
Breeze, blowing that blonde curling hair,
Petrarch is very different from Dante and his Divina Commedia . In spite of the metaphysical subject, the Commedia is deeply rooted in the cultural and social milieu of turn-of-the-century 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 stilnovistic Rime and Vita nuova to the Convivio and Divina Commedia, where 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 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 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, the last hope of the 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 Sicilians. The imperfect rhymes of u with closed o and i with closed e (inherited from Guittone's mistaken rendering of 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.
Petrarch is traditionally called the father of Humanism and considered by many to be the "father of the Renaissance."In his work 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 example and philosophical contemplation.
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 . 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 pathological 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.
Giovanni Boccaccio 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 figures in the European literary panorama of the fourteenth century. Some scholars define him as the greatest European prose writer of his time, a versatile writer who amalgamated different literary trends and genres, making them converge in original works, thanks to a creative activity exercised under the banner of experimentalism.
Pietro Bembo, O.S.I.H. was an Italian scholar, poet, and literary theorist who also was a member of the Knights Hospitaller, and a cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. As an intellectual of the Italian Renaissance, Pietro Bembo greatly influenced the development of the Tuscan dialect as a literary language for poetry and prose, which, by later codification into a standard language, became the modern Italian language. In the 16th century, Bembo's poetry, essays, books proved basic to reviving interest in the literary works of Petrarch. In the field of music, Bembo's literary writing techniques helped composers develop the techniques of musical composition that made the madrigal the most important secular music of 16th-century Italy.
Simone Martini was an Italian painter born in Siena. He was a major figure in the development of early Italian painting and greatly influenced the development of the International Gothic style.
Italian literature is written in the Italian language, particularly within Italy. It may also refer to literature written by Italians or in Italy in other languages spoken in Italy, often languages that are closely related to modern Italian. Italian literature begins in the 12th century when in different regions of the peninsula the Italian vernacular started to be used in a literary manner. The Ritmo laurenziano is the first extant document of Italian literature.
The Petrarchan sonnet, also known as the Italian sonnet, is a sonnet named after the Italian poet Francesco Petrarca, although it was not developed by Petrarca himself, but rather by a string of Renaissance poets. Because of the structure of Italian, the rhyme scheme of the Petrarchan sonnet is more easily fulfilled in that language than in English. The original Italian sonnet form consists of a total of fourteen hendecasyllabic lines in two parts, the first part being an octave and the second being a sestet.
Lodovico Dolce (1508/10–1568) was an Italian man of letters and theorist of painting. He was a broadly based Venetian humanist and prolific author, translator and editor; he is now mostly remembered for his Dialogue on Painting or L'Aretino (1557), and his involvement in artistic controversies of the day. He became a friend of Titian's, and often acted as in effect his public relations man.
Il Canzoniere, also known as the Rime Sparse, but originally titled Rerum vulgarium fragmenta, is a collection of poems by the Italian humanist, poet, and writer Petrarch.
Africa is an epic poem in Latin hexameters by the 14th-century Italian poet Petrarch. It tells the story of the Second Punic War, in which the Carthaginian general Hannibal invaded Italy, but Roman forces were eventually victorious after an invasion of north Africa led by Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus, the epic poem's hero.
De viris illustribus is an unfinished collection of biographies, written in Latin, by the 14th century Italian author Francesco Petrarca. These biographies are a set of Lives similar in idea to Plutarch's Parallel Lives. The works were unfinished. However he was famous enough for these and other works to receive two invitations to be crowned poet laureate. He received these invitations on exactly the same day, April 8, 1341, one being from the Paris University and the other from the Roman Senate. He accepted the Roman invitation.
Pier Paolo Vergerio was an Italian humanist, statesman, pedagogist and canon lawyer.
The sonnets of Petrarch and Shakespeare represent, in the history of this major poetic form, the two most significant developments in terms of technical consolidation—by renovating the inherited material—and artistic expressiveness—by covering a wide range of subjects in an equally wide range of tones. Both writers cemented the sonnet's enduring appeal by demonstrating its flexibility and lyrical potency through the exceptional quality of their poems.
Epistolae familiares is the title of a collection of letters of Petrarch which he edited during his lifetime. He originally called the collection Epistolarum mearum ad diversos liber but this was later shortened to the current title.
The Liber sine nomine is a collection of nineteen personal letters written in Latin by the fourteenth century Italian poet and Renaissance humanist Petrarch. The letters being harshly critical of the Avignon papacy, they were withheld from the larger collection of his Epistolae familiares and assembled in a separate book. In this fashion, Petrarch reasoned, a reader could throw away this collection, and the other letters to friends could be preserved for posterity.
Albertino Mussato (1261–1329) was a statesman, poet, historian and playwright from Padua. He is credited with providing an impetus to the revival of literary Latin, and is characterized as an early humanist. He was influenced by his teacher, the Paduan poet and proto-humanist Lovato Lovati. Mussato influenced many humanists such as Petrarch.
Francescuolo da Brossano was the son-in-law and heir of the Italian medieval poet Petrarch.
The Italian poet Petrarch wrote about his ascent of Mont Ventoux on 26 April 1336 in a well-known letter published as one of his Epistolae familiares. In this letter, written around 1350, Petrarch claimed to be the first person since antiquity to have climbed a mountain for the view. Although the historical accuracy of his account has been questioned by modern scholars, it is often cited in discussions of the new spirit of the Renaissance.
Dionigi di Borgo San Sepolcro OESA was an Augustinian monk who was at one time Petrarch's confessor, and who taught Boccaccio at the beginning of his education in the humanities. He was Bishop of Monopoli in Apulia. He was surnamed, not uncommonly for the trecento, for the town in which he was born, now Sansepolcro in Tuscany. His family name was de' Roberti, which no longer exists. Dionigi is the Italian form of Dennis, Latin Dionysius.
Heinrich Steinhöwel was a Swabian author, humanist, and translator who was much inspired by the Italian Renaissance. His translations of medical treatises and fiction were an important contribution to early Renaissance Humanism in Germany.
Contact between Geoffrey Chaucer and the Italian humanists Petrarch or Boccaccio has been proposed by scholars for centuries. More recent scholarship tends to discount these earlier speculations because of lack of evidence. As Leonard Koff remarks, the story of their meeting is "a 'tydying' worthy of Chaucer himself".
Triumphs is a series of poems by Petrarch in the Tuscan language evoking the Roman ceremony of triumph, where victorious generals and their armies were led in procession by the captives and spoils they had taken in war. Composed over more than twenty years, the poetry is written in terza rima. It consists of twelve chapters ordered in six triumphs envisioned by the poet in a dream honoring allegorical figures such as Love, Chastity, Death, and Fame, who vanquish each other in turn. Further triumphs are awarded to Time and Eternity. Composition of the work started in 1351 and the final chapter was last edited on February 12, 1374, a few months before the author's death.