Francesco Petrarca (Italian: [franˈtʃesko peˈtrarka]; July 20, 1304 – July 18/19, 1374), commonly anglicized as Petrarch (/ˈpiːtrɑːrk, ˈpɛ-/), was a scholar and poet of Renaissance Italy who was one of the earliest humanists. His rediscovery of Cicero's letters is often credited with initiating the 14th-century Renaissance. Petrarch is often considered the founder 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, 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."
Petrarch portrait by Altichiero
|Born||July 20, 1304|
|Died||July 19, 1374 (aged 69)|
|Literary movement||Renaissance humanism|
Francesca (born in 1343)
|Relatives||Eletta Canigiani (mother)|
Ser Petracco (father)
Petrarch was born in the Tuscan city of Arezzo in 1304. He was the son of Ser Petracco and his wife Eletta Canigiani. His given name was Francesco Petracco. The name was Latinized to Petrarca. Petrarch's younger brother was born in Incisa in Val d'Arno in 1307. Dante 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. He 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 study law also. 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 April 8, 1341, he became the second  poet laureate since 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 has been called "the first tourist" because he traveled just for pleasure, and the reason he climbed Mont Ventoux. 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; Homer, Petrarch said, "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.
Petrarch recounts that on April 26, 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.
Scholars note 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. Both he later legitimized.
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 July 20, 1374—his seventieth birthday. The house hosts now a permanent exhibition of Petrarchian works and curiosities; among others you find the famous tomb of Petrarch's beloved cat who was embalmed. 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 April 4, 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 Canzoniere ("Songbook") and the Trionfi ("Triumphs"). 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 Meum ("My Secret Book"), an intensely personal, guilt-ridden imaginary dialogue with 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 Epistolae familiares ("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.
On April 6, 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 Rime sparse ("Scattered rhymes"). Later, Renaissance poets who copied Petrarch's style named this collection of 366 poems Il Canzoniere ("Song Book"). 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 – the few physical descriptions of her are vague, almost impalpable as the love he pines for, and such is perhaps the power of his verse, which lives off the melodies it evokes against the fading, diaphanous image that is no more consistent than a ghost. Francesco De Sanctis remarks much the same thing in his Storia della letteratura italiana, and contemporary critics agree on the powerful music of his verse. Perhaps the poet was inspired by a famous singer he met in Veneto around the 1350s. Gianfranco Contini, in a famous essay on Petrarch's language ("Preliminari sulla lingua del Petrarca". Petrarca, Canzoniere. Turin, Einaudi, 1964) has spoken of linguistic indeterminacy—Petrarch never rises above the "bel pié" (her lovely foot): Laura is too holy to be painted; she is an awe-inspiring goddess. Sensuality and passion are suggested rather by the rhythm and music that shape the vague contours of the lady. In addition, some today consider Laura to be a representation of an "ideal Renaissance woman", based on her nature and definitive characteristics.
|Original Italian||English translation by A.S. Kline|
Aura che quelle chiome bionde et crespe
Breeze, blowing that blonde curling hair,
Petrarch is a world apart 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.
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, 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.
Africa is an epic poem in Latin hexameters by the 14th century Italian poet Petrarch (Francesco Petrarca). 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.Arquà Petrarca
Arquà Petrarca (Italian pronunciation: [arˈkwa ppeˈtrarka]) is a town and municipality (comune) in northeastern Italy, in the Veneto region, in the province of Padua. As of 2007 the estimated population of Arquà Petrarca was 1,835. The town is part of the club The most beautiful villages in Italy, and it has been awarded the Bandiera arancione award for excellence in tourism, hospitality and the environment.
Within the town boundaries lies the Coast Lake (Laghetto della Costa), one of the Prehistoric Pile Dwellings Around the Alps, since 2011 in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list.Dark Ages (historiography)
The "Dark Ages" is a historical periodization traditionally referring to the Middle Ages, that asserts that a demographic, cultural, and economic deterioration occurred in Western Europe following the decline of the Roman Empire.The term employs traditional light-versus-darkness imagery to contrast the era's "darkness" (lack of records) with earlier and later periods of "light" (abundance of records). The concept of a "Dark Age" originated in the 1330s with the Italian scholar Petrarch, who regarded the post-Roman centuries as "dark" compared to the light of classical antiquity. The phrase "Dark Age" itself derives from the Latin saeculum obscurum, originally applied by Caesar Baronius in 1602 to a tumultuous period in the 10th and 11th centuries. The concept thus came to characterize the entire Middle Ages as a time of intellectual darkness between the fall of Rome and the Renaissance; this became especially popular during the 18th-century Age of Enlightenment.As the accomplishments of the era came to be better understood in the 18th and 20th centuries, scholars began restricting the "Dark Ages" appellation to the Early Middle Ages (c. 5th–10th century). The majority of modern scholars avoid the term altogether due to its negative connotations, finding it misleading and inaccurate. The original definition remains in popular use, and popular culture often employs it as a vehicle to depict the Middle Ages as a time of backwardness, extending its pejorative use and expanding its scope.De Viris Illustribus (Petrarch)
De viris illustribus (English: On Illustrious Men) 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.It is composed of two books:
Liber I includes 24 to 36 moral biographies (depending on version) of heroes of Greek and Roman antiquity (much like Polybius The Histories and Plutarch's figures in his Lives).
Liber II includes 12 moral biographies of Biblical and mythical figures (much like that found in the Hebrew Bible, Greek mythology, and Islamic prophets).There is as yet no English translation. Harvard University has it under contract to appear in the I Tatti Renaissance Library sometime in the future.Dionigi di Borgo San Sepolcro
Dionigi di Borgo San Sepolcro OESA (Roberti of Roberti, Dennis) (c. 1300 – 31 March 1342) 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.Epistolae familiares
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 ("a book of my letters to different people") but this was later shortened to the current title.
Petrarch discovered the text of Cicero’s letters in 1345, which gave him the idea to collect his own sets of letters. It wasn't until four or five years later however, that he actually got started. He collected his letter correspondence in two different time periods. They are referred to as Epistolae familiares and Seniles.
Epistolae familiares (a.k.a. Familiar Letters) was largely collected during his stay in Provence about 1351 to 1353, however was not ultimately completed until 1359 when he was in Milan. Petrarch had this collection of letters copied onto parchment in 1359 by a certain ingeniosus homo et amicus with another complete copy done in 1364. He added letters in 1366, bringing his first collection of letters to 350. He broke these down and sorted them into 24 volumes. This first collection of letters called Epistolae familiares were actually written between the years 1325 and 1366 (the first translation into English was done by historian James Harvey Robinson in 1898 in his book The First Modern Scholar and Man of Letters).
In January 1350 Petrarch wrote a lengthy letter to his dear friend ("Socrates" as Petrarch liked to call him) dedicating the collection to him. He requests his friend to keep the letters safely out of sight of the censors and critics. It has since been discovered that Socrates was the Flemish Benedictine monk and music theorist Lodewijk Heyligen whose acquaintance Petrarch had made in the circle of cardinal Giovanni Colonna in Avignon.Francescuolo da Brossano
Francescuolo da Brossano was the son-in-law and heir of the Italian medieval poet Petrarch.Giovanni Boccaccio
Giovanni Boccaccio (UK: , US: , Italian: [dʒoˈvanni bokˈkattʃo]; 16 June 1313 – 21 December 1375) was an Italian writer, poet, correspondent of Petrarch, and an important Renaissance humanist. Boccaccio wrote a number of notable works, including The Decameron and On Famous Women. He wrote his imaginative literature mostly in the Italian vernacular, as well as other works in Latin, and is particularly noted for his realistic dialogue which differed from that of his contemporaries, medieval writers who usually followed formulaic models for character and plot.Il Canzoniere
Il Canzoniere (Italian pronunciation: [il kantsoˈnjɛːre]; English: Song Book), also known as the Rime Sparse (English: Scattered Rhymes), but originally titled Rerum vulgarium fragmenta (English: Fragments of common things, that is Fragments composed in vernacular), is a collection of poems by the Italian humanist, poet, and writer Petrarch.
Though the majority of Petrarch's output was in Latin, the Canzoniere was written in the vernacular, a language of trade, despite Petrarch's view that Italian was less adequate for expression. Of its 366 poems, the vast majority are in sonnet form (317), though the sequence contains a number of canzoni (29), sestine (9), madrigals (4), and ballate (7). Its central theme is the poet's love for Laura, a woman Petrarch allegedly met on April 6, 1327, in the Church of Sainte Claire in Avignon. Though disputed, the inscription in his copy of Virgil records this information. Petrarch's meticulous dating of his manuscripts has allowed scholars to deduce that the poems were written over a period of forty years, with the earliest dating from shortly after 1327, and the latest around 1368. The transcription and ordering of the sequence itself went on until 1374, the year of the poet's death. The two sections of the sequence which are divided by Laura's death have traditionally been labelled 'In vita' (In life') and 'In morte' (In death) respectively, though Petrarch made no such distinction. His work would go on to become what Spiller calls 'the single greatest influence on the love poetry of Renaissance Europe until well into the seventeenth century'.Influence of Italian humanism on Chaucer
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".One of the reasons for the belief that Chaucer came in contact with Petrarch or Boccaccio is because of Chaucer's many trips to mainland Europe from England. Chaucer happened to be in the same areas at the same time as Petrarch and Boccaccio. Another reason is the influence of Petrarch's and Boccaccio's works on Chaucer's later literary works.Laura de Noves
Laura de Noves (1310–1348) was the wife of Count Hugues de Sade (ancestor of the Marquis de Sade). She could be the Laura that the Humanist poet Francesco Petrarch wrote about extensively; however, she has never been positively identified as such. Laura had a great influence on Petrarch's life and lyrics. The historical information on Laura is meager at best.
Born six years after Petrarch in 1310 in Avignon, she was the daughter of a knight, Audibert de Noves and his wife Ermessenda. She married at the age of 15 on 16 January 1325. Not much is known about her other than she did have a large family, was a virtuous wife, and died in 1348.
Petrarch saw her for the first time two years later on 6 April (Good Friday) in 1327 at Easter mass in the church of Sainte-Claire d'Avignon. Since this first encounter with Laura, Petrarch spent the next three years in Avignon singing his purely platonic love and haunting Laura in church and on her walks. After this Petrarch left Avignon and went to Lombez (a French department of Gers) where he held a canonry gifted by Pope Benedict XII. Her possible tomb could have been discovered by the French poet Maurice Scève in 1533.In 1337 he returned to Avignon and bought a small estate at Vaucluse to be near his dear Laura. Here, for the next three years, he wrote numerous sonnets in her praise. Petrarch's Canzoniere (Songbook) is the lyrics to her in the troubadour tradition of courtly love. They advanced the growth of Italian as a literary language. They also popularized this form of sonnet that is called Petrarchan sonnet. Years after her death Petrarch wrote his Trionfi, which is a religious allegory in which Laura is idealized.Liber sine nomine
The Liber sine nomine (The Book without a Name) 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 (Letters to Friends) 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.Petrarca-Preis
Petrarca-Preis was a European literary and translation award named after the Italian Renaissance poet Francesco Petrarca or Petrarch. Founded in 1975 by German art historian and publisher Hubert Burda, it was primarily designed for contemporary European poets, but also epicists appear in the list of laureates, as well as some occasional non-Europeans.
The award was first distributed over a twenty-year period (1975–95) and included the categories Literature and Translation. Then it was followed for a decade (1999-2009) by a Hermann-Lenz-Preis and resumed in 2010. The first jury consisted of fluxus participant Bazon Brock, poets Michael Krüger and Nicolas Born, and novelist Peter Handke. When the prize resumed in 2010, Peter Handke and Michael Krüger still were on the jury, together with the authors Alfred Kolleritsch (himself awarded in 1978) and Peter Hamm. "We want to support a national and regional culture in Europe", founder Hubert Burda initially said at the 2011 awards. An explicit goal was to watch out all over Europe for authors who gave a distinctive voice to their prevailing culture. The Petrarca-Preis consisted of 20,000 €, and it could be shared between several winners. The ceremony was usually held in places which Francesco Petrarch at some point visited.Petrarch's and Shakespeare's sonnets
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.Petrarch (crater)
Petrarch is a crater on Mercury at latitude -30, longitude 26.5. It is ~170 km in diameter. This crater is located within the distorted terrain on the opposite side of the planet from the Caloris Basin. It is named after Petrarch, the medieval Italian poet.Petrarch (horse)
Petrarch (foaled 1873), was a British Thoroughbred racehorse and sire who won two British Classic Races in 1876. In a career that lasted from October 1875 to October 1878 he ran sixteen times and won eight races. In 1875, Petrarch won the Middle Park Stakes on his only appearance of the season. As a three-year-old in 1876 he won two of the three races which comprise the Triple Crown, taking the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket and the St Leger at Doncaster. He finished unplaced when favourite for The Derby. As a four-year-old he won three races including the two and a half mile Ascot Gold Cup which at that time was regarded as the most important weight-for-age race in the world. Petrarch was regarded by contemporary experts as a brilliant, but inconsistent performer. After winning once as a five-year-old in 1878 he was retired to stud where he became a successful sire of winners.Petrarchan sonnet
The Petrarchan sonnet is a sonnet form not developed by Petrarch 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 divides the poem's 14 lines into two parts, the first part being an octave and the second being a sestet.Philippe de Cabassoles
Philippe de Cabassole or Philippe de Cabassoles (1305–1372), the Bishop of Cavaillon, Seigneur of Vaucluse, was the great protector of Renaissance poet Francesco Petrarch.Triumphs
Triumphs (Italian: Trionfi) 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 and divided into twelve chapters honoring allegorical figures such as Love, Chastity, Death, and Fame, who vanquish each other in turn. The last chapter was completed February 12, 1374, a few months before the author's death.