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Vergerio, Pier Paolo

(346 words)

Author(s): Kohl, Benjamin G.
1370-1444. Italy. Humanist, educational theorist, and church reformer. Wrote Latin biographies of the first seven lords of the da Carrara family who ruled over Padua in the 14th century. Born in Istria, Vergerio spent his most formative years, from 1390 to 1405, in Padua, where he was a student at the university and tutor to the sons of the ruling lord, Francesco Novello da Carrara. There he wrote his widely circulated treatise on education, De ingenuis moribus et liberalibus studiis adolescentiae (On teaching young people noble habits and the liberal arts), and composed his De principib…
Date: 2016-10-17

Gesta magnifica domus carrariensis

(426 words)

Author(s): Kohl, Benjamin G.
(Magnificent deeds of the house of Carrara) late 14th century. Italy. An anonymous compendium of lives of the leaders of the Carrara family in Padua from the early 11th until the late 14th century. The several versions of the Gesta magnifica domus carrariensis survive in four redactions, two in Latin and two in Paduan dialect. According to the research of Roberto Cessi and Marino Zabbia, the original version (now lost) was composed at the Carrara court in the 1360s and rewritten in the 1370s by the curial notary Bernardo da Caselle, who added a number of cha…
Date: 2016-10-17

Iacopo Piacentino

(238 words)

Author(s): Kohl, Benjamin G.
[Iacopus Placentinus, Giacomo da Piacenza] 14th century. Italy. Born in Piacenza at the end of the 13th century, Iacopo da Piacenza served as a public notary in the ducal chancery of the Venetian Republic from 1317, sometimes acting as an envoy on missions to Sicily and other states. In 1340 he was charged with trading state secrets to Venice's enemies, fined and dismissed from office. He ended his days as a schoolmaster in Venice, probably murdered in a local quarrel in 1349. His major work is a Latin prose ch…
Date: 2016-10-17

Morosini, Antonio

(379 words)

Author(s): Kohl, Benjamin G.
ca 1365 - post 1433. Italy. Author of a vernacular chronicle of Venice from 1095 to 1433, especially full after 1414, when it becomes a diary of Venetian politics and commercial affairs. Born into the influential Morosini noble family in Venice in the late 14th century, son of Marco. Little is known of his career, except that he undertook to write a history of his native city in Venetian dialect from its origins until his death in 1433. The earlier portion on the history of Venice from its founding until 1095 was later lost, and much of t…
Date: 2016-10-17

Savonarola, Michele

(341 words)

Author(s): Kohl, Benjamin G.
1385-1466. Italy. Paduan physician and medical writer, who composed a panegyric to his native city, organized around the lives of famous citizens. Born into a family of commoners, he studied arts and medicine at the University of Padua, where he later served as promoter of many doctoral candidates, lectured on Avicenna, and taught medicine. In 1440 he moved to Ferrara where he served as court physician to Niccolò III d'Este, and later to Leonello and Borso d'Este, to whom he dedicated his study on mineral baths ( De balneis). He also wrote medical treatises on pregnancy, fevers, an…
Date: 2016-10-17

Contarini, Ambrogio

(317 words)

Author(s): Kohl, Benjamin G.
1429-99. Italy and Persia. Venetian merchant, government official and diplomat. Author of a detailed account of his embassy to the king of Persia in 1474-77. Born into a distinguished noble family in Venice, Contarini was admitted to the city's Great Council in 1447, and took up residence as a merchant in Constantinople soon after its fall to the Turks. He returned to Venice at the outbreak of the Veneto-Turkish War in 1463, conducting trade in the western Mediterranean before assuming command of a war galley against the Turks in the Aegean in 1470.In December 1473 Contarini was appoin…
Date: 2016-10-17

Gatari, Galeazzo and Bartolomeo

(449 words)

Author(s): Kohl, Benjamin G.
14th-15th century. Italy. Galeazzo (1344-1405) and Bartolomeo (1380-1439) were the father and son authors of a history in the vernacular of the rule of the Carrara family over Padua from 1318 to 1405. Born in Padua into a merchant family from Bologna, Galeazzo practiced the trade of apothecary all his life, but by the 1370s he become a loyal servant of the Carrara regime, undertaking several diplomatic missions. He later held the office of treasurer of the Carrara household, which gave him acces…
Date: 2016-10-17

Barbaro, Giosafat

(372 words)

Author(s): Kohl, Benjamin G.
1413-94. Italy, Persia, Russia. Venetian diplomat, merchant and travel writer for Persia and Russia. Born in Venice into a noble family, Barbaro was admitted to the Great Council in 1431 and began his travels to Tana on the Sea of Azov as a merchant in 1436 and soon served as consul to the Venetian community there. During the following years he travelled extensively to cities along the Black Sea and to the Transcaucasus, where he observed the customs of the natives. Further travels br…
Date: 2016-10-17

Contarini, Francesco

(253 words)

Author(s): Kohl, Benjamin G.
1421-75. Italy. Venetian diplomat, statesman and historian, whose Historia Etruria (History of Etruria), written in the manner of Caesar's Commentaries, provides a detailed portrait of Tuscan politics in 1454-5. He studied at the University of Padua where he earned his doctorate in arts in 1442 and in law in 1453, and lectured in philosophy. He served as Venice's ambassador to Bologna from 1451, and to Siena 1454-5, returning to Venice to serve several terms as a "Savio di terra ferma", before his election as Veni…
Date: 2016-10-17

Giovanni da Nono

(415 words)

Author(s): Kohl, Benjamin G.
[Iohannes de Nono] ca 1275-1347. Italy. Notary and author of fanciful chronicles on the origins, topography and leading families of late medieval Padua. Born near Padua, Giovanni da Nono took his name from his family's ancestral village of Naone west of the city. In 1306 he matriculated in Padua's College of Judges and served intermittently as a judge in the communal government until his death in 1347. He wrote a tripartite work on medieval Padua, sometimes entitled Liber Ludi Fortune (Book of the Fortune's game), of which only the second part has been edited.The very short first part, …
Date: 2016-10-17

Boccaccio, Giovanni

(390 words)

Author(s): Kohl, Benjamin G.
1313-75. Italy. Major prose author of the Trecento, storyteller, humanist, and biographer of famous women and men from all ages of history. Born in Florence, or Certaldo, the illegitimate son of a Tuscan merchant, Boccaccio turned to literary studies after unhappy experiences working for the Bardi bank in Naples and as a student of canon law. His early works were tales of love, culminating in his most famous work, the Decameron, a collection of 100 vernacular novellas written soon after the Black Death. In his later years, Boccaccio turned to humanistic studies, w…
Date: 2016-10-17

Andreas de Reduciis de Quero

(223 words)

Author(s): Kohl, Benjamin G.
[Redusio, Andrea, di Quero] 1365-1442. Italy. Statesman, chancellor and chronicler of Treviso in the late Middle Ages. Born at Quero in the Trevisano, son of Taddeo Redusio, into a wealthy family of merchants, notaries and soldiers, Andrea studied Latin grammar and rhetoric at the University of Padua during the 1380s and soon found employment as a notary in Treviso. He entered Venetian service as a solider when he participated in the reconquest of Castelnuovo in 1411 and later served as t…
Date: 2016-10-17

Caroldo, Gian Giacomo

(385 words)

Author(s): Kohl, Benjamin G.
ca 1480-1538. Italy. Venetian chancery official and diplomat, who wrote a vernacular history of Venice from its origins to 1382. Born in Venice and trained as a notary, Caroldo entered the Venetian chancery in 1496 and was soon employed on various diplomatic missions, including trips to England, Spain and Constantinople. During the War of the League of Cambrai, he served on missions to Milan, and in 1517 to the king of France. The following year he returned to Venice, securing the pos…
Date: 2016-10-17

Caresini, Raffaino

(365 words)

Author(s): Kohl, Benjamin G.
[Raphaynus de Caresinis] 1314-90. Italy. Venetian chancery official and chronicler of Venetian history 1343-88. Born at Cremona in Lombardy in about 1314 and trained in the notarial arts, Caresini first appears as a public notary in Venice in 1334. He soon found work in the Venetian chancery, serving as notary of the Council of Forty in 1343, and rose through the ranks to become the grand chancellor of the Venetian Republic following the death of Benintendi Ravignani in 1365. He was amon…
Date: 2016-10-17

Giustinian, Bernardo

(525 words)

Author(s): Kohl, Benjamin G.
1408-89. Italy. Major Venetian humanist, diplomat and historian. Born into one of the city's most illustrious noble families, the son of statesman Leonardo and nephew of Venice's first patriarch, the blessed Lorenzo Giustinian, Bernardo received a superb humanist education, counting among his teachers, Guarino da Verona, Francesco Filelfo and George of Trebizond. He was fluent in Italian and Latin, with a fine knowledge of classical Greek. One of his first works was a Latin version of…
Date: 2016-10-17

Cortusio, Guglielmo

(300 words)

Author(s): Kohl, Benjamin G.
[Guillelmus de Cortusiis] ca 1285 - post 1361. Italy. Paduan judge, diplomat and chronicler. Born in Padua into a family of notaries, Cortusio was soon made a member of the local College of Judges, in which he often held the office of rector ( gastaldo). He gained wide experience in public affairs as ambassador to Emperor Lewis of Bavaria and the della Scala lords of Verona as well as an official in Padua's communal government.Cortusio put this experience to good use in his Chronica de novitatibus Padue et Lombardie (Chronicles of the novelties of Padua and Lombardy), which is a de…
Date: 2016-10-17

Dolfin, Zorzi

(335 words)

Author(s): Kohl, Benjamin G.
[Giorgio] 1396 - ca 1458. Italy. Venetian diplomat and office-holder, who wrote a history of Venice that provides the most detailed account of the city under the rule of Doge Francesco Foscari (1427-57). His Cronica de la nobel cita de Venetia e de la sua provintia et de destretto (Chronicle of the noble city of Venice, of its province and of its district) is a typical vernacular chronicle of Venice, beginning with the passion of Christ and largely derivative of other authors, in this case Antonio Morosini, down to the early Quattrocento. For…
Date: 2016-10-17

Navagero, Andrea

(357 words)

Author(s): Kohl, Benjamin G.
1483-1529. Italy. Venetian poet, humanist, and diplomat, and supposed author in the vernacular of an official history of Venice from its origins to 1498. Born into a patrician family at Venice in 1483, he received a humanist education in his native city from Marcantonio Sabellico and Marcus Musurus (ca 1470-1517), and later worked with the scholarly printer Aldus Manutius (1449/50-1515) as an editor of such Roman authors as Cicero, Quintilian, Virgil, Ovid and Lucretius. In 1516 he wa…
Date: 2016-10-17

Marzagaia da Lavagno

(311 words)

Author(s): Kohl, Benjamin G.
fl 1372-1425. Italy. Veronese schoolmaster. Author of De gestis modernis (on modern events), a compendium of historical anecdotes about the della Scala and Carrara lords in the late 14th century. By 1372, Marzagaia was employed as a preceptor at the Scaliger court in Verona, where he numbered Antonio and Bartholomeo della Scala among his pupils, with whom he studied Valerius Maximus's collection of memorable deeds and sayings from the first century ad. After the fall of the della Scala family in 1387, he served as a schoolmaster in Cividale in 1390-93, but soon re…
Date: 2016-10-17

Chronica Venetiarum

(356 words)

Author(s): Kohl, Benjamin G.
14th century. Italy. A largely derivative Latin chronicle of the history of Venice from its founding to 1358, commonly attributed to Piero di Giustiniano Giustinian ( Venetiarum historia vulgo Petro Iustiniano Iustiniani filio adiudicata) and completed sometime after 1358. The earlier part of the chronicle makes no pretense to originality and is dependant on the earlier Venetian histories, such as the anonymous Chronicon Altinate and Historia ducum Venetorum, and especially the Chronica brevis of Andrea Dandolo. The narrative is organized by doge-ship and then by ye…
Date: 2016-10-17
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