Machiavelli and the humanist Tradition
Historiography of humanism
humanismus – educational definition
Burckhardt – philosophical definition
Paul Oksar Kristeller – studia humanitatis (term used by Cicero in Pro Archia; text rediscovered in trecento, and used, late 14thC, by Coluccio Salutati)
loose ‘classicising’ definition
difficulties with the loose definition
P. O. Kristeller, ‘Humanism’ in C. B. Schmitt & Q. Skinner ed., The Cambridge History of Renaissance Philosophy (Cambridge, 1988).
R. Black, ‘Humanism’ in New Cambridge Medieval History, vii, ed. C. Allmand (Cambridge, 1998).
Humanist coteries and garden gatherings
Roman Academy – Pomponius Lætus (1428 – 1498)
Platonic Academy of Florence – Marsilio Ficino (1433 – 1499)
Aldine Academy of Venice
res publica litteraria / Republic of Letters
Orti Oricellari – ‘a general refuge and retreat for learned men, whether visitors or Florentines, through the humanity, courtesy and kind hospitality of Bernardo Rucellai and his offspring’ (Jacopo Nardi (1478 – 1563), History of Florence) – setting of Art of War, with interlocutors including Cosimo Rucellai and Fabrizio Colonna – Rucellai also dedicatee of Discoures, with Zanobi Buondelmonti
F. Gilbert, ‘Bernardo Rucellai and the Orti Oricellari’, Journal of Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, xii (1949), pp. 101 – 131, reprinted in id., Machiavelli and Guicciardini (Princeton, 1965).
- the rediscovery of classical texts, both Latin and Greek, previously little-known in Western Europe
- translation of Greek texts, both classical and patristic, into Latin
- composing a range of texts (eg. letters, orations, dialogues) in eloquent, Ciceronian Latin
- writing in ‘antique’ script
Latin versus the vernacular
questione della lingua – Pietro Bembo (1470 – 1547); Baldassare Castiglione (1478 – 1529)
Conrad Sweynheym and Arnold Pannartz (Rome)
Aldus Manutius (Venice)
Filippo Giunti (Florence) – printed Art of War (1521), Discourses (1531), Prince and Florentine Histories (1532).
Machiavelli and the humanist arts of writing
- dialogue (Art of War) – Petrarch (1304 – 1374), Poggio Bracciolini (1380 – 1459)
A seminal example, Poggio’s On Avarice is translated in B. Kohl & R. Witt ed., The Earthly Republic (Manchester, 1978).
- history – Leonardo Bruni, Poggio Bracciolini
The first books of Bruni’s History of the Florentine People are translated by J. Hankins [I Tatti Renaissance Library, 3] (Cambridge MA, 2001).
- speculum principis / mirror for princes – medieval tradition continued by, eg, Giovanni Pontano (c. 1426 /9 – 1503)
See extracts in Cambridge Translations of Renaissance Philosophical Texts, ii, ed. J. Kraye (Cambridge, 1997).
- biography (Life of Castruccio Castracani, dedicated to Zanobi Buondelmonti and Luigi Alamanni) – exempla of morality, imitating Plutarch who was translated by, eg, Bruni, Guarino da Verona (1374 – 1460) – but Castracani a hybrid text
- comedies (Mandragola etc) – weak humanist tradition in Latin, with fifteenth century examples including Momus by Leon Battista Alberti (1404 – 1472), but developed in Italian in early sixteenth century, with plays by, eg, Pietro Aretino (1492 – 1556)
- letters to Francesco Vettori – epistle collections of Bruni or Poggio
Important recent discussion in C. Najemy, Between Friends (Princeton, 1993).
- commentary (Discourses) – Poliziano (Politian; 1454 – 1494) and the philological tradition