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CLASSICS

Marcellinus, while the Silvae of Statius were recovered shortly afterwards. A complete MS. of Cicero, De Oratore, Brutus and Orator, was found by Bishop Landriani at Lodi (1421). Cornelius Nepos was discovered by Traversari in Padua (1434). The Agricola, Germania and Dialogue of Tacitus reached Italy from Germany in 1455, and the early books of the Annals in 1508. Pliny’s Panegyric was discovered by Aurispa at Mainz (1433), and his correspondence with Trajan by Fra Giocondo in Paris about 1500.

Greek MSS. were brought from the East by Aurispa, who in 1423 returned with no less than two hundred and thirty-eight, including the celebrated Laurentian MS. of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Apollonius Rhodius. A smaller number was brought from Constantinople by Filelfo (1427), while Quintus Smyrnaeus was discovered in south Italy by Bessarion, who presented his own collection of MSS. to the republic of Venice and thus led to the foundation of the library of St Mark’s (1468). As the emissary of Lorenzo, Janus Lascaris paid two visits to the East, returning from his second visit in 1492 with two hundred MSS. from Mount Athos.

The Renaissance theory of a humanistic education is illustrated by several treatises still extant. In 1392 Vergerio addressed to a prince of Padua the first treatise which methodically maintains the claims of Latin as an essential part of a liberal education. Eight years later, he was learning Greek from Chrysoloras. Among the most distinguished pupils of the latter was Leonardo Bruni, who, about 1405, wrote “the earliest humanistic tract on education expressly addressed to a lady.” He here urges that the foundation of all true learning is a “sound and thorough knowledge of Latin,” and draws up a course of reading, in which history is represented by Livy, Sallust, Curtius, and Caesar; oratory by Cicero; and poetry by Virgil. The same year saw the birth of Maffeo Vegio, whose early reverence for the muse of Virgil and whose later devotion to the memory of Monica have left their mark on the educational treatise which he wrote a few years before his death in 1458. The authors he recommends include “Aesop” and Sallust, the tragedies of Seneca and the epic poets, especially Virgil, whom he interprets in an allegorical sense. He is in favour of an early simultaneous study of a wide variety of subjects, to be followed later by the special study of one or two. Eight years before the death of Vegio, Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini (Pius II.) had composed a brief treatise on education in the form of a letter to Ladislaus, the young king of Bohemia and Hungary. The Latin poets to be studied include Virgil, Lucan, Statius, Ovid’s Metamorphoses, and (with certain limitations) Horace, Juvenal and Persius, as well as Plautus, Terence and the tragedies of Seneca; the prose authors recommended are Cicero, Livy and Sallust. The first great school of the Renaissance was that established by Vittorino da Feltre at Mantua, where he resided for the last twenty-two years of his life (1424-1446). Among the Latin authors studied were Virgil and Lucan, with selections from Horace, Ovid and Juvenal, besides Cicero and Quintilian, Sallust and Curtius, Caesar and Livy. The Greek authors were Homer, Hesiod, Pindar and the dramatists, with Herodotus, Xenophon and Plato, Isocrates and Demosthenes, Plutarch and Arrian.

Meanwhile, Guarino had been devoting five years to the training of the eldest son of the marquis of Ferrara. At Ferrara he spent the last thirty years of his long life (1370-1460), producing text-books of Greek and Latin grammar, and translations from Strabo and Plutarch. His method may be gathered from his son’s treatise, De Ordine Docendi et Studendi. In that treatise the essential marks of an educated person are, not only ability to write Latin verse, but also, a point of “at least equal importance,” “familiarity with the language and literature of Greece.” “Without a knowledge of Greek, Latin scholarship itself is, in any real sense, impossible” (1459).

By the fall of Constantinople in 1453, “Italy (in the eloquent phrase of Carducci) became sole heir and guardian of the ancient civilization,” but its fall was in no way necessary for the revival of learning, which had begun a century before. Bessarion, Theodorus Gaza, Georgius Trepezuntius, Argyropulus, Chalcondyles, all had reached Italy before 1453. A few more Greeks fled to Italy after that date, and among these were Janus Lascaris, Musurus and Callierges. All three were of signal service in devoting their knowledge of Greek to perpetuating and popularizing the Greek classics with the aid of the newly-invented art of printing. That art had been introduced into Italy by the German printers, Sweynheym and Pannartz, who had worked under Fust at Mainz. At Subiaco and at Rome they had produced in 1465-1471 the earliest editions of Cicero, De Oratore and the Letters, and eight other Latin authors.

The printing of Greek began at Milan with the Greek grammar of Constantine Lascaris (1476). At Florence the earliest editions of Homer (1488) and Isocrates (1493) had been produced by Demetrius Chalcondyles, while Janus Lascaris was the first to edit the Greek anthology, Apollonius Rhodius, and parts of Euripides, Callimachus and Lucian (1494-1496). In 1494-1515 Aldus Manutius published at Venice no less than twenty-seven editiones principes of Greek authors and of Greek works of reference, the authors including Aristotle, Theophrastus, Theocritus, Aristophanes, Thucydides, Sophocles, Herodotus, Euripides, Demosthenes (and the minor Attic orators), Pindar, Plato and Athenaeus. In producing Plato, Athenaeus and Aristophanes, the scholar-printer was largely aided by Musurus, who also edited the Aldine Pausanias (1516) and the Etymologicum printed in Venice by another Greek immigrant, Callierges (1499).

The Revival of Learning in Italy ends with the sack of Rome (1527). Before 1525 the study of Greek had begun to decline in Italy, but meanwhile an interest in that language had been transmitted to the lands beyond the Alps.

In the study of Latin the principal aim of the Italian humanists was the imitation of the style of their classical models. In the case of poetry, this imitative spirit is apparent in Petrarch’s Africa, and in the Latin poems of Politian, Pontano, Sannazaro, Vida and many others. Petrarch was not only the imitator of Virgil, who had been the leading name in Latin letters throughout the middle ages; it was the influence of Petrarch that gave a new prominence to Cicero. The imitation of Cicero was carried on with varying degrees of success by humanists such as Gasparino da Barzizza (d. 1431), who introduced a new style of epistolary Latin; by Paolo Cortesi, who discovered the importance of a rhythmical structure in the composition of Ciceronian prose (1490); and by the accomplished secretaries of Leo X., Bembo and Sadoleto. Both of these papal secretaries were mentioned in complimentary terms by Erasmus in his celebrated dialogue, the Ciceronianus (1528), in which no less than one hundred and six Ciceronian scholars of all nations are briefly and brilliantly reviewed, the slavish imitation of Cicero denounced, and the law laid down that “to speak with propriety we must adapt ourselves to the age in which we live—an age that differs entirely from that of Cicero.” One of the younger Ciceronians criticized by Erasmus was Longolius, who had died at Padua in 1522. The cause of the Ciceronians was defended by the elder Scaliger in 1531 and 1536, and by Étienne Dolet in 1535, and the controversy was continued by other scholars down to the year 1610. Meanwhile, in Italy, a strict type of Ciceronianism was represented by Paulus Manutius (d. 1574), and a freer and more original form of Latinity by Muretus (d. 1585).

Before touching on the salient points in the subsequent centuries, in connexion with the leading nations of Europe, we may briefly note the cosmopolitan position of Erasmus (1466-1536), who, although he was a native of the Netherlands, was far more closely connected with France, England, Italy, Germany and Switzerland, than with the land of his birth. He was still a school-boy at Deventer when his high promise was recognized by Rudolf Agricola, “the first (says Erasmus) who brought from Italy some breath of a better culture.” Late in 1499 Erasmus spent some two months at Oxford, where he met Colet; it was in London that he met More and Linacre and Grocyn, who had already ceased to lecture at Oxford. At Paris, in 1500, he was fully conscious that “without Greek the amplest