The Renaissance, in the largest sense of the term, is the whole process of transition in Europe from the medieval to the modern order. The Revival of Learning, by which is meant more especially the resuscitated knowledge of classical antiquity, is the most potent and characteristic of the forces which operated in the Renaissance. That revival has two aspects. In one, it is the recovery of a lost culture; in another, of even higher and wider significance, it is the renewed diffusion of a liberal spirit which for centuries had been dead or sleeping. The conception which dominated the Middle Ages was that of the Universal Empire and the Universal Church. A gradual decadence of that idea, from the second half of the thirteenth century to the end of the fifteenth, was the clearest outward sign that a great change was beginning to pass over the world. From the twelfth century onwards there was a new stirring of minds, a growing desire of light; and the first large result was the Scholastic Philosophy. That was an attempt to codify all existing knowledge under certain laws and formulas, and so to reconcile it logically with the one Truth; just as all rights are referable to the one Right, that is, to certain general principles of justice. No revolt was implied there, no break with the reigning tendencies of thought. The direct aim of the Schoolmen was not, indeed, to bind all knowledge to the rock of St Peter; but the truth which they took as their standard was that to which the Church had given her sanction. In the middle of the fourteenth century, when Scholasticism was already waning, another intellectual movement set in. This was Humanism, born in Italy of a new feeling for the past greatness of Rome. And now the barriers so long imposed on the exercise of the reason were broken down; not all at once, but by degrees. It was recognised that there had been a time when men had used all their faculties of mind and imagination without fear or reproof; not restricted to certain paths or bound by formulas, but freely seeking for knowledge in every field of speculation, and for beauty in all the realms of fancy. Those men had bequeathed to posterity a literature different in quality and range from anything that had been written for a thousand years. They had left, too, works of architecture such that even the mutilated remains had been regarded by legend as the work of supernatural beings whom heathen poets had constrained by spells. The pagan view was now once more proclaimed, that man was made, not only to toil and suffer, but to enjoy. And naturally enough, in the first reaction from a more ascetic ideal, the lower side of ancient life obscured, with many men, its better aspects. It was thus that Humanism first appeared, bringing a claim for the mental freedom of man, and for the full development of his being. But, in order to see the point of departure, it is necessary to trace in outline the general course of literary tradition in Europe from the fifth century to the fourteenth.
The fall of the Western Empire in the fifth century was followed by a rapid decline of education and of general culture. The later ages of classical antiquity, if comparatively poor in the higher kind of literary genius, were still familiar with the best writers of Greece and Rome, and continued to be prolific in work inspired by good models. They also retained the traditions of that civilisation and social life out of which the classical literature had arisen. But the barbarian invaders of Italy and Gaul were strangers to that civilisation; they brought with them a life in which the ancient culture found no place. The schools of the Roman Empire were swept away, or died out. Such education as survived was preserved by the Church, and was almost wholly confined to ecclesiastics. Monasteries had begun to multiply in the West from the close of the fourth century. Their schools, and those attached to cathedrals, alone tempered the reign of ignorance. The level of the monastic schools was the higher. In the cathedral schools the training was usually restricted to such rudiments of knowledge as were indispensable for the secular clergy, viz., reading, writing, arithmetic, and elementary music. But even in the monastic schools the course was usually meagre and narrow. The superior education of the age was chiefly based on a few jejune text-books, compilations and abridgments from older sources. One of these was the treatise of the African rhetorician, Martianus Capella (flor. c. 420), on the Septem Artes Liberales,—grammar, logic, rhetoric, music, arithmetic, geometry, and astronomy. The form is allegorical; Mercury weds Philology, and at their nuptials assigns the Arts to her as handmaids. Capella was, however, regarded with disfavour by those Christian teachers who rigorously proscribed pagan literature; and his book, though it remained an authority down to the Renaissance, was not everywhere admitted. Thus it is absent from Alcuin's catalogue (made c. 770) of the library at York, a fairly representative collection of the books which then were most read. The Seven Arts had been distributed, so early as the fifth century, into the trivium, consisting of grammar, logic, and rhetoric, and the quad-rivium, comprising the other four. Grammar was taught by excerpts from Donatus or Priscian; rhetoric, often with the aid of extracts from Cicero's De Inventiane and Topica, or the treatise Ad Herennium. For the trivium generally a favourite text-book was Cassiodorus (d. 568), De Artibus et Disciplinis Liberalium Artium. For the quadrivium, and for the more advanced logic, the standard manuals were the treatises of Boetius (d. 524), which included some Latin transcripts from parts of Aristotle's Organon. Boetius, "the last of the Romans," was, indeed, an author of cardinal importance in the higher education of the earlier Middle Ages. Another standard work was an encyclopaedia of arts and sciences by Isidore, Bishop of Seville (d. 636), containing a mass of information in every recognised branch of knowledge (Originum s, Etymologiarum libri XX). It is characteristic of education in the Middle Ages that compendia of this poor kind had largely superseded their own classical sources in the ordinary use of the schools. Note should be taken also of the persistent tendency to look for allegorical and mystic senses beneath the literal meaning of a passage. This tendency dates at least from the teaching of Cassian (flor. c. 400), one of the chief founders of Western monachism. It was applied first to the Scriptures, and thence transferred to other books, with an influence which did much to vitiate the medieval study of literature.
The period from c. 500 to the latter part of the eighth century was that during which the general level of knowledge in Europe was probably lowest. Gregory of Tours (d. 595) could declare that "the study of letters" had "perished." Nearly two hundred years later Charles the Great re-echoed the complaint, and sought a remedy. Yet, even in those centuries, there were places of comparative light. Chief among these, on the Continent, were the Benedictine houses. It was in 528 that the Abbey of Monte Cassino was founded by St Benedict. His rule, formulated in 529, provided for regular study. Thenceforth his Order, wherever established, was a powerful agency in the maintenance of knowledge. To the Benedictines is largely due the survival of the Latin classics; indeed, it would be difficult to overrate their services as guardians of books in the darkest age of Europe. In Germany the Benedictine Abbey of Fulda, founded by St Boniface (d. 755), was pre-eminent during the ninth century as a.home of literary studies. Meanwhile the condition of letters in the British Islands was somewhat better than that which prevailed on the Continent. This was conspicuously the case in Ireland, the stronghold of Celtic monachism, which was independent of Benedictine influences. The Irish monasteries, many of which arose before 500, were prosperous. They were devoted to learning, derived partly from a monastic community, the once-famous Insulani, planted (c. 400) by St Honoratus in the isle near Cannes which bears his name; and they had the unique distinction of witnessing to an affinity between the Celtic and the Hellenic spirit. Alone among the religious houses of the West in that age, they fostered the study of the Greek Fathers. Ireland sent forth not a few of the scholars and missionaries whose names shine most clearly through the gloom of those centuries; St Columba (d. 597), who made lona a centre of light for northern Britain; St Columbanus (d. 615), a founder and reformer of monastic houses in Europe; Clement, who succeeded Alcuin (c. 798) as head of the school at Aachen; and John Scotus Erigena (d. c. 875), whose acquirements included some knowledge of Greek, and whose independence as a philosophical thinker renders him the most interesting intellectual figure of the ninth century. England also, from 600 to 800, was probably less dark than the Continent. Augustine, a Benedictine, and his Roman fellow-missionaries, came in 597, bringing with them the Latin language and Latin books. In 668 the Greek Theodore became seventh Archbishop of Canterbury. He was zealous for the promotion of learning, and certainly introduced some knowledge of Greek among his clergy, though the measure and duration of that knowledge are uncertain. Baeda (d. 735), the ascetic monk of Jarrow, was the comprehensive interpreter of all the literature, theological, historical, and educational, which had come into England with Christianity. Alcuin (d. 804), trained in the famous monastery of York, where he afterwards presided over the school, won repute as a theologian, and more especially as a grammarian. He does not seem to have been a man of originality or force, and he inherited the narrow view which was adverse to pagan lore; but, under the auspices of Charles the Great, he did a large work for education.
The reign of that monarch (768-814) saw the first large and systematic effort towards a restoration of letters. The motives which actuated the new Emperor of the West were primarily political and social. He felt that it was of vital moment for his realm to mitigate the mischief and reproach of illiteracy. In 782 he induced Alcuin to leave York and take up his abode at Aachen, as the head of a school in connexion with the Court. With AlcuhVs advice and aid, he did his best to stimulate and improve the only educational agencies which existed,—those of the episcopal and monastic schools. Bishops were encouraged to provide elementary instruction for the children of the laity. The Capitulary of 789 directs the more important monasteries to establish higher schools in addition to the ordinary schools provided by religious houses. Not a few of these higher schools became distinguished. Foremost among them was that of the Abbey of Fulda. Others belonged to the Abbeys of Tours, Reims, St Gall, and Corvey. Throughout the ninth century such schools rendered good service to learning. Rabanus Maurus, Abbot of Fulda (d. 856), who was free from any blind prejudice against the classics, did much to liberalise monastic studies. His pupil, Lupus Servatus, had a wide range of reading in good Latin authors, and studied them with a zeal not unworthy of the Renaissance. Many of these monastic schools perished in the tenth century. In the second half of that century, however, the Emperor Otto the Great (936-73) enlarged the horizon and stimulated the culture of the German people. His reign brought security to such seats of study as existed; and their welfare was promoted by his brother, the learned Bruno, Archbishop of Cologne.
Gerbert, afterwards Pope Sylvester II, who died in 1003, shows how much was possible for a gifted scholar in the tenth century. He had not merely read a great deal of the best Latin literature, but had appreciated it on the literary side, had imbibed something of its spirit, and had found in it an instrument of self-culture. His case is, indeed, a very exceptional one. But some knowledge, at least, of the Latin classics was not even then a rare accomplishment. A tradition of learning, derived especially from Fulda, had been created, which descended without a break to the time when the University of Paris arose. Nowhere on the Continent was there such a violent interruption, or such a general blight upon culture, as was caused in England and Ireland by the raids of the destroying Northmen. From about the end of the tenth century onwards culture began to be somewhat more widely diffused. There are indications that the course of Latin reading in the better schools was now no longer confined to meagre text-books, but had become fairly liberal. Thus at the school of Paderborn in Westphalia, early in the eleventh century, the plan of study included Virgil, Horace, Statius, and Sallust. Towards the close of that century, Bernard of Chartres, after teaching his pupils the rules of grammar from Donatus and Priscian, led them on to the Latin poets, orators, and historians, dwelling especially on the rhetorical precepts of Cicero and Quintilian. His method is praised by John of Salisbury, writing in the middle of the twelfth century, who was himself strongly imbued with a love of classical studies, being especially familiar with Horace, and with much of Cicero. Among other classics who found medieval readers may be named Terence (a favourite), Ovid, Lucan, Martial, Caesar, Livy, and Suetonius. The incipient revival of a better literary taste was checked in the thirteenth century by the influence of the Scholastic Philosophy. That discipline, intent on subtleties of logic and meta-physic, was indifferent to literary form, and soon became encumbered with the technical jargon which Erasmus ridicules. Such doctors as Albertus Magnus and Duns Scotus lent the prestige of their authority to barbarous Latin. In the Universities dialectic now shared the foremost place with theology, and their professors were generally adverse to the literary subjects represented by the trivmm. In England, France, and Germany, during the thirteenth century, the study of ancient literature gained no ground, but rather receded; and the fourteenth century showed no improvement. Italy, meanwhile, where the Scholastic Philosophy had taken less hold, had been showing some signs of a growing interest in the Latin classics for more than a century before Petrarch. With him the Italian revival of learning began in earnest, and at a time when, owing to the causes above noticed, there were as yet few symptoms of such a movement in the other countries of Europe.
The medieval fortunes of the Latin classics differed widely from those of the Greek. The classical Latin language and literature were never wholly lost. But, after the fifth century, a knowledge of classical Greek rapidly faded out of the West, until it became practically extinct. Between the fall of the Western Empire and the Renaissance, no general provision for teaching Greek existed in the West, similar to that which was made in regard to Latin. Charles the Great wished, indeed, to restore Greek, mainly for the practical purpose of intercourse with the East. One of the Capitularies attests his design (" Graecas et Latinos scholas in perpetuum manere ardinavimus"); but it is doubtful whether his purpose was anywhere fulfilled. Some study of Greek was fostered, as we have seen, in the Irish monasteries; and a few instances of it occur in other places. Thus in the tenth century Greek was studied by some brethren of the Abbey of St Gall. The Council of Vienne (1311) had proposed to establish chairs of Greek in several cities of Europe; but nothing was done. Several eminent men of western Europe, in the course of those centuries, certainly possessed some knowledge of Greek, though it is often difficult to say how much. After the schism between the Eastern and Western Churches, sporadic settlements of Greeks occurred in the West, especially in France; and Latin controversialists had a new motive for acquiring the language of their opponents. Grosseteste, according to Matthew Paris, was aided by a Greek priest of St Albans in translating the Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs into Latin. The Benedictine historians give lists of the persons in each century who were reputed to know Greek; but it may well be that these lists, short though they are, include men who had merely gained some slight knowledge of the language from intercourse with Greeks. In Italy, doubtless, the number of those who knew some Greek was larger than elsewhere, owing to the greater closeness of Italy's relations with the East. But even at Constantinople itself, in the fourteenth century, a sound knowledge of ancient Greek was confined to a narrow circle; and an intelligent appreciation of the ancient Hellenic literature was probably rarer still.
Enough has been said to guard against the notion that the Italian revival of learning wa's something more sudden and abrupt than it actually was. The movement in the second half of the fourteenth century would appear almost miraculous, if the new light were supposed to have flashed upon Italy, at Petrarch's word, from a background of utter darkness. The fact is rather that the dawn had long been growing in the sky. On the other hand, the revival which dates from Petrarch was, in a very definite sense, the beginning of a new era. The appreciation of classical antiquity which came with it differed in two respects from any which the earlier Middle Ages could show. In the first place, the excellence of literary form exhibited by the ancient masters of Latin style now became a direct object of study and of imitation. Such portions of these authors as had been read in the period preceding the Renaissance had been valued chiefly for the facts, or sentiments, or supposed allegorical meanings, which could be drawn from them; they were, as a rule, but dimly apprehended as literature, and had very little influence on the medieval writing of Latin. The second difference was still more important. Ancient literature was now welcomed, not only as supplying standards of form, but as disclosing a new conception of life; a conception freer, larger, more rational, and more joyous, than the medieval; one which gave unfettered scope to the play of the human feelings, to the sense of beauty, and to all the activities of the intellect. Ancient Latin writers used the word humanitas to denote the civilising and refining influence of polite letters and of the liberal arts; as they also applied the epithet humanus to a character which had received that influence. The Italian scholars of the Renaissance, to whom the classical literature of antiquity was not merely a model, but a culture, and, indeed, a life, found it natural to employ a phrase not used by the ancients, and to speak of Utterae humanae or Utterae humaniores; meaning by the comparative, not "secular rather than theological," but "distinctively humane"; more so, that is, than other literature. The "humanist," a term already known to Ariosto, is the student of humane letters. A man like John of Salisbury, imbued with the loving study of good Latin classics, or even a man like Gerbert, whose genius gave almost a foretaste of the revival, was still divided by a broad and deep gulf from the Italian humanist of the age opened by Petrarch. Medieval orthodoxy would have recoiled from that view of human life, and especially from that claim of absolute liberty for the reason, which formed part of the humanist's ideal. Indeed we are continually reminded, throughout the course of the Italian Renaissance, that the new movement has medieval forces to combat or to reconcile. It is only some of the clearer and stronger spirits, in that time of transition, that thoroughly succeed in harmonising Christian teaching with a full acceptance of the New Learning.
Francesco Petrarca (1304-74),—who thus modified, for euphony's sake, his surname Petracco,—was born at Arezzo. He was nine years old when his father settled at Avignon, the seat, since 1309, of the Papacy. At Avignon Petrarch passed his boyhood,—already charmed, at school, by Cicero's periods; and there, when he was twenty-three, he saw in a church the Laura of his sonnets. The central interest of his life, from an early age, was in the classical past of Italy. He longed to see the ancient glories of Rome revived. Twice, in poetical epistles, he adjured Benedict XII to quit the "Babylon" on the Rhone for the city on the Tiber. In 1336, when he saw Rome for the first time, he was impressed by the contrast between the grandeur of the decaying monuments and the squalor of their medieval surroundings. Then he spent some years in his beautiful retreat at Vaucluse, near Avignon, brooding on Roman history. There he began a Latin epic, Africa, with Scipio Africanus for its hero, a poem which slowly grew under his hands, but was never completed; tame in parts, and lacking Virgilian finish, yet full of powerful and musical lines. But it was chiefly, if not wholly, his Canzoniere,—where he had reached absolute perfection within a limited sphere,—that won him the honour of being crowned with the laurel on the Capitol at Rome (1341, net. 37). Thenceforth he was recognised as the foremost man of letters in Europe. When, in May, 1347, Rienzi was proclaimed head of "the Holy Roman Republic," Petrarch hailed the "tribune" as a heaven-sent deliverer, who was to rid Italy of the "foreign tyrants," as humanism loved to style the feudal nobles. With many of these "tyrants," such as the Colonnesi and the Visconti, Petrarch lived, then and afterwards, on terms of much cordiality and reciprocal advantage. Patriotic archaeology had inspired that crazy scheme of restoring the Roman Commonwealth. But the same enthusiasm for classical antiquity made Petrarch the leader in a solid and permanent restoration of literature.
He was steeped in the life, the thoughts, and the emotions of the Latin classics. His way of using them might be contrasted with Dante's in the De Monarchia. To Petrarch they were real men, his Italian ancestors. He was the first who zealously collected Latin manuscripts, inscriptions, and coins. He was the first typical humanist in his cultivation of Latin style. And with him the imitatio veterum was never slavish. In a letter to Boccaccio he remarks that the resemblance of a modern's work to his ancient model should not be that of a portrait to the original, but rather the family likeness of child to parent. He deprecated even the smallest debts of phrase to the ancients, and was annoyed when it was pointed out to him that in one of his Eclogws he had unconsciously borrowed from Virgil the words atque intonat ore. The Latin letters which he poured out so abundantly were in large part finished essays, in a style founded mainly on Seneca and St Augustine, but tinged (especially in his later period) by Cicero. In them he was ever pleading, directly or indirectly, the cause of humanism. An orthodox Churchman, a student of the Vulgate and of the Fathers, he had nothing in common with the neopaganism of some later men. He advocated the study of the classics as the key to a larger mental life, not contrary to the Christian, but ancillary to it; one which should educate and exercise men's highest faculties. In all subjects he was adverse to pedantic and narrowing methods. If his egotism was absorbing, it was the reflex of a passion for self-culture; here he had a kinship with Goethe. The desire of fame was a ruling motive with him, as with so many Italians of the maturer Renaissance; but in him it was inseparable from the desire to have a new pattern of self-culture recognised.
Nor did he plead in vain. The age was ready for some new kind of intellectual activity; the subtleties of the Schoolmen's dialectic were beginning to pall, and the professional studies of the Universities were unsatisfying. Petrarch, by his great gifts and unique position, succeeded in making countless friends and patrons for humanism among those persons whose favour was indispensable to its earlier progress. For it should be remembered that humanism was not cradled in the bosom of Universities,—which, indeed, for a long while, were mostly hostile to it; nor, again, was it brought in by a sweeping movement of the popular mind. Humanism depended, in its infancy and youth, on encouragement by powerful and wealthy individuals, through whom the humanist gained a footing and an audience in this or that Italian city. Petrarch won the ear of men who became patrons of humanism. But he did more than that. He stimulated an inner circle of disciples, foremost among whom was his devoted friend and admirer, Boccaccio. When, therefore, Petrarch is designated as the "father" or "founder" of humanism, the description is correct, if rightly understood. He was, in his own person, the first brilliant humanist; he was also the first effective propagator of humanism in the world at large; and he inspired chosen pupils who continued the tradition.
In his letter To Homer, Petrarch says, "I have not been so fortunate as to learn Greek." But he had at least made some attempt to do so. Barlaam, a Calabrian by birth, who had long resided at Constantinople, came to Italy in 1339 on a mission from the Emperor Cantacuzenus. It was probably in 1342 that Petrarch began to study Greek with him. "I had thrown myself into the work," he says, "with eager hope and keen desire. But the strangeness of the foreign tongue, and the early departure of my teacher, baffled my purpose." The failure, thus shortly told, throws an instructive light on the difficulties which beset a revival of Greek. No aids to the acquisition of Greek then existed in the Latin or the Italian language. The rudiments of grammar and vocabulary could be acquired only from a Greek-speaking teacher. If the learner's aim had been merely to gain some knowledge of the Romaic spoken and written in the daily life of the Levant, tutors in plenty could have been found at Venice, or at any Italian centre of commerce. But a scholarly knowledge of ancient Greek was a rare attainment; rarer still was a scholarly acquaintance with the Greek classics. Even at Constantinople such knowledge was then possessed only by a few persons of superior education, including those who were professional students or men of letters. A Greek teacher of this class could be drawn to Italy, as a rule, only by some definite prospect of honour and emolument. The Italian revival of Greek in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries was effected mainly by a small number of highly-accomplished Greeks, who were induced to settle as professors at Florence or other centres. The revival was also furthered by the visits which several Italian scholars made to Constantinople for the purpose of studying the language there. In viewing the Italian revival of Greek as a whole, we must remember its essential dependence on these sources. The higher Byzantine level of Greek scholarship in that age was the highest to which Italy could then aspire. Italian students of Greek in the earlier and middle periods of the Renaissance learned the classical language from men to whom its modern form was a vernacular. This was, in one way, a distinct advantage, since there is a large continuity both of idiom and of vocabulary between classical Greek and the more polished modern Greek. On the other hand, the Byzantine feeling for the genius and style of the classical literature had become grievously defective.
Boccaccio is the first Italian of the Renaissance who is known to have made any progress in the study of Greek. He was impelled to it by the advice of Petrarch, a friend to whom his modest and affectionate nature gave an ungrudging and unbounded worship. His teacher was Leontius Pilatus, a pupil of the Barlaam who had been Petrarch's instructor, and, like him, a Calabrian who had migrated to Byzantium. The notion of Leontius to be gathered from Petrarch (who had read with him at Venice), and from Boccaccio, again illustrates the difficulty of finding tolerable Greek teaching in Italy. Leontius evidently knew little or nothing beyond the Byzantine Greek of the day; he was stupid and pretentious; his temper appears to have been morose, and his personal habits were repulsive. Nevertheless Boccaccio received him into his house at Florence, and caused him to be appointed professor of Greek in the Studio there. He made for Boccaccio a bald and faulty translation of Homer into bad Latin prose, which was sent to Petrarch, and received by him as an inestimable boon.
But the first real teacher of Greek in Italy, the man with whom the revival of Greek learning in the West began, was Manuel Chrysoloras, who lectured on Greek at Florence from 1397 to 1400. He was a Byzantine of good family, who had previously visited Italy on a mission from the Emperor Paleologus, for the purpose of seeking aid against the Turks. Some cultivated Florentines, who had then met him, afterwards prevailed on the Signoria of Florence to offer him the chair of Greek, which he accepted. His coming made an epoch in the history of European letters. He was a scholar, able to interpret the classical Greek poets and prose-writers; and he was eloquent. The enthusiasm created at Florence must have been remarkable. For the first time, Italians were placed in sympathy with the ancient Greek mind at its best. Ardent students, young and old, including several who afterwards became eminent, crowded the lecture-room. One of these was Lionardo Bruni, well-known in later life for his Latin History of Florence, as also for translations from Plato, Aristotle, Demosthenes, and Plutarch. He has described the powerful spell by which the new teacher drew him away from the study of Civil Law. It is especially noteworthy that he speaks of Chrysoloras, without hesitation, as opening a new era. "The knowledge of Greek," he says, "was revived, after an interval of seven centuries." (He might have said, eight or nine.) "Chrysoloras of Byzantium... brought us Greek learning...! gave myself to his teaching with such ardour, that my dreams at night were filled with what I had learned from him by day." Another scholar, who met Chrysoloras at Pavia, Pier Candido Decembrio, speaks of him with a similar enthusiasm. The Greek Grammar of Chrysoloras, in the form of questions and answers (Erotemata), was the earliest modern book of the kind. Florence was then the intellectual centre of Italy; and throughout the fifteenth century it continued to be pre-eminently the home of Greek studies, while at the same time taking its full share in the advancement of Latin scholarship. But Chrysoloras did not confine his activities to Florence. He taught Greek at Pavia (for some time between 1400 and 1403); as well as at Milan, at Venice, and perhaps at Rome. He visited Padua also, but did not teach there.
The movement so powerfully and widely initiated by Chrysoloras was continued by several of his compatriots, most of whom came to Italy between 1400 and the capture of Constantinople in 1453. The restoration of Greek letters in Italy preceded the fall of the Eastern Empire, and was not, as has sometimes been supposed, a result of emigrations caused by that event. The Greeks who chiefly effected the revival were drawn westward by the demand for teachers which offered them distinguished and lucrative careers. The subsequent break-up of Byzantine society sent over, no doubt, a fresh stream of exiles, and reinforced the ranks of Hellenism in the West; but by that time Greek studies in Italy were already vigorous.
A few names stand pre-eminent in the series of Greeks who furthered the Hellenic Renaissance. Georgius Trapezuntius (George of Trebizond), who came to Italy about 1420, taught at Venice, Florence, Rome, and elsewhere. His work is more especially associated with Rome, where his criticisms on Plato brought him into controversy with his compatriot, Cardinal Bessarion. While primarily busied with his native language, George of Trebizond also gained the highest repute as a master of Latin style. Theodorus Gaza, arriving in Italy about 1430, taught Greek for some nine years (1441-50) at Ferrara, and afterwards settled at Rome. His best-known works were translations from Aristotle, and a Greek grammar, which was already a classic when printed by Aldus in 1495. The study of Plato and the Neoplatonists at Florence received a marked impetus from the visit in 1438 of Gemistos Plethon, whose mysticism, if eccentric and sometimes extravagant, was allied with power and sincerity. It was his influence which led Cosmo de' Medici to found the Platonic Academy of Florence. Another fruit of his visit was the Latin translation of Plato by Marsilio Ficino (printed in 1482). Among the Greek teachers specially associated with Florence none, perhaps, is more worthy of a place next to Chrysoloras than John Argyropoulos, who held the Greek chair for fifteen years (1456-71), afterwards going to Rome, where one of his best pupils was Reuchlin. Somewhat later the Florentine professorship was held by Andronicus Callistus, who had Politian among his hearers. It was about 1447 that Demetrius Chalcondylas came from Constantinople to Rome. He obtained the chair of Greek at Perugia, where he taught with great success. Other names of high merit might be cited, but perhaps only one remains which is of quite the same rank as those above mentioned. John Lascaris, much of whose work as a teacher was done in Paris, was invited by Leo X to Rome, where he helped to promote Greek studies. After another visit to France, he died at Rome in 1535. These Greek restorers of Greek letters in the West were happy in the season of their labours. The temper of the age is reflected in Bruni's enthusiasm for Chrysoloras, and in the words which a young student at Perugia wrote concerning the lectures of Chalcondylas:-" A Greek has just come, and has begun to teach me with great diligence, while I listen to him with indescribable pleasure, because he is a Greek...It seems to me as if in him were mirrored the wisdom, the refined intelligence, and the elegance of those famous men of old."
Meanwhile the revival of Latin scholarship was following the course on which it had been started by Petrarch. Giovanni di Conversino da Ravenna, who had lived as a pupil in Petrarch's house, became the most eminent Latinist of his time. He was the earliest example of a teacher who went from city to city, communicating his own ardour to successive groups of students; but the chief scene of his labours was Padua, where he was professor of rhetoric from 1392 to about 1405. Among his pupils were two who were destined to become famous as humanist educators, Vittorino da Feltre and Guarino da Verona. Conversino's favourite author was Cicero, but he lectured also on the Roman poets. Though not distinguished as a writer, he contributed by his teaching to that zealous study of Latin style which was a characteristic feature of the Italian Renaissance.
The "imitation of the ancients" was more than a literary fashion or a pedantic exercise. It sprang from the desire of Italians, for whom Latin literature was being opened anew, to recover the tongue of their Roman ancestors,—that language, barbarised in the course of centuries, which bore witness to the ancient glories of the land in which they lived, and to the civilisation whose monuments were around them. Italy had many dialects, and Tuscan, even in the fifteenth century, had only a limited currency, while Latin was an universal language. Practical utility thus conspired with patriotic sentiment and with the zeal of scholarship. But it was not easy to lift Latin to a higher level, while the medieval form of it was still current in the learned professions, in the offices of the Church, and in ordinary correspondence. Letter-writing was the department of Latin composition to which the humanists naturally and properly gave their first attention. It was in this that Petrarch had especially shown his power. His younger contemporary, Coluccio de1 Salutati, who became Chancellor of Florence in 1375, set the example of writing classical and elegant Latin in public documents. The higher standard of official and diplomatic Latinity which he introduced had the effect of opening employment to professional scholars in many chanceries and Courts of Italy. A close study of Cicero's Letters, with a view to correctness and fluency in Latin correspondence, won a reputation for Gasparino da Barzizza, who, on the invitation of Filippo Maria Visconti, opened a school at Milan in 1418.
Latin epistolography was now cultivated as a special branch of literature. The letters exchanged between eminent scholars were, as a rule, private only in form, being vehicles for the display of style, wit, and learning. They were usually intended, if not for publication in the modern sense, at least for a large circulation. The range of topics was conventionally restricted by a pervading desire to write somewhat as Cicero might have written to Atticus. Notices of books and manuscripts, literary criticism, introductions or recommendations of friends, requests and commissions^ thanks, compliments, occasional glimpses into the writer's daily occupations, form the staple of such epistles. There is seldom any reference to contemporary politics, to questions of theology, or to any modern subjects which could not be handled without breaking the classical illusion. Sometimes, indeed, eminent scholars addressed theological or political pamphlets, in choice Latin, to princes or prelates; but such efforts lay outside the ordinary province of humanistic letter-writing. Nor were really private matters often confided to these Latin letters. "I always write in the vulgar tongue (alia grossoland)," says Filelfo, "those things which I do not wish to be copied." Nevertheless, the Latin letter-writing of the Renaissance has the interest of exhibiting with great distinctness the characters of the writers and their friends. It has also a larger claim on our gratitude. It was an exercise, sufficiently pleasurable to be widely used, by which successive generations of lettered men gradually rose to the conception of a style which should be correct, fluent, and easy. In the darker ages the model of a good prose had been lost. The Italian letter-writers of the Renaissance, the imitators of Cicero, were labouring to restore it. They achieved their object; and the achievement bore fruit, not merely in Latin, but afterwards in the modern languages of Europe.
It was to be expected that, as the cultivation of Latin style progressed, the imitation of the ancient models should become more critical. Lorenzo Valla, who died in 1457, was the author of a work De Elegantüs Latinae Linguae, which marked the highest level that had yet been reached in the critical study of Latin. He dealt with various points of grammar, with niceties of phrase and idiom, and with the discrimination of synonyms. His book appears to have been reprinted nearly sixty times between 1471 and 1536. After Valla, the next Italian Latinist who became an authority on the more minute refinements of style was Bembo, whose reputation was at its zenith in the pontificate of Leo X (1513-21). But Bembo's scope was much more limited than Valla's. Cicero's usage was a law from which Bembo never consciously swerved. In strong contrast with his timid and even morbid Ciceronianism,—a symptom that the Italian revival had passed its prime,—stands a quality which we recognise in the Latin writing of the more powerful and genial humanists. This is, briefly, the gift of writing Latin almost as if it were a living language. Politian had this gift in an eminent degree, and exhibits it in verse no less than in prose. Poggio, before him, had it too, though his Latin was much rougher and less classical. The same quality may be ascribed to Paulus Jovius (1483-1552), whose vivid and picturesque style in narrative was compared by Leo X,—with some exaggeration, but not without some justice,—to that of Livy. To write Latin as such men wrote it, demanded the union of general correctness with ease and spontaneity. The fact that several Italian humanists attained to this merit is a proof that the imitatio veterum was not necessarily lifeless or mechanical, but could serve a truly educative purpose, by helping men to regain a flexible organ of literary expression. Erasmus, though in touch with the Italian Renaissance, belongs to a stage beyond it. His ridicule of pseudo-Ciceronianism falls on the sect of Bembo. But his own Latin style, so admirable in its elasticity, edge, and force, is a result which only the Italian Renaissance had made possible.
Yet the cultivation of Latin style, while it was so salient a trait of the Italian revival, was only one of its manifold energies. The same study of the classical writers which incited men to imitate their form inspired also the wish to comprehend their subject-matter. There was a widespread desire to enter into the ideas and the meaning of the ancient Greek and Roman civilisations. Italians were especially eager to reconstruct an image, as distinct as possible, of the manner in which their ancestors had lived. But the aids to such study, now so abundant, did not yet exist. There were no dictionaries of mythology, of biography, of antiquities, no treatises on classical archaeology, no collections of inscriptions. A teacher in the earlier time of the Renaissance, when he dictated an all-embracing commentary to his pupils, had to rely mostly on the stores gathered by his own reading. The erudite labour done by the Italian humanists was of great variety and volume. Many of the more eminent scholars published notes, critical or exegetical, on the Greek or Latin authors whom they expounded in their lectures; but such work has left comparatively few distinctive traces, having been either absorbed into later books, or superseded. Latin translations from the Greek classics formed an important department of humanistic work, and were of the greatest service, not only at the Renaissance but long afterwards, in diffusing the study of Greek literature. The learned humanist Tommaso Parentucelli, who became Pope Nicholas V in 1447, was especially zealous in promoting such translations, many of which were made at Rome during his pontificate. Greek residents in Italy contributed to the work. But Italians were not less active; indeed there were few distinguished humanists who did not give this proof of their Greek scholarship. In the field of textual criticism mention is due to Politian's edition of the Pandects of Justinian, perhaps the earliest work based on a careful collation of manuscripts and on a critical estimate of their relative authority. The manuals of grammar produced at the Renaissance were inevitably of a crude kind; but some of them, at least, had merits which made them standard works for several generations. Thus the earliest of the Renaissance Greek grammars, that of Manuel Chrysoloras (afterwards translated from Greek into Latin by Guarino), held its ground well into the sixteenth century. It was the first text-book used by Erasmus when teaching Greek at Cambridge: the next to which he introduced his pupils was the more advanced Greek grammar of Theodoras Gaza, dating perhaps from about 1445, though first printed in 1495. The Greek grammar of Constantine Lascaris (composed perhaps about 1460, and printed in 1476) also had a high reputation. The Latin grammar of Nicholas Perotti, printed at Rome in 1473, treats grammar in connexion with rhetoric, and is commended by Erasmus as the most complete manual on the subject then extant.
The higher historical criticism is represented by Lorenzo Valla, already mentioned as a fine Latinist. In 1440, when Naples was at feud with the papal See, he published a tract on the Donation of Constantine, proving that the chief document of the temporal power was spurious. Eugenius IV was then Pope. His successor, Nicholas V, a scholar and a statesman, read in Valla's tract a sign of the times. The Council of Florence (1438), where Greeks and Latins met in conference, had lately shown that the history of the early Church could not be fully understood without a knowledge of Greek writings. And now it was plain that the long impunity of ecclesiastical forgery was drawing to an end. Nicholas saw that humanism would be less disastrous to the Vatican as an uncongenial inmate than as an irrepressible critic. He made Valla an official of the Curia. It was a turning-point. The new papal policy was continued, with few breaks, down to the Reformation.
Beyond the limits of strictly literary studies, there was a wide and varied field of interests which the classical revival opened to Italians. The superstitious awe with which the Middle Ages had viewed the ruins of ancient Rome was not accompanied by any feeling for their artistic worth, or by the slightest desire to preserve them. A Latin epigram by Pius II (1458-64)-the first Pope who endeavoured to arrest their decay-attests the fact, to which there are other witnesses, that even then the citizens of Rome used to strip marbles from the ancient monuments, in order to burn them as lime. Where the Roman remains were capable of conversion into dwellings or strongholds, as was the case especially with some of the baths and tombs, they had often been occupied by medieval nobles, and had thus been exposed to further damage. Many such monuments had been destroyed, and the ruins had then been used as quarries. But a change of feeling came with the spirit of the incipient Renaissance. The first phase of this new feeling was a sense of pathetic contrast between the majesty of the ancient remains and the squalor of the modern city. Petrarch compares Rome to a stately woman, of venerable aspect, but clad in mean and tattered garments. Poggio is reminded of a queen in slavery. He was the first man of the Renaissance who had studied the monuments of Rome with the method of a scholar and an archaeologist, comparing them with the testimony of the Latin classics. His Urbis Romae Descriptio-the title commonly given to the first section of his essay De Varietate Fortunae-is the clearest general survey now extant of the Roman monuments as they existed in the first half of the fifteenth century. Poggio gives us some idea of the rate at which destructive agencies had been working even in his own lifetime. But a better day was at hand. The interest in Italian archaeology had already become active. Flavio Biondo (Blondus), who died in 1463, compiled an encyclopaedic work in three parts, Roma Instaurata, Roma Triumphans, and Italla Illustrata, on the history, institutions, manners, topography, and monuments of ancient Italy. He lived to complete also more than thirty books of a great work on the period commencing with the decline of the Roman Empire, Historlarum ab inclinatiane Romanorum. In an age so largely occupied with style, which was not among his gifts, Biondo is a signal example of laborious and comprehensive erudition. He holds indeed an honourable place among the founders of Roman archaeology.
It was just at the close of Blonde's life that Pius II, in 1462, issued his bull designed to protect the remains of ancient Rome from further depredations. The solicitude of which this was the first official expression was not always imitated by his successors. But the period from about 1470 to 1525 was one which saw a notable advance in the care and study bestowed on works of ancient art and architecture. Within that period the Museum of the Capitol and the Museum of the Vatican were founded. The appreciation of classical sculpture was quickened by the recovery of many ancient works. Near the entrance to the garden of the Belvedere, the newly-found Apollo was erected by Julius II (1503-13),—the Pope who perceived how renascent art could add splendour to the See of St Peter, and at whose bidding Bramante replaced the ancient basilica of Constantine by the greatest church of Christendom. Michelangelo saw the Laocoon disinterred from the ruined Baths of Titus. Leo X acquired the reclining statues of the Nile and the Tiber, and the so-called Antinous. These and other specimens of classical art, though not representative of that art at its best, helped to educate Italian taste, already well-disposed towards every form of classical culture. The Latin verse-writers of Leo's age show the impression made by the newly-found works of sculpture. It is more interesting to note the remark of an expert, the Florentine sculptor Ghiberti, who, in speaking of an ancient statue which he had seen at Rome, observes that its subtle perfection eludes the eye, and can be fully appreciated only by passing the hand over the surface of the marble.
The most memorable record of the new zeal for ancient Home is the letter addressed to Leo X, in 1518, by RafFaelle. He writes as Master of the Works at St Peter's, and Inspector-General of Antiquities, having been appointed to these posts in 1515. For a long time he had been engaged in a comprehensive study of the ancient monuments. In them, he says, he had recognised "the divinity of those minds of the old world." A pitiful sight it is to him, "the mangled corpse of this noble mother, once the queen of the world." "Temples, arches, statues, and other buildings, the glory of their founders," had been allowed to suffer defacement or destruction. "I would not hesitate to say," he continues, "that all this new Rome which our eyes behold, grand and beautiful as it is, adorned with palaces, churches, and other structures, has been built with lime made from ancient marbles." He next recalls, with details, the progress of the havoc during the twelve years which he has passed in Rome. And then he unfolds his project. Mapping out Rome into fourteen regions, he urges that systematic works should be undertaken for the purpose of clearing, or excavating, all existing remains of the ancient city, and then safeguarding them against further injury. His premature death in 1520 prevented the execution of the design. The greatness of that design is well expressed in one of the Latin elegies which mourned his loss: Nunc Romam in Roma quaerit reperitque Raphael. It shows the grasp of his genius, and is also an impressive witness to the new spirit of the Renaissance.
This was a period at which Vitruvius (edited not long before by Fra Giocondo) and Frontinus found many readers. The classical influence was indeed already the dominant one in Italian sculpture and architecture. It was a power which might tend to cold formalism, as in Palladio, or happily ally itself with the native bent of the modern artist, as in Giulio Romano; but, for good or evil, it was everywhere. Meanwhile scholars were producing learned work in various branches of Roman archaeology. A permanently valuable service to Latin epigraphy was rendered by Jacopo Mazochi and his collaborator Francesco Albertini in Epigrammata Antiquae Urbis Romae (1521), where some use was made of earlier collections by Ciriaco of Ancona and Fra Giocondo. Andrea Fulvio published in 1527 his Antiquitates Urbis Romae. The Urbis Romae Topographia of Bartolommeo Marliano appeared in 1537. Such books, though their contents have been mostly absorbed or transmuted in later works, claim the gratitude which is due to indefatigable pioneers.
The buoyancy and animation of the Renaissance in Italy were sustained throughout by the joys of discovery, and of these none was keener than the delight of acquiring manuscripts. Petrarch was the leader in this as in other ways. He was prepared to undertake any trouble, in his own person or through emissaries, for the sake of finding a new classical book, or a better copy of one which was already known. The first of his epistles To Marcus Tullius Cicero expresses the feelings stirred in him by reading the orator's Letters to Atticus, Brutus, and Quintus, which he had just been fortunate enough to unearth at Verona: he was not destined to know the Epistolae ad Familiäres, which were found about 1389 at Vercelli. Petrarch had a quaint and lively way, which was copied by his immediate successors, of personifying the hidden and neglected manuscripts of the classics as gentle prisoners held in captivity by barbarous gaolers. The monastic or cathedral libraries of Italy were the places which first attracted research. Boccaccio's account of his visit to the Abbey of Monte Cassino in Apulia, recorded by a pupil, vividly pictures the scandalous treatment of the books there, which the monks ruthlessly mutilated for the purpose of making cheap psalters, amulets, or anything by which they could earn a few pence. But the quest was not confined to Italy. Italian or foreign agents of the Roman Curia had frequent opportunities of prosecuting research in the libraries of northern Europe. Thus Poggio's journey to the Council of Constance in 1414, in the capacity of Apostolic Secretary, enabled him to visit several religious houses in Switzerland and Swabia. At the Abbey of St Gall he discovered, to his intense pleasure, the Institutions of Quintilian, previously known only through a defective copy found by Petrarch at Florence. The place in which the books were kept is described by Poggio as a sort of dungeon, foul and dark, at the bottom of a tower. Quintilian, he says, "seemed to be stretching out his hands, calling upon the Romans," and praying to be saved from the doom to which barbarians had consigned him. Some other classical authors, including Valerius Flaccus, were found by Poggio on the same occasion. He was, indeed, one of the most fortunate of the searchers. Among his rewards were Cicero's speech for Caecina, Lucretius, Silius Italicus, Manilius, Columella, Vitruvius, and Ammianus Marcellinus. Centuries were to elapse before the process of exploration begun by these early humanists was to be finished. Only in our own day has the actual wealth of Europe in classical manuscripts been ascertained with any approach to completeness. But in the period of the Italian Renaissance discoveries more or less important were of frequent occurrence, and no one could tell from what quarter the next treasure-trove might come. Thus in 1425 Cicero's rhetorical treatises were found by Gherardo Landriani in the Duomo at Lodi; and four years later Nicholas of Treves, a fiscal agent of the Vatican in Germany, sent thence to Rome the most complete codex of Plautus. One of the greatest acquisitions was among the latest. Not till 1508 did the modern world recover the first six books of the Annals of Tacitus. The manuscript, said to have been found in the monastery of Corvey, was sent from Westphalia to Rome, and was acquired by Giovanni de' Medici, afterwards Leo X.
But it was more especially the quest for Greek classics that engaged the ardent zeal of the earlier humanists. The comparative novelty of Greek literature stimulated curiosity; Greek codices were sought, not only by students eager for knowledge, but also by a much larger world. Commercial houses at Florence, such as that of the Medici, with agencies throughout Europe and the Levant, spared no expense in procuring Greek books. Princes, and sometimes Popes, joined in the competition. A new Greek classic gave not only the kind of pleasure which an expert finds in a rare book, but also the pride of possession, not necessarily allied with knowledge, which a wealthy collector feels in a good picture. In short, classical antiquity, Greek especially, was vehemently the fashion in Italy, if that phrase be not less than just to the earnestness of the movement. A letter-writer of the time has related that, just after the publication of Politian's Miscellanea at Florence in 1489, he happened to go into a public office, and found the clerks neglecting their business while they devoured the new book, divided in sheets among them. In an age when the demand for manuscripts had all these forces behind it, the search could not fail to be well-organised, if only as a branch of commerce. For Greek books, Constantinople was the chief hunting-ground. Thither, for at least half a century before the fatal year 1453, many Italian humanists repaired; enjoying, we may suppose, every facility for research. Three such men are foremost among those who brought copies of the Greek classics to Italy. Giovanni Aurispa (1369-1459) went to Constantinople in youth, to study Greek; and, returning to Italy in 1423, carried with him no less than 238 manuscripts. A quiet teacher and student, as he is described by Filelfo, -" placidis Aurispa Camoenis deditus,"—he closed his long life at Ferrara. Guarino da Verona (1370-1460), who also acquired Greek at Constantinople, brought back with him a large number of Greek books. But neither he nor Aurispa can have had better opportunities than Francesco Filelfo (1398-1481), afterwards so conspicuous as a humanist. He studied Greek at Constantinople with John (brother of Manuel) Chrysoloras, whose daughter he married. In selecting the books which he brought home with him, he doubtless had access to the best stores of the Eastern metropolis. Considerable interest therefore attaches to the list of his Greek books which Filelfo gives in a letter to Ambrogio Traversari, written shortly after his return to Venice in 1427. The manuscripts which he enumerates are those which he had carried with him to Italy. He says that he is expecting a few more ("olios...nonnullos"") by the next Venetian ships from the Bosporus; but we may assume that the catalogue in this letter includes the great bulk of his Greek library. It comprises the principal Greek poets (including the Alexandrian), with the notable exception of the Attic dramatists, who are represented only by "seven plays of Euripides." In prose he has the historians, from Herodotus to Polybius; of the orators, Demosthenes, Aeschines, and "one oration of Lysias"; no dialogue of Plato, but nearly all the more important writings of Aristotle: also much prose literature, good and bad, of the Alexandrian and Roman ages. The list contains no book which is not now extant.
Not all men, however, were in a position to seek manuscripts for themselves at Constantinople or elsewhere. The majority of collectors perforce relied on agents. A typical figure in the manuscript-trade of the Renaissance was Vespasiano da Bisticci of Florence (1421-98), to whose pen we owe vivid portraits of several among his more distinguished clients. He acted as an agent in procuring and purchasing manuscripts. He also employed a staff of copyists which was probably the largest in Europe. But he was not merely a man of business. He was scholar enough to see that his men made correct transcripts. In his later years the printer was beginning to supersede the scribe. Vespasiano regarded this new mechanical contrivance with all the scorn of a connoisseur in penmanship, and of one who grieved that those treasures which he procured for the select few should be placed within the reach of the multitude. Among the eminent men of whom Vespasiano became the biographer was Niccolo de1 Niccoli, of Florence, one of the most notable collectors in the earlier Renaissance. Niccoli was an elegant Latin scholar, and held a prominent place in the literary circle of Cosmo de' Medici. His house was filled with choice relics of antiquity, marbles, coins, and gems; in the refined luxury of his private life he seemed to Vespasiano "a perfect model of the men of old"; but the object to which he devoted most of his wealth and thought was the acquisition of Greek and Latin manuscripts. It was to him that Aurispa brought the famous eleventh-century codex now known as the Laurentian, containing Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Apollonius Rhodius. Bred in the days when good copyists were scarce, Niccoli had become inured, like Petrarch, Boccaccio, and Poggio, to the labour of transcribing manuscripts, and a large proportion of those in his library were the work of his own hand. At his death in 1437 he bequeathed 800 manuscripts to Cosmo de' Medici and fifteen other trustees, among whom were Ambrogio Traversari and Poggio.
This noble bequest was worthily used by Cosmo de' Medici, who stands out as the first great founder of libraries at the Renaissance. Already, in his exile from Florence, he had founded at Veniqe, in 1433, the Library of San Giorgio Maggiore. In 1441, when the new hall of the Convent of San Marco at Florence was ready to receive books, he placed there 400 of Niccoli's volumes. Of the other 400 the greater part passed into his own large collection, which became the nucleus of the Medicean Library. For the new Abbey which he had built at Fiesole he also provided a library, giving a commission to Vespasiano, who set forty-five copyists to work, and produced 200 manuscripts in twenty-two months. The Medicean collection, joined to those of San Marco and of the Abbey at Fiesole, form the oldest part of the books now in the Biblioteca Mediceo-Laurenziana.
Another great library which first took shape in the fifteenth century is that of the Vatican. A papal library of some sort had existed from very early times, and had received from Pope Zacharias (741-52) a large addition to its stock of Greek manuscripts. This old collection had been deposited in the Lateran. When the papal Court was removed to Avignon in 1309, the books were taken thither. The Great Schism, which began in 1378, was closed by the election of Martin V in 1417. The books were subsequently brought back from Avignon to Rome, and placed in the Vatican. Eugenius IV (1431-47), who came next after Martin V, interested himself in this matter. But his successor, Nicholas V (1447-55), has the best claim to be called the founder of the Vatican Library. As Tommaso Parentucelli, he had catalogued the Library of San Marco at Florence for Cosmo de' Medici. He was thus well qualified to build up a great collection for the Vatican. During the eight years of his pontificate, he enlarged that collection with energy and judgment, adding to it several thousands of manuscripts. The number of Latin manuscripts alone was, at his death, 824, as is shown by a catalogue dated April 16, 1455. He had intended also to erect a spacious library, which should be thrown open to the public; but he did not live to execute that design. His successor, Calixtus III (1455-8), added many volumes brought from Constantinople after its capture by the Turks. Sixtus IV (1471-84),—Francesco della Rovere, a Franciscan monk of learning and eloquence,—became the second founder of the library. In 1475 he appointed as librarian the erudite Bartolommeo Sacchi, known as Platina from the Latinised name of his birthplace Piadena. Under the supervision of Platina, to whom Sixtus IV gave a free hand, the collection was lodged in its present abode, a suite of rooms on the ground-floor of a building in the Vatican which had been erected by Nicholas V, but had hitherto been used for other purposes. Before his death in 1481, Platina enjoyed the satisfaction of seeing these rooms suitably furnished and decorated. A catalogue had also been made, and the Vatican Library had been completely established in its new home.
Among private founders of libraries in the fifteenth century mention is due to Federigo da Montefeltro, Duke of Urbino, who created there a great collection of classics, of theology, and of medieval and humanistic literature. Vespasiano states that during fourteen years a large staff of scribes was constantly occupied in adding to this collection, and records with marked satisfaction that no printed book was suffered to profane it. Few private libraries then in existence can have rivalled that of Urbino; but many others must have been very considerable. Such, for instance, was the library of Cardinal Bessarion at Rome, said by Vespasiano to have contained 600 Greek and Latin manuscripts. The owner presented it, in 1468, to St Mark's at Venice; but, with that apathy towards the Classical Renaissance which characterised the Venetian Republic down to the close of the fifteenth century, a generation went by before the munificent gift was worthily housed.
The incessant quest for manuscripts, and the gradual formation of large libraries, slowly improved the external facilities for humanistic study. Much progress was made in this respect during the interval between the death of Petrarch in 1374 and that of Politian in 1494. Yet, even in the latter part of the fifteenth century, good classical texts were far from abundant. It was only by the printing press that such books were made easily accessible to the majority of students. This fact must be remembered if we would understand the part played in Italy by the humanist professors. In the Italian Revival, viewed as a whole, two principal agencies may be distinguished, corresponding with two successive stages of the movement. The first agency is that of oral teaching by a scholar of eminence, who addresses large audiences, including persons of various ages and attainments. Such a lecturer did not, as a rule, confine his labours to any one place, but accepted invitations from several cities in succession. This method of teaching began immediately after Petrarch. In the earlier days of humanism it was a necessity; there was no other way in which the first elements of the new learning could be diffused. Such a lecturer as Manuel Chrysoloras or Giovanni di Conversino appealed to an enthusiasm which was still in its youth. By such men the seeds of humanism were sown far and wide. But meanwhile another agency was coming into existence, better fitted, in some respects, to promote the higher humanism. It was that of private groups or coteries, formed by patrons and students of letters, who held meetings for the purpose of learned converse and discussion. In contrast with the influence of the humanist professor, who often changed his abode, such an Academy was a permanent centre of study in the place where it was formed. In contrast with the professor's large and miscellaneous audience, the members of an Academy were limited in number, and carefully selected; and, while the lecturer was usually constrained to adopt a more or less popular mode of treatment, the work of an Academy was more esoteric.
Among the humanist professors, none were more eminent or successful in their day than Filelfo and Politian. Each is a representative man. Filelfo is a type of the wandering humanist who played so conspicuous a part in the first half of the fifteenth century. Politian, in the latter part of that century, represents the public teaching of the classics in a riper phase: with him, indeed, it reached the highest level to which Italy ever saw it lifted by the union of learning with genius. The zenith of Filelfo's reputation may be placed at the time, in 1429, when, after teaching at Venice and Bologna, he came as professor to Florence. We have already seen that, after studying Greek at Constantinople, he had brought home with him a considerable store of classical manuscripts. He especially prided himself on a comprehensive knowledge of the Greek and Latin literatures, and on his facility in using both languages, alike in prose and in verse. At Florence, for a time at least, he often gave four lectures a day, taking (for instance) Cicero and Homer in the morning, followed by Terence and Thucydides in the afternoon. "My audience," he says, "numbers every day four hundred persons,—perhaps more"; or perhaps less; for his own later recollections reduced the estimate by one half. At any rate the attendance was very large. There were youths (some from France, Germany, Spain, Cyprus), but also middle-aged or elderly men, including the foremost in Florence. This state of things did not, indeed, last long; for Filelfo had a fatal knack of rousing enmities. But it is a good illustration of what was possible for a very eminent humanist at that period. The method of teaching was determined by the peculiar conditions. Among Filelfo's large audience there would be many, possibly a majority, who would regard the lecture mainly as a display of Latin eloquence, and who would not attempt to take notes. But there would also be many serious students, intent on recording what the lecturer said; and of these only a few would possess manuscripts of the author,—Cicero, for example,—whom he was expounding. After an introduction, Filelfo would therefore dictate a portion of Cicero's text, which the students would transcribe. To this he would add a commentary, dealing with grammar, with the usage of words, and with everything in the subject-matter which needed to be explained or illustrated. Thus, at the end of such a course, the lecturer would have dictated a fully annotated edition of the classical book, or portion of a book, which he was treating; and the diligent student would have transcribed it. The migratory habits of the earlier humanists are partly to be explained by the fact that, when a lecturer had exhausted his existing stock of annotated texts, a change of scene and of audience would enable him to use them over again. A lecture by such a man as Filelfo had, in fact, a twofold quality. On the one hand, it was an exposition,—not of an advanced character, judged by modern standards, yet not too elementary for the conditions of the time. On the other, it was a recognised opportunity for the display of oratorical and dialectical skill. The audience were prepared for flashes of lively eloquence, quotations, epigrams, strokes of satire, panegyric, or invective. As scholarship advanced in Italy, the humanistic lecture became more sparing of irrelevant ornament; but it always preserved something of its old rhetorical character.
Angelo Ambrogini, called Poliziano (Politianus) from his birthplace, Montepulciano, was born in 1454. His precocious abilities were shown in boyhood. In 1470 he earned the designation of "Homericus iuvenis" by translating four books of the Iliad (n-v) into Latin. At eighteen he published an edition of Catullus. He attracted the notice of Lorenzo de? Medici, who made him tutor to his children. Before he was thirty he became professor of Greek and Latin at Florence. He held that chair till his death, in 1494, at the age of forty. Like Filelfo, Politian covered in his lectures a wide field of literature in both the classical languages. But his standard of scholarship, best exemplified in his edition of the Pandects, was higher and more critical than that of any predecessor. A quality which distinguished him not less than his comprehensive scholarship was his rhetorical genius. Its characteristics were spontaneity, swiftness, fire, with a certain copiousness of matter, poured forth from a rich and prompt memory. This, indeed, even more than his learning, was the gift to which he owed his unique fame with his contemporaries. A vivid idea of his power as a rhetorician, which also helps us to imagine him as a lecturer, is given by four Latin poems comprised in his Sylvae. Each of these poems was written in order that he might recite it in his lecture-room as a prelude to a course of lectures. The first piece, entitled Nutricia, is an outline of the history of poetry from Homer to Boccaccio, with a peroration in praise of Lorenzo de1 Medici. It may justly be called one of the most noteworthy products of the Italian Renaissance. The facility and rapidity of the sonorous hexameters are extraordinary. Politian is said to have been, in all styles, a swift composer; and these verses convince the reader that they flowed forth. The matter is scarcely less remarkable. We observe that this great humanist is far more at home with the Latin poets than with the Greek. Thus, though no less than twenty-seven verses are given to Pindar, these turn wholly on the ancient traditions about his life; there is not a word that proves knowledge of his work or insight into his genius. The three masters of Greek tragedy are dismissed with one verse apiece, purporting to tell how each was killed;-Aeschylus, by a tortoise falling on his head,—Sophocles, by a shock of joy at the success of a play,—and Euripides, by wild dogs in Macedon. This brief passage is quaintly significant of the scant attention given to the Attic drama in the fifteenth century. But nothing in the poem is truer to the feeling of Italian humanism, or better indicates one of its limitations on the critical side, than the estimate of Homer and Virgil. Virgil, says Politian, ranks next to Homer; or, were not Homer the elder, might even rank above him (vel, ni veneranda senectus Obstiterit, jbrtasse prior). The second poem of the Sylvae, called Rusticus, was an introduction to the author's lectures on Hesiod's Works and Days, Virgil's Eclogues and Georgws, and other bucolic poetry. The third, Manto, was a brilliant eulogy on Virgil. The fourth, Ambra, was prefatory to lectures on Homer. Politian's Italian lyrics have been deemed by competent critics to possess high poetical merit, entitling him to a place between Petrarch and Ariosto. His Latin verse, brilliant as it is in rhetorical quality, wants the tact in selection of topics, and the artistic finish, which belong to poetry. But it is easy to conceive how powerful must have been the effect of those impetuous hexameters, when Politian, who was skilled in elocution and gifted with a voice of much charm, declaimed them in his crowded lecture-room at Florence, as a proem to discourses full of eloquence and learning. His audience was cosmopolitan, and the fame of his teaching was borne to every country in Europe. Politian's work was cut short by death at an age when most men of comparable eminence in the annals of scholarship have been only at the outset of their career. But his function was to inspire; and his gifts were such that his brief span of life sufficed to render him one of the most influential personalities in the history of Italian humanism.
The teaching by public lecture, of which Filelfo and Politian were such distinguished exponents, gave occupation, throughout the fifteenth century, to a long series of able men. It flourished at almost every considerable centre of Italian life. And, from the second quarter of the century onwards, the humanist professor had found an efficient ally in the schoolmaster, who prepared the ground for him. The Italian Renaissance brought forth no fairer fruit, and none fraught with more important consequences for the liberal culture of the world, than the school-training, based on the ideas of humanism, which took shape at that period. A place of special honour in the history of education is due to the founder of that system, Vittorino da Feltre. Born in 1378 at Feltre, a small town of Venetia, he went at eighteen to the University of Padua, then second in Italy only to the University of Bologna, and sharing with Pavia the distinction, still rare at that time in Universities, of being comparatively favourable to the New Learning. At Padua, Vittorino was the pupil of Giovanni di Conversino and afterwards of Gasparino da Barzizza, scholars whose important services to the study of Latin have already been noticed. Another Paduan teacher of that day whose influence Vittorino doubtless felt was Vergerius, the author of an essay on the formation of character (De Ingenuis Moribus) which remained a classic for two centuries, passing through some forty editions before the year 1600. The Renaissance was fertile in educational treatises; but this tractate was the clearest, as it was the earliest, statement of the principles on which humanistic training rested. Vittorino, after holding a chair of rhetoric at Padua, and then teaching privately at Venice, was invited by Gian Francesco Gonzaga, Marquis of Mantua, to undertake the tuition of his children. In 1425 he took up his residence in a villa assigned to him for that purpose at Mantua, where he remained till his death in 1446. Here he created a school of a type previously unknown.
His aim was to develop the whole nature of his pupils, intellectual, moral, and physical; not with a view to any special calling, but so as to form good citizens and useful members of society, capable of bearing their part with credit in public and private life. For intellectual training he took the Latin classics as a basis; teaching them, however, not in the dry and meagre fashion generally prevalent in the medieval schools, where their meaning as literature was too often obscured by artificial and pedantic methods, but in the large and generous spirit of Renaissance humanism. Poetry, oratory, Roman history, and the ethics of Roman Stoicism, were studied in the best Latin writers, and in a way fitted to interest and stimulate boys. By degrees Vittorino introduced some Greek classics also. The scholars were practised in Latin composition, and to some extent in Greek; also in recitation, and in reading aloud. He further provided for some teaching of mathematics, including geometry (a subject which the, humanists preferred to the schoolmen's logic), arithmetic, and the elements of astronomy. Nor did he neglect the rudiments of such knowledge as then passed for natural philosophy and natural history. Music and singing also found a place. Unlike some of the contemporary humanists, Vittorino was an orthodox, even a devout churchman, and one whose precepts were enforced by his practice. He was a layman, and the type of education which he was creating might even be contrasted, in some respects, with the ecclesiastical type which had preceded it. But he was entirely exempt from any tendency to neopaganism in religion or ethics; and his ethical influence as a teacher seems to have been thoroughly sound.
With great insight and tact, Vittorino saw how far social education could be given in a school with advantage to morals and without loss to manliness; he inculcated a good tone of manners, and encouraged the acquirement of such social accomplishments as the age demanded in well-educated men. As to physical training, he provided instructors in riding, swimming, and military exercises. He also promoted every kind of healthy outdoor activity. This was a new thing in schools. The ecclesiastical schoolmaster of the Middle Ages had not usually concerned himself with it. The medieval provision for physical training had been chiefly in the households of princes or nobles, where horsemanship, hunting, and martial sports were in vogue. Vittorino was in some sort continuing this old training; many of his pupils were young nobles destined to the life of courts and camps. But his point of view was a novel one. The idea which dominated his whole system was the classical, primarily Greek, idea of an education in which mind and body should be harmoniously developed. The force with which this idea appealed to the humanists was partly due to its contrast with medieval theory and practice. The new type of school-education developed by Vittorino is rightly called humanistic; but the reason for so calling it is not solely or chiefly that the intellectual part of it was based on the Greek and Latin classics. It was humanistic, in a deeper sense, because it was at once intellectual, moral, and physical. Vittorino was resolved that the advantages of his school should be open to all boys who were fitted to profit by them. Pupils were sent to him from several of the Italian Courts to be educated with the young Mantuan princes. But he also maintained at his own cost a large number of poorer scholars, for whom lodgings were found near the villa. The rules of life and study were the same for all. Many of the most distinguished scholars of the century had enjoyed his teaching. Among these were George of Trebizond, Valla, Nicholas Perotti and John, Bishop of Aleria, who prepared for the Roman press (in 1469-71) the editlones prindpes of many Latin classics.
Next to Vittorino must be named the other great schoolmaster of the time, his contemporary and friend Guarino da Verona. Guarino, after studying Latin under Giovanni di Conversino, had learned Greek at Constantinople, where for five years he lived in the house of Manuel Chrysoloras (1403-8). No other Italian of that day was probably Guarino's equal as a Greek scholar. Filelfo and Aurispa were indeed the only contemporary Italians who shared his facility in speaking and writing Greek. It was in 1414 that Guarino opened at Venice the first humanistic school which had been established in that city. Vittorino studied Greek with him there for a year and a half. In 1418 Guarino finally left Venice. He was subsequently invited by Niccolo d' Este, Marquis of Ferrara, to undertake the education of his son and heir, Lionello. After the early death of Lionello, a youth of great promise, Guarino remained at Ferrara, where he enjoyed the highest repute as a teacher, drawing pupils from all parts of Italy. He died there in 1460, aged ninety.
Thus, before the middle of the fifteenth century, school and lecture-room had diffused the influences of humanism throughout Italy. The spirit of humanistic study had given a new bent to the intellectual interests of cultivated society, and had become a potent factor in the education of youth. In all the principal cities there were men who found themselves drawn together by a common taste for ancient literature and art. The time was ripe for raising the new studies to a somewhat higher level by the exercise of a keener criticism, such as is generated by the play of mind upon mind within a limited social circle, to which the only passport is a recognised standard of attainment or genius. The age of Academies was at hand. Florence, the metropolis of humanism, was the place where the earliest of such societies arose. We have seen that the visit of Gemistos Plethon in 1438 had stimulated the Florentine study of Plato, and had impelled Cosmo de' Medici to found his Platonic Academy. But the palmy days of that institution were rather in the time of his grandson, Lorenzo de1 Medici, who became head of the State in 1469, and died in 1492.
Lorenzo was remarkable for versatility even among the men of the Renaissance. Few can ever have been more brilliantly qualified, by natural abilities and by varied accomplishments, to adorn the part of a Maecenas. The Platonic Academy usually met in his palace at Florence, or in his villa on the heights of Fiesole. Only a few members of the society can be named here. Platonic studies were more especially represented by Marsilio Ficino, who had given a great impulse to them, though he had no critical comprehension of Plato. Giovanni Pico della Mirandola brought to Lorenzo's circle those varied gifts of mind and character which so strongly impressed his contemporaries. A keen interest in ancient philosophy, and a desire to harmonise it with Christian doctrine, were distinctive of him. He was destined to die, at the age of thirty-one, in 1494. Leo Battista Alberti, architect, musician, painter, an excellent writer in both Latin and Italian, contributed an example of versatile power almost comparable to that of Lionardo da Vinci. There, too, was Michelangelo, already a poet, but with his greatest artistic achievements still before him. Scholarship had several representatives. Foremost among them was Politian, who has commemorated in Latin verse the gatherings at his patron's villa. Another was Cristoforo Landino, an able Latinist, the author of some dialogues, on the model of Cicero's Tusculans, which aid us in imagining the kind of discourse to which the meetings of the Academy gave rise. These are the well-known Disputationes Camaldunenses, so called because the conversations are supposed to take place at a house of the Camaldulite Order in the Apennines. Landino introduces us to Lorenzo de' Medici and a party of his friends, who have sought refuge there from the summer heat of Florence. The conversation turns on the merits of that active life which they have left behind them in the fair city on the Arno, as compared with the contemplative life of the philosopher or the monk. Alberti argues in favour of the contemplative existence; Lorenzo, of the active: and their hearers pronounce the opinion that both must contribute to form the complete man. So passes their first evening among the hills. On three following days the friends discourse of Virgil. Humanists though they are, they cling (as Petrarch did) to the faith that his poetry is allegorical; and in the veiled meanings which underlie it they discover links with Platonic doctrine. Landino's work in these imaginary conversations must be accepted as true to the general tendency and tone of the circle which he knew so well. It should be added that the cult of Plato by the Florentine Academy included certain ceremonial observances. They kept his birthday with a banquet, after which some portion of his works was read and discussed. The anniversary of his death had also its fitting commemoration. His bust was crowned with flowers, and a lamp was burned before it. Such things, which may seem childish now, were outward signs of the strong and fresh reality which the memory of the illustrious ancients had for the men of the Renaissance, the heirs of the Middle Age, who had not wholly broken, even yet, with its feelings and impulses.
Rome, too, had its Academy. This was founded, about 1460, by Julius Pomponius Laetus, an enthusiast for Latin scholarship, in which Valla had been his master. It was the peculiar ambition of Laetus to imitate as closely as possible the manners, occupations, and even amusements, of the ancients. The Academy founded by him devoted itself especially to the study of Latin antiquities. Its members also followed his bent by celebrating the Palilia on the legendary birthday of Rome,—by acting comedies of Plautus,—and generally by raising, among them^ selves, such a phantom as they could of ancient life. It is not altogether surprising that a Pope devoid of humanistic sympathies should have regarded such a society with disapproval. The Roman Academy was temporarily suppressed by Paul II. But it was revived under Sixtus IV, and lived on into the age of Leo X, when it greatly flourished. Among its members at that later period were three of the eminent Latin scholars who became Cardinals,—Bembo, Sadoleto, and Egidio Canisio; also the sparkling historian and biographer Paulus Jovius. It could, claim also that brilliant ornament of Leo's Court, Baldassare Castiglione, the author of the Cortegiano, and himself a mirror of the accomplishments which he describes.
The Academy of Naples differed in stamp both from the Florentine and from the Roman. Alfonso V of Aragon, who made himself master of Naples in 1442, had drawn a number of distinguished scholars to his Court in that city. After his death in 1458 there was no longer a centre at Naples round which such men could gather. Then it was that Jovianus Pontanus, an excellent writer of Latin, and especially of Latin verse, developed an Academy out of what had previously been an informal society of scholarly friends. The distinctive note of the Neapolitan Academy continued to be that which it derived from its origin. It was occupied more especially with the cultivation of style. The activity distinctive of it is represented by a series of Latin versifiers, remarkable for scholarship, for vigour, and also for a neopagan tendency. The Florentine Academy was predominantly philosophic; the Roman was antiquarian; the Neapolitan was literary. Many similar societies, of more or less note, arose in other Italian cities. At the close of the fifteenth century almost every considerable centre of culture possessed its Academy. The manner in which these institutions contributed to the advancement of scholarship and learning was somewhat different from that associated with more modern bodies of a similar nature. The Italian Academies of the Renaissance had little to show in the way of "transactions" or memoirs which could be regarded as permanently valuable contributions to special branches of knowledge. But the variety and brilliancy of the men whom these societies are known to have brought into sympathetic converse would suffice to establish the importance of the movement. Such Academies raised the classical Renaissance to a higher level.
Cooperation of the academic kind bore a necessary part in that great work which crowned the labours of the Italian revival by securing the Greek and Latin classics against the accidents of time. Aldo Manuzio was aided in the affairs of his press by the "New Academy" (Neaca-demia) which he founded at Venice. In order justly to estimate his achievement, we must recall what had been done in the same field before him. Italy was the country where the recently invented art of printing first became largely fruitful in the service of letters. In the Benedictine House of Santa Scolastica at Subiaco the German printers Schweinheim and Pannartz printed in 1465 the first edition of Lactantius. Removing to Rome in 1467, they began to issue the Latin classics. In 1469 their press produced Caesar, Livy, Aulus Gellius, Virgil, and Lucan; which were shortly followed by Cicero's Letters, with a volume of his Orations, and by Ovid. Some twenty-three Latin authors were published by them in little more than two years. At about the same time printing was begun at Venice by John of Speyer, and by a Frenchman, Nicolas Jenson. They, too, sent forth many Latin authors. Milan seems to have had a press as early as 1469. At Florence, in 1471, Bernardo Cennini printed the commentary of Servius on Virgil's Eclogues. Another Florentine printing-house was that of Giunta, afterwards famed for the editiones luntinae. The printing of Greek began not long after the first entrance of the art into Italy. In 1476 the Greek Grammar of Con-stantine Lascaris was printed at Milan by Zarot. At Milan, Theocritus (Idylls i-xvm), and Hesiod (Works and Days) came from the press in or about 1481; and Isocrates (edited by Demetrius Chalcondylas) in 1493. Venice contributed, in 1484, the Greek Grammar (Erotemata) of Manuel Chrysoloras. At Florence, in 1488, Lorenzo Alopa, a Venetian, published a Homer, edited by Chalcondylas. Such was the general situation when Aldo commenced his labours. Most of the greater Latin classics had been printed; but of the Greek, only Homer, Hesiod's Works and Days, eighteen Idylls of Theocritus, and Isocrates.
Teobaldo Manucci, who Latinised his name into Aldus Manutius, and is now more usually called Aldo Manuzio, was born in 1450. His aim in youth was to qualify himself for the profession of a humanist. He studied Greek at Ferrara under Guarino da Verona, to whom he afterwards inscribed his Theocritus. At Rome Gasparino da Verona was his master in Latin. Aldo became tutor to the young princes of Carpi, Alberto and Lionello Pio, nephews of his old fellow-student, the brilliant Pico della Mirandola. But he had now formed the great design of printing all the masterpieces of Greek literature, and on that project all his thoughts were intent. He was supplied with the means of executing it by his pupil Alberto Pio, to whom, as ra> rtäv OVTWV epacrry, he dedicated the editio princeps of Aristotle. In 1490 he settled at Venice, in a house near the church of San Agostino, and entered upon preparations for his task. A Cretan, Marcus Musurus, was the most important of his assistants. The handwriting of Musurus was the pattern from which Aldo's Greek type was cast,—as, in a later day, Person's hand supplied a model to the Cambridge press. It is noteworthy that another Cretan, Demetrius, had designed the types used by Alopa in the Florentine Homer of 1488. Many of Aldo's compositors were likewise Cretans. His printing establishment at Venice was a Greek-speaking household. There was a separate department for binding books. The printing-ink was made in the house; the excellent paper came from the mills of Fabriano.
In 1493 Aldo began his series of Greek editions with the Hero and Leander of Musaeus; whom, as appears from the preface, he identified with the pre-Homeric bard of legend. Thenceforward Aldo's work was prosecuted with steady vigour, though not without some enforced interruptions. The whole of Hesiod, with Theocritus (thirty Idylls), Theognis, and some other gnomic poetry, came out in 1495. Aristotle, in five volumes, appeared in the years 1495-8. Nine plays of Aristophanes were issued in 1498. The year 1502 produced Thucydides, Sophocles, and Herodotus. In 1503 came Xenophon's Hellenica, and Euripides; in 1504, Demosthenes; in 1508, Lysias and other orators; in 1509, parts of Plutarch. The year 1513 was signalised by the editio princeps of Plato, dedicated to Leo X. In 1514 Pindar was sent forth; also Hesychius and Athenaeus. When Aldo died in 1515, he had produced twenty-eight editiones principes of Greek and Latin classics within the space of some twenty-two years. And these editions were of a merit hitherto unequalled. Pains had been taken with the collation of manuscripts and with criticism of the text; and in this respect many of the books, though they may fail to satisfy the modern standard, were superior to any that had preceded them. The printing was of much beauty; and the small form of the volumes was a welcome boon in an age accustomed to folios or quartos. But the most important benefit was the extraordinary cheapness of these editions. The price of an Aldine volume ranged from about a shilling to half-a-crown of our money. It was not without many difficulties and discouragements that such a result had been attained. Aldo suffered from the jealousy of rival printers and the frauds of piratical booksellers. On four occasions (he writes in 1501) the persons in his employment had caballed against him, with the aim of making larger gains at his expense. Then the work of his press was twice stopped by war; first in 1506, and again in 1510-15. But Aldo was sustained by a sober enthusiasm.
He must also have been cheered by the sympathy of the Hellenists whom he had drawn around him. His "Neacademia" was formed at Venice at 1500. Its rules were drawn up in Greek, and that language was spoken at its meetings. The secretary of the society was Scipione Fortiguerra, the author of a once famous essay In praise of Greek Letters, who grecised his name as Carteromachus; an example which the other members of the body followed. The eminent scholar John Lascaris was one of several distinguished Greeks resident in Italy who joined Aide's Academy. Among the subjects with which the Neacademia occupied itself was the choice of books to be printed, the collation of manuscripts, and the discussion of various readings. Some of the members assisted Aldo as editors of particular classics. It was in order to see a new edition of his own Adagia through the press that Erasmus became a guest under Aldo's roof in 1508. He has described how he sat in the same room with his host, revising the book, while Aldo and his proof-reader Seraphinus pushed forward the printing. Erasmus became, as was natural, an honorary member of the Neacademia. That distinction was enjoyed also by an Englishman who had studied humane letters under Politian, Thomas Linacre. Aldo's Academy thus stands out among kindred institutions of the Italian Renaissance as a body actively associated with a definite work on a grand scale, the printing of the classics. After Aldo's death in 1515, the business of the press was carried on by his brothers-in-law and partners, the Asolani; and then by his son, Paolo Manuzio, and his grandson, Aldo the younger. The series of Greek classics was continued with Pausanias, Strabo, Aeschylus, Galen, Hippocrates, and Longinus. When Aeschylus had appeared, in 1518, no extant Greek classic of the first rank remained unprinted. Aldo was not only one of the greatest of all benefactors to literature, but also a man whose disinterested ardour and generous character compel admiration. Alluding to the device on his title-pages, the dolphin and the anchor,—symbols of speed and tenacity, with the motto Festina lente,—he said (in 1499), "I have achieved much by patience (cunc-tando), and I work without pause." The energy, knowing neither haste nor rest, which carried him to his goal was inspired by the same feeling which, in the dawn of the Renaissance, had animated Petrarch and Boccaccio. Those pioneers, when they ransacked libraries for manuscripts, felt as if they were liberating the master-spirits of old from captivity. So does Aldo exult, in one of his prefaces, at the thought that he has delivered the classics from bondage to "the buriers of books," the misers of bibliography who hid their treasures from the light. And no one was more liberal than Aldo to all who worked with him, or who sought his aid.
At the time when his task was advancing towards completion, Greek learning had already begun to decline in Italy, and the last period of the Italian Renaissance had set in. That period may be roughly dated from the year 1494; and the end, or beginning of the end, is marked by the sack of Rome in 1527. It was in 1494 that Charles VIII of France marched on Naples. He conquered it easily, but lost it again after his withdrawal. A time of turmoil ensued in Italy, which became the battle-ground where foreign princes fought out their feuds. The Medici were driven from Florence, which thereupon was rent by the struggle between the Piagnoni and the Ottimati. Naples was acquired in 1504 by Ferdinand of Aragon. Milan was harassed by the passage of French, Swiss, and German armies. Almost everywhere Italy lay down-trodden under the contending invaders. Only a few of the smaller principalities, such as Ferrara and Mantua, retained any vigorous or independent life. Rome, meanwhile, was wealthy, and still untroubled by war. The papacy was now the chief Italian Power in the peninsula. It was at Rome, therefore, that humanistic culture held its central seat in this closing period of the Italian Renaissance. Erasmus was there in 1509, when Cardinal Grimani pressed him to make Rome his permanent abode; and he has recorded his impressions. He saw a bright and glorious city, an opulent treasure-house of literature and art, the metropolis of polite society, refined luxury, and learned intercourse. Nor was this merely the estimate of a northern visitor. A similar view of Rome brought consolation to contemporary Italians. The Poetica of Marco Vida (1489-1566) ends with a panegyric on Leo X, in which he laments, indeed, that Italy has become a prey to "foreign tyrants." The "fortune of arms" has forsaken her. "But may she still excel," he cries, "in the studies of Minerva; and may Rome, peerless in beauty, still teach the nations!" The claim which Virgil made immortal is reversed by Vida. Let others wield the sword, and bear rule; but let Rome be supreme in letters and in arts.
The prevalent tendency of humanism at this period was towards accuracy and elegance of Latin style. That wide range of study which had been characteristic of Politian, and of the greatest humanists before him, was no longer in vogue. Attention was now concentrated on a few models of composition, especially on Cicero and Virgil. Bembo, strictest of Ciceronians, a literary dictator in the age of Leo X, warned the learned Sadoleto against allowing his style to be depraved by the diction of St Paul's Epistles ("Omitte has iingos"); advice which did not, however, ultimately deter Sadoleto from publishing a commentary on the Epistle to the Romans. Another trait of the time, justly ridiculed by Erasmus, was the fashion of using pagan paraphrases for Christian ideas, or for things wholly modern. Thus the saints are divi; the papal tiara is infula Romulea. Not merely good taste, but reverence, was often sacrificed to this affectation. With regard to pagan themes, Bembo is a proof that they could now be treated in Latin verse, and by an ecclesiastic, with a frank paganism which no ancient could have outdone.
The central figure in this period is Pope Leo X (1513-21). He had an inborn zeal for the Classical Renaissance. At Rome, under his reign, the cult of the antique engaged a circle much larger, though far less rich in genius, than the group which had surrounded his father Lorenzo de' Medici at Florence. The position of humanism at the Vatican was now very different from what it had been in the preceding century. So far as the earlier humanists came into relations with the papal Curia, it was chiefly because they were required as writers of Latin. Poggio, Lionardo Bruni, and Lorenzo Valla, were employed as Apostolic secretaries; Valla's appointment marked, indeed, as we have seen, a new policy of the Vatican towards humanism: but all three remained laymen; and that was the general rule. In those days, humanists seldom rose to high ecclesiastical office. It was otherwise now. Distinction in scholarship had become one of the surest avenues to preferment in the Church. A youth gained some literary distinction, was brought to Rome by his patron, and attracted the notice of the Pope. Thus Bembo, Sadoleto, and Aleander attained to the sacred purple; Paulus Jovius, Vida, and Marcus Musuras became bishops. Such cases were frequent. Scholars were now in the high places of the Vatican. They gave the tone to the Court and to Roman society. It was a world pervaded by a sense of beauty in literature, in plastic art, in architecture, in painting; a world in which graceful accomplishments and courtly manners lent a charm to daily life. A scholar or artist, coming to Rome in Leo's reign, would have found there all, or more than all, that had fascinated Erasmus a few years before. To Leo and his contemporaries it might well have seemed that their age was the very flower and crown of the Renaissance. The aesthetic pleasures of their existence had been prepared by the labours of predecessors who had brought back the ancient culture. But the humanism of Leo's age had no longer within it the seeds of further growth. The classical revival in Italy had now wellnigh run its course. Its best and freshest forces were spent. It was rather in the literature of the Italian language that the original power of the Italian genius was now seeking expression.
Leo X should not, however, be identified merely with that phase of humanism, brilliant, indeed, yet already decadent, which was mirrored in his Court. He was also, beyond doubt, a man animated by a strong and genuine desire to promote intellectual culture, not only in the form of elegant accomplishment, but also in that of solid learning. Of this he gave several proofs. The Roman University (the "Sapienza") had hitherto been inferior, as a school of humanism, to some others in Italy. It had never rivalled Florence, and it could not now compete with Ferrara. Leo, in the first year of his pontificate (1513), made a serious effort to improve it; and it was not his fault if that effort had little permanent success. He remodelled the statutes of the University; created some new chairs; enlarged the emoluments ,of those which existed; and induced some scholars of eminence to join the staff. Another way in which he showed his earnest sympathy with learning was by his encouragement of Greek studies. More than forty years before this, editions of Latin classics had begun to issue from the Roman press. But Rome had hitherto lagged behind in the printing of Greek. The first Greek book printed at Rome was a Pindar, published in 1515 by Zacharias Calliergi, a Cretan, who had helped to bring out the Etymologicum Magnum at Venice in 1499. A Greek printing press was now established in Rome by Leo. He also instituted the "Gymnasium Caballini Montis," where lectures were given by Aldo's former assistant, the eminent Cretan scholar Marcus Musurus, and also by the veteran John Lascaris. This was perhaps the last considerable effort made in Italy to arrest the incipient decline of Greek studies.
A permanent interest attaches to the profession of faith in humanism left on record by Leo X. When, in 1515, the first six books of the Annals of Tacitus appeared in the editio princeps of Filippo Beroaldo the younger, the Pope conferred upon the editor a privilege for the sale and reprinting of the book. In the brief which granted this privilege, and which was prefixed to the edition, Leo expressed his estimate of the New Learning. "We have been accustomed," he says, "even from our early years, to think that nothing more excellent or more useful has been given by the Creator to mankind, if we except only the knowledge and true worship of Himself, than these studies, which not only lead to the ornament and guidance of human life, but are applicable and useful to every particular situation; in adversity consolatory, in prosperity pleasing and honourable; insomuch that without them we should be deprived of all the grace of life and all the polish of social intercourse." He then observes that "the security and extension of these studies" seem to depend chiefly on two things,—"the number of men of learning, and the ample supply of excellent authors." As to the first, it has always been his earnest desire to encourage men of letters; and as to the acquisition of books, he rejoices when an opportunity is thus afforded him of thus "promoting the advantage of mankind." The best spirit of Italian humanism finds a noble expression in these words, written by one who, both as Giovanni de' Medici and as Leo X, had proved the sincerity of his devotion to the interests of letters. That sympathy was interwoven with his personal character and temperament; it scarcely needed to be strengthened by the great traditions of his house. We may doubt whether he was conscious that the Classical Renaissance had so decidedly passed its zenith: certainly he can have had no presage of what was to happen a few years after his death.
The capture of Rome by the imperialist troops in 1527 broke up that Roman world of literature and art which, as viewed by the men who were under its spell, had rivalled the age of Pericles or of Augustus. Valeriano, who knew the city both before and after that fatal year, has described, in his dialogue De Literatorum Infelicitate, the horror and completeness of the catastrophe. When he asked for the men of letters whom he remembered at Rome, he learned that many of them had perished by the sword, by torture, or by disease. Others had escaped only to end their days in penury and suffering. But some fine scholars were still left in Italy. Petrus Victorius (1499-1584), who taught at his native Florence from 1538 onwards, showed much acuteness in his Variae Lectiones. His labours included some good work for the Attic tragedians, Aristotle, and Cicero. Lombardy was now the part of Italy in which classical culture found its chief refuge. At Ferrara humanism was represented especially by Lilius Gyraldus (1479-1552), whose His-toria Poetarum (1545) was one of the earliest books on the history of classical literature. Robortellus (1516-67), a sound Hellenist, who taught at Pavia and elsewhere, edited Aeschylus and Callimachus; while by his treatise De Arte sive Rat tone Corrigenda Antiquos Llbros he ranks among the founders of textual criticism. Ever since the days of Politian, the cultivation of Latin verse writing had been popular. Along with much that was mediocre or bad, some admirable work in this kind was produced. Andrea Navagero, of Venice, who died in 1529, might be instanced as a Latin scholar who wrote verse in a really classical taste, untainted by the coarseness which was then too common. A few years after the sack of Rome, Marcantonio Flaminio, of Imola, dedicated to his patron, Alessandro Farnese, a collection of verses by scholars belonging to Venice, Modena, Verona, Mantua, and other North-Italian towns. The condition of Italy at this time was utterly miserable. But Flaminio's elegant verse breathes only a scholar's exultation. "Happy, too happy, are our days, which have given birth to a Catullus, a Tibullus, a Horace, and a Virgil of their own! Who would have thought that, after the darkness of so many centuries, and the dire disasters of Italy, so many lights could have arisen within the narrow region beyond the Po?" Such words, written in such days, have an unconscious pathos. They are significant of Italy's patient fidelity to the ideals of the Renaissance, as well as of the price which she paid for it. And now at last the tide was about to turn. The power of the Roman Church, strenuously engaged in combating the Reformation, became adverse also to the aims and the spirit of the New Learning. In 1530 Clement VII and Charles V made their compact at Bologna. Spain, supported by the papacy, effected the pacification of Italy. So far as Italy was concerned, the humanistic movement was now arrested, and a reaction had begun. Writing about 1540, Paulus Jovius lamented that scholarship had migrated from Italy to Germany. His complaint was somewhat premature; but such a process had indeed set in. The most learned Italian of the next generation, Cardinal Baronius (1538-1607), the author of Annales Ecclesiastici, was unacquainted with Greek. The work accomplished by the Italian Renaissance claims the lasting gratitude of mankind. In the interval between the time of Petrarch and that of Leo X, a space of about a hundred and seventy years, ardent and unceasing labours bridged the gulf between the medieval and the modern world. Latin, the universal language, was purged from barbarism. Latin literature was brought back into the full light of intelligent study. Greek was restored to the West. After centuries of intellectual poverty, men entered once more into possession of the poetry and the eloquence, the wisdom and the wit, bequeathed by ancient Greece and Rome. The period of this revival was one in which the general tone of morality was low; and cynicism, bred partly of abuses in the Church, had wellnigh paralysed the restraining power of religion. Some of the humanists were pagans, not as Seneca was, but as Petronius Arbiter; and, far from suffering in public esteem, enjoyed the applause of princes and prelates. Not a little that was odious or shameful occasionally marked their conduct and disfigured their writings. But it is hardly needful to observe that such exponents of humanism were in no way representative of its essence, or even of its inevitable conditions in a corrupt age. Among the foremost Italian scholars were many exemplars of worthy life and noble character, men whose enthusiasm for letters was joined to moral qualities which compel respect and admiration. And no transient phase of fashionable paganism could mar the distinctive merits of the Italian Renaissance, or affect its permanent results. Italian humanism restored good standards of style in prose and verse, thereby benefiting not classical studies alone, but modern literature as well; it did much for erudition, and prepared the ground for more; it founded literary education of a liberal type; it had a wide outlook, and taught men to regard classical antiquity as a whole, a fruitful stage in the»history of human development. Lastly, it achieved a result even larger than its work for scholarship, by diffusing a new spirit, the foe of obscurantism, the ally of all forces that make for light, for the advancement of knowledge, and for reasonable freedom.
Long before the Renaissance had run its course in Italy, its influences had begun to pass the Alps. But there is one man who, above all others, must be regarded as the herald of humanism in the North. It is the distinction of Erasmus that by the peculiar qualities of his genius, and by the unique popularity of his writings, he prepared the advent of the New Learning, not in his native Holland alone, but throughout Europe. Before indicating the special directions which the Renaissance took in particular countries, it is fitting to speak of him whose work affected them all.
Born at Rotterdam in 1467, Erasmus was approaching manhood when Italian humanism, having culminated in the days of Politian, was about to decline. His own training was not directly due to Italy. When he was a schoolboy at Deventer, his precocious ability was recognised by Rudolf Agricola, whom he has designated as "the first who brought from Italy some breath of a better culture." Erasmus avers that, in his boyhood, northern Europe was barbarously ignorant of humane literature. A knowledge of Greek was "the next thing to heresy." "I did my best," he says, "to deliver the rising generation from this slough of ignorance, and to inspire them with a taste for better studies." He made himself a good scholar by dint of hard private work, suffering privations which left him a chronic invalid. In 1498 he visited Oxford, meeting there some of the earliest English humanists. From 1500 to 1505 he was in Paris, working hard at Greek. He spent the years 1506-9 in Italy. From the close of 1510 to that of 1513 he was at Cambridge, where he lectured on Greek, and also held the Lady Margaret Professorship of Divinity. There, in 1512, he completed his collation of the Greek text of the New Testament. In 1516, his edition of it, the first ever published, was brought out by Froben at Basel. He left England in 1514, to return only for a few months somewhat later. His life, after 1514, was passed chiefly at Basel, where he died in 1536. Those twenty-two years were full of marvellous literary activity.
The attitude of Erasmus towards humanism had a general affinity with that of Petrarch and the other leaders of the Italian revival. Like them, he hailed a new conception of knowledge, an enlargement of the boundaries within which the intellect and imagination could move. Like them, he welcomed the recovered literatures of Greece and Rome as inestimable organs of that mental and spiritual enfranchisement. But there was also a difference. To Petrarch, as to the typical Italian humanist generally, the New Learning was above all things an instrument for the self-culture of the individual. To Erasmus, on the other hand, self-culture was, in itself,—greatly though he valued it,—a secondary object, subservient to a greater end. He regarded humanism as the most effectual weapon for combating that widespread ignorance which he considered to be the root of many evils that were around him. He saw the abuses in the Church, the scandals among the clergy, the illiteracy prevalent in some of the monastic Orders. Kings wrought untold misery for selfish aims: "when princes purpose to exhaust a commonwealth," he said, "they speak of a just war; when they unite for that object, they call it peace." The pedantries of the Schoolmen, though decaying, were still obstacles to intellectual progress. The moral standards in public and private life were deplorably low. Erasmus held that the first step towards mitigating such evils was to disseminate as widely as possible the civilising influence of knowledge; and in humanism he found the knowledge best suited for the purpose. He overrated the rapidity with which such an influence could permeate the world. But he was constant to his object, and did much towards attaining it.
Thus, in all his work, his aim was essentially educational. He was an ardent and indefatigable student. But through all his labours there ran the purpose of a practical moralist, who hoped to leave human society better than he had found it. No aspect of the Renaissance interested him which he did not think conducive to that end. He cared nothing for its metaphysics, archaeology, or art. All his own writings illustrate his ruling motive. The Adagia are maxims or proverbial sayings, culled from the classics, which he often applies to the affairs of his own day. The Colloquia are lively dialogues, partly meant to serve as models of Latin writing, which convey, in a dramatic guise, his views on contemporary questions. The Apophthegms are pointed sayings from various authors, largely from Plutarch. An educational and ethical aim also guided his choice of books to be edited. His best edition of a classic was that of his favourite poet Terence. Next in merit, perhaps, stood his edition of Seneca. An equal importance can scarcely be claimed for his editions of Greek classics, belonging chiefly to the last five years of his life; though they did the service of making the authors more accessible, and of supplying improved texts. He also promoted a wider knowledge of Greek poetry and prose by several Latin translations. But that purpose which gave unity to his life-work received its highest embodiment in his contributions to Biblical criticism and exegesis. The Scholastic Theology had been wont to use isolated texts, detached from their context, and artificially interpreted. The object of Erasmus was to let all men know what the Bible really said and meant. We have seen that his edition of the Greek Testament was the earliest. He also made a Latin version of the New Testament, aiming at an accuracy greater than that of the Vulgate. He wrote Latin paraphrases of the books of the New Testament (except Revelation), with the object of exhibiting the thought in a more modern form. Lastly, he recalled attention from the medieval expositors of Christian doctrine to the Fathers of the early Church. He edited Jerome, and some other Latin Fathers; he also made Latin translations from some of the Greek Fathers, especially from Chrysostom and Athanasius, and so helped to make their writings better known in the West. He wished to see the Scriptures translated into every language, and given to all. "I long," he said, "that the husbandman should sing them to himself as he follows the plough, that the weaver should hum them to the tune of his shuttle, that the traveller should beguile with them the weariness of his journey." The more popular writings of Erasmus had a circulation throughout Europe which even now would be considered enormous. When it was rumoured that the Sorbonne intended to brand his Colloquia as heretical, a Paris bookseller deemed it well to hurry through the press an edition of 24,000 copies. We hear that in 1527 a Spanish version of his Encheiridion (a manual of Christian ethics) could be found in many country-inns throughout Spain. It would probably be difficult to name an author whose writings were so often reprinted in his lifetime as were those of Erasmus. He was not, indeed, a Scaliger, a Casaubon, or a Bentley. He -did not contribute, in the same sense or in a similar degree, to the progress of scientific scholarship. But no one else so effectively propagated the influence of humanism. Of all scholars who have popularised scholarly literature Erasmus was the most brilliant, the man whose aims were loftiest, and who produced lasting effects over the widest area. His work was done, too, at the right moment for the North. A genial power was needed to thaw the frost-bound soil, and to prepare those fruits which each land was to bring forth in its own way.
The energies of the Italian Renaissance had been concentrated on the literature and art of ancient Greece and Rome. The Italian mind had a native and intimate sympathy with classical antiquity. For Italy, the whole movement of the Renaissance is virtually identical with the restoration of classical learning. It is otherwise when we follow that movement into northern Europe. Humanism is still, indeed, the principal organ through which the new spirit works; but the operations of the spirit itself become larger and more varied. The history of the Classical Revival passes, on one side, into that of the Reformation; on another, into provinces which belong to modern literature. It might be said that the close of the Italian Renaissance is also, in strictness, the close of the process by which a knowledge of classical antiquity was restored: what remained, was to diffuse the results throughout Europe, and to give them a riper development. But it is desirable to indicate, at least in outline, the general conditions under which humanism first entered the countries of the North. We may begin with Germany.
In the course of the fifteenth century, some German students had resorted to teachers of the New Learning at various Italian centres. Among the earliest of these was Johann Müller (1436-76), born at Königsberg near Coburg, and hence known as Regiomontanus. He was the first who made humanism the handmaid of science. After working at Vienna under the astronomer Purbach, he went with Cardinal Bessarion to Italy, where he spent several years in studying Greek (1462-70). He translated into Latin the works of Ptolemy, the Conics of Apollonius of Perga, and other scientific treatises. Settling at Nürnberg in 1471, he founded an observatory, and made several improvements in practical astronomy. His Ephemerides, the precursors of nautical almanacs, helped the Spanish and Portuguese explorers to navigate untravelled seas. Another of the German pioneers was Roelof Huysmann, known in literary history as Rudolf Agricola (1443- 85). Going to Ferrara in 1476, he attended the Greek lectures of Theodorus Gaza. Through the good offices of Johann von Dalberg, the scholarly Bishop of Worms, he was appointed to a professorship at Heidelberg. There, as also at Worms, he lectured on the Greek and Roman literature. He was an opponent of the scholastic philosophy as it existed in his day, and his best-known work, De Inventions Dialectica, was a plea for its reform. But his special claim to remembrance is that he was the first who systematically sought to make classical study an effective force in German education. He, and such as he, when they returned to Germany from their studies in Italy, found themselves in an atmosphere wholly different from that which surrounded the early Italian humanists. Erasmus has described the intellectual torpor which prevailed in Germany during his own boyhood and youth. The teaching of Latin was dull and meagre; Greek was scarcely taught at all. The masters were content with a few old hand-books, and wedded to outworn methods. Scholastic theologians and illiterate monks were equally hostile to the new humanism. It had, however, some powerful protectors, including the Roman King Maximilian; Joachim, the Elector of Brandenburg; Albert, Archbishop of Mainz; and, not least, Frederick, Elector of Saxony. Of the seventeen Universities, some, such as Vienna, Heidelberg, and Erfurt, admitted the New Learning, though in some others, such as Cologne, it was opposed. There were also groups of learned students at several centres, such as Basel, Strassburg, Augsburg, and Nürnberg; and there were some rising societies or academies, devoted to humane letters. But there was, as yet, no general or widely-diffused interest in the New Learning; while, on the other hand, there were powerful influences directly and strongly opposed to it. The first event which roused the public mind to a more active sympathy is connected with an illustrious name.
Johann Reuchlin (1455-1522) studied Greek at Paris, and also at Basel. He afterwards went to Italy. At Rome, in 1482, he heard Argyropoulos lecture on Thucydides, and was noticed by him as a student of great promise. He published some Latin versions from Greek authors, and some elementary Greek manuals which were used in German schools. But after 1492 his chief interest was in Hebrew,—mainly as the key of the Old Testament, but also on account of the Cabbala, that medieval system of Jewish theosophy which he regarded as helpful towards reconciling ancient philosophy with Christian doctrine. The same notion had been cherished by Pico della Mirandola (1463-94), who, like Reuchlin, had approached the Cabbala through Neoplatonism. Reuchlin's views on the subject were set forth in his treatises De Verbo Miriflco (1494) and De Arte Cabalistica (1517). Thus alike on theological and on philosophical grounds Reuchlin was an enthusiast for Hebrew scholarship. He furnished it with several aids, including the grammar and lexicon (Rudimenta Hebraica) which he brought out in 1506. And it was as a defender of Hebrew letters that he became engaged in a struggle which went far to decide the immediate future of the New Learning in Germany.
In 1509 Johann Pfefferkorn, a converted Jew, sought from the Emperor Maximilian a mandate for the suppression of all Hebrew books except copies of the Bible. Reuchlin was consulted, and opposed the measure. He was then attacked by Pfefferkorn as a traitor to the Church. In 1514 he was accused by the Dominicans of Cologne, whose dean was the Inquisitor Hochstraten, in the ecclesiastical Court at Mainz. The Bishop of Speyer, acting for the Pope, acquitted him, and the decision was confirmed at Rome in 1516. This was an impressive victory for Reuchlin. Afterwards, on an appeal of the Dominicans, Rome reversed the previous judgment, and condemned him (1520); but that sentence passed unnoticed, and has come to light only in our own time.
Meanwhile the German humanists had taken up Reuchlin's cause, which, as they saw, was their own. If Jews should be forbidden to read such an author as Maimonides, who was useful to St Thomas Aquinas, how could Christians be allowed to read Homer, who depicts the immoralities of Olympus? Never was intolerance a fairer mark for the shafts of ridicule. The first volume of the Epistolae Obscurorum Vir-orum, written chiefly by Crotus Rubeanus, appeared in 1514; the second, chiefly by Ulrich von Hütten, in 1517. The writers wield, with trenchant if somewhat brutal force, a weapon which had been used with greater subtlety by Plato, and to which a keener edge was afterwards given by Pascal. They put the satire into the mouths of the satirised. Bigots and obscurantists bear witness in dog-Latin to their own ineptitude. Reuchlin's triumph in 1516 had an immediate and momentous effect on German opinion. A decided impetus was given to Hebrew and to Greek studies, especially in their bearing on Biblical criticism and on theology. This was the direction characteristic of the earlier humanism in Germany. Almost all the more eminent scholars were occupied, at least occasionally, with theological discussions. In 1525, three years after Reuchlin's death, Erasmus wrote a letter to Alberto Pio, prince of Carpi (the pupil and benefactor of Aldo), in which he observes that the adversaries of the New Learning had been anxious to identify it with the Lutheran cause. They hoped, he says, thus to damage two enemies at once. In Germany, during the earlier half of the sixteenth century, the alliance between humanism and the Reformation was real and intimate. The paramount task which the New Learning found in Germany was the elucidation of the Bible. But the study of the classical literatures also made steady progress, and was soon firmly established in German education.
Foremost among those who contributed to that result was Melanchthon (1497-1560), though his services to humanism in earlier life are now less prominently associated with his memory than the part which he afterwards bore in the theological controversies of his age. It was from Reuchlin that the precocious boy, Philip Schwartzerd, received the Greek name, a version of his patronymic, under which he was to become famous. After taking his doctor's degree at Tübingen in 1514, Melanchthon won notice by expositions of Virgil and Terence, which led Erasmus to hail him as a rising star of learning. He was only twenty-one when, in 1518, the Elector of Saxony, moved by Reuchlin, appointed him to the chair of Greek in the University of Wittenberg. It was characteristic of the man and of the period that he began with two concurrent sets of lectures, one upon the Epistle to Titus, and the other upon Homer; observing, in reference to the latter, that, like Solomon, he sought "Tyrian brass and gems" for the adornment of God's temple. Luther, his senior by fourteen years, derived from him a new impulse to the study of Greek. Melanchthon did very important work towards establishing or improving humanistic education in the schools of Germany. In his Discourse on Reforming the Studies of Youth, a work imbued with the genuine spirit of the Renaissance, he advocated a liberal discipline of classical literature as the soundest basis of school-training, in opposition to the methods of instruction favoured by the older scholastic system. Many of the aids to classical study which Melanchthon produced (chiefly at Wittenberg) were popular school-books in their day. Among these were his Institutiones Linguae Graecae (1518); his Grammqtica Latino. (1525); Latin versions from Greek classics; and comments on various Greek and Latin authors. After Melanchthon may justly be named his friend and biographer Camerarius (Joachim Kammermeister, 1500-74), a prolific contributor to scholarly literature, whose edition of Plautus (1552) was the first that placed the text on a sound basis.
Thus, in the course of the sixteenth century, the new studies gradually conquered a secure position in Germany. Broad and solid foundations were laid for the classical learning which Germans of a later age were to build up. But, while there was this progress in humane letters, the Teutonic movement showed nothing analogous to the Italian feeling for the aesthetic charm of ancient culture and existence. The German mind, earnest, and intellectually practical, had not the Italian's delight in beauty of literary style and form, still less his instinctive sympathy with the pagan spirit. Germany drew fresh mental vigour and freedom from the Classical Revival, without adopting the Italian ideal of self-culture, or admitting a refined paganism into social life. The Teutonic genius, which had moulded so much of all that was distinctively medieval, remained sturdily itself. A like contrast is seen in the province of art. Michelangelo and Raff'aelle are intimately affected by classical influences; Dürer and Holbein, men of the same period, also show a new mastery, but remain Gothic. Thus the first period of Humanism in Germany presents a strongly-marked character of its own, wholly different from the Italian. So far as concerns the main current of intellectual and literary interests, the German Renaissance is the Reformation.
France had received the influences of Italian Humanism with the facility of a country to which they were historically congenial, and had been penetrated by them before the conflict opened by Luther had become a disturbing force in Europe. In France the basis of the national character was Latin, and no admixture of other elements could overpower the innate capacity of a Latin race to assimilate the spirit of classical antiquity. The University of Paris was one of the greatest intellectual centres in Europe, drawing to itself, in some measure, every new form of knowledge, while it promoted communication between Paris and all foreign seats of literary activity. It was in 1494, when the Italian Renaissance was at its height, that Charles VIII made his expedition to Naples. For nearly a century afterwards, until the line of the Valois Kings ended with the death of Henry III in 1589, the intercourse between France and Italy was close and continuous. A tincture of Italian manners pervaded the French Court. Italian studies of antiquity reacted upon French literature and art. Thus, from the beginning of the sixteenth century, France offered a smooth course to the Classical Revival. Greek studies had, however, been planted in France at a somewhat earlier time. In 1458 Gregory Tifernas, an Italian of Greek origin, had petitioned the University of Paris to appoint him teacher of Greek. He received that post, with a salary, on condition that he should take no fees, and should give two lectures daily, one on Greek and the other on rhetoric. The scholastic theology and logic were then still dominant at Paris, while the humanities seem to have occupied an inferior place. But, at any rate, the University had now given official sanction to the teaching of Greek. The eminent Byzantine, John Lascaris, lectured on that language at Paris in the reign of Charles VIII. His teaching was continued at intervals under Louis XII, who once sent him as ambassador to Venice; and also under Francis I, for whom he supervised the formation of a library at Fontainebleau. A still more eminent name in the early history of French humanism is that of the Italian Jerome Aleander, afterwards so strenuous an antagonist of the Reformation. Coming to Paris in 1508, at the age of twenty-eight, he gave lectures in Greek, Latin, and Hebrew, winning a reputation which caused him to be appointed Rector of the University. On his return to Rome in 1516 he became librarian of the Vatican, and in 1538 was made a Cardinal. Aleander, who was fortunate in the time of his work at Paris, has been regarded, probably with justice, as the first scholar who gave a decisive stimulus to philological studies in France. Just before the arrival of Aleander, Paris had begun to take part in the work of publishing Greek books, a field of labour in which its scholarly printers were afterwards to win so much distinction. The first Greek press at Paris was that of Gourmont, who in 1507 issued the Grammar of Chrysoloras, Hesiod's Works and Days, the pseudo-Homeric Frogs and Mice, Theocritus, and Musaeus. Portions of Plutarch's Mar alia followed in 1509, under the editorship of Aleander. After an interval, the length of which perhaps indicates that the demand for Greek classics was still very limited, a text of Aristophanes came from Gourmont's press in 1528. A Sophocles was published by Simon Colinaeus in 1529. Robert Estienne (1503-59), scholar and printer, brought out in 1532 his Thesaurus Linguae Latinae, which was much enlarged in the succeeding editions (1536 and 1543). Among his Greek editiones principes were those of Eusebius (1544-6), Dionysius of Halicarnassus (1547), Dio Cassius (1548), and Appian (1551). His son, Henri Estienne (1528-98), who had the distinction of first printing the Agamemnon in its entirety, is especially remembered by his great work, the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae (1572). Before the middle of the century the stream of classical publications had fairly set in at Paris, and thenceforth continued to be abundant. Meanwhile a French scholar had arisen who reflected lustre on his country throughout Europe. Budaeus (Guillaume Bude, 1467-1540), after producing in 1514 an able treatise on Roman money (De Asse), gained a commanding reputation by his Commentarii Linguae Graecae, published at Paris in 1529. That work proved a mine to lexicographers, and was more particularly useful to students of the Greek orators, owing to the care which the author had bestowed on explaining the technical terms of Greek law. Budaeus was, beyond question, the best Greek scholar of his day in Europe, being superior in that respect to Erasmus, though no rival to him in literary genius. But special knowledge is superseded, while the salt of style lasts for ever; and Erasmus lives, while Budaeus is wellnigh forgotten. The relations between these two distinguished men became somewhat strained, through the fault, as it would seem, of Erasmus, whose sly strictures on the Frenchman are certainly suggestive of a covert jealousy; and French scholars made the quarrel a national one. Another French Hellenist of great eminence at this period is Turnebus (Adrien Turnebe, 1512-65), who belonged to the generation following that of Budaeus. The Royal College had been founded at Paris by Francis I, in 1531, with the special object of encouraging Greek, Latin, and Hebrew learning. Turnebus was appointed, in 1547, to the chair of Greek at that College. He also held the office of King's printer. One of his chief works was an edition of Sophocles, published at Paris in 1553, which did much to determine the text followed by later editors of that poet before Brunck. Henri Estienne, who had been a pupil of Turnebus, has recorded his veneration for him. A better-known tribute is that paid by Montaigne, his junior by twenty-one years, who declares that "Adrianus Turnebus knew more, and knew it better, than any man of his century, or for ages past." He was entirely free, as Montaigne testifies, from pedantry: "his quick understanding and sound judgment" were equally remarkable, whether the subject of conversation was literary or political. Lambinus (Denys Lambin, 1520-72), who in 1561 became a professor at the Royal College, published editions of Horace and Cicero which made a new epoch in the study of those authors. Auratus (Jean Dorat, 1507-88), poet and scholar, who taught Greek at the College, shone especially in the criticism of Aeschylus. Mention is due also to the ill-fated Estienne Dolet (1509-46), who took up the cause of the Ciceronians against Erasmus, and in 1536, at the age of twenty-seven, published his two folio volumes Commentariorum Linguae Latinae. Ten years later, he was unjustly condemned by the Sorbonne on a charge of atheism, and put to a cruel death. It should be noted that French scholars won special distinction in the study of Roman Law. Instead of relying on commentators who had merely repeated the older glossatores, they turned to the original Roman texts. Cujacius (Jacques Cujas, 1522-90), the greatest interpreter of the sources of law, struck out a new path of critical and historical exposition. Donellus (Hugues Doneau, 1527-91) introduced systematic arrangement by his Commentarii luris Civilis. Brissonius (Barnabe Brisson, 1531-91) was pre-eminently the lexicographer of the civil law. Gothofredus (Denys Godefroy, 1549-1621) produced an edition of the Corpus Juris Civilis which is still valued. His son Jacques (1587-1652) edited the Theodosian Code.
During the century which followed the death of Turnebus, the history of French humanism is illustrated by names of the first magnitude. Such are those of Joseph Scaliger, Salmasius, and Casaubon; but these great scholars stand beyond the borders of the Renaissance, and belong, like Bentley, to a maturer stage in the erudite development of classical philology. In them, however, the national characteristics of humanism were essentially the same that had appeared in French scholars of the preceding period. These characteristics are alert intelligence, fine perception, boldness in criticism, and lucid exposition. There is a notable difference between the Italian and the French mind of the Renaissance in relation to the antique. The Italian mind surrendered itself, without reserve, to classical antiquity: the Italian desire was to absorb the classical spirit, and to reproduce it with artistic fidelity. The French mind, on the other hand, when brought into contact with the antique, always preserved its originality and independence. It contemplated the work of the ancients with intelligent sympathy, yet with self-possessed detachment, adopting the classical qualities which it admired, but blending them with qualities of its own; so that the outcome is not a reproduction, but a new result. This may be traced in the French architecture and sculpture of the Renaissance no less than in the criticism and the literature.
The seeds of humanism were brought to the Iberian peninsula by a few students who had visited Italy in the fifteenth century. The Spaniard Arias Barbosa, who had studied under Politian, was regarded by his countrymen as their first effective Hellenist. He lectured on Greek for about twenty years at the University of Salamanca, attracting his hearers not only by "a large and rich vein of learning," but also by his poetical taste. A higher fame, however, was gained by his contemporary, Antonio Lebrixa ("Nebrissensis"). After a sojourn of ten years in Italy, Lebrixa returned to Spain in 1473, and taught successively at the Universities of Seville, Salamanca, and Alcalä. He is described as inferior to Barbosa in Greek scholarship, but wider in his range of knowledge, which included Hebrew. Lebrixa's reputation among his Spanish contemporaries, though not in Europe at large, was comparable to that which Budaeus enjoyed in France. He had some distinguished pupils. One of them was Fernando de Guzman Nunez, better known as "Pintianus" (from Pintia, the ancient name of Val-ladolid), whose fame even eclipsed his master's. Nunez taught Greek at Alcalä, and subsequently at Salamanca, but in literature was best known by an edition of Seneca which appeared in 1536. Another pupil of Lebrixa, the Portuguese historian and poet Resende, did much to promote classical education at Lisbon.
Thus the early part of the sixteenth century afforded grounds for the hope that in the Peninsula, as in other countries of Europe, humanism was destined to flourish. Cardinal Ximenes, the founder of the College at Alcalä, caused the Greek text of the New Testament to be printed there; a task which was completed in 1514. It formed the fifth volume of the Complutensian Polyglott, published at Alcalä in 1522. That work reflected honour on the country, and might well be deemed a good omen for the future of Spanish learning. But after the compact of Charles V with Clement VII, concluded at Bologna in 1530, Spain was definitely ranged on the side of those forces which were reacting against the liberal studies of the Renaissance. The Spanish humanists had never been anything more than centres of cultivated groups, enabled by powerful patronage to defy the general hostility of priests and monks. Humanism had gained no hold on Spanish society at large; and its foes •were now more influential than ever. The Jesuits, who afterwards did so much for classical education elsewhere, were then no friends to it in Spain. The Spanish Inquisition was a terror to every suspected pursuit. It is not strange that, under such conditions, Greek learning did not prosper in the Peninsula; though it still produced good Latinists, such as Francisco Sanchez, of Brozas (1523-1601), who wrote on grammar, and the Portuguese Achille Esta9o (Achilles Statius, 1524-81) whose criticism of Suetonius was highly praised by Casaubon. The vigorous Iberian mind, with its strongly-marked individuality, showed the impetus given by the Renaissance in other forms than those of classical scholarship. It found expression in the romance of Cervantes, in the epic of Camoens, and in the dramas of Lope de Vega; or, not less characteristically, in the wistful ardour of exploration which animated Vasco da Gama and Colombo.
Reactionary Spain, a stepmother to classical studies on her own soil, also delayed their progress in the Netherlands. Little time could be spared to them by men who were struggling against Philip II for political independence and for the reformed religion. But when humanism had once been planted in the Low Countries, its growth was remarkably vigorous and rapid. The University of Leyden became the principal centre of the New Learning. Among scholars of Dutch birth at the period of the Renaissance, Erasmus is the first in time as in rank; but neither his higher training nor his life-work was specially connected with his native land. He was, as we have seen, cosmopolitan. The first great name, after his, in the earlier annals of Dutch scholarship is that of Justus Lipsius (Joest Lips, 1547-1606), who was especially strong in knowledge of the Latin historians and of Roman antiquities. His chief work was his celebrated edition of Tacitus (1575). William Canter (1542-75), of Utrecht, who did good work for Greek tragedy, laid down sound principles of textual criticism in his Syntagma de ratione emendandi Graecos auctores (1566). In the next generation, Vossius (Gerard John Vos, 1577-1649) rendered solid services to the historical study of antiquity, more especially by setting the example of treating ancient religions from the historical point of view. In Daniel Heinsius (1580-1655) Holland produced a scholar who had more affinity with the Italian humanists. He excelled in the composition of Latin verse and prose; and, as an editor, in his treatment of the Greek poets. Hugo Grotius (Huig van Groot, 1583-1645) owes his fame to the De lure Belli et Pads (1625), a work fundamental to the modern science of the law of nature and nations. He wrote Christus Patiens, and two other plays, in Latin verse. With regard to the earlier Dutch humanism as a whole, it may be said that its characteristic aim was to arrange, classify, and criticise the materials which earlier labours had amassed, while at the same time it was distinguished by an original subtlety and elegance.
England felt the movement of the Renaissance somewhat later than France, and with less instinctive sympathy, but also without such active repugnance as had to be overcome in Germany. A few Englishmen had been pupils of the Italian masters. One of the earliest was William Selling, an Oxonian, who died in 1495. Erasmus, when he came to Oxford in 1498, found there a congenial group of Hellenists, chief among whom were William Grocyn and Thomas Linacre. Both had heard Politian at Florence: Linacre had also been a member of Aldo's Neacademia at Venice. Another Oxonian who did much for the New Learning in England was William Lilly, who had studied Greek in Rhodes, and afterwards at Rome. There were others then at Oxford who had some knowledge of Greek, though the whole number cannot have been large. Few books which could help a beginner with the first rudiments of Greek had as yet found their way to England. An English student desirous of acquiring that language was, as a rule, obliged to go abroad. Erasmus mentions that John Fisher, the Bishop of Rochester, who began Greek late in life, had been dissuaded by Latimer from attempting it unless he could procure a teacher from Italy. John Colet, a scholar of most active mind and of great industry, lamented in 1516 that he had not been able to learn Greek-a deficiency which he afterwards made strenuous efforts to repair. But the Oxford Hellenists^ though not numerous, represented a new ideal of humane learning, and had a fruitful influence on its progress in England. At Cambridge the study of Greek received its first impulse from the teaching of Erasmus between 1510 and 1513. He began with the rudiments, using first the Erotemata of Chrysoloras, and then the larger manual of Theodoras Gaza. His class was a small one, but included some ardent students, such as his friend Henry Bullock; who, writing to him in 1516, reported that the Greek studies which he had initiated were being vigorously prosecuted. Richard Croke, of King's College, Cambridge, who took his degree in the year 1509-10, studied Greek at Oxford with William Grocyn; went thence to Paris; and subsequently taught Greek at Cologne, Louvain, Leipzig, and Dresden. Returning to Cambridge in 1518 he began a course of lectures there on the Greek language, though without official sanction. In 1519 he was formally appointed University reader of Greek, and delivered a remarkable inaugural address in praise of Greek studies, which is still extant. His successor in the readership was a man of rare ability, Sir Thomas Smith (1512-77), of Queens' College, who afterwards rose to eminence in the1 public service. Smith lectured on Greek, with great success, from about 1535 to 1540. In the latter year Henry VIII founded the five Regius Professorships of Divinity, Civil Law, Physic, Hebrew, and Greek. Smith received the chair of Civil Law; that of Greek was given to his close friend, John Cheke (1514-57), of St John's College, whose repute already stood very high.
Roger Ascham was Cheke's contemporary, and a member of the same College. Scarcely two years after Cheke's appointment, Ascham wrote an interesting letter from Cambridge to a Fellow of St John's, in which he describes the state of classical studies in the University. Aristotle and Plato, he mentions, are read by the undergraduates; as had, indeed, been the case, at least in his own College, for some five years. "Sophocles and Euripides," he then says, "are more familiar authors than Plautus was in your time" [i.e. about 1525-35]. "Herodotusi, Thucydides, and Xenophon are more conned and discussed than Livy was then. Demosthenes is as familiar an author as Cicero used to be; and there are more copies of Isocrates in use than there formerly were of Terence. Nor do we disregard the Latin authors, but study with the greatest zeal the choicest writers of the best period. It is Cheke's labour and example that have lighted up and continue to sustain this learned ardour." This was written in 1542. It is perhaps the most precise testimony that exists as to the state of Greek studies at any important English seat of learning at any moment in the sixteenth century. Great progress had evidently been made in the preceding ten or twenty years. Sir John Cheke's services to Greek learning in his day were certainly unequalled in England; but Sir Thomas Smith deserves to be remembered along with him as a man who had also given a new and great impetus to those studies.
Mention is due here to the important part which both these eminent men bore in a controversy which excited and divided the humanists of that age. The teachers from whom the scholars of the Renaissance learned Greek pronounced that language as Greeks do at the present day. In 1528 Erasmus published at Basel his dialogue De recta Latini Graecique sermonis Pronuntiatione. His protest was chiefly directed against the modern Greek "iotacism"; i.e. the pronunciation of several different vowels and diphthongs with the same sound, that of the Italian i. He rightly maintained that the ancients must have given to each of these vowels and diphthongs a distinctive sound; and he urged that it was both irrational and inconvenient not to do so. He also objected to the modern Greek mode of pronouncing certain consonants. His reformed pronunciation came to be known as the "Erasmian"; while that used by modern Greeks was called the "Reuchlinian," because Reuchlin (whom Melanchthon followed) had upheld it. About 1535, Thomas Smith and John Cheke-then young men of about twenty- examined the question for themselves, and came to the conclusion that Erasmus was right. Thereupon Smith began to use the "Erasmian" pronunciation in his Greek lectures-though cautiously at first; Cheke and others supported him; and the reform was soon generally accepted. But in 1542 Bishop Gardiner, the Chancellor of the University, issued a decree, enjoining a return to the Reuchlinian mode. Ascham has described, not without humour, the discontent which this edict evoked. After Elizabeth's accession, the "Erasmian" method was restored.
Meanwhile, in the first half of the sixteenth century, a classical training had been introduced into English schools. In developing this type of education Italy had preceded England by about eighty years. Vittorino's school at Mantua, already described, was the earliest model. Winchester College had been founded when Vittorino was a boy; Eton College arose at a time when his school was in its zenith; but these great English foundations, since so distinguished as seats of classical teaching, came into being long before the humanistic influences of the Renaissance had begun to be felt in England. The oldest English school which has been humanistic from its origin is St Paul's, founded by Dean Colet, who, in 1512, appointed William Lilly to be the first High Master. Lilly was, as we have seen, among the pioneers of Greek study in England, though he is now best remembered by his Latin Grammar. The statutes of St Paul's (1518) enjoin that the Master shall be "learned in good and clean Latin, and also in Greek, if such may be gotten." The proviso implies some scarcity; and in fact it was not, probably, till about 1560 that Greek was thoroughly established among the regular studies of English schools. The statutes of Harrow School (1590) prescribe the teaching of some Greek orators and historians, and of Hesiod's poems. This seems to be one of the earliest instances in our school-statutes where the directions for Greek teaching are precise, and not merely general. Many large public schools, such as Christ's Hospital, Westminster, Merchant Taylors', and Charterhouse, were established in or near London within a century after the foundation of St Paul's School. In all these the basis of study was humanistic; as it was also in many other grammar schools founded, during the same period, in various parts of the country.
A general survey of English humanism in the sixteenth century supplies abundant evidence of zealous work, and of a progress which, before the year 1600, had secured the future of classical studies in England. There were many able teachers, and a few who were really eminent in their day. Yet, in two respects, a comparison with the leading countries of the Continent is disadvantageous for our country at that period. Britain produced in the sixteenth century no scholar of the first rank; though in George Buchanan (1506-82) Scotland could show a consummate writer of the Latin language. And our press sent forth few books which advanced Greek or Latin learning. Linacre's treatise on certain points of Latin usage (De emendata structura Latini sermonis, 1514), a work of the same class as Valla's Elegantiae, is one of the very few English books in that department of knowledge which attained to the distinction of being reprinted abroad, having been recommended to German students by Melanchthon and Camerarius. It was in the seventeenth century that English learning first became an important contributor to the European literature of humanism; and the earliest English name of the first magnitude is that of Richard Bentley. It should be recollected, however, that in the sixteenth century the Greek and Latin languages were not the only channels through which England received the humanism of the Renaissance. English versions of the classics, such as Chapman's Homer, Phaer's Virgil, and North's Plutarch, circulated in a world larger than that of scholars. Italian authors who were themselves representative of the Renaissance also became known in English translations. Thus the rendering of Tasso by Fairfax, and of Ariosto by Harrington, enabled English readers to appreciate the influence of the Renaissance on Italian poetry. Hoby's version of Castiglione's Cortegia.no brought before them the new Italian ideal of intellectual and social accomplishment. Milton, the greatest humanist among poets of the first rank, best illustrates the various sources of culture, ancient and modern, but more especially Greek and Italian, which had become available for Englishmen not long before his own time. The modern sources had been opened to almost all who cared for literature; the ancient, as yet, less widely. It is the prerogative of Milton to fuse in a splendid unity both the ancient and the modern elements that have contributed to enrich his genius; he can be genuinely classical without loss of spontaneity or freshness. His poetry is not, however, the most characteristic expression of the English Renaissance in its larger aspects. That is to be found rather in the Elizabethan drama; and its supreme exponent is Shakespeare.
While the Revival of Learning thus presents varying aspects in the several countries to which it passed from Italy, the essential gift which it brought was the same for all. That gift was the recovery of an inheritance which men had temporarily lost; one so valuable in itself that human life would be definitely poorer without it, and also fraught with such power to educate and to stimulate, that the permanent loss of it would have been the annulment of an inestimable agency in the development of human faculty. The creative mind of ancient Greece was the greatest originating force which the world has seen. It left typical standards of form in poetry and prose, as of plastic beauty in art. Ideas which sprang from it have been fruitful in every province of knowledge. The ancient Latin mind also, which received the lessons of Greece without losing its own individuality, was the parent of master-works which bear its character, and of thoughts which are altogether its own; while both the classical literatures contain a varied wealth of observation and experience. There was a time when men had allowed the best part of these treasures to be buried out of sight, and had almost forgotten their existence. The Italians found them again, and gave them back to those races of Europe on which the future of civilisation chiefly depended.
It may be questioned whether any other people than the Italian would have been equal to achieving this great task. When Greek and Latin studies had once been resuscitated into a vigorous life, it was easy for nations outside of Italy to carry the work further. But wonderful qualities were demanded in the men who initiated and accomplished the revival in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. There are cases in which it is easier to apprehend the temper and tone of a past age than to picture the chief actors. Thucydides conveys a more vivid idea of Periclean Athens than of the statesman by whose genius it had been moulded. It is not so with the Italian Renaissance. From letters and other sources, one can form tolerably clear images of many among the foremost personalities, such as Petrarch, Boccaccio, Politian, and Aldo; even though it may be difficult to conceive such prodigies of versatility as a Battista Alberti or a Lionardo da Vinci. But it is a much harder thing to imagine the general atmosphere of the revival, the pervading enthusiasm, sustained through several generations, which was so prolific in many-sided work, so far-reaching in its influence on other lands. This atmosphere was created, this enthusiasm kindled, by the labours and examples of men extraordinary both in their powers and in their ardour. Yet it may be doubted whether even they could have wrought so effectually, had they not felt the motive which at the Renaissance was peculiar to Italians,—that patriotism which, failing of political expression, was concentrated on restoring the ancestral language and literature. No other country could show a parallel to the zeal with which Latin was cultivated in Italy, as the chief organ of literary expression, from the days of Petrarch to those of Politian. The ancient tongue, not the modern, was that in which the ablest men of letters chiefly aspired to shine. Few masters of Italian prose emerge in the interval of about a century and a half which separates the age of Villani and Boccaccio from that of Machiavelli and Guicciardini. Such men as Petrarch, Aeneas Sylvius, Jovianus Pontanus, and Paulus Jovius, who might have enriched the prose of their vernacular, preferred to write in Latin. The Platonic Academy of Florence was the first influential coterie which gave its sanction to the view that literary taste and skill, disciplined by the ancient models, could be worthily exercised in Italian. Lorenzo de1 Medici set an example in his lyrics; a more authoritative one was given by Politian, especially in his Orfeo, the first Italian drama of true literary merit. This larger virtue of the Classical Renaissance, as educating a new capacity for culture in general, which came out in Italy only towards the close of the movement, was manifested in other countries almost as soon as they had been fully brought under the influences. of the New Learning. It was conspicuously seen in France, not merely in the work which classicists such as Ronsard and his group did for the French language, but also, for example, in the Aristophanic genius of Rabelais,—the greatest literary representative of the Renaissance for France, in the same large sense that Cervantes was such for Spain, and Shakespeare for England. The historical importance of the Classical Revival in Italy depends ultimately on the fact that it broadened out into this diffusion of a general capacity for liberal culture, taking various forms under different local and national conditions. That capacity, once restored to the civilised world, became a part of the higher life of the race, an energy which, though it might be temporarily retarded here and there by reactionary forces, could not again be lost. Not in literature or in art alone, but in every form of intellectual activity, the Renaissance opened a new era for mankind.