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Linguistic Unity And Variety Of Styles: The Latin Of Poggio Bracciolini

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Chapter Summary

The works of Poggio Bracciolini provide a striking example of complex, articulate writing in Latin in the humanist age, and of that variety of styles which Silvia Rizzo— in a recent paper—neatly described as ‘the Latin languages of the humanists’. Like most of the first generation of humanists, Poggio was involved in the attempt to revive ancient Latin as a living language. Its most famous fifteenth century instance was Lorenzo Valla’s Elegantiae. This chapter considers the transmission of the text of the De vera nobilitate. The transmission of the De vera nobilitate, it should be noted, appears to rely on two main lines: on the one hand, there is the Laurentian codex Plut. 47.19—which, although not in Poggio’s own hand, was written under his direct supervision—and seven of its descendants; on the other hand, a vast array of manuscripts, which we will call beta, comprising about forty copies.

Keywords: De vera nobilitate; Elegantiae; humanist age; Latin languages; Plut. 47.19; Poggio Bracciolini; Silvia Rizzo



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