Talk:Poggio Bracciolini

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Restored deletion[edit]

The following was deleted, perhaps on a whimsy, in December: He also could boast of having recovered Ammianus Marcellinus, Nonius Marcellus, Probus, Flavius Caper and Eutyches.. Receiving no answer from the deleter, I have now restored it. Any dissension?--Wetman (talk) 05:53, 2 February 2008 (UTC)

The purpose of this information is to provide connections of Niccolo de' Niccoli to Poggio Bracciolini, and the alleged forgery of Tacitus and other works by the hand of Poggio, as is considered by Hochart and Ross, who wrote about the forgery in the 19th century CE as well as infomation which can be found within the Fomenko books. For more information about their proofs, a selected group of sites can be seen at; More information can be found in Chapter I, "History: Fiction or Science?, Vol. I", p. 26-26. (talk) 14:09, 29 September 2009 (UTC)Ronald L. Hughes

Note, if any of you volunteers need any more sources that use "Horchart and Ross", I can provide them! (talk) 22:02, 18 May 2010 (UTC)Ronald L. Hughes

Why not show the most common name(s) of Poggio?[edit]

If you do just a little research, you will find that there also exists information and entries using the name Poggio Fiorentino! Translated, I believe this means "the Florentine!" Would it not be more condusive to any place using the word "encyclopedia" to make use of all of the known names of a particular subject? And, since this very article mentions that "Bracciolini" was a later adopted name, then why not use the better known name of "Fiorentino?" or "The Florentine?" It just makes good sense! Regards, (talk) 00:30, 3 November 2010 (UTC)Ronald L. Hughes

Citations in Methods[edit]

Maybe it's just me, but I think there need to be more citations in Methods. I didn't want to edit anything since I don't know much about the subject, but a few sentences left me with a lot of questions. In particular:

1. "Nothing marks the secular attitude of the Italians at an epoch which decided the future course of both Renaissance and Reformation more strongly than the mundane proclivities of this apostolic secretary, heart and soul devoted to the resuscitation of classical studies amid conflicts of popes and antipopes, cardinals and councils, in all of which he bore an official part."

This seems a fairly sweeping commentary of the attitude of Italians in that epoch derived from one man's hobby. Additionally, is the preservation of classical works and the "resuscitation of classical studies" fairly described as mundane? Considering the impact he had, I would not think so.

2. "If a codex could not be obtained by fair means, he was ready to use fraud, as when he bribed a monk to abstract a Livy and an Ammianus from the library of Hersfeld Abbey."

I think there should be a citation for this anecdote.

3. "Resolute in recognizing erudition as the chief concern of man, he sighed over the folly of popes and princes, who spent their time in wars and ecclesiastical disputes when they might have been more profitably employed in reviving the lost learning of antiquity."

I think there need to be some citations to demonstrate that he was so dismissive of the political disputes of the era. Alone, the fact that he had an interest in preserving and distributing classical works really doesn't suggest that.

4. "This point of view is eminently characteristic of the earlier Italian Renaissance. The men of that nation and of that epoch were bent on creating a new intellectual atmosphere for Europe by means of vital new contact with the texts of antiquity."

Given that the page is about Bracciolini, I am not sure that this commentary on the Italian Renaissance is entirely appropriate. In any case, as with my first objection, I think there should be citations to support the assertions if it is kept. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:09, 12 July 2012 (UTC)

On Poggio's Methods[edit]

I read on the italian page for Poggio that he used to destroy the manuscripts he had copied to mantain his monopole. Is this information correct? Why haven't I read it on the english page? Have I missed it? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:16, 30 September 2012 (UTC)

Seems like hearsay - why would he make copies of manuscripts so that he would destroy them? Plus, we probably wouldn't have most of those authors' works if he was doing that. Cornelius (talk) 03:32, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
Because the works he "found" may all be forgeries. Why is there not a single critical note about that? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:07, 2 February 2013 (UTC)

Minor Citation Error suspected[edit]

In the Section on "Methods", for the sentence, "He also could boast of having recovered Ammianus Marcellinus, Nonius Marcellus, Probus, Flavius Caper and Eutyches.", the link to Probus was to the emperor Marcus Aurelius Probus, whereas I think that's a minor mistake for Marcus Valerius Probus (who did indeed write), since I don't think we have anything by the emperor. Is this correct? Cornelius (talk) 03:30, 7 December 2012 (UTC)

Amazement and amusement: a full copy of the Encyclopedia 1902 article[edit]

That the whole article in the 1902 Encyclopedia was literally copied in integrality to produce the initial Wikipedia article, including its quaint phraseology. And why was "ammanuensis" never checked to discover that it is spelt "amanuensis"? What a lazy job!
No wonder the article sounded fancy, and some expressions so puzzling, but the text never acknowledged that the article also ignored all the scholarship on Poggio that has developed from 1902 to 2012.
Poggio deserved a far better and more thorough job. --ROO BOOKAROO (talk) 08:49, 22 February 2013 (UTC)

Not appropriate[edit]

I removed the following text:

There are only two full-scale biographies of Poggio Bracciolini. The only English one is William Shepherd's The Life of Poggio Bracciolini (1837). It shows its age. Some of the language can strike us as quaint. Many turns of phrase seem too long in coming to the point and flowery, in the 19th-century rhetorical style. On another hand, some formulations are sharp and strikingly concise. Long quotations in Latin (in the notes at the bottom of pages) are shown without translation. The lack of an initial table of contents and the lack of any kind of index are particularly irksome. In addition there are some errors in the text. For instance, Pope John XXIII is mislabeled XXII.
It is helpful to check details and dates against the superior biography by the German scholar Ernst Walser, Poggius Florentinus, Leben Und Werke (German Edition) (Berlin, 1914; Georg Olms, 1974; Nabu Press, 2011) 592 p., which remains by far the most complete biography to-date, with more recent, accurate, and detailed information than William Shepherd's, but unfortunately not translated into English.

This seems inappropriate for Wikipedia. At the very least it should not be the first thing in the article, before anything has been said about its subject! But it is entirely irrelevant whether some editor or other thinks that the language of a biography of Poggio is "quaint."

Also, the following doesn't belong in an article about Poggio -- it has nothing to do with him or his time. It might go in an article on De Rerum Natura or on Lucretius.

Jerome had "reported" that Lucretius had died in madness from a "love philter".[1] Epicurus's philosophy was labeled as "atheism" by the Catholic Church, which tried to suppress Lucretius's book.[2] After teaching Epicurean philosophy was banned in Florence in 1513,[3] Machiavelli (1469-1527) made his own copy by hand, and 16th-century scholars used Lucretius covertly, his book fuelling an underground counterculture opposed to the medieval ideas of the "gothic" Dark Age. This was the key period of Italian humanists launching the recovery of reason and liberation from faith and superstition through reconnecting with the Greco-Roman texts, as well described by John Addington Symonds, Voltaire and David Hume[4]. Thomas More made the pursuit of pleasure the focal point of his Utopia (1516). Lucretius was repeatedly quoted by Montaigne in his Essays (1580). This heralded a dramatic change of world focus that Greenblatt calls "the swerve" in Western civilization.[5]
Greenblatt quotes one of Epicurus's disciples: Living with pleasure is impossible “without living prudently and honorably and justly, and also without living courageously and temperately and magnanimously, and without making friends, and without being philanthropic.” This basic philosophy of pleasure and the need for friends, (later termed "pursuit of happiness"), was the key to Epicurus. It was grotesquely caricatured by Christian critics as unrestricted sensual indulgence. Giordano Bruno (1548-1600), burnt at the stake as a "heretic" by the Inquisition (1600) had incorporated some of Lucretius's ideas into his own cosmology and pantheism.
Fuller recognition of Lucretius's physics — its theory of atoms and the "swerve" — by modern physicists did not happen until at least the 17th century with the atomism of Pierre Gassendi (1592-1655), while Isaac Newton (1642-1727) also declared his support for atomism. Lucretius's modern-sounding views on evolution (of geology, nature, and primitive human society) were not acknowledged by scientists until the 18th century, when Erasmus Darwin (1731-1802), Charles's grandfather, announced ideas of evolution in his poems The Loves of the Plants (1789) and The Temple of Nature (1803) . Thomas Jefferson owned eight editions of De Natura Rerum.
Ancient Greek materialist physics was the subject of Karl Marx's Ph.D. thesis.[6] Both Harvard philosopher George Santayana and French philosopher Henri Bergson were strongly influenced by Lucretius's ideas of evolution and ethics.

This also isn't about Poggio, but about Ambrose Traversari (bizarrely not mentioned) and Valla:

This discovery was enhanced by the translation from Greek into Latin of The Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers by Diogenes Laertius (ca. 1430), including three full letters by Epicurus. This convergence introduced the philosophy of Epicurus to the mindset of the Italian humanists, and was noted essentially by philosophers and literary circles for its views on ethics and religion (understood in its original sense as the binding down power of beliefs) — its proclaimed indifference of gods to human affairs, who didn't create the world either; its condemnation of superstitions; its ridiculing of the fear of death since the soul dies with the body; its dispelling the notion of founding morality on an illusory afterlife and its imagined terrors — and its advocation of the pursuit of beauty and pleasure (happiness) and the avoidance of pain. In fact, the new philosophy was seen as liberating thinking from the Christian worldview of asceticism and preoccupation with angels and demons, and indulging the pleasure of knowledge, the natural curiosity for the workings of the real world and history.
Additional support came from a dialogue by Lorenzo Valla, De Voluptate (On Pleasure, 1431) revised as De Vero Bono (On the True Good, 1433), where Valla construed Epicurean "pleasure" as a component of Christian charity and beatitude, rejecting the classical association with Stoic virtue.[7]

This too doesn't belong: it's about the influence of Valla, not about Poggio.

Erasmus saw in Valla's critical approach a continuation of Jerome's own exegesis. Humble grammar is applicable to the meaning of words in biblical texts, which cannot be interpreted solely by invoking the inspiration from the Holy Spirit to make up for an insufficient command of Greek and Latin.
This opened the gates to a new critique of the Bible, that the Christian Church tried at first to contain by the most violent means, but which was later to flourish in the Enlightenment of the 18th century and even more radically in the 19th century school of German "historical criticism". The main tools were not archeology or artifacts, but the philological analysis of the Hebrew, Greek, and Latin Christian texts, as heralded by Hermann Reimarus, Baron d'Holbach, David Strauss and Bruno Bauer.

RandomCritic (talk) 00:46, 8 March 2013 (UTC)

The Life of Poggio Has to Be Placed in the Scholarly Context of Italian Humanism, and its Unique Association with the Lucretius Poem[edit]

Anybody who has studied the scholarly work of Poggio in Italian Humanism is Aware that this Life was not lived in a solipsistic environment, but was intimately linked to his environment of Italian Humanists. It cannot be dissociated from it. This is history, not astronomy or science fiction. Similarly his place in the history of Ideas and Civilization is dependent on his extraordinary discovery of Lucretius's De Rerum Natura. Until "The Swerve" appeared, nobody in the public paid any attention to Poggio. No real article on Wikipedia had ever been composed. Only a copying of the old 1902 article. The fact of Lucretius and the fact of Greenblatt's "The Swerve" are intimately connected with the new spotlight focused on Poggio. From a scholarly viewpoint, this cannot be ignored, even if it is a bit sophisticated for ordinary readers. The initial article, as of March 7, does justice to all the complex aspects of Poggio's unique role in the development of modern Western Civilization, and the vital value of his find. It cannot be reduced to the simple barebones that would make sense for a more ordinary author of novels or historical fiction. --ROO BOOKAROO (talk) 09:51, 8 March 2013 (UTC)

This is why we have links on Wikipedia. If you feel that an understanding of Poggio's life would be enhanced by knowing more about De Rerum Natura, then you can link to an article on that. If you feel that it would be helped by knowing more about Lorenzo del Valla, you can link to his article. But we can't pack the entire history of the 14th and 15th centuries (much less the entire history of the ancient and mediæval world) into an article about Poggio; it's too much. It's best to concentrate on things that he was personally involved in. And much of the material that was in this article was about things that happened long after Poggio's death -- It's really hard to say that Karl Marx belongs in an article about Poggio. And I can tell that you like Greenblatt's book, but it's really just one book, and it's not even really about Poggio -- it shouldn't take over this article.RandomCritic (talk) 07:08, 9 March 2013 (UTC)
    • ^ "The poet Titus Lucretius was born. Later he was turned mad by a love potion, but in the intervals in between the madness he composed some books, which Cicero afterwards edited. He killed himself when he was 44 years old." in Chronological Tables, ed. A. Schoene, 171st Olympiad (96-93 BC), 171.3
    • ^ David Sedley, "Lucretius", in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP, Aug. 2008)
    • ^ Christian Flow, "Swerves", Harvard Magazine, (July-Aug. 2011)
    • ^ See Charles Freeman, The Closing of the Western Mind: The Rise of Faith and the Fall of Reason (2003); and A.D. 381: Heretics, Pagans and the Dawn of the Monotheistic State (2010), with an online review. Both books a good description of the events that initiated the "gothic" Dark Ages
    • ^ Alison Brown, The Return of Lucretius to Renaissance Florence. I Tatti Studies in Italian Renaissance History. (Harvard Un. Press, 2010). In Bryn Mawr Classical Review, Jan. 30, 2011.
    • ^ Karl Marx started working on the materialism and atheism of the Greek atomists under the guidance of Bruno Bauer at Bonn University. Marx presented his thesis, The Difference Between the Democritean and Epicurean Philosophy of Nature to the more liberal Un. of Jena, which granted him his Ph.D. in April 1841. When Bauer was expelled from his position as lecturer in theology in the spring of 1842, Marx abandoned any hopes for an academic career.
    • ^ Lodi Nauta, "Lorenzo Valla", Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP, 2009)