Petrarca 1304 - 1374 (70)

Man has no greater enemy than himself.



Francesco Petrarca, (July 20, 1304 - July 19, 1374), was one of the most important poets of Italy. He wrote in Latin but also in a Tuscan dialect which evolved into modern Italian as in the 16th century, based on his work, as well as that of Dante and Boccaccio, the model for the modern Italian language was created. His father was a notary and intended him as his successor, so he sent him to study law in Montpellier, France and then in Bologna where he stayed with his brother until 1326. That year their father died and the brothers returned to Avignon. Francesco decided to pursue writing and poetry as he didn't like the legal science. On April 6, 1327, on Easter day, he saw Laura for the first time in the church of Avignon. The real identity of this woman remains unknown, it seems that she was married and they just gained a platonic friendship. Laura died of the plague on April 6, 1348, Petrarcha continued to praise her in the Canzoniere, which he had begun writing when he first saw her and which was eventually completed in 366 sonnets exclusively for her. Petrarch abducted a son, Giovanni, in 1337, who died in the plague epidemic, and a daughter, Francesca, in 1343. We do not know the slightest thing about the mothers of the children, he never mention her in his writings. Throughout his life he made many trips to Medieval Europe; in 1333 he visited Paris, Ghent, Liege and Cologne, meeting many literate people. Shortly afterwards he made his first voyage to Rome, and from 1337 he devoted himself both to writing, poetry and prose, and to copying manuscripts of classical writers. In 1341 he found himself again in Rome and was crowned poet at the Capitol. After that he was considered as a famous poet and orator. In his works, among other things, he stigmatized the policy of the various monarchs of the Italian cities, supporting the Roman Union and democracy, but he accepted the aristocrats' hospitality ae they recognized his talent and admired his poetry and rhetoric; from that period, however, began the tendency of Italian princes during the Renaissance to honor and protect the people of letters and arts. In the following years, Gerardo's brother entered a monastery, while he himself rejected important positions, such as secretary next to the Pope, one of the highest positions, as he did not want to neglect his reading and writing. In 1350 he went to Rome again, passing through Florence and met and became close friends with Boccaccio, who became his student and admirer; he accompanied him on many of his travels. In 1351 he was offered to become rector of the newly established University of Padua but refused. In 1353 he went to Lombardy, where he worked for in the royal court as a diplomat and orator. In 1362 he settled permanently in Padua while in 1369 he retired to a small village, Arqua, where he continued his studies and writing. In his last years he also started learning Greek while until then he was reading ancient Greek writers from translations. He was found dead in his office, leaning on an open book, on July 18, 1374.