Biography of Poggio Bracciolini

Gian Francesco Poggio Bracciolini was a Renaissance humanist who is known for rediscovery and recovering a significant amount of classical Latin manuscripts. The surname Bracciolini, which he is commonly known for today, was added during his career.

He was born as Poggio di Guccio in the village of Terranuova in 1380. He died in 1459. His most cherished discovery is today’s only known surviving work by Lucretius, ‘De rerum natura’.

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My current concise biographical timeline for Poggio Bracciolini is as follows;

c.1380 – he is born in the village of Terranuova near Arezzo, Tuscany

1389-1404 – he serves Boniface IX

1403 – he moves to Rome

1404-1406 – he serves Innocent VII

1406-1415 – he serves Gregory XII

1410-1415 – he serves Antipope John XXIII

1415 – he finds Cicero’s complete great forensic orations, only partially available prior to this

1415-1417 – he makes his greatest discoveries of manuscripts in these years

1416 – he discovers an “Epicurean” lifestyle while visiting a spa in Baden. In the same year he discovers the first complete text of Quintilian’s ‘Institutio oratoria’, parts of Valerius Flaccus’ ‘Argonautica’, and commentaries of Asconius Pedianus on Cicero

1417 – he discovers the only known copy of Lucretius. He discovers Cicero’s ‘Oration for Caecina’ and 9 unknown orations by Cicero. He discovers Statius’ ‘Silvae’.

1417-1431 – he serves Martin V

1418-1423 – he stays in England on invitation of Henry, Cardinal Beaufort, bishop of Winchester

1425 – he discovers a manuscript of Frontinus’ ‘De aquaeductu’

1428-1429 – he writes ‘De avaritia’ (On Greed). This is his first major composition.

1429 – he finds Firmicus Maternus’ ‘Matheseis libri’ in Monte Cassino

1431-1447 – he serves Eugenius IV

1434-1436 – he stays in Florence with Eugene IV

1435 – he is age 56 and leaves his mistress and their 14 children

1436 – he writes ‘An seni sit uxor ducenda (On Marriage in Old Age)

1439-1442 – he stays in Florence during the Council of Florence

1440 – he writes ‘De in infelicitate principum’ (On the Unhappiness of Princes) and he writes ‘De nobilitate’ (On Nobility)

1447 – he writes ‘De varietate fortunae (On the Vicissitudes of Fortune)

1447-1455 – he serves Nicholas V

1448 – he writes ‘Contra hypocritas’ (Against Hypocrisy)

1450 – he writes ‘Historia disceptativa convivialis (Historical discussions between guests after a meal)

1452 – he starts a critique of Lorenzo Valla’s ‘Elegantiae’

1453 – Ottomans take Constantinople and Poggio returns to Florence to be the Chancellor of the Florentine Republic

1455 – ‘De miseria humanai conditionis’ (On the Misery of Human Life)

1459 – he dies

1473 – ‘De rerum natura’ is first printed

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One Comment on “Biography of Poggio Bracciolini

  1. Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Thank you so much, However I am going through issues with your RSS. I don’t understand the reason why I am unable to subscribe to it. Is there anyone else getting identical RSS problems? Anyone who knows the solution can you kindly respond? Thanx!!


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