Angelo Poliziano

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Angelo Poliziano
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Early life

Page Symbol for Literature and Poetry pagesAngelo Ambrogini, commonly know by his nickname Politian, was a a famous and renkown Renaissance poet and scholar. He was born as Angelo Ambrogini, in Montepulciano, in the year 1454 in Central Tuscany. From his birthpalce he is known in literary annals as Angelo Poliziano or Politianus. For adopting the cause of Piero de Medici in Montepulciano, his father Benedetto, a jurist of good family and distinguished ability, was murder by a political antagonist. His loyalty in life and death gave his eldest son Angelo, a claim on the House of Medici.

As the guest of a cousin, after the premature death of his father, Poliziano began his studies at Florence at the age of 10 years. From Marsilio Ficino he learned the rudiments of philosophy, and then went on master the classical languages of Latin and Greek. The autocrat of Florence and chief patron of learning in Italy - Lorenzo de' Medici - took Poliziano into his household, made him tutor of his children and secured him a distinguished post in the University of Florence. In 1470 he won the title of homericus adulescens by translating books II -V of the Iliad into Latin hexameters.

Adulthood and Teaching

Page Symbol for Literature and Poetry pagesMen who were destined to carry to their homes spolia opimo of Italian culture, were among Poliziano's pupils. They were the chief students of Europe. He also educated students from Germany, England and Portugal.

At that period, scholars read the Greek and Latin authors with their classes, dictating philological and critical notes, and using analytical method of professors. Teachers offered elucidations of the matters discussed in the treatises, amended corrupt passages in the ancient texts and taught laws, manners, religious and philosophical opinions of the ancients.

During his tenure, Poliziano covered nearly the whole ground of classical literature and published the notes of his courses upon Suetonius, Statius, Ovid, Pliny the Younger and Quintilian.

Final Years

Page Symbol for Literature and Poetry pagesPolitian never married, it is likely that he was homosexual or at least has male lovers. Denunciations of ****** made to the Florentine authorities, poems and letters of contemporaries, and the circumstances of his death point to this possibility. He may have died of syphillis, the last mention suggests he was killed by a fever. He may also has been a lover of Pico della Mirandola. He lost his friend and patron Lorenzo de' Medici in April 1492, and just before wave of foreign invasion which was gathering in rance swept over Italy, Poliziano died in September 1494.


Page Symbol for Literature and Poetry pagesIn the age when the classics were still studied with assimilative curiosity, and not with the scientific industry of a later period, Poliziano was well know as a scholar a professor a critic and a Latin poet. Of that age of a scholarship he was the representative in which students drew their ideal of life from antiquity.

Poliziano was primarily famous as an Italian poet, a contemporary of Ludovico Ariosto and Matteo Maria Boiardo. His versions of Epictetus, Hippocratus, Galen, Plutarch's Eroticus and Plato's Charmides distinguished him as a writer. At the same time he was busy as a translator from the Greek. First published in 1489 under the title of Miscellanea, was the most universally acceptable to the public of that time were a series of discursive essays on philology and criticism.


Further Reading

  • The Autobiography of Lorenzo de' Medici (Comento de' miei sonetti)
  • Angelo Poliziano, Letters, volume I, Books I-IV, edited and translated by Shane Butler


Matteo Maria Boiardo
Baldassare Castiglione
Pietro Bembo
Ludovico Ariosto
Ermolao Barbaro
Marsilio Ficino
Giovanni Pico della Mirandola

Angelo Ambrogini
called Poliziano

Poet & Humanist Scholar

Reviver of Latin, Teacher of Renaissance Rulers

Born: 14 July 1454 in Montepulciano, Tuscany

Died: 28/29 September 1494 in Florence


Angelo Ambrogini, called Poliziano was an Italian Poet, humanist, the friend and protégé of Lorenzo de Medici, and one of the foremost classical scholars of the Renaissance. He was equally fluent in Greek, Italian, and Latin and was equally talented in poetry, philosophy and philology.

Stanze per la giostra

His poetic masterpiece of this period is, however, a vernacular poem in ottava rima, Stanze cominciate per la giostra del Magnifico Giuliano de' Medici ("Stanzas Begun for the Tournament of the Magnificent Giuliano de' Medici"), composed between 1475 and 1478, which is one of the great works of Italian literature.

Minerva and the Centaur by Botticelli

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