Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

(ANGIOLO DE 'AMBROSINI DA MONTE PULCIANO)

An Italian Humanist, born at Monte Pulciano in 1454; died at Florence in 1494. At the age of ten he went to Florence, where he followed the courses of Landino, Argyropoulos, Andronicus Callistus, and Marsilio Ficino. In 1477 he was tutor to the children of Lorenzo the Magnificent, and became one of the Accademia which Lorenzo had grouped about him, in which with Marsilio Ficino, were associated Landino, Pico della Mirandola, and Hermolaus Barbarus. Politian was professor of Greek and Latin literature at Florence from 1480; among his pupils were the Englishmen, Grocyn and Linacre, and the German Reuchlin. He was rather a master and interpreter of the ancient spirit than a philologist. His lessons on each author were preceded by an introduction, often in verse, with a poetic title: "Nutritia" for the general eulogy of poetry, "Rusticus" for Hesiod and the Georgics of Virgil, "Manto" for Virgil, "Ambra" for Homer. His discourses or preliminary poems form a collection called "Prælectiones". Politian was one of the first Italian Humanists who succeeded in rivalling the Greek scholarship of the native-born Hellenes. At eighteen he translated Books I to V of the "Iliad" and won the surname of Homericus juvenis . Subsequently he translated Callimacus, the historian Herodien, Epictetus, the "Charmides" of Plato, the "Eroticus" of Plutarch, treatises of Hippocrates and Galian, and selections from Moschus and the "Anthology". He read many other authors, which for a long time existed only in manuscript, e.g., the "Months" of John Lydus which Schow made known only in 1794. His most important philological work is his collection of "Miscellanea" (1489), wherein he treats various scholarly subjects; the employment of breathings in Greek and Latin, the chronology of Cicero's familiar letters, the orthography of the name of Virgil, which he fixed under the form Vergilius , the discovery of purple, the difference between the aorist and the imperfect in the signature of Greek sculptors. He was a modern philologist in his efforts to recover the best manuscripts and to procure collations. He thus contributed towards improving the text or preserved intact the Latin elegiacs, the "Silvæ" of Statius, Terence, Lucretius, Ovid, Celsus, Quintilian, Festus, Ausonius, the agricultural treatises. The critical editions of these authors place his name in the history of manuscripts, but he made a special study of the "Pandects" on the sixth century Manuscripts brought from Pisa to Florence in 1411. As a Humanist, Politian is a Latin writer ef poetry and prose, a poet of Latin sentiment in Italian. He does not share the Ciceronian purity of Valla, but endeavours to create a personal style. He had to defend these ideas against the Latin secretary of Florence, Bartolomeo Scala and against Paolo Cortesi. He was one of the earliest to attract attention to the Latin writers of the Silver Age. His Latin, like his Italian, verses are full of grace and sentiment. He wrote in Latin a history of the conspiracy of the Pazzi in which he took Sallust as a model. His letters together with those of Bembo were long considered as realizing the ideal of style.


More Encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Job 9:1-12, 14-16
1 Job spoke next. He said:2 Indeed, I know ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 88:10-11, 12-13, 14-15
10 Do you work wonders for the dead, can shadows rise ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 9:57-62
57 As they travelled along they met a man on the road ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 1st, 2014 Image

St. Therese of Lisieux
October 1: Generations of Catholics have admired this young saint, called ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter