Panel 3: The Pen and the Sword: Ruling through Words

Location

Campus Center, Room 3545, University of Massachusetts Boston

Start Date

29-3-2014 9:00 AM

End Date

29-3-2014 10:30 AM

Description

Renaissance scholars consider Leonardo Bruni’s translation of the Pseudo-Aristotelian Economics, a work dedicated to Cosimo de’ Medici in 1420, the beginning of the Italian humanists’ interaction with newly readable Greek sources. The text was among the first Greek documents Westerners embraced and translated into Latin or the vernacular of the Quattrocento. Thus, it played a significant role in the revival of the ancient Greek language amongst humanists, which was largely lost since the fall of the Roman Empire. However, this paper argues that Bruni’s translation of the Pseudo-Aristotelian Economics also represents the utilization of an important Roman source: Seneca the Younger.

Seneca was among the most well known Roman authors in the Renaissance. Nevertheless, his usage and influence in Florence, especially in Leonardo Bruni’s vast repertoire, has gone unnoticed. Historians have overlooked this because of a tendency to emphasize the significance of his study of the novel Greek documents. Still, when translating the Economics, this humanist appears to have taken the opportunity to disseminate Senecan ideals, particularly the correlations between wealth, magnanimity, and societal and gubernatorial preeminence.

This paper also argues that the presence of Senecan rhetoric in the translation, coupled with its dedication to Cosimo de’ Medici, represents Leonardo Bruni’s political posturing. Seneca first used these philosophies now present in Bruni’s translation to promote the preeminence of the Roman princeps, a term that Romans used to identify the Emperor, or first citizen, and to justify the his position in the Roman republic. This rhetoric seems to have served a similar purpose in Renaissance Florence. It served to teach Florentine citizens and politicians how the possession of wealth could bring about and enhance ancient ideals of leadership. It simultaneously advertised its dedicatee’s ability to embody these ideals, and thus, promoted the fruition of a Medici regime.

Comments

PANEL 3 of the 2014 Graduate History Conference features presentations and papers under the topic of "The Pen and the Sword: Ruling through Words."

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Mar 29th, 9:00 AM Mar 29th, 10:30 AM

Teaching Preeminence in Renaissance Florence: Leonardo Bruni’s Translation and Dedication of Pseudo-Aristotle’s Economics

Campus Center, Room 3545, University of Massachusetts Boston

Renaissance scholars consider Leonardo Bruni’s translation of the Pseudo-Aristotelian Economics, a work dedicated to Cosimo de’ Medici in 1420, the beginning of the Italian humanists’ interaction with newly readable Greek sources. The text was among the first Greek documents Westerners embraced and translated into Latin or the vernacular of the Quattrocento. Thus, it played a significant role in the revival of the ancient Greek language amongst humanists, which was largely lost since the fall of the Roman Empire. However, this paper argues that Bruni’s translation of the Pseudo-Aristotelian Economics also represents the utilization of an important Roman source: Seneca the Younger.

Seneca was among the most well known Roman authors in the Renaissance. Nevertheless, his usage and influence in Florence, especially in Leonardo Bruni’s vast repertoire, has gone unnoticed. Historians have overlooked this because of a tendency to emphasize the significance of his study of the novel Greek documents. Still, when translating the Economics, this humanist appears to have taken the opportunity to disseminate Senecan ideals, particularly the correlations between wealth, magnanimity, and societal and gubernatorial preeminence.

This paper also argues that the presence of Senecan rhetoric in the translation, coupled with its dedication to Cosimo de’ Medici, represents Leonardo Bruni’s political posturing. Seneca first used these philosophies now present in Bruni’s translation to promote the preeminence of the Roman princeps, a term that Romans used to identify the Emperor, or first citizen, and to justify the his position in the Roman republic. This rhetoric seems to have served a similar purpose in Renaissance Florence. It served to teach Florentine citizens and politicians how the possession of wealth could bring about and enhance ancient ideals of leadership. It simultaneously advertised its dedicatee’s ability to embody these ideals, and thus, promoted the fruition of a Medici regime.

 

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