Readers often notice the tenderness Dante exhibits toward his mentor and the affection Brunetto expresses for Dante. Dante and Brunetto Latini. Fresco of San Bargello, attributed to Giotto. The poem follows in the medieval tradition of philosophical poetry in which a narrator recounts a dream-like vision. Latini also carefully inserts himself into a poetic tradition within the course of his poem.
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He belonged to the Guelph party. He was a notary and a man of learning, much respected by his fellow citizens and famed for his skill as an orator. He expounded the writings of Cicero as guidance in public affairs. He was of sufficient stature to be sent to Seville on an embassy to Alfonso el Sabio of Castile to seek help for Florence against the Sienese; the mission was unsuccessful.
On his return from Spain , travelling along the Pass of Roncesvalles , he describes meeting a student from Bologna astride a bay mule, who told him of the defeat of the Guelphs at the Battle of Montaperti. As a result, Latini was exiled from his native city. He took refuge in France from to while working as a notary in Montpellier , Arras , Bar-sur-Aube , and Paris. In , when the political situation allowed, he returned to Tuscany and for some twenty years held successive high offices.
In , he contributed to the temporary reconciliation between the Guelph and Ghibelline parties, and in presided over the conference in which an attack on Pisa was agreed. Finally, in , he was elevated to the dignity of "prior" as one of 12 magistrates established through the constitution of Giovanni Villani says that "he was a great philosopher and a consummate master of rhetoric, not only in knowing how to speak well, but how to write well".
He was the author of various works in prose and verse. His tomb can be found in the church of Santa Maria Maggiore, Florence , to the left of the high altar. The Italian 13th-century translation known as Tesoro was misattributed to Bono Giamboni. He also translated into Italian the Rettorica and three Orations by Cicero. Early Dante commentators spoke of Brunetto as his teacher, as does Dante himself.
Vittorio Imbriani took issue with that concept, saying Brunetto was far too busy a man to have been a mere teacher. It is also believed that there was an intellectual and affectionate bond between the elderly man and the young poet. There is a portrait of Latini in the Bargello in Florence , once reputed to be by Giotto , beside the one of Dante.
Canto XV[ edit ] Dante places Latini within the third ring of the Seventh Circle, the Circle of the Violent against God, nature and art, with the sodomites , blasphemers , and profligates. Dante writes of the "clerks and great and famous scholars, defiled in the world by one and the same sin". Dante addresses Latini with the respectful pronoun voi; Latini uses the informal tu, as perhaps was their custom when they spoke together in Florence. The portrait is drawn with love, pathos and a dignity that is more compelling given the squalor of the punishment.
Latini asks first, humbly, if he may keep Dante company, letting his group run on. The malicious ingrates who of old descended from Fiesole, will be his enemies. They are reputed blind, avaricious, envious and proud.
Let him beware, he warns, not to be stained by them. Mark Musa suggests that in this speech between the two there is sexual imagery indicative of the act of sodomy. Sinclair, Dante respected Latini immensely but nonetheless felt it necessary to place him with the sodomites since, according to Sinclair, such behaviour by Latini was well known in Florence at the time. Some therefore have suggested perhaps that Latini is placed in Canto XV for being violent against art and against his vernacular Latini wrote in French instead of Florentine , which Dante championed as a literary language in De Vulgari Eloquentia ; or perhaps also to demonstrate and underline that even the greatest of men may be guilty of private sins.
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Brunetto Latini, Tesoretto
It is true that the pagan Cicero in much of his writing conveyed a love of fame as well as of friendship. Brunetto Latini, La Rettorica. He also translated into Italian the Rettorica and three Orations by Cicero. The Sense of an Ending. It is titled in some of the manuscripts La Penetenza Penance. Riccardiano manifests a number of unique and clearly wrong readings.