Coluccio, Salutato

, an ancient Italian poet and philosopher, was born at Stignano in Pescia, in 1330, His father, who was in the army, being involved in the troubles of his country, was obliged to retire to Bologna, where Coluccio was educated, or rather where he taught himself for some time without % master. It appears indeed | from a letter which he wrote to Bernardo cli Moglo, that he did not apply himself to the cultivation of polite literature till he was arrived at man’s estate, and that it was then he went to Bologna? and attended the public lectures of the father of the above Bernardo. By his own father’s request, he afterwards studied law, but on his death quitted that profession for eloquence and poetry. It is not stated when he left Bologna, nor when he was permitted to return to Florence; but in 1363, in his thirty-eighth year, we find him the colleague of Francis Bruin, as apostolical secretary to pope Urban V, and it is probable that he quitted this employment when Urban went to France. He quitted at the same time the ecclesiastical habit, and married a lady by whom he had ten children. His reputation for knowledge and eloquence procured him the greatest offers from popes, emperors, and kings; but his love for his native country made him prefer, to the most brilliant prospects, the office of chancellor of the republic of Florence, which was conferred on him in 1375, and which he filled very honourably for thirty years. The letters he wrote appeared so striking to John Galeas Visconti, then at war with the republic, that he declared one letter of Coluccio’s to be more mischievous to his cause than the efforts of a thousand Florentine knights.

In the midst of his more serious functions, he found leisure to cultivate poetry, and particularly to make a collection of ancient manuscripts, in which he was so successful, that at his death his library consisted of eight hundred volumes, a princely collection before the invention of printing. His contemporaries speak of him in terms of the highest admiration, as a second Cicero and Virgil; but although modern critics cannot acquiesce in this character, his Letters, the only part of his works which are printed, evidently prove him a man of learning and research, and no inconsiderable contributor to the revival of letters. He died May 4, 1406; and his remains, after being decorated with a crown of laurel, were interred with extraordinary pomp in the church of St. Maria de Fiore.

Coluccio was the author of the following works, ms copies of most of which are preserved in the Laurentian library 1 “De Fato et Fortuna.” 2. “De saeculo et religione.” 3. “De nobilitate legum et medicinae.” 4. “Tractatus de Tyranno.” 5. “Tractatus quod medici eloquentiue studeant, et de verecundia an sit virtus aut | vitium.” 6. De laboribus Herculis.“7.” Historia de casu hominis.“8.” De arte dictandi.“9.” Certamen Fortunae.“10.” Declamationes.“11.” Invectiva in Antonium Luscum.“12.” Phyllidis querimonise.“13.” Eclogae octo.“14.” Carmina ad Jacobum Allegrettum.“14.” Sonetti.“And, lastly, various” Epistles.“Of these, except the Epistles, the only article published is his treatise” De nobilitate legurn,“&c. Venice, 1542. His” Epistles" have appeared in two editions, the one by Mehus, Florence, 1741, with a learned preface and notes the other by Lami, in the same year but Mazzuchelli remarks, that it is necessary to have both collections, as they do not contain the same epistles. Some of Coluccio’s poems have appeared in various collections of Italian poetry. 1


Qinguene Hist. Litt. d’ltalie, vol. III. cb, 17. Shepherd’s Life of Pogjio. Bibl. Germanique, vol. I.