Latini, Brunetto

, an eminent grammarian of Florence, in the thirteenth century, was of a noble family in that city, and during the party contests between the Guelphs and Ghibelins, took part with the former. When the Ghibelins had obtained assistance from Mainfroy, king | of-Sicily, the Guelphs sent Bninetto to obtain similar aid from Alphonso king of Castillo; but on his return, hearing that the Ghibelins had defeated his party and got possession of Florence, he fled to France, where he resided several years. At length he was enabled to return to his own country, in which he was appointed to some honourable offices. He died in 1294. The historian Villani attributes to him the merit of having first introduced a degree of refinement among his countrymen, and of having reformed their language, and the general conduct of public affairs. The work which has contributed most to his celebrity, was one which he entitled “Tresor,” and wrote when in France, and in the French language, which he says he chose because it was the most agreeable language and the most common in Europe. This work is a kind of abridgment of the Bible, of Pliny the naturalist, Solinus, and other writers who have treated on different sciences, and may be called an Encyclopaedia of the knowledge of his time. It was translated into Italian about the same period, and this translation only was printed; but there are about a dozen transcripts of the original in the royal library at Paris, and there is a fine ms. of it in the Vatican, bound in crimson velvet, with manuscript notes, by Petrarch. After his return to Florence, Latini wrote his u Tesoretto,“or little treasure, which, however, is not as some have reported, an abridgment of the” Tresor,“but a collection of moral precepts in verse. He also translated into the Italian language part of Cicero” de Inventione.“His greatest honour seems to have been that he was the tutor of Dante, not however in poetry, for his” Tesoretto" affords no ground to consider him as a master of that art. 1


Tiraboschi.—Crescembini.—Gingnené Hist. Lit. D’ltalie.