A crucial witness in the transmission of Dante’s epistles is manuscript Vat. Pal. lat. 1729, containing Petrarch’s Bucolicum carmen, the De monarchia and nine of Dante’s epistles, seven of which are attested by this witness only. Compiled around 1394, the manuscript belonged to Francesco Piendibeni, a cultivated humanist born in Montepulciano. Through an extended inquiry, which includes two other manuscripts from Piendibeni’s library (Vat. lat. 2940 and Par. lat. 8027), this paper puts forward a new evaluation of this copy of Dante’s letters.
The essay illustrates the characteristics of the documents issued by the Chancellor’s office of the Commune of Verona at the beginning of the XIVth century, during the rule of Alboino and Cangrande I Della Scala. These documents still show the predominant influence of the notarial tradition. The essay focuses on the figure of Ivano di Bonafine de Berinco, a notary who was the author of a collection of oratorical and documentary models entitled Eloquium super arengis. We publish here a number of letters from the Della Scala lords to Henry VII of Luxembourg, and their answers.
The article proposes a comprehensive interpretation of Dante’s 12 epistles. I first define Dante’s competence in the field of ars dictaminis, relying on the passage in De vulgari where he discusses the degrees of ≪constructio≫. I then proceed to verify the correspondence between said rhetorical theory and the writing practice developed in his epistles. In this framework, I compare Dante with other authors from the previous generation who likewise wrote in the vernacular and accorded great importance to the dictamen (Guittone d’Arezzo and Brunetto Latini). Then, I analyze Dante’s writing from a rhetorical point of view and compare his style with the stilus curie romane, which seems to be the closest to his. Finally, I examine Dante’s prophetic self-investiture and its role in providing Dante, exiled layman without a true institutional role, with a charismatic legitimization.
Dante’s epistle to the Cardinals is attested by a single manuscript, entirely copied by Boccaccio. Until very recently, scholars have regarded Boccaccio as an unreliable copyist. The article aims to show that this prejudice must be discarded. In this light, I examine on a paleographic, philological and historical ground the first lines of the text, where Dante claims his charisma as a new Jeremiah, whose authentically prophetic words fall on deaf ears. By focusing on the epistle’s language, sources and historical and doctrinal bearings, I put the text into its own right light, and thus show how some textual revisions and readings advanced by Dante scholarship are misguided.
The last five years in Dante’s life may be seen, from the vantage point of Florence’s political involvement, as the interim between two major battles that ended in defeat of the Guelf party in middle Italy. The ideological and the military heads of this party, the pope and the king of Sicily, tried to use the Guelf communes for their own means. The communes on the other hand tried to cope with the “masters” requirements as well as with their own local and regional needs. This article tries to assess the diverging needs of Florence as the most prominent Guelf city - and mainly as the point of reference for Dante even though his state of exul immeritus.