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Janus Lascaris’ Florentine Oration and the ‘Reception’ of Ancient Aeolism

From the book Making and Rethinking the Renaissance

  • Han Lamers


This paper reconsiders Janus Lascaris’ Florentine Oration (1493) by analyzing its central argument that the Latin language is Greek (Latina lingua Graeca est). It situates Lascaris’ thesis in the context of ancient ideas about the relationship between Latin and Greek (chiefly Aeolism) and their reception in later periods. Specifically, it discusses his use of etymology, indebted not only to Latin but also to Byzantine sources. Outlining a ‘reconstructive’ method based on etymology to trace Latin words to their alleged Greek roots, Lascaris’ Florentine Oration not only marks an important moment in the reception history of Aeolism, but also complicates the ways in which the story of its reception has usually been told.

© 2019 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston
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