The Public and the Private; The Chancellor and the Humanist in Renaissance Florence

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Around the turn of the year 1431 the city of Lucca charged their new chancellor Cristoforo Turrettini to write a Latin letter to the Florentines decrying their recent bellicose actions against their lands. Turrettini wrote, not to the leading Florentine governmental bodies, but rather to their head secretary, Leonardo Bruni. Bruni responded on January 8 with a seemingly private Latin letter that he later placed into his humanist letter book. Around the same time Bruni wrote a public letter in the vernacular, his Defense against the Detractors of the People of Florence for their Attack against Lucca, in response to the same criticisms. This paper will examine these texts within their political and cultural contexts, with particular emphasis on questions of public and private distinctions as well as political legitimacy in humanist writing during the quattrocento.


Chicago, IL

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