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Humanism and EmpireThe Imperial Ideal in Fourteenth-Century Italy$
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Alexander Lee

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199675159

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199675159.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 16 September 2021

Italy, Rome, and Empire

Italy, Rome, and Empire


(p.89) 3 Italy, Rome, and Empire
Humanism and Empire

Alexander Lee

Oxford University Press

The middle decades of the fourteenth century saw a change in the nature of the humanists’ enthusiasm for Empire. Often closely associated with the papal court, either as civic administrators in Rome, or as benefice holders or rhetoricians in Provence, they appealed to imperial authority out of a concern for the ‘Italic world’. This depended above all on the restoration of Rome. Only when the Eternal City had been returned to its ancient glory would Italy know peace and liberty; and it was hence upon the emergence of a truly ‘Roman’ emperor that the humanists now pinned their hopes. At times, this could be one who had already been elected king of the Romans, or even crowned emperor; but, as this chapter demonstrates, the imperial mantle could also be draped about the shoulders of entirely different political actors, or even placed in the hands of the Romans themselves.

Keywords:   humanism, Rome, Italy, Cicero, lex regia, Petrarch, Cola di Rienzo, Convenevole da Prato, Boccaccio

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