What is the Best Method to Study Philosophy? Sebastiano Erizzo and the 'Revival' of Plato in Sixteenth–Century Venice

Maude Vanhaelen
2016 Italian Studies  
The article offers the first textual and contextual study of Sebastiano Erizzo's Treatise on the instrument and method of the ancients printed in Venice by Plinio Pietrasanta in 1554. Through examination of previously unstudied paratextual material, it argues that the work is linked to discussions on method that took place at the University of Padua, and to the programmes of vernacularisation projected or developed under the aegis of the Accademia Veneziana and the Infiammiati; it is the result
more » ... i; it is the result of a close collaboration between Erizzo, Bassiano Lando, Girolamo Ruscelli and Lodovico Dolce. Keywords Sebastiano Erizzo, Platonic method, vernacular Plato, Girolamo Ruscelli, Bassiano Lando, Accademia Veneziana/della Fama; Accademia degli Infiammati, University of Padua Sebastiano Erizzo (1525-1585) belonged to a prominent Venetian patrician family. After receiving a humanistic education in Venice, where he learnt ancient Greek and Latin, he studied at the University of Padua with Bassiano Lando, then professor of medicine. Back in Venice he combined a political career with intense scholarly activities, setting up a private library of more than a thousand books and collecting ancient artifacts and coins. During that time he published, always in Venice and with the help of Girolamo Ruscelli (and, after Ruscelli's death, Lodovico Dolce), the Trattato on method under discussion here (1554), vernacular translations of Plato (Timaeus, 1557; Euthyphro, Crito, Apologia, Phaedo, together with a reprint of Timaeus in 1574), a treatise of numismatics that became a best-seller (Discorso sopra le medaglie, 1559), a commentary on Petrarch (Espositione nelle tre canzoni di Petrarca chiamate le tre sorelle, 1561), a collection of six novelle modeled on Boccaccio (Le sei giornate, 1567) and a political treatise (Discorso dei governi civili, 1571). Erizzo also intended to publish a collection of vernacular letters in three books, to be printed by Vincenzo Valgrisi and dedicated to Vespasiano Gonzaga. 3 The collection was never printed, and is now in a Vicenza manuscript, which is probably the exemplar prepared for publication. 4 mestiere di scrivere. Lavoro intellettuale e mercato libraio a Venezia nel Cinquecento (Rome: Bulzoni, 1988), pp. 79-80; 290-91; 350-53; Paolo Trovato, Con ogni diligenza corretto. La stampa e le revizioni editoriali dei testi letterari italiani
doi:10.1080/00751634.2016.1189253 fatcat:lwhssp5bxjfhvd4xlz2mb5oama