Lorenzo Valla

Lorenzo Valla
    Lorenzo Valla
     Catholic_Encyclopedia Lorenzo Valla
    Humanist and philosopher, b. at Rome, 1405; d. there, 1 Aug., 1457. His father came from Placentia. He studied Latin under Leonardo Bruni (Aretino) and Greek under Giovanni Aurispa. At the age of 24 he wished to obtain a position in the papal secretariate, but was considered too young. After his father's death he accepted a chair of eloquence in the University of Pavia, where he wrote his treatise "De voluptate" (1431), an emended edition of which appeared later under the title, "De vero bono". On account of his open letter attacking the jurist Bartolo (1433) and ridiculing the contemporary jurisprudence he was forced to leave Pavia. He went to Milan and later to Genoa, made another effort to succeed at Rome, and finally settled at Naples (1433), where he became secretary to Alfonso of Aragon, whose Court, frequented by the most distinguished writers, was a hotbed of licentiousness and debauchery. Lorenzo confesses that his life there, like his previous life, was not free from moral stain. At Naples he wrote "De libero arbitrio", "Dialecticae disputationes", "Declamazione contro la donazione di Constantino" (1440), "De professione religiosorum" (1442, not printed until by Vahlen in 1869). In 1444 he had a controversy with Fra Antonio da Bitonto on the question of the composition of the Apostles' Creed by each of the Apostles. His philosophical and theological elucubrations caused him to be tried for heresy by the Curia at Naples, but the trial was discontinued through the intervention of King Alfonso. His standard work is "De elegantia linguae latinae", which first placed the study of Latin on a scientific basis. He had laboured on it from 1435, and in 1444 it was published through the indiscretion of Aurispa. The Humanists who preceded him had formed their Latin style rather empirically, and consequently had admitted many constructions peculiar to popular Latin. Though Valla had refrained from personalities, all the literary writers considered his work a provocation, and hurled invectives against the author. This controversy is one of the most unpleasant pages in the history of the Italian Renaissance. The fiercest aggressor was Poggio Bracciolini, who did not confine himself to pointing out errors of style in Valla's works, but accused him of the most degrading vices. Valla's no less virulent answers are collect in his "Invectivarum libri sex". Poggio's invectives could not but create a bad impression at Rome; as Valla still hoped to obtain a position in the Curia, he wrote an "Apologia ad Eugenio IV", excusing himself for his faults and promising amendment. But it was only after the election of Nicholas V that he found favour (1448), obtaining first the position of scriptor, and later of Apostolic secretary. Callistus III bestowed on him a canonry in St. John Lateran, which he was able to hold but for a few years. By order of Nicholas V he translated various Greek authors.
    His philosophical and theological works are interesting. In his "Disputazioni dialettiche" he bitterly opposes Aristotle and the Scholastics, but he treats his subject superficially, and rather as a grammarian than as a philosopher. He made no positive contribution to philosophy, but only helped to discredit Scholasticism. His most discussed work is the dialogue "De voluptate". In this Leonardo Bruni (Arentino) defends the Stoic doctrine that a life conformed to nature is the summum bonum; Antonio Beccadelli (Panormita) strongly favours Epicureanism, declaring that the desire of pleasure is to be restrained only lest it might be an obstacle to a greater pleasure and that continence is contrary to nature; finally, Niccolo Niccoli speaks against both in favour of Christian hedonism, holding that perpetual happiness is the summum bonum, and that virtue is practised only as a means of obtaining it. It is uncertain whether Beccadelli or Niccoli (who is declared victor by the onlookers) expresses Valla's personal opinion. It would seem that he had not then (1431) come to a definitive opinion. He confines himself to expounding the three opinions, but gives Epicureanism the most ardent and eloquent defender. The way in which his "Apologia" extenuates what had been said in "De voluptate", arguing on the meaning of the Latin word voluptas, shows that he was undecided.
    In the "Declamazione contro la donazione di Costantino", probably inspired by Alfonso, who was at war with Augene IV for possession of the Kingdom of Naples, Valla exhorted the Romans to rebel and their leaders to deprive the pope of his temporal power, which he deems the cause of all the evils then afflicting Italy. The "Annotazioni sul testo latino del Nuovo Testamento" deals chiefly with the Latinity, and less frequently with the translation itself. In the "De professione religiosorum" he denies that the religious state is the most perfect, as there is greater merit in acting spontaneously than in fulfilling what one is obliged to do by vow, and he taxes the monks with arrogance for calling themselves religious, as if other Christians were not so; he refrains, however, from trying to discredit them by relating salacious stories as the other Humanists delighted in doing. In the "De libero arbitrio" he concedes that the foreknowledge of God is not incompatible with free will, but maintains that our intellects are unable to comprehend this truth. Valla first gave expression to many ideas that were taken up later, especially by the reformers. Like the other Humanists of his age he lacked firmness of character.
    VALLA, Opera (Basle, 1540); VAHLEN, Laurentii Vallae opuscula tria (Vienna, 1869); GABOTTO, Lorenzo Valla e l'epicuresimo nel 400 (Milan, 1889); MANCINI, Vita di Lorenzo Valla (Florence, 1891); MONNIER, Le Quattrocento (Paris, 1901); ROSSI, Il quattro cento, Storia letteraria d'Italia (Milan, s. d.); PASTOR, Gesch. der Papste, I (3rd ed., Freiburg, 1901), 16.
    Transcribed by Thomas M. Barrett Dedicated to the Poor Souls in Purgatory

The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VIII. — New York: Robert Appleton Company. . 1910.

Catholic encyclopedia.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Lorenzo Valla — Lorenzo (or Laurentius) Valla (c. 1407 ndash; August 1, 1457) was an Italian humanist, rhetorician, and educator. His family was from Piacenza; his father, Luca della Valla, was a lawyer.In 1431 he entered the priesthood, and after trying in vain …   Wikipedia

  • Lorenzo Valla — Lorenzo Valla, italienischer Humanist und Kanoniker. Lorenzo Valla (* zw. 1405 und 1407 in Rom; † 1. August 1457 ebenda; auch: Laurentius Valla, Lorenzo della Valle) war ein italienischer Humanist und Kanoniker. Er gilt als Begründer der modernen …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Lorenzo Valla — Lorenzo Valla. Lorenzo Valla (Laurentius Valla en su nombre latino; Roma, 1406/1407 ibídem, 1 de agosto de 1457), humanista, orador, educador y filósofo italiano, considerado el pionero de la crítica histórica y filosófica, fue conocido en su… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Lorenzo Valla — (Roma, 1407 ibídem, 1 de agosto 1457), humanista y filósofo italiano. Su padre era de Piacenza. Estudió latín con el humanista Leonardo Bruni y griego con Giovanni Aurispa. A los 24 años se le rechazó cuando pretendió una de las secretarías del… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Lorenzo Valla — Laurent Valla Pour les articles homonymes, voir Valla. Laurent Valla …   Wikipédia en Français

  • ЛОРÉНЦО ВÁЛЛА (Lorenzo Valla) — (Lorenzo Valla) (1405 или 1407–1457), итал. гуманист. Доказал подложность Константинова дара – грамоты рим. имп. Константина I папе Сильвестру I о передаче ему верховной власти над Зап. частью Рим. империи, на самом деле составленной в… …   Биографический словарь

  • Лоренцо Валла (Lorenzo Valla) — (1405 или 1407—1457), итальянский гуманист. Доказал подложность «Константинова дара» — грамоты римского императора Константина I папе Сильвестру I о передаче ему верховной власти над Западной частью Римской империи, на самом деле… …   Большой Энциклопедический словарь

  • VALLA (L.) — En ces temps de faveur renouvelée pour le nominalisme et la critique des universaux, il est bon d’aller demander à Lorenzo Valla, un maître de l’humanisme italien, comment la culture de la péninsule est parvenue, dès la première moitié du XVe… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Valla und Ficino: Antike Quellen aus neuer Sicht —   Lorenzo Valla ist der Denker, an dem man die Frage der Renaissance nach der Würde und der Wahrheit aus der Sicht des Menschen besonders deutlich gestellt findet. Er stammte aus Rom, studierte bei Humanisten wie Leonardo Bruni und erwarb sich… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Valla — may refer to:Places*Valla, an uninhabited island of the Maldives. *Valla in Vega municipality, Nordland, Norway *Valla in Meløy municipality, Nordland, NorwayPeople*Lorenzo Valla, a Renaissance era humanist. *Gerd Liv Valla, a Norwegian trade… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.