Localizing the text in this example is easy, because it is written in
the Tuscan vernacular. Petrarch, known as the Father of the Italian Renaissance,
reacted strongly against the "dark age" that followed the fall
of Rome. He regarded its culture as decadent, and disparaged its script
as the legacy of the Germanic barbarians who destroyed classical civilization.
The humanists who followed Petrarch’s example likewise rejected
the affected quality of Gothic bookhands; in striving for a more natural
style, they imitated the exemplars of late Caroline minuscule. In doing
so, they mistakenly believed they were imitating the script that the ancient
Romans themselves had employed. Instead, they were actually using an improvement
devised by the very culture they disdained.
Petrarch. Canzoniere, Trionfi. Italy, final third
of the 15th century.
to Leather and Chains
© 2002 Division of Rare & Manuscript
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