Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Petrarch (Feancesco Peteaeca), (1304-74), an eminent Italian author, famous both as a lyrical poet of the first rank and as one of the earliest and most influential promoters of the revival of learning in Europe. He was born at Arezzo, where his father, a Ghibelline notary of Florence, had taken up his abode when driven from his native town. In 1313 the household removed to Avignon, which a few years earlier had become the seat of the Papal court. In accordance with his father's wishes, he studied jurisprudence at Montpellier and Bologna; but the fascination of Virgil and Cicero drew his mind wholly away from the law. After his father's death, in 1326, poverty compelled him to take orders. His first meeting with Laura tpok place in the church of St. Clara at Avignon on April 6, 1327. She at once became the object of a, deep but hopeless passion, which did not lose its hold over him during the remainder of his life. It is said that Laura was the daughter of Audibert de Noves, and that she had recently been married' to Hugh de Sade; but this tradition rests on very slender evidence. After travelling through France and Germany in search of classical MSS., he, in 1337, retired to the secluded valley of Vaucluse, where he occupied himself with his Latin epic Africa. His reputation reached its height in 1341, when he received the poet's laurel crown on the Roman Capitol. He now became a welcome guest at the courts of princes, and was often employed as an ambassador. Robert of Anjou, King of Naples; had been one of his earliest and most ardent admirers; and, in spite of his republican principles, the despots of North Italy vied one with another in showing him honour. His friendship with Boccaccio, probably formed about 1343, is a matter of much importance in literary history, for it led to a renewal of the study of Greek. In 1345 occurred the most famous of his discoveries - that of the MS. of Cicero's letters at Verona. He settled at Padua in 1362, and passed the remainder of his life in the immediate neighbourhood, dying at Arqua in the Euganean Hills. Petrarch's fame now rests mainly on his Canzoniere, a collection of exquisitely harmonious lyrics, in which every thought and emotion prompted by his love for Laura is presented with a directness and simplicity unknown to the earlier love-poets of the Middle Ages. His Latin works are numerous, including Africa (an epic on the Second Punic War), Eclogues and Epistles in verse, various dialogues and philosophical treatises, and an important collection of Letters, which afford abundant information concerning the details of his life.