Attitudes and Views of Classical Authors Through the Eyes of Leonardo Bruni and Francis Petrarch

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Leonardo Bruni and Francis Petrarch were two very eloquent and esteemed authors of their time; however, that is not to say that there was no opposition to their views. In fact, many disapproved of their attitudes toward classical authors and the time period but even then that opposition sometimes served to define their characters and reinforce their eloquence. Bruni and Petrarch revere certain authors for their eloquence, and wisdom while condemn others for their ignorance. Because of their ideas of what defines a well-expressed and articulate author and what defines and unapprised one, their views of classical authors often equal each other and at other times rival each other. Leonardo Bruni retained a gamut of attitudes toward classical authors. His views on Cicero, Aristotle, and Dante are readily seen n his work, The Dialogues, Bruni speaks highly and praises both Cicero and Aristotle for their eloquence and knowledge. According to Bruni, illustrated by Niccolo Niccoli, philosophy was once brought from Greece into Italy by Cicero and watered by that golden stream of eloquence. (Bruni, The Dialogues, p. 67) Bruni rebukes the people for preserving authors such as Cassiodorus and Alcidus who wrote nonsense that, "even men of moderate learning never cared to read" instead of preserving the works of Cicero from which, "the muses of the Latin language never produced anything fairer". (Bruni, The Dialogues, p. 67) Bruni places the blame of this mistake on the ignorance of men and states that if they had attained even a superficial acquaintance with them (Cicero's works), they certainly would never have neglected Cicero's works, which were endowed with such eloquence that they would easily avoid being scorned by a not uncultivated reader. (Bruni, The Dialogues, p 67) To Bruni, Cicero was so gratifying that even his name was pleasing to him. When speaking of Cicero, Bruni calls him by his full name, Marcus Tullius Cicero, so that, "he will be longer in my...
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