Salutati, Coluccio (1331–1406)

views updated

Salutati, Coluccio (13311406)

Important humanist, scholar, and political leader of Florence, Italy. Born in the village of Stignano, Tuscany, he studied at the University of Bologna and was then appointed as the secretary to Pope Urban IV. Appointed the chancellor of Florence in 1375, Salutati held the post for the rest of his life. As chancellor, Salutati supported Leonardo Brunt in his struggles with the church hierarchy, hosted Manuel Chrysolaras in Florence and granted this important scholar a pension. His patronage of scholars on behalf of Florence provided impetus to classical scholarship.

Salutati opposed Giangaleazzo Visconti of Milan in his efforts to take control of Florence. Salutati waged a war with Milan that lasted for more than twelve years, until the death of Visconti in 1402. Florence remained an independent city and in the next century flourished from its involvement in banking and trade.

Salutati is credited as much for his cultural achievements as for his political ones. A skilled orator and writer, Salutati amassed a large collection of books. He sought out classical manuscripts and discovered the lost letters of Cicero as well as the works of other Roman writers, including Cato and Germanicus. Salutati also supported the merits of pagan classical literature, which was still under assault by the church.