Chancellor of Florence, chiefly responsible for forming the Florentine humanistic circle; b. Stignano, Italy, Feb. 16, 1331; d. Florence, May 4, 1406. His Guelf father fled to Bologna after a Ghibelline victory. There Salutati was educated as a notary. After returning to Stignano in 1350, he practiced in that region. From 1368 to 1370 he assisted a papal secretary in the Curia. In 1375 he became chancellor of Florence, an office whose importance was greatly enhanced during his 31 years' tenure. His Latin letters to other states were so effective that the Milanese tyrant said 1,000 Florentine horsemen were less damaging than Salutati's epistles. Most important of Salutati's writings were his private letters, dealing with philosophical matters, literary and textual criticism, etc. Particularly well known were four letters in which he tried to end the western schism. He wrote also De laboribus Herculis, De seculo et religione, De fato, and other works. Salutati's greatest contribution was to arouse an interest in the new humanism. He influenced numerous disciples, men who made Florence the center of humanism in the 15th century: poggio, L. Bruni, Niccoli, vergerio, Angeli, Rossi, Loschi, and others. He played a major role in bringing the Greek teacher Manuel Chrysoloras to Florence in 1396, thus initiating the serious study of Greek in Italy. Part of Salutati's large library passed to St. Mark's, Florence.
Bibliography: c. salutati, Epistolario, ed. f. novati, 4 v. in 5 (Rome 1891–1911); De nobilitate legum et medicinae. De verecundia, ed. e. garin (Florence 1947); De laboribus Herculis, ed. b. l. ullman, 2 v. (Zurich 1951); De seculo et religione, ed. b. l. ullman (Florence 1957). b. l. ullman, The Humanism of Coluccio Salutati (Padua 1963). a. petrucci, Il protocollo notarile di Coluccio Salutati (Milan 1963). c. trinkaus, In Our Image and Likeness (Chicago, 1970). r. g. witt, Coluccio Salutati and his Public Letters (Geneva 1976). c. trinkaus, In the Footsteps of the Ancients (Leiden 2000).
[b. l. ullman]