Works: The Decameron
(1313-1375), Italian writer, humanist, one of the founders of the
born in Paris, son of an Italian (Florentine) businessman and a
studied business but abandoned it eventually to pursue his literary
in 1350 Boccaccio met Francesco Petrarca (Petrarch) (1304-1374),
one the most important figures in the beginnings of the Renaissance
interest in classical antiquity
influence of Petrarch and Dante
(1350-1353), collection of prose tales in Italian
On the Genealogy
of the Gods of the Gentiles (De genealogia deorum gentilium)
(1350-1374), scholarly work on classical mythology and culture,
written in Latin
(Il Corbaccio) (1354-55), satirical work, in Italian, dealing
with the problem of unreciprocated love
On the Fates
of Famous Men (De casibus virorum illustrium) (1355-1374),
stories of the downfall of powerful men
Famous Women (De claris mulieribus)(1360-1374), biographies
of famous women
importance of European commercial activity and the economic
contributions of middle classes of merchants, bankers, craftspeople,
and other professionals. Changing values emphasizing notions
of freedom, redistribution of wealth and honor, and more egalitarian
social conditions. Questioning of the inherited and traditional
rights and authority of aristocrats and the Church.
and growing influence of Humanism:
Shift in focus from God and the afterlife to the here and now,
the enjoyment of the present moment, the addressing and solving
of the problems of the human condition.
plague or Black Death: originated in Asia and spread throughout
Europe between 1348-1351. It is speculated that the epidemic
might have started in 1347 with the use of infected corpses
catapulted by Asian tribesmen into the camps of Italian traders.
The disease reached Sicily in 1347; North Africa, Italy, Spain,
England, and France by 1348; Austria, Hungary, Switzerland,
Germany, and the Low Countries by 1349; and Scandinavia and
the Baltic countries by 1350. Outbreaks of the plague continued
throughout the 14th century. It is estimated that the disease
killed about 25 million Europeans (about a third of the population).
Petrarch lost his beloved Laura to the plague and, likewise,
Boccaccio lost Maria d'Aquino (who is said to have rejected
his love and inspired the figure of Fiammetta in his works).
General state of confusion, ignorance, and superstition throughout
Europe. The wages of the working classes increased due to the
scarcity of laborers and the numbers of ecclesiastics decreased
due to the high mortality among those who dealt with the dying.
2001, 2002 by Fidel Fajardo-Acosta,
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