Giovanni Boccaccio, 1313-1375

Portrait

Biographical note

Giovanni Boccaccio (born 1313 in Paris - December 21, 1375 in Florence) was the greatest of Petrarch's disciples and an important renaissance humanist in his own right. He was a great scholar of the classics, especially Tacitus and Livy. His own works included On Famous Women, the Decameron and the Tale of Filippa (which is a celebrated story within the Decameron). Boccaccio's characters are notable for their era in that they are realistic, spirited and clever individuals who are grounded in reality (in contradiction to the characters of his contemporaries, who were more concerned with the Medieval virtues of Chivalry, Piety and Humility). His greatest legacy is, however, his poems in the vernacular. In later life he turned to Christianity and repudiated many of his earlier works.

His Decameron - named because its intent was to produce 10 stories by 10 travellers - was an important influence on Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales.

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