Renaissance Humanism and the Papal Curia

Lapo da Castiglionchio the Younger's De Curiae Commodis
Christopher S. Celenza
Illuminates the powerful writing of a Renaissance humanist


Renaissance Humanism and the Papal Curia offers first a general introduction to the life and work of Lapo da Castiglionchio. Then a facing-page translation of and commentary on Lapo's complicated treatise, De Curiae Commodis, are offered. These illuminate both the text itself as well as Lapo's own situation and the humanistic era that De Curiae Commodis addresses.

Born into a family of the feudal aristocracy in 1406, Lapo da Castiglionchio as an adult was a practitioner of the new art of humanism. A student and friend of noted humanist Francesco Filelfo, Lapo long sought admittance to the powerful circle at the Vatican's pinnacle. He failed in that goal but left us a document full of valuable details about the workings, goals, and interests of the papal curia. In the year he died, Lapo wrote the treatise De Curiae Commodis. This work is written elegantly, learnedly, and angrily. It is a human document alive with information for intellectual, social, and cultural historians.

Christopher S. Celenza is Assistant Professor of History, Michigan State University, and has been elected a Fellow of Harvard University's Renaissance Study Center in Florence, the Villa I Tatti, for the next academic year (Sept. 1999-June 2000).

Praise / Awards

  • "Both as an early touchstone to emerging Roman humanist cultural themes and as an expression of the problematic relations between humanists and their patrons, Lapo's dialogue is a revealing text. Its ready accessibility in so splendid edition marks a valuable contribution to Renaissance scholarship."
    ---Charles L. Stinger, University at Buffalo, SUNY, American Historical Review, April 2002
  • "This fine study and edition makes available to a wider readership a notable Latin dialogue of the early Quatrocento, Lapo da Castiglionchio's De curiae commodis."
    ---David Marsh, Rutgers University, Italian Quarterly, Summer/Fall 2001
  • "History, as the saying goes, is generally written by the winners. In his unsuccessful effort to gain patronage and a position within the institution he described, Lapo remained a loser, and his voice is well worth recovering."
    ---Craig Kallendorf, Texas A & M University, Seventeenth-Century News, Fall-Winter 2000
  • "Celenza's is the first full-English translation of this neo-Latin dialogue on the virtues and vices of the papal court, and the first new edition of the Latin text in over eighty years. . . . His introduction is a welcome addition to the literature on secondary figures of early Quattrocento humanism---especially Roman humanism---and proves a reliable guide to the man and his work. He is to be commended for a fine edition of an interesting specimen of curial rhetoric."
    ---Joseph P. Byrne, Belmont University, Sixteenth Century Journal, Volume XXXII: No. 1 (2001)
  • "Renaissance historians and literary scholars alike will be profoundly grateful for this edition and analysis, which enriches our understanding both of an interesting phase of Italian humanism and of one of that movement's lesser-known figures."
    ---Carol Quillen, Rice University, Speculum, October 2002

Look Inside


Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 264pp.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 2000
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-10994-4

Add to Cart
  • $84.95 U.S.