Angelo Poliziano

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Angelo Poliziano - Detail from a fresco by Domenico Ghirlandaio in the Cappella Tornabuoni in Santa Maria Novella
A handwritten letter by Poliziano to Lorenzo il Magnifico. Basel, University Public Library, Geigy-Hagenbach autograph collection

Angelo Poliziano (actually Agnolo Ambrogini , Latin Angelus Politianus , Angelus Ambrosini , German also Politian ; born July 14, 1454 in Montepulciano , † September 29, 1494 in Florence ) was an Italian humanist and poet of the Renaissance . His works were instrumental in the development of humanistic Latin .


Poliziano's name is derived from his birthplace Montepulciano (Latin Mons Politianus ). He was educated in Florence and then worked as chancellor and educator of the sons of the Florentine statesman Lorenzo il Magnifico . His father, Benedetto Poliziano, a lawyer, was related to one of the most important families in Florence, the Medici. He died when Poliziano was only ten years old, probably perpetrated by a violent crime by relatives of a man convicted of his legal actions.

As a philologist, Poliziano turned almost exclusively to classical studies from 1477 onwards. As a typical representative of humanism , questions about antiquity were raised by means of poetry, learned treatise and dialogue - including letters, such as B. to the literary critic in Rome, Paolo Cortesio - and tries to clarify. In 1480 he received the chair of Greek and Latin literature at the University of Florence . Its excellent reputation attracted students from all over Italy and other European countries. His listeners included Michelangelo , Johannes Reuchlin and the English humanists Thomas Linacre and William Grocyn. One of his first literary works was the famous verse epic “Le stanze per la giostra” (approx. 1476) in which Giuliano di Piero de Medici's 1475 tournament play is glorified. He had some influence on the works of the painter Sandro Botticelli , whom he had advised on the selection of literary sources for his pictures Primavera and Birth of Venus .

In 1485 he became canon of the cathedral in Florence. His grave is in the cemetery of St. Mark's Church in Florence.

Angelo Poliziano and Hermolaus Barbarus are considered to be the first to use the term Encyclopaedia at the end of the 15th century.


  • Short epic Stanze per la giostra ( The Triumph of Cupidos ), 1475–1478.
  • Apologie Pactianae coniurationis commentarium ( Commentary on the Pazzi Conspiracy ), 1478.
  • Acting Fabula di Orfeo ( The tragedy of Orpheus ), 1494th
  • Omnium Angeli Politiani operum (quae quidem extare novimus) tomus…. Badius, Parrhisiis 1519 ( urn : nbn: de: hbz: 061: 1-9210 ).

Editions and translations

  • Livia Castano Musicò (Ed.): Angelo Poliziano: Commento inedito alle Georgiche di Virgilio. Olschki, Firenze 1990, ISBN 88-222-3844-3 (critical edition).
  • Lucia Cesarini Martinelli, Roberto Ricciardi (eds.): Angelo Poliziano: Commento inedito alle Satire di Persio. Olschki, Firenze 1985, ISBN 88-222-3357-3 (critical edition).
  • Francesco Lo Monaco (ed.): Angelo Poliziano: Commento inedito ai Fasti di Ovidio. Olschki, Firenze 1991, ISBN 88-222-3878-8 (critical edition).
  • Filippomaria Pontani (ed.): Angelo Poliziano: Liber epigrammatum Graecorum (= Edizione nazionale dei testi umanistici. Volume 5). Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura, Rome 2002, ISBN 88-8498-053-4 .
  • Otto Schönberger (Ed.): Angelo Poliziano: "Rusticus". Introduction, text, first German translation and notes. Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg 1992, ISBN 3-88479-735-2 .
  • Charles Fantazzi (Ed.): Angelo Poliziano: Silvae. (= The I Tatti Renaissance library. 14). Harvard University Press, Cambridge (Massachusetts) 2004, ISBN 0-674-01480-4 (Latin text and English translation).
  • Peter E. Knox (Ed.): Angelo Poliziano: Greek and Latin Poetry. (= The I Tatti Renaissance library. 86). Harvard University Press, Cambridge (Massachusetts) 2018, ISBN 978-0-674-98457-8 (Latin or Greek text and English translation).
  • Otto and Eva Schönberger: Angelo Poliziano: Forewords and Lectures. Introduction, German translation and notes. Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg 2011, ISBN 978-3-8260-4596-7 .
  • Luigi Silvano (ed.): Angelo Poliziano: Appunti per un corso sull'Odissea. Editio princeps dal 3069. Edizioni dell'Orso, Alessandria 2010, ISBN 978-88-6274-196-5 (critical edition).
  • Shane Butler (Ed.): Angelo Poliziano: Letters. Harvard University Press, Cambridge (Massachusetts) 2006 ff. (Latin text and English translation)
  • Angelo Poliziano's diary (1477-1479): with four hundred cocks and purrs from the days of Lorenzo the Great and his ancestors . Diederichs, Jena 1929 ( urn : nbn: de: hbz: 061: 1-19810 ).


  • Thomas Baier , Tobias Dänzer, Ferdinand Stürner (eds.): Angelo Poliziano: poet and scholar. Fool Francke Attempto, Tübingen 2015.
  • Emilio Bigi:  Ambrogini, Angelo, detto il Poliziano. In: Alberto M. Ghisalberti (Ed.): Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani (DBI). Volume 2:  Albicante – Ammannati. Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana, Rome 1960, pp. 691-702.
  • Tobias Leuker: Angelo Poliziano: poet, speaker, strategist. An analysis of the “Fabula di Orpheo” and selected Latin works by the Florentine humanist. (= Contributions to antiquity. 98). Teubner, Stuttgart 1997, ISBN 3-519-07647-0 .
  • Ida Maïer: Ange Politien. La formation d'un poète humaniste (1469–1480). Droz, Genève 1966.

Web links

Commons : Angelo Poliziano  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Giorgio Bàrberi Squarotti: Storia e antologia della letteratura. Volume 2: Dall'Umanesimo alla Controriforma. Atlas, Bergamo 2005, ISBN 88-268-1131-8 , p. 56.
  2. Angelo Poliziano: On literary imitation . In: Nicolette Mout (ed.): The culture of humanism . Beck, Munich 1998, p. 42-43 .
  3. ^ Nikolai Rubinstein: Youth and Spring in Botticelli's Primavera . JSTOR : 751233 .
  4. Jürgen Henningsen: "Encyclopedia". On the history of language and meaning of an educational term. In: Archive for the history of concepts. 1966, pp. 271-356, here: p. 233.