Looking over Landino’s Shoulder, Some Thoughts about Landino’s University Lecture on Virgil’s Aeneid

Florian Schaffenrath

A Latin manuscript from the Biblioteca Casanatense in Rome will be the starting point of my contribution: the manuscript contains notes, so called recollectae, from a university lecture that Cristoforo Landino (1425-98) gave on Virgil’s Aeneid between 1462 and 1463. These recollectae are interesting for a couple of reasons. First, we get a first-hand insight in the philological practice of a Renaissance university in the 15th century Florence. Second, as this lecture predates Landino’s major works, in which he studies the Aeneid and formulates a distinctive allegorical interpretation of the epic poem – in particular his famous Disputationes Camaldulenses of 1473 and his principal Virgil commentary of 1488 -, it allows us to track the evolution of Landino’s nascent theories of poetry and philosophy in their infancy. As the manuscript stands in the focus of a research project of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Neo-Latin Studies, I will also speak about the aims of this project lead by Valerio Sanzotta.


Florian Schaffenrath is Director of Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Neo-Latin Studies. He is especially interested in epic poetry. As his PhD thesis, he published the poem Columbus of father Ubertino Carrara (Rome, 1715), an epic poem in 12 books about the first voyage of Christopher Columbus to the New World. His shorter articles deal inter alia with Petrarch’s Africa and Sannazaro’s De partu Virginis. Schaffenrath is also interested in writing regional history of Neo-Latin literature.