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Giovanni Boccaccio. Laura Panduro Period 2 January 29, 2013. Basic Facts:. Giovanni Boccaccio was a Medieval Italian writer, a humanist, and one of the founders of the Renaissance. His specific date of birth is unknown, but it is known that he lived from 1313 to 1375.

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Giovanni boccaccio

Giovanni Boccaccio

Laura Panduro

Period 2

January 29, 2013

Basic facts
Basic Facts:

  • Giovanni Boccaccio was a Medieval Italian writer, a humanist, and one of the founders of the Renaissance.

  • His specific date of birth is unknown, but it is known that he lived from 1313 to 1375.

  • He wrote a series of works, including the Decameron, a collection of 100 storied thatincludes “Federigo’s Falcon.”

  • His work as a poet, scholar and diplomat helped raise awareness of the respectability of classical texts.

Early life
Early Life

  • He grew up in Florence.

  • He moved to Naples when his father received a job as head of the Neapolitan branch of his bank.

  • He had no affinity to banking or business, so he decided to study canon law, which was a study of regulations and laws adopted by the church.

  • He did not enjoy law either.

  • He began to pursue literary and scientific studies. He realized his true passion was poetry and writing.

Early love l ife
Early Love Life

  • Much like Danteand Petrarch, Boccaccio had his own muse to inspire his writing.

  • When he was young, he fell in love with the married daughter of King Robert of Naples.

  • He represents her in his writing through the name of “Fiammetta.”

  • She was a major influence in many of his prose novels, specially Il Filocolo.

Historical background
Historical Background

  • In the 1340’s, a movement of “small people” workers overthrew Walter of Brienne in Florence.

  • The influence of the nobility and wealthy merchants declined, and the city suffered.

  • To make matters worse, the Black Plague hit the city in 1348, killing three quarters of the city’s population.

  • Although there is not sufficient proof, Boccaccio claims to have been present in Florence when the plague hit, and that experience is later represented in his most famous work, the Decameron.

The decameron
The Decameron

  • Boccaccio began work on the Decameron around 1349.

  • The Decameron is a frame story in which a group of 10 individuals flee to the countryside to escape the plague and tell themselves stories on the way.

  • There are a total of 100 stories told in the Decameron.

  • It is believed that the Decameron influenced Chaucer in his writing of The Canterbury Tales.

  • He edited and revised this book in 1370-1371, and this is the manuscript that has survived to this day.

Friendship with petrarch
Friendship with Petrarch

  • Petrarch was an Italian poet often called the “Father of Humanism.” He introduced the model for lyrical poetry and developed the concept of the “Dark Ages.”

  • Boccaccio met Petrarch in 1350 and remained friends with him until death.

  • Petrarch encouraged him to study classical Greek and Latin literature.

  • They established a foundation for humanist literature.

  • Boccaccio dedicated a commemorative poem to Petrarch after his death in 1368.

Boccaccio s beliefs
Boccaccio’s Beliefs

  • He believed much could be learned from antiquity.

  • He challenged religious intellectuals’ arguments against permitting access to classical sources in order to prevent any moral harm to Christians readers.

  • He argued for the importance of ancient literature.

  • His efforts to revive ancient literature aided the development of the Renaissance.

Writing style
Writing Style

  • Before the 1350’s, Boccaccio wrote optimistically and in praise of women. In fact, 7 out of the 10 travelers in the Decameron were women.

  • After the 1350’s, poor health and disappointments in his love life led to a more bitter tone in his writing.

  • His depression almost resulted in him burning most of his work and selling his library and other possessions.

  • Petrarch intervened and his collection can now be found in Florence.

Some major works
Some Major Works

  • The Filocolo: considered to be the first Italian novel written in prose

  • Decameron: frame story with 100 tales

  • FamousWomen: collection of biographies of 106 famouswomen.

  • The Elegy of Lady Fiammetta: love story, considered to be the first psychological novel in western literature.


  • Famous Authors

  • Encyclopedia Britannica: Facts Matter.

  • Who’s Who in Medieval History and the Renaissance.

  • The History Guide: Lectures on Ancient and Medieval European History.

  • Wikipedia: Giovanni Boccaccio.