Filelfo, Francesco
(1398-1481)
   Italian humanist, noted for his excellent command of Greek language and his valuable collection of rare Greek manuscripts. A native of Tolentino, he studied law and rhetoric at the University of Padua and taught there for a time. In 1420 he travelled to Constantinople to perfect his knowledge of Greek. He stayed there for seven years, studying Greek with Manuel Chrysoloras and eventually marrying his teacher's daughter Theodora. He and his family returned to Venice in 1427 with a rich haul of Greek books, including many classical texts not yet known in the West.
   In 1428 Filelfo became teacher of rhetoric and moral philosophy at the University of Bologna. Disruption of the university by civil war caused him to move to the University of Florence in 1429. His lectures there on Greek authors drew large crowds and attracted the favor of leading citizens, including Cosimo de'Medici, Palla Strozzi, and the chancellor Leonardo Bruni, He lost the favor of Cosimo in 1431. In 1433 he survived an attempted assassination, and when the
   Medici returned to power in 1434, he left town. He taught at Siena (1435-1438) and survived another attempt at assassination. In 1439 Filelfo became court poet to the duke of Milan and professor of rhetoric at Pavia. For most of the rest of his life he lived under the patronage of the Visconti and then the Sforza dukes of Milan. He was a prolific author. His works included his Horatian Satyrae, two Plutarchan dialogues, a Vergilian-style epic poem called the Sforziad in honor of the new Milanese ruling family, several collections of letters and poems, a treatise on moral philosophy, and a collection of his own letters. He translated a number of ancient Greek texts into Latin.

Historical Dictionary of Renaissance. . 2004.

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