Guarini, Guarino, of Verona
(1374-1460)
   Humanist and educator, best known as the headmaster of a famous humanistic school at the court of the duke of Ferrara. Though born into a poor family, he received an excellent Latin education in his native Verona and then at Padua and Venice. When the Byzantine teacher Manuel Chrysoloras passed through Venice in 1403, Guarino followed him to Constantinople and spent five years studying there (1403-1408). After he returned to Italy about 1408, he struggled to establish himself as a teacher in Florence or Venice. In 1418 he married a wealthy woman of Verona. With the backing of his wife's family, he opened a successful boarding school in Verona and in 1420 was hired by the city to lecture on rhetoric and newly discovered works of Cicero.
   In 1429 Guarino accepted an invitation of the ruler of Ferrara to become tutor to the heir to the throne, on condition that the court school also be open to other promising students. His school, which attracted the sons of prominent families from many parts of Italy, was one of the two earliest and most influential humanist schools in Italy; the other was the similar school formed at the court of Mantua by Vittorino da Feltre. In 1442 Guarino became professor in the revived University of Ferrara, which became a popular place of study for early humanists from Northern Europe. After Guarino's death in 1460, his youngest son, Battista, continued his work in Ferrara. Although Guarino was denounced by some monks for teaching pagan authors, he declared that familiarity with ancient literature was necessary for any person who wanted to understand the works of the ancient Church Fathers.
   Because Guarino's mastery of Greek was far superior to that of most Italian humanists of his generation, his translations of Greek literary texts, especially Plutarch's Lives and Strabo's Geography, were of special importance. As a schoolmaster, he regarded fluency in a style of Latin modelled on the language of Cicero as fundamental. His students also read the works of other major Latin authors and received at least some instruction in Greek language and literature. He contended that this kind of literary education would encourage the moral growth of students and hence prepare them to become worthy persons and good citizens.
   See also Ciceronianism.

Historical Dictionary of Renaissance. . 2004.

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