- Niccoli, Niccolo de'
- (1364—1437)Florentine humanist. His home at Florence became one of the principal gathering-places of en-thusiasts for ancient literature, and through his widespread correspon-dence he directed the search for manuscripts of previously unknown classical authors. He had considerable success in this endeavor, being involved in the discovery of the works of the Roman historian Taci-tus, who had been little known in the Middle Ages, and encouraging his friend Poggio Bracciolini, who was probably the greatest manu-script-hunter of the early 15th century. Niccoli was intensely inter-ested in the niceties of good Latin style, but he himself wrote virtually nothing except his many letters. His numerous critics suggested that he wrote so little because his own Latin style was not up to the refined linguistic standards that he criticized others for neglecting. Yet he did build a valuable classical library which was open to his humanist colleagues, and he also was one of the first Renaissance scholars to form a large collection of ancient Roman coins and medals. Although Nic-coli had inherited a substantial fortune, he spent so much on books and coins that Cosimo de'Medici began subsidizing his collections and eventually acquired many of the treasures left behind at Niccoli's death. Niccoli avoided public office, never married, and devoted him-self almost exclusively to the study of antiquity.
Historical Dictionary of Renaissance. Charles G. Nauert. 2004.