|Publication Date||December 31, 2008|
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Catalogue of the exhibition of the same name put on at the State Archive of Florence from 9 December 2008 to 14 March 2009. Produced by the Centre for Classicism Studies to mark the 6th centenary of his death, the aim of this book is not just to celebrate Salutati’s fundamental role in the emergence of civic Humanism, but also to restore the political dimension to a life and literary production dedicated, through its strong ideological and active presence, to the city of Florence. While the theme defined by the work’s title remains central, its restitution to us of a three-dimensional Salutati comes courtesy of a first-rate team of scholars and curators. Their selections from the precious documentary material conserved at the State Archive of Florence have been made with great critical competence. While illuminating the profile of an intellectual and man of his times from a variety of perspectives, they also open new avenues for research into the Chancellery and political institutions of Florence, into the typology of Florentine letters and treaties between the end of the fourteenth and the beginning of the fifteenth centuries. These interesting contributions delve to the heart of an eclectic personality, who ingeniously propelled itself towards a new kind of mentality, to the extent that he became a figurehead of the rising humanistic avant-garde. Salutati went as far as to sustain the high civic and cultural significance of philological and humanistic research, of the promotion of the literature and language of ancient Greece, of the reinstitution of classical studies. It is, however, worth bearing in mind that Salutati’s propagation of a new Humanism and his cultivation of significant relationships with major exponents of European culture was only possible thanks to his long period in office in the upper echelons of the Florentine Republic. His was a paradigmatic incarnation of the figure of the Florentine Chancellor and as such Salutati elevated the might of his words with great polemical zeal above every other means for saving the city of Florence from despotic designs, establishing the city as an indomitable bastion of libertas Italiae, a fortress from which he defended, with closely felt conviction, the divine gifts of freedom, of a politically active life and of democracy: the sense of the state and of civic commitment.