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Leonzio Pilato

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Title: Leonzio Pilato  
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Subject: Calabria, History of Italy, Italian literature, Calabrian Greek dialect
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Leonzio Pilato

Leontius Pilatus
Born Leontius Pilatus (Leonzio Pilato)
Seminara, Reggio Calabria, Southern Italy.
Died 1366
Gulf of Venice
Occupation Greek literature, Latin literature, Theology and Philosophy
Ethnicity disputed, Italian or Greek
Literary movement Italian Renaissance

Leontius Pilatus, or Leontius (Leonzio Pilato; died 1366) (Latin: Leontius Pilatus, Greek: Λεόντιος Πιλάτος, Leontios Pilatos, Italian: Leonzio Pilato), was a Calabrian scholar and was one of the earliest promoters of Greek studies in Western Europe. Leontius translated and commented upon works of Euripides, Aristotle and Homer[1] including the Odyssey and the Iliad[2] into Latin and was the first professor of Greek in western Europe.[3]


Though widely thought an ethnic Greek[4][5][6][7][8][9][10] native to Seminara, Reggio Calabria, in a famous letter to Boccaccio, Petrarch clearly states the monk was completely Calabrian and rails against him for fancying himself Greek rather than Italian:

Leo noster vere Calaber, sed ut ipse vult Thesalus, quasi nobilius sit grecum esse quam italum (Sen. III, 6)
Transl.: Our Leontius is really a Calabrian, but would have us to consider him a Thessalian as though it were nobler to be Greek than Italian[11]

His chief importance lies in his connection with Petrarch and Boccaccio. He made a bald and almost word for word translation of Homer into Latin prose for Boccaccio, subsequently sent to Petrarch, who owed his introduction to the poet to Pilatus and was anxious to obtain a complete translation. Pilatus also furnished Boccaccio with some of the material for his genealogy of the gods (Genealogia deorum gentilium libri) which was, according to Edward Gibbon:"a work, in that age, of stupendous erudition, and which he ostentatiously sprinkled with Greek characters and passages, to excite the wonder and applause of his more ignorant readers." [12]

See also


  • Template:1911
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