Note 9

Gian Francesco Poggio Bracciolini (1380-1459), whose invective against Lorenzo Valla Erasmus has already been referred to (see note 3, p. 139) spent his life as a layman in the service of the Roman Curia and unearthed unknown manuscripts of many important ancient authors. He was devoted to classical studies but, like many of the humanists, also wrote works of history. His collection of largely indecent satirical material known as the Facetiae and aimed particularly at monks and priests was widely translated by 1500. Giovanni Pontano (1429-1503) was the Latinist president of the Naples academy which later bore his name. His voluminous writings included a series of lively Lucianic dialogues. Dorp's reply to Erasmus particularly objected to his invocation of Poggio and Pontano as models. Erasmus goes on to allude to Juvenal's well-known obscenities, to the anti-Christian passages of Tacitus (Annales, 15, 44) and Suetonius (Life of Nero), to Pliny's materialism and to Lucian's flippant treatment of religious beliefs. The absurd title of `Magister Noster' refers to p. 95 of Folly. The first of Ulrich von Hutten's Letters of Obscure Men (1515) makes considerable play of it.

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