New: Opere Brunetto Latino || Dante vivo || White Silence

Originally published as Brunetto Latini, Il Tesoretto (The Little Treasure), ed. Julia Bolton Holloway (New York: Garland, 1981) © Julia Bolton Holloway. See also Julia Bolton Holloway, Twice-Told Tales: Brunetto Latino and Dante Alighieri (New York: Peter Lang, 1993), now available from author.






Brunetto Latino and Dante Alighieri
Fresco attributed to Giotto, Bargello.
See Florence in Sepia

Per l'introduzione in italiano, per il testo del Tesoretto, e per il testo del Fagoletto
For Text of Tesoretto. For Text of Fagoletto.


As in Giotto's portrayal of Brunetto Latino and Dante Alighieri, history has tended to pair the two poets, who were both exiled from their native Florence, with the second eclipsing the first. The role played by Brunetto Latino in Florence's history paralleled that of the orator Cicero in Republican Rome. Dante, his student, was to be as Florence's Virgil, her poet who advocated the supremacy of the Holy Roman Empire, as Vergil had upheld the Roman. Filippo Villani says that Brunetto Latino was the 'rhetorician' of Florence, noting that he was both witty and learned, capable of moving audiences to laughter, but nevertheless governing himself with morality (F. Villani, p. 30; references are keyed to the Select Bibliography). Giovanni Villani likewise stresses Brunetto Latino's espousal of Ciceronian rhetoric for the sake of the Florentine commune (G. Villani, VIII.10). The political events with which Latino was associated are woven again and again into the tapestry of Dante's Inferno, though many of these occurred before Dante's birth in 1265. Thus, it was probably Latino who taught Dante his city's history. He was Dante's mentor, Dante's cicerone.

Biblioteca Medicea-Laurenziana, Plut. 42.19, Brunetto Latino, IlTesoro, fol. 72 , sec. XIII-XIV

We know from civic documents that Brunetto Latino was married, with a daughter named Biancia (who in turn married in 1248, this being our only means for gauging her father's age). He also had two sons, one of whom was named Perseo, and his fame came late (Sundby, p. 6). Some of his earliest political acts were to help form the peace pact between Ghibelline Siena and Guelph Florence in 1254. We hear of Latino next in 1258 when a mob slew Thesauro dei Beccheria of Pavia, the corrupt and profligate Abbot of Vallombrosa, because of the suspicion that Thesauro had betrayed Florence to the Ghibelline faction (Inferno XXXII.119-20).

Archivio di  Stato, Firenze/State Archives, Florence, Capitoli Firenze, Reg, 29, fols. 189-191, repeated Cap. Fir., Reg. 33, fols. 189-191, 25 agosto 1254, documento autografo di Brunetto Latino.

Many charges have been brought against Brunetto Latino in an attempt by scholars to explain Dante's punishment of him among the homosexuals in Inferno XV. Early commentators justified Dante's charge of sodomy by noting that this was a common problem between teachers and students. André Pézard argues that Dante condemns not for homosexuality but for blasphemy, in particular for blaspheming against the Italian language by writing in French. Richard Kay makes the more likely claim that Dante condemns Latino for his Guelph idolatry of Florence as a Republic, rather than being a Ghibelline advocate of Empire. Thomas Werge states that Dante condemns Latino because Latino's Tesoro is a worldly quest for fame, for treasure laid up on Earth rather than in Heaven. Jeffrey Richards notes that Latino and his Tesoro are burned in the flames of Hell by Dante, who is jokingly carrying out his Master's instructions given in Tesoretto 103-12.

It is possible that Dante's charge of Brunetto's bisexuality alludes to Latino as shadowing Cicero, whose Laelius de amicitia is a treatise on masculine friendship is copied in Il Fagoletto. Concerning Pézard's claim that Latino betrayed Italian, it should be noted that Latino wrote the Tesoretto in Italian verse, while his French prose Li Livres dou Tresor contains an entire section on Florence and rhetoric. Giovanni Villani states, according to one interpretation, that he keyed the works to each other, 'fece il buon ed util libro detto Tesoro, e il Tesoretto è la chiave del Tesoro' (G. Villani, VIII.10); yet they never occur in the same manuscript. Brunetto Latino explains that he wrote Li Livres dou Tresor in French because that language would reach the greatest audience. Similarly, Sir John Mandeville and Marco Polo wrote of their travels in that lingua franca, though the one was an Englishman, the other a Venetian (Bennett, pp. 6-10). Brunetto then translated Cicero's Rhetoric into Italian for use by the Florentine commune. Concerning Werge's contention, it can be noted that Latino, like Dante, is clearly aware of the parable from Matthew 6-19-20 concerning treasure laid up on earth rather than in heaven, making use of this theme in his letter sent to the Pavians about the perfidy of the Abbot Thesauro, then repeating it in the titles and themes of his French prose work and his Italian poem.

Brunetto Latini. Li Livres dou Tresor: St Petersburg, Russian National Library, Fr.F.v.III n° 4.  Barcelona: Moleiro, 2000. Facsimile edition. mmoleiro@moleiro.com

More needs to be said about these twice-told tales, Li Livres dou Tresor and Il Tesoretto. The Ghibellines had demanded reparations from the Florentine Guelphs - which they had been unable to pay. It is as if Latino were also saying that books such as Tresor and the Tesoretto, which fashion a a citizen's behaviour for the ethical good of the commune, are preferable to treasure chests filled with florins to be paid over to the city's enemies. The Tresor begins with the metaphor of its threefold divisions as being the golden florins it contains, the gold and gems that adorn it, and the golden chest itself. The first encyclopedic book of the work is written in much the same manner as Isidore's Etymologies. The second book, treating vices and virtues, Brunetto likens to precious gems that adorn a chest. The third book he states to be of pure gold; it treats rhetoric and ethics (Struever, p. 60). All of this he writes will in exile in France.

Quentin Skinner in his Foundations of Modern Political Thought ably discusses the relationship between rhetoric and politics in medieval Florence, and sees the figure of Brunetto Latino as of the utmost importance. He speaks of the Guelph party as that which desired to maintain the ancient liberties of the city, yet which was of the people, having overthrown the oligarchs of the feudal aristocracy. He notes that the Ghibellines were those who hankered for the old ways, for conservative stability, for law and order, and for a strong central power. The Guelphs were antagonistic to the Popes and to Frederick II's imperial dynasty, which continued with King Manfred. The Ghibellines curried favour with both Pope and Emperor. Skinner sees the Guelph party as the 'Freedom' party, the Ghibellines as the 'Peace' party (I.8-48).

Medieval Italy achieved the same political pattern of autonomous city states as had ancient Greece. Athens was governed by its own citizenry, and because of this democracy stressed the role of rhetoric, the ability of the politician to speak to the citizenry, of which he was a part, in such a way as to gain consenus. Such classical rhetoric was later used by Cicero in the Roman Republic (especially when he inveighed against the tyrannical traitor to the state, Catiline). Latino translated Cicero's Rhetoric ( as it was then though to be) into Italian, interleaved with his own commentary, the illumination of one manuscript showing Cicero in the top part of the initial S, Brunetto in the lower part.

Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze, Magl. II.IV.127 Brunetto Latino, La Rettorica

In Dante's Inferno XV.61-78, Latino tells Dante of Catiline having fled to Fiesole, where the Romans caputred him, razed that city, and then founded Florence, modeling the new city of Mars, upon the old one, Rome. Latino adds that the admixture of Catiline Fiesolan with Roman Florentine (for the two groups intermarried) created that discord between Ghibelline and Guelph, and Black and White, that tore apart their beloved Florence, which exiled first Latino and then Dante.

Italian rhetoric was formerly in the service of the imperial Sicilian Chancery of Frederick II. However, because of the memory of Cicero, it could also serve the needs of the autonomous, sovereign and free city states (Kantorowicz, pp. 41-57; Seigel, pp. 209-17; Wieruzowski, p. 434 and passim; Spitzer, pp. 94 ff.) Latino had penned his letter to the Ghibellines of Pavia sarcastically in the Sicilian, Vignolan, imperial style. Rhetoric could thus be Ghibelline - or Guelph. Words could be used for the purpose of tyranny - or for freedom. For Latino it was necessary to combine rhetoric, politics and ethics; to use rhetoric not for self, but rather for the common good, the Res Publica. Not only was rhetoric to be used in speeches, it was also to be employed in the writing of letters to other bodies of government. In the medieval curriculum the ars dictaminis, the teaching of letter-writing skills, was that part of medieval education which most clearly continued classical education, and which was the most familiar with classical texts for its models (Weiss, p. 35; Skinner, p. 37). In contemporary documents Latino is called 'dittatore,' meaning 'letter writer' and 'arringatore,' meaning 'one who speaks in public'.

Brunetto Latino on embassy to King Alfonso X el Sabio of Spain, with whom he exchanged books

Brunetto Latino had been exiled in 1260, following the Battle of Montaperti, learning of that exile on returning home from embassy to King Alfonso X el Sabio of Spain.

On February 26, 1266, Charles of Anjou defeated and killed King Manfred in the Battle of Benevento (Purgatorio III.103-45) and reinstated the Guelphs in Florentine affairs. It has been thought that Latino was in the employ of the Angevin Chancery during his exile. It is more likely that Latino, hearing of the Guelph victory, then made his way home to Florence. In 1267 the peace between the factions was sealed by such Guelph-Ghibelline marriages as that between Guido Cavalcanti, Dante's poet friend and a fellow student of Brunetto Latino's, and the daughter of Farinata degli Uberti. There Dante presents the still-feuding parents, Cavalcante Cavalcanti and Farinata degli Uberti, as forever lodged in one tomb. The father asks Dante for news of his son, Guido Cavalcanti. The father-in-law scornfully ignores that topic. Though such Montague-and-Capulet marriages were sometimes used to propagate peace, the tragic tension between republican Guelph and imperial Ghibelline in Florence was said to have originated in the slaughter of a Guelph, Buondelmonte, who was assassinated at the foot of the statue of Mars on the Ponte Vecchio on an Easter Sunday, while on his way to his marriage into a Ghibelline family (Inferno XIII.124-50); Paradiso XVI.140-54; G. Villani, V.36).

During the remaining years of Brunetto Latino's life, we hear of him performing various political functions. In 1271 he is 'protonotario' for the Angevins when Guy de Montfort, vindicating the death of his father, Simon de Montfort, in turn murdered Prince Henry at Viterbo. Dante speaks of this dark deed in Inferno XII.119-20. In 1273 Latino is called 'notarius consiliorum comunis Fiorentini'. He is Chancellor of Florence from 1272 to 1274. Then there is silence for five or six years. The various factions of Florence were quieted by Cardinal Latino in September, 1279. In 1284, Brunetto was President of the League of Florence, Genoa and Lucca against Pisa. In 1287 he was Prior - as Dante was later to be. In 1289 he was 'dittatore' and 'arringatore'. He continues to appear in Florentine state papers until 1292 (Sundby, pp. 201.07).

An episode of 1288 in which Latino is involved is of importance. In that year the Pisans revolted, led by their Ghibelline archbishop, Ruggiero, and elected Guido da Montefeltro as their captain, throwing the Guelph Count Ugolino into prisons, along with his sons and grandsons, and casting the key of the prison into the Arno River in order to leave them to die shortly thereafter of hunger. Ruggieri and Ugolino had earlier conspired to give the Count control of the city (G. Villani, VII.121, 128). Dante placed these two near the Abbot of Vallombrosa, Thesaurus dei Beccheria of Pavia, in Inferno XXXII, in the Ninth Circle. Neither Latino nor Dante approved of treachery to one's city state.

We do not really know whether Dante was a student of Brunetto Latino's. It is said to be unlikely that such an official would also have had time for teaching. However, we also hear of Guido Cavalcanti, Dante's poet friend, as a disciple of Brunetto Latino (Zannoni, p. xviii). Perhaps Latino and Dante's relationship was informal - shall we say like that of Plato to Socrates and of Cicero's circle in Tusculum? - consisting of hour-long conversations in Florentine piazzas ('from hour to hour/you taught me,' Dante says in Inferno XV.84.85).

Laurentian Library, Plut. 42.19, Brunetto Latino, IlTesoro, folio 72

A charming sonnet purported to be by Dante and written by Brunetto accompanied a copy of his Vita Nuova. Dante probably completed that work in 1292-93. 1292 is the last year we have records of Brunetto Latino appearing in Florentine state papers, and he is said to have died in 1294 (G. Villani, VIII.10). The young man might have given the dying man a poem celevrating his love for a dead woman. Dante Gabriel Rossetti translated the sonnet, interpreting Brother Albert as Albertus Magnus (Rossetti, p. 96; for the Italian text, see Tesoretto: Raccolta [1817], II.32, but see Scherillo, pp. 125-27).

Master Brunetto, this my little maid
  Is come to spend her Easter-tide with you;
  Not that she reckons feasting as her due, -
Whose need is hardly to be fed, but read.
Not in a hurry can her sense be weigh'd,
  Nor mid the jests of any noisy crew:
  Ah! and she wants a little coaxing too
Before she'll get into another's head.
But if you do not find her meaning clear,
  You've many Brother Alberts hard at hand,
  Whose wisdom will respond to any call.
Consult with them and do not laugh at her;
And if she still is hard to understand,
  Apply to Master Janus last of all.
This comment that the Vita Nuova is double-meaninged or Janus-like can also be applied to the Tesoretto, as we shall see.

Another sonnet, this time of unknown authorship, laments Latino's death and uses images of pilgrimage from Latino's Tesoretto. It begins by expressing the poet's great grief at the death of joyous Brunetto, 'Brunetto gajoso', and then it states:

I will arise and go now, mantled,
As I journey, like a pilgrim,
Until I find a forest wilderness.
I wish to change wine into water,
My delicate bread to acorns, and
To weep evening, night and morning.
Dante Alighieri's life almost mirrors that of Brunetto Latino. Both were Guelphs; both were exiled from Florence; both learned of that exile while on embassy: Latino to Alfonso el Sabio in Seville, Dante to Pope Boniface VIII in Rome. Both were Priors of Florence: Latino from August 15 to October 15, 1287; Dante from June 15 to August 15, 1300. But while Latino was to return from his exile - and influence the young Dante with his knowledge of politics and poetry - Dante was never to return to Florence. While Latino was able to go into exile with his family, Dante left his wife, Gemma Donati, behind in Florence, although some of their children later joined him in exile in Ravenna. Interstingly, Latino is always spoken of as 'Master', Dante never so. While Latino always remained Guelph, believing intensely in the freedom of Florence, Dante in his bitterness desired the peace that Empire might bring. In Dante's time the Guelphs became two parties; his, the White; his wife's family, the Donati, the Black, who were supporters of the Pope. Unlike Latino in his journey to Spain and residence in France, Dante may never have left Italian-speaking territory. Perhaps it was Messer Brunetto Latino who taught Dante Alighieri not only about Florence's history and politics, but also gave him that treasure he speaks of twice over, in Li Livres dou Tresor and in Il Tesoretto, as the mappa mundi (map of the world), thus broadening Dante's horizons to include a knowledge of French and Spanish literary works, as well as Italian and Latin ones. In both cases, Latino's and Dante's historical exiles fashion and deeply influence their pilgrimage poems.


Hans Robert Jauss has noted: 'The instance of Brunetto Latini's Tesoretto shows in an exemplary manner how an unrecognized aesthetic predecision can obscure the historical significance as well as the poetic qualities of one of the high points of allegorial representation - indeed, how it can totally exclude it from the canon of the values of tradition' (pp. 185-86). Jauss would restore to Latino's Tesoretto the importance it had in the Middle Ages and in the rEnaissance. To do so, he must counter Karl Vossler's magisterial Medieval Culture: An Introduction to Dante and His Times. Vossler spoke there most contemptuously of Latino's dream-vision poem, a work upon which Dante based his Commedia.

The outward allegorical form is a mere pretext, a ready-made wooden scaffolding from the top of which the author pours all his knowledge down on us as if from a potato sack. He wishes to get rid of his scientific knowledge, now matter how . . . [He] borrows his poetic garment heedlessly out of the great allegorial wardrobe of mediaevalism. Sometimes he draws the decorations for his personfications from Boethius' Consolatio, sometimes from the Planctus Naturae ad Deum, sometimes from the Anticlaudianus of Alain de Lille, or again from the Romaunt of the Rose of Guillaume de Lorris, and into the midst of these he thrusts, without introduction or imaginable reason, his own expereinces, and preferably his political convictions [Vossler, II.76-77].
Though Vossler disliked mixing biography, politics and poetry, in both Latino's and Dante's cases it is necessary to discuss the historical lives and exiles of the poets, showing how the one was reflected in the other, and then to discuss their poems, showing how these also are mirrored in each other. Despite Vossler's adverse reaction to the poem, he has accurately listed Latino's sources - with the exception of Cicero's Dream of Scipio and Isidore's Etymologies. Francesco Mazzoni notes that Il Tesoretto exemplifies a continuation into the thirteenth-century Italian vernacular of the twelfth-century Latin Neoplatonist 'cultura enciclopedico-didascalica' (encyclopedic and didactic culture) that had prevailed in France, and was associated by nineteenth-century scholars with the cathedral school of Chartres. Il Tesoretto is written within an important literary continuum of philosophical poetry. It is a dream vision, much like Cicero's Dream of Scipio, Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy, Alain de Lille's Complaint of Nature, and Guillaume de Lorris' Romance of the Rose. In each of these works, a visionary expereince acts as a frame for the imparting of encyclopedic information. The poet as dreamer undergoes an education that is either a success or a failure, an education the reader of the work shares with the protagonist. This strategy will, in turn, be the Commedia's; these sources, in turn, are the Commedia's.

Il Tesoretto opens with an elaborate dedication to a noble reader, a patron so exalted and flattered that the ordinary reader assumes that it must be someone great, such as Alfonso el Sabio or Saint Louis or Charles of Anjou. But, probably, a trick is being played on the reader which will not be cleared up until this Janus-like poem comes to its contradictory palinode: it, in most manuscripts, then tags on a Favolello, or Fagoletto, a 'little fable' concerning friendship, addressed to a scurrilous fellow poet, Rustico di Filippo - who was, to compound matters, a Ghibelline. The unnamed patron is supposedly superior to Alexander, Achilles, Hector, Lancelot, Tristan, Cicero, Seneca and Cato. 'Burnetto Latino' (as he generally gives his name) names himself as presenting to this patron his rich treasure, 'Questo ricco tesoro', worth silver and gold. He asks that this patron cherish these words written with ink (at this point Strozzi 146, usually so carefully written, gives a careless ink blot). The illumination for the dedication page (Strozzi 146, fol. 1) shows Latino in his master's robes at his writing deskm giving the poem to a humble student figure, not a rich patron. Yet the poet also asks that the work not be trhust into the hands of foolish boys, for they have taken another work of Latino's and sorely abused it. He adds that, rather than have that happen, he would prefer to have these pages burnt in the flames of Hell (lines 111-12). Obviously there are discrepancies here.

Jeffrey Richards in his dissertation (pp. 41-43) has brilliantly suggested that Dante has responded to Latino's joking preface by thorwing these pages into Hell, for in Inferno XV, Brunetto Latino is met by Dante and by Virgil, and they speak together of the pages of a Tesoro in Italian and that other in French (the early Tesoretto manuscripts title the work simply as Tesoro) beneath the Inferno's hail of fire. Then, perhaps, Dante plays an even more enchanting joke. In Paradiso XXXIII.85-87 he says that he sees a vision of God, who holds the book which contains all the scattered leaves of the universe gathered up and bound in one volume, a volume which thus contains even those leaves the reader had earlier found thrown into the flames of Hell. Thus Latino and his Tesoro are not only on earth or in Hell, but are laid up by Dante as treasure in Heaven. Dante likewise placed his 'miglior fabbro' (better craftsman), Arnaut Daniel, in Purgatorio XXVI among the flames of punishment for sexual offenders (ed. Wilhelm, p. xxiii-xxv).

Then the poem proper begins. It describes how Brunetto is sent on an embassy to Alfonso el Sabio, King of Spain and Germany, and, in one manuscript, Britain. When he has completed that task, as he returns through the Pass of Roncesvalles in Navarre, he meets with a student from Bologna, who tells him of the sentence of exile passed on him following the Guelph defeat at the Battle of Montaperti (Strozz 146, fol. 2). Latino wanders, deep in thought, from the right way. He is pondering, in a Ciceronian manner, upon the good of the Florentine Republic.

The following lines of Latino:

And I, in such anguish,
Think with dead downcast,
Lost the great highway,
And took the crossroad
Through a strange wood . . . (186-90)

And rode so far
That I refound myself . . . (2895-96)

are echoed by Dante in the opening lines of the Commedia:
In the middle of the road of our life
I found myself again in a dark wood
Where the straight way was lost. (1-3)
They are heard again in Inferno XV:
'There above, in the clear life,'
I replied to him, 'I lost myself in a valley,
Before my age was full'. (49-51)
Dante here is borrowing consciously from Latino, and is carrying out a tribute to his Master - though he does place him Hell. Moreover, Dante's borrowing of Latino's opening gives to his own pilgrim poem's beginning the shadowy configuration of that valley of the shadow of death, the Pass of Roncesvalles, famous both for Roland's ill-fated battle with the Saracens and also for its pilgrimage road to the shrine of Santiago de Compostela. Without a knowledge of Latino's prior text, the connections are lost.

Brunetto then meets the figure of Nature (Strozz. 246, fol 2v), who is described like Boethius' Philosophy and Alain's goddess, and who in the manuscript drawings is shown very much as Natura Naturans (Creating Nature), out of whose robes emerge snails, grasshoppers, dragonflies, and countless other creatures, to be found as well in the Bestiary folios of Li Livre dou Tresor illuminations. Natura explains that she is God's Vicar and complains that God bypassed her law with the creation of the Virgin Mother. She teaches Brunetto about God's creation and man's fall. She tells him about the four humours, the parts of the soul, astronomy and geography. Her teaching provides an excellent survey of the medieval world view. She shows Latino the four rivers of Paradise, the Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Pillars of Hercules, set at the Straits of Gibralter.

These Pillars are carefully shown in Strozzi 146, fol. 10, in which a departure is made from its usual grisdaille to give the Mediterranean a blue green colour. The map is upside-down, in the manner of Arabic world maps, such as Latino might have seen at the court of Alfonso el Sabio in Spain. The accounts of the Pillars of Hercules recurs in Dante's figure of Ulysses in Inferno XXVI.108. Though they are spoken of in other texts, it is probable that Dante's use of them is a memory of Latino's poem. It is also likely that Dante has Ulysses abuse language because of the ambivalent uses of rhetoric which can convey the truth or lie, which can save the city, or betray it. Dante's Ulysses is the supreme example of the rhetorician, yet his use of rhetoric is to betray Troy, and thereby Rome (Padoan, p. 173; Mazzotta, pp. 37-38). Dante gives him a tale that occurs nowhere else in the classical tradition, because it is a lie that Dante has fabricated for the crafty Ulysses, who inhabits the region of false counsellors. It is a lie that has decieved generations of scholars searching through texts to find a precedent. The tale is 'original' in the modern sense, but for a medieval audience, that originality might have invalidated it. Ulysses is the poetic version of those other figures who are associated with the real Brunetto Latino in life and in Dante's poetic lines: with Pier delle Vigne, Thesauro of Vallombrosa, and Ugolino of Pisa, all of whom were perfidious and treacherous.

Latino then takes his leave of Natura and comes to Philosophy's realm. There he finds the Aristotelian virtues in a landscape filled with emperors, kings, lords and professors, a landscape Dante would borrow for the Valley of the Kings of Purgatorio VII-VIII. At this point Latino, standing to one side, sees and hears a young knight being educated in the virtues necessary for the good citizen of the well-ordered city (Strozz. 146, fol. 13). The young man ('Chavaliero') in the illuminations resembles Commedia depictions of Dante as student, while the figure of Master Brunetto is garbed like those depictions of magisterial Virgil (Strozz. 146, fol. 18v). The young knight is taught to be courteous and not quarrelsome, to be neither prodigal nor avaricious, and certainly not to gamble at dice or to haunt brothels and taverns, but to treat strangers with honour and enemies with temperance. These are largely bourgeois virtues, not aristocratic ones. The preservation of 'honour' by means of feuding is spoken of as foolish - though sometimes necessary. The knight is further told that the use of language is of the utmost importance, and that he must not only use words with wisdom, but also trust in the Church. Latino has written a courtesy book with a difference, a courtesy book to be read not by members of the nobility, but by members of a bourgeous, republican democracy.

Then Latino wanders from his path - as Natura had warned him not to do - and comes to the realm of Fortune and Love, as he travels down the lefthand road on the Kalends of May . There he finds a variable landscape that at one moment is deserted, the next has tents, then palaces, in which people are weeping or joyous, in which they are stationary or are chasing or being chased. He sees the god Amor with his bow and arrows upon a pillar, and is fearful. But he turns to the great Ovid, who teaches him by means of his verses both the delights and the errors of love. Ovid gives Latino mastery over himself, protecting him from the arrows of Love and allowing him to flee from that dangerous place (Strozz. 146, fol. 21v).

At this point, Latino decides to repent his sins. The palinode now begins. It is titled in some of the manuscripts La Penetenza (Penance). Latino addresses the palinode to his 'fino amico caro', his Ciceronian friend. Is this the noble patron of the commencement of the Tesoretto? If so this patron, whom Latino had first likened to Alexander and Cato, is now amusingly told by Latino that it is folly to trust in the false wheel of Fortune, that all worldly things carry sin with them, that neither Julius Casesar, who was the first emperor, nor Samson, the strongest man, nor valiant Alexander, who conquered the world, nor beautiful Absolom, nor wise Solomon, not this friend who reads the poem, and who is perhaps ourselves, not to amass great treasure, but instead to confess all his sins. The poem is both deconstructing and deepening, sloughing off its surface fabling concerning fame to reveal its inner sermon of truth. Thus once day, soon after his vision, but still within the poem, Latino himself goes to the Friars in Montpellier, a medical centre of the pilgrim route from Italy to Spain in southern France. There he confesses all his sins, especially that of pride, which had led him to defy God's Commandments, and he includes even his Tesoretto. Similarly, Chaucer was to include much of his Canterbury Tales in his Retraction to that work, prompted by his Parson's penitential sermon at its ending.

Latino's sermon to his friend preaches against pride, envy, anger, avarice, simony, gluttony, adultery, sodomy, and a multitude of other sins. Of all the vices Brunetto Latino describes and condemns, he is perhaps harshest on sodomy. He goes on to say that he hopes his friend will repent all these sins, just as he has done when committed them - though he does not himself confess to sodomy. Then, having cleansed himself - and his reader - he is ready to re-enter his dream vision landscapes to learn of the seven arts. The words he uses when he returns to that poetic realm are 'io mi ritrovai'. Many translators of the Commedia render Dante's echoing 'mi ritrovai' of that poem's commencement simply as 'finding myself', not as refinding myself'; a reader of Il Tesoretto coming to the Commedia would, however, be aware of Dante's play upon the re-discovery of that literary dream-vision landscape. One Laurenzian manuscript actually binds the Tesoretto as the first text with Dante's Commedia added later. Two other manuscripts include both poems in their contents.

Within the 'revisioned' dream landscape, Latino now sees Mount Olympus, and from it all the land and sea, air and fire, of the four elements of which he also wrote in Li Livres dou Tresor's opening book, including with that account careful diagrams and mappae mundi. Then upon his right he sees a figure who is like the Cato whom Dante meets in Purgatorio I, a figure in white with a great white beard spread upon his chest. Latino had earlier met Ovid in a rich robe, just as Dante in the Commedia meets a Virgil who is richly garbed in illuminations. Latino asks the white-mantled figure his name. He is Ptolemy, the master of astronomy. Latino asks to be taught all his lore. Ptolemy turns to him with a smile and . . . . The poem breaks off, as will Chaucer's House of Fame and Keats' Hyperion. We are left without the sense of an ending; the poem has 'deconstructed' itself, and we are jokingly betrayed by our poet storyteller. However, this is but one interpretation of the poem. All three works, Latino's Tesoretto, Chaucer's House of Fame and Keats' Hyperion share in the theme of Fame, and each poet may have chosen to undercut that theme. Or these may simply be poems that were left unfinished by their weary authors.


Dante's Inferno XV, that famous canto in which he meets Master Brunetto Latino, is also written with jocular intertextuality and deconstructionism. It echoes Cicero's Dream of Scipio, Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy, and Latino's Tesoretto, participating in their tradition. Dante's Master Brunetto's statements are analogous to those uttered by Boethius' Philosophia; but Dante's own persona's statements, favouring personal heroism and a pursuit of fame, are as foolish as were those uttered by Boethius' persona. Chaucer was likewise to have Troilus foolishly misconstrue Boethius' text in his Troilus and Criseyde. It is true that the pagan Cicero in much of his writing conveyed a love of fame as well as of friendship. However, Cicero's recapitulation of Plato's Vision of Er in his Dream of Scipio acts like a retraction, sternly contradicting the love of fame, showing it as folly. That work, written in a Platonic and Stoic context , in turn much influenced Boethius' Consolation, since part of Boethius' text is taken word for word from Cicero's text.

Latini's Tesoretto and Dante's Inferno XV were both written somewhat tongue-in-cheek, yet they also contain the wisdom their personae seek. That wisdom lies less with the pagan learning of astronomy and the foreknowledge of a Ptolemy than with Christian preaching and penitence. When Dante encounters Latino in Inferno XV, they talk of the future and of the stars (Zannoni, pp. xxviii-xxix). Interestingly, Cato in Lucan's Pharsalia is shown as paradoxically refusing to listen to the Oracle of Jupiter Ammon, refusing to consult astronomers, and refusing to learn of his ending, and Dante refers to this in Purgatorio III.37. If this interpretation, stressing contradictions, is right, Latino's Tesoretto is a witty joke at the same time that it is a serious sermon. Latino has written, as it were, the 'Art and Remedy of Fame', thus knitting together Cicero, Ovid and Boethius. Dante rewrites it while continuing that jocularity toward his Messer Brunetto, who was noted for his wit and his severity, his humour and his sternness. The both employ ambages (a word derived from the Sybil's riddles, Aeneid VI.98), which allow for a Janus doubleness and opposition of meaning within one text. Chaucer's comic, yet didactic, House of Fame is similar, and it is clearly influenced by Dante's Commedia. It is not impossible that Chaucer read the Commedia in a manuscript that also contained the Tesoretto, since one such manuscript, now in Belgium, was even in England. The subject, style and mood of the Tesoretto and the House of Fame are very similar.

Latino's statements in Dante's Inferno XV are written as if they were ambages. Dante seems foolishly to say that he has learned from Latino 'come l'uom s'eterna' (how man makes himself eternal - by means of worldly fame, 85), at the same time that he 'defames' his revered Master by putting him in Hell. But these words can still convey that Dante, through Latino's moral teachings, can indeed learn how to save his soul and attain Heaven's eternity, and that he can learn his Master's lesson correctly: that Fame is pride, and as such is the root of all sin. Dante also brashly declares, 'però giri Fortuna la sua rota,/ come le piace' (let Fortune turn her wheel just as she pleases, 95-96), since he is ready for her. If he is literally saying that, he is indeed a fallen Adam. He would only be correct were he to mean he would, in the Stoic and Chritian manner, have nothing to do with Fortune and her Wheel, but instead would quest after Blessedness, or Beatrice. Dante's surface text has perverted his Master's teachings, and those of Cicero and Boethius. If anyone has deserved to burn under the hail of fire, it is not Brunetto, but Dante himself, or rather that foolish pilgrim self, a boy who abuses the text, wrenching its pages out of context, and who perverts his Master's teaching. Similarly, the pilgrim Dante in Inferno XIII.31-33 has failed to read Virgil with proper attention when he plucks a branch from the tree that is Pier delle Vigne, who then bleeds and speaks in the same manner as had Polydorus in Aeneid III.22. Yet in reality Dante has most sensitively read and understood the poems of Virgil and Latino.

Although the intertextuality between the Tesoretto and the Commedia has been lost for a considerable span of time, nevertheless the essence of that relationship, between an older poet and a younger, was sensed by several later writers. Dante's words eternalized both himself and his 'Ser Brunetto', who appears in the work of T.S. Eliot and James Joyce. Helen Gardner notes that 'Ser Brunetto' was originally mentioned in line 98 of 'Little Gidding' in Eliot's Four Quartets, but became a 'dead master' who was doubly Dante's Latino and Eliot's own master, Yeats (Gardner, pp. 63-69, 174-81).

James Joyce, who modelled his life upon that of the exiled Dante, bought an Italian children's edition of Latino's French Tresor and conflated the account in that work of the basilisk's poisonous stare with Dante's similes of men meeting by moonlight and the aged tailor threading his needle in Inferno XV.18 ff (Ulysses, p. 194). Eliot and Joyce recognised in both Latino and Dante their mirrored self-portraits as fellow exiles - and yet seem to have missed some of the humour and wit of the Tesoretto and the Commedia.

It is useful for medievalists to have access to a readable text of the Tesoretto. The poem is short, yet admirably sums up many a medieval commonplace, the teaching by allegorical personifications who convey to the pupil poet - who is a surrogate for the reader - information concerning the world, the four elements, the four humours, the four virtues, the seven sins, the Fall, the Incarnation, and so on; it blends Christian elements and pagan, and sacred with profane, especially in the jocular way in which Amor is perceived (Tillyard, pp. 98-102; Lewis, pp. 23-75). The structuring of Latino's Tesoretto, like Andreas Capellanus' Ovidian Art of Courtly Love, presenting the art and remedy of love, is that of a palinode. It has been difficult for modern readers to know how to read such ironical medieval texts, and Latino's Tesoretto can help to decode that genre. It can also help to decode Dante's Vita Nuova and Commedia, and Chaucer's House of Fame and Canterbury Tales. If Eliot and Joyce could include Brunetto Latino in their canon, then surely medievalists and Dantisti could likewise do so, seeing in Messer Brunetto Latino Dante's teacher, whom Dante both revered and defamed, and whose Tesoretto Dante quoted and echoed again and again in his Commedia.


This edition of Brunetto Latino's Il Tesoretto, first published in print, next in facsimile, finally on the web, is based, almost no emendation, on the text supplied by a manuscript in the Biblioteca Laurenziana, Strozzi 146. Because this is essentially a diplomatic edition, there is no textual notes section to argue differences, although other major readings are noted in the variants and sometimes mentioned in the footnotes. Strozzi 146 is the most carefully written early manuscript of the Tesoretto, and provides the best text of the poem. It is also written in a style and orthography with which readers of Dante would be familier. It is possible that Dante may have been its scribe and illuminator. The manuscript is the only one to contain illuminations.

Several manuscripts of Il Tesoretto have been marked up and corrected by seventeenth-century editors of the printed texts. This is especially true of C and C1, now in Roman libraries. The first edition of Brunetto Latino's Il Tesoretto was published by Federigo Ubaldini in Rome in 1642, and this work was used in aiding in the formation of the Accademia della Crusca's Vocabolario. The earliest scholarly edition was published by the Abbot Zannoni in 1824. He was unable to locate manuscript C (used by Ubaldini) which he thought was still in Florence. He had access to manuscripts S,G,R,M and V. He based his text on L, which is almost idential with S. Thor Sundby, the Danish scholar, published his study of Latino in Copenhagen in 1869. This was in turn translated and published in Italy with appendices by Italian scholars. Two scholarly editions of Latino's French Li Livres dou Tresor appeared, by Chabaille (1863) and Carmody (1948).

B. Weise, in Zeitschrift fũr romanische Philologie (1883), published a seminal edition of Il Tesoretto, basing his text upon Riccardiano 2908, because he believed that Il Mare Amoroso, which appears with Il Tesoretto there, was also written by Latino. It is no longer considered to be Latino's work. Riccardiano 2908 manifests a number of unique and clearly wrong readings. Gianfranco Contini's Poeti del Duecento presents with modernizations an edition carried out by Rev. Giovanni Pozzi of Locarno, based essentially on that published by Wiese, which used Riccardiano 2908 as its base text. Pozzi's edition omits Laurenziano Plut. 61.7, and Bibliothèque Nationale, MS. Lat. Nouv. Acq. 1745, but adds Brussels, Bibliothèque Royale 14614-14616, formerly owned by Charles James Fox, noting that it is bound with a Commedia. He fails to note that two other manuscripts, C2 and G, are also bound with the Commedia.

I list the manuscripts, giving their siglum as established by Zannoni and Pozzi, in the Select Bibliography, while discussing them here in approximately chronological and familial order. Laurenziano Plut. 61.7 contains only the Favolello. Wiese gives it the siglum F that Pozzi gives to the Brussels manuscript. I retain the older F and give the Brussels manuscript the siglum F1. Bertoni states that P is descended from M. Pozzi states that the manuscripts are all Tuscan, except for C1 and C2 which are Umbrian, and B, Emilian. Petrucci considers C2 to be Tuscan. There is a total of sixteen manuscripts, of which three are fragments, and two more are incomplete.

A stemma can be roughly established for the complete manuscripts that Pozzi lists.

The base text for this edition, S or Strozzi 146, in the Biblioteca Laurenziana, was written on vellum in the early fourteenth century in Florence. It has 30 leaves. The gatherings are in three quires with signatures, one of 8 plus 2, one of 8, one of 12 folios, measuring 24 by 16 cm. The text is written in two columns, the Favolello proper taking up three pages of the final two folios. Beginnings of sections of the poem use large, alternating red and blue capitals, typical of many Tesoretto manuscripts. Each line of verse begins with a small capital that has a yellow wash applied to it, and each line of verse ends with a period. Illuminations occur, in delicate sanguine and grisaille, at the foot of many of the pages. The binding is vellum.

The other manuscripts are as follows:

B or Brescia, Queriniana, A.VII.11, is a fourteenth-century Emilian manuscript of 46 leaves. Its words are carefully spaced and capitals are given to proper nouns, which is not the usual practice with Tesoretto manuscripts.

B2 or Krakov, Biblioteca Jagiellonska, fragment, descended from S.

C or Vaticano Chigiano L.V.166 is dated by Wiese at the end of the fourteenth century. It has 29 leaves.

C1 or Vaticano Chigiano L.VII.249 is dated by Wiese at the end of the fourteenth century. It is a large volume containing material concerning government and rhetoric. At folio 123 is 'Brunetto Latini Il Tesoretto', which is incomplete. It shares readings and omissions with B, and lacks the 'Penetenza'.

C2 or Rome, Accademia dei Lincei, Corsiniano Rossi 4 (44 G 3), is dated in the third quarter of the fourteenth century. It contains a copy of Dante's Commedia, poems by various authors, then Brunetto Latino's Tesoretto, incomplete, on folios 92-93v. A Latin prose argument precedes the Tesoretto fragment, analyzes the plot, and speaks of Latino's pilgrim-persona's obtuseness.

C3 or Vatican, Biblioteca Apostolica, Chigiano L.VII.267

C4 or Cornell University 4, fragment.

F or Florence, Biblioteca Laurenziana, Plut. 61.7, contains only the Favollelo

F1 or Bibliothèque Royale 14614-14616 is early fourteenth century and Florentine. The lengthy manuscript contains first an entire Commedia of 109 leaves. The Tesoretto takes up folios 95-106

G or Laurenziano Plut 90 inf. 47 is like C1 in being an omnium gatherum. Wiese dates it as fifteenth century in agreement with Zannoni. It is Florentine and opens with Brunetto Latino's Tesoretto at folio 2.

L or Laurenziano Plut. 40.45 is an early fourteenth-century Florentine manuscript similar to S, with alternating red and blue large capitals and a yellow wash on small ones but not by the same scribe as S.

M or Biblioteca Nazionale, Florence, Magliabechiano VII.1052, is similar to Riccardiano 2908 (R) in appearance. Wise claims that Riccardiano 2908 is thirteenth century, Magliabechiano VII.1052, fifteenth century. 

N or Biblioteca Nazionale, Palatino 387, formerly E.5.5.49, a fourteenth-century Florentine manuscripts, gives a list of the contents in a later hand on paper, as extracts from the Liber aureus of sayings of the pholosophers, followed by Cato and Seneca, treatises on virtues and morals, then, sixth, 'Tesoretto di Brunetto Latini'.

R or Riccardiano 2908 contains the Tesoretto and the poem once thought to be by Brunetto Latino, Il Mare Amoroso. Contini does not ascribe Il Mare Amoroso to Latino because it contains Lucchese elements. Present editions, including that given in Contini, still use Riccardiano 2908 as their base text. It proclaims it has already written the Tesoro, while the other manuscripts state that the Tesoro is still to be written, lines 1350-56. Its cancelleresca hand matches that of Plut. 42.20 and Leonardo Bruni's description of Dante's hand.

Wiese and Pozzi both state that V or Vaticano 3220, also of the sixteenth century, was copied from Z.

Z or Zanetti 49 (4749) is a sixteenth-century Venetian manuscript, written in a beautiful humanist script, but takes liberties with modernizing the text.

This present edition, based on Strozzi 146, faithfully reproduces the original spelling of the manuscript, except for spelling out notes and contractions; it follows Latino's medieval conventions of not capitalizing names of people, places or God. Its punctuation is modern. Latino uses gallicisms, ç cedilla for z, ke for che and que, and he also tends to add extra ls and ns with g. The manuscript scribe, apart from Latino, tends to use Latin forms, such as facto for fatto, and to double the second letter in many common word groups: chenne, chesso, etc.; I have allowed these to stand as they are, instead of printing che nne or removing the excess letter;  nonne and nonn'è are distinguished, however.


I wish to express my gratitude to Princeton University and the Department of English for enabling me to go to Europe in June, 1979, to collate the manuscripts of Il Tesoretto in Belgium and Italy, and to travel upon the Compostela pilgrimage route into Spain from Italy and to France. I am also grateful to the Biblioteca Laurenziana, the Biblioteca Riccardiana and the Biblioteca Nazionale of Florence, the Biblioteca Aposolica and the Biblioteca Corsiniana of Rome, the Biblioteca Queriniana of Brescia, the Biblioteca Marciana of Venice, and the Bibliothèque Royale Albert Ier of Brussels, and Gaylord Brynolfson and the Interlibrary Loan Department of Princeotn University's Firestone Library. At Berkely, Sir Richard Southern and Professor Phillip Damon introduced me to twelfth-century Neoplatonist literature and Professor Brandan O Hehir taught me Renaissance paleography and textual editing. At Princeton, Jean Preston, Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts, taught me medieval paleography and codicology, and Elizabeth Hume Beatson, Index of Christian Art, advised me on art references, while Professor John V. Fleming gave me every encouragement to perform the necessary European pilgrimage to collate the Tesoretto manuscripts, and Professors David Anderson, Paolo Cucchi and Vincenzo Bollettino advised me on the translation. Professor James J. Wilhelm oversaw the project with both tact and wisdom. John Longo was my research assistant and Patricia Onofri my typist. I with to thank all of them as well as Jonathan Arac, Adelaide Bennett, Alan Deyermond, A. Walton Litz, Vicki Mahaffey, William Stephany and Alison Stones who shared their knowledge with me.




B - Brescia, Queriniana, A.VII.11

B2 -  Krakov, Biblioteca Jagiellonska, fragment.

C - Vatican, Biblioteca Apostolica, Chigiano L.V.166

C1 - Vatican, Biblioteca Apostolica, Chigiano L.VII.249

C2 - Rome, Accademia dei Lincei, Corsiniano Rossi 4 (44 G 3)

C3 - Vatican, Biblioteca Apostolica, Chigiano L.VII.267

C4 - Cornell University 4, fragment

F - Florence, Biblioteca Laurenziana, Plut. 61.7 (Favollelo only)

F1 - Brussels, Bibliothèque Royale 14614-14616

G - Florence, Biblioteca Laurenziana, Plut 90 inf. 47

L - Florence, Biblioteca Laurenziana, Plut. 40.45

M - Florence, Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale, Magliabechiano VII.1052

N - Florence, Biblioteca Nazionale, Palatino 387, formerly E.5.5.49

R - Florence, Biblioteca Riccardiana, Riccardiano 2908

S - Biblioteca Laurenziana, Strozziano 146

V - Rome, Biblioteca Apostolica, Vaticano 3220

Z - Venice, Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana, Zanetti 49 (4749)


Il Tesoro. Treviso: Flandrino, 1474

Il Tesoretto. Ed. Federigo Ubaldini. Rome: Grignani, 1642

Il Tesoretto. Turin, 1750. Zannoni notes this to be a poor edition.

Il Tesoretto. Naples: Tomasso Chiappari, 1788

Il Tesoretto: Raccolta di Rime Antiche Toscane. Palermo: Giuseppe Arsenzio, 1817

Il Tesoretto e il Favoletto di Ser Brunetto Latini. Ed. Giovanni Battista Zannoni. Florence: Molini, 1824. An excellent, learned critical edition of the text.

Le tre orazione di M.T. Cicerone, ecc., volgarizzate da Brunetto Latini. Ed. L.M. Rezzi. Milan, 1832.

'Opere di Ser Brunetto Latini'. Manuale della letterature del primo secolo della lingua italiana. Ed. Vincenzo Nannucci. Florence: Maglieri, 1837. Pp. 223-76.

Il 'Tesoro' . . . volgarizzato da Bono Giamboni. Ed. Luigi Carrer. Venice: Gondoliere, 1838. Giamboni was Latino's contemporary. The availability of the French Tresor as the Italian Tesoro caused his other Italian work to become the Tesoretto.

Li Livres dou Tresor. Ed. P. Chabaille. Paris: Imprimerie Impériale, 1863. Good, critical edition with engravings of MS illuminations.

'Der Tesoretto und Favolello B. Latinos'. Ed. B. Wiese. Zeitschrift fũr Romanische Philologie, 7 (1883), 236-389. This edition, upon which all other present editions are based, uses a bad manuscript, and has not worked out a stemma.

Ùber die Fiori e Vita di Filosofi ed Altri Savii ed Imperadori. Ed, Hermann Varnhagen, Erlangen: Junge, 1893.

I Libri Naturali del 'Tesoro'. Ed. Guido Battelli. Florence: Le Monnier, 1917. This edition, used by James Joyce, continas photographs of medieval sculptures illustrating Latino's encyclopedic entries.

Il Tesoretto: Poemetti allegorico-didattici del secolo XIII. Ed. Luigi di Benedetto. Bari: Laterza, 1941.

Li Livres dou Tresor de Brunetto Latini. Ed. Francis J. Carmody. Berkeley: University of California Publications in Modern Philology, 22 (1948). This edition should be used with that by P. Chabaille, since the earlier one often gives more complete information concerning manuscripts and their illuminations.

Poemetti del Duecento: Il Tesoretto, Il Fiore, L'Intelligenza. Ed. Giuseppe Petronio. Turin: UTET, 1951.

Il Tesoretto. Ed. Giovanni Pozzi. Poeti del Duecento. Ed. Gianfranco Contini. Milan: Ricciardi, 1960. II.168-284, 869-74. Normalizes Wiese's edition, based on Riccardiano 2908.

Il Tesoretto; Il Favolello. Ed. Francesco Mazzoni. Alpignano: Tallone, 1967. Uses Pozzi's edition; prefaces the poem with a fine essay. Several other publications of the Tesoretto occur in anthologies, based on Pozzi/Contini.

La Rettorica. Ed. Francesco Maggini. Florence: Le Monnier, 1968 (1912). The best edition of the Rettorica.

Llibre del Tresor: Versio Catalana de Guillem de Copons. Ed. C.J. Wittlin. Barcelona: Barcino, 1971.

Spoglie elettronici dell'italiano delle Origini e del Duecento. Ed. Mario Alinai. Brunetto Latini, La Rettorica. Ed. F. Maggini. Bologna: Il Mulino, 1971. II.3. A computerized, modernized version of the Accademia della Crusca's Vocabolario. Both are useful for making a glossary of Latino's vocabulary. Latino's gallicisms are evident here. A similar computerization should be carried out with Il Tesoretto's text.

Brunetto Latini. Il Tesoretto. Introduzione e note di Marcello Ciccuto. Milano: Biblioteca Universale Rizzoli, 1985.


Alain de Lille (Alanus de Insulis). De Planctu Natuarae: Patrologia Latina 210, cols. 429-82. Ed. J.P. Migne. Paris, 1855.

Andrews, Michael C. 'The Study and Classification of Medieval Mappae Mundi', Archeologia 75 (1926), 61-76.

Arnaut Daniel. Poetry. Ed. James J. Wilhelm. New York: Garland, 1981.

Asín Palacios, Miguel. Islam and the 'Divine Comedy'. Trans. Harold Sutherland. London: Murray, 1926, pp. 252-54.

Asperti, Stefano. Carlo I D'Angiò e i Trovatori: Componenti 'provenzali' e angoine nella tradizione manoscritta della lirica trobadorica. Ravenna: Longo Editore, 1995.

Bar Hiyya, R. Abraham. La obra forma de la tierra. Ed. J.M. Millàs Vallicrosa. Madrid/Barcelona: Historia de la Ciencia Española, 1956.

Boethius, Anicius Manlius Severinus. The Theological Tractates. The Consolation of Philosophy. Ed. and trans. E.K. Rand, S.J. Tester. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1978.  Loeb Classics 74.

Brieger, Peter, Millard Meiss, and Charles Singleton. Illuminated Manuscripts of the 'Divine Comedy'. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1969. Useful to compare with Tesoretto illuminations.

Calò, Giovanni. Filippo Villani e il 'Liber de Origine Civitatis Florentiae' Rocca S. Casciano: Capelli, 1904.

Capellanus, Andreas. The Art of Courtly Love. Trans. and ed. John Jay Parry. New York: Ungar, 1964.

Ceva, Bianca. Brunetto Latino: l'uomo e l'opera. Geneva: Droz, 1965. Though more recent, does not supersede Sundby's work.

Maria Grazia Ciardi Duprè Dal Poggetto. 'Nuove ipotesi di lavoro scaturite dal rapporto testo-immagine nel Tesoretto di Brunetto Latini'.  Atti del IV Congresso di Storia della Miniatura 'Il codice miniato laico: rapporto tra testo e immagine.' Ed. Melania Ceccanti. Rivista di Storia della Miniatura, 1-2 (1996-1997), 89-98.

Cicero, Marcus Tullius. Laelius de amicitia. Ed. P. Fedeli. Florence: Mondadori, 1971.

____ [Pseudo-Cicero]. Rhetoric ad Herennium. Ed. H. Caplan. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard (Loeb Library), 1954.

Comparetti, Domenico. Virgilio nel Medio Evo. Florence: 'La Nuova Italia' Editrice, 1937, 1955. 2 vols.

Constantinova, Alexander. 'Li Tresors of Brunetto Latini'. Art Bulletin 19 (1937), 203-19.

Contini, Gianfraco. 'Un nodo della cultura medievale: la serie Roman de la rose, Fiore, Divina Commedia'. Un'idea di Dante: Saggi danteschi. Turin: Einaudi, 1976. Sees relationship of Dante and Roman by way of Latino's Tesoretto.

Curtius, Ernst Robert. European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages. Trans. Williard Trask. New York: Harper, 1963.

Dante Alighieri. La Commedia secondo l'antica vulgata. Ed. Giorgio Petrocchi. 4 vols. Verona: Mondadori, 1967.

______. Vita nuova. Ed. Natalino Sapegno. Florence: Valecchi, 1931.

Davidsohn, Robert. Storia di Firenze. Trans. Giovanni Battista Klein. Florence: Sansoni, 1957. This, with the Villani Chroniche, is essential for placing Latino in his historical context.

Davis, Charles Till. 'Brunetto Latini and Dante'. Studi Medievali, 3rd Series, 8 (1967), 421-50.

_______. Dante and the Idea of Rome. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1957, pp. 86-94.

Deginhart, Bernhard, and Annegrit Schmitt. Corpus der italienischen Zeichnungen, 1300-1450. Berlin: Mann, 1968. I:I, pp. 40-42, I:3, plates 34b-37. Discusses illuminations of Strozzi 146 and reproduces them.

Delius, Nicolaus. Dante's Commedia und Brunetto Latini's Tesoretto'. Jahrbūcher der deutschen Dantesgesellschaft 4 (1887), 12-13.

Dobelli, Ausonio. Il 'Tesoro' nelle opere di Dante. Venice: Olschki, 1896.

Dole, Nathan Haskell. A Teacher of Dante and Other Studies in Italian Literature. New York: Moffatt, 1908. An excellent, though little known, book.

Economou, George D. The Goddess Natura in Medieval Literature. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1972. Omits Brunetto Latino, Tesoretto.

Eliot, T.S. Complete Poems and Plays. London: Faber & Faber, 1969.

Gardner, Helen. The Composition of 'Four Quartets'. Boston: Faber & Faber, 1978, pp. 63-69, 174-81. Brilliant study of the relationship of Dante and Latino, Eliot and Yeats.

Gaspary, Adolfo. Storia della letteratura italiana. Trans. from the German, Nicola Zingarelli. Turin: Loescher, 1887. I.169-72. Dislikes Latino's erudition present in his poetry.

Holloway, Julia Bolton. Brunetto Latini: An Analytic Bibliography. Research Bibliographies and Checklists 44. Ed. Alan Deyermond. London: Grant and Cutler, 1986.

___________. 'The Road through Roncesvalles: Alfonsine Formation of Brunetto Latini and Dante'. In Emperor of Culture: Alfonso X the Learned of Castile and his Thirteenth-Century Renaissance. Ed. Robert I. Burns, S.J. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1990. Pp. 109-123.

___________. Twice-Told Tales: Brunetto Latino and Dante Alighieri. New York: Peter Lang, 1993.

Jauss, Hans Robert. 'The Alterity and Modernity of Medieval Literature'. New Literary History 10 (1979), 185-86. Argues forcefully for inclusion of Latino and Tesoretto in literary canon.

Joyce, James. Giacomo Joyce. Ed. Richard Ellmann. New York: Viking, 1968.

________. Ulysses. New York: Random House, 1961.

Kermode, Frank. The Sense of an Ending. New York: Oxford University Press, 1967.

Langland, William. The Vision of William concerning Piers the Ploughman. Ed. Walter W. Skeat. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1886.

Lewis, C.S. The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Mediaeval and Renaissance Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1964.

Lorris, Guillaume de, and Jean de Meun. Roman de la rose. Ed. F. Lecoy. Paris: Champion, 1975-79.

Mazzotta, Giuseppe. 'Poetics of History. Inferno XXVI'. Diacritics (1975), 37-38. Brilliantly relates Ulysses, Cicero, Brunetto Latino.

Messelaar, P.A. Le Vocabulaire des idées dans le 'Tresor' de Brunet Latin. Assen: Van Gorcum, 1963.

Miller, Konrad. Mappae Arabicae. Stuttgart: Strecker & Schrōder, 1927.

Mussafia, Adolfo, 'Sul testo del Tesoro di Brunetto Latini'. Denkschriften Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 18-19 (Vienna, 1868), 265-334.

Ortolan, Joseph Lewis Elzear. Les Penalités de l'Enfer de Dante suivies d'une ètude sur Brunetto Latini appreciè come le maître di Dante. Paris: Henri Plon, 1873.

Petrucci, Armando. Catalogo sommario dei manoscritti del fondo Rossi. Rome: Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, 1977.

Pézard, André. Dante sous la pluie de feu ('Enfer', chant XV). Paris: Vrin, 1950.

Prince, Dawn. 'An Edition and Study of Book One of the Unique Aragonese Translation of Brunetto Latini's Li Livre dou Tresor'. Ph.D. Dissertation in Romance Philology, University of California at Berkeley, 1990.

Procter, Evelyn S. Alfonso X, Patron of Literature and Learning. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1951.

Richards, E. Jeffrey. 'Dante's Commedia and its Vernacular Narrative Context'. Ph.D. Dissertation, Princeton University, 1978. A careful, controversial, and sometimes brilliant analysis of the relationship of the Tesoretto and the Commedia.

Rossetti, Dante Gabriel. Dante and His Circle with the Italian Poets Preceding Him. London: Ellis and Elvey, 1892.

Sanchez Perez, J.A. 'Libro del Tesoro, falsamente attribuido a Alfonso el Sabio'. Revista di Filologia Española 19 (1932), 158-80.

Elisabetta Pellegrini Sayiner. 'From Brunetto Latini to Dante's Ser Brunetto'. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 2000.

Scherillo, Michele. Alcuni capitoli della biografia di Dante. Turin: Loescher, 1896. Pp. 116.22. Excellent chapter on Brunetto Latino.

Segre, Cesare. 'Le forme e le tradizione didattiche'. La Littérature allégorique et satirique. Ed. Hans Robert Jauss. Grundriss der romanischen Literaturen des Mittelalters, 6:1 (Heidelberg: Carl Winter, 1968), 93-94.

Sirén Osvald. Giotto and Some of His Followers. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1917 (rpt. 1975). P. 29 discusses Bargello portrait of Dante and Latino.

Skinner, Quentin. The Foundations of Modern Political Thought. 2 vols. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1978. Presents an excellent discussion of Brunetto Latino in the context of Florentine politics.

Sundby, Thor S. Della vita e delle opere di Brunetto Latini. Trans. and ed. Rodolfo Renier. Florence: Le Monnier, 1884. An excellent study of Brunetto Latino's life and works.

Villani, Filippo. Liber de civitatis Florentiae famosis civibus. Florence: Mazzoni, 1847. Ashburnham Ms 492, Biblioteca Laurenziana, on display, has corrections to this text made by Coluccio Salutati. It is clear that the Renaissance Chancellor of Florence was deeply interested in the vita of the medieval Chancellor of Florence.

Villani, Giovanni. Chroniche di Giovanni, Matteo e Filippo Villani. Trieste: Lloyd Austriaco, 1857. Vol. I.

Vossler, Karl. Mediaeval Culture: An Introduction to Dante and his Times. Trans. William C. Lawton. 2 vols. New York: Ungar, 1958. Vossler despised the Tesoretto.

Weiss, Robert. The Spread of Italian Humanism. London: Hutchinson, 1964. Discusses function of Latin Secretary of State.

Wieruszowski, Helene. Politics and Culture in Medieval Spain and Italy. Rome: Edizioni di storie e letterature, 1971. Discusses art of letter-writing.

For Text of Tesoretto. For Text of Fagoletto.

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Twice-Told Tales: Brunetto Latino and Dante Alighieri. New York: Peter Lang, 1993. xiv + 552 pp. Reviewed: Speculum; Parergon; Annali italianistica. ISBN 0-8204-1954-0.  IN STOCK

Il Tesoro di Brunetto Latino, Maestro di Dante Alighieri, Il Tesoretto, Il Tesoro, Firenze: Regione Toscana, 2021. 428 pp.

with DVD

Le Opere di Brunetto Latino, Maestro di Dante Alighieri, La Rettorica, Il Tesoretto, Il Tesoro,
Scribi, Guido Cavalcanti, Dante Alighieri Franciscus de Barberino?. A cura di Julia Bolton Holloway, Saggi di Richard Mac Cracken, Nicolino Applauso, Renato Stopani, Alison Stones, Sonia Minutello, David Napolitano, trascrizione di Michele Amari, trad. di Rosalynd Pio, Firenze: Regione Toscana. MLA Seal, Scholarly Edition.

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