Renaissance and Reformation Giulio Pomponio Leto
by
Craig Kallendorf
  • LAST REVIEWED: 02 February 2017
  • LAST MODIFIED: 24 May 2017
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195399301-0201

Introduction

Giulio Pomponio Leto (b. 1428–d. 1498) is one of the more difficult of the Italian humanists to appreciate. Largely because of his conflict with Pope Paul II, he has been accused of everything from questionable orthodoxy to boring scholarship. He seems to have preferred teaching to publishing, and much of his work survives in rough transcriptions of his lectures made by his students instead of the elegant printed editions favored by many of his contemporaries. What is perhaps his major scholarly achievement, his commentary to Virgil, was published in a pirated edition under a garbled form of his name, which impeded its circulation and kept his observations on the text from earning him the credit he deserved. Yet Leto was a major scholar, one of the foremost figures of Italian Renaissance culture and the focal point of humanism in 15th-century Rome. His work is beginning to attract the attention it deserves, but as this article suggests, much more remains to be done.

Sources

Two roughly contemporary sources, Ferno 1754 and Marsus 1988, exist for information on Leto, but both must be used with some caution since they were not designed as objective historical analyses. Other sources such as Bracke 1989 and Delz 1966 occasionally emerge, but not in a systematic way.

  • Bracke, Wouter. “The Ms. Ottob. Lat. 1982: A Contribution to the Biography of Pomponius Laetus?” Rinascimento 2.29 (1989): 293–299.

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    Uses a neglected collection of letters from the second Roman Academy (Vatican City: Biblioteca apostolica vaticana, Ottob. lat., 1982) to clarify when Leto, who did not like to travel, went to Germany and eastern Europe.

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  • Delz, Joseph. “Ein unbekannter Brief von Pomponius Laetus.” Italia medioevale e umanistica 9 (1966): 417–440.

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    A transcription and detailed study of a previously unknown letter (Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, Ms. lat. 8413, f. 175r) of Leto’s to Giovanni Tron, which sheds light on issues ranging from the charges leveled against him by the church to his work with Silius Italicus.

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  • Ferno, Michele. “Iulii Pomponii Laeti elogium historicum.” In Bibliotheca latina mediae et infimae aetatis. Vol. 6. Edited by Ioannes Fabricius, pp, 6–10. Padua, Italy: Apud Ioannem Manfrè, 1754.

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    An early source for Leto’s life, to be used with caution, since it sometimes conflicts with the documentary evidence.

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  • Marsus, Petrus. “Funebris oratio habita Romae in obitu Pomponii Laetii.” In L’humanisme di Pierre Marso. Edited by Marc Dykmans, 78–85. Vatican City: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 1988.

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    Contains the text, with a summary in French and explanatory discussion, of a funeral oration on Leto delivered by Petrus Marsus (b. 1442–d. 1512), a younger associate of his in the Roman Academy. Not an unbiased source, but a valuable one nonetheless.

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Modern Studies of Leto’s Life and Works

Perhaps surprisingly, Zabughin 1909–1910 remains the foundation for serious work on Leto, to be supplemented by Accame Lanzillotta 2008; Gallo 1986; Lovito 2002; Cassiani and Chiabò 2007; and Modigliani, et al. 2011. Themata (from the Repertorium Pomponianum website) offers collections of essays and entries that can serve as a useful orientation to current work on Leto, while Bober 2004 offers a lively synopsis of what Leto accomplished from the perspective of his immediate successors.

  • Accame Lanzillotta, Maria. Pomponio Leto, vita e insegnamento. Tivoli, Italy: Tored, 2008.

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    A biographical profile of Leto, followed by a study of his scholarship and teaching, as evidenced in the notes from his lectures made by his students and in the annotations he left in the margins of his books. Does not replace Zabughin 1909–1910, but provides an essential supplement to it.

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  • Bober, Phyllis Pray. “The Legacy of Pomponius Laetus.” In Roma nella svolta tra Quattro e Cinquecento. Paper presented at an international congress held in Rome, 28–31 October 1996. Edited by Stefano Colonna, 455–464. Rome: De Luca Editori d’Arte, 2004.

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    An appreciative overview of Leto’s legacy in the years immediately after his death, valuable both as a study of his influence and for highlighting his most significant accomplishments.

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  • Cassiani, Chiara, and Maria Chiabò, eds. Pomponio Leto e la Prima Accademia Romana. Proceedings of a conference held in Rome, 2 December 2005. Rome: Roma nel Rinascimento, 2007.

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    A valuable collection of seven essays by leading Leto scholars that discuss his teaching, his network of scholarly relationships, and the manuscripts and early printed editions of his works.

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  • Gallo, Italo. “Piceni e picentini: Paolo Giovio e la patria di Pomponio Leto.” Res publica litterarum 9 (1986): 137–142.

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    A careful sifting of the evidence pertaining to where Leto was born, complicated by the fact that he was the illegitimate son of a prominent father. Also printed in Rassegna storica salernitana, n.s. fasc. 5 (1986): 43–50.

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  • Lovito, Giovanni. L’opera e i tempi di Pomponio Leto. Salerno, Italy: Laveglia, 2002.

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    Not a full biography, but a brief discussion of the high points of Leto’s life and work, with an eye on his family’s roots in Campania.

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  • Modigliani, Anna, Patricia Osmond, Marianne Pade, and Johann Ramminger, eds. Pomponio Leto tra identità locale e cultura internazionale: Atti del convegno internazionale, Teggiano, 3–5 ottobre 2008. Saggi 48. Rome: Roma nel Rinascimento, 2011.

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    A wide-ranging set of conference proceedings, covering Leto’s life, work, scholarly connections, and legacy. The best recent source for information on Leto.

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  • Themata. Repertorium Pomponianum.

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    A website, still under construction, that is designed to provide information on Leto and his associates, his areas of study, and his manuscripts; also provides a bibliography about him.

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  • Zabughin, Vladimiro. Giulio Pomponio Leto. 2 vols. Rome: La Vita Letteraria, 1909–1910.

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    Over a century old, occasionally eccentric and sometimes dated, but the indispensable starting point for studying Leto, a treasure trove of information on his life and work. Volume 2 was published in Grottaferrata, Italy: Tipografia Italo-Orientale “S. Nilo,” 1910.

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The Roman Academy and the Conspiracy of 1468

The most dramatic event in Leto’s life was his imprisonment, along with his associates, by Pope Paul II on a variety of charges. This event has been much discussed, but often by people with a strong bias on one side or another. Della Torre 1903 is the classic study of the Roman Academy, to be supplemented by Bianca 2008, Bracke 1992, and de Beer 2008. Good accounts of the academy’s clash with the pope can be found in d’Amico 1983, D’Elia 2009, de Rossi 1890, Dunston 1973, Medioli Masotti 1982, and Palermino 1980.

  • Bianca, Concetta. “Pomponio Leto e l’invenzione dell’Accademia Romana.” In Les académies dans l’Europe humaniste: Idéaux et pratiques. Edited by Marc Deramaix, Perrine Galand-Hallyn, Ginette Vagenheim, and Jean Vignes, 25–56. Travaux d’Humanisme et Renaissance 441. Geneva, Switzerland: Droz, 2008.

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    A magisterial study of the two scholarly groups with which Leto was affiliated in Rome, distinguishing their purposes and activities. Accompanied by a full bibliography.

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  • Bracke, Wouter. Fare una epistola nella Roma del Quattrocento. Inedita 5. Rome: Roma nel Rinascimento, 1992.

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    A critical edition by Vatican City (Biblioteca apostolica vaticana, Ottob. lat. 1982), a letter collection from Leto’s circle that sheds light on the second phase of the Roman Academy as well as on pedagogical practices in the humanist school.

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  • d’Amico, John F. Renaissance Humanism in Papal Rome: Humanists and Churchmen on the Eve of the Reformation. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1983.

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    Good discussion of the several Roman academies that functioned during the Renaissance, with a focus on Leto and the conflict with Pope Paul II. See pp. 89–112.

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  • de Beer, Susanna. “The Roman ‘Academy’ of Pomponio Leto: From an Informal Humanist Network to the Institution of a Literary Society.” In The Reach of the Republic of Letters: Literary and Learned Societies in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe. Vol. 1 Edited by Arjan van Dixhoorn and Susie Speakman Sutch, 181–218. Brill’s Studies in Intellectual History 168. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2008.

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    By focusing on Giannantonio Campano, de Beer shows that the Roman academy of Leto was not a well-organized center of opposition to the papacy; rather, it was a loose association that was interwoven with, and often supported by, the papal court.

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  • D’Elia, Anthony F. A Sudden Terror: The Plot to Murder the Pope in Renaissance Rome. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009.

    DOI: 10.4159/9780674053724Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A vivid account of the alleged 1468 conspiracy, whose existence D’Elia concludes cannot be confirmed from the surviving sources. Contains little new evidence but a good synthesis that also makes long extracts of relevant source material available in English for the first time.

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  • della Torre, Arnaldo. Paolo Marsi da Pescina, contributo alla storia dell’Accademia Pomponiana. Rocca San Casciano, Italy: L. Cappelli, 1903.

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    A detailed study of Paolo Marsi, one of Leto’s associates, designed explicitly to shed light on Leto and on the Roman Academy. Difficult to find, but also available digitally.

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  • de Rossi, Giovanni Battista. “L’Accademia di Pomponio Leto e le sue memorie scritte sulle pareti delle catacombe romane.” Bullettino di archeologia cristiana di Roma 5.1 (1890): 81–94.

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    A pioneering article that helped draw attention to some of the most interesting evidence about the Roman Academy, the inscriptions left by its members on the walls of the city’s catacombs.

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  • Dunston, Arthur John. “Pope Paul II and the Humanists.” Journal of Religious History 7.4 (1973): 287–306.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9809.1973.tb00347.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An important reappraisal of the attack by Pope Paul II on Leto and his fellow humanists and their imprisonment, attempting to use the surviving evidence in a more rigorous way to remove the ideological bias and romantic aura that often suffuse accounts of this episode.

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  • Medioli Masotti, Paola. “L’accademia romana e la congiura del 1468 (con un appendice di Augusto Campano).” Italia medioevale e umanistica 25 (1982): 189–204.

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    Argues that Pope Paul II’s fears of a conspiracy against him in 1468 were justified and that the Roman Academy was in some way involved.

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  • Palermino, Richard J. “The Roman Academy, the Catacombs and the Conspiracy of 1468.” Archivum historiae pontificiae 18 (1980): 117–155.

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    Concludes, after examining the graffiti left by Leto and his associates in the catacombs, that Pope Paul II used the charges of heresy and conspiracy to control the members of the Roman Academy who had acquired bad reputations and caused him problems. A judicious assessment of a difficult historical problem.

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Scholar and Teacher

Leto taught for many years at the university in Rome, where he was a popular teacher. Accame Lanzillotta 2000, Moscadi 1994–1995, and Zabughin 1906 offer good general introductions to Leto’s pedagogical activities, while Solaro 1998 focuses on Lucretius as an example of special importance. Accame Lanzillotta 1993 and Dunston 1967 concentrate on some of the surviving recordationes, lecture notes taken down by Leto’s students during his lectures. De Frede 1952, Muecke 2003, and Pade 2015 extend the discussion to Leto’s scholarly activities, which served as the foundation for his work in the classroom. See especially Bracke 1992 (cited under the Roman Academy and the Conspiracy of 1468).

  • Accame Lanzillotta, Maria. “Dictata nella scuola di Pomponio Leto.” Studi medievali 3.34 (1993): 315–323.

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    A study of two manuscripts—Vatican City (Biblioteca apostolica vaticana, Vat. lat. 3415) and San Lorenzo de Escorial (Ms. g. III. 27)—that contain notes taken by students during the course on the Roman grammarian Varro taught by Leto in 1484–1485, concentrating on the elements that are distinctive to them as records of classroom teaching.

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  • Accame Lanzillotta, Maria. “L’insegnamento di Pomponio Leto nello Studium urbis.” In Storia della Facoltà di lettere e filosofia de “La Sapienza,” Roma. Edited by Lidia Capo and Maria Rosaria di Simone, 71–91. Rome: Viella, 2000.

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    Examines Leto’s teaching career in Rome, distinguishing the various kinds of evidence for his pedagogical activities, dividing his career into periods, and noting which authors and subjects interested him. The extensive notes contain useful bibliography.

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  • de Frede, Carlo. “Il concetto umanistico di nobiltà: Pomponio Leto e la sua famiglia.” Annali della Facoltà di lettere e filosofia dell’Università di Napoli 2 (1952): 205–226.

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    A fascinating inquiry into how Leto integrated the circumstances of his birth into the most powerful baronial family in the kingdom of Naples, the Sanseverino, and into Quattrocento discussions of the nature of nobility, a favorite topic of Renaissance humanist theory.

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  • Dunston, Arthur John. “A Student’s Notes of Lectures by Giulio Pomponio Leto.” Antichthon 1 (1967): 86–94.

    DOI: 10.1017/S0066477400003385Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A careful study published in Florence (Biblioteca medicea laurenziana, Plut. 52.8) showing that the notes to Silius Italicus contained there were recopied from what a student had written during Leto’s lectures and identifying the sources Leto used in preparing his observations on the text.

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  • Moscadi, Alessandro. “Pomponio Leto: Un insegnante al lavoro.” La fortezza 5–6 (1994–1995): 49–72.

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    A detailed study of Leto’s lectures on Varro’s De lingua Latina, including a survey of the surviving sources, a discussion of how many times Leto taught this text, and an analysis of what points interested him in the text he was teaching.

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  • Muecke, Frances. “Angelo Poliziano, Pomponio Leto, Domizio Calderini, and the Codex Mediceus.” Roma nel Rinascimento, Bibliografia e note 2003 (2003): 231–239.

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    An interesting discussion of Leto’s contacts with two other humanists, Angelo Poliziano and Domizio Calderini, connected to their use of the Florence work (Biblioteca medicea laurenziana, Plut. 39.1; the Codex Mediceus) in order to stabilize the text of Virgil’s poetry.

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  • Pade, Marianne, ed. Special Issue: Vitae Pomponianae: Lives of Classical Writers in Fifteenth-Century Roman Humanism. Renæssanceforum 9 (2015).

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    The proceedings of a conference devoted to the extraordinary surge in the production of the lives of ancient Roman writers that we find in late-15th-century Roman humanism, the majority of which were compiled by Leto and his circle, stimulated by the need for this material in lectures at the Roman Studium.

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  • Solaro, Giuseppe. “‘Venere coma Marte’: A proposito di uno sconsciuto corso universitario su Lucrezio di Pomponio Leto.” In Acta conventus neo-latini Bariensis: Proceedings of the Ninth International Congress of Neo-Latin Studies; Bari, 29 August to 3 September 1994. Edited by Rhoda Schnur, 557–564. Tempe, AZ: Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 1998.

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    Examines how Leto taught Lucretius, a poet whose style and content made him an infrequent subject of Renaissance coursework.

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  • Zabughin, Vladimiro. “L’insegnamento universitario di Pomponio Leto.” Rivista d’Italia 9.2 (1906): 215–244.

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    Analyzes Leto’s work as a scholar-teacher, arguing that he represented not the elegant moralizing of some of his contemporaries but a new spirit of scientific inquiry that is peculiarly modern. A good overview of the surviving evidence for Leto’s pedagogical activity.

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Grammatical Studies

Leto’s humanism depended heavily on mastery and appreciation of the Latin language, which made grammar an important part of his scholarship and teaching. Ruysschaert 1954 and Ruysschaert 1961 offer an overview of Leto’s grammatical studies, while Accame Lanzillotta 1998, Accame Lanzillotta 1990, and Moscadi 1992 focus on his work with Marcus Terentius Varro (b. 116–d. 27 BCE), an influential Roman grammarian.

Virgil Commentary

As a scholar Leto is probably best known for his work on Virgil—ironically, since his commentary was published in a pirated version around 1544 and circulated first under a garbled form of his name, then studied in unattributed fragments. Lunelli 1987 offers an overview of Leto’s lifetime of work on this major Roman poet. Naeke 1842–1845 and Lunelli 1983 are the classic studies of Leto’s commentary, with Abbamonte 2012 and Abbamonte and Stok 2008 offering important updates. Abbamonte 2004 concentrates on the Georgics, and Lunelli 1997 discusses the pirated publication of the commentary and the curious problems with the author’s name.

  • Abbamonte, Giancarlo. “Esegesi virgiliana nella Roma del secondo Quattrocento: Osservazioni sulle fonti del commento di G. Pomponio Leto alle Georgiche.” In Societas studiorum per Salvatore D’Elia. Edited by Ugo M. Criscuolo, 545–583. Pubblicazioni del Dipartimento di Filologia Classica “Francesco Arnaldi” dell’Università degli Studi di Napoli 2.24. Naples: Università degli Studi di Napoli, 2004.

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    A careful analysis of Leto’s commentary on Virgil’s Georgics, focusing on points of continuity and innovation in relation to the preceding exegetical tradition and noting the impact of these notes on Leto’s contemporaries, especially his friend Niccolò Perotti.

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  • Abbamonte, Giancarlo. “L’esegesi virgiliana di Pomponio Leto.” In Diligentissimi vocabulorum perscrutatores: Lessicografia ed esegesi dei testi classici nell’Umanesimo romano del XV secolo. By Giancarlo Abbamonte, 125–199. Testi e Studi di Cultura Classica 56. Pisa, Italy: Edizioni ETS, 2012.

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    A detailed study of the Virgil commentary, beginning with an analysis of the various versions and the manuscripts and printed books that carry them, then focusing on Leto’s sources, especially Servius, pseudo-Probus, and Pliny. The best overview of Leto’s work on Virgil.

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  • Abbamonte, Giancarlo, and Fabio Stok. “Intuizioni esegetiche di Pomponio Leto nel suo commento alle Georgiche e all’Eneide di Virgilio.” In Esegesi dimenticate di autori classici. Edited by Carlo Santini and Fabio Stok, 135–210. Pisa, Italy: Edizioni ETS, 2008.

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    An interesting study of the impact of Leto’s observations on the poetry of Virgil, an impact that is greater than one might imagine given the vexed history of the dissemination of this material.

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  • Lunelli, Aldo. “Il commento virgiliano di Pomponio Leto.” In Atti del convegno virgiliano di Brindisi nel bimillenario della morte: Brindisi, 15–18 ottobre 1981. Edited by Francesco della Corte, 309–322. Perugia, Italy: Istituto di filologia latina dell’Università di Bologna, 1983.

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    An often-cited study of Leto’s influential but vexed observations on Virgil, which survive in several redactions and exercised considerable influence even though he never authorized their publication.

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  • Lunelli, Aldo. “Pomponio Leto.” In Enciclopedia virgiliana. Vol. 3. Edited by Francesco della Corte, 192–195. Rome: Istituto dell’Enciclopedia Italiana, 1987.

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    An overview of Leto’s life and scholarly activity focused on his work with Virgil, embracing his knowledge and use of the Codex Mediceus, his contribution to the 1471 Sweynheym and Pannartz edition, and his commentary to Virgil’s poetry.

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  • Lunelli, Aldo. “Pomponius Sabinus alias Pomponius Laetus: Perchè Sabinus; Con osservazioni sul Ms. Corsiniano 1839 (43 F 21) e su CIL VI/5, 3477.” In Filologia umanistica per Gianvito Resta. Edited by Vincenzo Fera and Giacomo Ferraù, 1221–1222. Medioevo e Umanesimo 95. Padua, Italy: Antenore, 1997.

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    Shows that the curious form of Leto’s name under which his Virgilian commentary circulated, Iulius Pomponius Sabinus, was an artificial and illegitimate creation of Ioannes Oporinus, the editor and printer of the first edition of that commentary.

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  • Naeke, August Ferdinand. Opuscula philologica. 2 vols. Edited by Friedrich Gottlieb Welcker. Bonn, Germany: Weber, 1842–1845.

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    Volume 1, pp. 119–145 provides the first substantive study of Leto’s observations on Virgil, in Latin, still cited regularly in modern secondary literature on the subject. Reprinted from De Iulio Pomponio Sabino, Virgilii interprete (Bonn, Germany: Litteris C. F. Thormanni, 1824).

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  • Stok, Fabio. “Il commento di Pomponio Leto all’Eneide di Virgilio.” Studi umanistici piceni 29 (2009): 251–273.

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    A survey of how Leto used material from “Apronianus” in the Florence work (Biblioteca medicea laurenziana, Plut. 39.1; the Codex Mediceus) in preparing his commentary to Virgil.

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History and Historians

One of Leto’s principal interests was ancient history. His work with Sallust has attracted the most attention, as Farenga 2003, Osmond 2003, Ulery 2003, and Osmond 2010 show, but Gionta 1998 confirms that he used other sources as well in striving to understand the history of ancient Rome.

  • Farenga, Paola. “In the Margins of Sallust, Part I: Di un incunabulo non del tutto sconosciuto e del commento di Pomponio agli Opera di Sallustio.” In Antiquaria a Roma: Intorno a Pomponio Leto e Paolo II. Edited by Roma nel Rinascimento, 1–11. Saggi 31. Rome: Roma nel Rinascimento, 2003.

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    Supplements what Leto has to say about Sallust in the 1490 printed edition that he edited with manuscript observations in his hand in the Vatican Library copy of this book (Rossiano 441).

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  • Gionta, Daniela. “Pomponio Leto e l’Erodiano del Poliziano.” In Agnolo Poliziano poeta scrittore e filologo: Atti del convegno internazionale di studi, Montepulciano, 3–6 novembre 1994. Edited by Vincenzo Fera and Mario Martelli, 435–458. Florence: Le Lettere, 1998.

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    An interesting study of how differently the historian Herodian was approached by two great philologists, Leto and Angelo Poliziano.

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  • Osmond, Patricia J. “In the Margins of Sallust, Part III: Pomponio Leto’s Notes on Ars historica.” In Antiquaria a Roma: Intorno a Pomponio Leto e Paolo II. Edited by Roma nel Rinascimento, 35–49. Saggi 31. Rome: Roma nel Rinascimento, 2003.

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    Summarizes the contents of the manuscript annotations on antiquarian topics and on ancient history and historiography found in three copies of the 1490 edition of Sallust’s Opera, then places Leto’s approach to history within the general framework of the ars historica at the end of the 15th century.

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  • Osmond, Patricia J. “Pomponio Leto’s Unpublished Commentary on Sallust: Five Witnesses (and More).” In Early Printed Books as Material Objects. Edited by Bettina Wagner and Marcia Reed, 135–149. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2010.

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    An interesting study of the dissemination of Leto’s commentary on the works of the Roman historian Sallust, which was never intended to be published but that circulated nevertheless in manuscript form.

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  • Ulery, Robert W., Jr. “In the Margins of Sallust, Part II: The Sources and Method of Commentary.” In Antiquaria a Roma: Intorno a Pomponio Leto e Paolo II. Edited by Roma nel Rinascimento, 13–33. Saggi 31. Rome: Roma nel Rinascimento, 2003.

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    Transcription and analysis of the sources and method of commentary on Sallust stemming from Leto’s academy and recorded in the copy of the 1490 Rome edition, now in the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York (No. 51414.2).

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Other Classical Authors

As was generally the case with important humanists, Leto’s scholarship and teaching embraced a variety of ancient authors. His work with Servius, as Abbamonte 1999 and Stok 2011 show, supported his study of Virgil, but he often turned to authors who were not canonical school texts in his day: Lucretius (Bertelli 1965, Solaro 1993, and Dixon 2011), Statius (Fera 2002), Quintilian (Perosa 1981), Valerius Flaccus (Bonmatí Sánchez 2013), and Claudian (Gionta 1997 and Gionta 1995). Absent from this list are Greek authors, which suggests that like a number of other prominent humanists of his generation, Leto was more comfortable with Latin than Greek.

  • Abbamonte, Giancarlo. “Niccolò Perotti, Pomponio Leto e il commento di Servius auctus alle Georgiche.” Studi umanistici piceni 19 (1999): 25–37.

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    Analyzes the circulation of the commentary of “Servius auctus” on Virgil’s Georgics within the Roman humanistic circle of Cardinal Bessarion, Niccolò Perotti, and Leto.

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  • Bertelli, Sergio. “Un codice lucreziano dall’officina di Pomponio Leto.” La parola del passato 20 (1965): 28–38.

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    An analysis of the Naples work (Biblioteca nazionale centrale, Farnesiano IV. E. 51), which is revealed to be the earliest surviving manuscript of Leto’s, containing a commentary of his that accompanies the text of Lucretius.

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  • Bonmatí Sánchez, Virginia. “Las ‘Argonáuticas’ de Valerio Flaco y las apostillas de los humanistas Bartolomeo Fonzio, Ángelo Poliziano y Pomponio Leto.” eHumanista: Journal of Iberian Studies 25 (2013): 243–255.

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    Analyzes the annotations, textual and critical, that Leto offered on some of the difficult passages in Valerius Flaccus’s epic, the Argonautica, along with similar observations made by two other humanists, Bartolome Fonzio and Angelo Poliziano, which allows Leto’s scholarship to be compared to that of his contemporaries.

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  • Dixon, Helen. “Pomponio Leto’s Notes on Lucretius (Utrecht, Universiteitsbibliotheek, X fol 82 rariora).” Aevum 85.1 (2011): 191–216.

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    Announces the discovery of ten pages of notes in Leto’s hand in the Utrecht copy of the 1486 Verona edition of Lucretius, which also shows evidence of work by two disciples of Leto’s. Dixon concludes that the “edition” of Lucretius preserved here was by the students, but that they had help from Leto.

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  • Fera, Vincenzo. “Pomponio Leto e le Silvae di Stazio.” Schede umanistiche 16 (2002): 71–83.

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    Examines Leto’s work with Statius, commenting on the nature of his notes and contrasting his work with that of Angelo Poliziano and Domizio Calderini.

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  • Gionta, Daniela. “Tardi itinerari pomponiani: Gli Excerpta puteana e gli Excerpta Rubenii nella storia del testo di Claudiano.” In Formative Stages of Classical Traditions: Latin Texts from Antiquity to the Renaissance; Proceedings of a Conference Held at Erice, 1622 October 1993, as the 6th Course of International School for the Study of Writen Records. Edited by Oronzo Pecere and Michael D. Reeve, 467–496. Spoleto, Italy: Centro Italiano di Studi Sull’Alto Medioevo, 1995.

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    A careful reconstruction of the path by which Leto’s observations on Claudian passed from individuals such as Nicolaus Heinsius and Pieter Burman into modern scholarship.

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  • Gionta, Daniela. “Il Claudiano di Pomponio Leto.” In Filologia umanistica per Gianvito Resta. Vol. 2. Edited by Vincenzo Fera and Giacomo Ferraù, 987–1032. Medioevo e Umanesimo 95. Padua, Italy: Antenore, 1997.

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    A detailed analysis of Leto’s commentary on the late antique poet Claudian, which exists in several different redactions.

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  • Perosa, Alessandro. “L’edizione veneta di Quintiliano coi commenti del Valla, di Pomponio Leto e di Sulpizio da Veroli.” In Miscellanea Augusto Campana. Vol. 2. By Alessandro Perosa, 575–610. Medioevo e Umanesimo 45. Padua, Italy: Antenore, 1981.

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    Analyzes Leto’s commentary as one of three accompanying the text of Quintilian in the 1494 Venetian edition, tracing his notes back to Vatican City (Biblioteca apostolica vaticana, Vat. lat. 3378) and showing how Leto’s work with Quintilian intersected with that of Valla. An impressive piece of detective work.

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  • Solaro, Giuseppe, ed. Lucrezio. Palermo, Italy: Sellario, 1993.

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    A study of the Vita borgiana of Lucretius, with text, placing this biography into the context of Leto’s life and works and into that of humanist scholarship on Lucretius.

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  • Stok, Fabio. “La ricezione di Servio nel commento virgiliano di Pomponio Leto.” In Servius et sa reception de l’Antiquité à la Renaissance. Edited by Monique Bouquet and Méniel Bruno, 491–506. Rennes, France: Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2011.

    DOI: 10.4000/books.pur.38313Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Confirms that Leto’s commentary drew heavily from Servius, but critically, with research designed to confirm or correct Servius’s observations.

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Manuscripts and Inscriptions

Like the other humanists of his day, Leto participated in the handwriting revolution that replaced Gothic script with humanist book hand and cursive. Scarcia Piacentini 1984 is the fundamental study of his handwriting and manuscript collection, to be supplemented by Muzzioli 1959, Ullman 1973, Wheelock 1941, and Zabughin 1918. The capitals in humanist script were derived from ancient inscriptions, which give Leto’s work in this area a special importance. Petrucci 1994 concentrates on Leto’s work as an epigrapher, Magister 1998 and Magister 2003 describe his personal collection of inscriptions, and Christian 2010 develops an interesting spinoff from Leto’s antiquarianism.

  • Christian, Kathleen Wren. Empire without End: Antiquities Collections in Renaissance Rome, c. 1350–1527. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2010.

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    Places Leto’s antiquarianism, as seen in his extensive collection of ancient inscriptions, into the broader context of collecting in Renaissance Rome. Of special interest is chapter 6, “Pomponio Leto and the Academic Garden,” which argues that Leto stimulated a fashion among Roman elites of decorating their gardens and courtyards with antique figural statues as ideal settings for the performances of poetry.

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  • Magister, Sara. “Pomponio Leto collezionista di antichità: Note sulla tradizione manoscritta di una raccolta epigrafica nella Roma del tardo Quattrocento.” Xenia antiqua 7 (1998): 167–196.

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    Describes Leto’s collection of antiquities, consisting mostly of inscriptions, along with the surviving sources that allow the reconstruction of the collection.

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  • Magister, Sara. “Pomponio Leto collezionista di antichità.” In Antiquaria a Roma: Intorno a Pomponio Leto e Paolo II. Edited by Roma nel Rinascimento, 51–121. Saggi 31. Rome: Roma nel Rinascimento, 2003.

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    An extensive revision and updating of Magister 1998, using new documentary sources to expand and clarify what is known about Leto’s collection of antiquities.

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  • Muzzioli, Giovanni. “Due novi codici autografi di Pomponio Leto (Contributo allo studio della scrittura umanistica).” Italia medioevale e umanistica 2 (1959): 335–351.

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    Uses two manuscripts newly recognized as written by Leto (Vatican City: Biblioteca apostolica vaticana, Ottob. lat. 1959; and Rome: Biblioteca casanatense, ms. 15) as the basis for a broader overview of Leto’s autograph manuscripts and of his handwriting.

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  • Petrucci, Nadia. “Pomponio Leto e la rinascita dell’epitaffio antico.” Eutopia 3 (1994): 19–44.

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    Focuses on the work of Leto and his collaborators in the Roman Academy as epigraphers, collecting material that has been scattered in collections of inscriptions and using it to reevaluate scholarship in prosopography and epigraphy done by the early humanists.

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  • Scarcia Piacentini, Paola. “Note storico-paleografiche in margine all’Accademia Romana.” In Le chiavi della memoria: Miscellanea in occasione del I centenario della Scuola vaticana di paleografia, diplomatica e archivistica. Edited by the Associazione degli ex-allievi, 491–549. Littera Antiqua 4. Vatican City: Scuola Vaticana di Paleografia, Diplomatica e Archivistica, 1984.

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    An often-cited article that first surveys the contents of Leto’s library, then examines his handwriting within the broader development of humanist script. A monument of scholarship, richly annotated, that draws on relevant material from other aspects of the scholarly activity of Leto and his contemporaries.

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  • Ullman, Berthold Louis. “The Dedication Copy of Pomponio Leto’s Edition of Sallust and the Vita of Sallust.” In Studies in the Italian Renaissance. 2d ed. By Berthold Louis Ullman, 365–372. Rome: Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura, 1973.

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    Identifies Vatican City (Biblioteca apostolica vaticana, Ottob. lat. 2989) as the dedication copy of Leto’s corrected text of Sallust, then discusses Leto’s life of Sallust as found in the manuscript.

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  • Wheelock, Frederic M. “Leto’s Hand and Tasso’s Horace.” Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 52 (1941): 99–123.

    DOI: 10.2307/310958Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Study of marginalia in the John Hay Library copy of Horace (Venice, 1483) at Brown University, offering a good summary of the key features of Leto’s hand along with plates from manuscripts written by him as a basis for concluding that annotations in this book are not by Leto.

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  • Zabughin, Vladimiro. “L’Umanesimo nella storia della scienza, III: L’autografo delle chiose virgiliane di Pomponio Leto.” Arcadia 3 (1918): 135–151.

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    A useful survey of the surviving manuscripts that contain Leto’s commentary to the works of Virgil, with an attempt to identify the ones in his hand. To be used with caution: Oxford, Bodleian Library, Canon. Class. Lat. 54, for example, is not an autograph, as Zabughin claimed.

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The Topography of Rome

Leto was very interested in the material remains of ancient Rome. Accame Lanzillotta 1997 surveys his work on the topography of Rome, while d’Onofrio 1989 and Leto 1959 present the brief but valuable texts that Leto left in this area.

  • Accame Lanzillotta, Maria. “Pomponio Leto e la topografia di Roma.” Rivista di topografia antica 7 (1997): 187–194.

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    A brief but informative overview of Leto’s writings on the topography of Rome, an important part of his work as a humanist resident in that city.

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  • d’Onofrio, Cesare. Visitiamo Roma nel Quattrocento: La città degli umanisti. Rome: Romana Società Editrice, 1989.

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    Contains the text, with Italian translation and illustrations, of the Excerpta a Pomponio, notes made by a visitor who accompanied Leto during a guided tour of the ruins of ancient Rome, as part of a collection of similar texts produced by humanists of the 15th century. See pp. 273–290.

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  • Leto, Giulio Pomponio. Notitia regionum urbis Romae: Note di topografia romana raccolte dalla bocca di Pomponio Leto e testo pomponiano della Notitia regionum urbis Romae. Edited by Giovanni Battista de Rossi, 50–87. Turin, Italy: Bottega d’Erasmo, 1959.

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    Text and brief discussion of both the Excerpta a Pomponio and the Notitia regionum urbis Romae, two texts that provide important evidence for Leto’s topographical studies. Reprinted from Studi e documenti di storia e diritto 3 (1882): 49–87.

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