Renaissance and Reformation Maffeo Vegio
by
Craig Kallendorf
  • LAST REVIEWED: 15 February 2017
  • LAST MODIFIED: 27 June 2017
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195399301-0316

Introduction

Maffeo Vegio (b. 1407–d. 1458) is an excellent example of an Italian humanist of the second rank, one who lacked the dazzling brilliance of Lorenzo Valla, the scholarly impact of Leonardo Bruni, or the notoriety of Antonio Beccadelli (Panormita), but whose literary talents made him the friend and associate of these and other famous humanists of his day. After moving from Milan to Pavia to Florence, Vegio settled in Rome, where he found employment at the Papal Curia as a secretary. While his language of choice remained Latin, his works divide chronologically, with secular poetry dominating the first period and explicitly Christian writings the second. A prolific writer, Vegio is the author of an important treatise on education and one of the first manuals of Christian archaeology. He is best known today as the author of a thirteenth book to the Aeneid, which was very popular in the Renaissance and has remained in print in every century up to and including the present. As this article shows, the only work of Vegio’s to have been adequately treated in modern scholarship is Book 13, while a number of studies published in his hometown of Lodi are almost impossible to access from the anglophone world.

Life

The fullest discussions of Vegio’s life and works are still Minoia 1896 and Raffaele 1909, both now more than a century old. Short treatments can be found in Kallendorf 2006 and Zaccaria 1986, with additional information available in Consonni 1908, Vignati 1959, and Sottili 1967. See also Franzoni 1907 (cited under Scholarship on Vegio and His Works: Prose Works).

  • Consonni, G. A. “Intorno alla vita di Maffeo Vegio da Lodi: Notizie inedite.” Archivio storico italiano 5.42 (1908): 377–388.

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    Presents extracts from several documents that offer information on the details of Vegio’s life and works. Useful supplement to Minoia 1896 and Raffaele 1909.

  • Kallendorf, Craig. “Maffeo Vegio.” In Centuriae Latinae II: Cent une figures humanistes de la Renaissance aux Lumières. Edited by Colette Nativel, 817–822. Travaux d’Humanisme et Renaissance 414. Geneva, Switzerland: Librairie Droz, 2006.

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    An overview of Vegio’s life and works, with a bibliography that includes manuscripts containing the unpublished material. More accessible than the other biographies but should be supplemented by the older material for serious study.

  • Minoia, Mario. La vita di Maffeo Vegio umanista lodigiano. Lodi, Italy: Quirico e Camagni, 1896.

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    An older intellectual biography, to be updated by more recent scholarship but still cited regularly.

  • Raffaele, Luigi. Maffeo Vegio: Elenco delle opere, scritti inediti. Bologna, Italy: Nicola Zanichelli, 1909.

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    A bio-bibliographical work that also contains editions of Libri distichorum duo and Epigrammaton libri duo along with Vegio’s religious poetry and hymns. Often cited, notwithstanding its age.

  • Sottili, Agostino. “Zur Biographie Giuseppe Brivios und Maffeo Vegios.” Mittellateinisches Jahrbuch 4 (1967): 219–242.

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    Offers biographical information about Vegio focused on his relationship to Giuseppe Brivio and two versions of a speech Vegio prepared for Pope Eugene IV, which are transcribed at the end of the article.

  • Vignati, D. Bruno. Maffeo Vegio umanista Cristiano, 1407–1458. Lodi, Italy: Banca Provinciale Lombarda, 1959.

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    A thirty-three-page survey of Vegio’s life and works, acknowledging both the strengths and the weaknesses of its subject; more accessible than some of the older Italian studies.

  • Zaccaria, V. “Vegio.” In Dizionario critico della letteratura italiana. Vol. 4. Edited by Vittore Branca, 387–389. Turin, Italy: Unione Tipografico-Editrice Torinese, 1986.

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    A brief summary of Vegio’s life and works, but useful in particular for the accompanying older bibliography.

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