Julius Pomponius Laetus

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Laetus, Julius Pomponius


(Giulio Pomponio Leto). Born in 1428, in Diano; died in 1497, in Rome. Italian humanist. A pupil of Lorenzo Valla.

In 1465, Laetus founded a society of humanists in Rome, known as the Accademia Romana, where ancient philosophy was studied and where medieval Scholasticism and the Catholic Church were criticized. In 1468, Laetus and other members of the academy were charged with a conspiracy to remove Pope Paul II and to organize in Rome a republic of pagan philosophers. He was arrested but soon thereafter liberated by Paul II’s successor. During the years 1472–73, Laetus traveled through the lands of southern Rus’ and described his impressions of the journey in his commentaries to Virgil’s Georgics. His most important historical work was The Caesars, which related the history of the Roman Empire and Byzantium from the third to the seventh centuries (Laetus considered Byzantium to be the only true successor to the Roman Empire).


Zabugin, V. Iu. Pomponii Let. St. Petersburg, 1914.
Zabughin, V. Giulio Pomponio Leto, vols. 1–2. Rome, 1909–12.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.