Lorenzo Valla

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Valla, Lorenzo


Born 1405 or 1407, in Rome; died there on Aug. 1, 1457. Italian humanist. From 1445 secretary of the Papal Court.

Valla proved the counterfeit nature of The Donation of Constantine; thus, he was one of the forerunners of historical textual criticism. In the treatise On Pleasure as the True Good (1431) he defended the philosophy and ethics of Epicurus, which he contrasted with Christian asceticism and Stoic ethics. Valla sharply attacked medieval Scholastic logic and dialectics (in his Dialectic Refutations, 1439; published in 1499); he also subjected monasticism to sharp criticism. He strove for a revival of classical Latin (The Elegance of the Latin Language, books 1-6, 1471).


Scritti filosofici e religiosi. Florence, 1953.
“O naslazhdenii” (excerpt). In Istoriia estetiki, vol. 1. Moscow, 1962. Pages 485-97.


Korelin, M. S. “Eticheskii traktat L. Vally Ob udovol’stvii i ob istinnom blage,’” Vopr. filosofii i psikhologii, 1895, books 29 and 30.
Khometovskaia, A. I. Lorentso Valla—velikii ital’ianskii gumanist. Moscow-Leningrad, 1964.
Gaeta, F. Lorenzo Valla. Naples, 1955.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
Lorenzo Valla, one of the most famous promoters of Italian learning, not only translated into Latin the Iliad of Homer and the Histories of Herodotus and Thucydides, but also the Fables of Aesop.
Among their topics are transformation: a concept for the study of cultural change, the transformation of attitudes towards ancient Latin authors and the legacy of Lorenzo Valla, how Renaissance rhetoric transformed the classical tradition, Petrarch and the humanist transformation of the ancient triumph, and Renaissance humanism and the transformations of ancient philosophy.
Sozomeno was not, to be sure, a superstar scholar like Poggio Bracciolini, Leonardo Bruni, or Lorenzo Valla, but he is an excellent representative of the middle to upper middle register of learning at the dawn of humanism.
Here Gentile found a series of congenial themes expressed in the antischolastic campaigns conducted by heroic figures like Francis Petrarch, Leonardo Bruni, and Lorenzo Valla. These Latin humanists, Gentile argued, were perhaps not philosophers in the official, institutional sense of the word.
An Interest in unpacking the text of the Bible and Lorenzo Valla's dissection of "The Donation of Constantine" are included in Chapter 7, "Humanism and Religion." Bernardino Ochino's "Dialogue about the Thief on the Cross" draws on mystical and reform traditions.
O primeiro volume inclui Herodoto, Tucidides, Polibio, Tito Livio, Tacito, Flavio Josefo, Lorenzo Valla, Francesco Guicciardini, Jean Bodin, Giambattista Vico, Johann G.
Christianity, Latinity, and culture; two studies on Lorenzo Valla.
Along with Biondo Flavio (1392-1463) and Lorenzo Valla (1405-57), Bruni was one of the forefathers of modern historical writing.
Thus, after Lorenzo Valla wrote a dialogue in which Epicurean doctrines--especially the praise of pleasure--are celebrated, Bracciolini attacked him for countenancing these anti-Christian doctrines.
Lorenzo Valla, La falsa donazione di Costantino, a cura di Gabriele Pepe.