AbstractThe essay reconsiders in a broader framework the theme of translatio studii already studied by Etienne Gilson. This broader context moves from the ancient biblical model (Daniel’s dream) to the sketch of a progressive understanding of historical events drawn from the theories concerning the succession of earthly kingdoms and their eras, derived from Roman historical thought. In the Early Middle Ages this idea was interpreted in a contradictory and even negative way, since Christian thought tended to reduce the autonomy of human history as governed by its own principles. However, after the experience of the Carolingian Empire the theory of the succession of kingdoms was revived. It was fully developed in France in the following centuries, in order to exalt the French kingdom as taking up the legacy of Greek and Roman civilization. This interpretation had strong nationalistic connotations, which were opposed by the great cultural utopia of the Italian humanism and its ‘dream’ (as Rico called it), and its greatest and most tireless interpreter, Petrarch.
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