'Translatio studii' e 'translatio imperii.' Appunti per un percorso
Lucio Fontana, "Concetto Spaziale", 1968, idropittura su tela, 73 x 92 cm., cat. gen. 68 B 16, © Fondazione Lucio Fontana, Milano


Daniel's prophecies
translatio imperii
paganism vs. christianity
Paris caput studiorum
Italian pre-humanism
Arnaldo da Brescia
Brunetto Latini

How to Cite

Fenzi, E. (2015). ’Translatio studii’ e ’translatio imperii.’ Appunti per un percorso. Interfaces: A Journal of Medieval European Literatures, (1), 170–208. https://doi.org/10.13130/interfaces-4934
Received 2015-06-23
Accepted 2015-06-23
Published 2015-07-05


The 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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