1447 or 1450: Lazzarelli is born in
San Severino (20 km NW of Camerino; Camerino is about 50 km to the East from Perugia).
The year 1447 seems to be more likely than 1450, considering the biography.
(unclear time) Christoforo da Montone, Lazzarelli's first teacher at Campli (about 10 km north of Teramo;
Teramo is about 100 km in SouthEast direction from Camerino) - no information to Christoforo.
(time ?) Eligio Calenzio, Lazzarelli's second teacher, called a poeta pugliese who was once active at the court of Napoli.
(time ?) Lazzarelli is after some wandering at a court of a Fr. Colozio (to whose nephew he later dedicates the Bombyx) at Atri
(ca. 50 km eastwards from Teramo) - the court is later owned by Andrea Matteo, the duke of Atri.
2 years at Teramo with Gian Antonio Campano, who in 1463 was made bishop of Teramo by pope Pius II, and came to Teramo in 1464.
Campano (1429 - 1477) is at this time already a well known poet, probably with some contact to the young Accademia Romana. Later, in 1468, he is involved in the scandal about the Accademia, but he is not accused and not prisoned. Since 1474 he fell in disgrace and was then continually 2 years in Teramo. Lazzaelli's two years in Teramo should be 1464 - 1466 (cause this information is given, as if Lazzarelli was there before his stay in Venice, but alternaticely it's not totally impossible, that this happened 1474 - 1476.
1466: this is either the year, when a. a juist in Padova happened and Lazzarelli wrote a description to it in the same year or
b. later or
c. Lazzarelli wrote in this year a poem about a juist, that happened earlier (ca 1450). Lazzarelli is said to have gone after his time in Teramo to
Venice, where he studied the lectures of Giorgio Merula (1430/31 - 1494), a pupil of the Milanese humanist Filelfo, who taught in Mantua and
Padova from 1465 - 1482. Merula engaged in 1472 in the earliest print of the Plautus-comedies; it's said, that he got this text as a copy of a copy from
Guarino/Leonello d'Este - this text took development on the early Italian theatre. As the juist of 1466 had elements of theatre, this observation might
be of importance.
(? 1468/69) Hanegraaff (on the base of the study of O'Neal) suggests, that Lazzarelli wrote in this years his poem De gentilium deorum imaginibus. This is not without doubts ... at least it is said, that Lazzarelli in his time in Venice found pictures in a bookstore, that he used in his text - but in new repainted illustrations. They are not copperplate prints, like the A- and S-series of the socalled Mantegna Tarocchi.
1469 Lazzarelli is made Poetus Laureatus by Emperor Frederick III, as it is said, on suggestions of his Venetian friends. Frederick III. visited during his short Italy journey in autum/winter 1468/69 the cities of Rome, Ferrara and Venetia. It's said, that Emperor Fredrick sold many titles in Italy, so that he didn't found too much time to participate in the festivities. Possibly the laurel of the poet was this time a mere formal act, perhaps even paid with some money.
1471 ( and after 1474) One of the surviving Lazzarelli manuscripts of his poem De gentilium deorum imaginibus was dedicated to the "Duke of Ferrara" Borso d'Este originally, but then the name Borso d'Este was replaced by "Duke of Urbino" Federico da Montefeltro.
There exists now an interesting dating riddle: Borso became "Duke of Ferrara" in spring 1471 on a journey to Rome, but died short after his return in August 1471. Federico da Montefeltro became "Duke of Urbino" 1474. To this comes a further interesting detail of the journey of Borso d'Este: Giulio Cesare Varano, Signore of Camerino, a well known condottieri with humanistic interests and known as a sponsor of Lazzarelli, who had his main palace in Camerino (20 km distance from San Severino, Lazzarelli's birthplace), became during the journey host to Borso (the visit likely had the character of a great event). This context gives reason to the suspicion, that Lazzarelli possibly got the commission of Giulio Cesare to produce the manuscript or that Lazzarelli worked in own interests to get a new sponsor, at least a presence of Lazzarelli in 1471 at the court of G.C. Varano wouldn't surprize, as it is very near to his home region and he is definitely noted here in 1476 and 1478. So Lazzarelli prepared his manuscript, which seems to have reached a rather finished state, when the news arrived, that Borso first was sick and finally dead. Indeed the text of Lazzarelli includes a passage, which speaks of a "sick sponsor" (but ironically this is called "Federico", but, as explained, an exchanged Borso ). What really happened, stays hidden.
Fabritius Varano, later bishop of Camerino, was a distant nephew to Giulio Cesare Varano
( genealogical data: Nr. H1 = Giulio Cesare and Nr. I4 = Fabrizio Varano). He wrote later one of the Lazzarelli-praising poems in the De fastis Christianae religionis
as a member of the Accademia Romana. He is known by a medal, which was produced between 1471 - 1482, before he became bishop of Camerino. The medal shows - according the description of Arthur M. Hind - at one side the portrait of Fabritius Varano, on the other the Muse Euterpe in the manner, as she appears in the socalled Mantegna Tarocchi and in the Lazzarelli manuscript from 1471.
- Possibility A: Lazzarelli waited, before he used the manuscript himself to send it as a present to Federico da Montefeltro. Then he changed the dedication himself.
- Possibility B: Lazzarelli sent it really to Borso, but the manuscript then was sold to Federico da Montefeltro and the manuscript was "forged" in the dedication by editors in Urbino.
- Possibility C: Lazzarelli didn't sent it to Borso, but gave it to Varano as the commissioner and this - with personal good relations to Montefeltro - made it accessible to Montefeltro and again a later editor "forged" the dedication.
- ... and other possibilities.
Federico Montefeltro is reknown for his enormous activities in the 70ies of 15th century to acquire a great library. A presence of Lazzarelli at the court couldn't be proven, but nonetheless an occasional visit is likely. A not datable manuscript to a text of Martianus Capella, which probably originated in this time at the court of Urbino, uses illustrations, which show a near relationship to the motifs. The distance Camerino - Urbino is around 120 km, "great courts" with a natural attraction for "great poets" of the time were seldom - especially in this region.
(? time): Lazzarelli is noted together with Macario Muzio as leading humanists at the Varano palazzo in Camerino. It was not possible to retrieve further informations to this Muzio or Muzi, somehow it seems, as if Lazzarelli and Muzio tried to build a sort of accademia there, following the Roman ideas. Giulio Cesare Varano had an illegitimate daughter Camilla (later adding the name Battista), born 1458 and in 1471 thirteen years years young and in the right age to take up intellectuals influences. Against the will of her parents she entered 1481 in a cloister near Urbino and took the oath in 1484 later, becoming then known as a great writer and mystic, finally blessed in 19th century. One of her literary topics was her childhood and adolescence (info from same internet document; she reports about 466 - 1481; till now we were not able to check the source). Perhaps it's correct to assume intellectual influences from Lazzarelli on the development of the young girl.
The Varano family has some fame for her cruel history and especially Giulio Cesare's life is surrounded by familiary catastrophes, it started and ended with massacres.
Rudolfo III. Varano, grandfather of Giulio Cesare is said to have had 64 sons from 3 wifes and other women, 54 sons reached the the life of grown-ups. He had many titles:
"Signore e 5° Vicario Pontificio di Camerino dal 1399, Signore e Vicario Pontificio di Tolentino, San Ginesio, Montecchio, Belforte del Chienti, Visso, Aamandola, Sarnano, Monte San Martino, Gualdo Cattaneo, Montesanto, Cerreto e Ponte dal 1399, Signore e Vicario Pontificio di Penna San Giovanni e di Civitanova dal 1404, Signore di Macerata 1399, Signore di Montefortino dal 1406 (Investitura Pontificia), Signore di Smerillo dal giugno 1409, Signore di Beroide dall’agosto 1414, Podestà di Macerata 1385, Governatore di Cortona per il Re di Napoli dal giugno 1409, Priore del Comune di Spoleto dal giugno 1414".
He died in Beldiletto 2-V-1424.
The result were serious quarrels between the legitimate brothers. In Nov. 1433 Piergentile, father of Giulio Cesare's cousin Rudolfo, was captured and beheaded, in spring Giovanni, Giulio Cesare's father, was assassinated. In June 1434 the two hostile brothers were cut to pieces, one took 5 sons with him. All this was accompanied by militaric actions of Sforza and cardinal Vitelleschi in the region. In 1444/1447 the Varano were restablished by Pope Nicholas V., using the still rather young remaining heirs as new regents. Rudolfo (1426 - 1464), son of the beheaded Piergentile, was married 1444/1448 to Camilla d'Este, an illegitimate daughter of Niccolo d'Este (she was probably involved in the Trionfi activities of 1.1.1441 and is connectable to earliest Trionfi documents). His cousin, Giulio Cesare (1434), son of the assassinated Giovanni, became co-regent. He married 1461 Giovanna Malatesta (1444 - 1511), a daughter of Polissena Sforza and Sigismondo Malatesta. She was a child of the marriage of October 1441, which accompanied the greater festivity of the marriage of Bianca Maria Visconti and Francesco Sforza in 1441 (at this opportunity the Cary Yale Tarocchi possibly was produced. Polissena was murdered by her husband in 1449 - at least this is told in this way. Giulio Cesare Varano became active in the condottieri business - beside this he developed similar humanistic interests as his more famous colleague Federico Montefeltro. Both had variously interactions, the contacts were usually hostile till 1469 - Varano stood near to Sigismondo Malatesta -, but after Sigismondo's death in 1468 and Giulio Cesares successless attempt to conquer Rimini 1469, by which he was defeated and captured by Montefeltro, things turned and in the following years they usually appeared on the same militaric side.
In the critical year 1471, when Lazzarelli made his manuscript, duke Borso of Ferrara visited Camerino probably in March, and in April Varano is noted as being in Rimini to take part in the negotiations about the future of the Malatesta regions. The result had been a marriage contract between Roberto Malatesta (Sigismondo's son) and a daughter of Montefeltro, which was fullfilled in 1479, as the relevant daughter was in 1471 just 7 years old.
The Urbino/Camerino - relation in the 70ies seems to have been undisturbed and humanistic intellectual exchange had good conditions - easily Lazzarelli as Varano's home poet had good chances to visit Urbino.
Giulio Cesare's life stayed adventurious till high age and his sons followed his ways. In 1502 - Federico Montefeltro already 20 years dead - Cesare Borgia attacked both at the same time, Camerino and Urbino. Guidobaldo, Federico's son and heir, could escape, Giulio Cesare was murdered together with 3 sons. One son survived.
For further information (Italian language)
1471: Pope Sixtus is elected in Rome as an outsider between two opposing parties.
Sixtus IV. was in the time before his election an active writer in various church related topics himself and had a great interest in the early book printing technique. He's called a second founder of the Vatican library after pope Nicholas V., the number of the texts and manuscripts increased considerably.
He gave allowance to reestablish the Accademia Romana, and one of her leading members, Platina,
became chief librarian. A second good effect of his reignment was his engagement in building
On his negative side he indulged in new dimensions of nepotism, till his time unknown.
The first, who profited, was his nephew cardinal Pietro Riario (1445 - 1474),
who impressed Italy with most expensive festivities to overtrump comparable
acticties in Florence and Milan. He died early, with 28 years, leaving debts of 200000 ducatos.
He was followed by his brother Girolamo Rario. His uncle, the pope (some suspect, that he was his father) bought him Imola from Milan
and with it the hand of Catherina, illegitimate daughter of Galeazzo Maria Sforza. Further attempts to enlarge
Girolamo's and the Riario's family property caused a series of inner Italian wars, which dominated the second half of Sixtus' reignment.
The intellectual humanists in Rome profited from the special interests of this pope, between them also Lazzarelli. As the other humanistic center, Florence with its Platonic Academy, early developed opposition to Sixtus' territorial interests, poets from the Eastern region of Rome had good chances to establish themselves as well paid scholars in Rome.
1473: Archbishop of Spoleto and Gouvernor of Cesena Lorenzo Zane is mentioned together with an "astrologi di fama"
Gregorio Lazzarelli: "A partire dal 1473 il
Bologni fu segretario del vescovo [= Lorenzo Zane],
protettore anche di astrologi di fama come Leonardo Montagna e Gregorio Lazzarelli." Gregorio Lazzarelli is otherwise unknown, Leonardo Montagna
(c. 1425-1485) is noted as humanist of Verona [.... L. DOREZ.
Notice sur un recueil de poésies latines et une portrait de l'humaniste véronais Leonardo Montagna (C. 1425-1485) ...].
Lazzarelli seem to be a rare name, so it might be assumed, that this astrolog Gregorio Lazzarelli is a relative to Ludovico Lazzarelli or by error .
In the short informations given by Kristeller it is noted, that Ludovico Lazzarelli was in Rome with Lorenzo Zane somehow indicating,
that Lazzarelli lived there in the home of Lorenzo Zane with no further indication about date and context. Lorenzo Zane is variously installed in intervals as papal governor of Cesena (between 1465 - 1484) and a short time (1478 - 1481) also as governor from Brescia.
He was involved in militaric conflicts in October 1475 against the Vitelli-family in Citta di Castello, a matter, which involved negatively the career of the above mentioned poet and Lazzarelli teacher Gian Antonio Campano, who engaged for Citta de Castello in 1474 and fell in disgrace, so that he was limited to his bishop position in Teramo after that. Ludovico Foscarini (above mentioned) was married to a woman with the surname "Zane" - perhaps there was a close link
between Foscarini and Lorenzo Zane.
1476: In Camerino Lazzarelli made a poem to the first-born legitimate son of Giulio Cesare Varano and Giovanna Malatesta
(Legato invece, con chiaro intento devozionale, è il simulacro argenteo del Santo patrono di Camerino offerto come ex-voto da Giovanna
Malatesta e Giulio Cesare Varano per la nascita del primogenito Venanzio, avvenuta presso il castello di Pioraco il 19 ottobre 1476.
Il Lilii riporta nella sua storia di Camerino i versi celebrativi, composti per l’occasione dal Lazzarelli, poeta di San Severino -
C. Lilii, Istoria della città di Camerino, pp. 225-226. (source).
1478: Lazzarelli wrote a probably not very important poem about vine in Sanseverino, the note is from an internet source: Uomini più o meno illustri,
residenti o di passaggio, sono stati colpiti positivamente dal
vino sanseverinate: è il 1478 quando l'umanista del luogo Ludovico Lazzarelli, in un poemetto didascalico sull'allevamento del baco da seta, illustra come il vino settempedano possa risultare non inferiore ai vini più famosi, le cui caratteristiche li rendono utili anche per spruzzare le foglie di gelso che vengono date in pasto ai bachi, anche in quest'uso non consueto. (source)
(1479): A note in a biography of the poet Paolo Marsi informs, that Marsi and Platina praise Ludovico as poet of the poem
"De fastis Christianae religionis". In a report from the Beinecke-Yale Library to a printed edition of this text it is assumed, that this poem
originated 1480 - 1485, however, elements in the text point to the year 1477, and Platina, one of 11 poets, who praise Lazzarelli for this work,
already died 1482. The note in the life of Paolo Marso: "Dopo il ’79, il Marso dovette dedicarsi al commento della «
Pharsalia » e della « Rethorica ad Erennium », di cui fa cenno nella stessa lettera di dedica al Cornaro, senza trascurare
l’attività poetica: collaborà, infatti, col Platina in una raccolta di versi scritti per esaltare il poema «
De fastis Christianae religionis » del sodale Lodovico Lazzarelli, e con altri poeti del sodalizio pomponiano nella compilazione di
un’antologia, andata poi perduta, in onore di un adolescente senese spentosi all’età di 16 anni. In questo periodo
Paolo Marso dovette occupare un posto di grande
rilievo nella ricostituita Accademia romana. (source)
1480 - 1485: De fastis Christianae religionis.
Our commentary to a report by Beinecke-Yale Library,
which owns a later printed edition
1484 or 1485: Epistola Enoch. A short text, by which we know of an action at Eastern 1484 or 1485,
which is described in the internet source
Sympathy to the devil by Wouter J. Hanegraaff:
Little is known about the author. Lazzarelli (1450-1500) was one of the many minor Italian humanists of the period,
part of whose works are still accessible only in manuscript.
He seems to have studied mathematics and astrology, and Greek as well as Hebrew. We are told that Lazzarelli exorcized impure
spirits by the sign of the cross, predicted the future, and at one time fell under the suspicion of magical practice.
Especially interesting is his connection with the strange figure of Giovanni "Mercurio" da
Correggio (?1451-?), a wandering prophet who made a spectacular appearance in Rome on palm sunday 1485.
The episode has been described in detail in an anonymous Epistola Enoch, attributed to Lazzarelli.
Correggio rode to the Vatican on a black horse, then left the city, to return
riding a donkey, clothed in a blood-stained linen robe, and carrying a crown of thorns on his head.
Correggio presented himself to the people as Jesus of Nazareth's chosen servant and son, and referred to himself as Pimander.
This, as well as his added name Mercurio, demonstrate his self-identification as the hermetic Christ.
Lazzarelli appears to have seen in Giovanni da Correggio his spiritual master, who had effected his "spiritual regeneration" .
It is in this context that the Crater Hermetis must be understood.
Lazzarelli's story of Mercurio happens - according to some insecurity of the dating of the text of Lazzarelli - either Eastern 1484 or Eastern 1485.
In the way, as Lazzarelli presents it, the event must have caused
a deep cut in his life. The whole action is in doubt, the discussion to it is reported in the article
Material to Eastern 1484/1485
Note December 2005: The text above was composed in January 2005. In the meantime Wolter Hanegraaf has published a book to Lazzarelli, which
contains a biography about
Lazzarelli written by Lazzarelli's brother Filippo Lazzarelli:
The Life of Lodovico Lazzarelli.
Meanwhile I had opportunity to read the book, and it offers in parts better informations as given above - for the moment I'd no time to update this article. See also the
announcement of the publisher.
Emperor Frederick III crowned
Lazzarelli to a Poetus laureatus
Giulio Cesare Varano
sponsor of Lazzarelli