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The Origin of the Word "Humanist" Author(s): Augusto Campana Source: Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes,

Vol. 9 (1946), pp. 60-73 Published by: The Warburg Institute Stable URL: Accessed: 20/10/2010 05:11
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By Augusto Campana the words of Italian origin which found their way into the European vocabularies at the time of the Renaissance few are more significant than umanista. It is the unusual vitality of this word which gives it a special claim to the attention of philologists and historians, for in the course of almost five centuries the term took on various moods and shades of meaning-some of them of great cultural significance-and gave birth to a great number of derivatives, especially in the English tongue. It is thereforejustifiable that a thorough study of the word in its historical development should be undertaken. What I intend to do here, however, concerns only the first part of the story. I hope to add some material to the meagre evidence regarding the earliest use of the word; to throw fresh light on its original meaning; and to suggest what seems to me a reasonable explanation of its etymology. For the rest I shall limit myself to some casual observations and remarks. The subject has hitherto been only briefly touched upon by Remigio Sabbadini and Vittorio Rossi. That two such great students of Italian humanist literature should have devoted attention to the theme suggests its importance. One earlier mention was made in 1909 by Vladimir Zabughin., also a distinguished scholar in that field. "There can be no doubt," he says, "that the word umanesimo is of recent coinage, and I believed that this was also the case with umanista,until I happened to find the latter word in a forgotten epigram of the second half of the fifteenth century."1 It is a matter for regret that Zabughin did not describe his source more precisely and that he had no opportunity of referringto it again. An important piece of evidence thus remains unknown to us, and only a lucky find can bring it again to light. Until then we must content ourselves with Rossi's suggestion that the epigram to which Zabughin alludes was "certainly in Latin." Writing later than Zabughin, but without reference to him, Sabbadini rein Latin texts. The earliest marks: "I have never come across the word umanista use made of it in vernacular texts occurs in Lodovico Ariosto's sixth Satire


does not appear in Latin edition of his major work, says: "The word umanista in Italian only in the third half of and until the second the fifteenth century, is of recent date. Yet, even decade of the sixteenth; and the word umanesimo at the end of the fourteenth century it pleased the pioneers of a new and truer awakening of classical learning to revert to an elegant Ciceronian phrase and to call their studies studia humanitatis, meaning those studies which tend to the and which are therefore the only ones and mind human integrate perfect

(25-27) 'Senza quel vizio son pochi umanisti' . . ."2 And Rossi, in the second

problema della vita," Atti del terzo Congresso which we shall discuss later; R. Sabbadini, della Societa Filosofica Italiana, Rome, 19o9, II metodo degli umanisti, Florence, 1920, p. i, note I. Modena, 1910, p. 5 of the offprint.

1 V. Zabughin, "L'umanesimo dinanzi al

There follows a chronological reference



worthy of man." In a note he refers to the two texts quoted by Zabughin and Sabbadini.1 No valuable contribution is to be found in the big Italian dictionaries which for the sixteenth century give only the quotation from Ariosto and add one from Varchi. It appears that the word is rare in the literary texts of the Italian Renaissance. It may have been more frequent in the practical usage of the spoken language, for we shall see afterwards that the term was applied to practical rather than to cultural matters. But it does not gain a wide diffusion in the spoken and written language of the educated until the end of the nineteenth century; it then takes on a different meaning under the influence of modern historians of literature. The very fact, however, that the word is rare is an invitation to search for it. I have been fortunate in finding some evidence of its early use which I shall communicate here, with comments, and in chronological order. The extracts cover the sixteenth century from the first to the last years, and three of them are earlier than Ariosto's verse. I have, of course, omitted Zabughin's source from my list; until it has been identified it raises some doubts, without affording full evidence. But I have included the two already known examples from Ariosto and Varchi. A quest of this kind is always to a large extent governed by chance, and although I would still maintain, after a search of several years, that the word is rare, it is probable that the evidence here collected could be further augmented, perhaps even considerably. As often happens, once attention has been drawn to a certain subject, it is easier for others to add more material. New facts can be fitted into the picture without an effort and be assessed at their true value. It is hoped that the present documentation may be increased by further discoveries in printed or written sources which otherwise might remain hidden, or unknown except to those who cannot appreciate their importance. (I) A document in the Municipal Archives of Bologna dated 2 Ist October, words: "Salariumlo. Antonii Modestihumanistae. Item Io. Antonio Modesto
humanistae conducto ad Rhetoricam et Poesim ..." 1512, and relating to Giovanni Antonio Modesto, lector in Rhetorics and Poetry at the University of Bologna from I512 to 1516, begins with these

document ofJanuary i9th, 1516, he is said to have been "conducto ad litteras humanitatis." This would mean that he was appointed to the chair of the Humanities which had been established only a short time before.2 This is the first document which connects the word umanista with a fixed it to a and be useful that it is out Latin text it bears date, may point although
by Vallardi), note 2. Milan,

Some years later, in a

1 V. Rossi, II Quattrocento (in the new edi- Anziani" of Bologna (Archiviodi stato); but tion of the Storia letteraria d'Italia, published in U. Dallari, I rotulidei lettorilegisti e artisti

pp. 6 and I5,

2 G. Albini, "Dell'umanista Francesco Modesto" (brother of Giovanni Antonio), Atti e memoriedella R. Deputazionedi storia s. III, XVII, di Romagna, patriaper le provincie 1898-99, p. 9, note 2, from the "Partiti degli

dello studio bolognese dal 1384 al 1799, Bologna, I888, p. 216; II, 1889, pp. 6, 9,


Modesto always appears under the heading "ad Rethoricam et Poesim," and in I515-16 another name appears "ad Literas humanitatis" (II, p. 12).



evidence of the use of the term in the vernacular. The literal translation of the word into Latin is in accordance with the current business practice of notaries and public offices. On linguistic grounds, therefore, the document testifies to the existence of the word in Italian, and not to its entry into the Latin vocabulary. It would have been a different matter if it had occurred in a literary context. In the light of this evidence Zabughin's epigram, though perhaps not conclusive, might be of great interest, and it is the more regrettable that it cannot be traced. chronicle of his times of which an unedited autograph manuscript exists. United with it in the same volume is a kind of note-book containing miscellaneous entries, which, apart from their local interest, present a lively picture of the confused and rustic education, the intellectual interests and quaint enthusiasms of this country nobleman. It is a provincial reflection of Italian Renaissance civilization. The note-book and the chronicle together provide a mine of miscellaneous information. In this note-book, Fantaguzzi records among the "homini singulari" who lived in his native town in 1512 the "Mo. F. Uberto maestro de schola et umanista e poeta."I In another part of the same miscellany, listing in great disorder all kinds of notes brought together from various sources and jotted down as they passed through his mind, Fantaguzzi enters a curious selection of words ending in -ista. This list merits publication in full for the linguistic interest which it affords: "Jurista. Legista. Artista. Canonista. Tomista. Scotista. Sophista. Umanista. Terminista. Contratista. Sacrista. Vochabolista. Antista. Abachista. Alchimista. Summista."2 In making a list of these words without regard to their meaning and guided only by their common ending -ista, the worthy Fantaguzzi seems to have been inspired by a certain curiosity, caprice, or even linguistic flair, however crude and primitive. Three of the words turn up again in another list which reads: "Scola e studio in gramatica. retorica. dialetica. loica. musica. geometria. astronomia. arsmetrica. fisico. cirusico. armorum. architettore. sculto(re). pictore. canonista. legista. artista."3 Here Fantaguzzi apparently began with the intention of enumerating the disciplines of the mind, the seven liberal arts, increasing their number to eight by including "loica"; he went on to collect under the same heading various other occupations including artistic and technical professions like "cirusico" and "armorum." The two lists deserve a fuller linguistic commentary than the present context allows.4 The first list is especially interesting and is bound
1 The

(2) Giuliano Fantaguzzi of Cesena (1453-1521) is the author of a bulky

Francesco Uberti umanista cesenate, Bologna, alphabetical order; the last two words are added later in different ink. from own manu212, Fantaguzzi's p. 1903, 41 am doubtful about the meaning of script in the Biblioteca Comunale di Cesena, MS. 164.64, p. 81 (f. 233r., in the old page contratista in the first list; antista [sic] must

passage is edited by L. Piccioni, Di

MS. contains notes and various matter in


On Fantaguzzi, see Piccioni,


come from antistes: compare TommaseoDizionario della lingua italiana, I,

pp. 195-7. 2 MS. cit., p. 74 (f. 228V);

Turin, 1865, p. 490. I should add, for those seems to have been added later, but in the whom it may interest, that Fantaguzzi uses artista also in the sense of artigiano,both in same hand. 3 MS. cit., p. 169 (f. 278r); this part of the the plural "li artista" (the plural ending in -a




in itself to attract the attention of philologists, though the occurrence of the in it adds nothing to the other example of its use by Fantaguzzi. word umanista Marino Sanuto, recording in his diary the death of The Venetian (3)
Aldo Manuzio on 6th of February, 1515, calls him "optimo humanista et

greco." (A few lines further down Raffaele Regio, who delivered the funeral speech, is called "lector publico in questa citta in humanita.")1 (4) The passage from Ariosto is found in the Satire (numbered VI or VII in different editions) addressed to Pietro Bembo in which the poet invites his friend to help him find a Greek teacher for his son Virginio. He explains that he requires a man not only of sound learning but of good morals, and describes the dangers with which his choice is beset. The six relevant lines exist in two versions. The only known manuscript of the Satires is in the Biblioteca Comunale in Ferrara and was at one time regarded as an autograph; but the corrections alone are in the poet's own hand. The original text (lines 25 ff.) runs thus:
Pochi sono grammatici e humanisti Senza il peccato per cui Sabaot Fece Gomorra e i suoi vicini tristi; Che mand6 il fuoco gifi dal cielo et, quot quot Eran, tutti consunse, si che apena Camp6 fuggendo uno innocente Lot.

Ariosto first altered line 26: "Senza il vitio per cui Dio Sabaot," then proceeded to cross out entirely and rewrite in his own hand the lines beginning with "Senza il peccato etc.," and in the end again corrected the first line. The final text, therefore, reads:
Senza quel vitio son pochi humanisti, Che fe' a Dio forza non che persuase Di far Gomorra e suoi vicini tristi: Mand6 fuoco da ciel ch'uomini e case Tutto consumpse et hebbe tempo a pena Lot a fugir, ma la moglier rimase.2

According to Catalano, "the editions of the Satires derive from two main sources, the clandestine print of 1534 which reproduces the Ferrarese manustill survives in the dialect of Romagna) and "li artisti," MS. cit., p. 9, relating to the Verona fairs. II diarii, XIX, Venice, 1887, p. 425. This notice was published several times (see A. A. Renouard, Annales de l'imprimeriedes Alde, 3rd ed., Paris, 1834, p. 392; also by A. Firmin-Didot, A. M. et l'hillinisme a Venise, Paris, 1875, PP- 396-7). The autograph of this passage is reproduced in a photograph in T. D(e) M(arinis), "Manuzio, Aldo, il Vecchio," Enciclopedia Italiana, XXII, 1934, p. I84. 2 I have used the collotype reproduction in: Le satire autografdi Lodovico Ariosto,Bologna, 1875, and the photograph of the passage in
question (f. 35r) reproduced by M. Catalano, "Autografi e pretesi autografi ariosteschi," Archivum romanicum,IX (1925), p. 63. Catalano deals, on pp. 58-64, with the question of the hands; later he abandoned his opinion that the codex was written by Gabriele Ariosto, brother of Lodovico (see Vita di L. A., I, Geneva, 1930, p. 445, note 51). G. Tambara's edition, Le satire di LudovicoAriosto, con intr., etc., Leghorn, 1903 (see pp. 14 and 158), is inadequate; he omits some of the corrections and prints the first version in his text; he also prints "quot," taking the second "quot" for a slip of the pen, not realizing that he should have read "quotquot."



grammatici. The poem probably belongs to the years 1523-4.3

script without the corrections, and Giolito's edition of 1550 which takes into account practically all the corrections of the manuscript."1 The Crusca quoted without distinction one edition of the first, and one of the second type.2 That is the reason why we find the earlier rather than the later version of our passage in the dictionary of the Cruscaand in all the dictionaries based on it. It is also the version which chiefly interests us here, because it links humanisti with

(5) In the year 1544, the printer Aramezzino of Venice published for the first time the Silva de varialeccionby the Spanish author Pero Mexia4 in the Italian translation by Mambrino Roseo of Fabriano. This was the first foreign translation of this extremely successful book which was translated into nearly all European languages and published in many reprints. In his first version, on which the Italian and French translations are based, Mexia relates (Bk. I, ch. 21) the legend of Cola Pesce, and, quoting Pontano, calls him: "Ioviano Pontano, varon doctissimo en lectras de humanidad, y singular poeta y orador." In Mambrino Roseo's translation the passage reads: "il Pontan l'uno, grande humanista, oratore, et poeta"; and in Claude Gruget's French translation it reads: "l'un est Pontan grand humaniste, orateur et poete." If in the first version of the Spanish original the passage is as I have quoted it above,5 then Gruget must have known and remembered not only the Spanish text but also the Italian translation. We shall have to come back to in French. Gruget's text later on, as the first recorded use of the word humaniste (6) Varchi uses the word in a letter to Luca Martini written between
1545 and 1546, but not published until 1841. In this letter, Varchi blames

the fifteenth century men of letters for quibbling over matters "of little importance or of no doubt." He names, as examples, Filelfo, Leonardo Aretino, Pontano, Valla, Poggio, Merula and Domizio Calderini and continues: "La qual cosa quanto stia bene e sia richiesta, e massimamente a quegli che fanno professione d'umanita, lasciar6 giudicare agli altri, e dir6 solamente che queste ed altre cosi fatte non so se sciocchezze o malvagita, hanno e meritamente in buona parte cagionato quella poca riputazione, per non dir dispregio, nella quale sono oggi non solamente gli umanisti, ma i filosofi, e generalmente tutti coloro i quali o si dilettano delle lettere o attendono alle scienze." [How far this is a good and desirable thing, especially for those whose profession is the Humanities, I leave to others to judge. In my opinion these and other cases of, I do not know whether to call it stupidity
da Fabriano; see 1 "Autografi," etc., pp. 62-63. lingua italiana per Mambrino della lingua E. Toda y Guiell,Bibliografia 2See G. Manuzzi, Vocabolario d'Italia, espanyola italiana gia compilato dagli Accademicidella III, Sant Miquel d'Escornalbou, 1929, p. 79, Crusca,2nd ed., IV, Florence, 1865, p. 815, no. 3219; A. Palau y Dulcet, Manual del librerohispano-americano, note c. V, Barcelona, 1926, 3 Catalano, Vita,I, pp. 548-52. Sabbadini, p. 172.
it., XLVI,

i.c., with reference to Rossi, Giorn.Stor. d. lett.


dates it Dec.

this is due to a misunderstanding caused by the different numbering of the Satire. The Satire with which Rossi deals is that addressed to B. Pistofilo. 1 La selva di varia lettione. Tradottanella



5 I1 have seen only three late editions:

G. Giolito, 1553, for the Spanish


text (a reprint of the second version); Lyons, B. Honorati, 1556, for the Italian; Tournon, C. Michel, 16Io, for the French text. The first version of the Spanish text appeared in
Seville, 1540; Palau y Dulcet, V, 172-



or malice, have to a large extent justly contributed to the low reputation and even contempt in which are held at present not only humanists, but also philosophers, and generally speaking, all those who either enjoy literary studies or devote themselves to the sciences.]1 (7) Paolo Manuzio's letter to his son Aldo (the younger) on I7th October, 1573: "E anche una vergogna, ch'io sia tenuto principe de gli humanisti, e che non habbia un Virgilio, un'Horatio, un Salustio, un Livio." [It is a shame that I who am considered the prince of humanists, should not possess a Virgil, a Horace, a Sallust, or a Livy.]2 (8) In a letter written 12th January, 1573 (I574 if the date of the letter is in the Florentine style), Cardinal Ferdinando de' Medici asks his brother Francesco Maria to release "Mes. Piero da Barga Humanista di Pisa" from his teaching obligations for a period of six months to enable him to take up service with the Cardinal." Pier Angelio da Barga was a lecturer in Greek and Latin literature at Pisa university from 1549 to 1596. (9) Bologna university in the first years of the century was our point of departure and chance leads us back to it at the end of the century and of our survey. At the beginning of this period, in 1515, an independent chair of the Humanities had been added to the existing chair of Rhetorics and Poetry.4 The rolls show that the lectors of the new chair had always belonged to the Faculty of Artisti. But in 1588 the Municipal Government decided to transfer Tomaso Corria, Professor"humanarum litterarum" to the roll of the Legisti.5 The "Artists" chose the first opportunity to lodge their protest. In 1595 the Chair fell vacant and no less a person than Justus Lipsius was about to be elected to it. During the session of 25th January of that year the Dean of the Arts Faculty "proposuit maximum praeiudicium esse Universitati" (or, as we would say, the Faculty) "quod humanistae describantur in rotulo DD. legistarum cum vere sint Artistae et sub iurisdictionem DD. Artistarum," without regard to the exception made in Correa's case; and he insisted on asking the Vicelegato to declare "humanistas esse et esse debere Artistas et describi debere in rotulo Artistarum."6 The letter written on this occasion to the Vicelegato still exists. "Trattandosi di condurre in questo Studio di Bologna alla lettura dell'humanita il sig. Justo Lipsio" the Faculty of the Artists requests that the new professor be included in "rotolo nostro," even though his predecessor had been on the roll of the legisti: "e perche
1 Lezioni sul Dante e prose varie di Benedetto Varchi la maggior parte inedite, ed. G. Aiazzi-L. Arbib, Florence, 1841, II, p. 81 (for the date see pp. 73, 78, and cf. I, p. 337); also in Opere, II, Trieste, 1859, p. 738. 2Ed. A.-A. Renouard, Lettere di Paolo Manuzio copiate [by P. A. Tosi] sugli autografi esistenti nella Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Paris, 1834, p. 301. 3 Ed. A. Fabroni, Historiae AcademiaePisanae II, Pisa, 1792, p. 427, note; ibid., p. 47I for the dates of Bargeo's teaching activities. If the letter was addressed to Francesco Maria after he had become Grand Duke (on the Ist

April, 1474), the date must be wrong. I owe the reference to G. Manacorda, Storia della scuola in Italia, ed. Sandron, I, I (1914), PP277-8; Manacorda's expression "come si diceva a Pisa, l'umanista," implies that the word sounded new to his ears, or at least unusual. 4 E. Costa, "La prima cattedra d'umanita. nello studio bolognese durante il secolo XVI," Studi e memorieper la storia dell' Universita di Bologna, I, I (1907), pp. 23-635 Costa, p. 6o, note i, and cf. Dallari, op. cit., II, 1889, p. 229. 6 Costa, p. 61, note 2.




l'humanita e arte et che di raggion devono i professori esser sottoposti alli Sig.ri Artisti, si come ancora per privileggio antico appare che detti humanisti et tutti quelli della Citta pagavano tributo per riconoscimento d'essere sudditi

all'Universithdelli Sig.riArtisti."'1

"The said humanists" are obviously those appointed to the "lettura dell'humanita," that is the chair of the Humanities. It is not so easy to understand the expression that follows, "quelli della Citta." I believe that this term refers to the umanisti of the town, teachers of the regional schools of who also formed Bologna part of the academic body. They were, in fact, in of an ancient custom, enrolled in the Faculty of Arts, and labelled "Ad right lecturam gramatice per quarteria," "Ad gramaticam pro quarteriis" or some similar phrase.2

What do we learn from these documents? In the first place, they answer the question as to the precise meaning of the term umanista. In its original sense, the word is closely connected with the scholastic system: it qualifies a person as a public or private teacher of classical literature, of the chair of humanitas or umanitd. This meaning is evident in the two Bolognese documents of the first and the last years of the century and in the Pisa document (our numbers I, 8, and 9). It is less evident, but no less certain in the first example from Fantaguzzi (2). It is still clearly implied in the quotation from Ariosto (4), if one remembers that the Satire is concerned with a scholastic question; and without running the danger of being either rash or pedantic, we may take the double term "grammatici e humanisti" in the first version of the poem to denote two successive grades of school teachers. This is, in my opinion, the primary meaning of the word. But the examples from Mambrino Roseo (5), from Varchi (6) and from Paolo Manuzio (7) point to a second phase in which the word assumes a more comprehensive and general meaning. It refers to the student of classical learning who is not necessarily also a teacher. This is especially plain in Mambrino Roseo's use of the word in translating from a text where it does not occur. The translator thereby shows unmistakably what meaning he attached to the term umanista. In Marino Sanuto's time (3) we may already be on the threshold of the second period, and the comparatively early date of his testimony is therefore relevant. Still, from the way it is used I would not conclude that the word had already quite lost its bearing on school matters. It should not be forgotten that Aldo Manuzio's early career, both as a public lectorin Ferrara and as a private tutor to the Pio family, lords of Carpi, was that of a teacher, and that the
1 Ed. Costa, p. 61, note 2; later, but without reference to the earlier edition, in G. Zaccagnini, Storia dello studio di Bologna durante il Rinascimento, Geneva, 1930, p. 298, note 2; the text of the document is more complete, but, I think, less correct than in Costa's edition: e.g. "di raggione dicono"; the date, too (29 Jan., Costa, 27 Jan., Zaccagnini), and the press-mark are rendered differently in the two editions. The artists carried their case, judging by the Roll of 1595-6; Dallari, II, p. 256. 2Dallari, op. cit., I and II, passim; the lecturers in grammar of the quarters of the town are mentioned even in the earliest of the preserved rolls, 1384-85, though styled simply "In Gramaticha" (I, p. 5 and cf. IV, 1924, p. 7 ff., years 1381-82 ff.).





brilliant life of printer, editor and philologist on which he later embarked, belongs entirely to the period of his maturity. It is therefore possible that in Sanuto's time the word has just begun to take on that wider significance, that application to a less precise, less technical field in which we find it securely established in 1544. But at the same time the word may still have retained its old associations with schools and teaching, and it is therefore wise to reserve our judgment until more evidence comes to light. One thing is, however, certain, and it enhances Sanuto's value as a witness. In his mind the word umanista refers only to Latin literature; and he feels compelled to add the curious qualification "e greco" in order to make clear that Aldo was a student of both languages. The primary sense of the word clearly connected it, therefore, not with in the strict and technical in general, but with humanitas-umanitd humanitas a It seems to Renaissance prioriunlikely that this process application schools.1 can be reversed-that the narrower sense could have been second in order of time. But to clinch the argument we must examine how the word was formed. Taken in connection with the whole family of words ending in -ista, the linguistic structure of the word umanista stamps it as belonging to scholastic vocabulary. The ending itself has a long history. It existed in the ancient languages and has never ceased to be formative. Its most prolific period, however, is our own, and it gains an ever growing diffusion. Whether coupled with its counterpart -ismo in abstract nouns, or not, the suffix -ista denotes a person following a certain profession, possessing certain qualifications, or belonging to a certain philosophical, political or social group.2 At the time when the word umanistawas first recorded a number of parallel words describing persons, groups and bodies connected with elementary and academic schools had been in general use for centuries. Grammatista and abachista belong to the iuristawhich has a more generic meaning. It is worth noticing that even today a tendency persists in the Faculty of Law, stronger than in any other, to apply similar words to the occupants of particular Chairs. Terms
like summista, terminista,thomista (thomatista),scotista, occamista,etc., describe the first category; canonista, decretista, decretalista to the second, together with

followers of certain philosophical schools, and also, occasionally, and at given moments, the teachers and students connected with a particular Chair or syllabus. And finally, the words artistaand legistastill reflect the organization of mediaeval universities and their division into two faculties, Arts and Medicine on the one hand and Law on the other. If the history of the suffix -ista, with its enormous range and formative power, ever comes to be written, one chapter in it should be devoted to the vocabulary of mediaeval schools,
1 Some examples of the terms humanitasas used in the schools, can be found umanita?, above; see I, 3, 6(?), 9. 2 As I am no philologist I may be excused for the following bibliographically incomplete note: see the heading -ist in Murray, A new English dictionaryon historicalprinciples, V, 1901I, pp. 514-5. The article is practically a short history of the ending from ancient to modern times; see also the paper, familiar to Italian readers, by B. Migliorini, "I1 suffisso -istico" (with frequent references to -ista), in his Saggi sulla lingua del Novecento, 2nd ed., Florence, 1942, pp. 90-133; by the same author, Lingua contemporanea, 3rd ed., Florence, 1943, PP75-6.



particularly the universities. It would make a most instructive contribution to the history of education. It is, therefore, very likely that the earlier terms for special schools or branches of instruction provided the models after which the word for the teachers (and also the students) of the Humanities was formed. True, little is known of the living organism of mediaeval and Renaissance schools, and their technical language often escapes or baffles us. Words like umanitd and umanista will not show their outlines clearly across the distance that separates us from them until our vision has become wider and sharper. It is not too much to predict that, on closer view, terms still in use during the last century in Italian schools, particularly ecclesiastical ones (grammatica, umanitd,rettorica)will than are much older believed to It might be argued be. generally they appear in its relation to teaching, ought to have that the term humanitas-umanitd, been studied before the present attempt was made. Perhaps our argument would thereby have been placed upon a sounder foundation and made more convincing. But this type of inquiry cannot be expected to proceed in the strict order of a mathematical demonstration; and a dissertation on the r6le of that word in schools and curricula is still waiting to be written by some student of education who is both a historian and a linguist. used for the first time? I must When and where was the word umanista leave to others the researches and observations for the date. Even though Zabughin's text remains unidentified, I consider it likely that sooner or later some evidence from the end of the fifteenth century will come to light, more probably in documentary records than in literary texts. I do not, however, believe that its date will be prior to the middle of the century, or even as early as that. As to the place, any surmise on this point involves a risk. But the earliest documents which prove that the word umanista originated in Italy in the atmosphere of the schools, also point to the direction in which its birthplace should be sought. Most of them come from Emilia (the Bolognese documents, Fantaguzzi, Ariosto), and our thoughts turn naturally towards the greatest University centre in the Po valley: Bologna. This suggestion is, of course, no more than a working hypothesis which only covers our present incomplete information.'

This detailed discussion was rendered necessary by the revealing silence which students have hitherto maintained on the subject. It was considered too obvious to need any further clarification, that the word umanista belonged which studia humanitatis, to the same sphere of ideas as the terms humanitas,
1 [Since writing the present article, I have collected some other examples of the sixteenth century which fit well into my reconstruction; but I shall leave my article in its present state, while the new material will be communicated on another occasion. Meanwhile P. O. Kristeller has found in a letter written in the vernacular in 1490 an example where

the word is used for teacher (in Fabroni, op. cit., I, 369, note 2; see my postscript p. 73)I am delighted that my opinion as expressed above has so quickly found its confirmation, though the new document, coming from Pisa, weakens my hypothesis concerning the Emilian origin of the word.]



our first humanists borrowed from antiquity and introduced into their schools' and which from the Renaissance schools passed into the modern systems of education and into our whole intellectual world. But it may be pointed out that students of the Renaissance have deceived themselves in taking the result for granted. They have overlooked that a specific study of the origin and was an obligation from which, strictly speaking, formation of the word umanista not to have felt themselves exempted. For, if my interpretation is they ought direct. The links are not found in the realm is not line of descent the correct, of abstract ideas, but only in the humbler field of school life and terminology; they lead through the restricted, practical, workmanlike region in which the word stands as a name for a tutorial chair or a certain phase in the classical syllabus of Renaissance schools. Reduced to the precise and concrete limits of a linguistic analysis, the and humanitas loses its vagueness and gains etymological link between umanista solid reality in the social framework of the period. The main lines of the story, the origin of the word in the atmosphere of the Italian humanist schools, and its reception mainly by the spoken language during the Cinquecento are now clear enough, and will probably not require to be greatly modified. However, new researches and new finds may enrich the picture and disperse the remaining obscurities. The little that is known about the diffusion of the word in Europe during the sixteenth century tends to confirm our conclusions. The dates of some of the texts with which I am now going to deal would have allowed of their inclusion in my first list, but they may just as well be discussed by way of an appendix. The scarcity of the available documents should act as an invitation to students of other European languages and civilizations to augment their number. In order of time, Germany takes the lead. The word humanista occurs virorum four times in the Latin text of the Epistolaeobscurorum which appeared word in the militant language of the famous satire confirms our theory that it was not originally at home in the rarified air of humanist latinity-in Germany no more than in Italy. For the fictitious authors of the Epistlesare the representatives of the old education, the theologians, friars, and teachers of grammar, against whom the champions of German humanism launched their invective. The four passages in which the word recurs are: Ep. I, 7:
1 A good selection of evidence from Italian humanists was made by W. Brecht in the appendix to K. Brandi, "Das Werden der now reprinted in Renaissance" (i 9o8), Brandi, Ausgewdhlte Aufsdtze, Oldenburg, Berlin, 1938, pp. 302-3 (see also Rossi, op. cit., pp. 15-6, note 3); selections from German humanists in E. K6nig, "'Studia humanitatis' und verwandte Ausdriicke bei den deutschen Friihhumanisten," Beitrdge zur Geschichte der Renaissance und Reformation Joseph Schlecht . . . dargebracht,Miinchen-Freising, 1917, pp. 202-7; see also K. Burdach, Riforma, Rinascimento, Umanesimo, trans. D. Cantimori, Florence (1935), P. 71, note 2. Burdach's reference to the rubric of humaniora in the library catalogues of the period requires elaboration: library inventories and similar sources may provide new and excellent material for the history of the term.

in several editions between 1515 and 1517.

That there was room for the




"Et isti humaniste nunc vexant me cum suo novo latino, et annihilant illos veteres libros, Alexandrum, Remigium, Iohannem de Garlandia," etc.; I, 42 (App., I): "hospes noster (meaning Erasmus!) qui est bonus humanista"; I, 46 (App., 5) : "metrificavi illa carmina ex tempore, quia ego pro parte sum humanista"; II, 58: "Ego vellem quod omnes universitates facerent in simul (corr. contra) et concluderent contra omnes poetas et humanistas, quia destruunt universitates."1 These examples, as the last one especially shows, are, like the Italian examples, closely linked with University life. But contrary to the Italian use -at least, contrary to the documentation provided by our limited materialthey seem to refer to pupils as well as to teachers. As to the date, no one who originated in Italy at the end of the accepts the theory that the word umanista fifteenth century or possibly a little earlier, will be surprised to find it used in Germany so soon afterwards. It is sufficient to remember what importance the student population from across the Alps had gained in North Italian Universities, by weight of numbers if by nothing else; and the situation must have encouraged quick and lively intellectual contacts. However, it is strange that the German word does not appear until the end of the eighteenth century; at least, German scholars, generally more alive than others to questions of this kind, do not record any examples of an earlier use. If no proof to the contrary turns up, this means that the word remained the property of a small, if active, group of educated people and that its continuity in German language and thought was less complete than in Italy, France and England. The earliest date which French lexicographers and linguists record under
the heading humanisteis 1539, the alleged date of Claude Gruget's translation

of a Spanish text; they quote the phrase which we know already: "Pontan, grand humaniste." A later quotation from Montaigne is also recorded. The French definition of the word "Celui qui enseigne ou &tudie les humanites" corresponding to the old double meaning of the Italian school term, is still valid nowadays.2 But the date 1539 is wrong; Gruget's translation appeared more than ten years later under the title of Les diverses lefons de Pierre Messie.3 If I am right in arguing that Gruget's translation was rather than by influenced by the Italian text which uses the word umanista,
hence in Brunot, II (ed. 1906), p. 240; the second example is in Littr6, Dict. de la langue franf., II, Paris, 1883, 2063. The definition quoted in my text comes from Hatzfeld and Darmesteter, where the etymology, a little "D6rive du radical de too simplified, humanite," and the information that the word was admitted by the Academie in 1718 are also to be found. 3 Paris, E. Groulleau, 1552, see Palau y Dulcet, V, p. 172. The dates: Rouen, I525, and Lyons, 1526, of two editions which the Cat. gin. des livres imprimis de la Bibl. Nat., Auteurs, CXIII, Paris, 1932, p. 814, quotes, without amendments, are, in fact, 1625 and 1626: see Palau y Dulcet, V, p. 173.

1 These passages are indicated in the "Index verborum" of E. B6cking's edition (Ulrichi Hutteni operumsupplementum,II, Leipzig, 1869, p. 208); they are found in I, pp. 12, 64, 71, 277; for the correction "contra" see Bo6cking, II, p. 752 (of the Ist edition). The passages, except the last one, are also quoted by Brecht, p. 303; ibid.: "Die Epistolae S.gebrauchten humanista als bereits herge. brachte Bezeichnung." 2 The first example is given by Hatzfeld and Darmesteter, Dict. gendralde la languefranfaise, I895-1900, s.v., and by M. Delboulle from Recueil de vieux mots (in preparation but not published; cf. F. Brunot, Histoire de la langue franfaise, I, 4th ed., Paris, 1933, p. XXIX,



the Spanish original in which it does not appear, then we have here a proof that the use of the term came from Italy to France. This is in fact what we would have expected. We are better informed on the use of the word in English than in any other language, thanks to the Oxford Dictionary which gives a long list, a minute analysis, and many dated examples of the various meanings.1 The earliest dated example (1589) comes from the commentary on the Georgics by the Italian scholar R. Flemyng. The way in which Flemyng places "humanists" side by side with "grammatists" suggests that we are still in the atmosphere of the schools or very close to it. The Oxford Dictionary, referring to Ariosto and the date "1539" (Gruget), correctly calls the English word an adaptation from the French and the Italian. In Italy the two meanings, that of teacher and of scholar in humanities, which we traced in the sixteenth century, linger far into the nineteenth century, perhaps with a slight bias in favour of the original meaning. To these two a third one was added, that of pupil in humanities, which we have already met in other European countries; I cannot say if this meaning is a late-comer; the nineteenth-century dictionaries record it for their own period without giving any examples.2 In our own time all three meanings have gone out of use rapidly and completely in Italy. Having lost its original values, the term has become a historical definition. If we now speak of a humanist, we think of a scholar who played a part in the revival of classical learning during the Renaissance as by humanism we mean the literary aspect of that revival. It would be worth while to follow up this latest transformation of the two words in the European languages and civilizations of the last centuries. But the story would fill a book, not an article, and requires a writer, whose mental equipment and temperament are equal to the patient pursuit of all the disguises, migrations and interrelations of the two concepts. Yet, I am tempted to say a few words on the subject. The first language in which the word "humanist" lost its reference to an actual or ideal condition and assumed a retrospective or historical sense was, perhaps, the English, from the seventeenth or eighteenth century onwards.3 Then came Germany, and we ask ourselves whether the word Humanist was at once coupled with the word Humanand how this link was ismus, forged. For the two nouns are not necessarily con1 Murray, IV, pp. 444, and 444-5 for the derivatives (humanism, humanistic, humanistics, humanistical, humanistically). 2 The word seems to be quoted for the first time in the 4th edition of the Vocabolario degli Accademici della Crusca, V, Florence, 1738, s.v. In the definition "Che professa belle lettere, o lettere umane," the expression "che professa" means professor or teacher; the example from Ariosto and one from Salvini follow. More important are the two dictionaries which I have quoted in another connection, that by Manuzzi, IV, p. 737, and that by Tommaseo-Bellini, IV, 2, 1879, It should be remembered that p. 1655. Manuzzi misunderstands the definition given by the Accademia della Crusca and connects the examples incorrectly with his definitions; and that Tommaseo omits the wider sense altogether. 3 Murray's examples appear to be reliable: "Caelius Rhodiginus . . . and Bonifacius Bonifacii, another learned humanist" (Lassels, 1670); "The humanists of the fifteenth century" (Gibbon, 1764); the examples become more numerous from 1870 onwards; from 1881, also in the adjective form of the word.



and Humanismus is not necessarily simpler nected, and the story of humanism than that of humanist because it is more recent. After the beginning of the century, there are German as well as English examples, but they have other is first philosophical and theological connotations. The word Humanismus used in the sense of a historical event by K. Hagen, in a work published irr
1859.1 At this point the link between Humanist and Humanismus is complete in form as well as in substance. German learning and scholarship were, therefore, the agencies which opened the doors for the entry of the double term into all the European languages, and, if I am not mistaken, chiefly with the aid of two circumstances. The first is that the terms are soon so closely coupled as to become inseparable and their joint diffusion had many times the momentum that each would have had alone. The second lies in the great and deserved is used from the reputation of Voigt's book in which the word Humanismus and this is no or coincidence. onwards, negligible title-page superficial had become so universal2that it Within a few decades the word Humanismus was admitted even into those languages which had not previously accepted the earlier meanings of the word humanist.Among them, strange to say, was a language which may be called dead, but which is none the less a European language, namely the Latin of the philologists. Neither classical nor mediaeval Latin knew the word humanista,and the Latin of the humanists was too fastidious to tolerate the intrusion, at least the open intrusion, of the new expression. But for all that the term has succeeded in insinuating itself into the Latin of the philologists, which in many ways is heir and successor to the Latin of the humanists. It is true there are some modern philologists who try to keep the language free from adulteration by a modern word, and who, therefore, prefer the well-known round-about phrases to the modern term. in the last century,3 and I should But there is no lack of examples of humanista in a philonot be surprised to find, one day or another, the word *humanismus or The use of one is almost thesis. of the words logical theological University bound to draw the other after it. But this is not the end of our story. The word humanism has recently started on a fresh career of its own. From all sides and under many titles
1 On Humanist and Humanismussee Brecht, op. cit., p. 304; E. Heyfelder, "Die Ausdriicke Renaissance Deutsche und Humanismus," Literaturzeitung, 1913, cols. 2248-50; K6nig, op. cit., p. 202, note I; Burdach, op. cit., pp. 80-2, 159; on humanism,Murray, I.c. (but note that the example of 1832 has no historical meaning). 2 In Italian the form in which the word was preferably used in the beginning, evidently under the northern influence, is umanismo, and an example in I. Del. Lungo, Prose volgari inedite. .. di A. AmbroginiPoliziano, Florence, 1867, p. v, indicates that it was regarded as a new creation: "l'umanismo, secondo e tornato(?) in uso chiamare la letteratura del rinascimento"; later, umanesimo became the more usual form, for reasons implied in a remark by Migliorini, Saggi, p. 96, note 2; I do not know any examples of umanista in this sense which would seem significant by reason of their date. Umanesimo and umanista in the new sense appear rather late in the dictionaries: they are, I think, registered for the first time by Petrocchi, Novo dizionario universale della lingua italiana, II, Milan, 1891, p. 1181. 3 I have not myself made any researches on this point, but I think that the use of the term by H. Hagen, Zur Geschichteder Philologie und zur rimischen Litteratur, Berlin, 1879, p. 237 ("humanistarum, qui vocantur"), 242 ("humanistae", genit.) in a paper already published in 1877 is worth noting.

I841-43, and then by Voigt whose famous book first appeared in



there is talk of a new humanism, and the old word is again coloured by new ideal values. These will, in their time, be the concern of future philologists and historians. POSTSCRIPT I have already pointed out (see p. 68, note I) that the present article is published here as it was written in the first half of I946. I have decided to insert neither the new material which I have collected meanwhile, nor the few bibliographical notes which ought to be added here and there. But an article recently published by P. O. Kristeller must be acknowledged now: "Humanism and Scholasticism in the Italian Renaissance" (Byzantion,XVII, I944-45, PP- 346-374). This paper, which I have been able to read, thanks to the kindness of my learned friend, is of the greatest importance for a comprehensive valuation of Italian humanism, and also for my particular problem (see p. 366). I should like to express here my pleasure that we have both arrived independently at nearly identical conclusions. In fact in one compressed page Dr. Kristeller shows the origin of the word in the sphere of the Italian universities (he quotes an example of I490, up to now the oldest known); its penetration into official use; its connection with the ancient words of the school ending in -ista, and its meaning of teacher of humanities. He moreover suggests that the old has been misunderstood under the influence of the conception of term humanista Renaissance humanism accepted by modern students (a conception which his whole article shows to be indefensible); instead, as he concludes in accordance with what I wrote on p. 68-69, "The old term humanista ... reflectsthe more modest, but correct, contemporary view that the humanists were the teachers and representatives of a certain branch of learning which at that time was expanding and in vogue, but well limited in its subject matter." Finally, I want to express my gratitude to the translator of my article, whose task was by no means an easy one, and to my friends, Dr. N. Bujatti and Dr. J. Hess, for their help with the revision of the text and the translation of the present Postscript. Rome, October I947.