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Medieval life and Times

Short Biography about the life of Francesco Petrarch
The following biography, short history and interesting facts provide helpful information for history courses and history coursework about the life and history of Francesco Petrarch a famous Medieval character of historical importance who lived during the Middle Ages:

  • Country of Origin / Nationality: Italian

  • Also Known by the name: Francesco Petrarca and Francis Petrarch 
  • Lifetime: 1304 - 1374
  • Born: He was born in 1304 in Arezzo near Florence , Italy
  • Family connections : He was the the son of a notary called Ser Petracco
  • The family of Francesco Petrarch: As his career was in the Catholic church he was not allowed to marry. But Francesco Petrarch did father two children by a woman or women unknown. His son, Giovanni, was born in Avignon in 1337 and his daughter, named Francesca, was born in Vaucluse in 1343
  • Childhood, early life and education:
  • Occupation and Career: 
    • 1319 - 1323: Francesco Petrarch first studied in Avignon and then studied at Montpellier
    • 1323 - 1325: Francesco Petrarch studied law in Bologna
    • 1326: Petrarch returned to Avignon after the death of his father where he worked as a clerk
    • 1326: Francesco Petrarch joined the Franciscan Friars
    • 1327: Francesco Petrarch met Laura in Avignon in the church of Saint Claire
      • Laura de Noves was the 19 year old wife of Hugues de Sade
    • Francesco Petrarch became a prolific writer of sonnets
    • 1337: Francesco Petrarch first visited Rome
    • 1337: Francesco Petrarch became the father of his son Giovanni who was born in Avignon
    • 1341: Francesco Petrarch was made poet laureate in Rome
    • 1343: Francesco Petrarch became the father of his daughter Francesca who was born in Vaucluse
    • 1345 - 1347: Francesco Petrarch wrote Bucolicum Carmen and De Vita Solitaria
    • 1348: The death of Laura de Sade, possibly of the Black Death
    • Francesco Petrarch worked as a diplomat and travelled to many major cities in Europe
    • 1367:  Francesco Petrarch retired to Padua
    • 1374: Francesco Petrarch died in Arqua in the Euganean Hills
  • Died: Francesco Petrarch died on July 18, 1374
  • Cause of the death of Francesco Petrarch: The Black Death
  • Accomplishments and Achievements or why Francesco Petrarch was famous: Italian scholar, poet, and humanist. Famous for his poems which were addressed to Laura.
  • Francesco Petrarch is considered as one of the fathers of the Renaissance.
  • Francesco Petrarch was very inspired by the buildings of ancient Rome and Greece and was influential in reviving the ideas and ideals from the Greek and Roman times. Petrarch and his followers called themselves 'Humanists' because they believed that a manís life on earth should be thought of very highly
  • Prior to the Renaissance, or rebirth, art, architecture, sculpture and literature were based only on religious themes, with the beginning of the Renaissance, artists began to focus on nature and the human form

Francesco Petrarch
The story and biography of Petrarch which contains interesting information, facts & the history about the life of this Medieval person of historical importance.

The Sonnets of Francesco Petrarch
The sonnets - Francesco Petrarch perfected the unknown sonnet form for his poems to Laura. His form of sonnets is known as the Petrarchan sonnet.

Petrarch Rhyme Scheme
The Petrarch sonnet follows a set rhyme scheme ( Petrarch Rhyme Scheme ), which runs as follows: abba abba cdc dcd. The first eight lines of the sonnet (the octave) do not often deviate from the abba abba pattern, but the last six lines of the sonnet ( sestet)  frequently follow a different pattern. Each line also has the same number of syllables, usually 11 or 7 in the sonnets by Francesco Petrarch. In comparison the English Sonnet has 10 syllables per line. The sonnet became the preferred form for poets such as Ronsard, Gongora, Spenser and William Shakespeare.

Canzone Petrarch - The Canzoniere
Petrarch is also famous for using the Canzone scheme. The canzone ('song' of Provencal origin) with verses of different lengths and with an elaborate rhyme scheme. The Canzoniere, a collection of love lyrics by Francesco Petrarch, had enormous influence on the poets of the 15th and 16th centuries. His  love for Laura was expressed in the Rime sparse ("Scattered rhymes"). Later Renaissance poets copied the style of Francesco Petrarch and named this collection of 366 poems and sonnets the Canzoniere ("Song Book").

The works of Francesco Petrarch
Francesco Petrarch is best known for his Italian poetry and sonnets notably the Canzoniere and the Trionfi ("Triumphs"). The "Trionfi", was written by Francesco Petrarch in terza rima is allegorical and moral in its nature.

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