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Strabone, Geographia (trad. lat. di Guarino Veronese). Firenze, Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, Plut. 30,7, f. 1r (part.)

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Claudio Tolomeo, Geographiae libri octo, Venezia Biblioteca Marciana, Cod. gr. Z 388 (  =333), f. VIv (part.)

     In the history of translation activities from the ancient world to the modern day, Humanist and Renaissance translations from Greek mark a turning point, which had a decisive impact on modern literary translation practices. Translation was one of the many facets of a far-reaching project of translatio, in the etymological sense of ‘transfer’, of the intellectual heritage of ancient Greece to the West as the qualifying element of the new school of thought, Humanism.

     Translations from Greek played a prominent role in the process of diffusion of the classical and Byzantine heritage in Western La-

tin countries, and went hand in hand with the rediscovery of the classical texts. It was as a result of his extensive readings and translations that Leonardo Bruni, at the dawn of the Quattrocento, conceived a new, eventually successful, periodization of Western culture, seen as a succession of three ages, ancient, medieval and humanist, which were to be elaborated later into the oppositional concepts of Middle Age and Renaissance. Bruni was also foundational as a theorist of translation: he systematized in the De recta interpretatione the modern theory of literary, as opposed to literal, translation, which builds up on ancient authorities such as Cicero, Quintilian and St. Jerome. Bruni’s theory was passed on to later generations by the far better known De ratione dicendi, by Juan Luis Vives. Yet this central area of the Humanist and Renaissance activities has hitherto been neglected by scholarly research.

      ENTG aims to shed light on this unjustly neglected area. Our stated objectives are 1) the creation of a database of translators active at this period and of translated works, which will be inclusive of manuscripts and early printed editions which transmit these translations; 2) the publication of critical editions of extant translations. In this way it will be possible to begin to delineate a history of the Greek translations in the Humanist age, which will establish in the most accurate way the relationship between Humanist translation theory and praxis, as well as the relationship between the texts picked out by the Humanists and the translators’ cultural aims. The impact of these translations in the history of modern European cultural history will also be investigated. As Eugenio Garin once wrote while formulating the wish that such a history of humanist translation could be done, it is anticipated that a detailed history of Humanist translation practices will be decisive to revise much current thought on the Quattrocento in its literary, scientific, philosophical aspects -- a foundational period, whose original contributions go far beyond mere grammatical, retorical and erudite curiosities.  




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