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Medieval Mythography, Volume 3The Emergence of Italian Humanism, 1321-1475$
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Jane Chance

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780813060125

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813060125.001.0001

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“Iohannes de Certaldo”:

“Iohannes de Certaldo”:

Self-Validation in Boccaccio’s “Genealogies of the Gods” (ca. 1350–75)

Chapter:
(p.126) Chapter Three “Iohannes de Certaldo”
Source:
Medieval Mythography, Volume 3
Author(s):

Jane Chance

Publisher:
University Press of Florida
DOI:10.5744/florida/9780813060125.003.0004

Visible early on in Boccaccio’s Latin mythological works is his practice of using classical myth and allegory as a vehicle for concealing the personal and political. Illegitimate himself, Boccaccio throughout his career focused on mythological conflicts between son and father figures and his own legitimacy as a poet and scholar like Dante or Petrarch. In his major mythographic work, the Genealogie deorum gentilium, (never finished), he imagines himself as having descended from the gods, a hero like Ulysses on an epic journey. Using classical and biblical myths in the same mythography, he had begun early on, while in Naples in the 1330s, but never finished the Allegoria mitologica, an adaptation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, books 1 and 2. Clear in both works is a mission to reconstruct a genealogy of the gods and a universal history by means of Greco-Roman mythology used as an ancient past for Italy, particularly in the south. He spent much of his adult life in Naples, a site that colored both his writing of the Decameron and his own personal history, which seeps into the two mythological works and into one of his last, unfinished, vernacular works, the expositions on Dante’s Inferno.

Keywords:   Boccaccio, Genealogie deorum gentilium, allegory, mythography, gods, Naples

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