Giacomo da Udine, humanist

He is mostly known for a bundle of works, of various genres, which won him the appreciation and friendship of, among others, Francesco Barbaro, Guarnerio d’Artegna and Giovanni da Spilimbergo, and make of him one of the most prolific fifteenth-century authors in Friuli.

Subscription and date on the Lattantius codex copied in Florence by Giacomo da Udine  in 1439 (Par. lat., 2968, f. 32r and 61v).

Subscription and date on the Lattantius codex copied in Florence by Giacomo da Udine in 1439 (Par. lat., 2968, f. 32r and 61v).

Giacomo, a son to Giacomo of Giovanni of Val di Carnia, notary in Udine, was born in the first decade of the fifteenth century. After receiving his education in his hometown and attending at least three years of juridical studies, he was lucky enough to become a member of Ludovico Trevisan’s family, who was at the time bishop of Traù, later archbishop of Florence, then patriarch of Aquileia (1439-1465) and eventually cardinal chamberlain of the Holy Roman Church. His fellowship with Trevisan made him get in touch with the Florentine humanistic milieus and, among other things, won him the prebend of canon of Aquileia, documented as early as 1442, until his death on 21 December 1482. To Francesco Barbaro, who was appointed general governor (luogotenente) of the ‘Patria del Friuli’ in 1448, Giacomo dedicated his De antiquitatibus Aquileiensibus. To this work of historical genre Giacomo added the hagiographical one when he wrote the Vita beatae Helenae Utinensis, dedicated to pope Paul II. The third known work by Giacomo is De militari arte apud Graecos Carthaginenses Romanosque et armis contra Turcos sumendis, which he addressed to Frederic ‘comes’ (count) of Urbino, as well as to pope Sixtus IV with an invitation to the latter to take arms against Turks. These last two works are partially or fully unpublished and their manuscripts, both having one only witness, are kept in the Vatican Apostolic Library.

For further information see the entry Giacomo da Udine, umanista written by Andrea Tilatti in Nuovo Liruti. Dizionario biografico dei Friulani, 2, LEtà Veneta, edited by C. Scalon, C. Griggio, U. Rozzo, Udine, Forum, 2009, 1263-1266.

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