Ludovico di Strassoldo, Minor friar

He was probably born in the last years of the fourteenth century and died just before 1451. Next to his studies, his activity was for the order he had entered (preaching, vicariates, inquisition), mostly in the territories of northern Italy, Dalmatia and in the Balkans. News regarding his life are still fragmentary, nevertheless they apparently display a personality able to move with a certain independence and with a specific interest for books: among the first sure data about him there is the notice of his assignment of a codex of Henry of Ghent’s works to the humanist Francesco Barbaro in 1422, and in 1423 the permit by the commune of Udine to lend him two books from the Franciscan library. Ludovico himself wrote a report on his first activities in his Dialogus de papali potestate dedicated to Eugene IV Condulmer, the new pope of Venetian origins, in 1431. Around the year 1421 he wanted to go to the East to accomplish his knowledge of the Greek language, but he stayed at Ancona by the future pope, who was then a cardinal, to teach him the rudiments of Greek. In 1434 Strassoldo was appointed an inquisitor of the diocese of Concordia and the patriarchy of Aquileia, whose relations with the Holy See were critical at that time: the patriarch had more and more openly taken his side with Basel. After his death the cardinal chamberlain Ludovico Trevisan was appointed patriarch, who had to undertake long and fatiguing negotiations for the recovery and reorganization of the patriarchal prerogatives since the beginning of the Forties. Ludovico was to die towards the year 1451: he expressed his will to leave his own books to St. Francis’ convent of Udine, where he had probably accomplished his religious profession and received his first education. This was a library of remarkable worth that consisted of important pieces, among which the Rehdigeranus, a biblical codex of surely Aquileian provenance, which is now kept in Berlin, after being kept in the Stadtbibliothek in Breslau with the shelf-mark R 169. This collection had also a dedicated section of Greek books, a sign of a direct and continuous interest for the eastern world. Yet after his death his Friulian confreres decided, which was not infrequent among Minor friars, to sell Strassoldo’s books. Luckily the best part of this collection – that is to say the Greek codices – were purchased on behalf of Nicholas V and transferred to Rome in the new Papal Library which was at that time being fitted.

For further information see the entry Strassoldo (di) Ludovico, umanista written by Antonio Manfredi in Nuovo Liruti. Dizionario biografico dei Friulani, 2, LEtà Veneta, edited by C. Scalon, C. Griggio, U. Rozzo, Udine, Forum, 2009, 2417-2420.

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