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Vera Amicitia

Classical Notions of Friendship in Renaissance Thought and Culture

by Patrizia Piredda (Volume editor) Matthias Roick (Volume editor)
©2022 Edited Collection XVI, 288 Pages

Summary

This book investigates the meanings of the notion of friendship in the Renaissance from two perspectives, philological and philosophical, by observing how the notion was used in a broad spectrum of case studies of Renaissance culture. Each chapter highlights the ways in which authors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (writers, philosophers, philologists, politicians, etc.) appropriated Greek and Latin paradigms of friendship, on the one hand, applying them to understand their own social and political context while, on the other hand, they created new paradigms of friendship in both the public and private spheres. Each chapter develops an argument on the notion of friendship starting from the investigation of a particular context and creating a network of connections between words related to friendship, such as speaking sincerely (parrhēsia), flattery, justice, love, pleasure, good, utility, virtue, good life, and truth, in both the private and public domains. The writers addressed in the various chapters are – with regard to the ancients – Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, Plutarch, Cicero and Seneca and – among the moderns – Machiavelli, Montaigne, Thomas More, Erasmus, Juan de Mariana, Feliciano Silvestri, Johannes Caselius, the members of the Fruchtbringende Gesellschaft, and the authors of Renaissance emblem books.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the editors
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • List of Illustrations
  • Preface (Matthias Roick)
  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction (Patrizia Piredda)
  • Authentic and Counterfeit Friendship: A Reading of Montaigne through Ancient Reflections on Frankness and Flattery (Sara Diaco)
  • How to Tell a Flatterer from a Friend: The Solitude of the Tyrant in Early Modern Treatises (Cecilia Asso)
  • Friendship and Virtues in the Good Society: Thomas More’s Utopia (Patrizia Piredda)
  • The Thousand Faces of Friendship: An Iconological Survey of the Emblem Books of the Herzog August Library (Valeria Butera)
  • Private or Political Friendships? Machiavelli’s Sociability after 1512 and His Strategies of Retreat and Rehabilitation (Stefano Saracino)
  • Virtue and Discord: Notions of Friendship in Commentaries on Cicero’s De amicitia in Sixteenth-Century Germany (Matthias Roick)
  • Ich werde aber in meiner gefreundter dienst verreisen: Sociability and Friendship in the Letters of the Fruchtbringende Gesellschaft (1617–1650) and Beyond (Gabriele Ball)
  • The Notion of Friendship in Johannes Caselius’s Occasional Poetry (Clemens Cornelius Brinkmann)
  • Notes on Contributors
  • Index
  • Series index

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Illustrations

Figure 1.Andrea Alciato, Viri Clarissimi D. ANdreę Alciati Iurisconsultiss. Mediol. ad D. Chonradum Peutingerũ Augustanum, Iuriaconsultum Emblematum liber, Augsburg: Heinrich Steiner, 1531, c. A 6v. Woodcut attributed to Jorg Breü. Bayerische Staatsbibliothek München, Res/L.eleg.m. 36, c. A 6v (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0). urn:nbn:de:bvb:12-bsb00028608-8.

Figure 2.Joachim Camerarius, Joachimi Camerarii Medici, V. Cl. Symbolorum Et Emblematum Centuriae Tres: I. Ex herbis & stirpibus. II. Ex animalibus quadrupedibus. III. Ex. volatilibus & insectis; Accessit Noviter Centuria IV. Ex aquatilibus & reptilibus: Cum Figuris Aeneis, Nürnberg: Typis Voegelinianis, 1605. Centuria I (1590), c. I 4r. Engraving by Hans Siebmacher (or Sibmacher). Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel, A: 18.6 Eth. (CC BY-SA 3.0).

Figure 3.Matthias Holtzwart, Emblematvm Tyrocinia: Sive Picta Poesis Latinogermanica. Das ist. Eingeblemete Zierwerck/ oder Gemälpoesy: Jnnhaltend Allerhand GeheymnuflLehren/ durch Kunstfündige Gemäl angepracht/ vnd Poetisch erkläret … , Straßburg: Jobin, 1581, c. D 4r. Woodcut by Tobias Stimmer. Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel, H: T 355.8° Helmst. (2) (CC BY-SA 3.0).

Figure 4.Gregorius Kleppisius, Theatrum Emblematicum Gregori[i]‌ Kleppisi[i] Poetae L. Caesarii, Cunrad Gralle Sculp. [1623], c. 33v, detail. Engraving by Conrad Gralle. Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel, A: 26.1 Eth. (CC BY-SA 3.0).

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Figure 5.Johannes Sambucus, Emblemata, Cvm Aliqvot Nvmmi Antiqvi Operis/ Ioan. Sambvci Tirnaviensis Pannonii, Antwerp: Plantin, 1564, c. A 8v. Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel, M: Li 7744.1 (1) (CC BY-SA 3.0).

Figure 6.Gabriel Rollenhagen, Emblemata: Volsinnighe uytbeelses / by Gabrielem Rollenhagium uyt andere versamelt/ en vermeerdert met syn eygene sinrijcke vindingen/ Gestelt in Nederduytsche Rijme Door Zacharis Heyns, Arnhem: Jan Ianszen; [Ultraiecti]: Passaeus, Deel 2, 1617, c. 32, detail. Engraving by Chrispin de Passe. Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel, A: 21.2 Eth. (2) (CC BY-SA 3.0).

Figure 7.Gabriel Rollenhagen, Emblemata: Volsinnighe uytbeelses / by Gabrielem Rollenhagium uyt andere versamelt/ en vermeerdert met syn eygene sinrijcke vindingen/ Gestelt in Nederduytsche Rijme Door Zacharis Heyns, Arnhem: Jan Ianszen; [Ultraiecti]: Passaeus, Deel 2, 1617, c. 72, detail. Engraving by Chrispin de Passe. Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel, A: 21.2 Eth. (2) (CC BY-SA 3.0).

Figure 8.Johann Theodor – Johann Israel de Bry, Emblemata Sæcvlaria, Mira Et Ivcvnda Varietate Sæcvli Hvivs Mores Ita Exprimentia, vt Sodalitatum Symbolis Insigniisque conscribendis & depingendis peraccommoda sint. Versibvs Latinis, Rithmisqve Germanicis, Gallicis, Belgicis: speciali item Declamatione de Amore exornata / Io. Theodorvm Et Io. Israeltem de Bry, Fratres germanos, ciues Francoford., Francoforti: De Bry, 1596, Nr. 46, detail. Engraving by Johann Theodor de Bry. Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel, A: 22.1 Eth. (CC BY-SA 3.0).

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Figure 9.Andrea Alciato, Les Emblemes De M. Andre Alciat, Traduits en ryme Françoise par Iean le Feure, Lyon: Jean de Tournes, 1548, c. D 4r. Woodcut by Bernard Salomon. Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel, M: Li 63 (1) (CC BY-SA 3.0).

Figure 10.Gregorius Kleppisius, Theatrum Emblematicum Gregori[i]‌ Kleppisi[i] Poetae L. Caesarii, Cunrad Gralle Sculp. [1623], c. 33r, detail. Engraving by Conrad Gralle. Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel, A: 26.1 Eth. (CC BY-SA 3.0).

Figure 11.Cesare Ripa, Iconologia: overo descrittione di diverse imagini cavate dall’antichità, & di propria inuentione, Roma: Faeij, 1603, c. A 8v. Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte Berlin, Library, Rara R588i (CC-BY-SA).

Figure 12.Personification of Friendship (Amicitia), [fol. 2 recto] in Ms. Speculum principis, c. 1512–1515, French school, pen and brown ink with watercolour on laid paper, 163 × 105 mm, Washington, National Gallery of Art, Woodner Collection, Gift of Andrea Woodner. Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington (CC BY-SA 3.0).

Figure 13.Hans Frandsen (or Iohanne Franciscus Ripensi), Typvs Amiciciae Ad Philippvm Melanth., Wittenberg (?), 1561, 282 × 216 mm (178 × 133 mm). Woodcut by Johann Krafft the Elder (?) after Lucas Cranach the Elder. Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel, A: 95.10. Quod. 2° (74) © Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel.

Figure 14.Johannes Sambucus, Emblemata, Cvm Aliqvot Nvmmi Antiqvi Operis/ Ioan. Sambvci Tirnaviensis Pannonii, Antwerp: Plantin, 1564, c. N 3v. Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel, M: Li 7744.1 (1) (CC BY-SA 3.0).

Figure 15.Georg Philipp Harsdörffer, Das erneurte Stamm- und Stechbüchlein: Hundert Geistliche Hertzens Siegel/ Weltliche Spiegel/ Zu eigentlicher Abbildung der Tugenden und Laster vorgestellet/ und Mit hundert Poetischen Einfällen erkläret Durch Fabianum Athyrum, der loblichen Sinnkünste Beflißnen.; Diesem ist angefüget Don Francisci de Quevedo Villegas Traum Von der entdeckten Warheit, Nürnberg: Paul Fürst – Christoph Gerhard, 1654, c. Bb 2v. Engraving by Andreas Kohl. Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel, A: 165.19 Eth. (1) (CC BY-SA 3.0).

Figure 16.Fruchtbringende Gesellschaft. Impresa from the society book (1629). Engraver Matthäus Merian the Elder. – Klaus Conermann, [1985] I, following page of [A iv]v.

Figure 17.Prince Ludwig von Anhalt Köthen. Left: Coat of arms and autograph. Right: Impresa. From the society book (1629). Engraver Matthäus Merian the Elder. – Klaus Conermann, [1985] I, [A]‌v and A ij r.

Figure 18.Title page of Christian Gueintz’ Die Deutsche Rechtschreibung. Halle: Salfeld, 1645. – Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel: Ko 209 (2).

Figure 19.Frontispiece of Caspar von Stieler’s Der Teutschen Sprache Stammbaum und Fortwachs. Nürnberg: Hofmann, 1691. – Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel: 22. 2 Grammatica.

Figure 20.Duke August von Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel. Impresa from the society book (1629). Engraver Matthäus Merian the Elder. – Klaus Conermann, [1985] I, Mmm iij r.

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Matthias Roick

Preface

The notion of friendship is one of the central tenets of Renaissance moral and political thought. Far from being ephemeral, it served as a powerful means for understanding the social relationships we forge with each other and the personal bonds that we develop throughout our lives. Of course, these relationships and bonds serve different purposes and appear in widely different forms over time and space. During the Renaissance, these purposes and forms intertwined, when philosophers, writers, artists, and intellectuals started to rethink classical notions of friendship. Their attempt to adapt these notions to their own social and cultural contexts did not spring from an antiquarian interest, but from the pressing concerns of the present. New types of aristocracy and court culture made it necessary to reflect on the changed forms of sociability; attempts at religious reform exacerbated the threat of discord and dissent.

Right at the heart of the reflections on friendship was the idea of vera amicitia, of true friendship. Historians have often dismissed such an idea, pointing to the omnipresence of early modern friendship relations and their role in establishing patron-client relationships. Philosophers, too, seem sceptical, questioning the terminology of truth and falsehood as well as virtue and vice underpinning the concept. There can be no doubt, however, that the idea of vera amicitia was part of the social imaginary of the time, constituting a vanishing point towards which the lines of one’s personal relations converged and that steered social life. This is not to say, rather naively, that we can simply distinguish between “true” and “false” friendships when we study individual cases and specific contexts from close enough. Instead, it means studying how the notion of friendship, in itself rather unspecifiable, was spelled out in these cases and contexts.

Our volume discusses the attempts to connect past and present, tradition and innovation, in a number of ways. Reflecting the interdisciplinarity ←xi | xii→of the topic, we have asked philosophers, historians, historians of literature, and historians of art to look at the many aspects of discussions on friendship in the Renaissance. Some of the thinkers figuring in this volume are household names: Desiderius Erasmus, Thomas More, Niccolò Machiavelli, and Michel de Montaigne. Others, such as Feliciano Silvestri, Johannes Caselius, Sixt Birck, and Hieronymus Wolf, will be less familiar to readers. These authors discussed the notion of friendship not only in philosophical treatises, but in a whole range of genres such as letters, emblems, and commentaries; furthermore, they moved within a variety of social and cultural contexts.

Undoubtedly flattery, as the very opposite of true friendship, attracted a lot of interest in authors who were well acquainted with the aristocratic and courtly conventions of their time. Montaigne reflects on frankness and truth in a society characterised by simulation and dissimulation; Erasmus thinks through the consequences of unrestrained political power turning into tyranny and deceit; and Thomas More, author of Utopia, critically reflected on the utilitarian and political sociability typical of the ambiance of the court.

The problem of truth and friendship also emerges in other contexts. Machiavelli struggled for friendship and social recognition within the Medici networks between Florence and Rome; Birck and Wolf had to come to terms with the evolving confessional conflicts in the imperial city of Augsburg; the Fruitbearers, a language society that brought together nobles and citizens for moral reform, established ties of both kinship and friendship among its members during the troubled times of the Thirty Years’ War. Emblems transmitted friendship values through their combination of visual and textual materials, while occasional poetry helped Johannes Caselius to demonstrate his learning and to cultivate his contacts with the members of academy.

Our focus on authors and contexts aims at widening our knowledge of the historical dimension of friendship and broadening the base for future studies. Written by specialists in their fields, we hope that the contributions in this volume will be stimulating not only for other specialists, but also for a wider audience with an interest in the topic of friendship.

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Patrizia and I developed our ideas for a workshop on friendship during her stay in Wolfenbüttel, home of the Herzog August Bibliothek. Sitting and talking over a coffee about the connections between early modern and contemporary culture, discussing cinema, literature, and politics, the question of friendship returned as a fundamental leitmotiv. Developing the idea, we decided to organise a workshop on “Virtue and Sociability. Early Modern Notions of Friendship in Context” that took place at the Lichtenberg Kolleg, the Göttingen Institute for Advanced Study, on 28–29 February 2020. It turned out to be the last event at the Institute before the Covid-19 pandemic forced us into lockdown.

Little did we know what would happen in the following months, and how urgent some of the topics of our workshop would become. The ensuing health crisis prevented many of us from seeing our families, romantic connections, and friends, making us experience first-hand our elemental need to belong and to socialise. The texts you will read are fruit of the work that the authors, despite all the difficulties arising from the emergency of the pandemic, managed with tenacity and positivity to carry through in an admirable manner.

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Acknowledgements

The editors thank all participants at the workshop for their presentations and the lively discussions. A very warm thank you to Martin van Gelderen, Kora Baumbach, and Heidi Hopf for their help in organising the workshop. Without them, our meeting would have been much less sociable and friendly! We also thank Carsten Nahrendorf for giving us a helping hand and joining our discussions. Special thanks to Aelmuire Helen Cleary for her precious work of reading, correcting, and editing our contributions, and to Gianluca Cinelli for his advice and support. We would also like to thank Laurel Plapp, Senior Commissioning Editor at Peter Lang, Sarah Alyn Stacey, Chief Editor of the series “Court Cultures of the Middle Ages and Renaissance” and Director of the Trinity Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Trinity College Dublin, the Centre’s Editorial Board, and the anonymous peer reviewers. Our sincere gratitude goes to the VolkswagenStiftung, which covered the costs of the workshop and publication within the framework of the Freigeist project “The Ways of Virtue. The Ethica Section in Wolfenbüttel and the History of Ethics in Early Modern Europe”. Without its generous support this book would not have been possible.

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Patrizia Piredda

Details

Pages
XVI, 288
Year
2022
ISBN (PDF)
9781800792081
ISBN (ePUB)
9781800792098
ISBN (MOBI)
9781800792104
ISBN (Softcover)
9781800792074
DOI
10.3726/b18014
Language
English
Publication date
2021 (December)
Keywords
Friendship Renaissance Reception of Ancient Philosophy Vera Amicitia Patrizia Piredda Matthias Roick
Published
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, New York, Wien, 2022. XVI, 288 pp., 2 fig. col., 18 fig. b/w, 1 tables.

Biographical notes

Patrizia Piredda (Volume editor) Matthias Roick (Volume editor)

Patrizia Piredda is a scholar of literature and philosophy. She has published on ethics and literature, metaphor, and utopia and has focused on such authors as Pirandello, Primo Levi, Thomas More, Wittgenstein, Aristotle, and Nietzsche. Her publications include «L’etico non si può insegnare» (2014), La letteratura e il male (2015), La maschera del dandy. Studio estetico su George Bryan Brummell (2017), and La riflessione etica nel teatro italiano contemporaneo (2018). Matthias Roick works on Renaissance humanism and the history of ethics, with a special interest in the concept of virtue and its role in early modern culture and society. As principal investigator of the Freigeist research project «The Ways of Virtue. The Ethica Section in Wolfenbüttel and the History of Ethics in Early Modern Europe» (2014–2020), he studied the complex relationships between moral philosophy, literature, and book culture in Germany during the Thirty Years’ War. He is the author of Pontano’s Virtues: Aristotelian Moral and Political Thought in the Renaissance (2017).

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