Giovanni Boccaccio (1313 – 21 December 1375)
was an Italian author and poet, a friend, student,
and correspondent of Petrarch, an important
Renaissance humanist and the author of a number
of notable works including the Decameron, On
Famous Women, and his poetry in the Italian
vernacular. Boccaccio is particularly notable for his
dialogue, and he surpasses in verisimilitude his
Boccaccio grew up in Florence. His father was working
for the Compagnia dei Bardi and in the 1320s married
Margherita dei Mardoli.
Boccaccio travels to Naples with his father, agent of
the Bardi Bank.
Boccaccino moves to Paris. Giovanni, with
greater freedom, pursues his humanistic interests in
literature as is attested by his first essays in Latin (the
Elegia di Costanza and the Allegoria mitologica, both
certainly composed before 1334) and his first
Boccaccio began work on the Decameron around
1349. The work was largely complete by 1352.
Boccaccio revised and rewrote the Decameron in
1370-1371. This manuscript has survived to the
He died at the age of sixty-two on 21 December
1375 in Certaldo, where he is buried.
De Casibus Virorum Illustrium
De Mulieribus Claris
The Elegy of Lady Fiammetta
On the Genealogy of The Gods of The
The Filocolo, is a novel written by Giovanni Boccaccio
between 1335-36. It is considered to be the first
novel of Italian literature written in prose. It is based
on a very popular story of the time, Florio e
Il Filostrato is a poem by the Italian
writer Giovanni Boccaccio, and the
inspiration for Geoffrey Chaucer's
Troilus and Cryseide and, through
Chaucer, the Shakespare play Troilus
and Cressida. It is itself loosely based
on Le Roman de Troie, by 12th
century poet Benoît de Sainte-Maure.
The Decameron (subtitle: Prencipe Galeotto)
is a collection of 100 novellas by Italian author
Giovanni Boccaccio, probably begun in 1350
and finished in 1353. It is a medieval
allegorical work best known for its bawdy tales
of love, appearing in all its possibilities from
the erotic to the tragic. Some believe many
parts of the tales are indebted to the influence
of The Book of Good Love. The title is a
portmanteau of two Greek words meaning
"ten" (δέκα déka) and "day" (ἡμέρα hēméra).
The Decameron is structured in a frame narrative, or
frame tale. This work opens with a description of the
Bubonic Plague (Black Death) and leads into an
introduction of a group of seven young women and
three young men who fled from Plague ridden
Florence for a villa outside of the city walls. To pass the
time, each member of the party tells one story for
every one of the ten nights spent at the villa. The
Decameron is a distinctive work, in that it describes in
detail the physical, psychological and social effects that
the Bubonic Plague had on that part of Europe.
One of the women, Pampinea, is
elected Queen for the first day.
Each day the company's previous
king/queen elects who shall
succeed them and nominates the
theme for the current day's
storytelling. Each day has a new
theme assigned to it except for
days 1 and 9.
Days’ Themes: Misfortunes that bring a
person to a state of unexpected happiness;
people who have achieved an object they
greatly desired, or recovered a thing
previously lost; love stories that ended
unhappily; love that survived disaster; those
who have avoided danger; tricks women
have played on their husbands; tricks both
men and women play on each other; those
who have given very generously whether for
love or another endeavour.
Boccaccio had been educated in the
tradition of Dante's Divine Comedy which
used various levels of allegory to show the
connections between the literal events of
the story and the Christian message.
However Decameron uses Dante's model,
not to educate the reader but to satirize
this method of learning.
The Decameron of
Giovanni Boccaccio is
one of the greatest
works of Italian prose. It
was written between
1348 and 1353.
This short story belongs to the sixth
day, dedicated to witticism thanks to
which the protagonists get out of sticky
spots. The Venetian cook Chichibio
manages to overcome a difficult
situation caused by his carelessness and
indulgence in love affairs. Currado
Gianfigliazzi, an eminent citizen of
Florence and a passionate hunter, one
day killed a crane and sent it to his
cook, Chichibio, to have it cooked for
The smell of the crane attracted a young woman, Brunetta,
a flirt of Chichibio’s, who asked him a leg of the bird.
Chichibio refused at first, but then the woman managed to
convince him by saying that if he didn’t give her a leg of
the crane, she would never submit to his desire.
At dinner-time, Currado, very surprised, asked Chichibio
why the crane had only one leg, and he replied that cranes,
indeed, are single legged birds and if the Master didn’t
believe that, he would show him the following morning.
Corrado accepted, but he threatened that if he found out
that Chichibio had lied to him, he would beat him to
The next morning they went to a river where some cranes were
sleeping, resting on a single leg. Chichibio made his master
notice that he had not lied, since the cranes were standing on
one leg. At this remark, Currado galloped towards the river
shouting and all the cranes flew away, clearly showing two legs.
Currado, enraged, asked Chichibio to explain himself, and the
cook, knowing that only a witty remark could save him, said
that Currado had not shouted at dinner the night before. If he
had, the crane in his plate would have shown the other leg.
Amused by Chichibio’s cunning, Currado laughed and forgave
The First Novel
A knight offers to carry Madonna Oretta a horseback with a story, but
tells it so ill that she prays him to dismount her; Filomena narrates this
The Second Novel
Cisti, a baker, by an apt speech gives Messer Geri Spina to know that
he has by inadvertence asked that of him which he should not; Pampinea
The Third Novel
Monna Nonna de' Pulci by a ready retort silences the scarce seemly
jesting of the Bishop of Florence;Lauretta narrates it.
The Fourth Novel
Chichibio, Currado Gianfigliazzi’s cook, owes his safety to a ready
answer, whereby he converts Currado's wrath into laughter, and evades
the evil fate with which Currado had threatened him; Neifile narrates
The Fifth Novel
Messer Forese da Rabatta, a knowledgeable jurist, and Master Giotto, a
painter, make fun of each other's poor appearance while returning from
Mugello; Panfilo narrates this tale.
The Sixth Novel
Michele Scalza proves to certain young men that the Baronci are
the best gentlemen in the world and the Maremma, and wins a
supper; Fiammetta narrates it.
The Seventh Novel
Madonna Filippa, being found by her husband with her lover, is cited
before the court, and by a ready and clever answer acquits herself,
and brings about an alteration of the statute; Filostrato narrates
The Eighth Novel
Fresco admonishes his niece not to look at herself in the glass, if it
is, as she says, grievous to her to see nasty folk; Emilia narrates.
The Ninth Novel
Guido Cavalcanti by a quip meetly rebukes certain Florentine
gentlemen who had taken him at a disadvantage; Elissa narrates it.
The Tenth Novel
Friar Cipolla promises to show certain country-folk a feather of the
Angel Gabriel, in lieu of which he finds coals, which he avers to be
of those with which Saint Lawrence was roasted; Dioneo narrates
Courtly Love as a concept, if not as a practice,
developed out of a mixture of Arab Love
Poetry and Troubadour Poetry. The Cult of
the Virgin Mary got mixed in a bit later:
Arab Love Poetry; lady worship;
Arab Love Poetry; lady worship; joi
(Bernart de Ventadorn);Conjugal
There are three unique aspects of Courtly Love:
the ennobling force of human love
the elevation of the beloved above the lover
love as ever unsatisfied, ever increasing desire
This power of transformation, of ennobling the character of the
lover, is the distinguishing characteristic of Courtly Love. Courtly
love is something entirely new in Europe, and the major source of
our modern ideas about romantic love.
keep it secret
be wise and restrained in conduct
be generous and charitable
be humble, not proud
offer service to all ladies
do what is pleasing to your loved one
associate with good men; avoid the wicked
jealousy increases love
Wit is the most common weapon used
among the characters of the Novella
to harm each other. Wit is also
employed by many characters in
retaliation, or to escape a potentially
dangerous situation. Wit is sometimes
the only way to redeem themselves or
All the characters including those of
low estate may redeem themselves
with the exercise of virtue.
The virtues which Boccaccio has in
mind are the use of reason and