Pope Paul II arrested a prominent group of humanists on charges of conspiracy and heresy. They were imprisoned in Castel Sant'Angelo and tortured before ultimately being released. One of those humanists, Bartolomeo Platina, later wrote a Lives of the Popes that became the definitive history of the papacy for hundreds of years. The work included a Life of Paul II, which Platina used as an opportunity to defend himself and humanism— and to attack Paul II. It is a remarkable work of literature, in which the main conflict in the story plays out between the protagonist and the author himself. For Latinists interested in exploring Renaissance literature, there are few better introductory texts than Platina's Life of Paul II. The narrative is animated by the controversies stemming from the rediscovery of Classical literature, including issues such as republicanism, homoeroticism, and debates about the immortality of the soul. Platina's Paul II also introduces readers to key Renaissance institutions like the Papal Curia and the Roman Academy.
This edition aims to enable intermediate-level students of Latin to read the text in its original language. There is a substantial introduction that provides background on fifteenth-century Rome and on Latin in the Renaissance, as well as new research on the constitution of the text. The Latin text includes a running glossary and grammatical commentary on every page.