The article examines Virgil’s alleged interest in Platonic philosophy, sketched out in his Lives, and its contribution to the image of the philosopher-poet as defined by Dante and Petrarch. Both poets read closely the Lives of Virgil and sought in them guidance for their own poetic missions. Here I argue that Petrarch tried to defend Dante’s misunderstood Divine Comedy by presenting him as a devotee of Platonic allegoresis of the same caliber as Virgil. His efforts were continued by Landino who wished to accommodate both poets to the intellectual background of Medicean Florence. In negotiating the tension between poetry and philosophy Landino-an accomplished poet himself-is willing to recognize the contribution of allegory to introducing philosophical enquiry to the masses, although he eventually decides to embrace the pursuit of philosophy per se.
- reception of Virgilian Lives
- Virgil as Platonic philosopher
- medieval philosopher-poet
- Dante and Virgil
- Petrarch and Virgil
- Landino and philosopher-poets