Camena Medicea

The Joust of Giuliano de’ Medici in the Latin poetry of the Renaissance

Live on-line Course, September 16th – November 4th, 2022


Florence, January 1475: in the splendid setting of Piazza Santa Croce, the most famous joust of the Renaissance unfolds, Giuliano de’ Medici, younger brother of Lorenzo the Magnificent, joins the contest in honor of the the noblewoman Simonetta Cattaneo Vespucci.

The tournament furnished Angelo Poliziano with material for a masterpiece of vernacular poetry from the 15th century: the Stanze in which Poliziano portrays the love of Giuliano for the beautiful Simonetta. However, the poet left his ottava rima poem incomplete; there is no description of the joust but instead only the love relationship which preceeded it, most likely due first to the death of Simonetta and then the death of Giuliano in the Pazzi conspiracy of 1478. Poliziano does make reference to the joust in his enigmatic Sylva in scabiem, a short poem in which the poet references his ties to the Medici family while suffering in both body and mind from a bout of scabies. His poetic inspiration for this work is derived from the courage and strength of Giuliano on display in 1475 and is ultimately the reason why he implores Lorenzo the Magnificent to heal him from the disease that torments him.

Other poets under the patronage of the Medici also wrote various poems on the joust of 1475.  Among these poets is Giovanni Aurelio Augurelli, in whose elegies a young Simonetta expresses her fearts for the fight and then concludes the poem by celebrating the victory of her beloved Giuliano. The joust was also the subject of a long elegy by Naldo Naldi titled De ludicro hastatorum equitum certamine, and was likewise discussed in a Latin letter by Filippo Corsini to Piero Guicciardini.

These various accounts allow the reader to take up the role of spectator at the most renowned joust of the Renaissanceand to appreciate with deeper understanding the entrance of Giuliano on the jousting field referenced in the final lines of Poliziano’s Stanze.


Course Schedule

In an effort to satisfy the interests of a greater variety of groups, the course will be available at separate hours both in Latin (introduction, reading and exposition in Latin) and in Italian (reading, translation of select passages, and discussion in Italian).

Course will take place in the following sequence:
Latin (CET 17:00-18:00) ~ Italian (CET 18:15-19:15)


When Topic
I. Friday, September 16th, 2022 Giuliano the Omnipotent (Angelo Poliziano, Carmina and Stanze)
II. Friday, September 23rd, 2022 Giuliano the Omnipotent (Angelo Poliziano, Sylva in scabiem)
III. Friday, September 30th, 2022 The Joust (Naldo Naldi, Carmen de ludicro hastatorum equitum certamine)
IV. Friday, October 7th, 2022 Giuliano enters the jousting field (Filippo Corsini, Letter to Piero Guicciardini)
V. Friday, October 14th, 2022 Giuliano dons his arms (Giovanni Aurelio Augurelli, Carmina)
VI. Friday, October 21st, 2022 Anguish of the beloved (Giovanni Aurelio Augurelli, Carmina)
VII. Friday, October 28th, 2022 Put down your arms! (Giovanni Aurelio Augurelli, Carmina)
VIII. Friday, November 4th, 2022 A Speech for Mars and an invocation of the Muse (Giovanni Aurelio Augurelli, Carmina)






    Coat of arms of the House of Medici



    Simonetta Vespucci


    Giuliano de’ Medici


    Angelo Poliziano


    Lorenzo il Magnifico





    Giuseppe Marcellino


    Intended course audience

    Teachers, students and scholars of the ancient world.


    Online, using Zoom as a platform


    Latin or Italian


    Intermediate or advanced

    Professional development credit

    At the end of the course, a certificate of participation will be issued.

    Registration Cost

    Registration for the course (in Latin or in Italian) is 97€


    Once enrolled, you will be placed on the participants’ list and you will be sent an email with the necessary login information for your course. A recording of each lesson will be available for three days from the conclusion of each session.

    Lesson materials

    Lesson materials will be distributed during the lesson to deepen our exploration of the themes for the course.