Francesco Petrarca, one of the founders of Renaissance humanism, was born in Arezzo in 1304 as the son of a notary public exiled from Florence. He grew in Avignon when it was the Papal seat (1309-77) and in the adjacent Carpentras, where he received instruction in grammar and rhetoric before he was sent to study law at Montpellier and Bologna, with much of his time however devoted to his discovery of Cicero, Virgil, and Augustine (The City of God, 415). Upon his father's death he broke off his law studies and returned to Avignon to lead a dissipated life, spending his inheritance, composing Italian love songs that made him well known and, in a financial pinch, joining the Franciscan Friars Minor in 1326. This decision proved to b…
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Hoffmeister, Gerhart. "Francesco Petrarch". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 06 July 2004
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