The Composition of Ortensio Lando’s Dialogue Cicero Relegatus et Cicero Revocatus

Author: Fahy, Conor
Title: The Composition of Ortensio Lando’s Dialogue Cicero Relegatus et Cicero Revocatus
Review/Collection: "Italian Studies", 30
Year edition: 1975
Pages: 30-41
Keywords: Héritage - Fortuna - Legacy
Description:   Abstract : The first published work of Ortensio Lando is the dialogue CICERO RELEGATUS ET CICERO REVOCATUS, which appeared in 1534 in separate editions in three different European cities, Lyons, Leipzig and Venice, an indication of the widespread interest in discussions on Ciceronianism, following the publication in 1528 of Erasmus’s provocative Ciceronianus. One should, strictly speaking, refer to the work in the plural, for though it is untrue that it was ever published in separate parts, as has sometimes been believed, it consists of two largely independent, though complementary, dialogues, the first containing criticism of Cicero, and concluding with his banishment, the second recounting his praises and his triumphant return. The form of Lando’s Cicero dialogue thus provides the earliest evidence of a characteristic feature of its author’s mentality, his apparent tendency to support both sides of any question, which achieves its most satisfactory literary expression in his Paradossi (1543), and which continues to make life difficult for those interested in unravelling his intellectual position. In the present contribution, however, I do not intend to try my skill as an interpreter of the Cicero dialogue, which has recently received a certain amount of attention from scholars, but to set myself the more modest task of investigating some of the circumstances surrounding the work’s composition. As is the case with all but the major authors of the Cinquecento, the factual information available in reference sources on Lando and his works, where it is not inaccurate, is often incomplete, and first-hand research is essential if interpretation of his works is to be freed from dependence on misleading or inaccurate surmises passing as factual data.
Author initials: Fahy 1975