One of Boccaccio's earliest works is a short Latin text that has come
to be known as the Allegoria mitoiogica, a copy of which exists in
his own hand in the Zibaldone laurenziano.l The Allegoria is primarily
a recasting of Ovid's account of Phaethon but with significant
changes that transform him into an authorial surrogate for the youthful
poet.2 Boccaccio does not alter the disastrous consequences of Phaethon's
chariot ride but he does change his reason for undertaking the journey. No
longer motivated by irresponsible vagaries of his reputation, in Boccaccio's
version of the story, Phaethon takes the chariot of the sun in response to
pleas from the people of Parthenope:
Si miseris est licitum aliquid suaderi, te per superos adiuramus, 0
Pheton, quod pias aures nostris vocibus non extonas. Ttl enim filius stellarum
principis porrectOlisque lucis amene, nutritus inter montis Elicone
Musas, in operationibus validis roboratus, a patre non devians, nobis
digneris ostendere florum generis novi virtutes, circa quas noster animus