Note on the Fortune of the Epistles of Marcantonio Sabellico: The Case of Matteo Bandello




humanism, Latin tradition, textual appropriation, Marcantonio Sabellico, Matteo Bandello, bucentaur


This essay draws attention to the specific phenomenon of borrowings among contemporaries, using as an example Marcantonio Sabellico, whose magnificent descriptions often appeared elsewhere with the role of literary frescoes. I take a close look at the case of a 1493 letter to Barbavarus (Ep. III 18), part of which was reused by Sabellico in a different context (Enneades, X, lib. VIII). After finding this epistle, Matteo Bandello revived it and inserted it in his Parentalis oratio, written on the death of Francesco II Gonzaga. An edition of the letter, which ended up becoming a descriptive model par excellence of a bucentaur is presented in the Appendix.

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