Giovanni Sulpizio Da Veroli
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Giovanni Sulpizio Da Veroli

Giovanni Sulpizio da Veroli or Johannes Sulpitius Verulanus or Verolensis (fl. c. 1470 - 1490) was an Italian Renaissance humanist and rhetorician. Known to Erasmus,[1] he was the author of a work on epistolary art, the proper composition and ornamentation of letters, De componendis et ornandis epistoli (c. 1475).[2]


He originated from the small commune of Veroli in Lazio, south of Rome.

Occupying the chair of grammar at the University of Rome, the Studium urbis, he joined with his master Pomponio Leto[3] in studying the remains of Roman antiquity that lay in ruins all about them, and made impassioned pleas for the purification of Latin. In 1486 Sulpizio prepared the first printed edition of Vitruvius' De Architectura for the press; the work had long circulated in manuscripts, some of them corrupt. The volume, which also includes the text of Frontinus' De aquaeductu describing the aqueducts of Rome, was dedicated to Cardinal Riario, an enthusiastic supporter of the ideals of the Pomponian sodalitas; the dedicatory epistle urges Riario to complete the recovery of classical Roman buildings with a theatre. In his preface Sulpizio urges readers to send him emendations of the notoriously crabbed and difficult text. With Vitruvius' text in hand, Sulpizio directed the erection of a reproduction open-air Roman theater in front of Palazzo Riario in Campo dei Fiori, Rome;[4] there, in 1486 or 1488 his students mounted the first production of a Roman tragedy that had been seen since Antiquity, in the presence of Pope Innocent VIII. The play they chose was Seneca's Phaedra, which they knew as Hippolytus.[5]

In his concern to purify the Latin that was still being spoken as a lingua franca in educated circles, he wrote a commentary on Quintilian.[6] The abruptness of the ending of Lucan's Pharsalia prompted him to add eleven verses, which were included in most early printed editions of Lucan's epic poem.

His Latin didactic poem, concerning the proper hygiene and table manners suited to the young student, and the pursuit of literary virtues, which lead to the other virtues, De moribus puerorum in mensa praecipue servandis, has been edited by M. Martini.[7]


  1. ^ See the brief vita of Sulpizio by Judith Rice Henderson in Peter G. Bietenholz and Thomas B. Deutscher, eds. Contemporaries of Erasmus Toronto.
  2. ^ Discussed by Judith Rice Henderson, "Humanist Letter Writing: Private Conversation or Public Forum?" in Toon Houdt, et al., eds., Self-presentation and Social Identification: the rhetoric and pragmatics of letter-writing in early modern times (Supplementa humanistica levaniensa xviii) (Leuven 2002).
  3. ^ "Paolo Pompilio, Antonio Volsco, Giovanni Sulpizio da Veroli facevano parte del gruppo Pomponiano ma insegnavano anche presso lo Studium" (Concentta Bianca, "Pomponio Leto e l'invenzione dell'accademia romana" in Les Académies dans l'Europe humaniste: idéaux et pratiques 2008:42).
  4. ^ I. Fenlon and N. Guidobaldi, "English echoes of some Roman revels (1492)" in Roger Parker, ed. Pensieri per un Maestro: studi in onore di Pierluigi Petrobelli 2002:9.
  5. ^ Ingrid D. Rowland, High Culture" in Guido Ruggiero, ed. A Companion to the Worlds of the Renaissance: 2002:238; for context, see J.S. Peters Theatre of the Book, 1480-1880: print, text, and performance in Europe, 2000.
  6. ^ A. Perosa, "L'edizione veneta di Quintiliano coi commenti del Valla, di Pomponio Leto e di Sulpizio da Veroli"
  7. ^ Martini, Il carme giovanile di Giovanni Sulpizio Verulano De moribus puerorum in mensa servandis, (Centro di studi soriani) Sora, 1980.

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