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Classics Presents Dr. Gareth Williams "Received Wisdom: Celibacy,Cicero,& the Case against Marriage in Barbaro's Venice"

Monday, February 28, 2022
4:30 PM – 6:00 PM

Dr. Gareth Williams, Anthon Professor of Latin Languages and Literature, Department of Classics, Columbia University

Received Wisdom: Celibacy, Cicero, and the Case against Marriage in Ermolao Barbaro’s Quattrocento Venice

This talk features the vastly erudite Venetian humanist, Ermolao Barbaro (1454-93). At 18 he wrote a tract entitled On celibacy, in which he argued that the celibate life is far preferable to a married existence. This was a remarkable position for a Venetian of his standing to take, as he was expected to follow the traditional path of state service and marriage so as to produce the next generation of the Venetian ruling elite. This talk explores the implications of Barbaro’s views on celibacy and marriage in the context both of classical reception and of his own career path in later life down to his premature death in 1493.

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