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Valla, Laurentius

A celebrated Italian scholar of the period of the Renaissance. He was born at Rome in 1405, and studied at Florence, where, as also at Pavia, he taught the classics. His life was one of a vagrant indolence, interspersed by violent controversies with contemporary scholars; yet he was a remarkably gifted man, and his Latin style has always been justly admired. He edited and translated Herodotus, Xenophon, and Thucydides, and wrote a sort of manual of Latin usage (Elegantiae Linguae Latinae), which had an immense success and did much to expel the barbarisms of mediæval Latinity from the speech and the writings of the learned. See the elaborate monograph by Mancini (Florence, 1891); the chapter in Nisard, Les Gladiateurs de la République des Lettres (Paris, 1860); and the article Renaissance.

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