Uploaded by wolfie on Aug 17, 2007
Lorenzo Valla was born into an affluent Roman family in 1407, and died there in 1457. Valla was a humanist as well as a philosopher, philologist, priest and author. Valla single-handedly disproved the dubious, yet sacred document enabling the Papacy to own territory in Constantinople in his book, Falsely-Believed and Forged Donation of Constantine, or under its abridged original title, Declamatio. His discovery of the forgery led to a questioning of the Church and its integrity. But his motive for the book was not to hurt the Church in any way, but rather to sanction the truth. Valla published several books disproving other questioned Church documents, including Christ to Abgarus.
Valla was an archetypal Italian humanist. During his time, Valla wrote and published approximately ten books (not including his contentious Declamatio). Valla was a fervent spokesperson for reform in language and in education (as many humanists were at the time).
Valla was very interested in the Church from a young age. His father worked as a lawyer for the Papal court. Valla longed for a job in the Pope dominion, and so applied for a job as papal secretary in 1430. After being denied the position, Valla traveled about northern Italy. He trekked throughout Milan and Genoa for 5 years, until setting down in the kingdom of Naples in 1435. There he was able to work for the Royal court under King Alfonso of Aragon. Valla continued his work there until 1448. During this time, an astringent discrepancy between Pope Eugenius IV or Rome and Alfonso of Aragon over the Kingdom of Naples ensued. Valla, though a religious man, was still employed by, and in favor of the king, and so published his discovery of the False Donation of Constantine to discredit the Pope eligibility to take over the kingdom.
The manuscript donating the land was allegedly sign by both Constantine and Pope Sylvester I. But this forged document was about to be disproved¦.
Valla Falsely-Believed and Forged Donation of Constantine, was written in 1439, and published one year after. Valla yearned to assist his employer in his battle against the Church. As a philologist, Valla was very intrigued by the unconvincing document reifying the donation. He began his research by attempting to excavate the oldest document stating the contribution. ...