Antonio da Rho, Three Dialogues against Lactantius

Dialogi tres in Lactentium

Critical Latin Edition, English Translation, Introduction, and Notes


Antonio da Rho’s Three Dialogues against Lactantius (1445) followed the lead of Jerome and Augustine yet went well beyond patristic concerns. During the Middle Ages Lactantius’ works, while largely neglected, had enjoyed moments of intense interest and study. From the death of Lactantius (325) to his broad Quattrocento recovery, many profound cultural and intellectual shifts had transpired. Consequently, Rho’s dialogues engage topics arising from scholastic and other debates in jurisprudence, cosmology, astrology, geography, philosophy, and theology. He was convinced that insights from these fields would elucidate errors of Lactantius that his readers had overlooked. This reveals much about the cultural and intellectual developments that shaped readers’ efforts to recover, comprehend, and define Lactantius as an author. Significantly, the list of Lactantius’ errors discussed in the dialogues was printed with nearly every edition of Lactantius through the sixteenth century and beyond.

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David Rutherford, Professor Emeritus of History, Central Michigan University, has concentrated on the Medieval and Renaissance reception of Firmianus Lactantius. He also published Early Renaissance Invective and the Controversies of Antonio da Rho (2005).

Paul Schulten, retired Associate Professor of History, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, wrote De Circumcellionen (1984) and has written about military history and ancient humor, including “Castiglione and Cicero: Wit and Laughter in the Book of the Courtier” (2013).
List of Figures
Works of Antonio da Rho



Abbreviations in Critical Apparatus

Errors and Treatises

Dialogue 1

Dialogue 2

Dialogue 3


Appendix 1: Niccolò Arcimboldi, Glosses on the Three Dialogues against Lactantius
Appendix 2: Francesco Filelfo, Letter to Antonio da Rho
Appendix 3: Pier Candido Decembrio, Letter to Antonio da Rho
Manuscript Index
Those interested in the reception of Lactantius, fifteenth-century scholastic-humanist interaction, Franciscan politics and thought, debates about Ptolemy’s Geography and astrology, the Plato-Aristotle controversy, the Visconti Wars, and manuscript circulation. Keywords: Renaissance, Humanist, Medieval, Scholastic, Patristic, Franciscan, Cosmology, Antipodes, Astrology, Philosophy, Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Augustine, Jerome.
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