ABSTRACT

Humanist school masters, who were responsible for writing and disseminating many of commentaries to classical texts produced during the Renaissance, were quite clear on the theoretical level about what they believed that reading the classics should do. The commentary of Cristoforo Landino, for example, offers the usual stylistic observations, but it also presents a moral interpretation of the Aeneid that not only comments regularly on ethical issues but also places these comments into an overarching Neoplatonic framework. Landino and Regulus saw the Aeneid through the lens of philosophers like Plato and Aristotle who placed literature within a general system of knowledge, so that Aeneas’s actions in Carthage, for example, assume meaning in relation to the broader ethical development of the hero as understood by Plato and his Neopla-tonic followers. The Ethics, of course, received commentaries just like the Aeneid, with Aristotelian commentators facing same demands for ways to explain and clarify the meaning of their text as Virgilian ones did.