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Francesco Petrarca (July 20, 1304 – July 19, 1374), known in English as Petrarch, was an Italian scholar, poet and one of the earliest Renaissance humanists. Petrarch is often called the "Father of Humanism".[1] In the 16th century, Pietro Bembo created the model for the modern Italian language based on Petrarch's works, as well as those of Giovanni Boccaccio and, especially, Dante Alighieri. This would be later endorsed by the Accademia della Crusca. His sonnets were admired and imitated throughout Europe during the Renaissance and became a model for lyrical poetry. Petrarch was also known for being one of the first people to refer to the Dark Ages.



Youth and early career

Petrarch says he was born on Garden Street in the city of Arezzo, just at dawn on a Monday. He was the son of Ser Petracco. He spent his early childhood in the village of Incisa, near Florence. Petrarch spent much of his early life at Avignon and nearby Carpentras, where his family moved to follow Pope Clement V who moved there in 1309 to begin the Avignon Papacy. He studied law at Montpellier (1316–20) and Bologna (1320–23) with a lifelong friend and schoolmate called Guido Sette. Because his father was in the profession of law he insisted that Petrarch and his brother study law also. Petrarch however was primarily interested in writing and Latin literature and considered these seven years wasted. Additionally he proclaimed that through legal manipulation his guardians robbed him of his small property inheritance in Florence, which only reinforced his dislike for the legal system. He protested, "I couldn't face making a merchandise of my mind", as he viewed the legal system as the art of selling justice.[2]

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