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Aretino, Pietro

Born: 1492 AD
Died: 1556 AD
Nationality: Italian
Categories: Dramatist, Poets, Satirists

1492 – Born in Arezzo on April 20, 1492. Although Aretino was the son of an Arezzo shoemaker, he later pretended to be the bastard son of a nobleman and derived his adopted name ("the Aretine") from that of his native city (his real name is unknown).

1517 – While still very young, he went to Perugia and painted for a time and then moved on to Rome in 1517, where he wrote a series of viciously satirical lampoons supporting the candidacy of Giulio de’ Medici.

1527 – By then, aged 35, he had not only become a master of the pasquinade but had transformed the crude Prognostications and Avisi, or news broadsheets, of the day into satirical and alarmingly well-informed sources of political and personal comment. He had also widened his repertory to include circulated copies of the letters he wrote praising or scolding the great political figures, Italian and foreign, whose actions were of wide public interest. Alternately goaded and flattered, a number of those they were addressed to placated him with gifts. These remained the chief source of his income, at a time when publication was unlikely to provide even the most prolific author with a living.

1532-1533 – Thanks to his early correspondence, in 1532 he was given by Ariosto in the final revision of Orlando furioso the soubriquet that has stuck to him: the Scourge of Princes. In further evidence of its success, in 1533 King Francis I sent him a placatory golden chain.