Paolo Marsi

Paolo Marsi or Paolo Marso, in Latin Paulus Marsus or Paulus Marsus Piscinas (1440–1484[1]) was an Italian humanist and poet known primarily for his commentary on the Fasti of Ovid.

Marsi was born at Pescina, and was the brother of the Pietro Marsi[2] who was an acquaintance of Erasmus.[3] He was a student of Pomponio Leto, and became a professor of rhetoric.[4] He was a friend of Lodovico Lazzarelli,[5] and a member of the Roman Academy who participated in antiquarian activities such as celebrating the founding of Rome.[6] In the 1460s, several of the sodality's members, including the Marsi brothers, were imprisoned for fomenting "republicanism, paganism, and conspiracy".[7] Marsi was among the poets who addressed homoerotic praise in the manner of Martial to Lucio Fazini, a handsome young scholar who was also incarcerated and tortured for pursuing classical studies.[8]

Marsi died in 1484, shortly after he delivered the funeral oration for Andrea Brenta.[9]

Marsi's commentary had a "supplemental influence" on The Rape of Lucrece by Shakespeare, who drew primarily on Ovid's account in the Fasti.[10]


  1. ^ Entry on "Marso, Paolo (1440 - 1484)," CERL Thesaurus.
  2. ^ Entry on "Marso, Paolo (1440 - 1484)," CERL Thesaurus.
  3. ^ Peter Gerard Bietenholz and Thomas Brian Deutscher, Contemporaries of Erasmus: A Biographical Register of the Renaissance and Reformation (University of Toronto Press, 1985), p. 394.
  4. ^ Angela Fritsen, "Ludovico Lazzarelli's Fasti Christianae religionis: Recipient and Context of an Ovidian Poem," in Myricae: Essays on Neo-Latin Literature in Memory of Jozef Ijsewijn (Leuven University Press, 2000), p. 123, note 5.
  5. ^ Eugenio Garin, History of Italian Philosophy, translated by Giorgio Pinton (Rodopi, 2008), vol. 1, p. 274.
  6. ^ Ludwig Pastor, The History of the Popes, From the Close of the Middle Ages (Kegan Paul, 1906, 3rd ed.), vol. 4, p. 446.
  7. ^ Fritsen, "Ludovico Lazzarelli's Fasti Christianae religionis," pp. 121–122; Anthony F. D'Elia, A Sudden Terror: The Plot to Murder the Pope in Renaissance Rome (Harvard University Press, 2009), p. 38.
  8. ^ D'Elia, A Sudden Terror, pp. 96–97.
  9. ^ Fritsen, "Ludovico Lazzarelli's Fasti Christianae religionis," p. 127, citing Paolo Cortesi, De hominibus doctis dialogus, 1973 edition of M.T. Graziosi, p. 66.
  10. ^ Richard Hillman, "Gower's Lucrece: A New Old Source for The Rape of Lucrece," The Chaucer Review 24.3 (1990), p. 263, citing T.W. Baldwin.

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