Francesco PetrarchBy Katrien ClintbergIntroduction Francesco Petrarch was a famous author, scholar and one of the earliest humanists who lived during the 14th century. He is often referred to as ‘The Father of Humanism’ because he began teaching people that they could enjoy life by dancing, being creative and being curious. He also told people that they could do these things without being considered ‘bad catholics’.Early Life Petrarch was born on July 20th 1304 in Arezzo. His mother’s name was Eletta Canigiani and his father, Pietro/Ser Petracco, was a lawyer. In 1307 his brother, Gherardo, who later became a monk was born. In 1312 the family moved to Avignon. A few years later, Francesco and Gherardo began to study law in Bologna. Around this time, Pertrach lost his mother. Seven years after his mother died, his father died. Petrarch hated the untruthfulness of law. At a young age he discovered that his true passion lay in literature. Books Petrarch highly valued books. He saw reading and writing as a blessing. In 1325 Petrarch bought his first book. Inside he wrote, "In the year 1325, in the month of February, in Avignon, I bought this book, De civiate Dei, from the executors of Don Cinzio, the chanter from Tours, for the price of 12 florins." Pertrach wrote many books and poems throughout his life including Secretum, Italia Mia, De Vita Solitaria (dedicated to the bishop Cavaillon), I Trionfi, Homer and Testamentum.FamilyBecause of his career in the church, Petrarch was not allowed to marry. He did however, have two children, Giovanni and Francesca. Petrarch was disappointed with Giovanni because Giovanni hated books. Giovanni died in 1361 because of the plague. Francesca was the mother of Petrarch’s grandchild, Francesco, who Petrarch loved. Francesco died at the age of two because of the plague. The mother of Petrarch's children was never identified.Laura In 1327 Pertrach gave up on becoming a priest when he saw Laura for the first time at Sainte-Claire d'Avignon church. He instantly fell in love with her but unfortunately according to Petrarch she was already married to another man. Petrarch devoted many poems to Laura. It is said that he loved Laura until the day he died. Later Life In 1330, Petrarch finished the minor orders in the church. Afterwards he travelled Europe while writing. During his travels, he visited Lobez, Toulouse, Paris, Holland, Rhines, Ghent, Liege, Aix-la-Chapelle, Cologne, Flanders, Brabant and Rome. During his travels he also climbed Mount Ventoux with his brother and two servants. Pertrach received a poetic crowning from Rome in 1340. Petrarch had difficulties finding people who loved reading and writing as much as he did. His solution for this was to write letters to Cicero, a Roman poet and politician that died over 1200 years before Petrarch was born. Part of Petrarch’s inspiration came from Cicero. In 1345 Petrarch found a collection of letters that Cicero kept. After that Petrarch began his own collection of letters. In 1353, Petrarch moved back to Italy where he lived for the rest of his life.DeathOn July 18th 1374, Petrarch died of the Black Plague while located in Arqua in the Euganean Hills. He was 69 at the time of his death.Other People Boccaccio, an Italian author and poet was inspired by Petrarch. Boccaccio corresponded with Petrarch throughout his life.Shakespeare later read Petrarch’s works and copied some of his sonnets.