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He was educated in Latin and Greek and received knightly training at the court of Ludovico Sforza in Milan.

Benedick and The Book of the Courtier | Fresh Off the Boat

Benedick and The Book of the Courtier | Fresh Off the …

Castiglione, Baldasare, The Book of the Courtier, Penguin Books, London, England, 1976.
From 1506 for six years he was a member of the Court circle at Urbino, where he spent his time on linguistic studies and the enjoyment of a varied social life.

Portrait of Baldassare Castiglione - by Raphael

Castiglione knew him in Rome, at the Court of Leo X, and met him again in Seville.
How to argue or persuade one’s political position, produce literary documents and communicate effectively and communicate effectively on a universally accepted medium of language (Latin, as the ) describes the rise and association of courtiers and military princes.


The Book of the Courtier Baldassare Castiglione

He read the manuscript of The Courtier for Castiglione, and their friendship survived his pro-French proclivities.”
His best-selling book ("Il cortegiano"), which embodied many of the views of the , offers important insights into the cultural ideas of the court of Urbino, at the turn of the 15th/16th century.

The first book written specifically about the courtier that did not view him as some sort of parasite was Dello optimo cortesano. Diomede Caraffa wrote it in 1479 with the idea of assisting the courtier to be a better advisor to his prince. It was not a book on manners or courtly behavior but it was to influence later works and to show the courtier in a positive light. Later writers were also to return to the theme of the courtier as an advisor to his prince and make this his most important function.

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The most influential book on manners and courtly behavior was Castiglione's "The Book of the Courtier", also referred to as "The Courtier". It was presented in the form of a series of conversations that supposedly took place at Urbino in 1507. The book suggested the proper attitudes and actions for the courtier and these suggestions were to be adopted all over Europe by the end of the Renaissance.

Castiglione: The Perfect Reniassance Man – O Captain! …

The author, Baldassare Castiglione (1478-1529) was the son of Count Cristoforo Castiglione who held estates in the Marquisate of Mantua. The Count had even married a Gonzaga relative of the Marquis himself. Baldassare joined the army of Milan gained a bit of military knowledge and sense for public affairs. These enabled him to find employment with the rulers of Mantua (1500-1504), Urbino (1504-1516), Mantua again (1516-1524) and the Papacy (1524 1529). He died in the service Clement VII as the papal nuncio to Spain. The Emperor Charles V mourned him as "one of the world's finest gentlemen".


In writing "The Book of the Courtier", Castiglione had two purposes. The first was to recall the Court of Urbino in 1507, a time and place that were of fond memory to him and idealized as the most perfect Court in all of Europe. The second reason was to describe the perfect courtier and aspects of his behavior and actions. Castiglione amplified the concept of the worldly broadly educated man by adding to it a chivalric attitude of loyalty to princes and courtesy to women as typified in the courtly lore of medieval Europe. 'The Courtier" possesses a charm of mood and language that wins for it a place among the masterpieces of the Renaissance.


The book also has a darker side. It is a gentleman's book written by --a gentleman for those who might attend to court of a prince. It emphasizes the necessity for the courtier to distance himself from the lower classes and mix with the middle class only sparingly. Never an egalitarian, Castiglione stresses the fact that the courtier should be of noble birth. This is both a reflection of society's expectations and his own prejudices. Both believed that grazia, good manners and an easy grace of mind and body, came more naturally to those reared among persons already possessing those qualities.