A Well Rounded Man

In 1528 Count Baldassare Castiglione (1478-1529) wrote The Courtier, a manual for serious scholars and men of learning. It formed the basis for the ideologies surrounding the behaviour of gentlemen. He declared that a well-rounded man needed attainment’s in physical (sports and war) intellectual (education, literary and musical accomplishments) and moral and social mores. The Duke of Urbino (pictured) sent him to England as an envoy to the court of Henry VII (1457-1509). Henry was well pleased and made him a knight. Castiglione’s fame expanded and his work was translated into English by Sir Thomas Hoby in 1561. As Ambassador to the Papal court at Rome his letters illustrated both the political and literary history of his time. His Italian and Latin poems are considered models of stylish elegance. For centuries European and English gentleman ensured they had three books at the ready; The Bible, The Courtier and The Prince.

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