The Treatise of Lorenzo Valla on the Donation of Constantine: Text and Translation into English

By Lorenzo Valla; Christopher B. Coleman | Go to book overview

LAURENTII VALLENSIS
DE FALSO CREDITA ET EMENTITA CONSTANTINI
DONATIONE DECLAMA TIO.1

PLURES a me libri compluresque emissi sunt in omni fere doctrinarum genere. In quibus quod a nonnullis magnisque et longo iam aevo probatis auctoribus dissentio cum sint, qui indigne ferant meque ut temerarium sacrilegumque criminentur, quid tandem nunc facturi quidam putandi sunt? Quantopere in me debacchaturi, et si facultas detur, quam avide me ad supplicium festinanterque rapturi, qui non tantum adversus mortuos scribo, sed adversus etiam vivos; nec in unum alterumve, sed in plurimos; nec contra privatos modo, verum etiam contra magistratus! At quos magistratus! Nempe summum pontificem, qui non temporali solum armatus est gladio, regum ac principum more, sed ecclesiastico quoque, ut ab eo neque subter ipsum, ut sic loquar, clipeum alicuius principis2 protegere te possis, quominus excommunicatione, anathemate, exsecratione3 feriare. Quod si prudenter, ut dixit, sic fecisse existimatus est, qui inquit, "Nolo scribere in eos qui possunt proscribere," quanto mihi magis idem faciendum

____________________
1
De falso credita et ementita Constantini donatione is the title Valla gave his work; cf. letter to Guarini from Naples in November, 1443; Epistolae principum ( Venice, 1574), p. 356; also Barozzi e Sabbadini, Studii sul Panormita e sul Valla ( Florence, 1891), p. 93. In L. Valla Opera ( Basle, 1543), p. 762, the title runs, Contra Donationis, quae Constantini dicitur, privilegia, ut falso creditum declamatio.

No title appears with the text of Codex Vaticanus Lat. 5314. The title in Ulrich von Hutten's edition inserts patricii Romani after Vallensis. The treatise is also frequently entitled libellus or oratio instead of declamatio.

2
principum; Cod. Vat. Urb. 337 (containing a few fragments of this treatise). Hutten.
3
execratione; Cod. Vat. Lat. 5314, so throughout.

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