Teaching Virtue from the Ignoble Nobility: Alberto Alfieri’s Ogdoas (1421)
In 1431, barely three decades before the definitive fall of Christian Asia Minor with the entry of the Turkish armies into Constantinople, Alberto Alfieri, a schoolmaster in the Genoese colony of Caffa on the Black Sea, wrote a series of eight dialogues on just rulership, the virtuous life, and the nature of the afterlife. This odd set of dialogues, totally carried out by deceased members of the Visconti and Adorno families, is named for its eight parts, Ogdoas.1 The text is extant in only one manuscript, now in the Biblioteca Ambrosiana of Milan.2 This essay will explore the thoughts on virtue espoused in this text, especially from the point of view of Alfieri’s role as a teacher concerned with moral leadership.
KeywordsCivic Virtue Slave Trade Moral Leadership Virtuous Life Deceased Member
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- 3.see Michel Balard, La Romanie génoise (XIIe–début du XV siècle), 1 (Paris, Genoa: Società Ligure di Storia Patria, 1978), p. 375.Google Scholar
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