At the end of the 14th and beginning of the 15th centuries, in the main Italian academic groups –Florence, Venice, Milan, Padua– the humanistic ideas that gave rise to the great cultural renewal movement known as Humanism, started to emerge. According to this desire of change, an increasing number of scholars and teachers, who tried to restore the Graeco-Roman authors and ideals, will defend a new type of education, unlike the medieval one, which ultimate goal is attaining personal freedom trough knowledge and virtue where the young are to be trained with integrity, both physically and intellectually.
The first of these Italian academics who actually wrote down his educational thoughts was Pier Paolo Vergerio (1370-1444), professor at Florence University and author of a little book titled De ingenuis moribus et liberalibus studiis adulescentiae, The education of a gentleman, in English. In parallel to this work, so widely studied by numerous authors, we also have his large correspondence and a humanistic comedy written by Vergerio at an uncertain date: Paulus, ad iuvenum mores corrigendos; which means “Paulus, to correct the habits of the young”, in English. His letters as well as this comedy serve us to entirely comprehend all Vergerio’s revolutionary precepts of and his conception of model student.
For this reason, in the following lines, we will try to briefly analyse the comedy Paulus, to see, according to Vergerio, which were the habits of the youth that needed to be corrected, how the good students of the time should behave and for what reasons they used to turn away from the path of virtue and knowledge. For that purpose, we shall plainly contextualize the author and his work in his time, analyze Paulus’ plot and try to relate it with other texts by Vergerio, whether his letters or De ingenuis moribus.PALABRAS CLAVE