Antonio Beccadelli  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Antonio Beccadelli (13941471), called Il Panormita (poetic form meaning "The Palermitan"), was an Italian poet, canon lawyer, scholar, diplomat, and chronicler. He generally wrote in Latin. Born in Palermo, he helped his father with his merchant business until he became consumed with enthusiasm for humanistic studies. Beccadelli founded the academy Porticus Antoniana, later known as the Pontaniana, after Giovanni Pontano. He is best known for his Hermaphroditus (1425)



Beccadelli is most famous for his bawdy masterpiece Hermaphroditus (1425), a collection of eighty-one Latin epigrams, which evoke the unfettered eroticism of the works of Catullus and Martial, as well as of the Priapea.

This work was greeted with acclaim by scholars but subsequently condemned and censured as obscene by Christian apologists.

Amongst those who praised this work was Guarino da Verona, who called Beccadelli a poetic scion of the Sicilian writer of antiquity, Theocritus.

Beccadelli's critics included the theologian Antonio da Rho (1395–1447), a Franciscan from Milan, who would write a Philippic against Antonio Panormita (1431/32). Panormita had written invective poetry ridiculing Rho with obscene insults, but he would have to defend not only his work but also his life and morals. Rho discredited and vilified Beccadelli by making allegations about the poet's Sicilian background, orthodoxy, and practice of sexual taboos.

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