Francesco Petrarca, one of the greatest of Italian poets, was also the leading spirit in the Renaissance movement to revive ancient Roman language and literature. Petrarch's four "Invectives", written in Latin, were inspired by the eloquence of the great Roman orator Cicero. "The Invectives" are directed against the cultural idols of the Middle Ages - against scholastic philosophy and medicine as well as the dominance of French culture. They defend the value of literature and provide a clear statement of the values of Renaissance humanism. The new translations in this volume, commissioned for the I Tatti Renaissance Library, include the first English translation of three of the four invectives.