Creating him in this way, we reach one who cannot be called absolutely virtuous nor vicious’

Creating him in this way, we reach one who cannot be called absolutely virtuous nor vicious’

Sassetti repeats Vettori’s use of the term errore and claims that one does not need to search for a precise definition of this error within the subtleties of moral philosophy, as Aristotle was clear enough in requiring a protagonist of middle station. Sassetti’s dismissal of these fine-grained definitions of hamartia would seem not only to dismiss the link to moral philosophy that obtained in many commentaries on this passage, but also the Christian moralization of hamartia as irrelevant to the Poetics, providing further support for Sassetti’s focus on composing rhetorically effective poetry that could move the emotions of its audience. Ultimately, in this exchange, Alterati members demonstrate their awareness of Castelvetro’s commentary and its Christian reading of haartia through the lens of Aristotelian moral philosophy, yet they dismiss both readings to focus instead on the effects that such an error has on the audience. This focus on rhetorically effective poetry and the concomitant dismissal of interpreting hamartia through a Christianizing lens, however, was not limited to the Florentine circle of the Alterati. In his 1587 Latin commentary on the Poetics, Antonio Riccoboni, a professor of rhetoric at Padua who had maintained a friendship with Ellebodius, consistently uses errore to render hamartia – correcting Vettori’s translation of peccatum magnum to error magnus.43 Like Piccolomini, Riccoboni takes direct aim at Castelvetro,

I would say that in such cases one ought not to search for exactitude, just as subtleties do not usually have a place in moral matters

latitude to virtue [fourth annotator begins:] giving it a centre and circumference which shares a border with vice; therefore the extent to which one approaches this circumference creates, in a way, a middle ground, and [Piccolomini] blames those who would propose a middle ground between virtue and vice by saying that one who makes some errors is neither virtuous, nor is he vicious, as he does not do so wilfully. Therefore, [Aristotle] wishes him to be in the middle between the very good and very bad, or rather we might say that he will come to be between the good and the bad if we give him some virtues along with some vices, giving him an equal number of each. BNCF, MS Magl. VII, 1199, fol. 38v, emphasis mine. I am basing the identification of Strozzi’s and of Giacomini’s hand on Blocker’s suggestions. For details concerning these identifications, see Blocker, ‘From Manuscript Studies’. 43 Antonio Riccoboni, Poetica Aristotelis ab Antonio Riccobono latine conversa (Padua: Paolo Meieto, 1587), p. 16. On the importance of Riccoboni’s commentary for seventeenth-century thinkers, see Weinberg, History, ii, pp. 635–36. On Riccoboni’s biography, see Giancarlo

While he kone Moskva is immediately engaging with Piccolomini, this comment also seems to respond to the comments of Robortello, Vettori, and others linking hamartia to discussions in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics on voluntary and involuntary actions

blaming his commentary for making poetics appear to be one of the most confused, difficult, and obscure arts.44 While Riccoboni also seems to shy away from a translation of hamartia as peccatum with reference to the qual­ ities of an ideal tragic protagonist, he does use the noun peccatum in his commentary: Tertium est, ut neque virtute praestet, et iustitia, neque propter vitium, et pravitatem mutetur in adversam fortunam (id enim miserabile non esset) sed propter errorem aliquem, ut Oedipus, et Thyestes. […] Sextum, ut non in prosperam fortunam ex adversa, sed contra ex prospera in adversam mutetur, non propter improbitatem, sed propter errorem magnum, aut talis personae, qualis dictum est, quae sit mediocris probitatis, et improbitatis, aut melioris potius, quam deterioris, ut magis in persona meliore, quam peiore ex sententia Aristotelis peccandum [sic] esse videatur.45