Bembo, Pietro (pyāˈtrō bĕmˈbō) [key], 1470–1547, Italian humanist, cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. A favorite of the Medici, he was secretary to Pope Leo X and was made a cardinal by Paul III. Bembo was for many years the arbiter of Italian letters, insisting that classical traditions be preserved. He was responsible for editions of Petrarch and Dante and helped establish the language of Tuscany as the standard literary Italian. He wrote the History of Venice (1551); a disquisition on platonic love, Gli Asolani (1505, tr. 1954), inspired by Plato's Symposium ; a book of lyric verse ( Rime, 1530) in Latin and Italian; and Prose della volgar lingua [prose in the vernacular] (1525).
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