1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/John of Ravenna
JOHN OF RAVENNA. Two distinct persons of this name, formerly confused and identified with a third (anonymous) Ravennese in Petrarch's letters, lived at the end of the 14th and the beginning of the 15th century.
1. A young Ravennese born about 1347, who in 1364 went to live with Petrarch as secretary. In 1367 he set out to see the world and make a name for himself, returned in a state of destitution, but, growing restless again, left his employer for good in 1368. He is not mentioned again in Petrarch's correspondence, unless a letter "to a certain wanderer" (vago cuidam), congratulating him on his arrival at Rome in 1373, is addressed to him.
2. Son of Conversanus (Conversinus, Convertinus). He is first heard of (Nov. 17, 1368) as appointed to the professorship of rhetoric at Florence, where he had for some time held the post of notary at the courts of justice. This differentiates him from (1). He entered (c. 1370) the service of the ducal house of Padua, the Carraras, in which he continued at least until 1404, although the whole of that period was not spent in Padua. From 1375 to 1379 he was a schoolmaster at Belluno, and was dismissed as too good for his post and not adapted for teaching boys. On the 22nd of March 1382, he was appointed professor of rhetoric at Padua. During the struggle between the Carraras and Viscontis, he spent five years at Udine (1387-1392). From 1395-1404 he was chancellor of Francis of Carrara, and is heard of for the last time in 1406 as living at Venice. His history of the Carraras, a tasteless production in barbarous Latin, says little for his literary capacity; but as a teacher he enjoyed a great reputation, amongst his pupils being Vittorino da Feltre and Guarino of Verona.
3. Malpaghini (De Malpaghinis), the most important. Born about 1356, he was a pupil of Petrarch from a very early age to 1374. On the 19th of September 1397 he was appointed professor of rhetoric and eloquence at Florence. On the 9th of June 1412, on the re-opening of the studio, which had been shut from 1405 to 1411 owing to the plague, his appointment was renewed for five years, before the expiration of which period he died (May 1417). Although Malpaghini left nothing behind him, he did much to encourage the study of Latin; among his pupils was Poggio Bracciolini.
The local documents and other authorities on the subject will be found in E. T. Klette, Beiträge zur Geschichte und Litteratur der italienischen Gelehrtenrenaissance, vol. i. (1888); see also G. Voigt Die Wiederbelebung des klassischen Altertums, who, however, identifies (1) and (2).