Juan Latino was son of black slaves of the second Duke consort of Sessa since 1520, Luis Fernández de Córdoba, deceased Rome, Italy, 1526. He went to Granada where he was educated together with his master’s son and the grandson of another famous, Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba, El Gran Capitán.
Juan Latino emphasized especially in classical languages and music. Between 1573 and 1585, Latino published three volumes of Latin poems in which he reflected on the condition of blacks and negated the validity of any religious justification for slavery of Africans. His most famous poem is probably the Austrias carmen, dedicated to Juan de Austria the hero of the sea battle of Lepanto.
One of Juan Latino’s rare manuscripts, titled ‘Ad Catolicum’ will go under the hammer at event by Swann Galleries’ event. The estimated price for this rare manuscript is stated to be in the region of $40,000-60,000. Auction of Printed and Manuscript African American works will be held on March 26 in New York.
The black humanist himself became the object of literature in Diego Jiménez de Enciso’s play La famosa comedia the Juan Latino (1652), the first white European testimony about the life and work of a black writer.