Contra maledicum et obiurgatorem, the work in which Salutati responded to the anti-Florentine invective of the Viscontean secretary Antonio Loschi (1368–1441) in the summer of 1403, is better known as Invectiva in Antonium Luschum. An example of forensic oratory, the work rebuts Loschi’s assertions point by point, quoting his entire pamphlet.
Salutati goes to great lengths to demonstrate that, far from harbouring despotic designs, Florence had long been the stalwart champion of libertas Italiae. In doing so, he revives the well-known forms and stylistic elements of the Florentine propaganda he himself had shaped and promoted in countless missives during his thirty-year career as chancellor. This does not mean, however, that his response to Loschi is merely the passive reworking of entrenched rhetorical clichés.
Indeed, the work has significant original aspects, notably the suggestion that Florence’s origins date back to the rule of Sulla, immediately following the Social War (88 BC), and thus underscoring—yet again—the powerful ties between the Tuscan city and ancient Rome.