Publisher Information: Venice: Thomas de Blavis de Alexandria, 1484.
The “Middle Ages”Biondo, Flavio (1392-1463). Blondi Flavii Forliviensis historiarum ab inclinatione Romanorum imperii [decades]. Folio. 301 unnumbered leaves (lacking blank a1). Venice: Thomas de Blavis de Alexandria, 1484. 304 x 211 mm. 18th century vellum, spine darkened, early owner’s name in ink on front cover. Fine, very clean copy throughout. Early marginal annotations (some very slightly trimmed) throughout the first two-thirds of the volume, stopping at leaf C2. (All marginalia are legible). Second edition, the first to contain Pope Pius II’s epitome of the first two decades (10-book sections) of Biondo’s Historiarum. In this work Biondo, one of the great humanists of the early Renaissance, chronicled the history of Rome from the fall of the Empire (410 A.D.) to his own day, using a three-period framework that strongly influenced the later division of historical times into the Classical, Middle and Modern Ages. Biondo “was the first to devise a general history of Italy, showing a continuity since the fifth century, and to conceive a ‘media aetas’ [middle age] standing between antiquity and his own times” (Weiss, p. 66). In his scholarly essay on Biondo and the Historiarum, Denys Hay calls Biondo “the first medieval historian” (p. 54) and notes that “recognizing and chronicling the medium aevum, even if not using the phrase, constitutes a major claim to the esteem of posterity” (p. 55). Biondo wrote his Historiarum between 1439 and 1452, and manuscript copies circulated widely throughout Europe prior to the work’s first printing in 1483. The 1484 edition, which we are offering here, was the first to contain Pope Pius II’s abridgement of the Historiarum’s first two sections, a work that "had considerable influence, not least because in this form Biondo became one of the prime sources of Platina’s Lives of the Popes, the most generally influential and long-lived of all humanist Latin histories. What may be described as the most influential of the vernacular histories, Machiavelli’s Florentine History, equally depends greatly on the Decades. Practically every sixteenth-century scholar must have turned to the Decades for factual information and when Pius II’s epitome appeared in the Italian translation of Lucio Fauno [1543-44] Biondo’s work was made available to a much wider public (Hay, p. 61)." Hay, “Flavio Biondo and the Middle Ages,” in Hay, Renaissance Essays (London: Continuum Publishing Group, 1951), pp. 35-66. Weiss, The Renaissance Discovery of Classical Antiquity (1969), pp. 66-72. ISTC no. ib00699000. Book Id: 42789
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