Published in conjunction with The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies at Villa I Tatti, this series represents the very highest quality scholarship concerning the history of the Italian Renaissance from the thirteenth to seventeenth centuries. Within this broad chronological definition, the series publishes two to three volumes per year. Kate Lowe is General Editor.

Below is a list of in-print works in this collection, presented in series order or publication order as applicable.

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Cover: In Defense of Common Sense: Lorenzo Valla's Humanist Critique of Scholastic Philosophy

In Defense of Common Sense: Lorenzo Valla's Humanist Critique of Scholastic Philosophy

Nauta, Lodi

One of the leading humanists of Quattrocento Italy, Lorenzo Valla (1406–1457) has been praised as a brilliant debunker of medieval scholastic philosophy. In this book Lodi Nauta seeks a more balanced assessment, presenting us with the first comprehensive analysis of the humanist’s attempt at radical reform of Aristotelian scholasticism.

Cover: The Return of Lucretius to Renaissance Florence

The Return of Lucretius to Renaissance Florence

Brown, Alison

Alison Brown demonstrates how Florentine thinkers used Lucretius—earlier and more widely than has been supposed—to provide a radical critique of prevailing orthodoxies. She enhances our understanding of the “revolution” in sixteenth-century political thinking and our definition of the Renaissance within newly discovered worlds and new social networks.

Cover: Venice's Most Loyal City: Civic Identity in Renaissance Brescia

Venice's Most Loyal City: Civic Identity in Renaissance Brescia

Bowd, Stephen D.

This innovative microhistory of a fascinating yet neglected city shows how its loyalty to Venice was tested by military attack, economic downturn, and demographic collapse. Despite these trials, Brescia experienced cultural revival and political transformation, which Stephen Bowd uses to explain state formation in a powerful region of Renaissance Italy.

Cover: Writing History in Renaissance Italy: Leonardo Bruni and the Uses of the Past

Writing History in Renaissance Italy: Leonardo Bruni and the Uses of the Past

Ianziti, Gary

Leonardo Bruni is widely recognized as the most important humanist historian of the early Renaissance. Gary Ianziti undertakes a systematic work-by-work investigation of the full range of Bruni’s output in history and biography, and assesses in detail the impact of the Greek historians on humanist methods of historical writing.

Cover: The Duke and the Stars: Astrology and Politics in Renaissance Milan

The Duke and the Stars: Astrology and Politics in Renaissance Milan

Azzolini, Monica

The Duke and the Stars explores science and medicine as studied and practiced in fifteenth-century Italy, including how astrology was taught in relation to astronomy. It illustrates how the “predictive art” of astrology was often a critical, secretive source of information for Italian Renaissance rulers, particularly in times of crisis.

Cover: Printing a Mediterranean World: Florence, Constantinople, and the Renaissance of Geography

Printing a Mediterranean World: Florence, Constantinople, and the Renaissance of Geography

Roberts, Sean

In 1482 Francesco Berlinghieri produced the Geographia, a book of over 100 folio leaves describing the world in Italian verse interleaved with lavishly engraved maps. Roberts demonstrates that the Geographia represents the moment of transition between printing and manuscript culture, while forming a critical base for the rise of modern cartography.

Cover: Cultures of Charity: Women, Politics, and the Reform of Poor Relief in Renaissance Italy

Cultures of Charity: Women, Politics, and the Reform of Poor Relief in Renaissance Italy

Terpstra, Nicholas

Renaissance debates about politics and gender led to pioneering forms of poor relief, devised to help women get a start in life. These included orphanages for illegitimate children and forced labor in workhouses, but also women’s shelters and early forms of maternity benefits, unemployment insurance, food stamps, and credit union savings plans.

Cover: The Pulpit and the Press in Reformation Italy

The Pulpit and the Press in Reformation Italy

Michelson, Emily

Italian sermons tell a story of the Reformation that credits preachers with using the pulpit, pen, and printing press to keep Italy Catholic when the region’s violent religious wars made the future uncertain, and with fashioning a post-Reformation Catholicism that would survive the competition and religious choice of their own time and ours.

Cover: The Fruit of Liberty: Political Culture in the Florentine Renaissance, 1480-1550

The Fruit of Liberty: Political Culture in the Florentine Renaissance, 1480-1550

Baker, Nicholas Scott

In the sixteenth century, the city-state of Florence failed. In its place the Medicis created a principality, becoming first dukes of Florence and then grand dukes of Tuscany. The Fruit of Liberty analyzes the slow transformations that predated and facilitated the institutional shift from republic to principality, from citizen to subject.

Cover: Reviving the Eternal City: Rome and the Papal Court, 1420-1447

Reviving the Eternal City: Rome and the Papal Court, 1420-1447

McCahill, Elizabeth

In the first half of the fifteenth century, Rome and the papal court were caught between conflicting realities—between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, conciliarism and papalism, an image of a restored republic and a dream of a papal capital. Elizabeth McCahill explores the transformation of Rome’s ancient legacy into a potent cultural myth.

Cover: Orpheus in the Marketplace: Jacopo Peri and the Economy of Late Renaissance Florence

Orpheus in the Marketplace: Jacopo Peri and the Economy of Late Renaissance Florence

Goldthwaite, Richard A.
Carter, Tim

This record of Florentine musician Jacopo Peri’s wide-ranging investments and activities in the marketplace enables the first detailed account of the Florentine economy in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, and opens a completely new perspective on one of Europe’s principal centers of capitalism.

Cover: A Mattress Maker's Daughter: The Renaissance Romance of Don Giovanni de’ Medici and Livia Vernazza

A Mattress Maker's Daughter: The Renaissance Romance of Don Giovanni de’ Medici and Livia Vernazza

Dooley, Brendan

In explaining an improbable liaison and its consequences, A Mattress Maker’s Daughter explores changing concepts of love and romance, new standards of public and private conduct, and emerging attitudes toward property and legitimacy just as the age of Renaissance humanism gives way to the Counter Reformation and Early Modern Europe.

Cover: A Great and Wretched City: Promise and Failure in Machiavelli’s Florentine Political Thought

A Great and Wretched City: Promise and Failure in Machiavelli’s Florentine Political Thought

Jurdjevic, Mark

Dispelling the myth that Florentine politics offered only negative lessons, Mark Jurdjevic shows that significant aspects of Machiavelli’s political thought were inspired by his native city. Machiavelli’s contempt for Florence’s shortcomings was a direct function of his considerable estimation of the city’s unrealized political potential.

Cover: The Medicean Succession: Monarchy and Sacral Politics in Duke Cosimo dei Medici’s Florence

The Medicean Succession: Monarchy and Sacral Politics in Duke Cosimo dei Medici’s Florence

Murry, Gregory

Cosimo dei Medici stabilized ducal finances, secured his borders, doubled his territory, attracted scholars and artists to his court, academy, and universities, and dissipated fractious Florentine politics. These triumphs were far from a foregone conclusion, as Gregory Murry shows in this study of how Cosimo crafted his image as a sacral monarch.

Cover: Reading Lucretius in the Renaissance

Reading Lucretius in the Renaissance

Palmer, Ada

Ada Palmer explores how Renaissance poets and philologists, not scientists, rescued Lucretius and his atomism theory. This heterodoxy circulated in the premodern world, not on the conspicuous stage of heresy trials and public debates but in the classrooms, libraries, studies, and bookshops where quiet scholars met transformative ideas.

Cover: The Prince's Body: Vincenzo Gonzaga and Renaissance Medicine

The Prince's Body: Vincenzo Gonzaga and Renaissance Medicine

Finucci, Valeria

Using four notorious moments in the life of Duke Vincenzo Gonzaga of Mantua, Valeria Finucci explores changing early modern concepts of sexuality, reproduction, beauty, and aging. She deftly marries salacious tales with historical analysis to tell a broader story of Italian Renaissance cultural adjustments and obsessions.

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