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History of the Florentine People, Volume 1: Books I-IV

History of the Florentine People, Volume 1: Books I-IV

Leonardo Bruni

Edited and translated by James Hankins

ISBN 9780674005068

Publication date: 04/26/2001

Leonardo Bruni (1370-1444), the leading civic humanist of the Italian Renaissance, served as apostolic secretary to four popes (1405-1414) and chancellor of Florence (1427-1444). He was famous in his day as a translator, orator, and historian, and was the best-selling author of the fifteenth century. Bruni's History of the Florentine People in twelve books is generally considered the first modern work of history, and was widely imitated by humanist historians for two centuries after its official publication by the Florentine Signoria in 1442. This edition makes it available for the first time in English translation.

Praise

  • Bruni, in trying to demonstrate that Florence could trace its legitimate republican tradition back to deep antiquity, wrote a history of his city on the model of the ancient history of Rome by Livy. As he did so, he read Livy's eloquent, stagy book in a very imaginative, critical way. From the ancient historian's idealized account of virtuous Romans, Bruni reconstructed the virtuous and powerful world of their enemies, the Etruscans--from whom, he claimed, the modern Tuscans were descended. In Bruni's historical imagination, Livy's stories of Horatius, heroically defending the bridge across the Tiber, and Mucius Scaevola, thrusting his hand into the fire to show his contempt for death, metamorphosed into instances of Roman weakness, superstition and dishonesty.

    —Anthony T. Grafton, New York Review of Books

Author

  • James Hankins is Professor of History at Harvard University and founder and General Editor of the I Tatti Renaissance Library. He is the author of Virtue Politics: Soulcraft and Statecraft in Renaissance Italy, winner of the Marraro Prize and a Times Literary Supplement Book of the Year; Political Meritocracy in Renaissance Italy: The Virtuous Republic of Francesco Patrizi of Siena; and Plato in the Italian Renaissance; and editor of The Cambridge Companion to Renaissance Philosophy. Widely regarded as one of the world’s leading authorities on Renaissance philosophy and political thought, he is a Corresponding Member of the British Academy.

Book Details

  • 544 pages
  • 5-1/4 x 8 inches
  • Harvard University Press

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