Skip to main content

30% Off New Releases: Explore the List

Harvard University Press - home
Lives of the Milanese Tyrants

Lives of the Milanese Tyrants

Pier Candido Decembrio

Edited by Massimo Zaggia
Translated by Gary Ianziti

ISBN 9780674987524

Publication date: 09/17/2019

Lives of the Milanese Tyrants brings together two biographies by the most important Milanese humanist of the early fifteenth century. Pier Candido Decembrio (1399–1477) served as secretary and envoy to the bizarre and powerful Filippo Maria Visconti, Duke of Milan. As a member of the duke’s inner circle, Decembrio was in a privileged position to write what historians agree is a unique masterpiece of Renaissance biography, based on his decades of direct experience. Also included in this volume is a work of homage to Visconti’s successor, Decembrio’s flattering account of the deeds of the most successful mercenary captain of the Renaissance, Francesco Sforza, who secured for himself and his heirs the disputed position of Duke of Milan through guile, force, and willpower. Both works are translated into English here for the first time from new Latin texts prepared specially for this edition.


  • Ianziti’s extraordinarily accurate and refined translation—based on Massimo Zaggia’s superb edition of the Latin texts—allows the modern reader to thoroughly approach Decembrio’s style and his idea of humanistic biography…There is no doubt that this publication represents one of the best testimonies of the renewed interest in the works of Pier Candido Decembrio, a champion of Italian humanism.

    —Natale Vacalebre, Renaissance Quarterly


  • Gary Ianziti is Honorary Senior Research Fellow in the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Queensland, Australia.
  • Massimo Zaggia is Associate Professor at the University of Bergamo.

Book Details

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