Below is a list of in-print works in this collection, presented in series order or publication order as applicable.
In Defense of Common Sense: Lorenzo Valla's Humanist Critique of Scholastic Philosophy
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.
The Return of Lucretius to Renaissance Florence
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.
Venice's Most Loyal City: Civic Identity in Renaissance Brescia
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.
Writing History in Renaissance Italy: Leonardo Bruni and the Uses of the Past
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.
The Duke and the Stars: Astrology and Politics in Renaissance Milan
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.
Cultures of Charity: Women, Politics, and the Reform of Poor Relief in Renaissance Italy
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.
Printing a Mediterranean World: Florence, Constantinople, and the Renaissance of Geography
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.
The Pulpit and the Press in Reformation Italy
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.
The Fruit of Liberty: Political Culture in the Florentine Renaissance, 1480-1550
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.
Orpheus in the Marketplace: Jacopo Peri and the Economy of Late Renaissance Florence
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.
Reviving the Eternal City: Rome and the Papal Court, 1420-1447
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.
A Mattress Maker's Daughter: The Renaissance Romance of Don Giovanni de’ Medici and Livia Vernazza
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.
A Great and Wretched City: Promise and Failure in Machiavelli’s Florentine Political Thought
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.
The Medicean Succession: Monarchy and Sacral Politics in Duke Cosimo dei Medici’s Florence
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.
The Prince's Body: Vincenzo Gonzaga and Renaissance Medicine
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.
Reading Lucretius in the Renaissance
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.
Daughters of Alchemy: Women and Scientific Culture in Early Modern Italy
Meredith Ray shows that women were at the vanguard of empirical culture during the Scientific Revolution. They experimented with medicine and alchemy at home and in court, debated cosmological discoveries in salons and academies, and in their writings used their knowledge of natural philosophy to argue for women’s intellectual equality to men.
Everyday Renaissances: The Quest for Cultural Legitimacy in Venice
Revealing an Italian Renaissance beyond Michelangelo and the Medici, Sarah Gwyneth Ross recovers the experiences of everyday people who were inspired to pursue humanistic learning. Physicians were often the most avid professionals seeking to earn the respect of their betters, advance their families, and secure honorable remembrance after death.
Success and Suppression: Arabic Sciences and Philosophy in the Renaissance
Dag Nikolaus Hasse shows how ideological and scientific motives led to the decline of Arabic traditions in European culture. The Renaissance was a turning point: on the one hand, Arabic scientific traditions reached their peak of influence in Europe; on the other, during this period the West began to forget, or suppress, its debt to Arabic culture.
Clerical Households in Late Medieval Italy
Roisin Cossar examines how clerics managed efforts to reform their domestic lives in the decades after the Black Death. Despite reformers’ desire for clerics to remain celibate, clerical households resembled those of the laity, and priests’ lives included apprenticeships in youth, fatherhood in middle age, and reliance on their families in old age.
The Avignon Papacy Contested: An Intellectual History from Dante to Catherine of Siena
Unn Falkeid considers the work of six fourteenth-century writers who waged literary war against the Avignon papacy’s increasing claims of supremacy over secular rulers—a conflict that engaged contemporary critics from every corner of Europe. She illuminates arguments put forth by Dante, Petrarch, William of Ockham, Catherine of Siena, and others.
Giannozzo Manetti: The Life of a Florentine Humanist
Giannozzo Manetti was one of the most remarkable figures of the Italian Renaissance, though today his works are unfamiliar in English. In this authoritative biography, the first ever in English, David Marsh guides readers through the vast range of Manetti’s writings, which epitomized the new humanist scholarship of the Quattrocento.
A Convert’s Tale: Art, Crime, and Jewish Apostasy in Renaissance Italy
Salomone da Sesso was a virtuoso goldsmith in Renaissance Italy. Brought down by a sex scandal, he saved his skin by converting to Catholicism. Tamar Herzig explores Salamone’s world—his Jewish upbringing, his craft and patrons, and homosexuality. In his struggle for rehabilitation, we see how precarious and contested was the meaning of conversion.
Forgotten Healers: Women and the Pursuit of Health in Late Renaissance Italy
In Renaissance Italy women from all walks of life played a central role in health care and the early development of medical science. Observing that the frontlines of care are often found in the household and other spaces thought of as female, Sharon Strocchia encourages us to rethink women’s place in the history of medicine.
Abortion in Early Modern Italy
John Christopoulos provides a comprehensive account of abortion in early modern Italy. Bringing together medical, religious, and legal perspectives, he explores the meanings of a practice that was officially banned yet widely practiced and generally tolerated, demonstrating that Italy was hardly a haven for Catholic anti-abortion absolutism.
Milan Undone: Contested Sovereignties in the Italian Wars
In 1499, Milan was an independent state with a stable government. But over the next thirty years, it descended into chaos amid the Italian Wars. John Gagné details Milan’s social and political breakdown. The Renaissance may have been the cradle of the modern nation-state, but it was also a time when sophisticated sovereigns collapsed.
Niccolò di Lorenzo della Magna and the Social World of Florentine Printing, ca. 1470–1493
Lorenz Böninger tells the story of Niccolò di Lorenzo della Magna, a major printer of Renaissance Italy. Niccolò’s hitherto mysterious life and career provide unparalleled insight into the business of printing in its earliest years, illuminating the economic, legal, and intellectual forces that surrounded the publication and dissemination of texts.
Love and Sex in the Time of Plague: A Decameron Renaissance
Guido Ruggiero brings readers back to Renaissance Florence, capturing how the Decameron sounded to fourteenth-century ears. Giovanni Boccaccio’s masterpiece of love, sex, loyalty, and betrayal resonated amid the Black Death and the era’s convulsive political change, reimagining truth and virtue in a moment both desperate and full of potential.
Tuscany in the Age of Empire
The Renaissance was also the beginning of the Age of Empires, yet the Grand Duchy of Tuscany failed to secure overseas colonies. How did Tuscany retain its place in European affairs and intellectual life? Brian Brege explores the shrewd diplomatic moves and domestic investments that safeguarded the duchy’s wealth and influence amid globalization.
Being a Jesuit in Renaissance Italy: Biographical Writing in the Early Global Age
Founded in 1540, the Society of Jesus was instantly popular, attracting thousands of candidates in its first century. Camilla Russell looks to the lives and writings of early Jesuits to better understand the Society’s appeal, how it worked, and the ideas that drove Christian thinkers and missionaries during the Renaissance and early modern period.
The Dynamics of Learning in Early Modern Italy: Arts and Medicine at the University of Bologna
A longstanding tradition holds that universities in early modern Italy suffered from cultural sclerosis and long-term decline. Drawing on rich archival sources, including teaching records, David Lines shows that one of Italy’s leading institutions, the University of Bologna, displayed remarkable vitality in the arts and medicine.