Decades of History from the Deterioration of the Roman Empire, Italian translation by Lucio Fauno, 1543
|Died||June 4, 1463 70–71)(aged|
|Fields||Humanism and history|
Flavio Biondo (Latin Flavius Blondus) (1392 – June 4, 1463) was an Italian Renaissance humanist historian. He was one of the first historians to use a three-period division of history (Ancient, Medieval, Modern) and is known as one of the first archaeologists. Born in the capital city of Forlì, in the Romagna region, Flavio was well schooled from an early age, studying under Ballistario of Cremona. During a brief stay in Milan, he discovered and transcribed the unique manuscript of Cicero's dialogue Brutus. He moved to Rome in 1433 where he began work on his writing career; he was appointed secretary to the Cancelleria under Eugene IV in 1444 and accompanied Eugene in his exile, in Ferrara and Florence. After his patron's death, Flavio was employed by his papal successors, Nicholas V, Callixtus III and the great humanist Pius II.
Latin is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. The Latin alphabet is derived from the Etruscan and Greek alphabets and ultimately from the Phoenician alphabet.
Renaissance humanism is the study of classical antiquity, at first in Italy and then spreading across Western Europe in the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries. The term humanism is contemporary to that period, while Renaissance humanism is a retronym used to distinguish it from later humanist developments.
Archaeology is the study of human activity in the past, primarily through the recovery and analysis of the material culture and environmental data that they have left behind, which includes artifacts, architecture, biofacts and cultural landscapes.
Flavio published three encyclopedic works that were systematic and documented guides to the ruins and topography of ancient Rome, for which he has been called one of the first archaeologists; subsequent antiquaries and historians built on the foundations laid down by Flavio and by his older contemporary, Poggio Bracciolini. At the time the ruins of ancient Rome were overgrown and unexplored. When in 1420 Bracciolini climbed the Capitol he saw only deserted fields. The Forum, buried in eroded topsoil, was grazed by cows—the Campo Vaccino—and pigs rooted in its unweeded vegetation. Flavio and fellow humanists like Leone Battista Alberti began to explore and document the architecture, topography and history of Rome, and in the process revived a vision of Rome's former glory.
The topography of ancient Rome is a multidisciplinary field of study that draws on archaeology, epigraphy, cartography and philology.
Gian Francesco Poggio Bracciolini, best known simply as Poggio Bracciolini, was an Italian scholar and an early humanist. He was responsible for rediscovering and recovering a great number of classical Latin manuscripts, mostly decaying and forgotten in German, Swiss, and French monastic libraries. His most celebrated find was De rerum natura, the only surviving work by Lucretius.
The Capitolium or Capitoline Hill, between the Forum and the Campus Martius, is one of the Seven Hills of Rome.
Flavio's first work was De Roma instaurata (Rome Restored, 3 vols., 1444–1448), a reconstruction of ancient Roman topography. It was and remains a highly influential humanist vision of restoring Rome to its previous heights of grandeur by recreating what Rome used to look like based on the ruins which remained. This work was the first systematic and well documented guide to the ruins of Rome, or indeed any ancient ruins, and he has thus been called one of the first archaeologists.
The second was the highly popular De Roma triumphante (Rome Triumphant, 1479) about pagan Rome as a model for contemporary governmental and military reforms. The book was highly influential in reviving Roman patriotism and respect for ancient Rome, while presenting the papacy as a continuation of the Roman Empire.
Paganism, is a term first used in the fourth century by early Christians for people in the Roman Empire who practiced polytheism. This was either because they were increasingly rural and provincial relative to the Christian population, or because they were not milites Christi. Alternate terms in Christian texts for the same group were hellene, gentile, and heathen. Ritual sacrifice was an integral part of ancient Graeco-Roman religion and was regarded as an indication of whether a person was pagan or Christian.
The Roman Empire was the post-Roman Republic period of the ancient Roman civilization. An Iron Age civilization, it had a government headed by emperors and large territorial holdings around the Mediterranean Sea in Europe, North Africa, and West Asia. From the constitutional reforms of Augustus to the military anarchy of the third century, the Empire was a principate ruled from the city of Rome. The Roman Empire was then divided between a Western Roman Empire, based in Milan and later Ravenna, and an Eastern Roman Empire, based in Nicomedia and later Constantinople, and it was ruled by multiple emperors.
Biondo's greatest works were Italia illustrata (Italy Illuminated, written between 1448 and 1458, published 1474) and the Historiarum ab inclinatione Romanorum imperii decades (Decades of History from the Deterioration of the Roman Empire, written from 1439 to 1453, published in 1483).
The Italia illustrata (1474) is a geography, based on the author's personal travels, and history of fourteen Italian regions (regiones). Unlike medieval geographers, whose focus was regional, Biondo, taking Strabo for his model, reinstated the idea of Italy to include the whole of the peninsula. Through topography, he intended to link Antiquity with modern times, with descriptions of each location, the etymology of its toponym and its changes through time, with a synopsis of important events connected with each location. This first historical geography starts with the Roman Republic and Empire, through 400 years of barbarian invasions and an analysis of Charlemagne and later Holy Roman Emperors. He gives an excellent description of the humanist revival and restoration of the classics during the first half of the fifteenth century.
Strabo was a Greek geographer, philosopher, and historian who lived in Asia Minor during the transitional period of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire.
Charlemagne or Charles the Great, numbered Charles I, was King of the Franks from 768, King of the Lombards from 774, and Holy Roman Emperor from 800. He united much of western and central Europe during the Early Middle Ages. He was the first recognised emperor to rule from western Europe since the fall of the Western Roman Empire three centuries earlier. The expanded Frankish state that Charlemagne founded is called the Carolingian Empire. He was later canonized by Antipope Paschal III.
The Holy Roman Emperor was the ruler of the Holy Roman Empire during the Middle Ages and the early modern period. The title was, almost without interruption, held in conjunction with title of King of Germany throughout the 12th to 18th centuries.
Flavio's greatest work is the Historiarum ab Inclinatione Romanorum Imperii (Venice, 1483), a history of Europe in thirty-two books, from the plunder of Rome in 410 by the Visigoths, to contemporary Italy (1442). Using only the most reliable and primary sources, it used a three-period framework, with Italy reviving in Biondo's own time and breaking free of earlier trends. Leonardo Bruni also used a three-period framework in History of the Florentine People, written at about the same time as Biondo's work.
The Visigoths were the western branches of the nomadic tribes of Germanic peoples referred to collectively as the Goths. These tribes flourished and spread throughout the late Roman Empire in Late Antiquity, or what is known as the Migration Period. The Visigoths emerged from earlier Gothic groups who had invaded the Roman Empire beginning in 376 and had defeated the Romans at the Battle of Adrianople in 378. Relations between the Romans and the Visigoths were variable, alternately warring with one another and making treaties when convenient. The Visigoths invaded Italy under Alaric I and sacked Rome in 410. After the Visigoths sacked Rome, they began settling down, first in southern Gaul and eventually in Hispania, where they founded the Visigothic Kingdom and maintained a presence from the 5th to the 8th centuries AD.
Leonardo Bruni was an Italian humanist, historian and statesman, often recognized as the most important humanist historian of the early Renaissance. He has been called the first modern historian. He was the earliest person to write using the three-period view of history: Antiquity, Middle Ages, and Modern. The dates Bruni used to define the periods are not exactly what modern historians use today, but he laid the conceptual groundwork for a tripartite division of history.
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Andrea Alciato, commonly known as Alciati, was an Italian jurist and writer. He is regarded as the founder of the French school of legal humanists.
Year 1483 (MCDLXXXIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Julian calendar).
The Rubicon is a shallow river in northeastern Italy, just south of Ravenna. The same name was given to a river that was famously crossed by Julius Caesar in 49 BC. While it has not been proven, some historians agree that the two rivers are indeed one and the same; this was not always the case.
Anonymus is the Latin spelling of anonymous, traditionally used by scholars in the humanities for any ancient writer whose name is not known, or to a manuscript of their work. Such writers have left valuable historical or literary records through the ages.
Rodolfo Amedeo Lanciani was an Italian archaeologist, a pioneering student of ancient Roman topography, and among his many excavations was that of the House of the Vestals in the Roman Forum.
Red Croatia is a historical term used for the southeastern parts of Roman Dalmatia and some other territories, including parts of present-day Montenegro, Albania, the Herzegovina region of Bosnia and Herzegovina and southeastern Croatia, stretching across the Adriatic Sea.
Mirabilia Urbis Romae is a much-copied medieval Latin text that served generations of pilgrims and tourists as a guide to the city of Rome. The original, which was written by a canon of St Peter's, dates from the 1140s. The text survives in numerous manuscripts.
Pax Nicephori, Latin for the "Peace of Nicephorus", is a term used to refer to both a peace treaty of 803, tentatively concluded between the Frankish ruler Charlemagne and the Byzantine emperor Nikephoros I, and the outcome of negotiations that took place between the same parties, but were concluded by successor emperors, between 811 and 814. The whole set of negotiations of the years 802–815 has also been referred to by this name. By its terms, after several years of diplomatic exchanges, the Byzantine emperor's representatives recognized the authority in the West of Charlemagne, and East and West negotiated their boundaries in the Adriatic Sea.
Paolo Giovio was an Italian physician, historian, biographer, and prelate.
The erroneously named Temple of Minerva Medica is, in fact, a ruined nymphaeum of Imperial Rome, lying between the via Labicana and Aurelian Walls and just inside the line of the Anio Vetus. Once part of the Horti Liciniani on the Esquiline Hill, it now faces the modern Via Giolitti. At one time, it was thought to be the temple to Minerva Medica mentioned by Cicero and other sources. In fact it is a nymphaeum, a building devoted to the nymphs and often connected to the water supply, that dates to the 4th century. The decagonal structure in opus latericium is relatively well preserved, the full dome having collapsed only in 1828. It is surrounded on three sides with other chambers added at a later date. There is no mention of it in ancient literature or inscriptions.
Benvenuto Rambaldi da Imola, or simply and perhaps more accurately Benvenuto da Imola, was an Italian scholar and historian, a lecturer at Bologna. He is now best known for his commentary on Dante's Divine Comedy.
Pietro Donato (1380–1447) was a Venetian Renaissance humanist and the Bishop of Padua. He was a noted bibliophile, epigraphist, collector, and patron of art.
Andrea Fulvio was an Italian Renaissance humanist, poet and antiquarian active in Rome, who advised Raphael in the reconstructions of ancient Rome as settings for his frescoes. Fulvio was Raphael's companion and cicerone as they explored the ruins, Fulvio showing Raphael what was essential to be drawn and ex temporising on them.
Prospero Colonna was a cardinal-nephew of Pope Martin V, whose election ended the Western Schism. Colonna was excommunicated for a period due to his rebellion against Martin V's successor, Pope Eugene IV, becoming one of the few excommunicated cardinals. Despite this, Colonna was the leading candidate to succeed Eugene IV in the papal conclave, 1447, where he was two votes away from election for the first three days.
Gregorio Correr (Corraro) was an Italian humanist and ecclesiastic from Venice. In the last year of his life he was elected Patriarch of Venice.
The Ponte d’Augusto is a Roman arch bridge in the Italian city Narni in Umbria, built to carry the Flaminian Way over the river Nera. Of the original four spans of the 160-metre-long (520 ft) bridge, only the southernmost remains standing.
Paolo Lazise, was an Italian humanist and theologian. Canon Regular of the Lateran, abandoned the Catholic Church to adhere to reform, taking refuge in Strasbourg, where he was appointed professor of Greek language.