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Literally thousands of annals, chronicles, and histories were produced in Italy during the Middle Ages, ranging from fragments to polished humanist treatises. This book is composed of a set of case studies exploring the kinds of historical writing most characteristic of the period.
We might expect a typical medieval chronicler to be a monk or cleric, but the chroniclers of communal and Renaissance Italy were overwhelmingly secular. Many were jurists or notaries whose professions granted them access to political institutions and public debate. The mix of the anecdotal and the cosmic, of portents and politics, makes these writers engaging to read.
While chroniclers may have had different reasons to write and often very different points of view, they shared the belief that knowing the past might explain the present. Moreover, their audiences usually shared the worldview and civic identity of the historians, so these texts are glimpses into deeper cultural and intellectual contexts. Seen more broadly, chronicles are far more entertaining and informative than narratives. They become part of the very history they are describing.
-James Grubb, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
-M.M. Johnson, Choice
Sharon Dale is Associate Professor of Art History at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College.
Alison Williams Lewin is Associate Professor of History at St. Joseph's University.
Duane J. Osheim is Professor of History at the University of Virginia.
1. Lombard City Annals and the Social and Cultural History of Northern Italy
2. History Writing in the Twelfth-Century Kingdom of Sicily
Graham A. Loud
3. The Genoese Civic Annals: Caffaro and His Continuators
4. Salimbene de Adam and the Franciscan Chronicle
Alison Williams Lewin
5. The Villani Chronicles
6. Chronicles and Civic Life in Giovanni Sercambi's Lucca
Duane J. Osheim
7. Fourteenth-Century Lombard Chronicles
8. Venetian History and Patrician Chroniclers
John Melville Jones
9. Chronicles into Legends and Lives: Two Humanist Accounts of the Carrara Dynasty in Padua
Benjamin G. Kohl
10. Challenging Chronicles: Leonardo Bruni's History of the Florentine People
11. From the Roman Empire to Christian Imperialism: The Work of Flavio Biondo