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Biondo Flavio and the History of Venice

Sat, April 2, 8:30 to 10:00am, Park Plaza, Floor: Mezzanine, Statler Room


The humanist Biondo Flavio da Forlì (1392-1463) made his primary reputation in historiography on the basis of his massive and influential Historiarum Decades. This paper treats holistically his brief history of Venice heavily dependent upon the Decades, De origine ac gestis Venetorum (1454). The breve opusculum, breviarium, or epitoma (Biondo’s terms) served also as a consultation on potential Venetian participation in a Crusade. It has yet to receive modern edition: the fifteenth-century editio princeps provided the text for scholarly appreciations of the treatise as humanist crusade writing (Hankins 1995); and as reinforcement of the papal diplomacy of Biondo’s times (Maxson 2015). Drawing on work in progress, a provisional edition of On the Origin with annotated English translation, this paper delineates the textual tradition; offers insights into Biondo’s manipulation of sources; and assesses internal evidence for his projected composition of a fuller Venetian history.