Biondo, Flavio


Biondo, Flavio
(Flavius Blondus, 1392-1463)
   A native of Forlî, Biondo was a notary, civil servant, and professional scribe at Venice but was important because of his humanistic and historical writings. Although his Latin style was mediocre, his eagerness to explore and describe the antiquities of Italy led to important literary works. He gained the favor of Pope Eugenius IV and was active in the Council of Ferrara-Florence, but he lost favor under the next pope and found support at several princely courts. His major work, Historiarum ab inclinatione Romanorum libri / History since the Fall of Rome (1453), also known as the Decades, covered the history of Italy from 410 to the 1440s. It is important because it articulates the emergent Renaissance concepts of the fall of Rome and a fundamental break between ancient history and the "modern" (that is, medieval) period. As an account of medieval Italy, it is important for its critical use of sources and for its presentation of history as a series of secular events rather than as a fulfillment of the decrees of divine providence. Also important was his Italia illustrata, which linked the greatness of ancient Rome to the emergent greatness of modern Italy. He engaged in a controversy on the history of Latin language, contending that the complex Latin found in classical literature really was spoken by all classes, not just an educated elite, a view contrary to the opinion of Leonardo Bruni that classical Latin was too complex to have been used by ordinary Romans. His Roma instaurata / Rome Restored (1481) is a topography of ancient Rome.

Historical Dictionary of Renaissance. . 2004.

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