From the revelations of classical statuary pulled from the Roman soil as the popes began rebuilding the city in the fifteenth century, to the myth of serenity that Venice constructed to conceal its physical and political fragility, to bloody yet cultured Florence under the Medici, Ingrid D. Rowland traces the worldly, unworldly, and otherworldly strivings of artists, writers, popes, and politicians during that great "outburst of mental energy" we know as the Renaissance.Here are Botticelli, whose illustrations for the Divine Comedy reveal him to be one of Dante's most careful readers; the multifaceted genius of Leonardo; the astonishing mastery of Titian and the erratic brilliance of artists like Correggio, Caravaggio, and Artemisia Gentileschi; the enigmatic erotic novel Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, the decoding of which was the subject of the recent novel The Rule of Four; the Western fascination with the mysteries of Egypt; and the glittering spiritual ferment of late Byzantium, which as it collapsed passed on so many ideas to Renaissance Italy.But beyond its artistic accomplishments, Rowland writes, "Renaissance life at its most distinctive was the intangible, unworldly life of the mind." In her pages astronomers and astrologists, poets and philosophers, pornographers and prostitutes jostle for attention with painters and sculptors. Among them the inquisitive Jesuit scholar Athanasius Kircher stands out as a polymath who ranged over nearly every field of knowledge. Even though his commingling of scientific observation and hermetic symbolism is now obsolete, he remains for Rowland "a builder of connections who insisted on seeing harmony in the midst of disorder"-and thus one of the most exemplary Renaissance figures of all.
Originally published more than forty years ago, this important collection brings together the works and writings of the revolutionary minds behind the Protestant Reformation--and it remains a major resource for teachers, students, and history buffs alike. Over the decades, however, modern scholarship has shed new light on this tumultuous period, raising probing questions and providing new connections that have radically changed our understanding and outlook.
With this newly revised and updated edition of this essential work--now including texts written by women as well as entries dealing with popular religion--modern viewpoints are cogently addressed, while the scholarly integrity that has made this book a revered classic has been scrupulously maintained. Throughout, Hans J. Hillerbrand's basic assumption remains consistent: religion--no matter how dependent on societal forces--must be seen as the pivotal element in the story of the sixteenth century.
Written with passion and personal malice, the Secret History of Procopius is a scathing indictment of the emperor Justinian and his sixth-century Byzantine court. Never has there been a more calculated attempt to ruin an entire reign in the eyes of posterity. Procopius writes of:
. . . How the Great General Belisarius was hoodwinked by his wife, whose lover became a monk.
. . . How Theodora, most depraved of all empresses, won Justinian's love.
. . . How she saved five hundred harlots from a life of sin, made off with her own natural son, and other curious incidents of her passion.
The fourteenth century reflects two contradictory images: on the one hand, a glittering age of crusades, cathedrals, and chivalry; on the other, a world plunged into chaos and spiritual agony. In this revelatory work, Barbara W. Tuchman examines not only the great rhythms of history but the grain and texture of domestic life: what childhood was like; what marriage meant; how money, taxes, and war dominated the lives of serf, noble, and clergy alike. Granting her subjects their loyalties, treacheries, and guilty passions, Tuchman re-creates the lives of proud cardinals, university scholars, grocers and clerks, saints and mystics, lawyers and mercenaries, and, dominating all, the knight--in all his valor and "furious follies," a "terrible worm in an iron cocoon." Praise for A Distant Mirror "Beautifully written, careful and thorough in its scholarship . . . What Ms. Tuchman does superbly is to tell how it was. . . . No one has ever done this better."--The New York Review of Books
"A beautiful, extraordinary book . . . Tuchman at the top of her powers . . . She has done nothing finer."--The Wall Street Journal
"Wise, witty, and wonderful . . . a great book, in a great historical tradition."--Commentary
This narrative of events between the years 1173 and 1202--as recorded by Jocelin of Brakelond, a monk who lived in the abbey of Bury St. Edmunds, in the region of West Suffolk--affords many unique insights into the life of a medieval religious community. It depicts the daily worship in the abbey church and the beliefs and values shared by the monks, as well as the whispered conversations, rumors, and disagreements within the cloister--and the bustling life of the market-town of Bury, just outside the abbey walls. This edition offers the first modern translation from the Latin to appear since 1949.