Europe (c.1400-1458)

Europe (c.1400-1458)

AENEAS SILVIUS PICCOLOMINI
TRANSLATED BY ROBERT BROWN
INTRODUCED AND ANNOTATED BY NANCY BISAHA
Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 344
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt5hgzhx
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  • Book Info
    Europe (c.1400-1458)
    Book Description:

    This popular text circulated widely in manuscript form and was printed in several editions between the late 15th and the early 18th centuries, in Latin, German, and Italian. The present volume represents the first time this work has been translated into English, bringing its colorful narrative to the attention of a wider audience. This edition also provides extensive footnotes, an appendix of rulers, and a lengthy introduction to Aeneas?s life and the context and relevance of this work.

    eISBN: 978-0-8132-2183-0
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
    Nancy Bisaha and Robert Brown
  5. ILLUSTRATIONS
    (pp. xvii-xx)
  6. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 3-46)

    Few words are as powerful or as controversial as “Europe.” It signifies a continent, a historical phenomenon, an economic or political force, and an ideological concept with vast cultural influence. Moreover, within each of these categories, a multitude of interpretations and definitions exist. Despite the lack of agreement on its meaning, “Europe” is a surprisingly solid and weighty term.¹ Much of this substance, at least from a historical point of view, may be attributed to the creation of the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1957 and the European Union (EU) in 1993. But for many, the EEC and the EU...

  7. EUROPE
    • DEDICATION LETTER
      (pp. 49-50)

      To antonio, called Lérida, presbyter cardinal of the Holy Roman Church and his most reverend father, Aeneas, cardinal of Siena, a man of equal rank but unequal merit, sends warmest greetings.¹

      When I had an attack of the gout recently and was suffering from my customary joint pains,² a German bookseller³ came to me with a small book containing not so much the deeds as the names—and a little about the characters—of the Roman emperors up to Wenceslas, son of Charles IV.⁴ Since four emperors seemed to be missing from the work⁵ (for its author, Benvenuto da Imola,⁶...

    • 1 HUNGARY
      (pp. 51-64)

      1. HUNGARY, which lies next to Frederick’s native land of Austria and stretches eastward, will furnish the starting point of my narrative. Some call this country Pannonia, as though the Hungarians succeeded the Pannonians. But Hungary does not occupy the boundaries of Pannonia, nor was Pannonia ever so extensive as Hungary is today. For Pannonia was confined between the Danube and the Alps which face Italy and the Adriatic Sea, while to the west it bordered Noricum and the Inn River and to the east the Mysians, Triballians, and the Sava River. These borders include a large part of Austria, inhabited...

    • 2 TRANSYLVANIA, VALACHIA
      (pp. 64-68)

      14. TRANSYLVANIA is a region situated beyond the Danube which was once inhabited by the Dacians—a fierce people, famous for many defeats inflicted on the Romans. It is inhabited in our time by three races: the Germans, Székelys, and Vlachs.

      The Germans stem from Saxony. They are brave men, well versed in war, who are called Siebenbürger in their native language from the seven cities in which they dwell.

      The Székelys are believed to be oldest of the Hungarians and the first who emigrated from ancient Hungary into this region. For this reason, although they cultivate the fields with their...

    • 3 THRACE, ROMANIA, CONSTANTINOPLE
      (pp. 69-72)

      18. NOW THAT I have discussed the Vlachs and Hungarians, I turn my attention to the Thracians and their affairs. Thrace, according to most authors, including the more distinguished, is a spacious country which extends over a broad area. It is bordered by the Black Sea and the Propontis in the east; the Aegean Sea, the Strymon River, and the land of Macedonia in the south; the Danube in the north; and, on its western margin, not only by the mountains of Paeonia but Pannonia and the Sava River. I observe that Pliny of Verona held this opinion and also Strabo,75...

    • 4 ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF THE TURKS
      (pp. 72-78)

      20. I NOTE that many writers of our time, not only orators or poets but even historians, are ensnared in the error of referring to the Turks as “Trojans.”88I believe they are influenced by the fact that the Turks occupy Troy, which was inhabited by the Trojans. But the Trojans originated in Crete and Italy. The Turkish race is Scythian and uncivilized.89Although I may seem to be digressing from my plan, I think it not irrelevant to describe their origin and expansion. For in our era, this race of people has grown so great that it controls Asia [Minor]...

    • 5 THE BATTLE OF VARNA (THE TURKISH WARS [5–8])
      (pp. 79-89)

      26. HAVING come this far, I would like to trace the activities of this man to their conclusion. When the fighting ended badly at the Battle of Varna, which I will describe a little later,120Hunyadi fled and retreated into Serbia. Learning of his arrival, George went to meet him, intercepted him en route, and, as if he were an enemy, imprisoned him and would not release him until he retrieved the towns within his jurisdiction which Hunyadi had formerly occupied.121Not long afterward, when John was leading his forces toward Sofia and seemed poised to inflict significant losses upon the...

    • 6 THE BATTLE OF KOSOVO
      (pp. 90-93)

      33. A LONG period of time then elapsed in which neither the Hungarians nor the Turks took it upon themselves to challenge the other in combat; the calamity each had experienced kept them at home in a state of shock. The bloody battle of Varna had shattered the strength of both sides, and neither the Turks nor the Hungarians had a king who was ready for war. Hunyadi governed the latter, Halil Pasha the former, in another’s name.154Hunyadi, the more aggressive and militarily experienced of the two, could not forget the shame he had incurred at Varna and pondered day...

    • 7 THE FALL OF CONSTANTINOPLE
      (pp. 93-100)

      36. THUS it transpired that, after the death of Murad, Mehmed took up the helm of state as he had desired. He reformed the institutions of his ancestors to suit his temperament, proclaimed his own laws at home and abroad, enriched the treasury, contrived new taxes, increased the size of his forces, and began to vent his rage and insults upon the nobles and courtiers.162As I noted previously, this is the Mehmed who waged war on the people of Constantinople, and now would seem to be an appropriate time to report what I have learned about him.

      Mehmed had long...

    • 8 THE BATTLE OF BELGRADE
      (pp. 101-103)

      44. HALIL PASHA, who, much to Mehmed’s displeasure had stayed alive until that day, was wretchedly tortured to death on the pretext of having betrayed the plans of the Turks to Emperor Constantine. The great wealth that he had amassed is said to have caused his destruction, together with his recall of Murad to the throne from private life after he had resigned his power.183Enriched by his money and elated by such great success, Mehmed began to prepare an expedition against the Hungarians.184He spent about three years planning this and, after summoning leaders from throughout the kingdom, he made...

    • 9 MACEDONIA, THESSALY
      (pp. 103-106)

      47. ADJOINING THRACE, and extending in a westerly and southern direction, is Macedonia, which once ruled the world. It lies between two seas, the Aegean and the Adriatic. Its southern flank is protected by the rear of Thessaly and Magnesia. Its northern part is bordered by Paeonia and Paphlagonia,189though those regions, too, later passed into the jurisdiction of the Macedonians and were added to Macedonia. Epirus and the land of Illyria190are also contiguous with Macedonia, one bordering it in the south, the other in the north. On the Adriatic coast lies the ancient city of Dyrrachium, which acquired its...

    • 10 BOEOTIA
      (pp. 106-106)

      49. NEXT after Thessaly comes Boeotia, which stretches from east to west, touching both the Euboean Sea and the Gulf of Crisa. It is mentioned by almost all historians owing to the fame of Thebes. Here is the birthplace of the Muses in the grove of Helicon, here the glades of Cithaeron, the river Ismenus and the springs of Dirce, Arethusa, and Aganippe. This city, which was once the homeland of Father Liber and Hercules and which produced the brave Epaminondas202—a city not inferior to Athens in fame—is in our time the insignificant stronghold of Thebes, which in recent...

    • 11 ATTICA
      (pp. 107-107)

      50. NEXT comes Hellas, which our countrymen call Greece. The ancients called it Acte, which means “coast”; then, through an alteration of the name, they called it Attica.204Homer referred to all the inhabitants of Attica as Athenians, since Megara had not yet been built. However, the part of it which is called the Megarid makes Attica stretch from Boeotia all the way to the Isthmus of Corinth. Near the Isthmus, in fact, was a column, which contained the following inscription on the side facing the Peloponnese: “This is the Peloponnese, but not Ionia.” And on the side looking toward Megara:...

    • 12 THE PELOPONNESE, THE ISTHMUS, ACHAEA
      (pp. 108-111)

      51. THE PELOPONNESE is connected to Attica.208It was once called the acropolis of all Greece. For in addition to the distinction and power of the peoples who inhabit it, its very topography marks it out for hegemony and power. It contains many gulfs and many capes as well as large and remarkable peninsulas, which are delightful for their variety. Its shape has been said to resemble the leaf of a plane tree, being almost equal in length and breadth. From west to east, it measures one thousand four hundred stades; according to Polybius, its perimeter or circumference, if one omits...

    • 13 ACARNANIA
      (pp. 111-111)

      55. THE FIRST place one comes to is Acarnania, which lies between Epirus and Boeotia and seems to join or blend with Aetolia. Today it is called a duchy. Giovanni Ventimiglia, a native Sicilian, gave his daughter in marriage to the despot of Acarnania. When the Turks were harassing Acarnania and besieged his son-in-law, he crossed the sea with a small troop of horsemen, attacked the besiegers, and inflicted a slaughter that deserves to be remembered. For with only a small detachment he routed an enormous force and succeeded in saving his son-in-law. The latter, however, was captured in an ambush...

    • 14 EPIRUS
      (pp. 111-113)

      56. ON ITS western frontier, Epirus begins at the Acroceraunian Mountains and extends eastward for one thousand three hundred stades to the Ambracian Gulf.223Ptolemy reports that in the north it adjoins Macedonia, in the east, Achaea, as far as the mouth of the Achelous River; its western side, he states, is bordered by the Ionian Sea.224Strabo called this same sea the Ausonian Sea.225In Epirus, Theopompus226related that there were fourteen tribes, of whom the best known were the Chaonians and Molossians. For, once upon a time, first the Chaonians ruled the kingdom and later the Molossians, descendants of...

    • 15 ALBANIA
      (pp. 113-114)

      57. WHAT IS now called Albania was once the part of Macedonia which faced west. As I have recorded, it was the site of Dyrrachium and Apollonia—cities not without fame in antiquity. The language of the nation is intelligible neither to the Greeks nor to the Illyrians. I believe that this race of people once came from the Albania which reportedly neighbors Colchis in Asiatic Scythia, for floods of barbarian tribes frequently occupied the provinces of Greece and Italy. In this land, Musa held power. Though born of Christian parents, he failed to hold fast to the Catholic faith and...

    • 16 THE ILLYRIAN NATIONS, BOSNIA
      (pp. 115-116)

      58. AFTER Albania come the Illyrian nations, which look toward the west and the north. In our time, we refer to this race of people as Slavs. Some are called Bosnians, some Dalmatians, others Croatians, Istrians, and Carnians. Bosnia slopes inland toward Pannonia and looks to the north. The other peoples border on the sea, extending as far as the source of the Timavo and facing Ausonia [i.e., Italy] on one side and Pannonia on the other. The Timavo pours its waters into the innermost gulf of the Adriatic Sea; Strabo reported that its spring was called “the mother of the...

    • 17 DALMATIA, CROATIA, LIBURNIA
      (pp. 116-117)

      60. IN DALMATIA, Stephen, the ruler of a duchy between Bosnia and Dalmatia who had been infected with the poison of the Manichees, inflicted great casualties on the people of Ragusa. Although this man had often ambushed Christians and sold them to the Turks, he had the gall to send emissaries to Rome and seek assistance from the Apostolic See, petitioning Christians for the expenses of a war which he had waged against Christians.243And there was no lack of men ready to listen to such impious words.

      In Croatia, there was an Austrian woman who, though humbly born, had been...

    • 18 ISTRIA
      (pp. 117-118)

      62. THE ANCIENTS assigned Istria to Italy. It contains Poreč, Pula, and Iustinopolis, which they call Capodistria.248However, to include it with Italy is inappropriate, since it is separated from it by a gulf of the Adriatic and, like a peninsula, surrounded by sea where it joins the mainland. To its rear is a rocky and mountainous region, which the ancients called Albia. Pliny said that Istria was contiguous to Liburnia,249which makes it clear that the Croatians replaced the Liburnians. They say that Istria was named from the Ister River, which was falsely believed to flow from the Danube into...

    • 19 CARNIOLA
      (pp. 119-119)

      63. NEXT after the Istrians come the Carnians, with whom the Iapidians are numbered. However, the Slavs, whose language dominates the region, divide the Carnians in half and say that Carniola has two parts.254One is dry and sparsely watered, and here they locate the Istrians and Carsians, who inhabit the mountains between Ljubljana and Trieste and range as far as the Timavo. The other, where the Sava River has its source, along with the Nauportus—whose modern name is the Ljubljanica—and very many other rivers, is well irrigated. In this country, while Emperor Frederick was seeking the crown of...

    • 20 CARINTHIA
      (pp. 120-123)

      64. CARINTHIA, which also is a mountainous region, lies next to Carniola and adjoins Styria to the east and north; to the west and south it borders on the Italian Alps and Friuli. It contains many valleys and hills that are fertile in wheat, many lakes, and many rivers, of which the foremost is the Drava, which is no smaller than the Sava and runs through Styria and Pannonia into the Danube. The Austrians hold sovereignty over the country and call its ruler the Archduke.

      Whenever a new ruler assumes office, they observe a ceremony that I have heard of nowhere...

    • 21 STYRIA
      (pp. 124-127)

      68. STYRIA, which I find was once called Valeria, is neighbor to Pannonia in the east; its northern side faces Austria, and to the west and south it borders on the Carnians and Carinthians. This, too, is a mountainous country, though its eastern tract contains large plains. The famous Drava and Mur rivers irrigate its land; the Mur discharges its waters into the Drava, the Drava into the Danube. The people of the cities are mostly Germans. The Slavs, who cultivate the countryside this side of the Drava, recognize the sovereignty of the House of Austria. Styria contains an old town...

    • 22 AUSTRIA
      (pp. 127-134)

      72. I THINK it unnecessary to describe Austria here, since I have published a history devoted to it.274After the death of Emperor Albert, the people of this country entrusted themselves to Frederick with the stipulation that, if the pregnant queen gave birth to a male child, he would be its guardian; if a female, he would become ruler of the land. When Ladislas [Postumus] was born, as I described previously, Frederick took on his guardianship.275The soldiers who had served under Albert claimed they had been cheated of their wages and laid waste to the country with acts of brigandag...

    • 23 MORAVIA
      (pp. 135-136)

      84. HEADING northward through Austria, one arrives among the Moravians, a fierce race, avid for plunder, who dwell on the other side of the Danube between the Hungarians and Bohemians. In our day, Emperor Sigismund made a gift of this country to his son-in-law Albert, who succeeded him as emperor.295When it rebelled and refused to obey his orders, Albert caused it to suffer great destruction. For he burned over five hundred farms in a single expedition, put many people to death, drove off almost all the livestock, and forced that perfidious people to bear his yoke.296

      In this country, the...

    • 24 SILESIA
      (pp. 136-138)

      85. AFTER Moravia, next comes Silesia—a country of no small renown, through which flows the Oder, one of Germany’s most famous rivers. Its source is in Hungary, which lies on the eastern border of Silesia, and its course ends at the Baltic Sea. This land is about two hundred miles in length and eighty miles in breadth. The people’s capital is Breslau, a spacious city situated on the banks of the Oder, which is beautifully adorned with private and public buildings. Our forefathers described its bishopric as “golden,” but the Hussite Wars have reduced it to mud.300When Wenceslas was...

    • 25 POLAND
      (pp. 138-141)

      86. POLAND is a vast region which lies next to Silesia in the west and borders the Hungarians, Lithuanians, and Prussians. The capital city of the kingdom is Kraków, which contains a flourishing school of the liberal arts. Zbigniew presided over this city, a bishop notable for his literary erudition and charming personality. I received many letters from him, composed with plentiful wit and Roman refinement. In recognition of his singular merits, the Roman Church sent him a cardinal’s red hat.305

      87. Apart from Kraków, the cities of Poland are less than elegant. They build most of their houses out of wood...

    • 26 LITHUANIA
      (pp. 141-147)

      89. LITHUANIA, which is also an extensive region, adjoins Poland in the east and is almost entirely covered in bogs and forests. The leader of this land was Vytautus, the brother of Wladyslaw II, who abandoned the cult of many gods and received the sacrament of Christ along with the throne of Poland. The name of Vytautus was great in his own time. His subjects feared him so much that, if ordered to hang themselves, they would rather obey than incur their ruler’s wrath. Those who resisted his rule he sewed inside a bear skin and threw to living bears, which...

    • 27 RUTHENIA
      (pp. 147-147)

      94. THE RUTHENIANS,326whom Strabo appears to call Roxanians,327border on the Lithuanians. They are a rough and barbarous race, among whom Cardinal Isidore of Santa Sabina, whom I mentioned previously, secured a wealthy diocese.328In this nation, there is said to be a huge city called Novgorod, which German merchants succeed in reaching only with much hardship. Rumor holds that it contains great wealth, an abundance of silver, and valuable pelts. Buyers and sellers use weighed, not coined, silver. There is a square stone in the middle of the marketplace. Whoever is able to climb this without being pulled down...

    • 28 LIVONIA
      (pp. 147-148)

      95. NEXT IS Livonia, the most distant of the Christian countries, which borders on the Ruthenians to the north. It is often invaded by the Tartars, who have suffered bloody defeats there in our time. The Teutonic Brothers of St. Mary conquered this country and forced it to adopt the sacraments of Christ, for it was previously heathen and worshipped idols.329Its western shore is washed by the Baltic Sea, which most of the ancients thought to be the Ocean; the north was less familiar to the Greeks and Italians than it is today. The Christian religion opened up this part...

    • 29 PRUSSIA: THE TEUTONIC BROTHERS
      (pp. 148-156)

      96. RETURNING from Livonia to Germany along the shore of the Baltic Sea, the next people one encounters after the Samogitians are the Prussians. They inhabit both banks of the Vistula River, which forms the boundary between Sarmatia and Germany. It rises in the mountains which separate Poland and Hungary and irrigates part of Poland. But it runs through the whole length of Prussia from the town of Torún to Gdańsk, where it flows into the Baltic. Some, as I have done, have called this river the Vistula, which agrees with modern parlance, others the Iustula and some the Istula. The...

    • 30 THE SAXON NATION, POMERANIA
      (pp. 156-158)

      104. NEXT after Prussia comes the nation of the Saxons, a powerful and widely distributed people, whose western boundary is the Weser River. Most have been of the opinion that the Saxons extend as far as the Rhine.353The zone to their north is occupied by the Danes and the Baltic Sea, and the Franconians, Bavarians, and Bohemians are situated to the south; the region to their east is inhabited by both Silesians and Prussians. Included within these frontiers are the Thuringians, Brandenburgers, Meisseners, Lusatians, and Pomeranians, all of whom accept Saxon jurisdiction. However, people say that the Thuringians settled in...

    • 31 THURINGIA, HALBERSTADT
      (pp. 158-160)

      106. IN THURINGIA is the famous town of Erfurt, which is the capital of this region; it lies under the jurisdiction of the bishop of Mainz and is famous for its schools of the liberal arts. There is also the small city of Naumburg, which is subject to the duke of Saxony. All these towns use the law and language of the Saxons and follow the same customs. But the true Saxons, as no one doubts, are thought to be the people of Magdeburg, together with those of Bremen, Halberstadt, Hildesheim, Verden, Brunswick, Lüneburg, and Lübeck. In Magdeburg, there is an...

    • 32 BRUNSWICK, SAXONY
      (pp. 160-165)

      108. BRUNSWICK is a large and populous town renowned throughout Germany. It is fortified with walls and ditches, together with high towers and ramparts. Its houses are grand, its streets elegant, and its churches large and richly decorated. It possesses five markets,365five halls of justice, and an equal number of municipal councils which dispense justice to the citizens. The dukes of Brunswick take their name from it. They are the noblest men in all of Germany, descendants as they are of the Ottonian line, though the passage of time has diminished their fame and power. The city of Lübeck is...

    • 33 DENMARK, NORWAY, SWEDEN
      (pp. 165-170)

      115. AT THIS point, since Denmark lies next to Saxony, I have decided to record some noteworthy facts about the kingdom of Denmark and its neighboring regions to the north before I attend to the remaining parts of Germany.382Extending northward, there are three kingdoms which lie next to one another: those of the Danes, which today they call Dacia,383the Swedes, and the Norwegians.

      Denmark (or Dacia, if we defer to custom) is a part of Germany and is shaped like a peninsula. The Cimbrians once inhabited it, and from here came the flood of barbarians which was massacred by...

    • 34 BOHEMIA
      (pp. 170-171)

      118. THE GEOGRAPHICAL order of places would now require me to take up the deeds of the Bohemians and describe their location, for they border the Saxons in the south. Many things of note have happened among them in the present age; many battles have been fought there and much blood spilled; cities have been razed to the ground, religion spurned and trampled upon. The heresy of the Hussites emerged; the madness of the Adamites sprang up; the armies of the Taborites and Orphans ran riot;401the two thunderbolts of war, Žižka and Prokop, looted the country at their pleasure.402Jan...

    • 35 FRISIA
      (pp. 171-172)

      119. THE FRISIANS, who live next to the ocean, border on Saxony to the east and Westphalia to the south; in the west they adjoin the territory of Utrecht (though the people of Utrecht, too, are alleged to be Frisians by many authors, including Otto, bishop of Freising, who wrote a history of Germany that is not without merit).408Albert, bishop of Mainz, who built the monastery of Fulda, was killed by the Frisians and crowned with martyrdom while striving to convert them to Christianity.409

      This race is fierce and proficient in arms, powerful and tall in physique, confident and fearless...

    • 36 HOLLAND, UTRECHT, DORDRECHT, WESTPHALIA
      (pp. 173-179)

      120. HOLLAND, which is also a German country, is washed by the ocean on its northern edge; the rest of it is cut off by branches of the Rhine River, which form an island. It is marshy, rich in pasture, and interspersed with numerous lakes and inlets of the sea.412Some say that the famous city of Utrecht is located in Holland. To me, it does not seem strange that Utrecht has at one time been attributed to Frisia, at another to Holland, since frontiers are often altered by the decrees of rulers. Indeed, in our time it is assigned to...

    • 37 HESSE
      (pp. 179-180)

      129. BETWEEN Westphalia and Franconia lies Hesse, a mountainous region which stretches north from the Rhine and joins Thuringia. The ruler of the nation, Landgrave Ludwig, was invited to become emperor in our time, but he said that he was unequal to so heavy a burden and preferred to rule efficiently the small realm bequeathed to him by his parents than to accept a large one and squander it.436It also stood in the way of his governing the Christian world, he said, that he was not a scholar. However, he was a guardian of the laws, which he ordered to...

    • 38 THE FRANKS
      (pp. 180-186)

      130. AFTER this comes Franconia, a decidedly well-known and very powerful region, which was named after the Franks who settled there. In fact, the Franks were originally Trojans, who, after the destruction of Troy, followed the leadership of Priam, the nephew of Priam the Great on his sister’s side, and made their way into Scythia through the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. There they built a city called Sicambria, from which they took the name of Sicambrians. For it is known that, after the conquest and burning of Troy, those who survived its destruction divided into three bands and...

    • 39 FRANCONIA
      (pp. 186-191)

      135. FRANCONIA, as it is understood in our time, borders on the Swabians and Bavarians in the south, the Rhine in the west, and the Bohemians and Thuringians in the east; the Thuringians also adjoin it to the north, along with the Hessians. A river of no little renown called the Main flows through the land. Ptolemy seems to call this river the Obrinca, which according to him separates the Upper from the Lower Germans. For there is no other river which could mark that separation more suitably than the Main; even today, in fact, the Lower Germans extend as far...

    • 40 BAVARIA, THE PALATINATE, SWABIA
      (pp. 191-195)

      139. BAVARIA abuts the northeast of Franconia and a part of its southern border.475It, too, is an extensive and wealthy land. In the south, it is bordered by the Italian Alps; the Swabians lie to its west, the Austrians and Bohemians, to its east.476The Danube flows roughly through its center. Some have set the Enns River as the frontier between Austria and Bavaria, others the Inn River; the Lech River marks the boundary between the Swabians and Bavarians. The Noricans once inhabited this region, and a portion of it situated across the Danube is still called Noricum, as I...

    • 41 THE MARGRAVATE OF BADEN, THE TYROL, SWITZERLAND
      (pp. 196-197)

      145. IN THE margravate of Baden, the ruler was Jakob, a man whose reputation for justice and wisdom made him celebrated among the Germans. Because it pained him that the only thing he lacked for human happiness was a knowledge of letters, he compelled the children whom he had fathered with his lawful wife to study literature. When he had divided his inheritance among them and arranged for his firstborn son, Carl, a remarkably industrious youth, to marry the emperor’s sister, he passed away, without reluctance, in the fullness of his years.492

      146. The Tyroleans, who inhabit the valleys of the Inn...

    • 42 ALSACE, THE VOGTLAND, SAVOY, ARLES
      (pp. 197-201)

      148. IN ALSACE, which was once called Helvetia, a country formerly under French but now German rule, Louis, the dauphin of Vienne,496led almost the whole French army into the territory of Basel and struck great fear into the people of that city. The Swiss, in accordance with a treaty of alliance, sent four thousand soldiers drawn from the pick of their young men to reinforce the city. When the dauphin observed them approaching, he positioned himself with his whole army midway between Basel and the Swiss. The Swiss did not shrink from battle, though they had to fight on foot...

    • 43 FRANCE
      (pp. 201-208)

      155. WHEN Count Jean of Armagnac was stricken with an incestuous passion for his sister and tried to marry her, King Charles of France judged him worthy to be expelled by force from his father’s inheritance.512

      156. In the kingdom of France itself, it happened in our time that a young girl from Lorraine named Jeanne, following instructions from God (as they believe), dressed and armed herself like a man and took command of the French army. Fighting herself in the front ranks—miraculous to relate!—she rescued much of the kingdom from the hands of the English.513

      157. After Duke Philip of...

    • 44 GHENT
      (pp. 208-209)

      163. IN FLANDERS, the people of Ghent revolted against Duke Philip of Burgundy and were defeated in several battles. In the end, after losing over twenty thousand of their citizens in one battle, they admitted their error, surrendered to Philip, and accepted the victor’s terms.536The same Philip, not without provoking the ire of King Ladislas [Postumus], also seized the very large and well-fortified town of Luxembourg, which had come under Saxon rule by way of a dowry.537

      164. When the dauphin of Vienne tried to murder a strikingly beautiful woman called Agnes who was loved by his father, he once again...

    • 45 ENGLAND
      (pp. 209-211)

      165. I HAVE reached a place from which the crossing to England is very short, for the sea which flows between Flanders and England is no more than thirty miles wide. Now that I have completed my account of France, it would be fitting to cross the sea and record as briefly as possible the changes that took place in England, once named Britain, during the reign of Frederick.

      In England, which the ancients sometimes called Albion, sometimes Britain, Henry, desiring solitude and leisure, governed the kingdom more through the judgment of others than his own.540Duke William of Suffolk held...

    • 46 SCOTLAND, IRELAND
      (pp. 211-212)

      166. SCOTLAND is the farthest tip of the island that contains England; it faces north and is separated from England by rivers of no great size and a mountain range. I was there in the winter, when the sun lit the earth for little more than three hours a day.546At that time the king was James, a stocky man weighed down by a fat paunch. He had once been captured in England and spent eleven years in custody. When he was finally released, he took an English wife and returned home, where he executed a good number of chieftains and...

    • 47 SPAIN, CASTILE, NAVARRE, PORTUGAL
      (pp. 212-216)

      169. THE HUGE expanse of Spain, a land powerful in men and arms which bears comparison with the very best, is distributed among five kings at the present time. They call the king of Castile the first and greatest of these; next to him, the king of Aragon; in third place, the king of Portugal; in fourth, the king of Navarre; the king of Granada, because it rejects548the Gospel of Christ, is placed last.

      170. In Castile, a renowned kingdom with far-flung dominions, whose kings spring from the blood of the Goths and have never varied their stock,549Álvaro de Luna,...

    • 48 ITALY: GENOA
      (pp. 216-219)

      174. NOW THAT I have traversed the furthest bounds of Europe and covered as much of the north as I had planned, I finally return to my homeland. Since I am faced with the task of recording new developments in Italy, I think I should certainly begin with the city whose constant revolutions are an object of amazement to both East and West.

      175. This is Genoa, the mistress and queen of the Ligurians, which within our memory was racked by civil strife and lost command of the sea. In Genoa, after the expulsion of Duke Filippo of Milan and the murder...

    • 49 ITALY: MILAN
      (pp. 219-231)

      177. AMONG the northern Italians and in the world-famous city of Milan, Duke Filippo Maria, who had once brought Genoa beneath his sway, married the daughter of Duke Amedeo of Savoy.574

      178. Filippo defeated the mighty King Alfonso in a naval battle, together with his two brothers—one the king of Navarre, the other master of the Military Order of Compostela—and many other lesser rulers. When Alfonso was taken prisoner and brought before him, Filippo, with extraordinary generosity, presented him with splendid gifts and gave him his freedom.575

      179. Filippo did not deign to visit Emperor Sigismund when he was staying in...

    • 50 ITALY: VENICE
      (pp. 231-233)

      191. AMONG the Venetians, who wield enormous power by land and sea and have made the name of Italy famous among foreign622nations far and wide, the son of the doge Francesco Foscari623was driven into exile on the grounds of plotting against the state. Subsequently recalled, he was charged again with suspicion of crime and most cruelly tortured. Though he admitted no wrongdoing, he was banished to the Peloponnese and there came to the end of his wretched life.624The son-in-law of the same doge, Andrea Donato, had been named duke of Crete while governing the island on behalf of...

    • 51 ITALY: MANTUA
      (pp. 234-234)

      194. LUDOVICO, marquis of Mantua, a man of considerable fame among the rulers of our generation, who is both cultured and experienced in military matters, sided with Francesco Sforza in the war with the Venetians after he had seized sovereignty over Milan, giving a great boost to Sforza’s cause.637His brother Carlo, who had broken faith with Francesco and been thrown into prison, was released on Ludovico’s guarantee, but, when he failed to honor his word even on these terms, he was deprived of all the towns which he controlled in Mantuan territory. While serving with the Venetians, he led a...

    • 52 ITALY: FERRARA
      (pp. 235-236)

      195. IN FERRARA, Niccolò d’Este died—the most fortunate of all the rulers of our generation had he, once upon a time, not been forced to take vengeance for his wife’s adultery, not only on her but his dearly beloved son.640Leonello then took power, a peaceable ruler who was well versed in literature and devoted to music. When he passed away, his brother Borso, who was also the son of Niccolò by his mistress Ptolomea of Siena,641was invited to rule—a young man of fine appearance who had acquitted himself admirably in arms and was skilled in both word...

    • 53 ITALY: BOLOGNA
      (pp. 237-241)

      199. BOLOGNA may be called not so much the mother of learning as the nurse of sedition—the twin sister of Genoa, consistent only in its inconsistency. When it had violently evicted the faction of the Zambeccari and many of the citizens, it began to be governed by a general council of the Canetoli and Bentivogli.648The leaders of the factions were Battista Canetoli and Annibale Bentivoglio: both bloodthirsty men, both notorious for the commission of murders. Although they were linked by the sacred bond of godparentage, they behaved no better in their dealings with one another. Annibale had just raised...

    • 54 ITALY: FLORENCE, LUCCA, SAN CASCIANO
      (pp. 241-251)

      204. FLORENCE, a city built on the banks of the Arno from the ruins of Fiesole, was called Fluentia by the ancients. Founded under lucky auspices, it began to outstrip the neighboring cities all around it and to extend its power with extraordinary success, whereupon the name of Florentia became much more appropriate than Fluentia.

      205. In this city, Pope Eugenius IV brought to a splendid conclusion the council that he had begun with the Greeks at Ferrara. There were several controversies between the Greeks and Latins over the mysteries of orthodox faith. The greatest and most intractable concerned the procession of...

    • 55 ITALY: SIENA
      (pp. 251-255)

      217. THE CITY of Siena, which is my own place of origin, today holds the second place in Tuscany. It is located in a delightful spot and, if I can be trusted, has a population which is neither coarse nor unsophisticated. Its rulers, after pushing aside the nobility (which in that city was renowned throughout Italy) and crushing the party of the people which they call “the Twelve,” carried on peacefully for many years, but at length began to divide into two factions. These allied themselves either with the people or the rulers of Italy, according to what they thought best...

    • 56 ITALY: PIOMBINO
      (pp. 255-258)

      223. THE FAMOUS town of Piombino is thought to have been built from the ruins of Populonia; some think it should be called Populino. It is situated on the shore of the Tuscan Sea opposite the island of Elba, whose inexhaustible deposits of iron provide the lord of Piombino with a large annual revenue. The ruler of this town was Jacopo d’Appiano, son of Paola, a most noble woman who was the sister of Pope Martin V.714He was a peaceful ruler and loved by his neighbors. When he failed to obtain male offspring from his wife, he looked for an...

    • 57 ITALY: VITERBO
      (pp. 258-258)

      227. IN VITERBO, there were great upheavals. For, during the papacy of Nicholas V, Princivalle Gatti, the ruler of that city, was set upon and murdered by his enemies at Lago di Vico while returning from Rome.723Then, during the papacy of Calixtus III, his nephew Guglielmo was killed at home during the night.724This gave rise to a restless quest for vengeance, and the city endured great sufferings while the malefactors were tracked down, some taking to flight, others receiving punishment....

    • 58 ITALY: ROME
      (pp. 259-273)

      228. AT LONG LAST, I am faced with the affairs of the city of Rome, which call for their own narrative. I will try to do them justice while adhering to my principle of brevity.

      In Rome, Giovanni Vitelleschi—patriarch of Alexandria, cardinal, legate, governor of the Patrimony of St. Peter, and commander of the papal army, who had defeated and killed in battle the tyrants of Foligno and Camerino, the prefect of Rome, Count Antonio da Pisa,725and many others who insulted the church—was suddenly attacked by the guards of Castel Sant’Angelo while trying to cross the Sant’Angelo bridge...

    • 59 ITALY: UMBRIA, THE MARCHES
      (pp. 274-283)

      246. IN UMBRIA, which is now contained787within the duchy of Spoleto, few cities were free from internal discord. Norcia, once the homeland of Quintus Sertorius,788has only recently enjoyed a respite from repeated disruption by the intrigues of the Guelph party. Narni, which is ringed by a white river with sulfurous waters and hard to approach on its double ridge,789was once oppressed by the faction of the Ghibellines but now enjoys tranquility under the political guidance of the Guelphs. The people of Amelia, Rieti, Foligno, Ortona, and finally Spoleto all experienced their own calamities.790But the city of Assisi...

    • 60 ITALY: ASCOLI PICENO
      (pp. 283-284)

      254. IN ASCOLI, Giosia, a son of noble parents who was still a youth, entered into a conspiracy with a few others and, taking him by surprise, murdered Francesco Sforza’s brother Giovanni, a young man of great spirit who had admirably defended that city throughout the duration of the war.820But when Giosia, too, played the tyrant in his own fatherland, he was driven into exile. The city then enjoyed tranquility under the church, though last year this same Giosia filled the people with great anxiety by joining with a large band of brigands and occupying, close to the city, a...

    • 61 ITALY: URBINO
      (pp. 284-285)

      255. IN URBINO, Oddantonio, the people’s duke and son of a most noble mother from the Colonna family, was killed in a popular uprising after running wild in his lust for noble matrons and setting no limit to his wanton behavior.822The promoter of his wickedness and corruptor of his youth was the apostolic protonotary Manfredo Pio of Carpi, a man of noble origin but evil nature, who had assaulted numerous married women and virgins and through all manner of crimes attained the pinnacle of vice. He paid the price for his inexhaustible lust by being killed on the same night...

    • 62 ITALY: RIMINI
      (pp. 285-286)

      256. IN RIMINI, a city of Emilia, Sigismondo Malatesta, a man notorious for his crimes, held power.827After uniting in marriage with Francesco Sforza’s daughter, he supported Francesco’s side in the war in the Marches for some time, then served under the church. He campaigned in the north against the Venetians and in Tuscany against the king of Aragon.828This later caused him much harm. For when negotiations were held in Naples to achieve peace throughout Italy, the king remembered this insult and wanted Sigismondo to be excluded from the general peace, since he had not remained loyal to him. He...

    • 63 ITALY: FAENZA, FABRIANO
      (pp. 286-287)

      257. IN FAENZA, on the death of Guidantonio, of whom there are reported many illustrious feats in war, his brother Astorre,831who was also well-known as a soldier, seized the rulership. Because he campaigned for the Florentines against the king, he was declared an enemy by Alfonso, just like Sigismondo, and excluded from the general peace.832

      258. The people of Fabriano, who had long been oppressed by a tyranny, finally killed fifteen members of the family which had usurped rule; the rest fled.833After this, they returned to the rule of the church and for many years led a quiet and peaceful...

    • 64 ITALY: AQUILA
      (pp. 287-288)

      259. IN AQUILA, a city of the Marsians,834it happened within living memory that the much-feared general Braccio of Perugia died after besieging the city for a year and being defeated by the army of the blessed Pope Martin V.835Saint Bernardino of Siena, having traveled throughout Italy preaching the name of Christ, completed the course of his mortal life. He was buried there in Aquila and is said to be famous for his miracles.836

      260. Bernardino came from a high-ranking family in Siena. There is no truth to the allegation of those who assert that Massa was his native town, though...

    • 65 ITALY: NAPLES
      (pp. 288-308)

      261. LET ME now enter the kingdom of Naples and turn my pen to the prosperous and amazing career of Alfonso.839

      After the unsuccessful naval war which he waged against the Genoese, Fortune seemed to have recognized her error in thwarting so great a leader and, changing her step-motherly hatred into maternal love, she became as favorable toward him as she had once been hostile. For when the king was brought in captivity to Duke Filippo of Milan, Filippo recognized that he, the victor, was far inferior to the one he had vanquished and immediately exchanged enmity for friendship. He ordered...

  8. APPENDIX: REIGNS OF SELECTED RULERS
    (pp. 311-316)
  9. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 317-334)
  10. INDEX
    (pp. 335-355)
  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 356-356)