In the last quarter of the sixteenth century, John Dee, Sir Humphrey Gilbert, and John Davis, became key advocates of the English search for the a northwest passage. Before the English explorers set out in search of such a passage, they needed reasons to believe that there might be an open sea route to China. These three men were instrumental in constructing rational arguments for the existence of a northwest passage. They found Plato’s Timaeus a particularly valuable source for justifying and validating their belief in the existence of the passage.
This article rethinks the important question of why, despite the remarkable success of the French Protestant movement in the late 1550s and early 1560s, France did not turn Protestant. It does so by focusing on a hitherto neglected group: the French princely houses. Recent research has forced reconsideration of the motives and confessional identity of some of the best-known princes, such as those belonging to the houses of Guise and Bourbon. This essay identifies a group of largely neglected Protestant loyalists who shared much in common with the other moderate Catholic princes.
This essay examines the reception of the Roman poet Horace (65–8 BCE) in the northern Italian city of Bergamo. Analysis of book inventories, teacher contracts, episcopal correspondence, and other primary sources from the long sixteenth century indicate that Horace was a well-known author in Bergamasque schools, convents, and libraries, albeit always secondary to Cicero and Virgil. The essay also considers the bibliographic history of Horatian works in Italy, and more specifically in Bergamo, in order to understand how the poet was read, printed, and disseminated in the Venetian Republic.
This article studies and contextualizes the attempts to reform the University of Bologna in the decades around 1583. On the basis of little-known documents, it shows how Rome exploited a directive of university reform from the Council of Trent to gain increasing power over the running of the studio and also the city of Bologna.
The expansive literature on Giorgio Vasari (1511–74) has paid little notice to his views on the ancient Etruscans. Yet Vasari was the first author to establish a canon of Etruscan style and to apply his criteria to the analysis of an Etruscan object. His passages on the Etruscans are, therefore, a landmark in the history of art historical method. This paper considers Vasari’s notion of the Etruscan style as developed in the Vite (1550 and 1568) and the Ragionamenti (1557–58) and its significance in Florentine culture under Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici (r.
This article examines some of the exiled claimants to Byzantine imperial descent and to lands that had been lost to the Ottoman conquest. Rather than dismiss them as eccentrics or frauds, it argues that their titles and claims were, first, a way to gain sympathy and support from the host population while reminding them of the losses that the Christian Balkan population had suffered. Secondly, they were a way of signaling a claim to leadership among the Balkan diaspora.