Europe (c. 1400-1458)
Translated by Robert BrownIntroduced and annotated by Nancy Bisaha
Imprint: Catholic University of America Press
Shortly before his election in 1458 as Pope Pius II, Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini
produced a history of recent events in Europe. Europe (c. 1400-1458) provides students and scholars alike with a rich array of famous and lesser known figures and events spanning from Scandinavia to Italy and Iberia, and from Scotland to Lithuania and Greece. Aeneas focused on the reign of Holy Roman Emperor Frederick III, who began his rule in 1440, creating a frame narrow enough to allow the author to move with ease across the continent. Despite this stated focus, Aeneas makes frequent digressions into ancient and medieval history, revealing his sense of how the deeper past affected the present character of cities and regions. Among the people and events Aeneas addresses are the rivalries of German princes, struggles between Eastern Europeans and the Ottoman
Turks, including the fall of Constantinople (1453), challenges to the powerful Teutonic Order, the last battles of the Hundred Years War, dynastic wrangling in Spain, the post-schism papacy’s efforts to reclaim its former dominance, and a lengthy discussion of recent politics and wars in Italy, culminating in the campaigns of Alfonso of Naples. Amidst his descriptions of powerful men, Aeneas also frequently pauses to discuss notable women, customs of the peasantry, religious beliefs of heretics and pagans, and economic issues.
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.
"Brown and Bisaha have together made Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini's unique history, Europe, available in English for the first time. There is much here for students of Renaissance history to learn about geography, culture, the humanist approach to history, and attitudes toward the Turks, among many other topics. The translation is clear and the notes essential; the introduction skillfully contextualizes Piccolomini and his history."~Choice
"Given the continual reinvention of Europe and the importance of the region today from a geopolitical, economic, and international point of view, we would do well both to give careful attention to Nancy Bisaha’s fine introduction and to familiarize ourselves with Aeneas’s text in Robert Brown’s excellent translation. The utility of this version is enhanced by copious and exemplary explanatory notes and bibliography."~Fides et Historia
"This translation is a notable contribution to an ever-expanding number of works by Aeneas Silvius (Enea Silvio) Piccolomini (1405–64) recently published in new editions, new translations, or first-time English translations such as this one. This volume provides a valuable perspective in our understanding of Piccolomini as he prepared for his pontificate and of Europe as the concept was in the process of formulation. Will appeal to both scholars in the field as well as to the general reader."~Renaissance Quarterly
"Provides a significant service to scholars interested in fifteenth-century Europe, particularly church and Italian history, as well as emerging notions of both ‘Europe’ and ‘history.’ It is a valuable contribution to the growing body of early modern scholarship on relations among Mediterranean nations, as well as a major advance in the ongoing effort to give Piccolomini’s works the attention they deserve."~Speculum
"This is convincingly argued in a comprehensive and effective introduction that deals with the author, his era, and the concept of Europe… The work is an excellent source of contemporary information, especially about Eastern Europe… We would do well both to give careful attention to Nancy Bisaha’s fine introduction and to familiarize ourselves with Aeneas’s text in Robert Brown’s excellent translation. The utility of this version is enhanced by copious and exemplary notes and bibliography."~Paul E. Michelson, , Fides et Historia
"This volume provides a valuable perspective in our understanding of Piccolomini as he prepared for his pontificate and of Europe as the concept was in the process of formulation… A work that will appeal to both scholars in the field as well as to the general reader."~Gary R. Grund, Renaissance Quarterly