Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Iacopo Ammannati Piccolomini. Lettere (1444-1479)

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Iacopo Ammannati Piccolomini. Lettere (1444-1479)

Article excerpt

Iacopo Ammannati Piccolomini. Lettere (1444-1479). Edited by Paolo Cherubim. 3 vols. [Pubblicazioni degli Archivi di Stato, Fonti XXV ) (Rome: Ministero per i beni culturali a ambientali, Ufficio centrale per i beni archivistici. 1997. Pp. vi, 494; vi, 495-1401; vi,1403-2408;16 plates of manuscripts between pp. 202 and 203.)

Whereas the methodical calendaring and editing of papal letters has long been a component of modern scholarship, the correspondence of cardinals has received nothing like this attention for the simple reason that such cardinalitial collections hardly existed before the sixteenth century. Paolo Cherubini has now given us in three massive volumes containing 987 letters and a great mass of ancillary material the first critical edition of the earliest known large-scale collection of correspondence by a cardinal since Peter Damiani in the eleventh century.

The humanist Iacopo Ammannati (1422-1479) was a favorite of Pope Pius II (1458-1404), so much so that Pius not only gave him his own family name of Piccolomini but also raised him to the cardinalate in 1461. The death of Pius three years later deprived Ammannati of his main source of influence. But Ammannati had never ceased to be a literary man. Renaissance humanists had made the letter one of their favorite forms of publication, and in the years preceding his death Ammannati had clearly been preparing with the aid of his secretary Iacopo Gherardi, an edition of his correspondence. Gherardi continued this labor after Ammannati's death, diligently collecting from wherever he could the letters of his former patron. Strange to say, however, the edition of Ammannati's letters that appeared at Milan in 1506 and that heretofore has been the source of our knowledge of Ammannati's correspondence was completely unauthorized. Gherardi had apparently entrusted his manuscript text to the printer Alessandro Minuziano years earlier but continually put off publication. Finally, an exasperated Minuziano took matters into his own hands and printed the work with a false preface. This edition had 694 letters. Cherubim has added nearly another 300 letters and, by searching out manuscript copies, substantially corrected and/or found earlier undoctored versions of many of the previously known letters. …

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