First Edition in English of The Machiavelli's Florentine Historie
The Florentine Historie. Written in the Italian tongue, by Nicholo Macchiavelli, Citizen and Secretarie of Florence. And translated into English by Thomas Bedingfield Esquire.
Item Number: 34063
London: Printed by T. C. [Thomas Creede] for W. P. [William Ponsonby], 1595.
First edition in English. Quarto, bound in 17th-century style blind stamped vellum boards. Decorated with woodcut engraved ornamental title page and engraved head and tailpieces. In near fine condition with some light browning and wear.
Florentine Histories is a historical account by Italian Renaissance political philosopher and writer Niccolò Machiavelli. After the crisis of 1513, with arrests for conspiracy, torture and after being sentenced to house arrest, Machiavelli's relationship with the Medici family passively began to mend itself. If the dedication of Il Principe (1513) to Lorenzo II de' Medici had not any effect, part of the then dominant faction of the Florence was not against him, and instead granted him an appointment. In his letter he deplores of his idle state, offering his precious political experience to the new lord. To sustain that timid request Machiavelli, with a considerably courtier-like spirit, set his Mandragola for the wedding of Lorenzino de' Medici. In 1520, he was invited to Lucca for a mission of a semiprivate character, indicating that the ostracism was to be raised up. At the end of that year, Giulio Cardinal de Medici commissioned him to write a History of Florence. Although this was not exactly the charge he desired, Machiavelli accepted it as the only possible way to come back into the graces of the Medici. The intent of the work, although semi-officially, was to recover the city's charge of historic officiality. The wage for the appointment was not large (57 florins per year, later increased to 100). The finished work was presented officially to Giulio de' Medici, now Pope Clement VII, in the May 1526. The Pope liked the work and rewarded him, albeit moderately, and asked him support in the creation of a national army, on the wake of his theorical work The Art of War, in the preparations for the War of the League of Cognac. However, after the Sack of Rome (1527) and the fall of the Medici government in Florence, Machiavelli's hopes were dashed. Machiavelli would die soon afterwards.