The Downfall of the Famous: New Annotated Edition of the Fates of Illustrious Men

The Downfall of the Famous: New Annotated Edition of the Fates of Illustrious Men


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781599103730
Publisher: Italica Press
Publication date: 08/18/2018
Series: Italica Press Medieval & Renaissance Texts
Pages: 278
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.63(d)

About the Author

Giovanni Boccaccio was born in 1313, perhaps in Certaldo, the son of an unknown woman and of Boccaccino di Chellino, who married the noblewoman Margherita dei Mardoli in 1314. Giovanni was raised in Florence and received a standard urban education. In 1327 his father was appointed head of the Naples branch of the Bardi bank. But rejecting a banking career, Giovanni went on to study law at the University of Naples.
In Naples his father introduced him to the court of King Robert the Wise, and Giovanni soon became familiar with most of its important personalities, including fellow Florentine Niccolò Acciaiuoli and early humanists and friends of Petrarch, such as Cino da Pistoia, Paolo da Perugia, Barbato da Sulmona, Giovanni Barrili, and Dionigi di Borgo San Sepolcro. Moving to Paris in 1332, he began his literary career with poetic works, such as "La caccia di Diana" (1334-37), "Filostrato" (1335?), "Filocolo" (1336-39), and "Teseida" (1339/40).
Boccaccio returned to Florence in 1341 and moved to Forlì c.1347 in search of patronage. During the 1340s he produced more verse works, including the "Comedia delle ninfe fiorentine" (1341/42), "Amorosa visione" (1342/43), "Fiammetta" (1343/44), and "Ninfale fiesolano" (1344/45). Following the Black Death in Florence in 1348, Boccaccio began the "Decameron" c.1349 and completed its first version by 1351. In the later 1350s, he became closely involved with humanism and followed the path of many early humanists as a diplomat, serving Florence on wide-ranging missions.
After their first meeting in October 1350, Boccaccio became a close friend and disciple of Petrarch, joining him in the study of Greek and Latin literature, and in 1360 began his "Genealogia deorum gentilium." Following a failed coup of 1361, Boccaccio left Florence for Certaldo, and in 1363 he experienced some sort of religious conversion. He returned to diplomatic duties for Florence in 1365 with missions to Rome, Venice, and Naples, probably completing his "Corbaccio" that year.
Boccaccio's later works set a more classical standard. They include the present "De casibus virorum illustrium," "De claris mulieribus" ("On Famous Women," 1361-75), his geographical compendium "De montibus...liber" (1364), and his "Esposizioni sopra la Commedia di Dante" (1373). He retired to Certaldo in 1370 and died there on 21 December 1375.

Table of Contents

Preface to the Second Edition

Introduction by Louis Brewer Hall

The First Book

  • Introduction
  • About Adam and Eve
  • About Saturn: Time Consumes all Things
  • About Cadmus, King of Thebes
  • A Gathering of Unhappy Souls
  • About Jocasta, Queen of Thebes
  • Quarrel of Thyestes and Atreus
  • About Theseus, King of Athens
  • A Warning against Credulity
  • A Gathering of the Mournful
  • About Priam and Hecuba
  • Against the Proud
  • About Agamemnon, King of Mycenae
  • Poverty Applauded
  • About Samson
  • Against Women
  • Some More in Misery

The Second Book

  • A Short Introduction
  • Against the Presumptuous Pride of Kings
  • About Dido, Queen of Carthage
  • In Praise of Dido
  • About Sardanapalus, King of Assyria
  • Against Sardanapalus and His Ilk
  • A Few Thoughts about Dreams
  • An Invective against Deceit

The Third Book

  • Introduction
  • The Fight of Poverty and Fortune
  • About Tullus Hostilius and Tarquin the Elder
  • About Tarquin the Proud, His Son Sextus, and the Rape of Lucretia
  • Against the Prodigious Lust of Princes
  • About Xerxes, King of the Persians
  • The Dark Blindness of Humanity
  • Some Unhappy People
  • About Appius Claudius, the Decemvir
  • Against Ignorant Lawyers
  • About Alcibiades, the Athenian
  • In Defense of Alcibiades
  • The Author Acquitted and Poetry Commended
  • Against Riches, the Frenzy of Many

The Fourth Book

  • Introduction
  • About Marcus Manlius Capitolinus
  • Against the Faithlessness of the Common People
  • About Alexander the Great and Callisthenes the Philosopher

The Fifth Book

  • About Marcus Atilius Regulus
  • Against Those who Do not Love Their Country Enough
  • About Hannibal, King of Carthage
  • About Prusias, King of Bithynia

The Sixth Book

  • A Conversation between Fortune and the Author
  • About Gaius Marius from Arpinum
  • A Few Words about Nobility
  • About Pompey the Great
  • A Few Words of the Author’s
  • A Huge Wrangling Multitude
  • About Marcus Tullius Cicero
  • Against the Detractors of Rhetoric
  • A Number of Mourners
  • About Mark Antony the Triumvir and Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt

The Seventh Book

  • A Quarrel between Tiberius, Gaius Caligula, and Valeria Messalina
  • About Nero Claudius Caesar
  • Some Afflicted Celebrities
  • About Aulus Vitellius Caesar
  • Against Gluttony and Gourmands

The Eighth Book

  • The Renowned Francesco Petrarch and His Reproof of the Author
  • About Zenobia, Queen of Palmyra
  • About Odoacer the Ruthenian, King of Italy
  • On the Present State of the City of Rome
  • About Arthur, King of the Britons

The Ninth Book

  • About Brunhildis, Queen of the Franks
  • A Huge Crowd of Lamenters
  • About Walter, Duke of Athens
  • An Excuse by the Author for Philippa of Catania
  • About Philippa of Catania
  • A Last Few Mourners and the End of the Book

Select Bibliography

  • Primary
  • Secondary


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