Excerpts from the Decades by Flavius Blondus


Giovanni Marco Cinico from Parma wrote and signed this manuscript for Alfonso II of Aragon, King of Naples, in 1494. The text comprises excerpts from Historiarum ab inclinatione Romanorum imperii decades (Decades of history from the deterioration of the Roman Empire) by Flavius Blondus, the Latinized name of Flavio Biondo (1392–1463). Biondo was an early Renaissance Italian historian and archeologist, who wrote several books on the history of Rome. The excerpts were compiled by Johannes Albinus (also called Giovanni Albino), an enthusiast for the literature of antiquity and a statesman, counselor to Ferdinand of Aragon, and historian who died in Rome circa 1496. The lavishly ornate manuscript is especially remarkable for the illuminations on the title pages displaying, in front of an architectural framework, victorious Rome personified as a woman on the verso page, next to a female personification of the defeated enemies of Rome on the right-hand page, sitting amid her broken armor. The manuscript contains gold and ornamental initials as well as edgings consisting of foliage, vases, and pearls. The decorations are ascribed to the Neapolitan painter Giovanni Todeschino (flourished 1482–1503), and their high quality exemplifies the art of the Italian Renaissance.

Last updated: October 17, 2017