To Wake the Dead: A Renaissance Merchant and the Birth of Archaeology

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W. W. Norton & Company, May 23, 2011 - History - 320 pages
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How Cyriacus of Ancona—merchant, spy, and amateur classicist—traveled the world, fighting to save ancient monuments for posterity.

At the beginning of the fifteenth century, a young Italian bookkeeper fell under the spell of the classical past. Despite his limited education, the Greeks and Romans seemed to speak directly to him—not from books but from the physical ruins and inscriptions that lay neglected around the shores of the Mediterranean.As an international merchant, Cyriacus of Ancona was accustomed to the perils of travel in foreign lands—unlike his more scholarly peers with their handsome libraries and wealthy patrons, who benefited greatly from the discoveries communicated in his widely distributed letters and drawings. Having seen firsthand the destruction of the world’s cultural heritage, Cyriacus resolved to preserve it for future generations. To do so he would spy on the Ottomans, court popes and emperors, and even organize a crusade.Some images in the ebook are not displayed owing to permissions issues.

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TO WAKE THE DEAD: A Renaissance Merchant and the Birth of Archaeology

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A lively look at the life and work of Cyriacus of Ancona, the early classicist and preservationist of antiquities.A shipping clerk, avid traveler and artist, Cyriacus Pizzecolli was among the first ... Read full review


On the Threshold of History
An Unlikely Hero
From the Mundane to the Sublime
At the Crumbling Epicenter of the Past
An Antiquary Born of Trade
The Ottoman Threat
Spy and Diplomat
Poised and Thwarted
The Measure of a Man
Into the Greek Past
Meeting of the Minds
The Last Crusade
In the Balance

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About the author (2011)

Marina Belozerskaya is the author of The Medici Giraffe: And Other Tales of Exotic Animals and Power, The Arts of Tuscany from the Etruscans to Ferragamo, and Luxury Arts of the Renaissance. She lives with her husband in Los Angeles.

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