Merchant Writers: Florentine Memoirs from the Middle Ages and Renaissance

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University of Toronto Press, Jan 1, 2015 - History - 407 pages

The birthplace of Boccaccio, Machiavelli, and the powerful Medici family, Florence was also the first great banking and commercial centre of continental Europe. The city's middle-class merchants, though lacking the literary virtuosity of its most famous sons, were no less prolific as writers of account books, memoirs, and diaries. Written by ordinary men, these first-hand accounts of commercial life recorded the everyday realities of their businesses, families, and personal lives alongside the high drama of shipwrecks, plagues, and political conspiracies.

Published in Italian in 1986, Vittore Branca's collection of these accounts established the importance of the genre to the study of Italian society and culture. This new English translation of Merchant Writers includes all the texts from the original Italian edition in their entirety. Moreover, it offers a gripping personal introduction to the mercantile world of medieval and Renaissance Florence.

 

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Contents

Introduction
2
Book of Good Practices by Paolo da Certaldo
41
Memoirs by Giovanni di Paolo Morelli
98
Memoirs by Bonaccorso Pitti
254
Mirror of Humanity by Domenico Lenzi
344
Memoirs by Donato Velluti
358
Secret Book by Goro Dati
369
Last Will and Testament by Francesco Datini
375
Book of Family Affairs by Lapo di Giovanni Niccolini de Sirigatti
380
Memoirs by Bernardo Machiavelli
383
A Portrait of Vittore Branca by Cesare De Michelis
391
Index
403
Copyright

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About the author (2015)

Murtha Baca 's translations include several manuscripts of Leonardo da Vinci, An Italian Renaissance Sextet: Six Tales in Historical Context (edited by Lauro Martines) and Pellegrino Artusi's Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well .

Vittore Branca (1913-2004) was the leading Boccaccio scholar of the twentieth century.

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