William McCuaig explores the intellectual turbulence of the late Italian Renaissance through a full examination of the work of one scholar--the humanist Carlo Sigonio (1523-84), whose insistence on critical methods for reconstructing the past revolutionized the study of ancient Roman history and the Italian Middle Ages. An internationally published scholar caught in the political tension of the Counter-Reformation, Sigonio was harshly censored by ecclesiastical authorities in Rome, who opposed his application of critical methods to the history of the post-classical world. McCuaig traces Sigonio's interactions with his opponents and supporters, both academic and clerical, to provide a fascinating and detailed portrait of a cultural milieu. On a general level, this study of Sigonio's works helps explain how the republican ethos of the Italian Renaissance came to an end and how the modern study of ancient history evolved in Italy and France after 1550. Among many topics, this book emphasizes Sigonio's contributions to social history, and points to parallels between the changing social stratifications of ancient Rome and those of early modern Italy. Interdisciplinary in its approach, the work also touches upon the history of education, political theory, the book trade, and historiography.
Originally published in 1989.
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