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Selected Letters of Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini (Pope Pius II)

Pius II

Publication Year: 2011

Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini (1405-1464, elected Pope Pius II in 1458) was an important and enigmatic figure of the Renaissance as well as one of the most prolific writers and gifted stylists ever to occupy the papacy

Published by: The Catholic University of America Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. ix-x

The letter was the Renaissance humanists’ favorite mode of literary expression, and Pius II was a master of the genre. Some humanists, such as Petrarch and Erasmus, practiced the genre mainly as a means of private communication and literary expression, some as the way they earned their daily bread (Renaissance bureaucracies and the households of high lay and ecclesiastical officials could ...

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pp. xi-xii

In this collection of seventy-five letters, plus a seventy-sixth that stands apart as a historical narrative and two papal documents, Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini (1405–64; elected Pope Pius II in 1458) comes vibrantly alive for the ordinary reader as seldom before. All but one are newly translated, and most are translated into English for the first time. The book is designed for the student who needs an introductory survey ...

A Note on the Translations

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pp. xiii

Citations and Abbreviations

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pp. xv

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Introduction: From Private Person to Posterity

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pp. 1-57

In the first of several frescoes in the library of Siena Cathedral, we see the young Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini (1405–64; pope after 1458). Originally a small-town boy from Corsignano, he is elaborately dressed and mounted on a handsome steed, ready to set forth on a great and lifelong adventure that will eventually lead him to the pinnacle of power as Pope Pius II. In the background we also ...

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Letters (Nos. 1–75)

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pp. 59-318

... I promised to report to you in letters, as far as I was able, all things which befell my lord4 and me on our travels and also whatever I saw or heard which was worthy of report. But it also is my resolution at the present time not to write anything unless I myself have seen it with my eyes or touched it with my hands, for if I refer to a report I have heard from others, I will surely include ...

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Revised History of the Council (No. 76)

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pp. 319-387

... No one but a fool would deny that it is healthful and useful for the public good to inform youths of those things which our ancestors did and those which we do. Nor would I think it badly said if we were to say history is the only thing that can, against nature, imbue youths with prudence. Here is its greatest praise: history is the witness of times past, the light of truth, the teacher of life, the messenger of antiquity. ...

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Papal Documents (Nos. 77–78)

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pp. 389-406

... An execrable wrong, unheard of during earlier ages, has grown up in our tempestuous times, that several, infected with the spirit of rebellion, with no desire for sounder judgments but uniting to evade the penalty for sin, should dare to appeal from the Roman pontiff, the vicar of Jesus Christ, to whom was said, in the person of St. Peter, “Feed my sheep” [John 21:17] and “Whatever you ...

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 407-415

Index of Names

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pp. 417-427

Index of Places

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pp. 429-431

Index of Subjects

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pp. 433-435

E-ISBN-13: 9780813216423
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813214429

Page Count: 453
Publication Year: 2011

Edition: 1st ed.