Journal of the History of
 Ideas

Journal of the History of Ideas
Volume 64, Number 2, April 2003
The Uses of Historical Evidence in Early Modern Europe


Contents

Articles

    De Vivo, Filippo.
  • Historical Justifications of Venetian Power in the Adriatic
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    Subject Headings:
    • Venice (Italy) -- History -- 697-1508 -- Historiography.
    • Alexander III, Pope, d. 1181.
    • Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor, ca. 1123-1190.
    Abstract:
      This article asks whether a myth can be collapsed into history by describing the material signs of memory as "evidence." In a story dear to the Venetian hearts, in 1177 the Republic of Venice defeated the imperial fleet and brought peace back to Italy. For centuries, this narrative was recounted and its truth upheld against growing political and scholarly criticism, first through the ritual display of evidence, then through its discussion in a large literary production. In the seventeenth century, it is argued, the notion of evidence was abandoned in favor of the sheer affirmation of power.
    Moyer, Ann E. (Ann Elizabeth), 1955-
  • Historians and Antiquarians in Sixteenth-Century Florence
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    Subject Headings:
    • Borghini, Vincenzo, 1515-1580.
    • Mei, Girolamo, 1519-1594.
    • Florence (Italy) -- History -- To 1421 -- Historiography.
    Abstract:
      In 1566 and 1567, two noted Florentine humanists–—Vincenzio Borghini and Girolamo Mei— carried on a written debate about Florence's origins and early history. That debate reveals significant features and innovations about the ways late humanists approached and employed historical evidence, as well as their own reflections on their methods. We see important roles for both humanistic tools of textual and linguistic analysis, and for antiquarian studies of artifacts and inscriptions. Borghini won the debate, but Mei remained committed to his own emphasis on textual analysis and never accepted Borghini's broad and more eclectic use of artifacts as historical sources.
    Wunder, Amanda Jaye, 1972-
  • Classical, Christian, and Muslim Remains in the Construction of Imperial Seville (1520-1635)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Architecture, Domestic -- Spain -- Seville.
    • Architecture -- Spain -- Seville -- Islamic influences.
    • Classicism in architecture -- Spain -- Seville.
    Abstract:
      How were various strata of local history—Classical, Christian, and Muslim—incorporated into the building of imperial Seville (sixteenth and seventeenth centuries), and what was the impact of the critical approach to evidence developed in Renaissance Italy on actual urban projects? Three case-studies—of a noble palace, the Casa de Pilatos; of a public park, the Alameda de Hércules; and of a carpentry treatise by master builder Diego López de Arenas—reveal the malleable role of historical evidence in monumental construction projects based on classical and Christian ideals and demonstrate a more methodical use of evidence among artisans practicing traditional medieval craftsmanship.
    Grafton, Anthony.
  • Some Uses of Eclipses in Early Modern Chronology
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    Subject Headings:
    • Chronology, Historical.
    • Eclipses.
    • Astronomy.
    Abstract:
      Historical chronology is the discipline that establishes the dates of events and reconstructs the calendars used in ancient, medieval, and early modern times. Traditional accounts state that Joseph Scaliger (1540-1609) created this field by combining philological with astronomical data and techniques. But the celestial phenomena most relevant to chronology are solar and lunar eclipses. From antiquity onwards, astrologers saw these as ominous and connected them to great events on earth. Though Scaliger used dated eclipses in his work, it was a number of relatively obscure sixteenth-century astronomers and scholars who realized that one could date events by eclipses and began doing so in a systematic way, without assigning them any ominous force.
    Siraisi, Nancy G.
  • History, Antiquarianism, and Medicine: The Case of Girolamo Mercuriale
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    Subject Headings:
    • Mercuriale, Girolamo, 1530-1606. Arte gymnastica.
    • Mercuriale, Girolamo, 1530-1606. Censura de Hippocratis operibus.
    • Medicine -- Early works to 1800.
    Abstract:
      Girolamo Mercuriale (1530-1606) presents an especially striking example of the participation of physicians in the broader culture of late humanism. Throughout a long and successful career as a practitioner and, subsequently, professor of medicine, Mercuriale combined medicine with antiquarian and historical interests. In particular, his De arte gymnastica, a work that combines an account of ancient athletics with health advice, shows that he had many contacts among antiquarians in Rome. This article explores the relation and intersection of medicine, history, and antiquarianism in Mercuriale's writings, successful search for patronage, and rise to fame as an eminent professor of medicine.
    Lyon, Gregory B.
  • Baudouin, Flacius, and the Plan for the Magdeburg Centuries
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    Subject Headings:
    • Flacius Illyricus, Matthias, 1520-1575.
    • Baudouin, François, 1520-1573.
    • Ecclesiastica historia (1559)
    • Church history -- Historiography.
    Abstract:
      The Lutheran theologian and polemicist Matthias Flacius Illyricus (1520-75) organized an unprecedented collaborative project to write an encyclopedic Protestant church history, known as the Magdeburg Centuries (1559-74). At the planning stage in 1556, Flacius and his colleagues consulted with the Flemish jurist FranÁois Baudouin (1520-73). This article shows how, in this correspondence, ecclesiastical history became the workshop where legal and theological humanism met and interacted over issues of historical methodology. Two innovations are traced through the correspondence and into the finished history: Flacius's organization of the material by commonplaces (loci communes) and Baudouin's legalistic rules for the assessment of historical testimony and evidence. These themes would later resurface in the famous "arts of history" of Baudouin (1561) and Jean Bodin (1566).
    Burke, Peter.
  • Images as Evidence in Seventeenth-Century Europe
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    Subject Headings:
    • Archaeology -- Europe -- History -- 17th century.
    • Classical antiquities.
    • Christian antiquities.
    Abstract:
      This essay is concerned with one aspect of the European antiquarian movement of the seventeenth century. Like the humanist movement out of which it developed, antiquarianism was originally text-centered. However, in the course of time the antiquaries became more and more interested in the material culture of the past. This article adopts a comparative approach to the study of what might be called the "three antiquities," classical, Christian, and barbarian, and focuses on the question of evidence, especially on what the scholars of the time considered to be reliable evidence.
    Soll, Jacob.
  • Empirical History and the Transformation of Political Criticism in France from Bodin to Bayle
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    Subject Headings:
    • Historiography -- France.
    Abstract:
      This article shows how sixteenth- and seventeenth-century arguments about historical evidence and elite humanist traditions of textual criticism and historical method evolved into the secular political theory of the eighteenth century. It shows how the French crown sponsored scholars who worked on empirical, source-based history as a tool for political prudence, but as this critical historical methodology became public, the crown realized it could be used against its interests, as in the case of the Affaire de Thou. In the mid-seventeenth century, Colbert sought to suppress the old royal humanist historical tradition; however a number of political critics such as Amelot de La Houssaye and Pierre Bayle worked to publicize the tools of historical, political criticism, setting the stage for Enlightenment critics of absolutism such as Durey de Meinières and ultimately Montesquieu and Gibbon.
    Levine, Joseph M., 1933-
  • Matter of Fact in the English Revolution
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    Subject Headings:
    • Great Britain -- Religion -- 17th century.
    • Religion -- Philosophy.
    • Facts (Philosophy)
    Abstract:
      In the religious controversies of the English Revolution (1640-60), one problem became particularly urgent. How far were the Scriptures to be accepted as a faithful record of history? Much ink was spilled over the theoretical and practical problems of evidence and testimony and there swiftly developed an increasing self-consciousness and sophistication about the meaning of "matter of fact." This paper describes the response to skeptics and dogmatists of such moderate divines as Henry Hammond, Seth Ward, Richard Baxter, and Brian Walton, and the way in which they attempted to construct a defense of the Biblical story—incidentally helping to defend the claims of history in general.



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