Italian Paleography


Chicago, Newberry VAULT Case MS folio F 3910 .14
Andrea Cambini
Cambini’s History of France
Italy, between 1500 and 1599

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A Florentine historian and translator, Andrea Cambini (1455/60-1527) was a disciple of the humanist Cristoforo Landino and close friend of the Neoplatonist Marsilio Ficino.  He worked for many years for Lorenzo de’ Medici, acting as his diplomat and an administrator.  Two years after Lorenzo’s death, in 1494, Cambini abandoned Florence and its new ruler Piero de Medici, son of Lorenzo, and became a strong supporter of the Dominican friar Girolamo Savonarola.  When the friar fell in disgrace and was executed in 1498, Cambini was spared but his political life ended.  He was a prolific translator and is best known for his Italian translation of Cicero’s De Amicitia and De senectute among others.  Moreover, he was the well-known author of a treatise on the Turks.

This manuscript on paper is a sixteenth-century copy of his Historia di Francia.  It is a historical account of French history through the lives of their kings, starting from the year 420 CE up to 1483 and King Louis XI’s death.  The text is divided into four chapters.  In his introduction, Cambini praises the Kingdom of France as the first realm to rule in Europe after the ancient Roman Empire, and he defines this new kingdom as “barbaric but not barbarically organized.”


Italica libraria regolare e ordinata, dal tracciato sottile e equilibrato slancio delle aste.
Da notare: i tratti allungati e conclusi da bottone in fine riga (r. 4: le, r. 6: par, r. 8: la); il legamento ct con andamento a fiocco (r. 19: facto) e quello st (r. 20 magistrato); le maiuscole soramodulate (r. 10: Questore; r. 20: Consule).

Selected Bibliography:

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