Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini, the Sienese humanist who became Pope Pius II, describes the election that brought him to the papal throne in a cold, mordant key that anticipates the Italian styles of Machiavelli and Guicciardini...For all his severity, Pius had a delightful way of describing cities and countryside. He could mock himself charmingly, as when he described his stay among the barbarian inhabitants of the British borders, who had never seen wine or white bread, and whose eager young women he refused to sleep with, as he stayed up all night for fear of bandits "among the heifers and nanny goats, who kept him from sleeping a wink by stealthily pulling the straw from his pallet." Pius's Commentaries
, presented in a most elegant and informative way by Margaret Meserve and Marcello Simonetta, may well be the most entertaining work in the whole [I Tatti Renaissance Library] series. (Anthony T. Grafton New York Review of Books
About the Author
Margaret Meserve is Assistant Professor of History, University of Notre Dame.
Marcello Simonetta is Assistant Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures, Wesleyan University.