Giovanni Villani

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Giovanni Villani
Banker, Official, Diplomat, Chronicler
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Villani, Giovanni


Born in the second half of the 13th century in Florence; died there in 1348. Florentine chronicler and statesman.

During 1316-1321, Villani was a priore (member of the government) of the Florentine republic. His chronicle, dedicated to the history of Florence, brings the exposition of events up to 1348 and contains rich and sufficiently precise material on Florentine economics.

It also provides a summary of political events in Italy in the first half of the 14th century. The author reflects the moods of the popolo grasso. In his works a medieval world view is combined with a realism in the description of events that is characteristic of the Renaissance. Villani’s brother Matteo continued the chronicle to the year 1363, and then a nephew, Filippo, brought it up to 1364.


Cronica. Florence, 1923.


Rutenburg, V. I. Narodnye dvizheniia v gorodakh Italii XIVnachala XV vv. Moscow-Leningrad, 1958. Pages 331-32.
Fiumi, E. “La demografia fiorentina nelle pagine di G. Villani.” Archivio Storico Italiano, vol. 108, 1950, pp. 78-158.
Fiumi, E. “Economia e vita privata dei fiorentini nelle rivelazioni statistiche di G. Villani.” A rchivio Storico Italiano, vol. Ill , 1953, pp. 207-41.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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The chroniclers Dino Compagni and Giovanni Villani portrayed Guido as active in the factional struggle of the 1290s, struggling against Corso Donati and his party, known after 1302 as the Blacks, on the side of Vieri de' Cerchi, subsequently called the Whites.
Giovanni Villani describes the bread baked 'day and night' by men and women in a communal bakery set up in Florence during a famine; made 'without sifting or removing the chaff,' it is 'very rough and painful to see and to eat' (p.
Giovanni Villani, leitor assiduo dos gloriosos feitos dos romanos, descritos por Salustio, por Tito Livio, por Valerio Maximo e por outros historiografos antigos, pensou em escrever, nos primeiros anos do seculo XIV, os acontecimentos de sua patria "per dare memoria ed esempio a quelli che sono a vivere" (RACHELI, 1857: 5).
In short, he accepts the schooling statistics found in Giovanni Villani's famous chronicle.
Aside from his well known sculptures and gold work, we find out that Cellini never received a formal education but learned to write and read at home or in the workshop; that the stories in his Vita, his famous autobiographical work, were influenced by Dante's Divine Comedy, the Bible, and by Giovanni Villani's Chronicle; that he secretly married his servant Piera di Salvatore de' Parigi in 1567, and that they had five children, two of whom died.
This wry remark, typical of Machiavelli's sense of humor, is actually drawn from a similar passage in the Vita Castruccii Antelminelli Castracani, written by a Luccan humanist, Niccolo Tegrimi, and many details in the story are confirmed in the Nuova Cronica of the Florentine historian Giovanni Villani (Tegrimi 1732, 1321A; Villani 1991, 11.26).(13) The historical Castruccio, like Cesare, eliminated envy in the mode employed by Moses and Romulus but unavailable to Cosimo de' Medici.
An examination of a small group of chroniclers across a broad period reveals how contemporary chronicles wrote of vendetta and helps to explain both its nature and its triggers: for the late thirteenth century, the friar, Salimbene de Adam, who was based in Parma, and the Paduan, Rolandino; for the fourteenth century, the Florentines, Giovanni Villani and Donato Velluti, the Pistoian annals, and the Gatari brothers' chronicle of the Carrarese lordship in Padua; for the fifteenth century, the anonymous Bolognese chronicles, and Jacopo Delayto's Ferrarese annals; and, finally, Cherubino Ghirardacci's history of Bologna, written in the sixteenth century.
Hunt is emphatic in debunking the still widely held view, derived from Giovanni Villani's statement that the English king, Edward III's, default on loans of 600,000 and 900,000 florins to the Peruzzi and Bardi respectively caused the failure of the "super-companies." Hunt places the net losses to the Peruzzi in England at roughly [pounds]10,000 or less; a setback to be sure, but, had all other things been equal, a manageable one.
In "Giovanni Villani" (1823), one of the essays here reprinted for the first time, Shelley argues that the "intrusion of self" is not a fault but one of the strengths of "modern" writers.
Giovanni Villani, che aveva dedicato nella cronaca capitoli interi a Maometto, (13) riporta una leggenda su Maometto legata ad altri concetti, tra i quali il culto delia magia.
Chroniclers like Giovanni Villani, Filippo Rinuccini, and Marchione Stefani are cited in evidence without consideration of bias and distortion.