Venetian Secrets

On October 30, 1500, Anton Kolb, a German living in Venice, asked the Venetian government to waive customs duties and to permit him to export a woodcut that, at Kolb’s expense, had been made “to honor the reputation of the famous city of Venice.” The woodcut was a bird’s-eye view …

The Other Florence

In the indexes of these books we cannot find the name of Pico della Mirandola; Marsilio Ficino’s name appears only twice, not as the translator of Plato, but as a medical expert. Thus we hear nothing about the intellectual passions of Medicean Florence—about the enthusiasm for the writings and the …

Prussia Lives!

Last summer the London Times, Le Monde, even The Wall Street Journal, devoted articles to the “reawakening of Prussia.” The subject was discussed in every German newspaper from Munich to Hamburg, from Cologne to Berlin. Three hundred recently published books on Prussia were listed in the catalogue of a well-known …

The Medici Megalopolis

Few ages have stimulated so much interest—and so much aroused the admiration of later generations—as the sixty years of Medicean hegemony in fifteenth-century Florence. Medicean Florence has been described and evoked in a vast literature of novels and plays, historical popularizations, and serious works of historical scholarship. Among historical scholars …

The German Leviathan

I am surely not the only person who from time to time is unpleasantly reminded of the gap between his proclaimed convictions and his actual behavior. I frequently say that I am fascinated only by those historical writings which, by applying new methods or focusing on previously neglected aspects of …