“ONE OF THE GREATEST HISTORIANS OF THE MIDDLE AGES”: 1546 EDITION OF DE COMMINES’ CRONIQUE ET HISTORIE
COMMINES, Philippe de. Cronique et Histoire Faicte et Composee par Feu Messire Philippe de Commines… Contenant les Choses Advenues Durant le Regne du Roy Loys Unziesme, & Charles Huictiesme Son Filz, Tant en France, Bourgongne, Flandres, Arthois, Angleterre, & Italie, Que Espaigne & Lieux Circonuoysins. Paris: (Guillaume Thibout), 1546. Small octavo, period-style full tan paneled pigskin, raised bands, covers tooled in brown diapering. $2800.
Newly corrected early edition of this important history of medieval France under Louis XI and Charles VIII, characterized by “a hard-headedness and realism… and a commendation of ruse and indiscretion.”
“Accomplished actor in the world’s drama,” Philippe de Commines, influential adviser to both Charles the Bold and Louis XI of France, was “the first modern writer who in any degree has displayed sagacity in reasoning on the characters of men and the consequences of their actions. An acute understanding and much experience of mankind gave Commines his superiority… ‘If France,’ says Hallam, ‘had her Livy in Froissart, she had her Tacitus in Commines” (Robert Vaughan). A gifted political and cultural analyst, he is considered “one of the greatest historians of the Middle Ages.” His Cronique is a “judicious and able” account of the reign of Louis XI, “highly praised for its fidelity, candor, and deep insight into men and things.” It was intended not merely as a history, but as instruction for statesmen: “Commines insisted on the reduction of taxes… [and] believed that the state should promote the country’s economy.” The work is characterized by “a hard-headedness and realism… and a commendation of ruse and indiscretion.” As a political primer, Commines’ Cronique “made as many heretics in politics as Luther’s work had done in religion” (Catherine de Medici). “Both Machiavelli and Guicciardini were in his debt” (Wedeck, 163). First published in 1523. Text in French. Brunet II, 190. See also Graesse II, 238.
A fine copy, handsomely bound.