From Villani, Giovanni, Selfe, Rose E., translator. Villani’s Chronicle being selections from the First Nine Books of the Croniche Fiorentine of Giovanni Villani. London: Archibald Constable & Co. LTD, 1906; pp. xlvii-20.
The marginal references are to the divisions and lines of Moore’s “Oxford Dante.”
* * * * indicates a passage omitted in the translation; • • • indicates a hiatus in the Italian text.
Villani makes the year begin on March 25th. Thus 1300 is still running till March 25th, 1301. For instance, Bk. VII., § 9, gives the last day of February, 1265, as the date of the Battle of Benevento. By our reckoning this is the February of 1266. So too the Reconciliation of the Florentines by the Cardinal Latino, Bk. VII., § 56, took place by our reckoning in February, 1279, and the death of Charles of Anjou, Bk. VII., § 95, on January 7th, 1285, etc.
The Kingdom = The Kingdom of Apulia.
The Duchy = The Duchy of Spoleto.
The March = The March of Ancona.
The Principality = [?] The Principality of Tarento.
San Miniato = San Miniato al Tedesco, in the Arno Valley, West of Empoli.
Nocera = Nocera of the Saracens near Naples, not the Nocera of Paradiso xi. 48.
The Duomo or Cathedral = What is now known as the Baptistery.
Master, M., Messer, all represent the Italian Messer.
“Popolo” is translated “people” except where it means “the Democracy” as a form of government. It is there given untranslated. [~ If this rule is ever departed from, it is through inadvertency.]
The “popolari” or “popolani” are members of the “popolo” or people, sometimes opposed to the “Nobili,” or old Nobility of birth, and sometimes to the “Grandi,” or Magnates, the new nobility of wealth and status.
To be “placed under bounds” appears to mean banishment or confinement, under the form of a prohibition to cross certain stated “bounds.”
The “Black” Cerchi are merely a branch of the Cerchi family: they were “Whites” politically.
Villani was well acquainted with Dante’s works, and evidently regarded him as an authority. Therefore it must not be taken for granted, without further thought, that in every case of agreement Villani’s testimony is an independent confirmation of Dante.
We find in the Bible histories, and in those of the
Assyrians, that Nimrod the giant was the first king, or ruler, and assembler of the gatherings of the peoples, that he by his power and success ruled over all the families of the sons of Noah, which were seventy-two in number, to wit, twenty-seven of the issue of Shem the first-born son of Noah, and thirty of Ham the second son of Noah, and fifteen of Japhet the third son of Noah. This Nimrod was the son of Cush, which was the son of Ham, the second son of Noah, and of his pride and strength he thought to rival God, saying that God was Lord of Heaven, and he of Earth; and to the end that God might no longer be able to hurt him by a flood of water, as He had done in the first age, he ordained the building of the marvellous work of the Tower of Babel; wherefore God, to confound the said pride, suddenly sent confusion upon all mankind, which were at work upon the said tower; and where all were speak
El. i. 6:
And i. 7.
34-36. ing one language (to wit, Hebrew), it was changed into seventy-two divers languages, so that they could not understand one another’s speech. And by reason of this, the work of the said tower had of necessity to be abandoned, which was so large that it measured eighty miles round, and it was already 4,000 paces high and 1,000 paces thick, and each pace is three of our feet. And afterwards this tower remained for the walls of the great city of Babylon, which is in Chaldæa and the name Babylon is as much as to say “confusion”; and therein by the said Nimrod and his descendants, were first adored the idols of the false gods. The said tower, or wall of Babylon, was begun 700 years after the Flood, and there were 2,354 years from the beginning of the world to the confusion of the Tower of Babel. And we find that they were 107 years working at it; and men 4 lived long in those times. And note, that during this long life, having many wives, they had many sons and descendants, and multiplied into a great people, albeit disordered and without law. Of the said city of Babylon the first king which began to make wars was Ninus, son of Belus, descended from Asshur, son of Shem, which Ninus built the great city of Nineveh; and then after
ii. 9: 33
sqq. him reigned Semiramis, his wife, in Babylon, which was the most cruel and dissolute woman in the world, and she was in the time of Abraham.
* * * * This Europe was first inhabited by the descendants of Japhet, the third son of Noah, as we shall make mention hereafter in our treatise; and also according to Escodio, master in history, Noah in person, with Janus his son, which he begat after the Flood, came into this part of Europe into the region of Italy, and there ended his life; and Janus abode there, and from him were descended great lords and peoples, and he did many things in Italy.
* * * * This Atlas, with Electra his wife, and many followers, by omens and the counsel of Apollinus his astrologer and master, arrived in Italy in the country
of Tuscany, which was entirely uninhabited by human
El. i. 8:
11-13. beings, and searching by the aid of astronomy through all the confines of Europe for the most healthy and best situated place which could be chosen by him, he took up his abode on the mount of Fiesole, which seemed to him strong in position and well situated. And upon that rock he began and built the city of Fiesole, by the counsel of the said Apollinus, who found out by astronomical arts that Fiesole was in the best and most
126. healthy place that there was in the said third part of the world called Europe. Since it is well-nigh midway between the two seas which encircle Italy, to wit, the sea of Rome and Pisa, which Scripture calls the Mediterranean, and the Adriatic Sea or Gulf, which to-day is called the Gulf of Venice, and, by reason of the said seas, and by the mountains which surround it, better and more healthy winds prevail there than in other places, and also by reason of the stars which rule over that place. And the said city was founded during the ascendant of such a sign and planet, that it gives more sprightliness and strength to all its inhabitants than any other part of Europe; and the nearer one ascends to the summit of the mountain, the more healthy and better it is. And in the said city there was a bath, which was called the Royal Bath, and which cured many sicknesses; and into the said city there came by a marvellous conduit from the mountains above Fiesole, the finest and most wholesome spring waters, of which the city had great abundance. And Atlas had the said city walled with strongest walls, wondrous in their masonry and their thickness, and with great and strong towers; and there was a fortress upon the summit of the mountain, of the greatest beauty and strength, where dwelt the said king, as is still shown and 6 may be seen by the foundations of the said walls, and by the strong and healthy site. The said city of Fiesole multiplied and increased in inhabitants in a short time, so that it ruled over the surrounding country to a great distance. And note that it was the first city built in the said third division of the world called Europe, and therefore it was named “Fia Sola” [it shall be alone], to wit, first, with no other inhabited city in that said division.
Atlas, king of Fiesole, after that he had built the said city, begat by Electra his wife three sons: the first was called Italus, and from his name the kingdom of Italy was named, and he was lord and king thereof; the second son was named Dardanus, which was the first rider to ride a horse with saddle and bridle. Some have written that Dardanus was son to Jove, king of Crete, and son to Saturn, as has been afore mentioned; but this was not true, forasmuch as Jove abode in Greece, and his descendants were kings and lords thereof, and were always the enemies of the Trojans; but Dardanus came from Italy, and was son to Atlas, as the history will mention. And Virgil the poet confirms it in his book of the Æneid, when the gods said to Æneas that he should seek the country of Italy, whence had come his forefathers which had built Troy; and this was true. The third son of Atlas was named Sicanus,
that is in our parlance Sezzaio [last], which had a most beautiful daughter called Candanzia. This Sicanus went into the island of Sicily, and was the first inhabitant
El. i. 10:
39-85. thereof, and from his name the island was at the first called Sicania, and by diversity of vernacular of the 7 inhabitants it is now called by them Sicilia, and by us Italians Cicilia. This Sicanus built in Sicily the city of Saragosa, and made it chief of the realm whereof he was king, and his descendants after him for a very long time, as is told in the history of the Sicilians, and by Virgil in the Æneid.
When King Atlas had died in the city of Fiesole, Italus and Dardanus his sons were left rulers after him; and each of them being a lord of great courage, and both being worthy in themselves to reign over the kingdom of Italy, they came to this agreement together, to go with their sacrifices to sacrifice to their great god Mars, whom they worshipped; and when they had offered sacrifice they asked whether of them twain ought to abide lord in Fiesole, and whether ought to go and conquer other countries and realms. From the which idol they received answer, either by divine revelation or by device of the devil, that Dardanus should go and conquer other lands and countries, and Italus should remain in Fiesole and in the country of Italy. To which commandment and answer they gave such effect that Italus abode as ruler, and he begat great rulers which after him governed not only the city of Fiesole and the country round about, but well-nigh all Italy, and they built many cities there; and the said city of Fiesole rose into great power and lordship, until the great city of Rome reached her state and lordship. And thereafter, for all the great power of Rome, yet was the city of Fiesole continually at war with and rebelling against it, until at last 8 it was destroyed by the Romans, as this faithful history shall hereafter record. At present we will cease speaking of the Fiesolans and will return to their history in due time and place, and we will now go on to tell how Dardanus departed from Fiesole, and was the first builder of the great city of Troy, and the ancestor of the kings of the Trojans and also of the Romans.
Dardanus, as he was commanded by the answer of their god, departed from Fiesole with Apollinus, master and astrologer of his father, and with Candanzia his niece, and with a great following of his people, and came into the parts of Asia to the province which was called Phrygia [Frigia], from the name of Friga, of the descendants of Japhet, which was the first inhabitant thereof; which province of Phrygia is beyond Greece, after the islands of Archipelago are passed, on the mainland, which to-day is ruled by the Turks and is called Turkey. In that country the said Dardanus by the counsel and arts of the said Apollinus began to build, and made a city upon the shores of the said Grecian sea, which he called after his own name Dardania, and this was 3,200 years from the creation of the world. And it was called Dardania so long as Dardanus lived, or his sons.
Now this Dardanus had a son which was called Tritamus, and Tritamus begat Trojus and Torajus; but 9 Trojus was the wiser and the more valorous, and because of his excellence he became lord and king of the said city and of the country round about; and he had great war with Tantalus, king of Greece, son of Saturn, king of Crete, of whom we made mention. And then, after the death of the said Trojus, by reason of the goodness and wisdom and worth which had reigned in him, it pleased his son and the men of his city that the said city should always be called Troy after his name; and the chief and principal gate of the city, in memory of Dardanus, retained the name which the city had at the first, to wit Dardania.
Another band departed from the said destruction, to wit Antenor, who was one of the greatest lords of Troy, and was brother of Priam, and son of the King Laomedon, who was much accused of betraying Troy,
75. and Æneas was privy to it, according to Dares; but Virgil makes him quite innocent of this. This Antenor, with Priam the younger, son of King Priam, a little child, escaped from the destruction of Troy with a great following10 of people to the number of 12,000, and faring over the sea with a great fleet arrived in the country where to-day is Venice, the great city, and they settled themselves in those little surrounding islands, to the end they might be free and beyond reach of any other jurisdiction and government, and became the first inhabitants of those rocks; whence increasing later, the great city of
88. Venice was founded, which at first was called Antenora, from the said Antenor. And afterwards the said Antenor departed thence and came to dwell on the mainland, where to-day is Padua, the great city, and he was its
75. first inhabitant and builder, and he gave it the name of Padua, because it was among paduli [marshes], and by reason of the river Po, which flowed hard by and was called Pado. The said Antenor remained and died in Padua, and within our own times his body has been discovered there, and his tomb engraved with letters which bear witness that it is the body of Antenor, and this his tomb has been renewed by the Paduans and may be seen to-day in Padua.
Æneas again departed from the said destruction of Troy with Anchises, his father, and with Ascanius, his son, born of Creusa, daughter of the great King Priam, with a following of 3,300 men of the best people of
Troy, and they embarked upon twenty-two ships. This Æneas was of the royal race of the Trojans, in this wise: for Ansaracus, son of Trojus and brother of Ilius, of
ii. 3: 62. whom mention was made in the beginning, begat Danaus, and Danaus begat Anchises, and Anchises begat Æneas. This Æneas was a lord of great worth, wise and of great prowess, and very beautiful in person. When he departed from Troy with his following, with great lamentation, having lost Creusa, his wife, in the assault of the Greeks, he went first to the island of Ortygia, and made sacrifice to Apollo, the god of the sun, or rather idol, asking him for counsel and answer whither he should go; from the which he had answer and commandment to go into the land and country of Italy (whence at the first
77-84. had come Dardanus and his forefathers to Troy), and to enter into Italy by the harbour or mouth of the river Albola; and he said to him by the said oracle, that after many travails by sea, and battles in the said land of Italy, he should gain a wife and great lordship, and from his race should arise mighty kings and emperors, which should do very great and notable things. When Æneas
(3) 62, 63. heard this he was much encouraged by the fair response and promise, and straightway he put to sea with his following and ships, and voyaging long time he met with many adventures, and came to many countries, and first to the country of Macedonia, where already were Helenus and the wife and son of Hector; and after their sorrowful meeting, remembering the ruin of Troy, they departed. And sailing over divers seas, now forwards, now backwards, now crossways, as being ignorant of the country of Italy, not having with them any great masters or pilots of the sea which could guide them, so that they sailed almost whithersoever fortune or the sea 12 winds might lead them, at last they came to the island of Sicily which the poets called Trinacria, and landed where to-day is the city of Trapali, in which Anchises, his father, by reason of his great toils and his old age,
131, 132. passed from this life, and in the said place was buried after their manner with great solemnities. And after the great mourning made by Æneas over his dear father, they departed thence to go into Italy; and by stress of storm the said ships were divided, and part held one way, and part another. And one of the said ships, with all on board, was lost in the sea, and the others came to the shores of Africa (neither knowing ought of the other), where the noble city of Carthage was a-building by the powerful and beautiful Queen Dido which had come thither from Sidonia, which is now called Suri [Tyre]; and the said Æneas and Ascanius, his son, and all his following in the twenty-one ships which came to that port, were received by the said queen with great
9. honour; above all, because the said queen was taken with great love for Æneas so soon as she beheld him, in such wise that Æneas for her sake abode there long time in such delight that he did not remember the commandment of the gods that he should go into Italy; and by a dream or vision, it was told him by the said gods that he should no longer abide in Africa. For the which thing suddenly with his following and ships he departed
Inf, v. 61,
Par. Ix. 97,
98. Cf. De
ii. 3: 102-
xii. 35, 36. from Carthage; and therefore the said Queen Dido by reason of her passionate love slew herself with the sword of the said Æneas. And those who desire to know this story more fully may read it in the First and Second Books of the Æneid. Written by the great poet Virgil.
When Æneas had departed from Africa, he again landed in Sicily, where he had buried his father Anchises, and in that place celebrated the anniversary of his father with great games and sacrifices; and they received great honour from Acestes, then king of Sicily, by
26: 96. reason of the ancient kinship with the Trojans, who were descendants of Sicanus of Fiesole. Then he departed from Sicily, and came into Italy, to the Gulf of Baiæ, which to-day is called Mare Morto, to the headland of Miseno, very near where to-day is Naples; in which country there were many and great woods and forests, and Æneas, going through them, was led by the ap
13-15.pointed guide, the Erythræan Sibyl, to behold Hell and the pains that are therein, and afterwards Limbo; and, according to what is related by Virgil in the Sixth Book of the Æneid, he there found and recognized the shades, or soul-images of his father, Anchises, and of Dido,
25-30. and of many other departed souls. And by his said father were shown to him, or signified by a vision all his descendants and their lordship, and they which were to build the great city of Rome. And it is said by many, that the place where he was led by the wise Sibyl was through the weird caverns of Monte Barbaro, which is above Pozzuolo, and which still to-day are strange and fearful to behold; and others believe and hold that, either by divine power or by magic arts, this was shown to Æneas in a vision of the spirit, to signify to him the great things which were to issue and come forth from his
13-27. descendants. But however that may be, when he issued forth from Hell, he departed, and entered into a ship, and, following the shores until he came to the mouth of the river Tiber or Albola, he entered it, and came to 14 shore, and by signs and auguries perceived that he had arrived in the country of Italy, which had been promised him by the gods; and with great festival and rejoicing they brought their labours by sea to an end, and began to build for themselves habitations, and to fortify themselves with ditches and palisades of the wood of their ships. And this place afterwards became the city of Ostia; and these fortifications they built for fear of the country people, who, fearing them as strange folk and unused to their customs, held them as foes, and fought many battles against the Trojans to drive them from the country, in all of which the Trojans were victorious.
In this country (whereof the capital was Laurentia, the remains of which may still be traced near to where Terracina now stands), the King Latinus reigned, which
145, 146. was of the seed of King Saturn, who came from Crete when he was driven thence by Jove his son, as we made mention afore. And this Saturn came into the country of Rome, which was then ruled by Janus of the seed of Noah; but the inhabitants were then very ignorant, and lived like beasts on fruits and acorns, and dwelt in caves of the earth. This Saturn, wise in learning and in manners, by his wisdom and counsel led the people to live
xxi. 25-27. like men, and caused them to cultivate lands, and plant vineyards, and build houses, and enclose towns and cities; and the said Saturn was the first to build the city of Sutri, called Saturna, and it was so called after his name; and in that country, by his care, grain was first sown, wherefore the dwellers therein held him for a god; 15 and Janus himself, which was lord thereof, made him his partner, and gave him a share in the kingdom. This Saturn reigned thirty-four years in Italy, and after him reigned Picus his son thirty-one years; and after Picus reigned Faunus his son twenty-nine years, and was slain by his people. The two sons of Faunus were Lavinus and Latinus. This Lavinus built the city of Lavina. And Lavinus reigned but a short time; and when he was dead the kingdom was left to Latinus, which changed the name of the city of Lavina to Laurentia, because on the chief tower thereof there grew a great laurel tree. The said Latinus reigned thirty-two years, and was very wise; and he much bettered the Latin tongue. This King Latinus had only one most beautiful daughter
34-39. called Lavinia, who by her mother had been promised in marriage to a king of Tuscany, named Turnus, of the city of Ardea, now Cortona. Tuscany was the name of the country and province, because there were the first sacrifices offered to the gods, with the fumes of incense called tuscio. Æneas having arrived in the country, sought peace with the King Latinus, and that he might dwell there; by the said Latinus he was received graciously, and not only had leave of him to inhabit the country, but also had the promise of his daughter Lavinia to wife, since the command of the gods was that they should marry her to a stranger, and not to a man of the country. For which cause,
Inf. i. 107,
iv. 124. and to secure the heritage of King Latinus, great battles arose, for a long time, between Æneas and Turnus and them of Laurentia, and the said Turnus slew in battle the great and strong giant, Pallas, son of Evander, king of the seven hills, where to-day is Rome, who had come in aid of Æneas; and on the same account died, by the hand of Æneas, 16 the virgin Camilla, who was marvellous in arms. In the end,
Inf. i, 108.
Par. vi. 3.
ii. 3: 108-
117. Æneas, being victor in the last battle, and Turnus being slain by his hand, took Lavinia to wife, who loved Æneas much, and Æneas her; and he had the half of the kingdom of King Latinus. And, after the death of King Latinus, who lived but a short time longer, Æneas was lord over all.
After that the kings had been driven out, and the government of Rome was left to the consuls and senators, the said King Tarquin and his son, with the aid of King Porsenna of Tuscany, who reigned in the city of Chiusi [Clusium], made great war upon the Romans, but in the end the victory remained with the Romans. And afterwards the Republic of Rome was ruled and governed for 450 years by consuls and senators, and at times by dictators, whose authority endured for five years; and they were, so to speak, emperors, for that which they commanded must of necessity be done; and other
divers offices, such as tribunes of the people, and prætors, and censors, and chiliarchs. And in this time there were in Rome many changes, and wars, and battles, not only with their neighbours, but with all the nations of the world; the which Romans by force of arms, and virtue and the wisdom of good citizens, ruled over well-nigh all the provinces and realms and dominions in the world, and gained sovereignty over them, and made them tributary, with the greatest battles, and with slaughter of many nations of the world, and of the Romans themselves, in divers times, well-nigh innumerable to relate. And also among the citizens themselves, by reason of envy against the rulers, and strifes between magnates and them of the people; and on the cessation of foreign wars, there arose much fighting and slaughter ofttimes among the citizens; and, in addition to this, from time to time intolerable pestilences arose among the Romans. And this government endured until the great battles of Julius Cæsar against Pompey, and then against his sons,
iv. 5: 16-
and ii 12.
(3) 64-73. in which Cæsar was victorious; then the said Cæsar did away with the office of consuls and of dictators, and he first was called Emperor. And after him Octavianus Augustus, who ruled in peace, after many battles, over the whole world, at the time of the birth of Jesus Christ, 700 years after the foundation of Rome; and thus it is seen that Rome was governed by kings for 254 years, and by consuls 450 years, as we have aforesaid, and it is told more at length by Titus Livius and many other authors. But note that the great power of the Romans was not alone in themselves, save in so far that they were at the head and leaders; but first all the Tuscans and then all the Italians followed them in their wars and in their battles, and were 18 all called Romans. But we will now leave the order of the history of the Romans and of the Emperors, save in so far as it shall pertain to our matter, returning to our subject of the building of Florence, which we promised to narrate. And we have made this long exordium, forasmuch as it was necessary to show how the origin of the Roman builders of Florence (as hereafter will be narrated) was derived from the noble Trojans; and the origin and beginning of the Trojans was from Dardanus, son of Atlas, of the city of Fiesole, as we have briefly recounted; and afterwards from the descendants of the noble Romans, of the Fiesolans, by the force of the Romans a people was founded called Florentines.
680 A. U. C.At the time when Rome was still ruled by the government of consuls, in the year 680 from the foundation of the said city, Mark Tully Cicero and Caius Antony being consuls, and Rome in great and happy state and lordship, Catiline, a very noble citizen, descended by birth from the royal house of Tarquin, being a man of dissolute life but brave and daring in arms and a fine orator, but noy wise, being envious of the good and rich and wise men who ruled the city, their lordship not being pleasing to him, formed a conspiracy with many other nobles and other followers disposed to evil-doing, and purposed to slay the consuls and part of the senators, and to destroy their office, and to overrun the city, robbing and setting fire to many parts thereof, and to make himself ruler thereof; and this he would have done had it not been warded off by the wit and foresight of the wise consul, Mark Tully. So he 19defended the city from such ruin, and found out the said conspiracy and treason; but because of the greatness
172-176. and power of the said Catiline, and because Tully was a new citizen in Rome, his father having come from Capua or from some other town of the Campagna, he did not dare to have Catiline seized or to bring him to justice, as his misdeeds required; but by his great wit and fine speech he caused him to depart from the city; but many of his fellow-conspirators and companions, from among the greatest citizens, and even of the order of senators, who abode still in Rome after Catiline’s departure, he caused to be seized, and to be strangled in prison, so that they died, as the great scholar, Sallust, relates in due order.
Catiline having departed from Rome, with part of his followers came into Tuscany, where Manlius, one of his principal fellow-conspirators, who was captain, had gathered his people in the ancient city of Fiesole, and Catiline being come thither, he caused the said city to rebel against the lordship of the Romans, assembling all the rebels and exiles from Rome and from many other provinces, with lewd folk disposed for war and for ill-doing, and he began fierce war with the Romans. The Romans, hearing this, decreed that Caius Antony, the consul, and Publius Petreius, with an army of horse and many foot, should march into Tuscany against the city of Fiesole and against Catiline; and they sent by them letters and messengers to Quintus Metellus, who was returning from France with a great host of the Romans, that he should likewise come with his force 20 from the other side to the siege of Fiesole, and to pursue Catiline and his followers.