- 1392: Biondi is born in 1392 (alternatively given is "1388") in Forli. Humanistic education in his home town, he's following his father, who worked as notarius. Various occupations as secretary in North Italian cities and contacts to humanistic scholars, mentioned is a longer stay in Milan and an occupation for Francesco Barbaro, Podestàs of Bergamo.
- Ca. 1431: Poggio makes a short listings of Roman monuments. His work is proceeded by Biondi in 1446.
- 1432: Biondi enters the service of Pope Eugen IV (as scriptor and for diplomatic missions).
- 1434: He follows Pope Eugen to the exile in Florence. Friendly contacts to Leonardo Bruni, who takes influence on his later historical works.
- 1435:De verbis romanae locutionis, a work about Latin language
- 1446: Roma instaurata, a topographical work about Rome, not of great length, but important in the development of a scientific and archeological approach to the old Roman monuments
- 1447: With the death of Eugen and the election of Pope Nicholas Biondi loses his influence and has to leave the curia fínally.
- 1448: Biondi works for the later Pius II, Enea Silvio Piccolomini. Pius II., himself a writing humanist, produces a work with explanations to the works of Biondi (Epitome vel Abbreviationes decades Blondi).
- 1448-1453 (others say 1458): Italia illustrata, printed for the first time in 1471 (an historical geographical dictionary)
- 1450: Biondi leaves Rome for Naples. Nicholas overlooks him, cause Biondi doesn't understand Greek. Under the protection of Alfonso V. of Aragon he finishes his Italia illustrata
- 1453: Biondi returns to Rome, presenting his Italia illustrata, now a little better accepted. Biondi parts Italy in 14 regions and lists in them the Italian cities with researches to their antiquity and their relation to "modern history". Also he notes the famous men of the cities.
- 1453: Historiarum ab inclinatione Romani Imperii decades, short Decades appears for the first time, which describes the time of 412 - 1441 in 31 books. Biondi's work shows a change of the tradition of medieval historians. Biondi uses concepts of human actors and institutions, which cause the fall of Rome instead of a general religious view, that it was caused by God's decision.
- 1455: With Pope Nicholas' death Biondi again enters the curia, but stays without influence. It is said , that he had to fight financial difficulties in his last years.
- 1457 - 1459: Usually this time is given for the Roma triumphans", although I've found a note, that it was already announced in 1453 (?). It is an attempt of Biondi to present the state, the religion and the customs of old Rome. It's said, that by this work knowledge was spread about details of the old triumphal processions - so this theme, which we at Trionfi.com are concerned with. Biondi dedicated this work to Pius II., the precise date of an accompanying formal act of the dedication is not known.
Of special interest it is in this context, that the triumphal procession, which took place in April 1459 in Florence and which strongly influenced the famous work of Gozzoli in the Medici-chapel ("Procession of the 3 holy kings") was accompanied by heavy discussions about the correct procedere of it - likely this was influenced by Biondi's work.
- 1463: Death of Biondi. He had 5 sons.
- After Biondi: Pomponius Leto, one of the great figures of the Accademia Roma (which started around 1461), is seen as Biondi's follower. However, Leto is also regarded as follower of Vallo, and in research it is tried to see the work of Vallo as contrasting the work of Biondi.
Specific interesting points of Biondi's Biography (in development)
- The historian Biondi with specific personal Italian interests suffers in the time of Pope Nicholas, who showed a greater interest in Greek language. He reappeared in Rome after (?) Constantinople has fallen - likely expecting now better chances for his personal views. "Italian" and Roman interests show later in Trionfi cards productions with "Heroes" character such as the Sola-Busca-Tarocchi (focussed on Roman heroes), the Leber Tarocchi (Roman and Greek Heroes, but one card is called "Roman Achilles") and the Boiardo poem (Greek, Roman and biblical heroes).
This personal Greek-Roman conflict in the person of Biondi might have some indirect relation to the general raising fight between followers of Aristoteles and Platon, also in the attempt of Stefano Porcari at 2nd January 1453 to start a revolution in Rome.
- In his work Italia illustrata (1448-1453) Biondi parts Italy in "14 regions" (somewhere else is said "18 (?) provinces") - this just in the years, for which we suspect, that an interest developed for a playing card deck with 5x14-structure called "trionfi cards" and in the work of an author, who titles a later work with "Roma triumphans". Here the suspicion arises, that the author took the number 14 as an ideal number, which he projected on common Italian reality.
- From our observations we would suggest, that the whole idea of triumphal processions made a second start in 1449 with greater progress since the year 1450, with the ideal accompanying condition of a Jubilee year, which caused 1000's of pilgrim visitors and reasons for lots of festivities, with an additional follow up in the visit of emperor Frederick III. with more festivities in 1452. In this time Biondo departs from the Northern scene and prefers the Southern Naples and another humanistic ruler, as many scholars did, when the sponsoring Leonello d'Este died in October 1450.
Biondo writes his Roma Triumphans" in 1457-1459 ... so he was not a trendsetter to the whole development, but likely presented a conservative reaction by adding "historical fact" against "modern nonsense".
- We've an interesting Trionfi reaction in Naples for the year 1452 ... then Alfonso started to build a gigantical triumphal arch to remind his triumphal procession of 1443 after he had conquered Naples in 1442. Following the description of of Burckhardt, the real triumphal event looks small in comparition to that, what later followed. The triumphal arch of 1452 seems to try to increase the worth of the earlier activity in 1443 - which wasn't such a great event. This start of the triumphal arch should have happened in the time, when Biondi was in Naples - likely a try of Alfonso to oppose Northern Trionfi fame by an own propagandistic sponsorship.
- The Trionfi of Florence in April 1459, celebrated later by Gozzoli, knew a lot of subtil discussion about the "right style" - especially the fact, that the current Pope Pius II. was of bad health and it was difficult to ride on horse for him. So he developed ideas to be carried on a litter, but not as a necessary help for his bad state, but as specific old custom imvolving honours and acceptance on the side of the Florentians, which those not were willing to give.
Roma Triumphans 1586
Frontispiece, from the series
The Roman Heroes, engraved by
Hendrick Goltzius (1558–1617)
Goltzius, Roman Hero
The series "Roman heroes" seems to
have been inspired by similar
earlier collections as the
(see 10 of the
heroes in an exhibition about Golzius)