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De Orbe Novo, Volume 1 (of 2) The Eight Decades of Peter Martyr D'Anghera   By: (1863-1927)

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De Orbe Novo, Volume 1 (of 2) The Eight Decades of Peter Martyr D'Anghera by Francis Augustus MacNutt offers readers a captivating journey back to the Age of Exploration. This comprehensive collection of historical accounts presents the vivid and thrilling experiences of Peter Martyr D'Anghera, a witness and chronicler of the earliest encounters between Europeans and the New World.

MacNutt's meticulous translation allows readers to delve into the fascinating world of D'Anghera, an Italian courtier who had a front-row seat to the unfolding of history in the late 15th and early 16th centuries. The book is divided into eight decades, each providing a unique perspective on the events, people, and cultures that shaped the New World.

One of the strengths of this volume is its thoroughness. MacNutt carefully interweaves primary sources, letters, and firsthand accounts of D'Anghera's experiences to present a comprehensive picture of the era. These sources add depth, authenticity, and richness to the narrative, enabling readers to immerse themselves in the complexities and contradictions of the time.

Moreover, MacNutt's astute commentary and annotations provide invaluable context and clarification, aiding readers in understanding the intricacies of political alliances, cultural clashes, and the impact of European expansion on indigenous populations. MacNutt strikes a balance between academic rigor and readability, making this book accessible not only to scholars but also to general history enthusiasts.

The prose in De Orbe Novo flows smoothly, capturing the intrigue and excitement of discovery, while also conveying the conflicting emotions and ethical dilemmas faced by explorers and indigenous peoples alike. MacNutt's translation breathes life into D'Anghera's accounts, enabling readers to witness the awe, wonder, and, at times, horror that marked the encounters between different worlds.

While this book serves as an excellent primary source for understanding the history of European exploration, it may not be suitable for readers seeking a more theoretical or critical analysis. However, the historical value and wealth of information it offers more than compensate for any absence of theoretical debates.

In conclusion, De Orbe Novo, Volume 1 (of 2) by Francis Augustus MacNutt is a must-read for anyone interested in the early encounters between Europe and the New World. MacNutt's skillful translation and comprehensive approach commendably bring D'Anghera's experiences to life, providing readers with a profound understanding of the complexities and consequences of this transformative period in history.

First Page:


The Eight Decades of Peter Martyr D'Anghera

Translated from the Latin with Notes and Introduction

By Francis Augustus MacNutt

In Two Volumes

Volume One









CARDINAL ASCANIO SFORZA From the Medallion by Luini, in the Museum at Milan. Photo by Anderson, Rome.

LEO X. From an Old Copper Print. (No longer in the book.)




Distant a few miles from the southern extremity of Lago Maggiore, the castle crowned heights of Anghera and Arona face one another from opposite sides of the lake, separated by a narrow stretch of blue water. Though bearing the name of the former burgh, it was in Arona[1], where his family also possessed a property, that Pietro Martire d'Anghera first saw the light, in the year 1457[2]. He was not averse to reminding his friends of the nobility of his family, whose origin he confidently traced to the Counts of Anghera, a somewhat fabulous dynasty, the glories of whose mythical domination in Northern Italy are preserved in local legends and have not remained entirely unnoticed by sober history. What name his family bore is unknown; the statement that it was a branch of the Sereni, originally made by Celso Rosini and repeated by later writers, being devoid of foundation... Continue reading book >>

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