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The Reception of Annius of Viterbo’s Forgeries: The Antiquities in Renaissance France

  • Marian Rothstein (a1)

Abstract

Annius of Viterbo’s 1498 “Antiquitatum Variarum Volumina XVII” (“Antiquities”), created to enhance the reputation of his native Viterbo, was a collection of spurious texts and commentary attributed to early Near Eastern authors of whom only fragments survive. Quickly spotted as spuria, they nonetheless flourished in France. This essay traces the use of Annius’s forgeries by Jean Lemaire de Belges, for whose “Illustrations” they were seminal; mid-sixteenth-century historians followed Lemaire’s lead. The “Antiquities” captivated Guillaume Postel and Guy Le Fèvre de la Boderie. They supported a history grounded on chronology, etymology, and genealogy, becoming essential to proofs of the glory and antiquity of France.

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