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Florentines were not simply avid readers of history; many also wrote historical works. Some motivations were personal and familial; a history of past service to the city was a marker of status. For others, history served as a form of political thought. The keeping of diaries of political events, often with the goal of developing them into modern histories, was already an established tradition and continued to expand during the sixteenth century. This experience made Florentine readers sharp critics of historical writings, and imposed high standards of accuracy and interpretation; major authors and their works enjoyed a high profile. Many died with their works unfinished, including Francesco Guicciardini, Benedetto Varchi, and the exile Jacopo Nardi. Florentines also took an avid interest in the city’s numerous medieval chronicles, editing with care the works of Giovanni Villani, Ricordano Malispini, and more. Several wrote works of medieval history, notably Pierfrancesco Giambullari, Cosimo Bartoli, Silvano Razzi, and Domenico Mellini.
Domesday Book was linguistically speaking an Anglo-Norman record using Latinized versions of French, not English, terms. This chapter asks: did Norman Latin bring into England some Norman ideas about land and people? There was no Old English equivalent for manerium : ‘manor’ was a word which the Domesday enquiry itself made necessary. Domesday Book’s terms for the mass of people, such as villani , are also imports and reflect Norman views of peasants. Key terms in Domesday entries are those connected with holding land from another person: the debate about how we might interpret these is briefly visited before concluding that tenure itself was a Norman idea imported in Norman heads.