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The Talents of Jacopo da VaragineA Genoese Mind in Medieval Europe$
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Steven A. Epstein

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781501700507

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501700507.001.0001

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Genoa’s Past

Genoa’s Past

(p.165) Chapter 4 Genoa’s Past
The Talents of Jacopo da Varagine

Steven A. Epstein

Cornell University Press

This chapter analyzes Jacopo de Varagine's chronicle of Genoese history. He concluded the saints' lives in the Golden Legend with an entry on Pope Pelagius I (556–61). This entry has almost nothing to say about Pelagius but is instead an essay in which Jacopo briefly summarizes western European history. Scholars reckon that Jacopo added this entry while thinking about how he would begin writing the history of Genoa. Perhaps an indication of his later writing, this entry serves as a window on how his mind worked, especially his reading habits and style of subject selection. The chronicle of Genoese history is hardly a work of secularism; Jacopo did not perceive the world as divided into categories of sacred and secular history. The chapter also highlights Jacopo's well-informed summary of early Islam.

Keywords:   Jacopo de Varagine, Genoese history, Golden Legend, western European history, secular history, early Islam

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