Home > Famous Archaeologists > Flavio Biondo

Flavio Biondo

By: Grahame Johnston - Updated: 19 Mar 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Flavio Biondo Flavius Blondus Italian

The Italian Renaissance historian Flavio Biondo, is recognised as one of the world’s first archaeologists and coined the infamous term ‘Middle Ages’.

Biondo, whose Latin name was Flavius Blondus, was born in 1392 in the capital city of Italy’s Romagna region. Forli was not only the regional capital but also a city of scholarly learning. Flavio was highly educated, being well schooled from a very early age. He had an early interest in writing and during a brief stopover in Milan he transcribed Cicero’s unique manuscript of the dialogue ‘Brutus’.

Classy Appointments

In 1433 he moved to Rome where he embarked on his writing career. Being of the elite Italian classes he was able to assume positions of rank rather comfortably and after only one year in Rome he was appointed secretary to the Cancelleria during Eugene IV.

Encyclopaedias of Rome

Flavio Biondo is highly acclaimed for his publishing of three most remarkable encyclopaedic works concerning the ruins and topography of the ancient Roman Forum. This celebrated work is a systematic and documented guide totally unique and without equal for its historical time. Through this momentous work Flavio has earned the archaeological honour and title of the first real archaeologist and subsequent historians and antiquaries can only but build on the radical foundations that Flavio laid in print via his volumes.

X-ray Eyes

The Roman Forum today is well excavated and many of the original spenders can be appreciated from the reconstructive archaeological work that has been undertaken. However, at the time that the Biondo encyclopaedias were being researched and compiled, the ruins of the ancient Roman Forum lay deeply buried beneath metres of eroded topsoil and wind blown dirt. The area above was overgrown with grass, weeds, shrubs, and trees. It was nothing more than deserted fields where cows grazed and pigs rooted up any nourishing vegetation.

Flavio and a few fellow humanists began to excavate and document the ancient architecture, the Forum’s topography, and in one manner or another they seemed to be scientifically exploring Rome’s history. Their work sparked a revival in a lost vision for the former glory of the great Imperial Roman capital.

Flavio’s Written Works

A three-volume work, titled ‘Rome Restored’ was published in 1446 and remains to this day a highly influential text, complete with documentation, of the reconstruction of ancient Rome’s topography. The humanist visionaries of the Renaissance dreamed of recreating the grandeur of Rome’s architectural majesty and Flavio’s detailed work enthused their optimism.

Thirteen years later he published a second, highly popular book called ‘Rome Triumphant’. In this volume Flavio used his archaeological discoveries and his respect as a professional to promote a model for military reforms and governmental changes. His book influenced the revival in Roman patriotism and was admired by the papacy as it portrayed it as a continuation of the great Empire.

His best archaeological treatise is his last work ‘Rome Established’ which systematically documents the ruins of the Forum and the wider area of ancient Rome.

Written Histories

Flavio Biondo was also a notable historian. He wrote several histories on Rome using only the most reliable, primary sources. He attempted to historically document, using archaeological research, the period from the fall of the great Roman Empire to his present day. It was among these writings that historians find the first use of the phrase ‘Middle Age’. Flavio believed that somewhere between Rome’s collapse and his present day of the 15th century there was a chronological period he termed the Middle Age.

Flavio Biondo was buried in Santa Maria in Aracoeli, Rome. Few archaeologists today recognise him as the first true archaeologist and even less understand that he coined the term ‘Middle Ages’.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Japan ideas? - Your Question:
Do you know of any research projects currently ongoing in Japan that I could perhaps get involved with? I have very little background in Japanese archaeology, but I am living in the country now, for the primary purpose to learn about it's archaeology, with the view to go on to further academic study. Do you know of any fieldwork I would perhaps be able to get involved with? Many thanks

Our Response:
So sorry, we're not aware of anything specifically in Japan.
ArchaeologyExpert - 22-Mar-17 @ 10:23 AM
Do you know of any research projects currently ongoing in Japan that I could perhaps get involved with? I have very little background in Japanese archaeology, but I am living in the country now, for the primary purpose to learn about it's archaeology, with the view to go on to further academic study. Do you know of any fieldwork I would perhaps be able to get involved with? Many thanks
Japan ideas? - 19-Mar-17 @ 6:09 AM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Awaiso
    Re: Palynology
    Kindly someone inform me what is geological application of palynology, in this page like archaeology application of palynology
    11 November 2019
  • Bea
    Re: Being Aware of Fake Archaeological Artefacts
    I have what seems to be a maya relic I found it in a storage that a Travelin Soldier left behind. Im…
    5 November 2019
  • Red
    Re: Pottery Experts
    I have what looks to be a very old all black clay pottery liquid container/pitcher of some kind it has small slash markings around where the liquid…
    31 October 2019
  • Hitesh
    Re: Stone Tool Experts
    I have found a stone, it's triangular shape, but Something ring inside the stone.
    26 October 2019
  • Suri
    Re: Be a Volunteer Archaeologist
    I am a prof. in a college in Bangalore India, I would like to participate in your explorations,
    22 October 2019
  • Tweener
    Re: Dating Techniques In Archaeology
    Hy everyone I really like this platform, because is very interesting and educative in archaeological matters
    22 October 2019
  • Babaji
    Re: Classification
    How can a pottery artifact be classified?
    16 October 2019
  • Mpole
    Re: Types of Archaeology
    Hello, am Mpolerane undergraduate from Kyambogo university Uganda archaeology is one of my course unit but I like it so much
    8 October 2019
  • Robbie
    Re: Being Aware of Fake Archaeological Artefacts
    I looked on eBay for Roman rings and jewelry, a few year's ago, I bought a ring which was genuine but lost it…
    4 October 2019
  • Robbie
    Re: Being Aware of Fake Archaeological Artefacts
    I looked on eBay for Roman rings and jewelry, a few year's ago, I bought a ring which was genuine but lost it…
    4 October 2019