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
  • Alice
    Re: Stone Tool Experts
    Hello. Today whilst I was out in the fields waking my dog I found a stone that I kept because I thought it looked unusual. At first I thought I…
    24 March 2017
  • ArchaeologyExpert
    Re: Flavio Biondo
    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
    22 March 2017
  • Moonie1977
    Re: Pottery Experts
    Hi, I am a life science researcher. One of my hobbies is to routinely go to auctions and buy unique items, including antiques. Recently I bought…
    20 March 2017
  • Jithu
    Re: Academic Qualifications to Be An Archaeologist
    Sir, now Iam doing my PG in chemistry. But Iam very much interested in archeology. Is there any possibility…
    20 March 2017
  • Japan ideas?
    Re: Flavio Biondo
    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…
    19 March 2017
  • Kel
    Re: Be a Volunteer Archaeologist
    Jw if any digs near NMB South Carolina? N if not How can i find out more on Other Digs w all expensive paid?
    6 March 2017
  • Mike
    Re: Dating Techniques In Archaeology
    Excuse me, could you please fix the punctuation errors, my students are not able to understand your blabber. Thanks, Cheers.
    6 March 2017
  • Guy
    Re: Stone Tool Experts
    Hi there not sure if anyone can help me but today I found a stone in a load of pea shingle that was round and looked like a kind of cog I'm…
    23 February 2017
  • coprop
    Re: Being Aware of Fake Archaeological Artefacts
    I looked at ancient gold rings on eBay today! And was amazed at the amount of cheap so called ancient rings,…
    23 February 2017
  • djon (really hip), (
    Re: Archaeology Myth: Excavating Troy
    once my dad gets a hold of this article he'll never let goo!
    17 February 2017
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the ArchaeologyExpert website. Please read our Disclaimer.