PERSONAL: Born in Italy.
ADDRESSES: Office—University of Florence, via S. Gallo 10, 50129 Firenze, Italy. E-mail—sergio. [email protected]
CAREER: University of Florence, Florence, Italy, professor of history.
Ribelli, libertini e ortodossi nella storiografia barocca (title means "Rebels, Libertini and Orthodox in the Baroque Historiograophy"), La Nuova Italia (Florence, Italy), 1973.
(Editor with Piero Innocenti) Bibliografia Machiavelliana (title means "Machiavellian Bibliography"), Edizioni Valdonega (Verona, Italy), 1979.
(With others) Italian Renaissance Courts, Sidgwick & Jackson (London, England), 1986.
(With Francesco Bigazzi) PCI: La storia dimenticata (title means "PCI: The Forgotten History"), Mondadori (Milan, Italy), 2001.
The King's Body: Sacred Rituals of Power in Medieval and Early Modern Europe, translated by R. Burr Litchfield, Pennsylvania State University Press (University Park, PA), 2001.
SIDELIGHTS: Sergio Bertelli, professor of history at the University of Florence in Italy, is a well-known expert on Renaissance and post-Renaissance studies. One of his many published works of scholarship has been translated into English as The King's Body: Sacred Rituals of Power in Medieval and Early Modern Europe. In this book, Bertelli addresses sovereign rule, and he emphasizes the importance of the sovereign in maintaining the order of medieval society rather than focusing on the making of the state. Bertelli explores the cult of kingship in an analysis spanning the Vandal kings of Spain through Charles I and Louis XVI of England.
Bertelli's first book, Ribelli, libertini e ortodossi nella storiografia barocca, concerns the evolution of historiography during the Baroque period—from the third decade of the sixteenth century until the end of the seventeenth.
Bibliografia Machiavelliana was a joint effort with coeditor Piero Innocenti. The editors assembled a bibliography of 1,080 titles from across the world containing philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli's writings. In this work, Bertelli also proposes several corrections to common notions about Machiavelli's importance, and proves that Machiavelli's theories were considered most seriously throughout Florence. Eric Cochrane praised the bibliography in Journal of Modern History, commenting "If the other volumes [in the series] maintain the high editorial standards set in this one, the texts contained therein will certainly be recognized as authoritative, and all editions and translations will have to be based on them."
The Courts of the Italian Renaissance is a heavily illustrated book that reproduces frescoes, sculpture, costumes and scenes common to court life in the Italian Renaissance. David Ekserdjian, in the Spectator, called it "a splendid introduction to an absorbing and eccentric world of banquets, festivities, triumphal entries and state funerals." Although the only name on the cover of the book is Bertelli's, the title page reveals it is actually involves six contributing authors. Werner Gundersheimer of Renaissance Quarterly found the lack of attribution a problem. "The extraordinary frustrations posed by this book as a physical object are compounded by the text itself. Idiosyncratically organized and frequently repetitious, it subjects the reader to dizzying shifts of place and time, often telescoping centuries into a single sentence."
PCI: La Storia Dimenticata, which Bertelli penned with journalist Francesco Bigazzi, concentrates on the history of the Italian Communist Party. A reviewer in the Economist said, "It contains no stunning revelations, but it has succeeded in upsetting many older party members with its suggestion that the massacre at the Ardeatine caves.... actually helped the under-ground communist leaders of the time by disposing of some of their more undependable comrades." In the 1944 massacre, 355 prisoners of occupied Italy were executed as punishment for a partisan attack on Nazi soldiers.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Historical Review, February, 1975, Grazia Avitabile, review of Ribelli, libertini e ortodossi nella storiografia barocca, pp. 99-100.
Economist, April 28, 2001, review of PCI: La storia dimenticata, pp. 89-90.
History Today, November, 2001, Anne Pointer, review of The King's Body: Sacred Rituals of Power in Medieval and Early Modern Europe, p. 54.
Library Journal, September 15, 1986, review of The Courts of the Italian Renaissance, p. 53.
Journal of Modern History, December, 1975, Donald R. Kelley, "Faces in Clio's Mirror: Mistress, Muse, Missionary," pp. 679-690; September, 1980, Eric Cochrane, review of Bibliografia Machiavelliana, pp. 534-536.
Modern Language Review, April, 1982, H. K. Moss, review of Biblografia Machiavelliana, pp. 470-471.
Publishers Weekly, December 3, 2001, review of The King's Body, p. 52.
Renaissance Quarterly, winter, 1980, Fredi Chiappelli, review of Bibliografia Machiavelliana, pp. 747-750; spring, 1988, Werner Gundersheimer, review of The Courts of the Italian Renaissance, pp. 114-116.
Spectator, December 13, 1986, David Ekserdjian, "My Coffee-table Is Full of Plates," pp. 36-37.*