writing history in the age of francesco patrizi

Writing a history of historiography is a tricky business, particularly in Venice, where ancient norms of artes historicae collide with social aspirations of the printing commonwealth, with collections of turcica and exotic travel writing, and with the rise of early modern Orientalism. My paper aims to show how Patrizi’s Dialoghi della historia, of 1560, oscillate uncomfortably from cosmopolitanism to antiquarianism; editorially linked to a subsequent series of dialogues on rhetoric, they also appear to champion a precise set of tools and not to have been accidentally lumped together. By challenging Patrizi’s image as an eccentric deconstructivist, I also argue for his general realignment within Venice’s local intellectual milieu, especially vis-à-vis Gasparo Contarini, and in the wake of the Roman annalistic tradition; to further substantiate my claims, I briefly touch upon Patrizi’s attempted biography of Ficino, and on his use of complementary and contrastive structures in the Paralleli militari.