Since end of sixteenth century, modern historians have found in late humanist statesman Francesco Gichardini a model of historical writing. His "History of Italy", written from 1492 to 1534, was based on official documents and Gichardini's personal experience. It was published after 1561 and became a milestone in European historiography.
Many historians follow Girciardini model, so 150 years after its publication, History of Italy is still based on Ottiri's structure and style.
Ottilie divided his History into twenty-three books and, like Gichardini before him, followed chronicle of Tacitus. marked at top of each page.
However, unlike Gicciardini, Ottili did not limit his narrative to Italy, writing a book about Europe with a focus on Italy, as Italy was site of "main battlefield" of War of Spanish Succession.
However, reader gets impression that book contains as much historical information as author was able to collect, and not just about period 1696-1725, as Ottilie does in second volume. a digression on mission of Jesuits in China.
Furthermore, Ottilie embellishes narrative with several dramatic speeches said to have been delivered by historical figures he portrays to amuse reader and in keeping with classical tradition.
In preface to book, Ottilie argues that speeches were not "whimsical" inventions, but were approximations of real statements or "word-for-word" transcriptions and translations from their original sources.
At beginning of The History, Ottilie states that he intends to record a "wonderful" history of War of Spanish Succession, unparalleled in "mighty armies" involved, "whole cities, intrigues and rebellions in provinces, armies following beaten track taking impregnable fortresses, remarkable battles and decisive victories, proposed peace treaties that were never concluded or concluded but ignored.
However, according to Gallo, Ottilie's main focus, to which he devoted most of his life, was courts of Europe, their internal power struggles, factional self-interests, personal relationships and networks of patronage. The Courtier, to whom he naturally gravitates, provides reader with a rich and complex mural of early modern court politics.
The first volume of The History covers period from 1696 to 1700 leading to Ottilie's temporary disgrace and contains a preface on origin and purpose of work, as well as a description by author of his historical approach. .
It was essentially a court intrigue that resulted in Louis XIV's grandson Philippe, Duke of Anjou being crowned King of Spain in place of Archduke Charles, son of Holy Roman Emperor Leopold, an event that ultimately led to end of war. Spanish inheritance flared up.
Ottilie's account begins with final phase of Nine Years' War, and he views resulting Treaty of Ryswick (1697) as an important starting point for France in securing Bourbon succession.
Ottilie illustrates how Austria's initial superiority over France was negatively affected by shortsightedness of Viennese court and its emissaries, such as aforementioned ambassador to Madrid, Alois von Harrach, as well as internal divisions and jealousies that divided pro-Austrian faction at Spanish court.
With appointment of Henri de Harcourt as French ambassador to Madrid, tide turned sharply in France's favour, and Harcourt's subterfuge, combined with enormous expense, enabled Louis to exert indirect pressure on King Charles, effectively persuading Spanish ministers and ministers to accept cause of France.
Autili, not without some admiration, openly referred to insatiable ambitions of Louis XIV, talking about "conspiracies" and "conspiracies" of king in favor of his candidate for throne.
For example,Autili believed that French interests were behind 1699 riots in Madrid against pro-Habsburg minister, Count Oropes.
France also participated in two partition treaties between Spanish monarchy and England and Netherlands, agreements that would have avoided wars of succession, but king of Spain strongly opposed dismemberment of his dominions.
Otty reports that Louis deliberately leaked confidential contents of Second Partition Treaty of 1700 which was widely circulated in Gazette as neither England nor Netherlands denied leak, silence confirms "what rumors are spreading ".
After death of Charles II on November 1, 1700, his last will was revealed and Anjou was proclaimed King Philip V of Spain at Versailles, and war broke out shortly thereafter, first French and imperial army. The action takes place in northern Italy.
After Louis' betrayal of Partition Treaty, Ottilie believes that King William III of England also took advantage of spread of printed news - this time to influence decisions of his parliament.
By persuading public opinion to support war against France, Wilhelm effectively supported a communiqué detailing Habsburg victory in Italian campaign, Wilhelm's success in manipulating media for parliamentary approval, England joining war against Bourbons.
According to Ottilie, since newspapers often spread rumors, historian was commissioned to create a more accurate account based on his experience at court, his knowledge of European politics, and a careful assessment of available sources to correct this information.
The news of war, read by an unprecedentedly large audience, was not always accurate, for example, Ottilie pointed out that Duke of Marlborough was unfairly blamed for loss of strategic positions by French army in summer of 1705.
This malicious accusation at first circulated only among Duke's opponents, but, thanks to communiqué, it soon spread widely. The duke, whose subsequent military successes were sidelined by spread of unverified information, painstakingly drew conclusions about danger of these events, since even "more open-minded" could confuse "truth and exaggeration."
Ottilie details his historiographical method in preface to History that opens first volume. Here he declares his goal to write "with respect to prince" but "to keep truth as best friend, as dearest".
Regarding provenance of work, Ottilie informs his readers that he has collected evidence from both primary and secondary sources. He collected many handwritten memoirs and letters, as well as Italian books and those of Charles Cesar Podlot Del Val and White Kennett in French and English, respectively.
Furthermore, Otiri described how his father obtained information by talking to peers, such as sitting at gaming table, and that, with a few exceptions, Otiri was not usually his source.
This reflects his view that historians "of their time" are different from those who tell about distant past, and are "trustworthy" because "they see for themselves or from wise and knowledgeable learned everything he said."
When two equally reliable sources contradicted each other, he reported them simultaneously to provide "insight to careful reader." expert that "it is better to pray for light in order to better behave than to run blindly without a guide."
Finally, at time of writing, Ottilie's drafts were edited weekly by three learned bishops: Giusto Fontanini, Giovanni Bottoni, and future Cardinal-Bishop Domenico Passion.
We can understand critical appraisal of Ottilie's sources as an example of Catholic erudition, studied in seventeenth century by biologists and Jesuits created by Jean Boland.
His new scholarly approach included a combination of paleography and critical analysis of medieval primary texts. item.
In eighteenth century, Ludovico Antonio Muratori continued this tradition by publishing his Rerum.
In 1720s and 1730s, Catholic scholarship inspired Vatican to reform its canonization and beatification procedures, led by Cardinal Prospero Lambertini, mediator of faith, and future Pope Benedict X. Undertaken by IV, study of documentary sources thus became central to investigation candidates for canonization.
This connection between canonization procedure and critical use of historical sources is in turn reflected in eighth and final book of Histories, in which Ottilie discusses alleged Two Miracles that took place in Rome in 1725.
Ottilie emphasized that, unlike other miracles known to him, these two miracles were "detailed, clear and clear", that is, well documented, must be sanctioned by Church and included in his historical narrative.
The use of this critical procedure is not limited to discussions of miracles, but is commonly used to evaluate historical events. Ottilie's secular approach stems from destruction of "one-dimensional" sacred history during Counter-Reformation at end of seventeenth century. century, and a gradual return to a humanistic "civil history" emphasizing human behavior and socio-political organization.
This paradigm shift began with evolution of erudition from sacred to secular and was reflected in writings of Muratori, which evolved from sacred erudition into "folk history".
If Ottilie was confident in his ability to write a History, it was largely due to his travels in Europe, his travels in 1680s. interest in European politics and modern history.
Ottilie's Journey is a grandiose reverse journey from south to north, which does not acquaint young aristocrat with ancient monuments, but acquaints future historians with modern European court life and political reality.
Returning to Italy, Otiri settled in Rome and raised a family, initiating a more sedentary stage in his life that contrasted with previous travels but allowed him to capitalize on gains made during his travels. a kind of "discipleship" in historiography.
Ottiri's travels reflect common practice of young Tuscans in 1680s who often made similar travels across Europe, either as great tourists or as technicians on official business.
The Grand Tour had not only a personal but also a cultural goal: young aristocrats were educated with an international flair and direct knowledge of world. On other hand, travel allows young professionals to acquire specialized knowledge or receive training.
In Tuscany at end of seventeenth century Their travels were dictated and sponsored by traveler Grand Duke Cosimo III (r. 1670–1723) as a tribute to great country. Form public investment in modernization programs.
For example, Pietro Greni was sent to Germany, Holland, England and France between 1682 and 1686 - during same period they spontaneously made similar trips - and was responsible for supplying grand ducal court with memoirs and drawings, presenting latest in engineering achievements in regions he visited.
In preface to The Historian's Notes, Ottilie insists that his journey was a means to "learn to know world" and gain real knowledge through experience, which also included practical tools that helped him write book.
His travels led him to build up an extensive network of acquaintances covering Italian peninsula and countries he visited; with some of these acquaintances he later maintained a correspondence, and historians used them to collect evidence for History.
Secondly, Ottilie mastered foreign languages, studying Latin and French in Tuscany, perfecting latter in Paris and English in London, which, in particular, allowed him to rely on "some books written in this language ... , which helped him a lot”, and finally he can also read Spanish, probably due to its similarity to his native Italian.
Knowing several languages allowed Ottilie to expand collection of primary and secondary sources in book. It is important to note that, while having direct access to materials in original language, he can also refuse third-party translations.
Othiri's travels made him what we now call an "expert", similar to those merchants, diplomats, scholars, or simply travelers who were then integrated into European trading colonies of Levant. The network was recognized as an expert in these areas upon return, and Ottiri was also recognized as an expert on Italian Europe and European affairs. His work was known even before it was published in 1728.
Furthermore, his travels exposed Ottilie to early forms of cosmopolitanism, as reflected in his self-proclaimed fact-based approach, as well as in his "History at Versailles", Vienna and Cellanti Cardinals, causing resentment.
Indeed, political authorities were skeptical of historian's position that he did not take side of any of participants in war, and condemned several passages in his book.
Dedicating "History" of European history, and not only Italy, like Gicciardini, Ottili is committed to "ideal of Europe, a harmonious system of balanced states", which he demonstrated detachment from national prejudices, accepting humanistic concept of a literary republic and a pan-European civilization.