Benvenuto Cellini was a celebrated Renaissance sculptor and goldsmith; a passionate craftsman who was admired and resented by the most powerful political and artistic personalities in sixteenth-century Florence, Rome and Paris. He was also a murderer and a braggart, a shameless adventurer who at different times experienced both papal persecution and imprisonment, and the adulation of the royal court. Inn-keepers and prostitutes, kings and cardinals, artists and soldiers rub shoulders in the pages of his notorious autobiography: a vivid portrait of the manners and morals of both the rulers of the day and of their subjects. Written with supreme powers of invective and an irrepressible sense of humor, this is an unrivalled glimpse into the palaces and prisons of the Italy of Michelangelo and the Medici.
The Buonarroti Simoni, to whom Michelangelo belonged, were a Florentine family of ancient burgher nobility. Their arms appear to have been originally "azure two bends or." To this coat was added "a label of four points gules inclosing three fleur-de-lys or." That augmentation, adopted from the shield of Charles of Anjou, occurs upon the scutcheons of many Guelf houses and cities. In the case of the Florentine Simoni, it may be ascribed to the period when Buonarrota di Simone Simoni held office as a captain of the Guelf party (1392). Such, then, was the paternal coat borne by the subject of this Memoir. His brother Buonarroto received a further augmentation in 1515 from Leo X., to wit: "upon a chief or, a pellet azure charged with fleur-de-lys or, between the capital letters L. and X." At the same time he was created Count Palatine. The old and simple bearing of the two bends was then crowded down into the extreme base of the shield, while the Angevine label found room beneath the chief. According to a vague tradition, the Simoni drew their blood from the high and puissant Counts of Canossa.
The studies of Greek Poets, now reprinted, appeared in England in two series, published at an interval of three or four years. In preparing this edition, I have rearranged the chapters of both series in their proper order, and have made certain additions, with the view of rendering the book more complete as a survey of Greek Poetry. Thus I have inserted several new translations in the chapters on the Lyric Poets and the Anthology. The criticism of Euripides has been enlarged, and the concluding chapter has been, in a great measure, rewritten. Each chapter has undergone such revision and alteration in minor details as might remove unnecessary repetitions and bring the whole series of essays into harmony. At the same time I have judged it inexpedient to introduce radical changes into a book which professes to be the reprint of volumes already known to the English public. For this reason the chapters which deal with the Greek Tragedians have been left substantially in their original form, and bear upon their face the record of their composition as almost independent essays.
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