Friday, September 07, 2007

Mining the Machiavellian

The international digital library initiative, The Medici Archive Project, is making the correspondence of the powerful Renaissance political dynasty accessible to the broader public. The Medici family letters are full of details from the practices of everyday life and include accounts of morning sickness, children dissatisfied with presents, and letters of recommendation for their household cooks (who were hopefully not included in the family's periodic poisoning of its rivals). With over three million letters and a complicated cross-referenced system that includes a "PeopleBase" and a "DocBase," it's an interesting window on political machinations in the pre-digital world. It also includes information about Jewish history from the period from the period and documents about the Florentine Ghetto.

(Thanks to my colleague and fellow carpooler David Kay for the link.)

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