Nerli, Philip De

, a celebrated historian, was born at Florence in 1485, of one of the most conspicuous families of that city, mentioned by Dante, in the fifteenth canto ic Del Paradiso," where, speaking of the parsimony of the Florentines, he gives two instances of it in two of the most illustrious families of his days, the Nerli and the Vecchi:


"E vidi quel di Nerli, e quel del Vecchio

Esser contenti alia pelle scoverta,

E le sue donne al fuso, ed al pennechio."

We are informed, by Florentine historians, that this family had borne the highest posts of the state from the year 900, when it was raised, with five others, to the dignity of Famiglia Cavalleresca, by the famous Ugo, marquis of Tuscany. The education of Philip de Nerli was superintended by Benedetto, a disciple of Politian; and in his youth he formed an intimacy with the most distinguished scholars of Florence. In the beginning of duke Alexander’s government, in 1532, he was chosen among the first to be of the quarantotto, or forty-eight magistrates, who were afterwards called senators. He governed the chief cities of Tuscany, in quality of commissary, which title is bestowed only upon senators; and the opinion which Alexander entertained of his judgment, made him be always employed upon public affairs, and nothing important was transacted without his concurrence. From this intimacy with political events, we may suppose him enabled to transmit to posterity the secret springs which gave them birth. He was a great favourite, and nearly related to the family of Medicis, which created him some enemies. He died at Florence, Jan. 17, 1556. His “Commentari de Fatti Civili,” containing the affairs transacted in the city of Florence from 1215 to 1537, were printed in folio, at Augsburg, in 1728, by Settimanni. As the author every where betrays his partiality to the Medici, they may be advantageously compared with Nardi’s history of the same period, who was equally hostile to that family. 1


Tiraboschi.—Life prefixed to his “Commentari.”—Roscoe’s Leo X.