chapter  1
13 Pages

Patriotic historiography

Annius of Viterbo in Antonio de Nebrija
ByFrancisco Bautista

This chapter examines the influence of some of the ideas of the famous forger Annius of Viterbo on the conception of history of the humanist and royal chronicler Antonio de Nebrija. This essay shows how some of the theoretical and methodological arguments advanced by Annius in his Antiquitates (1498) to confer authority and credibility on the (invented) accounts of some ancient writers were duly adapted and used by Nebrija to define the qualities of the official chronicler and to demonstrate to Ferdinand the Catholic his own suitability as royal historian. Nebrija was one of the first of many historians in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries who echoed the theoretical reflections of Annius. In time, criticism and professional condemnation of Annius’s forgeries flared up and intensified, but in spite of that, his influence on the construction of the history of Spain and the regulation of the discipline of historiography held good.