Francesco Guicciardini

1483-1540. Italian historian and statesman. Born into an aristocratic Florentine family, he studied law at Florence, Ferrara, and Padua, established a legal practice, then in 1511 became ambassador to King Ferdinand of Aragon. From 1516, three years after Leo X became pope, he served as governor of part of the Papal States, carrying out this and subsequent public positions with distinction. The changing face of the political scene and the differing attitudes of successive popes saw fluctuations in Guicciardini's fortunes thereafter, and finally he retired into private life, spending his last years in completing his History of Italy, regarded as a most significant source, especially for contemporary events.