Saturday, August 24, 2019

First Paragraph

In the winter of 1417, Poggio Bracciolini rode through the wooded hills and valleys of southern Germany toward his distant destination, a monastery reputed to have a cache of old manuscripts. As must have been immediately apparent to the villagers looking out at him from the doors of their huts, the man was a stranger. Slight of build and clean-shaven, he would probably have been modestly dressed in a well-made but simple tunic and cloak. That he was not country-bred was clear, and yet he did not resemble any of the city and court dwellers whom the locals would have been accustomed to glimpse from time to time. Unarmed and unprotected by a clanging suit of armor, he was certainly not a Teutonic knight - one stout blow from a raw-boned yokel's club would have easily felled him. Though he did not seem to be poor, he had none of the familiar clothes and perfumed hair worn in long lovelocks, nor was he a nobleman out hunting and hawking. And, as was plain from his clothes and the cut of his hair, he was not a priest or a monk.

- From The Swerve: How the World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt

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