Giovanni VillaniGiovanni Villani (; 1276 or 1280 – 1348) was an Italian banker, official, diplomat and chronicler from Florence who wrote the ''Nuova Cronica'' (''New Chronicles'') on the history of Florence. He was a leading statesman of Florence but later gained an unsavory reputation and served time in prison as a result of the bankruptcy of a trading and banking company he worked for. His interest in and elaboration of economic details, statistical information, and political and psychological insight mark him as a more modern chronicler of late medieval Europe. His ''Cronica'' is viewed as the first introduction of statistics as a positive element in history. However, historian Kenneth R. Bartlett notes that, in contrast to his Renaissance-era successors, "his reliance on such elements as divine providence links Villani closely with the medieval vernacular chronicle tradition." In recurring themes made implicit through significant events described in his ''Cronica'', Villani also emphasized three assumptions about the relationship of sin and morality to historical events, these being that excess brings disaster, that forces of right and wrong are in constant struggle, and that events are directly influenced by the will of God.
Villani was inspired to write his ''Cronica'' after attending the jubilee celebration in Rome in 1300 and noting the venerable history of that city. He outlined the events in his ''Cronica'' year for year, following a strictly linear narrative format. He provided intricate details on many important historical events of the city of Florence and the wider region of Tuscany, such as construction projects, floods, fires, famines, and plagues.
While continuing work on the ''Cronica'' and detailing the enormous loss of life during the Black Death in 1348, Villani died of the same illness. His work on the ''Cronica'' was continued by his brother and nephew. Villani's work has received both praise and criticism from modern historians. The criticism is mostly aimed at his emphasis on supernatural guidance of events, his organizational style, and his glorification of the papacy and Florence. Provided by Wikipedia