Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini (1405-1464, elected Pope Pius II in 1458) was an important and enigmatic figure of the Renaissance as well as one of the most prolific writers and gifted stylists ever to occupy the papacy. Though several biographies have been written about ""the humanist pope,"" this book allows Aeneas to tell his story in his own words through a careful selection of seventy-five letters and two documents. All but one newly translated and most translated for the first time into English, these writings bring Aeneas vibrantly alive for the ordinary reader. Aeneas's letters range from brief and very personal revelations to a history the length of a small treatise. They provide a unique lens for exploring the less political, more private aspects of his life. They trace the changes in his political and ecclesiastical allegiances that parallel his change of vocation from worldly humanist poet to learned prelate, and from participant at the Council of Basel where he actively engaged in the election of an anti-pope to advocate for the papacy and eventually pope. A history of the Council of Basel is included as are two bulls from his pontificate. One bull condemns appeals from the Roman pontiff to a general council (Execrabilis), and the other (In minoribus) attempts to explain away the errors of his youth. In addition to an engaging general introduction, the book includes short narrative introductions to each letter placing it in proper context. The letters are generously annotated to assist readers in understanding the persons, places, and literary allusions discussed.