A Great and Wretched City: Promise and Failure in by Mark Jurdjevic

By Mark Jurdjevic

Like many population of booming metropolises, Machiavelli alternated among love and hate for his local urban. He usually wrote scathing feedback approximately Florentine political myopia, corruption, and servitude, but in addition wrote approximately Florence with satisfaction, patriotism, and assured desire of higher instances. regardless of the alternating tones of sarcasm and melancholy he used to explain Florentine affairs, Machiavelli supplied a stubbornly chronic experience that his urban had the entire fabrics and capability important for a wholesale, effective, and epochal political renewal. As he memorably positioned it, Florence was once "truly a superb and wretched city."

Mark Jurdjevic specializes in the Florentine size of Machiavelli's political proposal, revealing new facets of his republican convictions. via The Prince, Discourses, correspondence, and, so much considerably, Florentine Histories, Jurdjevic examines Machiavelli's political occupation and relationships to the republic and the Medici. He exhibits that major and as but unrecognized features of Machiavelli's political notion have been rather Florentine in suggestion, content material, and function. From a brand new viewpoint and armed with new arguments, an exceptional and Wretched City reengages the venerable debate approximately Machiavelli's courting to Renaissance republicanism. Dispelling the parable that Florentine politics provided Machiavelli merely detrimental classes, Jurdjevic argues that his contempt for the city's shortcomings used to be an immediate functionality of his substantial estimation of its unrealized political potential.

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Additional resources for A Great and Wretched City: Promise and Failure in Machiavelli's Florentine Political Thought

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75 But both were champions of the popu lar republic. There is no textual reason to contradict the interpretation of the logic and structure of this passage as implying that Machiavelli saw Savonarola’s efforts as a buona opera. After all, Machiavelli criticized Soderini’s conduct and outlook on a number of occasions, but no one would suggest that he did not share Soderini’s desire for a popu lar republic in Florence. In both passages from the Prince and the Discourses, Machiavelli was interested in problems that virtuous reformers faced in corrupt republics, and it is difficult to see how his inclusion of Savonarola as an example of their difficulties does not imply that Savonarola was such a virtuous reformer.

56 Machiavelli subsequently argued that all great events were either presaged by signs or predicted by prophets. He cited several examples of signs from antiquity and recent Florentine history—for example lightning striking the Florence cathedral before the death of Lorenzo de’ Medici and the Palazzo della Signoria before the fall of Piero Soderini. But he provided only one example of a prophet— Savonarola—with whom he commenced both the chapter and the list of examples: “What causes it I do not know, but both ancient and modern instances indicate that nothing important ever happens in a city .

He was a venerable and experienced statesman in both the renewed republic and the preceding Medici regime. 13 In the fi rst years of the renewed republic Becchi became the principal agent of the Dieci di Libertà e Balìa in Rome. For example, in 1495, the Dieci asked Becchi—presumably because of his court contacts, since he was not yet an ambassador—to persuade Alexander VI to allow the taxation of Florentine ecclesiastical assets. 14 Becchi faced an inherently difficult task since neither of the principal antagonists, Savonarola and Alexander, were diplomatically inclined by nature.

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