In this history of Florence, distinguished historian John Najemy discusses all the major developments in Florentine history from 1200 to 1575. Captures Florence's transformation from a medieval commune into an aristocratic republic, territorial state, and monarchy Weaves together intellectual, cultural, social, economic, religious, and political developments Academically rigorous yet accessible and appealing to the general reader Likely to become the standard work on Renaissance Florence for years to come
List of Illustrations viii List of Maps ix Acknowledgments x Introduction 1 1 The Elite Families 5 Lineages 6 Knighthood and Feuds 11 Political Alignments and Factions 20 Culture and Religion 27 2 The Popolo 35 Definitions 35 Guilds 39 Culture and Education: Notaries 45 Religion 50 Critique of Elite Misrule 57 3 Early Conflicts of Elite and Popolo 63 Before 1250 64 Primo Popolo 66 Angevin Alliance 72 Priorate of the Guilds 76 Second Popolo and the Ordinances of Justice 81 Elite Resurgence: Black and White Guelfs 88 4 Domestic Economy and Merchant Empires to 1340 96 Population: City and Contado 96 Textiles, Building, and Provisioning 100 Merchant Companies and the Mercanzia 109 Taxation and Public Finances 118 5 The Fourteenth-Century Dialogue of Power 124 Elite Dominance, 1310–40 124 Crisis of the 1340s and the Third Popular Government 132 Funded Public Debt and Bankruptcies 139 Elite Recovery and Popular Reaction 144 War against the Church 151 6 Revolution and Realignment 156 Workers’ Economic Conditions 157 The Ciompi Revolution 161 The Last Guild Government 166 Counterrevolution 171 Fear of the Working Classes 176 Consensus Politics 182 7 War, Territorial Expansion, and the Transformation of Political Discourse 188 First Visconti Wars 189 Territorial Dominion: The Conquest of Pisa 194 Civic Humanism 200 The Civic Family 211 8 Family and State in the Age of Consensus 219 The Family Imaginary 219 Households, Marriage, Dowries 225 Women, Property, Inheritance 232 Children, Hospitals, Charity 238 Policing Sodomy 244 9 Fateful Embrace: The Emergence of the Medici 250 A New Style of Leadership 250 Fiscal Crisis and the Catasto 254 Cosimo’s Money and Friends 262 Showdown 269 10 The Medici and the Ottimati: A Partnership of Conflict Part I: Cosimo and Piero 278 Institutional Controls 280 External Supports: Papacy and Sforza Milan 286 Cosimo’s Coup 291 The Ottimati Challenge Piero 298 11 The Luxury Economy and Art Patronage 307 Poverty and Wealth 307 Public and Private Patronage 315 Family Commemoration and Self-Fashioning 323 12 The Medici and the Ottimati: A Partnership of Conflict Part 2: Lorenzo 341 Lorenzo’s Elders 344 Lorenzo’s Volterra Massacre 348 Pazzi Conspiracy and War 352 The (Insecure) Prince in All but Name 361 Building a Dynasty 369 13 Reinventing the Republic 375 French Invasion and Expulsion of the Medici 375 The Great Council 381 Savonarola’s Holy Republic 390 Domestic Discord and Dominion Crises 400 Soderini, Machiavelli’s Militia, and Pisa 407 14 Papal Overlords 414 The Cardinal and a Controversial Marriage 415 Fall of the Republic and Return of the Medici 419 A Regime Adrift 426 Aristocratic and Popular Republicanisms 434 The Nascent Principate 441 15 The Last Republic and the Medici Duchy 446 Revolution 447 Siege 453 Imposition of a New Order 461 Ducal Government 468 Finances and Economy 473 Courtly and Cultural Discipline 478 Victor and Vanquished 482 Epilogue: Remembrance of Things Past 486 Index 491
"Based on wide reading of the available secondary and printed sources, A History of Florence represents the achievement of a lifetime's devotion to the study of the city. Moreover, Najemy's categories of analysis should provoke debates and conversations for future lifetimes." (Renaissance and Reformation, 2009) "There is much to praise about this book. It is a model historical synthesis of the history of a great premodern European city. It is also a sophisticated political history in which class-based ideas and values matter as much as individual details of political events." (The Catholic Historical Review, July 2010)"[This] is the best history of Florence in any language, and it will long remain so, for Najemy has mastered the relevant literature more thoroughly than any other historian in living memory." (Times Literary Supplement) "John Najemy is a pre-eminent historian of Renaissance Florence ... a scholar of learning, imagination and intellectual penetration, with a profound knowledge of Florentine history from the thirteenth to the sixteenth century and with a remarkable range of interests in political, social and intellectual history. There has been no credible attempt to write a history of Florence in this period since the time of Perrens's multi-volume work, finished in 1883. Najemy has risen admirably to the challenge. He has assimilated the vast secondary literature on Florence, from the beginning of the thirteenth to the late sixteenth century. The range of his analysis and explication stretches across a vast range of fundamental social, political, economic, diplomatic, military and biographical topics. Nor is Najemy indifferent to intellectual history, especially questions involving political thought and ideology. This book is no mere synthesis of other scholars' work. Indeed, Najemy offers a distinctive interpretation, one which has already stimulated controversy and will doubtless continue to do so." (Reviews in History) "Highly recommended." (Choice) "An extraordinary accomplishment. Deserves rich praise as a fundamentally new and authoritative interpretation of four key centuries of this remarkable city's development.” Speculum“[Najemy], a veteran Renaissance historian offers a big and impressive survey of the Florentine city-state …. One of the justifications for the book [is] the need for an updated and accessible synthesis of the superabundance of recent specialized scholarship on Florence. He succeeds admirably at that task … [and] manages to explain and contextualize detailed scholarship while remaining a lively and engaging political narrative. [It] will surely become the definitive narrative of medieval and Renaissance Florence, a point of departure for students of Florentine politics and culture as well as a major interpretive statement providing much for specialists to engage with for some time." (Sixteenth Century Journal)
John M. Najemy is Professor of History at Cornell University and the author of Between Friends: Discourses of Power and Desire in the Machiavelli-Vettori Letters of 1513–1515 (1993) and Corporatism and Consensus in Florentine Electoral Politics, 1280–1400 (1982). For the former he won the Marraro Prize of the Society for Italian Historical Studies and for the latter the Marraro Prize of the American Historical Association. He has also edited Italy in the Age of the Renaissance, 1300–1550 (2004).
Florence during the Renaissance is famously known as the center for the rebirth of scholarship, literature, and the arts. But it was also an autonomous republic, a site of innovative experiments in government, a major economic power that produced great wealth and yet underwent recurrent fiscal crises, and a locus of conflicts among the elite families, the guild community, and the working classes, and between family-based factions grounded in patronage and private power. In this history of Florence, distinguished historian John Najemy discusses all the major phases of Florentine history from 1200 to 1575, including the formation of the elite of great families, the rise of the guild-based "popolo" and the guild republic of the 1290s, the crisis of the 1340s, the revolutions of 1378-82, the wars against Milan, the fiscal crisis of the 1420-30s, the rise and fall of the Medici regime, the republican revival in the age of Savonarola and Machiavelli, and the drama of the last republic of 1527-30 and subsequent emergence of the principate. His account weaves together intellectual, cultural, social, economic, religious, and political developments, capturing Florence's transformation from a medieval commune into an aristocratic republic and finally into a princely and territorial state. Based on the mass of scholarship on Florentine history, and on a first-hand understanding and close reading of the primary sources, Najemy provides an original interpretation of Florentine history that will appeal to scholars and general readers for years to come.
"A masterly survey of a generation of scholarship that has opened up many new perspectives, by an expert guide to the complex political society of medieval and Renaissance Florence." —Christine Shaw, of Cambridge University "This is a marvellous book and I suspect it will become a classic. John Najemy has an astonishing and probably unparalleled mastery of the scholarship on Florence and has accomplished a precise and beautifully written synthetic history of the Medieval and Renaissance city." —Carol Lansing, University of California, Santa Barbara
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