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By Mark Jurdjevic

Like many population of booming metropolises, Machiavelli alternated among love and hate for his local urban. He usually wrote scathing comments approximately Florentine political myopia, corruption, and servitude, but additionally wrote approximately Florence with satisfaction, patriotism, and assured desire of higher occasions. regardless of the alternating tones of sarcasm and depression he used to explain Florentine affairs, Machiavelli supplied a stubbornly chronic experience that his urban had the entire fabrics and capability useful for a wholesale, successful, and epochal political renewal. As he memorably positioned it, Florence used to be "truly an outstanding and wretched city."

Mark Jurdjevic specializes in the Florentine size of Machiavelli's political inspiration, 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 indicates that major and as but unrecognized facets of Machiavelli's political idea have been noticeably Florentine in notion, content material, and function. From a brand new point of view and armed with new arguments, a good and Wretched City reengages the venerable debate approximately Machiavelli's courting to Renaissance republicanism. Dispelling the parable that Florentine politics provided Machiavelli in basic terms unfavourable classes, Jurdjevic argues that his contempt for the city's shortcomings used to be a right away functionality of his massive estimation of its unrealized political potential.

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Additional info for A great and wretched city : promise and failure in Machiavelli's Florentine political thought

Sample text

The linguistic style and tone of chapter 26 were no less instructional than the chapter’s specific political and military stratagems. The Medici should [ 31 ] The Savonarolan Lens establish a new state and expel the barbarians and should follow his implicit advice and do so with religious language and imagery. To some extent, it followed that the Medici should adopt a religious banner simply because the context was propitious—the Medici ruled Florence and Rome and thus had the potential to fuse their territorial expansion with Roman spiritual and ecclesiastical leadership.

The Becchi letter can be read as a literary reflection of Machiavelli’s desire to enter the republican government, just as the Prince and the Memorandum to the Mediceans are always read as part of his efforts to join the Medicean regime that followed it. If we read Machiavelli’s analysis of Savonarola as an audition for a diplomatic post, as a way of showing Becchi his talent for breaking down skillful rhetoric— and Savonarola was as skilled an orator, if not superior, to any of [ 22 ] The Savonarolan Lens the city’s diplomats—into basic political functions, even the most apparently anti-Savonarolan sentiments become considerably more nuanced.

We see Machiavelli highlighting that dimension of Savonarola’s power in each of his three explicit statements of respect and admiration for the friar. The fi rst adopted a reverential tone in its identification of the roots of Savonarola’s power in words and language. 11, as already discussed, provides evidence of Machiavelli’s implicit sympathy for the Florentines’ fascination with Savonarola. But consider his wording again as part of a pattern connecting Savonarola’s political power to his learning and sermons: “[The Florentines] were persuaded by Brother Girolamo Savonarola that he spoke with God.

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