By Mark Jurdjevic
Like many population of booming metropolises, Machiavelli alternated among love and hate for his local urban. He frequently wrote scathing feedback approximately Florentine political myopia, corruption, and servitude, but additionally wrote approximately Florence with delight, patriotism, and assured wish of higher occasions. regardless of the alternating tones of sarcasm and melancholy he used to explain Florentine affairs, Machiavelli supplied a stubbornly continual feel that his urban had all of the fabrics and power important for a wholesale, positive, and epochal political renewal. As he memorably positioned it, Florence used to be "truly an excellent and wretched city."
Mark Jurdjevic makes a speciality of the Florentine size of Machiavelli's political suggestion, revealing new features of his republican convictions. via The Prince, Discourses, correspondence, and, such a lot 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 elements of Machiavelli's political inspiration have been exceedingly Florentine in proposal, 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 simple terms adverse classes, Jurdjevic argues that his contempt for the city's shortcomings was once an instantaneous 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
Most significant, given Machiavelli’s later writings, is the detailed consideration of Savonarolan political prudence. Machiavelli devoted the bulk of the letter to Savonarola’s political tactics, in which Machiavelli detected a complex mix of aggression, caution, foresight, cunning, and outright duplicity. ”28 Machiavelli also showed how Savonarola thought several steps ahead, integrating the political implications of one sermon with those of the next, always thinking strategically. ”29 The most ubiquitous piece of evidence invoked to demonstrate Machiavelli’s antipathy toward Savonarola has been that blunt acknowledg ment of Savonarola’s “lies” (bugie).
But Geerken overlooked a major source with which we are certain Machiavelli was familiar: Savonarola’s sermons on Exodus from March 2 and 3, 1498, which Machiavelli attended and scrutinized in detail at the behest of Becchi. In these sermons, Savonarola likened his followers to an army and identified his opponents as the envious: “I tell you that there are two armies: one of God and one of the Devil. These armies still fight today and in new ways: the army of God fights with faith, orations, and patience.
23 She has not discussed the Becchi letter, though it reveals that Machiavelli was alert to this dimension of the Savonarolan phenomenon well before he began writing about Moses, Numa, and the political significance of religion. A “professional” contextualization of the letter also helps reconcile contrasting scholarly interpretations. 25 Both judgments stem from Machiavelli’s highly political reading of Savonarola’s sermons. Colish, Weinstein, and Sasso all see Machiavelli’s political reading of Savonarola’s sermons as an indictment of hypocrisy, an implicit accusation that the friar’s priorities were more political than religious.
A Great and Wretched City: Promise and Failure in Machiavelli's Florentine Political Thought by Mark Jurdjevic