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 delight, patriotism, and assured wish of higher occasions. regardless of the alternating tones of sarcasm and depression he used to explain Florentine affairs, Machiavelli supplied a stubbornly chronic feel that his urban had all of the fabrics and strength beneficial for a wholesale, positive, and epochal political renewal. As he memorably positioned it, Florence was once "truly an exceptional and wretched city."
Mark Jurdjevic specializes in the Florentine size of Machiavelli's political inspiration, revealing new features 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 points of Machiavelli's political inspiration have been notably Florentine in notion, content material, and objective. From a brand new standpoint and armed with new arguments, an excellent and Wretched City reengages the venerable debate approximately Machiavelli's courting to Renaissance republicanism. Dispelling the parable that Florentine politics provided Machiavelli simply adverse classes, Jurdjevic argues that his contempt for the city's shortcomings was once a right away functionality of his substantial estimation of its unrealized political potential.
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Extra info for A great and wretched city : promise and failure in Machiavelli's Florentine political thought
Mocking the savi was indeed a common theme in Savonarola’s sermons, but— significantly—not the two Machiavelli attended for Becchi. 76 But his writings and sermons, particularly on Ezekiel and Psalms, certainly did rail against wise men on a regular basis, and Machiavelli’s accurate summation suggests greater familiarity with the friar’s thought than mere attendance of the two sermons of March 1498. Machiavelli’s subsequent statement that Savonarola was misunderstood by his followers further suggests particu lar attendance at and meditation on his sermons.
But if we follow Machiavelli’s lead and consider only his specific statements of reproach, we see that his principal objection to Savonarola was political. The friar failed to resolve the city’s increasingly acrimonious factional tensions—for Machiavelli the central problem of Florentine politics. Machiavelli’s criticism of Savonarola evaluated him with exactly the same category of analysis that he used for the Albizzi, Medici, and Soderini regimes. In the short run, those regimes came to power because they were effective party machines but in the long run collapsed or were overturned precisely because their actions were geared to serve the benefit of their own party rather than a more expansive notion of the common good.
Machiavelli admired and studied Borgia’s creation of and deployment of power and his superior understanding of how to maximize one’s effectiveness in the political arena, but the nature of Borgia’s power itself—its source—was the relatively straightforward coercive power of force and arms. Reflection on Savonarola was equally revealing about power, but a more subtle variety better suited to a republican context. Savonarola’s power was rooted in his ability to communicate to Florentines, inspire them, and persuade them that his vision of the city and its politics should be their vision.
A great and wretched city : promise and failure in Machiavelli's Florentine political thought by Mark Jurdjevic