A History of Florence 1200-1575 / Edition 1

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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
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"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)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405182423
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 6/16/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 528
  • Sales rank: 978,727
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

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).
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Table of Contents

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

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