In the middle decades of the sixteenth century, the republican city-state of Florencebirthplace of the Renaissancefailed. In its place the Medici family created a principality, becoming first dukes of Florence and then grand dukes of Tuscany. The Fruit of Liberty examines how this transition occurred from the perspective of the Florentine patricians who had dominated and controlled the republic. The book analyzes the long, slow social and cultural transformations that predated, accompanied, and facilitated the institutional shift from republic to principality, from citizen to subject.
More than a chronological narrative, this analysis covers a wide range of contributing factors to this transition, from attitudes toward office holding, clothing, and the patronage of artists and architects to notions of self, family, and gender. Using a wide variety of sources including private letters, diaries, and art works, Nicholas Baker explores how the language, images, and values of the republic were reconceptualized to aid the shift from citizen to subject. He argues that the creation of Medici principality did not occur by a radical break with the past but with the adoption and adaptation of the political culture of Renaissance republicanism.
About the Author
Nicholas Scott Baker is Lecturer in Early Modern European History at Macquarie University.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations ix
Introduction States and Status in the Florentine Renaissance 1
1 Imagining Florence: The Civic World of the Late Fifteenth Century 15
2 Great Expectations: The Place of the Medici in the Office-Holding Class, 1480-1527 49
3 Defending Liberty: The Climacteric of Republican Florence 98
4 Neither Fish nor Flesh: The Difficulty of Being Florentine, 1530-1537 142
5 Reimagining Florence: The Court Society of the Mid-Sixteenth Century 189
Conclusion: Florence and Renaissance Republicanism 228
Appendix 1 A Partial Reconstruction of the Office-Holding Class of Florence, ca. 1500 235
Appendix 2 Biographical Information 254