By Mark Jurdjevic
Like many population of booming metropolises, Machiavelli alternated among love and hate for his local urban. He frequently wrote scathing comments approximately Florentine political myopia, corruption, and servitude, but additionally wrote approximately Florence with delight, 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 all of the fabrics and power beneficial for a wholesale, victorious, and epochal political renewal. As he memorably positioned it, Florence used to be "truly an exceptional and wretched city."
Mark Jurdjevic specializes in the Florentine size of Machiavelli's political proposal, revealing new elements 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 elements of Machiavelli's political notion have been surprisingly Florentine in notion, content material, and function. From a brand new standpoint and armed with new arguments, a good and Wretched City reengages the venerable debate approximately Machiavelli's dating to Renaissance republicanism. Dispelling the parable that Florentine politics provided Machiavelli in simple terms unfavorable classes, Jurdjevic argues that his contempt for the city's shortcomings was once a right away functionality of his massive estimation of its unrealized political potential.
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Extra resources for A Great and Wretched City: Promise and Failure in Machiavelli's Florentine Political Thought
But most of Machiavelli’s writing about Savonarola analyzed him [ 38 ] The Savonarolan Lens primarily as a political rather than religious figure. Second, chapter 6 of the Prince—with its use of Savonarola as an example of the larger thesis that unarmed prophets always fail—tends to attract considerably more scholarly attention than other passages where Machiavelli assesses Savonarola and the question of force differently. Third, Savonarola was indeed versuto, as Machiavelli observed, someone able to champion a theoretical virtue but also to act against it when necessary.
59 Unlike the other preachers of repentance Machiavelli regularly mocked, Savonarola used the influence conferred through his sermons to consolidate and strengthen his political following. ”62 As Machiavelli explained in the Becchi letter, Savonarola presented himself as the wrathful, vengeful Moses in his sermons on Exodus from March 1498: “Take this stab, Egyptian . . ” He preached against forgiveness of civil offenses, urging instead— again deploying a Mosaic precedent— an unfl inching willingness to enforce the death sentence.
But Weinstein reads Machiavelli’s later statements into the Becchi letter, where there is less emphasis on political impotence than on the willingness of Savonarola’s following to embrace confl ict. Machiavelli focused on Savonarola’s understanding of prudence as alternating between cautious retreat and outright confrontation. In the Becchi letter, Machiavelli quoted Savonarola: “we ought to preserve His honor with the utmost prudence and regard for the times; and whenever the times call upon us to imperil our lives for Him, to do so; and whenever it is time for a man to go into hiding, to do so.