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 in addition wrote approximately Florence with delight, patriotism, and assured wish of higher instances. regardless of the alternating tones of sarcasm and melancholy he used to explain Florentine affairs, Machiavelli supplied a stubbornly chronic feel that his urban had all of the fabrics and strength valuable for a wholesale, positive, and epochal political renewal. As he memorably placed it, Florence was once "truly a superb and wretched city."
Mark Jurdjevic makes a speciality of the Florentine size of Machiavelli's political idea, 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 idea have been surprisingly Florentine in suggestion, content material, and objective. From a brand new point of view and armed with new arguments, a superb and Wretched City reengages the venerable debate approximately Machiavelli's dating to Renaissance republicanism. Dispelling the parable that Florentine politics provided Machiavelli purely detrimental classes, Jurdjevic argues that his contempt for the city's shortcomings used to be an immediate functionality of his substantial estimation of its unrealized political potential.
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Additional info for A great and wretched city : promise and failure in Machiavelli's Florentine political thought
Becchi’s request for Machiavelli’s assessment of Savonarola’s latest sermons was hardly an unofficial expression of curiosity between friends but was a request by a major politician of the republic for an update on a controversial subject that Becchi himself had been embroiled in two years earlier. He was a venerable and experienced statesman in both the renewed republic and the preceding Medici regime. 13 In the fi rst years of the renewed republic Becchi became the principal agent of the Dieci di Libertà e Balìa in Rome.
18 Consider the audience for whom and the context in which Machiavelli wrote his analysis of Savonarola in March 1498. 19 A senior politician, prominent in both the republic and the preceding Medici regime, had sought Machiavelli’s opinion on the single most important and controversial aspect of Florentine politics, one Becchi himself had been closely involved in and frequently complained about. 20 The only source that offers any evidence of such opposition prior to the collapse of the republic is the Becchi letter, a means by which Machiavelli could signal to those in power his intellectual solidarity with the growing anti-Savonarolan sentiment in the city.
35 Savonarola’s implicit presence in the discussion of Numa and Roman religion becomes explicit by the chapter’s end, where Machiavelli invokes Savonarola as evidence that Florentines are responsive to innovative reformers of institutions—hardly an effective rhetorical move for someone allegedly hostile to the friar. Machiavelli in effect credits Savonarola with having achieved a more difficult task than had Numa. ”36 Machiavelli concluded that anyone attempting to establish new orders will have an easier time of it in remote mountainous areas, where people are uneducated and uncultured, than in cities, where the corrupting effect of culture is concentrated.
A great and wretched city : promise and failure in Machiavelli's Florentine political thought by Mark Jurdjevic