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 wish of higher occasions. regardless of the alternating tones of sarcasm and depression he used to explain Florentine affairs, Machiavelli supplied a stubbornly continual experience that his urban had all of the fabrics and power priceless for a wholesale, effective, and epochal political renewal. As he memorably placed it, Florence was once "truly an outstanding and wretched city."

Mark Jurdjevic makes a speciality of the Florentine measurement 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 indicates that major and as but unrecognized points of Machiavelli's political idea have been enormously Florentine in thought, content material, and function. From a brand new viewpoint and armed with new arguments, an excellent and Wretched City reengages the venerable debate approximately Machiavelli's dating to Renaissance republicanism. Dispelling the parable that Florentine politics provided Machiavelli simply unfavorable classes, Jurdjevic argues that his contempt for the city's shortcomings used to be an instantaneous functionality of his enormous 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

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In the last analysis, his commentary on 1497 makes clear, Savonarola failed to become something greater than a factional leader, just as, for example, Corso Donati, Rinaldo degli Albizzi, or Piero Soderini had also failed. But nothing in Machiavelli’s treatment of those figures suggests that he had had even the dimmest hopes that they might do otherwise. They were revealing only of the limitations of the city’s political culture and tradition, variations on Florentine history’s principal theme of shortsightedness and institutional failure.

And Machiavelli may well have adopted a prophetic tone as an ideal mode of expression to signal the depth of his desire for political renovation. But if Weinstein’s fi rst contention is correct and Machiavelli did so, the second contention—that Machiavelli was at the same time signalling a critique of prophetic politics— seems strained at best because it requires him to speak in a language whose assumptions he rejected. Chapter 26 urged the Medici to introduce new institutions that would enable them to lead a unified pan-Italian army to expel the French and Spanish forces plaguing the peninsula.

The content of the letter, however, [ 24 ] The Savonarolan Lens complicates and contradicts its tone, betraying a far from straightforward fascination with the friar and the Florentine reaction to him. Few have commented on the extraordinary richness of the letter, the degree to which Savonarola was Machiavelli’s fi rst occasion to meditate on the role of religion in public life, the formation of faction, and the power of rhetoric, speech, and culture. Machiavelli examined the relationship between Savonarola’s self-proclaimed powers of prophecy and the unity of his following and hence investigated the implications of prophecy as a political phenomenon and religion as a source of political authority.

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