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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 desire of higher occasions. regardless of the alternating tones of sarcasm and melancholy he used to explain Florentine affairs, Machiavelli supplied a stubbornly continual feel that his urban had all of the fabrics and strength priceless for a wholesale, positive, and epochal political renewal. As he memorably placed it, Florence was once "truly an exceptional and wretched city."

Mark Jurdjevic specializes in the Florentine measurement of Machiavelli's political notion, revealing new elements of his republican convictions. via The Prince, Discourses, correspondence, and, so much considerably, Florentine Histories, Jurdjevic examines Machiavelli's political profession and relationships to the republic and the Medici. He indicates that major and as but unrecognized elements of Machiavelli's political inspiration have been enormously Florentine in proposal, content material, and objective. 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 in simple terms damaging classes, Jurdjevic argues that his contempt for the city's shortcomings was once an immediate functionality of his huge 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

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76 But his writings and sermons, particularly on Ezekiel and Psalms, certainly did rail against wise men on a regular basis, and Machiavelli’s accurate summation suggests greater familiarity with the friar’s thought than mere attendance of the two sermons of March 1498. Machiavelli’s subsequent statement that Savonarola was misunderstood by his followers further suggests particu lar attendance at and meditation on his sermons.

21 Over ten years later, of course, Machiavelli described Savonarola as an “unarmed prophet,” someone defi ned in a crucial way as lacking coercive power. 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.

That [ 33 ] The Savonarolan Lens has not been foretold. . ”50 Although he nowhere stated this explicitly, Machiavelli must have written about Savonarola in a different mode than he usually deployed while discussing friars and prophets because he respected the degree to which Savonarola harnessed the power of religion in pursuit of political ends. In a sense, Savonarola and the Savonarolan moment in Florence were a republican counterpart to the rule of Cesare Borgia, through whom, among others, Machiavelli hoped to discern the verità effettuale of power.

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