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 in addition wrote approximately Florence with satisfaction, patriotism, and assured wish 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 the entire fabrics and strength helpful for a wholesale, successful, and epochal political renewal. As he memorably placed it, Florence was once "truly a very good and wretched city."
Mark Jurdjevic makes a speciality of the Florentine measurement of Machiavelli's political notion, revealing new facets 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 features of Machiavelli's political inspiration have been rather Florentine in concept, content material, and function. From a brand new point of view 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 merely destructive 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
On the contrary, it was one of two crucial qualities always possessed by an ideal ruler. The Guicciardini letter’s vision of Savonarola as a crafty manipulator rather than a fraud or hypocrite was indeed consistent with the Becchi letter, a pithy distillation of the Becchi letter’s analysis of a tactical factional leader who manipulates and fools many but whose stratagems are laid bare by Machiavelli’s gaze. Machiavelli also recognized that Savonarola knew how to deploy the instincts of the lion to frighten the wolves.
Machiavelli’s assessment of the Franciscan was a study in contrast compared to the Becchi letter. The Franciscan and Savonarola both used prophecy as a means to an end: but for Savonarola it was a way to influence politics around his reform agenda and hence revealed his ambition, while for the Franciscan it was merely a routine attempt to increase his standing as a preacher. Machiavelli singled out Savonarola’s ability to make his sermons seamlessly engage Florentine politics and rally his following, while the Franciscan’s sermon [ 32 ] The Savonarolan Lens was notable only for its incoherence and absurdity.
Writing in the wake of the republic’s collapse and his own arrest and torture, he must have been, as Weinstein suggests, possessed of a passionate desire for political renewal broadly conceived, not only for him[ 30 ] The Savonarolan Lens self but also for Florence, the Medici, and Italy. 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.
A Great and Wretched City: Promise and Failure in Machiavelli's Florentine Political Thought by Mark Jurdjevic