The Great Events by Famous Historians, Volume 08 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 478 pages of information about The Great Events by Famous Historians, Volume 08.
depart; accordingly all hung on Savonarola’s lips for counsel, aid, and direction as to their future proceedings.  And, as though the men of the old state saw the need of effacing themselves to make way for new blood, several prominent representatives and friends of the Medici house died during this period.  Angelo Poliziano had passed away this year, on September 24th, “loaded with as much infamy and public opprobrium as a man could well bear.”  He was accused of numberless vices and unlimited profligacy; but the chief cause of all the hatred lavished on him was the general detestation already felt for Piero de’ Medici, the approach of his downfall and that of all his adherents.  Nor was the public rancor at all softened by the knowledge that the last utterances of the illustrious poet and learned scholar had been the words of a penitent Christian.  He had requested that his body should be clothed in the Dominican habit and interred in the Church of St. Mark, and there his ashes repose beside the remains of Giovanni Picodella Mirandola, who expired on the very day of Charles VIII’s entry into Florence.  Pico had long entertained a desire to join the fraternity of St. Mark’s, but, delaying too long to carry out his intent, was surprised by death at the early age of thirty-two years.  On his death-bed he, too, had besought Savonarola to allow him to be buried in the robe he had yearned to wear.

The end of these two celebrated Italians recalled to mind the last hours and last confession of Lorenzo the Magnificent, and was by many regarded as a sign that the Medicean adherents had been unwilling to pass away without acknowledging their crimes, without asking pardon from the people whom they had so deeply oppressed, and from the friar, who was, as it were, the people’s best representative.  It was certainly remarkable that all these men should turn to the convent of St. Mark, whence had issued the first cry of liberty, and the first sign of war against the tyranny of the Medici.

JEAN C. L. SISMONDI

At the moment that Florence expelled the Medici, the republic was divided among three different parties.  The first was that of the enthusiasts, directed by Girolamo Savonarola, who promised the miraculous protection of the Divinity for the reform of the Church and establishment of liberty.  These demanded a democratic constitution; they were called the “Piagnoni.”  The second consisted of men who had shared power with the Medici, but who had separated from them; who wished to possess alone the powers and profits of government, and who endeavored to amuse the people by dissipations and pleasures, in order to establish at their ease an aristocracy.  These were called the “Arabbiati.”  The third party was composed of men who remained faithful to the Medici, but, not daring to declare themselves, lived in retirement; they were called “Bigi.”

These three parties were so equally balanced in the balia named by the parliament, on December 2, 1494, that it soon became impossible to carry on the government.  Girolamo Savonarola took advantage of this state of affairs to urge that the people had never delegated their power to a balia which did not abuse the trust.

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The Great Events by Famous Historians, Volume 08 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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