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.
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.