History of Florence and of the Affairs of Italy eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 552 pages of information about History of Florence and of the Affairs of Italy.

The rage of the multitude being appeased by their blood, an agreement was made that the duke and his people, with whatever belonged to him, should quit the city in safety; that he should renounce all claim, of whatever kind, upon Florence, and that upon his arrival in the Casentino he should ratify his renunciation.  On the sixth of August he set out, accompanied by many citizens, and having arrived at the Casentino he ratified the agreement, although unwillingly, and would not have kept his word if Count Simon had not threatened to take him back to Florence.  This duke, as his proceedings testified, was cruel and avaricious, difficult to speak with, and haughty in reply.  He desired the service of men, not the cultivation of their better feelings, and strove rather to inspire them with fear than love.  Nor was his person less despicable than his manners; he was short, his complexion was black, and he had a long, thin beard.  He was thus in every respect contemptible; and at the end of ten months, his misconduct deprived him of the sovereignty which the evil counsel of others had given him.


Many cities and territories, subject to the Florentines, rebel—­Prudent conduct adopted upon this occasion—­The city is divided into quarters—­Disputes between the nobility and the people—­The bishop endeavors to reconcile them, but does not succeed—­The government reformed by the people—­Riot of Andrea Strozzi—­Serious disagreements between the nobility and the people—­They come to arms, and the nobility are subdued—­The plague in Florence of which Boccaccio speaks.

These events taking place in the city, induced all the dependencies of the Florentine state to throw off their yoke; so that Arezzo, Castiglione, Pistoia, Volterra, Colle, and San Gemigniano rebelled.  Thus Florence found herself deprived of both her tyrant and her dominions at the same moment, and in recovering her liberty, taught her subjects how they might become free.  The duke being expelled and the territories lost, the fourteen citizens and the bishop thought it would be better to act kindly toward their subjects in peace, than to make them enemies by war, and to show a desire that their subjects should be free as well as themselves.  They therefore sent ambassadors to the people of Arezzo, to renounce all dominion over that city, and to enter into a treaty with them; to the end that as they could not retain them as subjects, they might make use of them as friends.  They also, in the best manner they were able, agreed with the other places that they should retain their freedom, and that, being free, they might mutually assist each other in the preservation of their liberties.  This prudent course was attended with a most favorable result; for Arezzo, not many years afterward, returned to the Florentine rule, and the other places, in the course of a few months, returned to their former obedience.  Thus it frequently occurs that we sooner attain our ends by a seeming indifferent to them, than by more obstinate pursuit.

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History of Florence and of the Affairs of Italy from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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