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A History of Florence 1200-1575

ISBN: 978-1-4051-8242-3
528 pages
June 2008, Wiley-Blackwell
A History of Florence 1200-1575 (1405182423) cover image
In this history of Florence, distinguished historian John Najemy discusses all the major developments in Florentine history from 1200 to 1575.
  • Captures Florence's transformation from a medieval commune into an aristocratic republic, territorial state, and monarchy
  • Weaves together intellectual, cultural, social, economic, religious, and political developments
  • Academically rigorous yet accessible and appealing to the general reader
  • Likely to become the standard work on Renaissance Florence for years to come
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List of Illustrations.

List of Maps.

Acknowledgments.

Introduction.

1. The Elite Families.

Lineages.

Knighthood and Feuds.

Political Alignments and Factions.

Culture and Religion.

2. The Popolo.

Definitions.

Guilds.

Culture and Education: Notaries.

Religion.

Critique of Elite Misrule.

3. Early Conflicts of Elite and Popolo.

Before 1250.

Primo Popolo.

Angevin Alliance.

Priorate of the Guilds.

Second Popolo and the Ordinances of Justice.

Elite Resurgence: Black and White Guelfs.

4. Domestic Economy and Merchant Empires to 1340.

Population: City and Contado.

Textiles, Building, and Provisioning.

Merchant Companies and the Mercanzia.

Taxation and Public Finances.

5. The Fourteenth-Century Dialogue of Power.

Elite Dominance, 1310-40.

Crisis of the 1340s and the Third Popular Government.

Funded Public Debt and Bankruptcies.

Elite Recovery and Popular Reaction.

War against the Church.

6. Revolution and Realignment.

Workers’ Economic Conditions.

The Ciompi Revolution.

The Last Guild Government.

Counterrevolution.

Fear of the Working Classes.

Consensus Politics.

7. War, Territorial Expansion, and the Transformation of Political Discourse.

First Visconti Wars.

Territorial Dominion: The Conquest of Pisa.

Civic Humanism.

The Civic Family.

8. Family and State in the Age of Consensus.

The Family Imaginary.

Households, Marriage, Dowries.

Women, Property, Inheritance.

Children, Hospitals, Charity.

Policing Sodomy.

9. Fateful Embrace: The Emergence of the Medici.

A New Style of Leadership.

Fiscal Crisis and the Catasto.

Cosimo’s Money and Friends.

Showdown.

10. The Medici and the Ottimati: A Partnership of Conflict.

Part I: Cosimo and Piero.

Institutional Controls.

External Supports: Papacy and Sforza Milan.

Cosimo’s Coup.

The Ottimati Challenge Piero.

11. The Luxury Economy and Art Patronage.

Poverty and Wealth.

Public and Private Patronage.

Family Commemoration and Self-Fashioning.

12. The Medici and the Ottimati: A Partnership of Conflict.

Part II: Lorenzo.

Lorenzo’s Elders.

Lorenzo’s Volterra Massacre.

Pazzi Conspiracy and War.

The (Insecure) Prince in All but Name.

Building a Dynasty.

13. Reinventing the Republic.

French Invasion and Expulsion of the Medici.

The Great Council.

Savonarola’s Holy Republic.

Domestic Discord and Dominion Crises.

Soderini, Machiavelli’s Militia, and Pisa.

14. Papal Overlords.

The Cardinal and a Controversial Marriage.

Fall of the Republic and Return of the Medici.

A Regime Adrift.

Aristocratic and Popular Republicanisms.

The Nascent Principate.

15. The Last Republic and the Medici Duchy.

Revolution.

Siege.

Imposition of a New Order.

Ducal Government.

Finances and Economy.

Courtly and Cultural Discipline.

Victor and Vanquished.

Epilogue: Remembrance of Things Past.

Index.

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John M. Najemy is Professor of History at Cornell University and the author of Between Friends: Discourses of Power and Desire in the Machiavelli-Vettori Letters of 1513–1515 (1993) and Corporatism and Consensus in Florentine Electoral Politics, 1280–1400 (1982). For the former he won the Marraro Prize of the Society for Italian Historical Studies and for the latter the Marraro Prize of the American Historical Association. He has also edited Italy in the Age of the Renaissance, 1300–1550 (2004).
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  • Distinguished historian John Najemy discusses all the major developments in Florentine history from 1200
    to 1575

  • Captures Florence’s transformation from a medieval commune into an aristocratic republic, territorial
    state, and monarchy

  • Weaves together intellectual, cultural, social, economic, religious, and political developments

  • Academically rigorous yet accessible and appealing to the general reader
See More
"Based on wide reading of the available secondary and printed sources, A History of Florence represents the achievement of a lifetime's devotion to the study of the city. Moreover, Najemy's categories of analysis should provoke debates and conversations for future lifetimes."  (Renaissance and Reformation, 2009)

"There is much to praise about this book. It is a model historical synthesis of the history of a great premodern European city. It is also a sophisticated political history in which class-based ideas and values matter as much as individual details of political events." (The Catholic Historical Review, July 2010)"[This] is the best history of Florence in any language, and it will long remain so, for Najemy has mastered the relevant literature more thoroughly than any other historian in living memory." (Times Literary Supplement)

"John Najemy is a pre-eminent historian of Renaissance Florence ... a scholar of learning, imagination and intellectual penetration, with a profound knowledge of Florentine history from the thirteenth to the sixteenth century and with a remarkable range of interests in political, social and intellectual history. There has been no credible attempt to write a history of Florence in this period since the time of Perrens's multi-volume work, finished in 1883. Najemy has risen admirably to the challenge. He has assimilated the vast secondary literature on Florence, from the beginning of the thirteenth to the late sixteenth century. The range of his analysis and explication stretches across a vast range of fundamental social, political, economic, diplomatic, military and biographical topics. Nor is Najemy indifferent to intellectual history, especially questions involving political thought and ideology. This book is no mere synthesis of other scholars' work. Indeed, Najemy offers a distinctive interpretation, one which has already stimulated controversy and will doubtless continue to do so." (Reviews in History)

"Highly recommended." (Choice)

"An extraordinary accomplishment. Deserves rich praise as a fundamentally new and authoritative interpretation of four key centuries of this remarkable city's development.” Speculum“[Najemy], a veteran Renaissance historian offers a big and impressive survey of the Florentine city-state …. One of the justifications for the book [is] the need for an updated and accessible synthesis of the superabundance of recent specialized scholarship on Florence. He succeeds admirably at that task … [and] manages to explain and contextualize detailed scholarship while remaining a lively and engaging political narrative. [It] will surely become the definitive narrative of medieval and Renaissance Florence, a point of departure for students of Florentine politics and culture as well as a major interpretive statement providing much for specialists to engage with for some time." (Sixteenth Century Journal)

"A masterly survey of a generation of scholarship that has opened up many new perspectives, by an expert guide to the complex political society of medieval and Renaissance Florence."
Christine Shaw, of Cambridge University

"This is a marvellous book and I suspect it will become a classic. John Najemy has an astonishing and probably unparalleled mastery of the scholarship on Florence and has accomplished a precise and beautifully written synthetic history of the Medieval and Renaissance city."
Carol Lansing, University of California, Santa Barbara

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