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H again retaining the strong support of the city republic As the Pope and Medicean conspirators closed in on him five prominent Florentines were beheaded for plotting against the state further inflaming the passions already rife in the city After an abortive trial by fire to shame and discredit him his enemies set siege to his convent leading to his arrest and trial on trumped up charges of heresySavonarola mingled the fervour of religion with the ardour of republican politics Scourge and Fire is the story of his impact on Florence and of the city's spell over him. Fascinating story poorly written

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Fire in the City Savonarola and the Struggle for the Soul of Renaissance Florence

When the King of France invaded Italy in 1494 princely states would fall sending tremors up and down the peninsula The Medici fled from Florence; the republic sprang back to life; and the French army occupying the Renaissance city for ten terrifying days stood on the verge of sacking it A 'little friar' from Ferrara Savonarola was alone in knowing how to comfort citizens with his sermons and in urging the King to get out of FlorenceAlthough the French left a city riven by political factions the Friar's popular 'party' swiftly prevailed With Florence at the height. Girolamo Savonarola was either the prophet of the Protestant Reformation or the Mad Friar of Florence The only bits I knew about him were that he helped to expel the Medici from Florence and that he was hanged and then burned at the stake which was better than just being burned Normally my lack of knowledge wouldn t make me hustle to find a book about an unknown subject But since I was stuck at a dinner between two diners who were actually arguing about this dude it was an awful dinner they should have been arguing about that I thought I should educate myself That s right Other people have dinner party conversations about politics or sports while I get some weird Renaissance era religious freak Plus my lamb chop was burnt so I basically starved that night Needless to say I held a grudge against the friar they shoot dice rush through Masses thirst for money and accompany the dead for ducats not out of charity Some keep boys while others keep concubines and are the slaves of love Savonarola on the Roman Catholic Church in 1490The Mad FriarReformation Prophet was a major figure in Renaissance Florence He saw what the Medici and their money had done to corrupt just about everyone yet he boldly spoke out against them He definitely had guts It was Savonarola who predicted a future leader from the North would reform the church Martin Luther took that role and it was Savonarola who refused to be cowed by the Vatican s power Yet he wasn t a full revolutionary He believed people should keep to the social stations they were born into and he accepted the social hierarchy of the times He just wanted the Catholic Church to clean up its act Unfortunately he chose the wrong city Like the Venetians and Genoese for example the Florentines had long seen themselves as special people favoured by GodAfter pushing out the Medici he managed to be the ruler for a bit until the populace tired of his puritanical ways Back came the ruling clans and to the gallows and stake went the friar I felt for him While there was no doubt he was probably a pain in the butt he at least understood how rotten the Church and its leaders were Plus he also saw through the standard ploy the elite always use to gain popular support support us and we ll give you some jobs Yet Savonarola wasn t a Mao or Stalin His mistake was to believe the French King Charles VIII was the Great Reformer Bad choiceThis is a very good book to learn about the subject and also to understand why Florence iswasalways will be Florence The writing didn t set me on fire whoops but I can now hold my own if that atrocious dinner party ever relives itself And people wonder why I m happy with nachosBook Season Winter extinguish the bonfires

Lauro Martines à 4 Summary

Of its Renaissance glories his voice rose above those of all other men Claiming to be a messenger from God he attacked evils on all sides a mercenary Church the despotism of the Medici vile political elites and Pope Alexander VI Rodrigo Borgia whose name itself was a byword for brazen corruption Savonarola foretold a universal 'scourging' but made pleas above all for the renewal of Christianity and for the political voice of the people His struggle turned into a battle for the 'soul' of FlorenceExcommunicated and silenced Savonarola spurned Rome and began to preac. This book tells a great story reasonably well but becomes shockingly repetitive at points and gets bogged down in unnecessary detailsSavonarola was the fire breathing Dominican monk who in 1494 encouraged the overthrow of the Medici regime in Florence and then became the most powerful figure in the city until his execution in 1498There is so much I didn t know about him that Martines brings to light First he recruited armies of angels or enforcers children who were already members of religious sodalities and had them roam the streets at Carnival and other times breaking up dice games roughing up prostitutes and collecting chess sets makeup and fine clothes for their famous bonfire of the vanities At a certain point the resolutely corrupt Florentines fought back to protect their gambling and whoring the upper class formed a group called the Ugly Companions that fought for their right to party until eventually the enforcers themselves were scared to enforceApparently everyone from Pope Alexander VI the notorious father of Caesar Borgia to the Sforza dynasty in Milan was trying to take Savonarola out mainly due to his encouragement of the French invasion of Italy as a necessary scourge of God They were joined in opposition by locals who thought the monk wanted to turn Florence into a convent Savonarola s downfall came when he and his monks refused to engage in a trial by ordeal namely walking through a raging fire to see if God s grace would save them It reminds one that despite all the talk of political parties and skulduggery the Renaissance was still a profoundly superstitious age After Savonrola s execution the Signoria ordered that his monastery s bell la Piagnona the Lady Weeper or Wailer be removed and subject to a spectacle of public infamy The bell was driven through the streets and literally whipped at and jeered Again this is a different ageFocusing on just five years of Florentine politics gave me a real detailed sense of everyday political tactics that I didn t get from Martines other book on Renaissance Italy Power and Imagination For instance even the upper class families that sided with the monk felt the need to balance their interests Soderini one of Savonarola s most ardent supporters urged his own son to join the opposing Ugly Companions so he would have family in both camps But overall this book tries too hard to be both popular and scholarly at once and Martines feels the need for extensive explanations and repetitious reminders of simple facts This is not bad but I imagine there is a better book out there about the little friar


10 thoughts on “Fire in the City Savonarola and the Struggle for the Soul of Renaissance Florence

  1. says:

    Everybody is prejudiced about Savonarola for or against everyone there's nobody in the world who's heard his name who doesn't have a

  2. says:

    Depending on who you ask Savonarola was a saint a martyr or he was a fanatical extremist who subjected Renaissance Florence into a four year reign of terror He was a tyrant or a promoter of republicanism He was a prophet or a self aggrandizing liar If I had to guess I'd say he was probably all of them? I am not a fan of the guy at all but

  3. says:

    Girolamo Savonarola was either the prophet of the Protestant Reformation or the Mad Friar of Florence The only bits I knew about him w

  4. says:

    This book tells a great story reasonably well but becomes shockingly repetitive at points and gets bogged down in unnecessary detailsSavonarola was the fire breathing Dominican monk who in 1494 encouraged the overthrow of the Medici

  5. says:

    Girolamo Savonarola was a complicated character compassionate wise intelligent and deeply religious However he made many glaring errors during his brief time in power 1494 1498 he supported the French King Charles VIII; he defied the pope Alexander VI Rodrigo Borgia yes that family; he alienated many powerful Florentines; and finally there was the trial by fire proposed by a rival preacher which proved to be the final s

  6. says:

    Martines prides himself in being opposed to all mystifications This may be the source of one of the main problems in the Florentine story about Savonarola As the Dominican Savonarola was exerting his power throug

  7. says:

    In short Talks a lot says very littleA little longer Know how one is able to discern the meaning of a word through its context within a sente

  8. says:

    Savonarola was a profoundly interesting person It surprises me how little is written about him because he and his writings are well worth discovering He took the Christian message and vision to the limit and showed the people of Florence what that meant Unfortunately the leaders and people of Florence were not ready for this vision and hung him in the suare with the blessing of the Borgia pope What is ironic i

  9. says:

    Fascinating story poorly written

  10. says:

    I can't take any Herzen Marx or Stalin at the moment so I though a bit of Savonarola might afford a few days' diversion We'll see Nothing like a fire eating fundamentalist