A history of Florence 1200-1575 by John M. Najemy

By John M. Najemy

I purchased Najemy's background of Florence as coaching for examining Dante. The period of time is ideal. attention-grabbing instances. different reviews led me to think this could be an exceptional updated historical past of the interval, and the 1st few chapters make sure that; in spite of the fact that, Najemy isn't an exceptional author. As a tutorial acquainted with captive audiences, he does not take adequate care to appreciate what a reader must recognize and does not continuously outline phrases ahead of he makes use of them. a few passages could be footnotes, and will were copied from magazine articles the place readers may be anticipated to grasp the history.

There are examples the place sentences are unacceptably ambiguous: p. forty: "Both types of organization seemed in Florence no later than the early 13th century..."
He capacity "first seemed ... no later."

His dialogue on p. 39 of periods mentions Ottokar's method from 1926 and Salvemini's from 1899. during this paragraph Najemy engages in a tutorial argument appropriate for a magazine paper, yet does not organize the reader first via declaring his personal type truly adequate. Nonspecialists would like to listen to in simple terms Najemy's personal clarification of sophistication constitution, awarded truly. the educational haggling can be relegated to footnotes for specialists.

For those that need a splendidly well-written creation to the basic background, I hugely suggest Richard W. Church's essay from 1850, "Dante." It used to be a excitement to learn this essay, which does not sound dated. it may be chanced on on the web. This used to be pointed out within the preface to John Sinclair's Inferno, with the unique Italian and a literal translation.

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According to this and other accounts, the Buondelmonti murder was the spark that ignited the war of Guelfs and Ghibellines, the great conflict that dominated Florentine and Italian history for most of the thirteenth century. The explanations for the rivalries and antagonisms that divided Florentine elite families over many decades are certainly more complex than this tradition allows. But the story’s importance lies in what it reveals of the family structures, social conventions, and collective self-image of the elite, and also of the popolo’s critique of the elite.

Even the categories of major and minor guilds were fluid. Minor guildsmen were indeed an important component of the popolo, but the center of the popolo’s political strength was among the non-elite members of the same major guilds in which merchants and bankers from elite families were enrolled. The distinction between elite and popolo cut through the memberships of the major guilds, making the internal politics of these guilds a key ground of conflict between the classes. Only in the oldest and most aristocratic of the guilds, the international merchants, bankers, and 36 The Popolo large-scale commodity traders of the Calimala, was the elite always the majority.

The Uberti may indeed have been a pro-imperial family even in the late twelfth century, but whether the fighting of 1177–80 “gave birth,” as Villani puts it, “to the accursed parties” is more 16 Cronica fiorentina, ed. Schiaffini, p. 104. The Elite Families 21 problematic. The “parties” to which Villani alludes here are the Guelfs and Ghibellines (which he later claims arose in the aftermath of the Buondelmonti murder of 1216). But the names Guelf and Ghibelline, denoting respectively the papal and imperial parties, did not come into common use until the 1240s.

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