Taughannock Falls

Taughannock Falls
from: althouse.blogspot.com

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Ciompi Revolt appears victorious

Well, Machiavelli tells us (Florentine Histories, Book III, chap. 14), this kind of talk from a rebel leader soon came to the attention of

“the Signori, for they had in their hands one Simone dalla Piazza, from whom they learned the whole conspiracy… when the danger had been seen, they gathered the Collegi… before everyone was together, night had already come. By these men the Signori (leading city officials) were advised that they should have the consuls of the guilds come, who then all advised that all the men-at-arms in Florence should come and that the Gonfaloniers (Standard-Bearers) of the people should be in the piazza (plaza) in the morning with their armed companies. While Simone was being tortured and the citizens were gathering, the palace clock was being regulated by one Niccolò da San Friano. As Niccolò became aware of what was happening, he returned to his home and filled all his neighborhood with tumult so that in an instant more than a thousand armed men gathered in the Piazza Santo Spirito. This uproar reached the other conspirators, and [the churches of] San Piero Maggiore and San Lorenzo, the places designated by them, were filled with armed men.
… in the piazza not more than eighty armed men in favor of the Signori had appeared; not one of the Gonfaloniers had come because, having heard that the whole city was filled with armed men, they feared to leave their homes. The first of the “plebs” (Ciompi ) to be in the piazza were those who had gathered at San Piero Maggiore, and at their arrival the armed men did not move. After these appeared another armed crowd, and, finding no opposition, with terrible cries they demanded their prisoners… and so as to have the prisoners by force since they had not been given up by threats, they burned the houses of Luigi Guicciardini: so the Signori gave them over for fear of worse… This tumult lasted the whole day; and when night came, the Ciompi stopped at the palace of Messer Stefano behind the Church of San Barnaba. They numbered more than six thousand; and before day came, with their threats they compelled the guilds to send them their ensigns. Then when morning came, with the Standard of Justice they went to the palace of the chief Justice (Podestà); and as the Podestà [always a very distinguished judge from another city—Ulysses] refused to give them possession of it, they fought for it and won.”

So, now the lowest-paid wool workers have seized control of the city! What will they do with their newfound power? Stay tuned…


mlee33 said...

A cliffhanger, Ulysses? It was all over centurues ago... I must say I think it's a cool story.

Motivated In Ohio said...

Scary, how history seems to repeat itself.