The Florentine Republic


Directed by Joe Barnes

The Lombardy Wars and Political Crisis of 1458

A republic more in name than fact, Florence was ruled by Cosimo d'Medici of the phenomenally wealthy Medici banker family. During most of his tenure he was occupied with the wars in Lombardy between Venice and Milan, the majority of the war burden fell on the Medici banks, leading to a period of coups and subterfuge within the republic as Cosimo's power weakened.

Subtopic A: The Cult of Savonarola- Girolamo Savonarola led a fanatical counter-renaissance against Medici rule and all they represented. He assembled a powerful political faction that effectively controlled Florence, imposing restrictive moralistic laws that banned secular art, music, and immodest dress. His radicalism eventually led to his excommunication and execution, but the damage to Florence was done.

Subtopic B: Vatican ambitions- Vatican policy towards the Florentine republic largely depended on whether the pope came from the Medici family. When the Medici, and by extension, Florence, lacked an ally in the Holy See, relations tended towards hostility.

Subtopic C: Medici patronage of the arts- Both Cosimo and his successor Lorenzo Medici spent phenomenal amounts of money on the arts. Under their patronage, Florence became the heart of the artistic and cultural renaissance, at the cost of frequent insolvency.

This is a single delegation committee.