Machiavelli and Renaissance Italy

By J. R. Hale | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FOUR
Pisa and the Militia: 1504-1506

THE truce meant that Machiavelli could return. The government was busy with Pisan plans, both diplomatic and military. An embassy was sent in March to congratulate Gonsalvo on his successes in Naples and to try to discover his future intentions. Because it was rumoured that Iacopo d'Appiano of Piombino was thinking of aiding Pisa, Machiavelli was sent on April 2nd to persuade him to aid Florence instead. In May Giampaolo Baglioni and other captains were engaged. Giacomini was made commissary-general. Galleys were hired to blockade Pisa by sea. On land the harvest was destroyed. But the galleys were sunk in a storm, and supplies were somehow smuggled in from Genoa, Lucca, and Siena.

When the sea blockade failed, an attempt was made to cut off this supply route from the other end, by diverting the Arno altogether and depriving Pisa of her sea road. This plan was considered by many as extravagant folly, and Soderini was defeated when he first proposed it. He managed to push the scheme through, however, and for Machiavelli the months of August and September were devoted to the service of this sensational failure. The scheme involved turning the Arno from its course near Cascina, and running its waters into dykes which would discharge into the sea

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