Machiavelli and Renaissance Italy

By J. R. Hale | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FIVE
The German Mission and the Fall of Pisa: 1507-1509

THE spring of 1507 was taken up for Machiavelli by continued militia business: supplying local recruiting centres with money and arms, deciding whether breaches of discipline could be settled on the spot or required a visit from Don Michele, selecting captains, and preventing trained militiamen from being counter-recruited by professional free companies. Italy meanwhile was slowly filling with the repercussions of an isolated civil revolt in Genoa in the previous winter, where the popular party, expelling their aristocratic rulers, had appealed for aid to Maximilian, while the aggrieved grandi turned to France. In April Louis XII entered Italy with an army and in person restored them, thus antagonizing Maximilian whose old resolve to assert his power in Italy and be crowned at Rome was roused from its long torpor.

When this was known in Florence, party tension increased as it had when Maximilian's descent had last been mooted in 1502. Soderini's supporters maintained that nothing should be done to imperil the French alliance, on which their recovery of Pisa depended, while his opponents pressed for closer relations with Germany. As usual, little was known about the Emperor's precise intentions, nor about the likely re-

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