The Beginnings of Modern Europe (1250-1450)

By Ephraim Emerton | Go to book overview

circumstances, and adjusted to the fluctuations of party government, remained as the basis of Florentine political life so long as the Republic lasted. It can surprise no reader of Florentine history to learn that their reputed author, Giano della Bella, after playing for about two years the part of a Tribune of the People, fell a victim to the system he had helped to create and died an exile in France. Crude and inadequate as such measures must seem to us, they were the expression of a determination on the part of the industrious and forward-looking elements of the community that the idle and dissolute fraction, noble or not noble, should not obstruct the regular working of the machinery of the people's life. As compared with the readiness of the northern communes to surrender their liberties into the hands of noble tyrants only to escape the burden of that eternal vigilance which is ever the price of liberty, we cannot refuse them our admiration.

One of the greatest triumphs of the régime of the Priors was the ultimate victory over Pisa. The ambition of the Florentines to secure a seaport had always been foiled by the persistent refusal of Pisa to let them pass through its territory. Florence alone was unable to overcome this opposition, but she cleverly fomented the natural jealousy of Pisa's hereditary enemy on the sea, the rival republic of Genoa. While Florence kept Pisa busy on the land, Genoa gathered a fleet against her, which in the fatal battle of Meloria in 1284 completely destroyed her maritime prestige. So many prisoners were taken that the saying ran! "If you would see Pisa you must go to Genoa." It was the policy of Florence not to destroy Pisa, but to control her, and she pleaded her cause so successfully with the conqueror of Meloria that she maintained the integrity of Pisa and at the same time acquired a complete control of her future policy.

Political
Control over
Pisa, 1284

The same general policy dictated her arrangements with the other Tuscan towns. Siena, Arezzo, and Lucca, one by one, found it for their interest to fall into line with her politics and her

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The Beginnings of Modern Europe (1250-1450)
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Preface v
  • Contents xiii
  • LIST OF MAPS xiv
  • The Beginnings of Modern Europe 1
  • Chapter II- The New Empire 47
  • Chapter III- (1300-1409) 106
  • Chapter IV- The Rise of a Middle Class 164
  • Chapter V- The Italian Republics to 1300 215
  • Chapter VI- The Hundred Years'' War 252
  • Chapter VII- The Age of the Councils 311
  • Chapter VIII- The Age of the Despots in Italy 358
  • Chapter IX- The Renaissance in Italy 461
  • Chapter X- The Northern Renaissance 509
  • Index 535
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