Christianity and the Renaissance: Image and Religious Imagination in the Quattrocento

By Timothy Verdon; John Henderson | Go to book overview

he intervened to settle and pacify this state. . . . The Cardinal Messer Latino of our order was the one who made peace between the Guelfs and the Ghibellines. St. Catherine of Siena [a great inspiration to Dominici] arranged for the peace of this state at the time of [the war with] Pope Gregory. Archbishop Antoninus, how often did he go to the palace to prevent the making of bad laws! 46

Savonarola's preaching reminds us of the longstanding marriage between Dominicanism and civicism. Of course, whereas Dominici's civicism was only lightly colored by visions of the New Jerusalem, Savonarola's was radically millenarian. Hence, he justified his peace-keeping intervention in the Florentine political crisis of 1494 by referring to the examples of his own Dominican predecessors. But from this he went further, soon identifying the goal of civic peace with the ideals of good government, constitutional reform, and revolution. 47

By the end of the fifteenth century in Florence there was nothing new about a Dominican preaching the causes of civic peace and good government. Even the notion of the New Jerusalem, a new order, was not new. Conceptually, Savonarola simply took the next small passo avanti, for Giovanni Dominici and his Dominican predecessors had paved the ideological road for Savonarola's Christian-civic revolution.


NOTES
1.
"Diario fiorentino di Bartolomeo di Michele. Anni 1405-1438," ed. G. O. Corazzini , in Archivio storico italiano, 5th Ser. 14 ( 1894): 241.
2.
On the polemic between Salutati and Dominici, see Lidia Santamaria, "Il concetto di educazione e di cultura nel Beato Giovanni Dominici," Memorie domenicane 47 ( 1930): 14-27, 97-106, 340-52, 392-400, and 481-515; H. Dehove, "Jean Dominici," in Dictionnaire de théologie catholique ( Paris: Librairie Letouzey et Ané, 1924), 4: cols. 1661-67; Alfredo Galletti, L'eloquenza dalle origini al XVI secolo ( Milan: Vallardi editore, 1938); and B. L. Ullman, The Humanism of Coluccio Salutati ( Padua: Antenore editore, 1963).
3.
Giovanni Dominici, Lucula noctis, ed. E. Hunt (Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 1940).
4.
Some of Dominici's vernacular sermons delivered in Florence between 1400 and 1406 are extant in MS. 1301 of the Biblioteca Riccardiana in Florence (hereafter BRF 1301). These sermons were first brought to light and discussed by Alfredo Galletti in "Una raccolta di prediche volgari inedite del Cardinale Giovanni Dominici," in Miscellanea di studi critici pubblicati in onore di Guido Mazzoni dai suoi discepoli, ed. A. Delia Torre and P. M. Rambaldi ( Florence: Tipografia Galileiana, 1907), 253-78.

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