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

By Timothy Verdon; John Henderson | Go to book overview

dral -- the assassination of Giuliano and attempt on the life of Lorenzo -- are the subject of the last pages of the Laudatio domus.

The priesthood, says Caroli, is guilty at every level of its hierarchy, from the pope to the lowest order of secular clergy, of lese majesty. As the principal catalyst of the anti-Medicean conspiracy, clerical power was used in violation of every code of law: not only canon and civic law, but also natural law. This power desecrated the cathedral of the city in the most solemn moment of the liturgy, and attempted to eliminate by death those who governed the signoria by legitimate right. The conspiracy attempted to throw into chaos the peaceful and serene status of Florence, and to stain the honor of Italy and Christendom: "pacificum et tranquillum civitatis statum tanta sevitia perturbare ac totius pene Itahe et christiane religionis honorem in dedecus et infamiam evocare." 29 The antiecclesiastical backlash on the part of the civil authorities, a consequence of the conspiracy, is considered more than justified by Caroli who, by the way, had been an eyewitness to the events in the cathedral.

After the events of April 1478, Caroli identified the legitimate Florentine government with the Medicean oligarchy, firmly opposing political interference by the Church or the pope. This turnabout had a decisive influence on the later writings of Caroli, from the early 1480s until his death in 1503, altering their content in highly significant ways.


NOTES

For the English version of this essay, and for bibliographical suggestions, the author wishes to thank Professors Christine Smith, Edward Chaney, and William Hood, friends and colleagues in research at the Harvard Center for Italian Renaissance Studies, Villa I Tatti, Florence. Particular gratitude is due to Melissa M. Bullard; our conversations about Caroli have had a determining influence on this paper, as they have on my other two essays devoted to the Florentine Dominican. The notes to this essay were put into English by Timothy Verdon.

1.
This essay takes up again research and documentation treated fully, with unpublished texts given in appendixes, in S. I. Camporeale, "Giovanni Caroli e le 'Vitae fratrum S.M. Novellae': Umanesimo e crisi religiosa, 1460-80," Memorie domenicane, n.s. 12 ( 1981): 141- 267 (of which pp. 236-67 form the appendix); and idem, "Giovanni Caroli: Dal 'Liber dierum' alle 'Vitae fratrum,'" Memorie domenicane, n.s. 16 ( 1985): 199-233; (of which pp. 218-33 form

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