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Compagni And Villani Revision Notes

History Notes > Culture and Society in Early Renaissance Italy: 1290-1348 Notes

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Monish KulkarniRevision Dino Compagni, Chronicle of Florence [translated by Daniel E. Bornstein]. Introductory Remarks Florentine Political Life o

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In 1237, Frederick II crushes his enemies in Cortenuova in 1237 ? he takes the right to sieze the podesta [chief executive of the city government] in Florence. o Transforms Podesta into a Ghibelline puppet. In 1250 Guelfs defeat the Ghibellines + Frederick II dies o Leads to a revolt in Florence
? And the establishment of the Primo Popolo
? A government with a military organisation of neighbourhood companies, with a Captain of the Popolo named with two advisory councils: o One represents the six administrative districts o One represents the greater guildscatiline In 1260 ? Manfred and the Ghibelline exiles crush the Guelfs at the Battle of Montaperti
? the Guelfs flee!
o But then in 1266, Manfred himself is defeated by Charles I of Anjou o The Guelfs return.
? They abolished the office of Captain of the Popolo and formalise Guelf power.
? Guelfs made sure no Ghibellines found their way to power. Territorial politics o Pope switches suspicions from now dead Hohenstaufen dynasty to the Anjou princes. o Popes want a revival of Ghibelline fortunes
? Nicholas III (1277-1280) ? in 1280, sends Cardinal Latino as a legate to Florence to broker a reconciliation between Guelfs and Ghibellines.
? A new government created proves fleeting o Guelfs strip Ghibellines of their rights. o But, the Sicilian Vesper movement leads to the loosening of Guelf noble hold and the popolo again win a share of Florentine power.
? Council of 14 replaced by the Priors of the Guilds o Six priors chosen o Term of office was only two months.
? 1287 ? priorate led by five middle guilds and in 1290s - eligibility was granted to the 9 minor guilds.
? Priorate dominated by wealthy Guelf magnates (Popolo grassi), though technically acting in the interests of the whole Popolo body. o Giano della Bella becomes a champion of the Popolo.
? He passes the Ordinances of Justice in 1293:
? Requires magnates to post surety for they god behaviour
? Makes Magnates liable for crimes committed by the ir kinsmen
? Barred from holding highest office in the city government. o But in 1295 ? della Bella is expelled.
? Leads to a split among the magnates
? Corso Donati and the Black Guelfs
? Vieri de' Cerchi and the White Guelfs

Monish KulkarniRevision Compagni's book is about the defeat of the Whites in 1301. Soon, Donati would fall out with the other Black Guelfs - Rosso della Tosa, Pazzino de' Pazzi, Betto Brunelleschi, and Geri Spini and he was defeated by them. Written in around 1310/but not published until 1726. o Given praise as the new Sallust, Caesar, Tacitus, Italian Heredotous or Thucydides. o He is paired with Fellow White Guelf, Dante ? the period is seen as the age of Dino and Dante.
? Dino's is a vivid description and acute analysis of the political life of the great medieval city. Dino wrote this many years afterwards (or so he says!) o No audience for his work in 1302
? Victorious Blacks won't take kindly to his attack on their arrogance and cruelty
? Whites won't be receptive to his bitter dissection of their weakness and vacillation o 1310
? A different situation
? Henry Of Luxembourg elected Holy Roman Emperor o 1310
? Crosses over into Italy o There is hope of a return to power of the Guelf Party, so Dino gets writing?
o Doesn't just write the events as they occurred
? Dino wrote to elucidate a single topic.
? Only one event is written not in his lifetime o That of Buondelmonti's murder leading to the splitting of factions between Guelf and Ghibelline.
? Writes about a series of fractures in Florentine political life
? These are strange factions, that don't follow the divisions of Florentine society.
? They cut across divisions of kinship and close relatives aligned themselves with others.
? What is holding faction together?
o Rift o Business interest
? When Black Guelfs split, interesting that Rosso della Tosa loans without expecting return. o Familiarity, friendship o Eloquence
? Corso Donati uses his eloquence to persuade those disaffected to back him: magnates, common people, relatives of Rosso himself Competition for office o Office-holding
? Meant prestige, power and profit
? Why?
o Armed retinue o Apportioning taxes o o

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o Setting grain prices o Authorising expenditure
? Make decisions; grant favours; receive requests
? Manipulate judicial institutions of city; speed up legal proceedings against foes or rivals o Public office for private ends. Difficult to share office o Office value depends on the value of the person holding them. Power of passion o Corso Donati
? Don't underestimate the importance of this notion
? Rosso became 'so inflamed with talk that they coud not hold back from havoc' Fomenters of discord o They are sinning against God
? Dino believed oaths and processions would quell factional violence o When Noffo Guidi
? Asked Dino to betray the Whites and give the Blacks a majority in the signoria
? Dino replied that would make him a Judas, and he would feed his children to the dogs before he committed such treason. Divine retribution o God executed justice on individual evildoes
? Some died in painful or humiliating circumstances
? 5 leaders of violence were executed o Dviine Justice
? Henry of Luxembourg
? The vengeance of God is at hand when he does so. o A peacemaker to undo the work of the villainous Charles of Valois.

Dino Compagni's Chronicle of Florence o

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PROLOGUE o Compagni pays tributes to the ancient histories that spurred him to write of the 'perilous and unfortunate events which this noble city, daughter of Rome, has borne' o Says he did not write the book sooner for 2 reasons.
? 1. Was not 'sufficiently able'
? 2. Thought someone else would write of the period. o Why does he write the book?
? The situation has got worse than ever, making it necessary to write a book.
? Written for people who will 'inherit more fortunate times' and recognise the "gifts of God, who rules and governs through all times." BOOK I 1 His account is designed to write objective history. o "my intention was to write according to the best report."1

1 Page 5. [all quotes following are from page 5, until page 6 is delineated].

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A mixed account of Florence is provided. o A noble, Tuscan province. o Rich and ample with fresh water and abundant in products. o The citizens (Popolo?) are bold in arms, proud and combative o BUT, there is plenty of illegal wealth ("rich with unlawful profits") o Distrusted and feared ? never loved. o Booming crafts, guilds. From the start, Compagni places Florence as an important city, with a prophetic foundation: "built under the sign of Mars" ? people flock to it for its industry, wealth and beauty. o Yet, he is equally clear that Florence is distrusted, feared and riddled with corruption. He says he writes the work so foreigners can understand Florence better and that the truth in recent years has been distorted or twisted. Will we see the claim of objectivity in the writing of Villani I wonder? i.e. "I intended to write down as they were reported". ? belief that he is writing how the past actually was.

2. "May its citizens then weep for themselves and for their children, since by their pride and ill will and competition for office they have undone so noble a city, and abused its laws, and sold off in a moment the honour which their ancestors had acquired with great effort over many years."2 o The strife of citizens led to a "new evil" which divided Florence ? the GuelfGhibelline split.
? Events:
? In 1215 ? Buondelmonte de' Buondelmonti promised to marry a daughter of Oderigo Giantruffetti, but instead, marries into the Donati family.
? Oderigo and his Uberti relatives murder Buendelmonti leading to the Guelf-Ghibelline split. Compagni says that Florence is moribund: its people have let it sink ? a fact that led to and was articulated by the Guelf-Ghibelline conflict. But is the paradigm of 'Florentine decline' merely a trope? Sallust, Ammianus Marcellinus use the same sort of thing don't they? What, therefore, is Compagni trying to do with this topos?
o Villani shows us that Florence was actually in a good situation economically at least. Do we see the claims of moral decline in his work too? Yes we do, Villani is more optimistic in his account, but he undoubtedly identifies the astral Mars and the Fiesole strain creating much pride and envy among Florentines.

3. Guelfs become suspicious of one another. Nonetheless, a reconciliation made between Guelfs and Ghibellines in the presence of Cardinal Latino. o Though, Compagni says he was actually requested by the Guelfs and Ghibellines, it was not a papal action. Latino creates Government of 14 Citizens (8 Guelf, 6 Ghibelline). o Ghibelline are returned from exile.

4. Guelfs gradually break the peace treaty.

2 Page 6.

Monish KulkarniRevision They take away the stipends from exiles, fill offices irregularly, and declared the exiles to be rebels. Popolo leaders are beseeched by the people to remedy this. o Six get together and create the Priors of the Guild starting from June 1282: o They set up office in the Tower of Castagna The Priors came from: o The Heads of the Guilds: merchants, artists and guildsmen. Compagni says, he was involved in the original talks of the Priors. He says he did so "because of my youth, I paid no heed to legal penalties, but rather the purity of my spirit and the cause of the city's disorders. I spoke about this, and we persuaded the citizens". o Compagni portrays himself as a model citizen acting in the wider interests of Florence as a challenge to the petty infighting that had led to her decline.

5. But the officers soon became corrupt. o They got their friends into office. o They plundered the Commune's wealth. o The Priors effectively became Guelf magnates or the puppets of Guelf magnates.

6. Florentine Guelfs tell Arezzo Guelfs to seize government ? Ghibellines find out and chase them out of Arezzo. o Florentine Guelfs lobby, but the Ghibellines of Arezzo, esp the Bishop, are unmoved. o This leads to war in 1289.

7. The Florentine Guelfs could not muster a sufficient army to go to Arezzo. But the Aretines summon a powerful Ghibelline army. o To counter this, the Guelfs call upon all people from Pistoia, Lucca, Bologna, Siean and San Miniato o They also secure the support of Charles II of Anjou who was passing through Florence in May 1289.

8. Bishop of Arezzo seeks to surrender - giving up his castles etc. o But he wants 3000 florins annually as promised by Vieri de' Cerchi. But this leads to disagreement among the Priors
? Compagni, a Prior in office at this point
? "They agreed to let Dino Compagni arrange matters as he thought best, because he was a good and intelligent man."
? Decision made to keep the castles but not destroy them. Interesting again, that Compagni singles himself out as a "good and intelligent"3 man. As a Prior he would clearly have been at the forefront of negotiations (in this bit, he is leading negotiations with the now capitulated, Bishop of Arezzo), but is there a reason that he is presenting himself in a positive manner, without blemish. o Anything more than just the fact that is the author?

9. But the Aretines are furious with this. o They make plans to take the castle of Bibbiena back.
? The Florentines led by Corso Donati have an army (allies included) with 1,300 horses and plenty of infantry. o

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10. The Florentines arrive at Campaldino for the Battle of Campaldino on June 11 1289. The Aretines attack the campaign vigorously, o The Battle is sharp.
? Casualties include the "bold knight messer Guiglielmo de'Pazzi" despite being on the "enemy side"
? It appears Compagni's quarrel was not with the Ghibellines, he was willing to admit that men like Pazzi, Locio da Montefeltro and "other worthy men"4 were slain. After the battle: o Two Priors went to Arezzo and attacked it.
? They also went to Bibbiena and razed its walls to the ground. o They were greatly criticised because such activities were in the ambit of military men: such excursions were not the work of Priors.

11. The Popolo are triumphant for a long time after the Battle of Campaldino. o But soon, the nobles and great citizens did much to antagonise the Popolo.
? A leader of the Popolo: A "powerful citizen" was the "wise, worthy and good man" named Giano della Bella "a very spirited man from a good family, who disapproved of these injuries"5. o Bella is elected Prior on 15 February 1293.
? Created the Standard-bearer of Justice and created the Ordinances of Justice.
? These aimed at challenging the powerful, who might commit outrage against the Popolani.
? Magnates were any mfamilies that included knights, and these men could not be elected to be Priors: there were 73 families in total on this list. Compagni is an obvious supporter of Giano della Bella. His allegiance is with the Popolo and Giano, not with the "Black Guelfs" and knights who appear to terrorise the people.

12. Some "damned lawyers"6are claiming the laws are unfair/extremely harsh on the noble families. o So much so, the judges allegedly sided with either Guelf or Ghibelline noble thinking the law was too harsh and "members of the great families did not denounce their kin for fear of being punished."7 But Compagni believes most were punished fairly. o Indeed, in the case of Galligai, who wounded a son of the French merchant Ugolino Benivieni ?
? Dino Compagni goes to his house as Standard-Bearer in 1293 and has it destroyed!
o But Compagni is unhappy.

4 Page 13. 5 Page 12. 6 Page 14. 7 Page. 14.

Monish KulkarniRevision Other Standard-bearers became cavalier and destroyed totally, so as to appease the wrath of the Popolo.
? Indeed, some destroyed the house of Buondelmonte, when a son committed the crime of murder, but he was later compensated!. o "The arrogance of these wicked men grew great since the magnates...were punished."8
? Due process is no longer respected ? the Popolo want blood!
At the same time, Giano della Bella exposed their real crimes. o They soon conspired against him which upset the Popolo who, in turn,o

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reinforced the Ordinances of Justice, for the first time, on April 10 1293. Compagni's argument here is about due process. o One the one hand:
? The magnates are injurious to the Popolo and acted illegally on several occasion. Thus, their protests that the laws were too stringent, has little ground. o On the other hand:
? The Standard-Bearers are not applying the law properly. The magnates are terrorised on tiny grievances, only to be recompensed because of the fear magistrates have of the wrath of the Popolo who clearly want the blood of the grievous magnates. Compagni finds fault with everyone (except Della Bella and himself!) o Della Bella is appropriately finding the faults of the magnates, who in turn are threatening towards him. o Compagni himself, is a good chap, who applies the law correctly to the case of Galligai.

13. Magnates (though not all are of noble blood) sought ways of attacking scornfully the Popolo. o They brought in the knight Jean de Chalon, and with the patronage of Pope Boniface VIII. o They plotted to kill Giano della Bella.
? They are crafty though (they can't kill him outright for fear of the Popolo.)
? They find the Sheep ? a dishonest, harmful butcher who "dedicated himself to doing evil with a great force of men and arms"9. They gather in the Ognissanti ? demanding a revision of the laws ?
Giano, "justly worrying about this"10agrees to harsher laws on butchers ?
the magnates send out word that Giano is plotting against them all. Here, we see a balanced account of proceedings from Compagni.o

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