Freedom and Tyranny in the age of Humanism: political thought in Florence and Milan



today I would like to speak about minor topic which I think will also take me last time but let's say what my rambles will really last this point and that is the say the ideological aspects of the medicine termination which telling the truth it's a very big thing considering the implications in political theory and philosophy and social and economical differences and and I think it's and it's quite interesting to obviously understand it in perspective especially in this video a political perspective and especially the at the rise of the medicine dynasty we can we can say freely so at the times of Cosimo demanded Cosimo de'medici as you know the became de facto Lord of Florence by installing his own family has the leading the leading damn linear algebra K we can say in in Florence and and he had to to produce in a certain way an ideological an ideological picture an ideological fear of and legitimation of his own power and one of his family because Cosimo de'medici as you know the man she rose in Florence as bankers didn't belong to initially in Florentine history in the lower Middle Ages to the oldest families and richest families I mean they were were relatively old considering that we find the manager already in the thirteenth century and possibly even earlier if I'm not wrong but they hadn't been the major you know families during the 14th and and early 15th century they rose to power through one incredible incredibly lucky and well and also deserved financial growth they were quite scaled as as bankers and and they managed to Gemini's the the political live Florence and and this power obviously was not the only one presence and present in Florence and where our families did up to that point had had had a certain power during the previous generations in Florence that there had already been a sort of portion tendency towards lordship excuse me and when I'm trying to be interesting with these sets is the fact that Cosimo de'medici gained a huge personal power but he did not assume any titles of any juridical titles of a senior 'real rule it was quite common in Italy at that time since you know more than a century at that point two four Italian cities to elect a lord a senior a so-called in Italian that may mean that that was mainly a figure that the rose to power because the people the popular so the middle class actually elected them as as leaders of the city and there was a formal sanction of these titles like you became dominoes on that city because the public assembly is elected you to be so then many loads obviously forced this most in time so it wasn't too clean you know nice political changed so everybody happy of it but since the political landscape immediately was extremely we certainly agitated and these figures could that we're often noble families who had already quite of a power that that could be used to defend cities could provide some stability but Florence wasn't like the other Italian cities and we will see why in a while and in Cosimo de'medici wild define becoming the facto Lord of Florence didn't didn't assume any Signoria l' titles in order to say mediate between some both political and ideal traditions in Florence first of all there was was a peculiar trait of Florentine culture that was the idea of the free municipal institutions the Florentines exalted their own political freedom above anything else they had believed that their Republic because Florence had so-called a Republican political system were the most you know the purest political tradition that could be found in Italy the reasons were many would say that these Republican or democratic if you want tradition that the Florentine system had was born substantially at the beginning of the 14th century hmm it was already present more or less in every popular it's a political aim at the time meaning obviously the popular party wanted obviously to maintain the idea that there wasn't a lord and that everybody I ideally in the city were and we're capable of of ruling jointly in participating to public assemblies and so on and Florence was one of the few cities in Italy actually the only one in practice that was able to get rid of the the the party of the so-called tycoons we can't say today the magnets the that the at the time mainly correspond to though it's not overlapped ball anymore this time with the class of the Knights so these Nobles that had more than a strictly you know you know class connotation sort of of lifestyle and power driving from owning properties outside in the city in dealing with other lords and countryside and in other cities and that could therefore have an external base of power that could be used to control the city because this is how many Lordships actually rose to power in communal early Florence as I said got rid of these guys immediate and they got rid of them completely and they established a system that was made up of the greatest economical guilds and the greatest economical corporations that obviously were led by extremely wealthy figures that however had a European and mostly mercantile background that therefore were firmly rooted within the city itself and and ruled the city as the real center of power and not by you know winking at someone else outside or big me or building sort of feudal as assets outside and were truly democratic in the sense that they belonged to the table of Florence and this asset had substantially made it because Florence had an extremely wealthy mercantile class at that time and and and that's the reason why and they had rising to power and managed not to make any lordship formed although as we we we see both with mana she and other other families at the beginning of the 14th out of the 15th century there were leading families that de facto ruled over the others or at least had a manager monocle powered it could be in practice exercised over the world citizen ring but the Florentines were so much in love with their own ideas of republicanism that there was no way Florence could see the official rise of little Lord parts of the reason why this had happened as well was was an ideological weapon used as such as an enemy against an enemy of the Florentine Republic there have been back in the days during the 14th century the 15th century the Viscount and Viscountess in your world lords of Milan they were there have been the the strongest family in in Italy since they had the health of the 14th century and they had managed in practice to almost bring under their own dominion the wall northern and central Italy and Florence had fought bitterly against their expansion and they had fought many wars and the Florentines weren't much of a warlike people at this time because only popular politics and republicanism was the expression of certain estates that that didn't you know that were made up of professionals of war they there were mostly merchants and people who prefer to paint a hundred people to fight for them and in the Visconti who had a very troubled history meaning that their lordship was extremely powerful but at the same time also very unstable because of internal strife between the family members of the dynasty excuse me were we're very different from from the Florentines the Visconti had rising to power as as a minor family stemming from the lake of coma close to none and and they had a completely different political view from the Florentines because they were Lords and what lords they got power inland through bitter fights against the the fiercest enemies of the delatour's family and they had built a Dominion mean and finally by exploiting a very very efficient military system that they created with mercenaries and with a with a great support from many political sites including the German the German kings and and basically subduing great part of the pole valley under their own rule with force but also with bankers as well Melanie his financial world will was a quite big thing that backed this discount is expansion but the idea it was that Visconti warlords and dynasty and that there was no room essentially for a Republican or popular order Milan homey obviously had its own power but I'd say that in Milan as well as in wolrd the Pablo never actually made it to to rule for a very long time especially Milan the the social classes had always contemplated aristocracy Bishop and the people and basically just during the Ambrosian Republic that is in the 15th century a very short time was the only experience of a popular government in land so the Visconti had this very very strong iron fist over which they ruled over a great part of northern Italy the Florentines obviously so in these in these family and their political model the the exact opposite of what their own view of politics was really about and and and since the were menaced by you know they were threatened by Milanese invasion and conquest the Florentines during these wars had fabricated here and even more so you know you know even a greater greatly you know in a more sophisticated way this ideology on the free institutions against the against tyranny essentially because the Visconti were seen as the prototype of tyrants in in Italy and intone the truth it's a bit of trees a lot of hypocrisy in here not just because the Florentines themselves ruled essentially through an oligarchic system like the one of the mad she actually was but also because they they had been allied with with tyrants themselves I mean the Florentines had a allied to certain Lords and other cities in order to fight their Wars they they had been the pupils of the enjoyments and their and of their Kingdom in in Naples so obviously they were stressing the differences between freedom and tyranny most of all to discredit the Milanese and there is called endless force of were we had rise into power at the beginning of the fifteenth century and were the fact of continuing the the Signoria l' tradition over over Milan and and its domains and and and and the Milanese thread was still alive in this this time you know the the political balance in in Italy at this time was basically Florence at least in in northern central northern Italy Florence Venice Milan and occasionally savoy fighting in order mainly it was mainly to stop Milanese expansion that's reason by the way why for instance Venice during this time expands in the so-called terra firma that is basically the dry land terra firma mainland how you want to call it and arriving very close to me not because they wanted to form this very big pad against against Milanese and expansion so the threat was always there and when cause him and Amanda she came to power obviously there was the the world actually it was still much to be done in order to to put things their own place and in the political any political balance and they had to take a position and there was therefore a clash the during this time between two literates to man of letters to humanists at this time we are you know between the the the end of the 14th and the beginning of 15th century there were Antonia Loski and Quaritch saluteth who were these guys well Antonio Loski was a humanist at the court of John Goliath so his County was one of the major figures of the mayonnaise dynasty of the time he was the first Duchy of Milan and obviously Lord of land and had extended its own power or an extremely large quantity of cities that made up the Viscountess the mean and the mains at that time and he obviously pushed much for no strengthening from his side his ideological his prerogatives from from an ideological point of view Kalusha salute our Dean said was the humanists can seller of the Florentine Republic very famous important also for from for using intellectual activity but also the kind of reform of writing and other interesting aspects of Western culture of the time that we we don't have the time to talk about now and in this to Antonio loss scheme colossal Tati got quite firstly involved into an ideological debate on freedom and tyranny so essentially they were attacking each other and and true that attacking respectively the Florentine model and Milanese model showing but from from their own perspective that was opposite but and they were very intelligent men served with great lucidity and how the the two political conceptions the were supporting actually reflected a different asset different organization of the Italian peninsula because Antonio loskis and that the discount is donation was the only one that capable of granting stability to the wall Italy and in the Colucci eleuterio easily instead believed that the Florentine freedom that was obviously waved by Florence first of all but could be theoretically adopted by all the other Italian cities and was the only one to grant freedom of feeling so what we see here are two very different political political and institutional paths that correspond to very different socio-economic and cultural systems and at the beginning of the modern age more or less that used the work of humanists in order to to praise themselves and to you know make propaganda against their their opponents and and it's very interesting as a person you know this dual perspective of how you know stability or freedom had to be achieved in Italy as I said before it was a matter of hypocrisy because both systems weren't anything like we can imagine of modern democratic assets actually the Florentine Republic is much closer to it and we we obviously recognize it as maybe Florence having been the cradle of Western you know modern political culture that is indeed true because you know Florentine humanism especially in political conceptions was was really influential in shaping of the of modern European culture in political culture which was definitely Italian indeed and it's no chance that you know these conception actually took much from the Romans perspective these were times in which obviously the Roman antiquities classic integrities of the Hellenic and Roman political systems were quite highly praised and started and and imitated so the Florentines as many others after them believed that their political system was the best because it resembled more the Roman one the Republican one telling truth not Imperial maybe this is called they pushed more for the Imperial Roman model I don't know how much though it would be interesting to to check that in Florence however as I said wasn't wasn't a real democracy was wasn't a democracy as we considered today it was a democracy in the sense that the citizenry had some political power but as we have seen with the rise of the Manish a dynasty basically Cosimo de Medici had had in Germany over the city and a huge factual political power because with all the money he had could basically buy the world City and and to regulate certain dynamics certain and mechanisms that the we can't think them to be democratic but the result was stability the result was you know the medicine lordship that so much gave to to our culture so it's even controversial to see you know what do we really come from and where do the idea today we praise actually stem and and in these contexts what was the the actual level of freedom that that people win am it an Indian really had on the other hand the the mayonnaise perspective was more obscure in sense that I believe it was less first of all it produces less in terms of political and ideological speculation because Milan was in Florence nan was much more a warlike political system and much less of a cultural you know point even though banana had a court with with a lot of intellectuals who here we so lost key but were also many banana was also quite international center in Europe it had a great great context with with the kingdom of France with Savoy with the ups birds so in many ways political the you know the the the Milanese Court have many external political and cultural influences that made it grow but let's say that what the Visconti and later this fall so were were mainly interested it was in you know maintaining their their political power military power and to you know manage to fight to maintain this power so it was more much more about this world than the pen we can say but also for this ideological production relatively to the the importance of the political the Milanese political system I think it's also quite interesting because the Florentine perspective is great we can mirror ourselves in this republicanism that sounds so good and it's so good the idea of freedom but I think the this country's perspective is more fascinating because one thing it's idealism and the idea that we can be all free as if you know civilization came just from being free well it wasn't just like that and same Florentine system spoke for for for it meaning that they were all but free in practice because only one family ruled the wrong stuff and incidentally produced a lot of culture and civilization but you know beauty of state the in the terms of power you know and of a power that is able to be affirmed and an hour short and and and maintained over time is something that requires also very bad things and a military presence and a deterrence that was mainly and you know caused by military by military the threat of a military intervention so it was interesting with what la Steve wrote about the stability of of Italy and of the italian system meaning that that's answering to to freedom he said yeah you can be but this will basically bring to to how Italy was one century before where there were all many small city states that did nothing but fighting against each other if there is instead a sort of you know big an authority that is able to maintain order in peace and a sort of unified and homogeneous political dominion there is gonna be maybe there is not gonna be freedom but there is gonna be stability and sometimes it's much better to have stability and freedom because the one you know maybe the stability offers you life while freedom doesn't grant you and maybe not even that because you could be defeated and killed in a way and another perspective that I and it really intrigues me is the point of that these two powers Florence and LAN we're actually talking about a system that had to be reflected not in theory all over the world but in Italy and I think it's very interesting this because even at this time we know was the most advanced counter in Europe it produced so much in terms of of wealth of art of literature it wasn't incredibly complex yet incredibly productive system and and these two perspectives that we have just seen were thoughts for Edelen I mean for a system that apparently was basically devoid of any of any order because it's true that in the 15th century the Italian states were much more rationally built territorial speaking there was much more ordered were much less little states and more regional entities so they were going towards you know the centralization of these lands essentially and abandoning the city-state model that had been there from the 11th to the 14th century they were pushing towards something else to something more unifying so it's interesting that that these guys were thinking about giving an order to be imitated in the world country at least in in central and northern Italy were the European tradition was was quite homogeneous the South was something else was a kingdom in fact it was a feudal it had a funeral organization but for Italians even three of the center and of North these two assets probably reflected a political debate that was going on that time not just to justify a political system over in an honor and you know being instrument and being as an instrument of political power like these humanists were being but it was a concrete political problem because the point was what do we want to do and considered there had there have been many wars going on were people dying money being lost and a settlement it was always quite unstable so what did help to win as we know the main event we were the promoters of this political equilibrium that would rule in Italy until that of Lorenzo the Magnificent and the Italian Wars but it's still very fascinating there are a region in Europe that was you know historically credited with these chronic political fragmentation could produce the idea of independently from which side this was proposed of a common asset a common political model that could be more or less shared by anyone and I think it's it's it's meaningful to talk about these aspects because they get deeper into the political conceptions and the times that there are something strictly related to what ultimately one has to do or doesn't have to do in practice in everyday life because these affection really everyday life and we can't even you know make a comparison with with today's world always live with D with necessary distinctions but always bear in mind that certain problems in history come back hmm they're not the same situations because history never repeats itself never never but there are certain part of what happened past some some aspects that can help us to understand what is going on today and I think it's very it's very intriguing intellectually so I thank you for listening and to the next video

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