Dino Compagni's View Of F Lorentine Discord

1202 words - 5 pages

In Dino Compagni's diatribe of the Florentine demise, it is clear that he believes the internal strife among her citizens was the backbone of a beautiful city's undoing. Contemporaries who have read Machiavelli's works, without a proper grasp of Italian life at his time, tend to think Machiavelli a cruel and ruthless man. Comparing Machiavelli's thoughts and beliefs on the subject of human nature with that of Compagni, however, lead to a very converging view of mankind. As Compagni disserts, he believes the citizens of Florence to be intrinsically wicked and duplistic. Thus, the 'wicked citizens' and 'wicked deeds' were the main cause of discord, coupled with the universal truth that men of different classes have different political and economic agendas. Compagni's fault however lies in his limited view and perspective. As a citizen at the time his writing concerns, he has tunnel vision which modern historians today do not. Compagni has not felt the rule of an absolute monarch like other Europeans of his time, nor was he brought up in a part of medieval Europe where power was thought to radiate downward, from God, to the clergy, and finally to the king or emperor. In the communes that Compagni inhabited, power radiated upward from the popolo to its leaders. Compagni's belief that bad politics caused Florentine discord was true, but the guilt is misplaced on corrupt and irresponsible leaders, rather than a flawed political system. Though Italian communes were extremely patriotic and incredibly loyal, they were wrent apart by internal discord. If a commune was threatened by an outside force they would quickly ban together. However, in times of peace they were quick to quarrel with each other. Internal division is essentially the internal history of Italian communes. Compagni detests both the Guelf and Ghibelline parties as he states in chapter three of his first book. While both parties were under a cloak of peace, the Guelfs, who were the more powerful party, slowly but surely began to contravene the peace pacts, leading to growing discord. These events set in motion what Compagni asserts divided the Florentines and caused internal strife. Compagni was member of the popular party, and thus was not in favor of the power the Guelfs were usurping. Furthermore, he was concerned that the weak would be oppressed by the rich and powerful, thus the arrangement with the Priors of the Guilds was very beneficial to the popolo. This situation had an adverse effect however, as the citizens who held power were quickly corrupted. In addition they also sought to plunder the wealth of the commune, so it can be noted that there is considerable evidence all around Compagni leading to his belief that men are wicked. Compagni hatred the powerful citizens, labeled magnates, also stems from the attempt to win the side of the Pope and to crush the popolo. Compagni could only believe that mankind was extremely fickle and corrupt, as he gives proof with his tell of...

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