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    Chapter 8

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    Chapter 9
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    The custom of ancient republics to plant colonies, and the
    advantage of it--Increased population tends to make countries more
    healthy--Origin of Florence--Aggrandizement of Florence--Origin of
    the name of Florence--Destruction of Florence by Totila--The
    Florentines take Fiesole--The first division in Florence, and the
    cause of it--Buondelmonti--Buondelmonti slain--Guelphs and
    Ghibellines in Florence--Guelphic families--Ghibelline families--
    The two factions come to terms.

    Among the great and wonderful institutions of the republics and
    principalities of antiquity that have now gone into disuse, was that
    by means of which towns and cities were from time to time established;
    and there is nothing more worthy the attention of a great prince, or
    of a well-regulated republic, or that confers so many advantages upon
    a province, as the settlement of new places, where men are drawn
    together for mutual accommodation and defense. This may easily be
    done, by sending people to reside in recently acquired or uninhabited
    countries. Besides causing the establishment of new cities, these
    removals render a conquered country more secure, and keep the
    inhabitants of a province properly distributed. Thus, deriving the
    greatest attainable comfort, the inhabitants increase rapidly, are
    more prompt to attack others, and defend themselves with greater
    assurance. This custom, by the unwise practice of princes and
    republics, having gone into desuetude, the ruin and weakness of
    territories has followed; for this ordination is that by which alone
    empires are made secure, and countries become populated. Safety is the
    result of it; because the colony which a prince establishes in a newly
    acquired country, is like a fortress and a guard, to keep the
    inhabitants in fidelity and obedience. Neither can a province be
    wholly occupied and preserve a proper distribution of its inhabitants
    without this regulation; for all districts are not equally healthy,
    and hence some will abound to overflowing, while others are void; and
    if there be no method of withdrawing them from places in which they
    increase too rapidly, and planting them where they are too few the
    country would soon be wasted; for one part would become a desert, and
    the other a dense and wretched population. And, as nature cannot
    repair this disorder, it is necessary that industry should effect it,
    for unhealthy localities become wholesome when a numerous population
    is brought into them. With cultivation the earth becomes fruitful, and
    the air is purified with fires--remedies which nature cannot provide.
    The city of Venice proves the correctness of these remarks. Being
    placed in a marshy and unwholesome situation, it became healthy only
    by the number of industrious individuals who were drawn together.
    Pisa, too, on account of its unwholesome air, was never filled with
    inhabitants, till the Saracens, having destroyed Genoa and rendered
    her rivers unnavigable, caused the Genoese to migrate thither in vast
    numbers, and thus render her populous and powerful. Where the use of
    colonies is not adopted, conquered countries are held with great
    difficulty; districts once uninhabited still remain so, and those
    which populate quickly are not relieved. Hence it is that many places
    of the world, and particularly in Italy, in comparison of ancient
    times, have become deserts. This has wholly arisen and proceeded from
    the negligence of princes, who have lost all appetite for true glory,
    and of republics which no longer possess institutions that deserve
    praise. In ancient times, by means of colonies, new cities frequently
    arose, and those already begun were enlarged, as was the case with
    Florence, which had its beginning from Fiesole, and its increase from

    It is exceedingly probable, as Dante and Giovanni Villani show, that
    the city of Fiesole, being situate upon the summit of the mountain, in
    order that her markets might be more frequented, and afford greater
    accommodation for those who brought merchandise, would appoint the
    place in which to told them, not upon the hill, but in the plain,
    between the foot of the mountain and the river Arno. I imagine these
    markets to have occasioned the first erections that were made in those
    places, and to have induced merchants to wish for commodious
    warehouses for the reception of their goods, and which, in time,
    became substantial buildings. And afterward, when the Romans, having
    conquered the Carthaginians, rendered Italy secure from foreign
    invasion, these buildings would greatly increase; for men never endure
    inconveniences unless some powerful necessity compels them. Thus,
    although the fear of war induces a willingness to occupy places strong
    and difficult of access, as soon as the cause of alarm is removed, men
    gladly resort to more convenient and easily attainable localities.
    Hence, the security to which the reputation of the Roman republic gave
    birth, caused the inhabitants, having begun in the manner described,
    to increase so much as to form a town, this was at first called the
    Villa Arnina. After this occurred the civil wars between Marius and
    Sylla; then those of Cæsar, and Pompey; and next those of the
    murderers of Cæsar, and the parties who undertook to avenge his death.
    Therefore, first by Sylla, and afterward by the three Roman citizens,
    who, having avenged the death of Cæsar, divided the empire among
    themselves, colonies were sent to Fiesole, which, either in part or in
    whole, fixed their habitations in the plain, near to the then rising
    town. By this increase, the place became so filled with dwellings,
    that it might with propriety be enumerated among the cities of Italy.

    There are various opinions concerning the derivation of the word
    Florentia. Some suppose it to come from Florinus, one of the principal
    persons of the colony; others think it was originally not Florentia,
    but Fluentia, and suppose the word derived from /fluente/, or flowing
    of the Arno; and in support of their opinion, adduce a passage from
    Pliny, who says, "the Fluentini are near the flowing of the Arno."
    This, however, may be incorrect, for Pliny speaks of the locality of
    the Florentini, not of the name by which they were known. And it seems
    as if the word Fluentini were a corruption, because Frontinus and
    Cornelius Tacitus, who wrote at nearly the same period as Pliny, call
    them Florentia and Florentini; for, in the time of Tiberius, they were
    governed like the other cities of Italy. Besides, Cornelius refers to
    the coming of ambassadors from the Florentines, to beg of the emperor
    that the waters of the Chiane might not be allowed to overflow their
    country; and it is not at all reasonable that the city should have two
    names at the same time. Therefore I think that, however derived, the
    name was always Florentia, and that whatever the origin might be, it
    occurred under the Roman empire, and began to be noticed by writers in
    the times of the first emperors.

    When the Roman empire was afflicted by the barbarians, Florence was
    destroyed by Totila, king of the Ostrogoths; and after a period of two
    hundred and fifty years, rebuilt by Charlemagne; from whose time, till
    the year 1215, she participated in the fortune of the rest of Italy;
    and, during this period, first the descendants of Charles, then the
    Berengarii, and lastly the German emperors, governed her, as in our
    general treatise we have shown. Nor could the Florentines, during
    those ages, increase in numbers, or effect anything worthy of memory,
    on account of the influence of those to whom they were subject.
    Nevertheless, in the year 1010, upon the feast of St. Romolo, a solemn
    day with the Fiesolani, they took and destroyed Fiesole, which must
    have been performed either with the consent of the emperors, or during
    the interim from the death of one to the creation of his successor,
    when all assumed a larger share of liberty. But then the pontiffs
    acquired greater influence, and the authority of the German emperors
    was in its wane, all the places of Italy governed themselves with less
    respect for the prince; so that, in the time of Henry III. the mind of
    the country was divided between the emperor and the church. However,
    the Florentines kept themselves united until the year 1215, rendering
    obedience to the ruling power, and anxious only to preserve their own
    safety. But, as the diseases which attack our bodies are more
    dangerous and mortal in proportion as they are delayed, so Florence,
    though late to take part in the sects of Italy, was afterward the more
    afflicted by them. The cause of her first division is well known,
    having been recorded by Dante and many other writers; I shall,
    however, briefly notice it.

    Among the most powerful families of Florence were the Buondelmonti and
    the Uberti; next to these were the Amidei and the Donati. Of the
    Donati family there was a rich widow who had a daughter of exquisite
    beauty, for whom, in her own mind, she had fixed upon Buondelmonti, a
    young gentleman, the head of the Buondelmonti family, as her husband;
    but either from negligence, or, because she thought it might be
    accomplished at any time, she had not made known her intention, when
    it happened that the cavalier betrothed himself to a maiden of the
    Amidei family. This grieved the Donati widow exceedingly; but she
    hoped, with her daughter's beauty, to disturb the arrangement before
    the celebration of the marriage; and from an upper apartment, seeing
    Buondelmonti approach her house alone, she descended, and as he was
    passing she said to him, "I am glad to learn you have chosen a wife,
    although I had reserved my daughter for you"; and, pushing the door
    open, presented her to his view. The cavalier, seeing the beauty of
    the girl, which was very uncommon, and considering the nobility of her
    blood, and her portion not being inferior to that of the lady whom he
    had chosen, became inflamed with such an ardent desire to possess her,
    that, not thinking of the promise given, or the injury he committed in
    breaking it, or of the evils which his breach of faith might bring
    upon himself, said, "Since you have reserved her for me, I should be
    very ungrateful indeed to refuse her, being yet at liberty to choose";
    and without any delay married her. As soon as the fact became known,
    the Amidei and the Uberti, whose families were allied, were filled
    with rage, and having assembled with many others, connections of the
    parties, they concluded that the injury could not be tolerated without
    disgrace, and that the only vengeance proportionate to the enormity of
    the offence would be to put Buondelmonti to death. And although some
    took into consideration the evils that might ensue upon it, Mosca
    Lamberti said, that those who talk of many things effect nothing,
    using that trite and common adage, /Cosa fatta capo ha/. Thereupon,
    they appointed to the execution of the murder Mosca himself, Stiatti
    Uberti, Lambertuccio Amidei, and Oderigo Fifanti, who, on the morning
    of Easter day, concealed themselves in a house of the Amidei, situate
    between the old bridge and St. Stephen's, and as Buondelmonti was
    passing upon a white horse, thinking it as easy a matter to forget an
    injury as reject an alliance, he was attacked by them at the foot of
    the bridge, and slain close by a statue of Mars. This murder divided
    the whole city; one party espousing the cause of the Buondelmonti, the
    other that of the Uberti; and as these families possessed men and
    means of defense, they contended with each other for many years,
    without one being able to destroy the other.

    Florence continued in these troubles till the time of Frederick II.,
    who, being king of Naples, endeavored to strengthen himself against
    the church; and, to give greater stability to his power in Tuscany,
    favored the Uberti and their followers, who, with his assistance,
    expelled the Buondelmonti; thus our city, as all the rest of Italy had
    long time been, became divided into Guelphs and Ghibellines; and as it
    will not be superfluous, I shall record the names of the families
    which took part with each faction. Those who adopted the cause of the
    Guelphs were the Buondelmonti, Nerli, Rossi, Frescobaldi, Mozzi,
    Bardi, Pulci, Gherardini, Foraboschi, Bagnesi, Guidalotti, Sacchetti,
    Manieri, Lucardesi, Chiaramontesi, Compiobbesi, Cavalcanti,
    Giandonati, Gianfigliazzi, Scali, Gualterotti, Importuni, Bostichi,
    Tornaquinci, Vecchietti, Tosinghi, Arrigucci, Agli, Sizi, Adimari,
    Visdomini, Donati, Passi, della Bella, Ardinghi, Tedaldi, Cerchi. Of
    the Ghibelline faction were the Uberti, Manelli, Ubriachi, Fifanti,
    Amidei, Infangati, Malespini, Scolari, Guidi, Galli, Cappiardi,
    Lamberti, Soldanieri, Cipriani, Toschi, Amieri, Palermini,
    Migliorelli, Pigli, Barucci, Cattani, Agolanti, Brunelleschi,
    Caponsacchi, Elisei, Abati, Tidaldini, Giuochi, and Galigai. Besides
    the noble families on each side above enumerated, each party was
    joined by many of the higher ranks of the people, so that the whole
    city was corrupted with this division. The Guelphs being expelled,
    took refuge in the Upper Val d'Arno, where part of their castles and
    strongholds were situated, and where they strengthened and fortified
    themselves against the attacks of their enemies. But, upon the death
    of Frederick, the most unbiased men, and those who had the greatest
    authority with the people, considered that it would be better to
    effect the reunion of the city, than, by keeping her divided, cause
    her ruin. They therefore induced the Guelphs to forget their injuries
    and return, and the Ghibellines to lay aside their jealousies and
    receive them with cordiality.
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