Heather Stein's Reviews > April Blood: Florence and the Plot Against the Medici

April Blood by Lauro Martines
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's review
May 17, 10

bookshelves: academic, humanism-field-reading
Read from May 05 to 17, 2010, read count: 1

Martines’ April Blood uses the Pazzi conspiracy as a nexus from which to analyse the volatile political and economic situation in late Quattrocento Florence. Beginning with the consolidation of power by Cosimo de’ Medici, this monograph examines rising discontent among the political elite in Florence as well as conflict among other Italian polities to shed light on the motives for and consequences of the April 21, 1478 assassination attempts. After the Pazzi revolt, overt opposition to the Medici was stamped out - yet returned in 1494 when Piero di Lorenzo de’ Medici was ousted from the power structure after negotiations with Charles VIII which the Florentines would not accept. April Blood offers a narrative of two competing visions for Florentine government: a “republican” government with hundreds (if not thousands) of voting members and an “aristocratic” government with power largely in the hands of one man whose patronage network coopts other leading families into maintaining his rule.

The reader is offered three vignettes to better illustrate how personalities affected the political situation. While Lorenzo de’ Medici is depicted as a brilliant politician and man-of-letters, his ruthlessness in entrenching himself as the de facto ruler of Florence is condemned in this work which Martines presents as counter-balancing the traditionally positive depiction of the Medici and villification of the Pazzi family and their supporters.

Of particular interest were sections on marriage alliances (see the chapters “Social Climbers” as well as the discussion of Maddalena di Lorenzo de’ Medici’s marriage to Sixtus IV’s illegitimate son), diplomatic alliances (Sforza, Neapolitan and even Papal) and economic constraints.
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