Who is Francesco Guicciardini?June 25, 2021
Francesco GuiccFrancesco Guicciardini (Florence, 6 March 1483 – Santa Margherita a Montici, 22 May 1540) was a famous Italian historian, diplomat and statesman. He is the author of Storia d’Italia (History of Italy), the most important source on Italian history of his age.
Guicciardi’s ancestors served in the highest levels of government. In keeping with the understanding of the period, Francesco studied civil law in Florence, Ferrara and Padova after his initial studies in Latin and Greek-Roman classics. His father Piero, who found the church administration of the time corrupt, did not approve of the idea of a career in the church. Thereupon, he became a lawyer in Florence and married Alamanno Salviati’s daughter Maria in 1508; The main purpose of this marriage, as he expressed in his memoirs, was the political support that his bond with the powerful Salviati family would bring him. In the same year he began to write his family memoirs (Ricordi autobiografici e di famiglia) and the Storie fiorentine (History of Florence), which chronicled the history of Florence from 1378-1509.
Following Guicciardini’s great success as a lawyer, in 1512 Signoria sent him as an ambassador to the palace of the Aragon king Fernando. Thus, Guicciardini started his career as a statesman and diplomat. His attitude during this first embassy mission later became the subject of harsh criticism; his political opponents accused him of striving to bring the exiled Medicis to power rather than in the interests of the Florentine Republic. His correspondence with the Signoria of the Spanish court demonstrates his extraordinary powers of observation and analysis.
In 1515, Pope Leo X took him into his service, first as governor of Modena (1516) and the following year as governor of Reggio alongside this post. In 1526, Pope Clemens gave Guicciardini a greater rank, making him commander-in-chief of the papal forces. In carrying out this mission, he witnessed the Sack of Rome and the imprisonment of Clemens.
Gucciardini worked on his second book on the history of Florence between 1538 and 1530. In the same period, he collected aphorisms and observations expressing his views on social and political life in a work called Ricordi. Guiccardi, who often shared political views similar to his friend Niccolò Machiavelli, but was sometimes more radical than he, agreed with him in his criticism of the church, despite his long serving as the pope. But Considerazini in his work intorno ai Discorsi del Machiavelli (c. 1530; Observations on Machiavelli’s Discourses [On the Ten Books of Titus Livius]) criticized Machiavell’s basing his ideas on political science on Roman history.
Returning to Florence as papal representative after the fall of the republic, Guicciardini played an important role in suppressing the republicans. He was appointed governor of Bologna by Clemens in 1531, but was removed from this post in 1534. Thereupon, he returned to Florence, becoming the legal adviser to Duke Alessandro de Medici, and began working on a history book about events during his tenure. This work, which he rewrote in the following years, formed the basis of Storia d’Italia (History of Italy), in which he narrated the history of Italy between 1494-1534. He died before completing the final reading of this book, which is thought to have begun in 1536.
Guicciardini, duke of Florence, helped succeed Cosimo after Alessandro’s murder (1537). He hoped that this would limit the duke’s powers. Although he continued to take on important duties during the Cosimo period, these hopes were not realized and he could not have a say in the administration as much as he wanted. He spent his last years in his villa in Santa Margherita a Montici writing his masterpiece Storia d’Italia (History of Italy).
Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer Yıldırım
Source: Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM) Who is Iardini?