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For Reasons of State: Political Executions, Republicanism, and the Medici in Florence, 1480–1560

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 November 2018

Nicholas Scott Baker
Macquarie University, Sydney


Prior to the late fifteenth century in Florence, the losers of political conflicts routinely faced exile as punishment for their perceived crimes. Following the Pazzi conspiracy of 1478, however, such political criminals increasingly received death sentences rather than banishment. This article explores how the changing nature of punishment for political crimes in Renaissance Florence from the fifteenth to the sixteenth centuries can be read as a barometer of political change in the city. It examines the relationship between the growing number of political executions and the long transformation of Florence from a republic to a principality, with reference to the broader context of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Italy.

Research Article
Copyright © 2009 Renaissance Society of America

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I presented an early version of this article at The Renaissance Society of America's Annual Meeting in Chicago, 3–5 April 2008. I am grateful to Matthew Vester for inviting me to participate in the panel and to the several members of the audience who asked perceptive questions. I am also grateful to Brian Maxson, John Paoletti, and Renaissance Quarterly's two anonymous readers for their useful advice and criticism. A Research Fellowship from the Graduate School at Northwestern University funded the archival research that appears in the article. All translations are the author's unless otherwise noted.


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