GUICCIARDINI, Francesco

(1483-1540)
Francesco Guicciardini, a Florentine aristocrat and statesman, served as am­bassador and administrator for the Medici for many years; from his privileged vantage point within diplomatic circles, he also wrote highly perceptive analyses of Florentine and Italian history. Born in the benevolent reign of Lorenzo de Medici, Guicciardini in his youth saw the expulsion of the Medici from Flor­ence, as well as the short-lived populist regime of the fiery preacher Girolamo Savonarola that ended with the friar s death in 1498.
After receiving his law degree, Guicciardini made an ambitious marriage that placed him firmly in the ranks of the highest aristocracy of Florence. He first received communal honor at age twenty-eight as ambassador to the king of Aragon. Recalled from Spain in 1514, he then served the Medici in their capacity as the restored rulers of Florence and was in the employ of the Medici popes Leo X* and Clement VII. By 1527, however, his career had suffered on both fronts: the league he had helped to negotiate against the holy Roman emperor had failed, and Rome had been sacked mercilessly by German mercenaries; and the Florentines had risen in revolt, had expelled the Medici, and had established a new republic. In voluntary retirement at first, Guicciardini was eventually labeled a rebel and an enemy of the new republic during its brief life.
When a coalition of imperial and papal forces restored Medici rule in Flor­ence, Guicciardini too reentered the city, where he proceeded to prosecute lead­ers of the rebellious republic vigorously. He left the city briefly to serve as papal governor of Bologna, then returned to Florence as close advisor to the Medici duke Alexander. When the duke was assassinated in 1537, Guicciardini saw that he had no further part to play in Florentine politics and retired to compose his masterpiece, Storia d' Italia (The History of Italy).
Guicciardini s own life illustrated the limited choices and upsets of fortune available even to the wealthy and well-connected. So too do his many writings. As a youth he had already composed his memoirs and his first draft of the Storie fiorentine (History of Florence). In his first ambassadorial post in Spain, Guic-ciardini began his Ricordi politici e civili (Political Maxims), terse and cryptic statements about human nature and the mutability of circumstances. In these and his later Storia d' Italia, Guicciardini noted the influence of particular in­dividuals as well as that of coalitions and larger interests. Though allied with the Medici politically, Guicciardini preferred republican government, but one in which learned aristocrats like himself played a prominent part. Ultimately shut out of real political life, he managed nonetheless in his trenchant writings to indicate what fundamentally had caused the ruin of Florentine republicanism and of Italian independence: the lack of wise rulers, or, at the very least, wise advisors like Francesco Guiccardini to whom these rulers listened.
Bibliography
F. Gilbert, Machiavelli and Guicciardini: Politics and History in Sixteenth-Century Flor­ence, 1965.
M. Phillips, Francesco Guicciardini: The Historian's Craft, 1977.
Alison Williams Lewin

Renaissance and Reformation 1500-1620: A Biographical Dictionary. . 2001.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Guicciardini,francesco —     Francesco Guicciardini     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► Francesco Guicciardini     An historian and statesman; born at Florence, 1483; died there, 23 May, 1540. His parents, Piero di Jacopo Guicciardini and Simona Gianfigliazzi, belonged to… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Guicciardini, Francesco — • Biographical article by Edmund G. Gardner on the historian and statesman, who died in 1540 Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006 …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Guicciardini, Francesco — ▪ Italian historian and statesman born March 6, 1483, Florence died May 22, 1540, Santa Margherita a Montici, near Florence       Florentine statesman, diplomat, and historian, author of the most important contemporary history of Italy, Storia d… …   Universalium

  • Guicciardini, Francesco — (1483 1540)    Florentine politician, historian, and political theorist. Born into a prominent family, he received a humanistic education, studied law at Ferrara and Padua, and then took up a political career that began with service to the… …   Historical Dictionary of Renaissance

  • Guicciardini, Francesco — ► (1483 1540) Historiador y político italiano. Embajador en la corte de Fernando el Católico en 1511. Más tarde le confió el papa León X la administración de Módena y Reggio. Escribió una Historia de Italia (1514) y una Historia florentina (1509) …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Guicciardini — Guicciardini, Francesco …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Francesco Guicciardini — Francesco Guicciardini. Francesco Guicciardini (Florencia, 6 de marzo de 1483 – Arcetri, 22 de mayo de 1540) fue un filósofo, historiador y político italiano. Contenido 1 …   Wikipedia Español

  • Francesco Guicciardini — (March 6, 1483 May 22, 1540) was an Italian historian and statesman. A friend and critic of Niccolò Machiavelli, he is considered one of the major political writers of the Italian Renaissance. Guicciardini is considered as the Father of Modern… …   Wikipedia

  • Francesco Guicciardini — Francesco Guicciardini, Standbild in den Uffizien Francesco …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Francesco della Rovere — Papst Sixtus IV. ernennt Platina im griechischen Saal des Vatikans zum Präfekten der Bibliothek (Fresko von Melozzo da Forlì, ca. 1477 Sixtus IV. (Francesco della Rovere; * 21. Juli 1414 in Celle bei Savona, Ligurien; † …   Deutsch Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.