- La congiura dei Pazzi: I documenti del conflitto fra Lorenzo de’ Medici e Sisto IV. Le bolle di scomunica, la “Florentina synodus,” e la “Dissentio” insorta tra la Santità del Papa e i Fiorentini. Edizione critica e commento ed. by Tobias Daniels
“The pen is mightier than the sword.” So spoke Cardinal Richelieu’s character in Edward Bulwer Lytton’s popular 1839 play Richelieu; Or the Conspiracy. The playwright could just as easily have written that line about the hostile propaganda campaigns [End Page 159] launched between Pope Sixtus IV and the Florentines that erupted following the Pazzi Conspiracy. Tobias Daniels’s critical edition and comment brings together for the first time Sixtus IV’s three bulls of excommunication against Lorenzo de’ Medici and his Florentine supporters; the Florentina Synodus, a Florentine defense against them written by Gentile Becchi; and a further little-known papal response, the Dissentio. The latter, aimed to arouse anti-Medici feeling at the imperial court in Germany, was apparently not widely circulated in Italy. The most famous document associated with the Pazzi Conspiracy, Angelo Poliziano’s defense of Lorenzo and condemnation of the Pazzi in his Coniurationis commentarium, is not included in this collection.
The second half of the volume contains the documents in their original Latin. Daniels’s meticulous editing records numerous variations in manuscript and incunabular versions of the texts, and he provides erudite notes on persons and events referenced. Close editing is labor-intensive and commendable work, as is the assemblage of the texts themselves. Placed side-by-side, they demonstrate that the exchange of invective reached beyond personal animosities between Sixtus IV and Lorenzo. Rather, it had wider ecclesiastical and European import when viewed in the context of the grander fifteenth-century contests between papal and conciliar authority in which swirled many a war of words. Becchi crafted the Florentine Synodus for Lorenzo to use in drumming up interest, especially at the court of French king Louis XI, for summoning a church council to depose the pope for immoral conduct and abuse of authority. On the other side, in the bulls and Dissentio, Sixtus IV and his secretaries sought to arose support for the expulsion of Lorenzo as unjust tyrant of Florence and for disrespect of the Church.
The historical introduction in the first half of the volume leaves one uneasy on several counts for its lacunae and unsubstantiated attributions. The author perememptorily excludes discussing the political implications in the Pazzi Conspiracy regarding the roles of King Ferrante of Naples and Federigo da Montefeltro, duke of Urbino. The latter served as condottiere in papal hire and, according to the most recent scholarship by Marcello Simonetta, was certainly implicated in the anti-Medici plot. Strangely, Simonetta’s work (New York, 2008) remains unacknowledged by the author. Yet at the same time, Daniels goes into excruiating detail on other aspects of the Pazzi Conspiracy, most of it derived from the many publications of Riccardo Fubini, author of the preface. In his treatment of the Synodus, Daniels ignores Simonetta’s 2012 edition and commentary, which he dismisses with the erroneous statement that it had been based on a later printed edition by Fabroni rather than an autograph manuscript in the Florentine state archive. For another example, when discussing Giovanni Caroli’s dissent from the Florentines’ call for a church council (pp. 76–78), Daniels makes no mention, even in a footnote, of recent scholarship on the Dominican friar and his views on the Medici. The massive bibliography at the volume’s end obscures these and other lacunae. Daniels’s work is useful but oddly skewed. [End Page 160]