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City of Pisa

Pisa body politic

1494

November 13

on Tuesday

We heard that the Pisans had risen and taken possession of the city; and pulling down a certain marble marzocco, had dragged it all over Pisa, and then thrown it into the Arno, crying, "Liberta!" We also heard that Piero and his brothers were at Bologna; and such a crowd of French and Swiss were coming into Florence, that there was great confusion and alarm and suspicion amongst all classes. You may think what it was to have all this crowd in our houses, and everything left as usual, with the women about, and to have to serve them with whatever they needed, at the greatest inconvenience.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was a full moon that night.
Sunrise in Arno was at 5:41 AM and sunset was at 5:48 PM.
Sunrise in Bologna was at 5:41 AM and sunset was at 5:48 PM.
Sunrise in Pisa was at 5:41 AM and sunset was at 5:48 PM.
Sunrise in Florence was at 5:41 AM and sunset was at 5:48 PM.

1494

November 17

on Saturday

4 days later

The King of France entered Florence at 22 in the evening (6 p.m.) by the Porta a San Friano, and passed through the Piazza (de' Signori), proceeding so slowly that it was already 24 (8 p.m.) before he reached Santa Maria del Fiore. He dismounted at the steps, and walked up to the High Altar, there being so many torches that they made a double row from the door to the altar, leaving a way clear in the middle, along which he went with his barons and all his suite, amidst such tumultuous shouting of Viva Francia as was never heard. Only think that all Florence was there, either in the church or outside. Everyone shouted, great and small, old and young, and all from their hearts, without flattery. When he was seen on foot he seemed to the people somewhat less imposing, for he was infact a very small man. Nevertheless there was no one who did not feel favourably disposed towards him. Therefore it should have been eas tomake him understand that our hearts are innocent of guile, and that we are truly devoted to him; so that he ought to feel moved towards us in uncommon measure, and to trust us absolutely. This is really the case, and he will see in the future what the faith of the Florentines signifies. Upon coming out of church, he remounted his horse and rode on to the palace of Piero de' Medici, amidst continued cries of Viva Francia. Never was such joy seen before, or so much honour done to anyone, with heartfelt sincerity, as we were in hopes that he would bring us peace and rest. In the end it proved not to be so, as he took Pisa from us and gave it to the Pisans, which he had no right to do, seeing that he could not give what was not his.(1)

(1) On the same day the Signoria itself decreed that as long as the king remained in Florence each householder should keep a light burning every night in a window looking on to the street, from eight o'clock in the evening till one o'clock in the morning. And there was also a debate whether the keys of the Porte a San Frediano, San Gallo, and San Piero Gattolini (now Porta Romana) should be given to him.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was waning gibbous that night.
Sunrise in Florence was at 5:42 AM and sunset was at 5:49 PM.
Sunrise in Pisa was at 5:42 AM and sunset was at 5:49 PM.

1494

December 2

on Sunday

15 days later

A parlamento was held in the Piazza de' Signori at about 22 in the evening (6 p.m.), and all the Gonfaloni came into the Piazza, each with his respective citizens behind him unarmed. But there were a number of armed men placed at all the ways leading into the Piazza; and many articles and statutes were read out, which formed several folios. Before beginning the reading it was asked whether two-thirds of the citizens were present; and the bystanders said that it was so. Then the reading began, and it was declared in the said articles that all the laws from 1434 onwards were annulled, and that the Settanta, the Dieci, and the Otto di Balia were also abolished, and that the government must be carried on by the Council of the People and the Commune, and that the balloting-bags must be closed and the names drawn by lot, as was usual in communes; and an election should take place as soon as possible. For the present, twenty of the noblest and ablest men should be appointed who would do the work of the Signoria and the other offices, together with the Signori and Collegi, until the election should be arranged. And the citizens must be content with the result of the ballot. And the said twenty men should among them, who should attend to the war with Pisa and to other necessary things.(1)

(1) Many of the things decreed in this assembly are merely a confirmation of the orders given by the Signoria in November, and to which it was wished to give a ceremonious sanction. The offices entirely abolished were the Consiglio del Cento (Council of the Hundred, appointed under Lorenzo after 1480); the Settanta (the Seventy, also instituted under Lorenzo; both these acted as if they had full powers, without summoning an assembly); the Dodici Procuratori (chosen from the Seventy every six months, who looked after internal affairs); the Otto di Pratica (also chosen from the Seventy every six months, who were ministers of foreign affairs), and the Accoppiatori (these ten officials were only appointed during the time of the elections, and had gradually usurped more and more power under Lorenzo). The rest were only reformed.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was waxing crescent that night.

1494

December 14

on Friday

12 days later

14th December (Sunday). We heard how those Frenchmen who were marking the houses in Rome had been driven away, and many had been killed; the Romans wishing to defend themselves and not accept the Frenchmen in their city.

This same day we heard that the Pope and the cardinals had entered the castle of Sant' Angelo, and that the Duke of Calabria had arrived there with a large force, so that it was judged that it would fare badly with the French. It was also said that the king had sent a proclamation to Pisa, to the effect that the Pisans should submit to the Florentines; otherwise the Florentines would make such war upon them that they would be entirely destroyed, at the expense of the said King of France; that is to say that the money which he was to receive would be used instead for the cost of such an expedition; which was not true, but there was always a great deal of talk.(1)

The same day Fra Girolamo did his utmost in the pulpit to persuade Florence to adopt a good form of government; he preached in Santa Maria del Fiore every day, and to-day which was a Sunday, he wished that there should be no women, but only men; he wished that only the Gonfalonier and one of the Signori should remain in the Palagio, and that all the offices of Florence should be there; and he preached much about State matters, and that we ought to love and fear God, and love the common weal; and no one must set himself up proudly above the rest. He always favoured the people and he insisted that no one ought to be put to death, but there must be other forms of punishment; and he continued to preach in this manner every morning. Many forms were drawn up, and there was much controversy among the citizens, so that every day it was expected that the bell would be rung for a parlamento.

(1) There must have been some truth in it, as we read in the Memoriale of Portoveneri, where there are so many notices of the rebellion and war of Pisa, that on the 4th December there reached this city a herald from the king with the articles which the latter had agreed to with the Florentines, in which it is said: "Everything must be given back that formerly belonged to the Florentines. And this day the said messenger of the King has gone to Sarzana and to Pietrasanta and to Fivizzano and to Bagnone and to Castel-Nuovo and all Luligiana, to consign it to the Florentines." This was agreed to in the treaty.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was a full moon that night.
Sunrise in Castelnuovo was at 5:52 AM and sunset was at 5:59 PM.
Sunrise in Pietrasanta was at 5:52 AM and sunset was at 5:59 PM.
Sunrise in Rome was at 5:52 AM and sunset was at 5:59 PM.
Sunrise in Sarzana was at 5:52 AM and sunset was at 5:59 PM.
Sunrise in Florence was at 5:52 AM and sunset was at 5:59 PM.

1495

January 12

on Saturday

29 days later

12th January (Monday). Soldiers were mustered for Pisa and sent there, and we hoped to win it back shortly.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was a full moon that night.

1495

January 20

on Sunday

8 days later

20th January. Many Florentines arrived here, about 400, driven out from Pisa by the Pisans, and having left their wives and children and their shops, after being very ill-treated.(1)

(1) Of this bad treatment there is testimony even in the Pisan documents. A letter of the 27th January, 1494 (1495, New Style), refers to an apothecary who "on his departure was nearly dead," and "his wife was insulted and frightened, . . . and threatened with being carried off" (Archivo di Stato di Pisa Lettere agli Anziani, i. 29).

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Astronomical Events

The moon was in the last quarter that night.

1495

January 21

on Monday

1 day later

21st January. Our commissioners left for Pisa, and took with them many courageous young men fully determined to punish the Pisans. We hired many soldiers also, and large bodies of infantry went from the neighbourhood of Pistoia and all the country round, without pay. Everyone was ready to go there, thinking that the whole district would be sacked. No one thought much of their power of resistance; but we were mistaken, as will be seen later, for they were very persistent and united in their defence.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was waning crescent that night.
Sunrise in Pisa was at 6:08 AM and sunset was at 6:16 PM.
Sunrise in Pistoia was at 6:08 AM and sunset was at 6:16 PM.

1495

January 28

on Monday

7 days later

28th January. We heard that our troops had captured many forts from the Pisans and were making raids all over the country.(1)

(1) See Ammirato and Portoveneri.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was waxing crescent that night.
Sunrise in Pisa was at 6:10 AM and sunset was at 6:17 PM.

1495

March 2

on Saturday

1 month, 3 days later

2nd March (Monday). Our troops made a raid into the Pisan territory, and destroyed their mills, and took many prisoners and much cattle.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was in the first quarter that night.

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