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The Eight

Florentine

1478

November 1

on Friday

The "Eight," who were in office, and their notary, were deposed, for having burnt certain books.

And on the same day, the Monte a Sansovino was lost; the garrison capitulating on condition that their persons and property should be respected. And everyone said that if the truce had not been made, the enemy would have had to break up their camp, as they were so short of provisions that they could not have held out more than three days. Our forces never chose to make a sortie. Hence came the evil; and everyone marvelled that the enemy were not completely victorious after this, for they won much glory.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was in the first quarter that night.
Sunrise in Monte San Sansovino was at 5:40 AM and sunset was at 5:47 PM.

1481

August 22

on Monday

2 years, 9 months, 25 days later

We apothecaries arranged that we should not keep our shops open on holidays till 22 in the evening (6 p.m.), as had hitherto been the custom, but that four shops in the whole city (to be chosen by lot) should remain open all day.(1)

This day it snowed in the mountains of Pistoia.

(1) With regard to this custom, I am pleased to add that on the 15th October, 1547, a decree was published by the Otto di Guardia e di Balia (the Eight), on the observance of the fetes, forbidding any work to be done on these days, and the shops to keep open, with certain exceptions, amongst which is the following: "And four apothecaries' shops, to be drawn by lot among the Arte (Guild), may remain open all day; the others may sell from 21 in the evening onwards" (5 p.m.).

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Astronomical Events

The moon was waning crescent that night.
Sunrise in Pistoia was at 5:58 AM and sunset was at 6:05 PM.

1482

March 14

on Tuesday

6 months, 24 days later

A chancellor of Count Girolamo was hung at the windows of the Bargello. He had been captured by one of the Altoviti,(1) who was a proscribed rebel, and in order to be pardoned, found out this man, and caught him between Piombino and Pisa; and he won his pardon.

(1) This must have been the famous Cola Montano, a Bolognese; not a chancellor, but maintained by Count Girolamo Riario, and the Pope, and the King of Naples, and all the enemies of Florence, during the war following the Conspiracy of the Pazzi. That he was taken by one of the Altoviti is not mentioned elsewhere. Brought to Florence, he was put in the prison of the Bargello or Captain of the Piazza dei Signori; where he wrote with his own hand a Confessione, which is preserved in the State Archives of Florence, amongst the Carte Strozziane, still unedited, but well worth publishing, as important contributions to the history of that time. The order of the Signori e Collegi to the Otto di Custodia e Balia, of the 12th March, for the execution of Montano, still exist in the said archives amongst the papers of these magistrates. (Trans.)

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Astronomical Events

The moon was waning crescent that night.
Sunrise in Pisa was at 6:06 AM and sunset was at 6:12 PM.
Sunrise in Piombino was at 6:06 AM and sunset was at 6:12 PM.
Sunrise in Florence was at 6:06 AM and sunset was at 6:12 PM.

1487

March 28

on Monday

5 years, 15 days later

The following case happened: A man was hung on the gallows here in Florence, and was taken down for dead, but was later found not to be so. He was carried to Santa Maria Nuova (hospital), and remained there till the 11th April. And those in charge at Santa Maria Nuova finding him of a bad nature, and hearing him talk of taking vengeance, etc., the "Eight" decided to have him hung a second time, and their sentence was carried out.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was waxing crescent that night.
Sunrise in Florence was at 6:02 AM and sunset was at 6:08 PM.

1488

March 12

on Monday

11 months, 20 days later

One Fra Bernardino,(1) of the Franciscan Order, having been elected preacher for Lent in Santa Maria del Fiore, preached very enthusiastically over and over again, persuading the people to make a Monte di Pieta, and to send away the Jews. As a consequence the boys got incensed against the Jews, and a number of them went to the house of a Jew called Manullino, who was a moneylender at the Vacca,(2) wanting to assassinate him and to pillage his premises. The "Eight," however, promptly sent their men to stop the mischief and published proclamations threatening offenders with the gallows. Thus the commotion was soon ended. The next morning, the 13th, the "Eight" sent to Fra Bernardino forbidding him to continue preaching, and despatched him to the Osservanza di San Miniato.(2) But even that did not satisfy them, and the morning after, Friday the 14th, the "Eight" sent their men again, some of them actually going in person, and commanded him to leave the neighbourhood entirely. This seemed a bad prognostic to those who were desirous to live a Christian life, as he was considered a saint. And it was not long before misfortunes happened to some of these "Eight": one of them broke his neck by falling from his horse, another this thing, and another that. Amongst the rest, that one who had gone in person to drive Fra Bernardino away from the Osservanza died mad in hospital. This the matter ended ill. God save us!

(1) The Beato Bernardino da Feltre.

(2) The Vacca was that piece of street which began between the houses of the archbishop's palace and the Ghetto, and led to the Piazza degli Orlandini. There was a money-changer's office in this spot in the fourteenth century also, and it belonged to a Christian.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was a new moon that night.

1494

December 2

on Sunday

6 years, 8 months, 26 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 5

on Wednesday

3 days later

Entry from "A Florentine Diary" by Luca Landucci:

The "Eight" began to arrest certain citizens and send them to the Podesta, that he should proceed against them.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was in the first quarter that night.

Agents

Luca Landucci (1436-1516), aged 58: apothecary; diarist

Source: Primary

Landucci, Luca, trans. Alice de Rosen Jervis, J.M. Dent & Sons, 1927. "A Florentine Diary", p. 74

1495

January 3

on Thursday

29 days later

3rd January (Saturday). The ambassadors returned from Pisa, without having concluded anything; and we were in much fear about the place. It was said also that Piero de' Medici had gone to the King of France to complain of having been banished, because he had kept his word; and that the king had been gracious to him; and that the said Piero made threats, especially against a certain Girolamo Martegli, who was deputed to find Piero's hidden property.(1)

On the same day the sentence was passed that Ser Giovanni son of Ser Bartolomeo should be sent to Volterra into the vault of a fortress; and Ser Zanobi, who had been notary to the "Eight," was fined 500 florins, and confined in Florence; and Ser Ceccone was confined in the Stinche, together with others who had been captured.

(1) Martelli was one of the three citizens deputed by the Republic, on the 10th December, pro computo Comunis bonorum heredum Laurentii, qui una cum tribus ex creditoribus doctorum heredum, propterea deputandorum, habeant auctoritatum cognoscendi et judicandi etc.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was in the first quarter that night.
Sunrise in Pisa was at 6:01 AM and sunset was at 6:09 PM.
Sunrise in Florence was at 6:01 AM and sunset was at 6:09 PM.
Sunrise in Volterra was at 6:01 AM and sunset was at 6:09 PM.

1495

January 6

on Sunday

3 days later

6th January (Tuesday). The Epiphany. The "Eight," in searching for money, found in San Marco 1200 florins belonging to Ser Giovanni. Some gave the blame to Fra Girolamo; but in preaching he exonerated himself, saying that he had not known anything of this money, nor had he been applied to with regard to it.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was waxing gibbous that night.

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