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Nobility

979

After the death of Otho II., his son, Otho III., was elected Emperor, and crowned by Pope Gregory V., in the year of Christ 979, and this Otho reigned twenty-four years. After that he was crowned, he went into Apulia on pilgrimage to Mount S. Angelo, and afterwards returned by way of France into Germany, leaving Italy in good and peaceful estate. But when he was returned to Germany, Crescentius, the consul and lord of Rome, drave away the said Gregory from the papacy, and set a Greek therein, which was bishop of Piacenza, and very wise; but when the Emperor Otho heard this he was very wrath, and with his army returned to Italy, and besieged in Rome the said Crescentius and his Pope in the castle of S. Angelo, for therein had they taken refuge; and he took the said castle by siege, and caused Crescentius to be beheaded, and Pope John XVI. to have his eyes put out, and his hands cut off; and he restored his Pope Gregory to his chair, which was his kinsman by race; and leaving Rome and Italy in good estate, he returned to his country of Germany, and there-70- died in prosperity. With the said Otho III. there came into Italy the Marquis Hugh; I take it this must have been the marquis of Brandenburg, forasmuch as there is no other marquisate in Germany. His sojourn in Tuscany liked him so well, and especially our city of Florence, that he caused his wife to come thither, and took up his abode in Florence, as vicar of Otho, the Emperor. It came to pass, as it pleased God, that when he was riding to the chase in the country of Bonsollazzo, he lost sight, in the wood, of all his followers, and came out, as he supposed, at a workshop where iron was wont to be wrought. Here he found men, black and deformed, who, in place of iron, seemed to be tormenting men with fire and with hammer, and he asked what this might be: and they answered and said that these were damned souls, and that to similar pains was condemned the soul of the Marquis Hugh by reason of his worldly life, unless he should repent: who, with great fear, commended himself to the Virgin Mary, and when the vision was ended, he remained so pricked in the spirit, that after his return to Florence, he sold all his patrimony in Germany, and commanded that seven monasteries should be founded: the first was the Badia of Florence, to the honour of S. Mary; the second, that of Bonsollazzo, where he beheld the vision; the third was founded at Arezzo; the fourth at Poggibonizzi; the fifth at the Verruca of Pisa; the sixth at the city of Castello; the last was the one at Settimo; and all these abbeys he richly endowed, and lived afterwards with his wife in holy life, and had no son, and died in the city of Florence, on S. Thomas' Day, in the year of Christ 1006, and was buried with great honour in the Badia of Florence. And whilst the said Hugh was-71- living, he made in Florence many knights of the family of the Giandonati, of the Pulci, of the Nerli, of the counts of Gangalandi, and of the family della Bella, which all for love of him, retained and bore his arms, barry, white and red, with divers charges.

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Astronomical Events

Source: Primary

Villani, Giovanni. Trans. by Rose E. Selfe. "Villani's Chronicle". Archibald Constable & Co. Ltd., London, 1906: pp 70-1.

987

8 years, 2 days later

Hugh Capet, as we before made mention, the lineage of Charles the Great having failed, was made king of France in the year of Christ 987. This Hugh was duke of Orleans (and by some it is held that his ancestors were all dukes and of high lineage), son of Hugh the Great, and his mother was sister to Otho I. of Germany; but by the more part it is said that his father was a great and rich burgher of Paris, a butcher, or trader in beasts by birth; but by reason of his great riches and possessions, when the duchy of Orleans was vacant, and only a daughter was left, he had her to wife, whence was born the said Hugh Capet, which was very wise and of great possessions, and the kingdom of France was wholly governed by him; and when the lineage of Charles the Great failed, as was aforesaid, he was made king, and reigned twenty years.

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Astronomical Events

Source: Primary

Villani, Giovanni. Trans. by Rose E. Selfe. "Villani's Chronicle". Archibald Constable & Co. Ltd., London, 1906: pp 71.

1441

October 25

on Monday

455 years, 1 month, 12 days later

Francesco I Sforza marries Bianca Maria Visconti in Cremona.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was waxing gibbous that night.

1452

May 31

on Monday

10 years, 7 months, 11 days later

Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, officially declares war on Ghent.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was waxing gibbous that night.
Sunrise in Ghent was at 5:52 AM and sunset was at 6:00 PM.

Source: Primary

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1452

1452

October

4 months, 3 days later

English troops under John Talbot, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury, land in Guyenne, France, and retake most of the province without a fight.

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Astronomical Events

Source: Primary

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1452

1454

February 22

on Wednesday

1 year, 4 months, 24 days later

A letter from Guillaume Dufay to Piero and Giovanni de' Medici -- believed to have been written on February 22, 1454 -- mentions Dufay's motet, called 'Lamentatio sanctae matris ecclesiae Constantinopolitanae' (Lamentations for the fall of Constantinople). It is thought that the piece was to have been composed in the context of the "Feast of the Pheasant", a banquet and extravagant political show organised in Lille by Philip the Good of Burgundy on 17 February 1454. Its purpose was to propagate the idea of a crusade for the recapture of the city. It is, however, unclear whether the piece was ever performed on that occasion.

Attachments

'Lamentatio sanctae matris ecclesiae Constantinopolitanae' by Guillaume Dufay The motet is believed to have been composed in the context of the "Feast of the Pheasant", a banquet and extravagant political show organised in Lille by Philip the Good of Burgundy on 17 February 1454. Its purpose was to propagate the idea of a crusade for the recapture of the city. It is, however, unclear whether the piece was ever performed on that occasion. (Wikipedia)

Astronomical Events

The moon was waning crescent that night.

Source: Primary

Guillaume Dufay; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lamentatio_sanctae_matris_ecclesiae_Constantinopolitanae

1465

April 10

on Monday

11 years, 1 month, 20 days later

There passed through Florence a son of Don Ferante, King of Naples, on his way to Milan to fetch the daughter of the Duke of Milan to be wedded to his brother. This lad was twelve or thirteen years old; he was made much of, and was lodged at Santa Maria Novella. And afterwards he returned through Florence with the bride, accompanied by many signori and dukes, with a large troop of horse; and besides other things, there were so many damsels and matrons in his train that it was magnificent. And at this time a man was found coining false money, and he was beheaded.

Attachments
Portrait of Francesco I Sforza, Duke of Milan
Portrait bust traditionally identified with Ippolita Maria Sforza, daughter of Francesco I, by Francesco Laurana
Portrait bust of Don Ferante, King of Naples
Alfonso II, brother of Duke Ferante, King of Naples

Astronomical Events

The moon was a full moon that night.
Sunrise in Milan was at 5:57 AM and sunset was at 6:04 PM.
Sunrise in Florence was at 5:57 AM and sunset was at 6:04 PM.

1466

March 8

on Thursday

11 months, 2 days later

Francesco I Sforza dies in Milan, leaving the throne to his first-born son, Galeazzo Maria Sforza.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was in the last quarter that night.
Sunrise in Milan was at 6:08 AM and sunset was at 6:14 PM.

1471

May 26

on Friday

5 years, 2 months, 20 days later

I bought some of the first sugar that came here from Madeira; which island had been subdued a few years before by the King of Portugal, and sugar had begun to be grown there; and I had some of the first.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was in the first quarter that night.
Sunrise in Madeira was at 5:52 AM and sunset was at 5:59 PM.

1472

May 6

on Monday

11 months, 16 days later

The Bishop of Volterra came as ambassador, but settled nothing. And on the 7th two mortars were loaded to go there. And on the 10th the Count of Urbino went there with men-at-arms; and by the 19th he took all their castles; and on the 24th he took many prisoners and captured their bastion. And on the 1st June their ambassadors arrived here to demand terms, and almost came to agreement, but everything was upset when they returned there. And so far two mortars had been used. And on the 8th June, the attacking party beheaded one of the Bartolini; and on the 9th they used another mortar.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was a new moon that night.
Sunrise in Volterra was at 5:52 AM and sunset was at 5:59 PM.

1476

3 years, 8 months later

Galeazzo Maria Sforza is assassinated, leaving his throne to his seven-year old son, Gian Galeazo Sforza.

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Agents

Gian Galeazo Sforza (1469-1494), aged 7: duke

1476

November 26

on Sunday

11 months later

Vlad the Impaler declares himself reigning Prince of Wallachia for the third and last time. He was killed on the march to Bucharest, probably before the end of December. His head was sent to his old enemy Sultan Mehmed of the Ottomans.

Attachments
A copy of a contemporary portrait of Vlad Tepes, the Impaler

Astronomical Events

The moon was waxing gibbous that night.
Sunrise in Bucharest was at 5:44 AM and sunset was at 5:52 PM.

Source: Primary

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1476

1476

December 26

on Tuesday

1 month later

We heard that the Duke of Milan(1) had been stabbed and killed by one of his citizens called Giovanni Andrea,(2) who was moved to commit the crime by certain unjust acts of the duke. He was put to death by the populace, out of zeal for the common good. There were several conspirators; and the first who reached the duke was this Giovanni Andrea, who feigned to offer him a letter with one hand whilst he stabbed him with the other. It happened as with Scevola the Roman, when they took life for life. Such men are rarely found. And I believe that they carry out their crimes by divine permission. This was on the day of Santo Stefano, in church, during the mass. And when they tried to flee, they could not, because the crowd of people, and mostly the women who hindered them by spreading out their gowns(3) in such a way that the barons of the duke, and chiefly a certain Ghezzo who stood next to him, caught and slew the said Giovanni Andrea. And three others were taken and hung. Some people said that these three who were caught were quartered by four horses.

(1) Galeazzo Sforza. (Trans.)

(2) Lampugnano.

(3) The women used to sit on the floor during these long ceremonies. (Trans.)

Attachments
Woodcut depicting the assassination of Galeazzo Maria Sforza, Duke of Milan
Portrait of Galeazzo Maria Sforza, Duke of Milan
Giovanni Andrea, the assassin of the Duke of Milan, as depicted in Assassin's Creed

Astronomical Events

The moon was waxing gibbous that night.

1478

February 18

on Monday

1 year, 1 month, 24 days later

George, Duke of Clarence, convicted of treason against his older brother Edward IV of England, is privately executed in the Tower of London.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was a full moon that night.

Source: Primary

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1478

1478

July 10

on Wednesday

4 months, 22 days later

Another ambassador came from the King of France; he was going to the Pope, and was lodged in the house of Giovanni Tornabuoni.

And at this time the horsemen of the Duke of Milan came by the Pisan road, and passed near Poggibonizi, and the troops of the king continued to approach.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was waxing gibbous that night.
Sunrise in Poggibonsi was at 6:00 AM and sunset was at 6:07 PM.

Agents

Pope Sixtus IV (1414-1484), aged 64: pope
Gian Galeazo Sforza (1469-1494), aged 9: duke

Source: Primary

Luca Landucci; "A Florentine Diary"; p. 21

1478

July 13

on Saturday

3 days later

The King of Naples sent a herald to Florence, with the proclamation displayed, stamped with the arms of the king, and he went to the Signoria to declare war, being deputed to tell us that the king and the Holy Father were ready to oblige us in every way, if we sent away Lorenzo de' Medici: to which the citizens would not agree, and so war began.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was a full moon that night.
Sunrise in Florence was at 6:00 AM and sunset was at 6:08 PM.

1478

July 31

on Wednesday

18 days later

Our men took much booty in the neighbourhood of Volterra. He who seeks evil, finds it. It was not very intelligent of them (the Sienese) to let themselves be drawn into making war in their own territory, for they will suffer two-thirds of the damage, and we the rest; whilst the King of Naples and the Pope who brought it about, will get off easily.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was a new moon that night.
Sunrise in Volterra was at 6:01 AM and sunset was at 6:08 PM.

1478

December 3

on Tuesday

4 months, 5 days later

The traitor from Pistoia, called Piero Baldinotti,(1) was taken in the executioner's cart and hung, and the son was imprisoned for life in the Stinche.

And at this time our soldiers went into quarters in the Pisan territory and elsewhere, and also the Capitano.

(1) He had wished to deliver Pistoia from the yoke of the Florentines, and give it to the King of Naples.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was in the first quarter that night.
Sunrise in Pisa was at 5:47 AM and sunset was at 5:54 PM.
Sunrise in Pistoia was at 5:47 AM and sunset was at 5:54 PM.

1479

29 days later

Ludovico Sforza is empowered as the Duke of Bari.

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Astronomical Events

Agents

Ludovico Sforza (1452-1508), aged 27: duke

1479

January 10

on Friday

9 days later

Four French ambassadors arrived at Florence, two of whom were going to the Pope and two to the King of Naples. They declared to the Signoria here, that they were going to make peace in Italy amongst Christians, and to settle all differences, giving judgement according to reason, and protested that their king would proceed against anyone who hindered peace; if the Pope were the one to be obdurate, he would be summoned to a Council; and when peace had been made, all the powers would undertake a crusade against the Unbelievers. They left on the 16th January.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was waning gibbous that night.
Sunrise in Florence was at 6:05 AM and sunset was at 6:12 PM.

1479

January 17

on Friday

7 days later

A certain hermit came here to preach and threatened many ills. He had been at Volterra, serving at a leper hospital. He was a lad of twenty-four, barefoot, with a wallet on his back; and he declared that St. John and the Angel Raphael had appeared to him. And one morning he went up on to the ringhierra of the Signori to preach, but the "Eight" sent him away. And each day some incident happened.

And at this time, a son of the Duke of Milan,(1) who was confined within certain boundaries in the territory of Pisa, fled from there, and went to Genoa to the Signor Roberto,(2) and joined him.

(1) This was Ludovico Sforza, called Il Moro, uncle to the reigning duke, and at that moment exiled.

(2) Roberto da Sanseverino.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was waning crescent that night.
Sunrise in Genoa was at 6:07 AM and sunset was at 6:14 PM.
Sunrise in Pisa was at 6:07 AM and sunset was at 6:14 PM.
Sunrise in Volterra was at 6:07 AM and sunset was at 6:14 PM.

1479

February 8

on Saturday

22 days later

Four galleys reached the Port of Pisa, two from the West and two from Barbary, which had joined forces. They came in great terror, for fear of the fleet of the king and the Genoese. It was considered a great piece of news.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was a full moon that night.
Sunrise in Pisa was at 6:11 AM and sunset was at 6:18 PM.

1479

April 18

on Friday

2 months, 9 days later

The plague had increased to such an extent that I went away to my villa at Dicomano with all my family; leaving my apprentices to attend to the shop.

At this time Count Carlo came to Florence, and was appointed a Capitano, and two separate camps were formed, he going into the Perugian territory and defeating the papal troops, which departed utterly routed. And after this the ducal forces(1) could have been broken up; but through the fault of our Capitano, the Duke of Ferrara, and through the dissensions amongst the citizens, no action was taken, or else the enemy would certainly have been conquered. The Duke of Calabria pitched his camp before Colle. People continually deceive us, and we cannot be victorious, as God punishes us for our sins.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was waning crescent that night.
Sunrise in Perugia was at 5:55 AM and sunset was at 6:02 PM.
Sunrise in Florence was at 5:55 AM and sunset was at 6:02 PM.
Sunrise in Dicomano was at 5:55 AM and sunset was at 6:02 PM.
Sunrise in Colle di Buggiano was at 5:55 AM and sunset was at 6:02 PM.

1479

November 15

on Saturday

7 months, 1 day later

The Duke of Calabria took Colle di Valdelsa. He had besieged it for about seven months before he was able to take it; the mortars had been fired against it 1024 times, so that the greater part of the walls was destroyed. And now the enemy went into quarters.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was a new moon that night.

1479

December 6

on Saturday

21 days later

Lorenzo de' Medici left Florence and went to the king at Naples.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was in the last quarter that night.
Sunrise in Florence was at 5:48 AM and sunset was at 5:55 PM.
Sunrise in Naples was at 5:48 AM and sunset was at 5:55 PM.

1479

December 23

on Tuesday

17 days later

Bernardo Bandini de' Baroncegli was captured at Constantinople, the Grand Turk having given him up. He had fled from Florence when Giuliano de' Medici was murdered, believing that his life would be safe at Constantinople.

News arrived that the Duke of Calabria had taken possession of Siena, but it was not true. However, to all intents and purposes, he was master of the place, for the Sienese were helpless, having left him come in with all his troops, and he did what he chose.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was waxing gibbous that night.
Sunrise in Constantinople was at 5:56 AM and sunset was at 6:03 PM.
Sunrise in Florence was at 5:56 AM and sunset was at 6:03 PM.
Sunrise in Siena was at 5:56 AM and sunset was at 6:03 PM.

1480

9 days later

Cardinal della Rovere is sent as legate to the Netherlands and France to settle the quarrel concerning the Burgundian inheritance between Louis XI and Maximilian of Austria, to obtain the help of France against the Turks, and to effect the liberation of Cardinal Balue whom Louis had held in strict custody since 1469 on account of treasonable acts.

Attachments
Giuliano della Rovere, as cardinal (left), with uncle and patron Francesco della Rovere, Pope Sixtus IV (right)
Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor (1519)
"Louis XI visiting the Cardinal La Balue", by Jean-Leon Gerome

Astronomical Events

Agents

Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor (1459-1519), aged 21: king
Pope Julius II (1443-1513), aged 37: pope; cardinal
Cardinal Jean Balue (1421-1491), aged 59: cardinal
King Louis XI (1423-1483), aged 57: king

1480

Letter to the Duke of Milan

Having, most illustrious lord, seen and considered the experiments of all those who pose as masters in the art of inventing instruments of war, and finding that their inventions differ in no way from those in common use, I am emboldened, without prejudice to anyone, to solicit an appointment of acquainting your Excellency with certain of my secrets.

  1. I can construct bridges which are very light and strong and very portable, with which to pursue and defeat the enemy; and others more solid, which resist fire or assault, yet are easily removed and placed in position; and I can also burn and destroy those of the enemy.

  2. In case of a siege I can cut off water from the trenches and make pontoons and scaling ladders and other similar contrivances.

  3. If by reason of the elevation or the strength of its position a place cannot be bombarded, I can demolish every fortress if its foundations have not been set on stone.

  4. I can also make a kind of cannon which is light and easy of transport, with which to hurl small stones like hail, and of which the smoke causes great terror to the enemy, so that they suffer heavy loss and confusion.

  5. I can noiselessly construct to any prescribed point subterranean passages either straight or winding, passing if necessary underneath trenches or a river.

  6. I can make armoured wagons carrying artillery, which shall break through the most serried ranks of the enemy, and so open a safe passage for his infantry.

  7. If occasion should arise, I can construct cannon and mortars and light ordnance in shape both ornamental and useful and different from those in common use.

  8. When it is impossible to use cannon I can supply in their stead catapults, mangonels, trabocchi, and other instruments of admirable efficiency not in general use—I short, as the occasion requires I can supply infinite means of attack and defense.

  9. And if the fight should take place upon the sea I can construct many engines most suitable either for attack or defense and ships which can resist the fire of the heaviest cannon, and powders or weapons.

  10. In time of peace, I believe that I can give you as complete satisfaction as anyone else in the construction of buildings both public and private, and in conducting water from one place to another.

I can further execute sculpture in marble, bronze or clay, also in painting I can do as much as anyone else, whoever he may be.

Moreover, I would undertake the commission of the bronze horse, which shall endue with immortal glory and eternal honour the auspicious memory of your father and of the illustrious house of Sforza.—

And if any of the aforesaid things should seem to anyone impossible or impracticable, I offer myself as ready to make trial of them in your park or in whatever place shall please your Excellency, to whom I commend myself with all possible humility.

Leonardo Da Vinci

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Astronomical Events

Agents

Ludovico Sforza (1452-1508), aged 28: duke

1480

March 13

on Saturday

2 months, 12 days later

Lorenzo de' Medici arrived in Livorno, on his return from Naples. It was considered a marvel that he should have returned, as everyone had doubted the king allowing him to resume his post, and a still greater marvel that he should have been able to arrange everything so diplomatically. God help him!(1)

(1) Lorenzo de' Medici had gone on his own initiative, seeing that the war could no longer be borne, and not wishing to lose the favour and authority that he had acquired in Florence, especially after the Conspiracy of the Pazzi. The Florentines feared lest harm should come to him, and remembered the case of Jacopo Piccinino, who in 1465 unwarily put himself into the hands of the same king, and lost his life. Lorenzo, however, must have felt his ground carefully before moving, and when he returned after having concluded peace, he became more popular and powerful than ever.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was waxing crescent that night.
Sunrise in Naples was at 6:06 AM and sunset was at 6:13 PM.
Sunrise in Livorno was at 6:06 AM and sunset was at 6:13 PM.

1480

April 28

on Wednesday

1 month, 16 days later

Messer Piero Vespucci(1) was liberated from prison, and left Florence, and went to the Duke of Calabria at Siena and stopped there.

At this time it was noised abroad that the Pope had made a league with the Venetians, the Sienese, and the Duke of Urbino.(2) It was not true.

(1) The Duke of Calabria, and his father King Ferdinand, had made urgent solicitations in favour of Vespucci.

(2) Federigo di Montefeltro.

Attachments
Portrait of Federico da Montefeltro, by Piero della Francesca

Astronomical Events

The moon was waning gibbous that night.
Sunrise in Florence was at 5:53 AM and sunset was at 6:00 PM.
Sunrise in Siena was at 5:53 AM and sunset was at 6:00 PM.

1480

May 7

on Friday

9 days later

Ten Sesti and one Decima were voted; and a Sgravo (decrease) of 3 thousand florins was made and an Aggravo (increase) of a thousand florins.(1)

At this time the Duke of Calabria was sent a sum of 30 thousand florins, on several occasions. It may be imagined what need there was for these taxes of Sesti and Decime. We Florentines have the wise custom of giving money in payment to everyone who does us an injury, and who destroys and pillages our territory. And this is not a solitary instance; it will always be the same; anyone who wants money from the Florentines has only to do them an injury.

(1) A Sgravo means that some taxes were lowered or remitted; whilst on others there was an increase (Aggravo). See note to 13th June, 1478. (Trans.)

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Astronomical Events

The moon was waning crescent that night.

1480

June 3

on Thursday

27 days later

Messer Piero Vespucci was permitted to return to Florence, and was restituted in all his rights, according to the wish of the duke.(1)

At this time the price of grain fell to 15 soldi the bushel, and the like low prices.

(1) He, however, preferred leaving Tuscany, and went to offer his services to the Sforza in Milan, and was appointed Ducal Councillor by Ludovico il Moro. Sent to exercise his authority at the city of Alessandria, he met with a tragic end, being killed in 1485 in a popular rising.

Attachments
Portrait of Ludovico Sforza

Astronomical Events

The moon was waning crescent that night.
Sunrise in Tuscany was at 5:53 AM and sunset was at 6:00 PM.
Sunrise in Florence was at 5:53 AM and sunset was at 6:00 PM.
Sunrise in Milan was at 5:53 AM and sunset was at 6:00 PM.

1480

June 20

on Sunday

17 days later

The Duke of Calabria confined within limits 18 knights and citizens of Siena. He also kept his soldiers in the city, so that he was master of the situation. And the Sienese did not consider it at all just that he should act in this way, but he chose to do so. He had the idea of acting in the same way with regard to us; but please God, by a great miracle, it happened that on the 6th August the Turkish army came to Otranto and began to besiege it; so it was necessary to leave our neighbourhood, at the king's command, and return to defend the kingdom. The Turks were encamped in three places, being at Rodi (Rhodes), and with the Hungarians, besides at Otranto.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was waxing gibbous that night.
Sunrise in Siena was at 5:56 AM and sunset was at 6:04 PM.
Sunrise in Rhodes was at 5:56 AM and sunset was at 6:04 PM.

1480

December 5

on Sunday

5 months, 18 days later

The Cardinal of Mantua(1) passed through Florence, on his way from Mantua to Rome.

(1) Francesco Gonzaga.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was waxing crescent that night.
Sunrise in Florence was at 5:48 AM and sunset was at 5:55 PM.
Sunrise in Mantua was at 5:48 AM and sunset was at 5:55 PM.
Sunrise in Rome was at 5:48 AM and sunset was at 5:55 PM.

1481

27 days later

After a bitter struggle for the duchy of Milan with the child-regent Gian Galeazzo Sforza's mother, Bona of Savoy, followed, the boy's uncle, Ludovico Sforza, emerges as victor and seizes control of the government of Milan.

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Astronomical Events

Agents

Ludovico Sforza (1452-1508), aged 29: duke
Gian Galeazo Sforza (1469-1494), aged 12: duke

1481

Draft of a letter from Leonardo da Vinci to Ludovico Sforza:

Your Gracious Highness! I have sufficiently seen and tested the productions of all who are considered masters of the art of inventing war-machines. And since the working and function of these instruments is no different from that of the machines in common use, I shall endeavour -- approaching no one else -- to make myself clear to Your Excellency and reveal my secrets. I shall put them at your disposal whenever you desire and hope for good results from the things which I shall now briefly describe ...

First: I have a means of making very light bridges which can be very easily transported ... And I have others which are proof against fire and are thus indestructible in battle, easy to take down and put up again, and I also know of a means to get fire to the bridges of the enemy and destroy them. Secondly: In besieging a place I know how to cut off the water in the dikes, also how to construct many drawbridges and other apparatus necessary for such an undertaking. Thirdly: If during a siege the engines cannot be effectively used on account of the height or strength of the town wall, I have a means to destroy every tower or fortification ... Fourthly: I know of a kind of siege-engine which is very light and easy to move and which can be used hurl fire-bombs. Their smoke will terrify, confuse and severely injure the enemy. Fifthly: I know how to construct subterranean caves and winding passages which can be made without any noise ... Sixthly: I can make sound, indestructible armoured vehicles. If these reach the enemy with their cannons, they can compel the largest forces to retreat and afterwards the infantry can follow them in safety and without any let or hindrance. Seventhly: I can make, if necessary, bombards, mortars and other field-guns ... Eighthly: Where cannons cannot be used I shall construct stone-throwing machines, catapults, slings and other instruments, amazing and hitherto completely unknown ... Ninthly: If this should be necessary, I know of apparatus for use at sea for attack and defence, such as ships which can withstand the force of the strongest opponents and produce dust and smoke. In time of peace I believe I can achieve something in architecture, as well as another, both in building public and private buildings and in channelling water from one place to another. Further, I work as a sculptor in marble, bronze and clay and can paint as well as others with whom I may be compared. I could also add my labours to the bronze horse which is to contribute to the undying fame and eternal memory of your father and the renowned house of Sforza ...

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Source: Primary

Leonardo da Vinci; 'Letters of the Great Artists', p. 34-8

1482

1 year later

Leonardo da Vinci moves to Milan to work in the service of the city's duke, Ludovico Sforza. He gains the title of "painter and engineer" of the duke.

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1482

March 4

on Saturday

2 months, 2 days later

The authorities considered that this new tax of the Scala was not a suitable one for the city; therefore they had recourse to the Sesto again, and doubled it, with advantage, as it seemed to those who understood the business. But certainly some people were already in sorry plight were completely ruined by the Sesto.

At this time the Venetians declared war upon the Duke of Ferrara, and we much feared lest we should be drawn into it.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was a full moon that night.

1482

March 14

on Tuesday

10 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.

1482

April 28

on Friday

1 month, 15 days later

The Duke of Urbino came to Florence, lodging in the house of Giovanni Tornabuoni, and he was received with honour. And on the 29th he left for Milan, to take up his post as Capitano generale, stopping at Ferrara where Signor Roberto was. There they besieged a fort called Ficheruolo till the 1st June.(1)

And in these days the Duke of Calabria on the other hand was besieging Ostia, near Rome; and on the 10th June it was said that he had taken it, but this was not true. He sacked Corneto,(2) however. The Sienese now recalled some of their exiles.

(1) This is not correct; see note to 2nd July.

(2) These are all facts relating to the war which had lately broken out between the Venetians and the Pope on the one hand, and the Florentines, Milan, and Naples on the other. Federigo, Duke of Urbino, was Capitano generale, and Commander of the League against Venice, and Roberto di Sanseverino was in the service of the latter.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was waxing gibbous that night.
Sunrise in Milan was at 5:53 AM and sunset was at 6:00 PM.
Sunrise in Ostia was at 5:53 AM and sunset was at 6:00 PM.
Sunrise in Corneto was at 5:53 AM and sunset was at 6:00 PM.
Sunrise in Ferrara was at 5:53 AM and sunset was at 6:00 PM.
Sunrise in Venice was at 5:53 AM and sunset was at 6:00 PM.
Sunrise in Naples was at 5:53 AM and sunset was at 6:00 PM.

1482

July 2

on Sunday

2 months, 5 days later

We took Ficheruolo.(1)

(1) The text appears to say that the Florentines or the League besieged and took this place; but it really was exactly the contrary. Ficheruolo belonged to the Duke of Ferrara, with whom the Florentines were allied, and now fell into the hands of the Venetians.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was a full moon that night.
Sunrise in Ficheruolo was at 5:59 AM and sunset was at 6:06 PM.

1482

July 25

on Tuesday

23 days later

We heard that the papal troops had defeated the Duke of Calabria, and had taken 300 men-at-arms and 19 leaders; and it was a fact.

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The moon was waxing gibbous that night.

1482

September 10

on Sunday

1 month, 17 days later

The Count of Urbino died at Bologna.

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The moon was waning crescent that night.
Sunrise in Bologna was at 5:53 AM and sunset was at 5:59 PM.

1482

September 14

on Thursday

4 days later

Roberto il Magnifico(1) died at Rome; he who had been so famous for his victory over the Duke of Calabria near Rome, when he took 300 men-at-arms. These two great captains died with a few days of each other, just when they imagined that they were at the height of their glory. What errors are made by the world! Men incur so many perils in order to slay and kill others, and to obtain a short-lived fame on this earth, not considering what it means to kill a man, and how soon they themselves will have to die and render an account.

(1) Roberto Malatesta, a captain sent by the Venetians to aid the Pope.

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The moon was a new moon that night.
Sunrise in Rome was at 5:52 AM and sunset was at 5:58 PM.

1482

Winter

Cardinal della Rovere returns to Rome with Cardinal Balue, who he has liberated from the custody of Louis XI.

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Agents

Pope Julius II (1443-1513), aged 39: pope; cardinal
Cardinal Jean Balue (1421-1491), aged 61: cardinal
King Louis XI (1423-1483), aged 59: king

1483

January 5

on Friday

9 months, 9 days later

The Duke of Calabria came to Florence, leaving again on the 8th for Ferrara, and taking 800 horsemen with him; amongst his force were many Turks(1). He was received with great honour.

(1) Taken into his pay after the recapture of Otranto.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was waning crescent that night.
Sunrise in Ferrara was at 6:02 AM and sunset was at 6:10 PM.
Sunrise in Florence was at 6:02 AM and sunset was at 6:10 PM.
Sunrise in Otranto was at 6:02 AM and sunset was at 6:10 PM.

1483

February 6

on Tuesday

1 month, 2 days later

Some of the Turks whom the duke was sending back, passed through. As 400 of them had deserted to the Venetians, he thought it best to send back the remainder; and we raised a Christian brigade for him here in Florence.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was a new moon that night.
Sunrise in Florence was at 6:11 AM and sunset was at 6:18 PM.

1483

April 7

on Saturday

2 months later

The Sienese beheaded three of their citizens, one being Antonio Belandi, and another one of the knights made by the Duke of Calabria. Thus, in the opposition of parties, are treated those ambitious men who are not contented with the state of life to which God has called them.

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The moon was a new moon that night.

1483

June 21

on Thursday

2 months, 15 days later

In a tabernacle in Orto Sa' Michele there was placed the figure of San Tommaso beside Jesus, and the Jesus in bronze, which is the most beautiful thing imaginable, and the finest head of the Saviour that has as yet been made; it is by Andrea del Verrocchio.

At this time the Duke of Calabria and Signor Roberto left Ferrara and went into Lombardy, where much damage was being down on all sides, and Signor Gostanzo was poisoned there.

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The moon was a full moon that night.
Sunrise in Ferrara was at 5:56 AM and sunset was at 6:04 PM.

1483

August 5

on Sunday

1 month, 15 days later

The exiled Sienese came against their city, as far as the fortress of Sitorno, but were unable to do anything. The citizens took many prisoners from the fortress and carried them into Siena.

In these days the Florentines destroyed a fortress in the upper valley of the Arno, called Monte Domenici, because it had rebelled.

During this August of 1483, the Duke of Calabria captured many fortresses in Lombardy from the Venetians,(1) and crushed the Venetian troops in such a manner that they could not hold out any longer. This occurred because the Church had excommunicated all those who gave aid to the Venetians, which prevented them having soldies from beyond the Alps. And the fleet of the King of Naples came into the port of Ancona, and that of the Venetians set out to find it. But on the 5th September, the king's fleet sailed away without waiting for their opponents. Great things had been expected if they had encountered each other.

(1) From the 12th December, 1482, the Pope had made peace with the League, and then associated himself with it in the war against Venice.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was a new moon that night.
Sunrise in Siena was at 6:01 AM and sunset was at 6:08 PM.
Sunrise in Arno was at 6:01 AM and sunset was at 6:08 PM.
Sunrise in Monte Domenici was at 6:01 AM and sunset was at 6:08 PM.
Sunrise in Ancona was at 6:01 AM and sunset was at 6:08 PM.

1483

October 23

on Tuesday

2 months, 19 days later

A cardinal-legate came to Florence, who was going to the King of France as ambassador, to confirm to him his father's crown. And this cardinal chanced to be the very man whom the last King of France(1) had kept for many years in prison, in a cage.

(1) Louis XI. The name of the cardinal was Jean Balue, whom Louis XI. had persuaded Pope Paul II. to make a cardinal; and later, for political reasons, he had imprisoned him in an iron cage, from which he was liberated in 1481 through the intercession of Pope Sixtus IV. (Trans.)

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The moon was in the last quarter that night.
Sunrise in Florence was at 5:41 AM and sunset was at 5:48 PM.

Agents

Pope Sixtus IV (1414-1484), aged 69: pope
Cardinal Jean Balue (1421-1491), aged 62: cardinal
King Louis XI (1423-1483), aged 60: king

Source: Primary

Luca Landucci; "A Florentine Diary"; p. 39

1485

December 1

on Tuesday

2 years, 1 month, 10 days later

At Rome they burnt the houses of the Orsini at Monte Giordano, and there was great excitement. The Duke of Calabria went to the help of the Orsini, because they were at war with the Pope; and the consequence was war in Rome.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was in the last quarter that night.
Sunrise in Rome was at 5:46 AM and sunset was at 5:53 PM.

1485

December 11

on Friday

10 days later

There came a certain hot wind from the south, as if it were July, and all the walls of the houses dripped inside, all over Florence, even in the living-rooms, although they had been quite dry.

And in these days of February and March, soldiers were continually being hired, to send to the Duke (of Calabria), who was fighting against the papal forces; so that everyone in Florence who had taken part against the Church was excommunicated. All intelligent people wondered that anyone should go against the Church, especially as it had nothing to do with us. However, this mistaken conduct was the result of our sins and of our not fearing God.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was waxing crescent that night.
Sunrise in Florence was at 5:50 AM and sunset was at 5:58 PM.

1486

July 10

on Saturday

7 months, 1 day later

The Duke of Calabria was pressing the papal forces hard, and we were contributing to the cost of all this.

On this same day happened the death of Antonio, son of Guido, a singer who made improvisations, an extremely clever man. I mention him because he surpassed everyone else in this art.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was in the first quarter that night.

1487

May 10

on Tuesday

10 months, 4 days later

We heard that the Duke of Calabria had had an encounter with Signor Roberto, and had a great battle, many men being slain. The duke had the advantage.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was waning gibbous that night.

1488

April 16

on Monday

11 months, 12 days later

We heard that Count Girolamo, Signore of Imola, had been stabbed to death, in the city of Forli, by some men of the place; and it proved to be true.

A number of soldiers and militia were sent from here to Piancaldoli, men of the Romagnuoli and of the Mugello; so that by the 29th we took it. The commandant of the fortress, who was from Imola, capitulated; and he was given 4 thousand florins and a house, and the right of bearing arms for life, here in Florence, where he remained.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was waxing crescent that night.
Sunrise in Florence was at 5:56 AM and sunset was at 6:02 PM.
Sunrise in Piancaldoli was at 5:56 AM and sunset was at 6:02 PM.
Sunrise in Forli was at 5:56 AM and sunset was at 6:02 PM.
Sunrise in Mugello was at 5:56 AM and sunset was at 6:02 PM.
Sunrise in Imola was at 5:56 AM and sunset was at 6:02 PM.

1488

May 1

on Tuesday

15 days later

We heard that the Duke of Milan had entered Forli, and had had several men put to death.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was waning gibbous that night.
Sunrise in Forli was at 5:53 AM and sunset was at 5:59 PM.

1488

Late

1 month, 1 day later

Leonardo da Vinci begins working on the apparatus for the festival celebrating the marriage of Gian Galeazo Sforza to Isabella of Aragon.

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1489

7 months, 4 days later

Leonardo da Vinci receives the Sforza commission from Ludovico Sforza, to cast the largest equestrian statue ever, in honour of Ludovico's father.

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1489

January 15

on Tuesday

14 days later

The daughter(1) of the Duke of Calabria passed through Florence, on her way to wed the Duke of Milan,(2) with a large escort of horsemen, and many Signori and matrons and damsels in her train; a very great and noble company. A magnificent escort was sent to meet her, at incalculable cost.

(1) Isabella d'Aragona. (2) Giangalleazzo Sforza.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was a full moon that night.

1489

June 15

on Saturday

5 months, 1 day later

A letter from Andrea Mantegna to Francesco Gonzaga:

I commend myself cordially. The fame and glory of the most illustrious House of Gonzaga are filling all Italy, and especially this city of Rome, with the rumour of the honours shown to and by Your Excellency, wherein I delight and take pride how all here are perpetually crying aloud: Gonzaga, Gonzaga. The Turk, the Turk! Marco, Marco! It is my hope, indeed my assurance, that Your Excellency will not prove unworthy of the many most learned Lords of that most illustrious House. And may God grant me to live until I see that which my heart longs for. I am now well pleased, and meseems this is worthy beginning to what I trust will have good continuance and an excellent conclusion. With such feeble powers as I have, I seek here, being your Excellency's servant, to do you honour with all my poor skill. And for love of Your Excellency I am well regarded by His Holiness the Pope and by all the Palace. True it is that I am given only the return of what I lay out, having never received even the slenderest reward; but I would fain ask nothing, being minded only to serve Your Lordship. Therefore I beg that you will not forget your Andrea Mantegna, that he may not lose his wages that he has received these many years from your most illustrious House, for matters cannot go well if I have nothing either here nor there. Therefore, my most illustrious Lord, I urgently commend this matter to you. Of my conduct here and my zeal, Your Excellency is, I believe, informed. It is a great undertaking for one man alone who desires the highest honour in Rome, where be so many learned and worthy men. But as with them that ride a race, the first wins the prize, so I must have it in the end, if it please God. Meanwhile I commend myself to Your Excellency.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was a full moon that night.

1489

July 22

on Monday

1 month, 7 days later

Impatient with Leonardo's delays in completing the clay model for the The Horse, Ludovico Sforza writes to Pietro Alemanni, the Florentine Ambassador to Milan, asking him to find "a master capable of doing the work."

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The moon was waning crescent that night.

1489

Late

Leonardo da Vinci works on an allegorical representation called 'Paradise', commissioned by Lodovico Sforza.

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1490

January 13

on Monday

7 months, 16 days later

'Paradise' is performed in the court of Ludovico Sforza in Milan.

Attachments
An angel in the celestial sphere of the 'Paradise'
Performance of 'Paradiso' at the court of Ludovico Sforza
The court applauds rapturously the performance of "Paradiso" staged by Leonardo da Vinci
Scene from the "Paradise"
Apollo and his chariot emerge from the heavens in 'Paradiso'
The three Graces dance before the celestial sphere in "Paradiso"
The Duke of Milan, Ludovico Sforza, admiring the spectacle of 'Paradiso'

Astronomical Events

The moon was in the last quarter that night.
Sunrise in Milan was at 6:06 AM and sunset was at 6:13 PM.

1491

11 months, 23 days later

Leonardo da Vinci assists in the preparations for the tournament held in honour of Ludovico Sforza's marriage to Beatrice d'Este. For this he devised an invasion by a company of dancing and singing Scythians or Tartars, costumed as savages and led by a rider mounted on a big horse and wearing a cloak covered with golden scales and painted with peacock's eyes. ('Leonardo da Vinci', p. 61)

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1491

November 7

on Saturday

10 months, 10 days later

Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor and King Vladislaus II of Bohemia and Hungary sign the Peace of Pressburg, giving formal end to the Austrian–Hungarian War.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was in the first quarter that night.

Source: Primary

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1491

1491

December 6

on Sunday

29 days later

King Charles VIII of France marries Anne of Brittany, forcing her to break her marriage with Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor, thus incorporating Brittany into the kingdom of France.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was waxing crescent that night.
Sunrise in Brittany was at 5:48 AM and sunset was at 5:55 PM.
Sunrise in France was at 5:48 AM and sunset was at 5:55 PM.

Agents

King Charles VIII (1470-1498), aged 21: king
Anne of Brittany (1477-1514), aged 14: queen
Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor (1459-1519), aged 32: king

Source: Primary

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1491

1492

January

26 days later

Ludovico Sforza and Beatrice d'Este marry.

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Agents

Ludovico Sforza (1452-1508), aged 40: duke

1493

January 29

on Sunday

1 year, 29 days later

We heard that the King of Naples was dead. Some said that he had died of despondency, because he was continually hearing that the King of France was on his way.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was waxing gibbous that night.

Agents

King Charles VIII (1470-1498), aged 23: king

Source: Primary

Luca Landucci; "A Florentine Diary"; p. 56

1494

11 months, 7 days later

Gian Galeazo Sforza dies under suspicious conditions, in Milan, and the throne falls to his uncle, Ludovico Sforza.

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Agents

Gian Galeazo Sforza (1469-1494), aged 25: duke
Ludovico Sforza (1452-1508), aged 42: duke

1494

Study

Baldassare Castiglione begins his humanist studies in Milan, studies which would eventually inform his future writings.

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Agents

1494

King Charles VIII of France invades the Italian peninsula, throwing the city states into the turmoil of war.

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Agents

King Charles VIII (1470-1498), aged 24: king

Source: Primary

Luca Landucci

Tags

1494

August 5

on Sunday

7 months, 6 days later

Piero de' Medici went to meet the Duke of Calabria, in the neighbourhood of Arezzo, to visit him, as one visits a great gentleman, a lord. The French ambassadors who were in Florence, having asked for their safe-conduct, and not receiving it at once, when they knew of this journey of Piero's began to suspect us of not being friendly to their king; at least this was said in the city, and it was said that the king threatened the Florentines. It was difficult to persuade them that we were faithful friends, and that their suspicions were without foundation. All this, however, I only heard by report.

In these days the fleet of the King of France arrived at Genoa, and there was much talk of an encounter.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was waxing crescent that night.
Sunrise in Arezzo was at 6:01 AM and sunset was at 6:08 PM.
Sunrise in Genoa was at 6:01 AM and sunset was at 6:08 PM.

1494

September 11

on Tuesday

1 month, 7 days later

The fleet of the King of Naples was defeated at Rapallo by that King of France and the Genoese; not in an encounter, but the Neapolitan fleet rashly landed 3 thousand soldiers, thinking to take Rapallo; and in the end they were cut off by the Genoese and the king, and could not return to their ships. They fled towards the mountains, and were all killed or taken prisoner; the fleet of the King of Naples being disarmed and destroyed.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was waxing gibbous that night.
Sunrise in Rapallo was at 5:53 AM and sunset was at 5:59 PM.

1494

September 21

on Friday

10 days later

We heard that the King of France had entered Genoa, and that the Genoese were preparing to receive him with great honour, having decorated the whole city, and even taken down the gates and laid them on the ground, to show more splendour and to ensure the king's safety. But it was not true that the king was going there, although they expected him and had made all the preparations. It was said that he felt distrustful of the citizens.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was in the last quarter that night.
Sunrise in Genoa was at 5:49 AM and sunset was at 5:56 PM.

1494

October 4

on Thursday

13 days later

More ambassadors from the King of France came to Florence, and going to the Signoria, could not obtain a decisive answer but only a vague one; so that on the 9th they both left Florence in indignation, and returned to the king without a safe-conduct. It was then said that the king swore to let his soldiers pillage Florence; and everyone thought it had been a piece of folly and rashness not to give the safe-conduct readily.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was waxing crescent that night.
Sunrise in Florence was at 5:45 AM and sunset was at 5:51 PM.

1494

October 22

on Monday

18 days later

Ludovico Sforza assumes the ducal title and receives the ducal crown from the Milanese nobles.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was in the last quarter that night.

Agents

Ludovico Sforza (1452-1508), aged 42: duke

1494

October 23

on Tuesday

1 day later

We heard that the Duke of Calabria was dead, having died a natural death at Naples, possibly from despondency. It was extraordinary that father and son should have died within such a short interval, just when their country was in so much danger. Truly the fullness of time had come, and the hand of God struck. These things make us lay aside our pride, and take refuge in faith, when we consider that it will be the same for us all. Messer Francesco (Ah, you Frenchmen!), what is the use of subjugating other countries? May God pardon us our sins!

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Astronomical Events

The moon was in the last quarter that night.
Sunrise in Naples was at 5:41 AM and sunset was at 5:47 PM.

1494

October 26

on Friday

3 days later

Piero de' Medici left here to go on the way to Pisa, to meet the King of France; and when he reached the king, he caused the keys of Serezzano and of Pietrasanta to be given him, and also made him promises of money. The king wishing to know whether in truth he had been given this commission, sent Lorenzo, son of Giovanni Tornabuoni, who had gone with Piero de' Medici, back to Florence, to get it confirmed by the Signoria; but they refused to confirm it. Lorenzo, in some consternation, did not return to the French camp, and Piero was rather at fault. He acted like a young fellow, and perhaps with good results, since we remained friends with the king, thank God!

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Astronomical Events

The moon was waning crescent that night.
Sunrise in Serezzano was at 5:40 AM and sunset was at 5:47 PM.
Sunrise in Florence was at 5:40 AM and sunset was at 5:47 PM.
Sunrise in Pietrasanta was at 5:40 AM and sunset was at 5:47 PM.
Sunrise in Pisa was at 5:40 AM and sunset was at 5:47 PM.

1494

November 5

on Monday

10 days later

Certain messengers of the King of France arrived and went about Florence marking the houses which they preferred. They came indoors and entered all the rooms, marking one for such and such a lord, and another for such and such a baron.

And observe that there were not hundreds but thousands of the French, so that the whole city was occupied in every corner; for those houses that were not marked were occupied in a moment when the men-at-arms and the infantry arrived, going into every street, and saying: Apri qua! (Open there!) and not caring whether the owners were rich or poor. They gave it to be understood that they meant to pay: but there were not many who paid. And when they did pay a certain amount, they paid for the horns and ate the ox (Italian proverb): "They didn't pay anything like what they cost." Few of us had sent away our womenkind, except the young girls, who were sent to convents and to relatives where no soldiers were quartered; but the French were really very well-behaved, for there was not a single one who said an unsuitable word to a woman. In their hearts they felt a secret dread, and kept asking how many men Florence could dispose of; and they were told that at the sound of a bell the city would have 100 thousand men from within and without at her command. The truth was this: that they had come with the idea of sacking Florence, as their king had promised them but they could not see the game begun, much less won. And all this was the doing of the Almighty.

On this same day, five ambassadors were chosen to go to the King of France, who was at Pisa. They were as follows: First, Fra Girolamo, a preacher of the Order of San Domenico, dwelling at San Marco, a native of Ferrara; whom we believe to be a prophet, and he does not deny it in his sermons, but always says da parte del Signore (I have it from the Lord . . .), and he preaches on important subjects. The second, Tanai de' Nerli; the third, Pandolfo Rucellai; the fourth, Giovanni Cavalcanti; and the fifth, Piero Soderini; all Florentine citizens. And they left the next day.

On the same day a number of French arrived, who were the vanguard of the king, and lodged in the houses assigned to them, which were marked with chalk. This evening at about 2 o'clock (10 p.m.) a few strokes of the bell were heard from the Palagio; and immediately the Piazza was full of men, it being thought that a portamento was going to be summoned, for everyone was excited and distrustful, continually expecting great events.

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Astronomical Events

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

1494

November 8

on Thursday

3 days later

Piero de' Medici returned to Florence, coming from the King of France, who was at Pisa; and when he reached his house, he threw out confetti (sweetmeats), and gave a lot of wine to the people, to make himself popular; declaring that he had settled everything satisfactorily with the king, and appearing to be in the best of humours.

This same day, the Signori published a proclamation that as long as the king should stay in Florence there would be no tax on firewood or on any kind of food; and only the half of the usual tax on wine; also that anyone might sell and provide meals.(1)

(1) This proclamation is really of the 6th November, and the exemptions and diminutions of the tax conceded by it are a little different from those quoted here: the duration of these was from the 9th to the 20th, and on the latter date they were prorogued for the whole month. This was done "in order that there should be an abundance of victuals in the city both for its inhabitants and the foreigners, and to help the poor people."

No attachments

Astronomical Events

The moon was waxing gibbous that night.
Sunrise in Pisa was at 5:40 AM and sunset was at 5:47 PM.
Sunrise in Florence was at 5:40 AM and sunset was at 5:47 PM.

1494

November 11

on Sunday

3 days later

A man arrived in the Piazza, having entered the city by the Porta alla Croce, and said that he had passed men-at-arms and infantry on the road to Florence, belonging to Piero de' Medici. Cries of Popolo e Liberta immediately resounded everywhere, and in less than half an hour the whole city was in arms, men of classes rushing to the Piazza with incredible haste, and with deafening cries of Popolo e Liberta. I verily believe that if the whole world had come against them, such a union could not have been broken; it being permitted by the Lord that the people should make such a demonstration, during this danger from the French, who had come to Florence with the evil intent of sacking it. But when they saw of what sort the people were, their heart failed them. As soon as the truth was known, that no armed men were approaching, a proclamation was made ordering all to lay aside their weapons, an this was about the dinner-hour. The Gonfaloni, however, remained on guard day and night, with a good number of men; and horsemen and foot-soldiers belonging to the King of France were continually entering. The Signoria had had the Porta di San Friano(1) opened. This evening the King of France remained at Empoli; and more than 6 thousand men came before the king, and as many with him, and another 6 thousand behind him. And at this time the taxes were lightened and many pardons granted.(2)

(1) The Gate of San Frediano, towards Empoli. (Trans.)

(2) I here add, that the office of the Otto di Pratica (the Eight Councillors), the Consiglio del Settanta (Council of the Seventy), and that of the Hundred, all institutions of the Medici and their adherents, were done away with and annulled.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was a full moon that night.
Sunrise in Empoli 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 12

on Monday

1 day later

Lorenzo son of Piero Francesco de' Medici returned, and dined at this own house of the Gora, and the same evening he went to meet the king, who was stopping at Legniaia, in the house of Piero Capponi. And on this same day the Bargello was made prisoner in the church of the Servi.(1) Also more French entered the city than any other day, and they filled every house, even the poorest, including all Camaldoli.

(1) His name was Piero Antonio dall' Aquila. The day before, a reward had been promised to anyone who would give information as to where he was hidden; and on the 14th the Priors decreed quod dono tradatur to the Signor Giovanni da Maddaloni, oratore (representative) of the King of France, who would receive him in the king's name.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was a full moon that night.
Sunrise in Camaldoli was at 5:41 AM and sunset was at 5:48 PM.
Sunrise in Legniaia was at 5:41 AM and sunset was at 5:48 PM.

1494

November 15

on Thursday

3 days later

Numbers of French were still coming in; and preparations were made to receive the king with great honour.(1)

(1) Already on the 11th the Signoria had ordered that all the citizens, on the king's arrival, should go towards the Porta San Frediano, in as fine array as they could muster, to do him honour.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was waning gibbous that night.

1494

November 16

on Friday

1 day later

Many decorations were made for the king's arrival in the house of Piero de' Medici, and principally at the entrance of the palace. Two large columns were erected outside, one on each side of the gate, with ornamentation representing the arms of France, etc., too intricate to describe. It truly was a triumph; everything was done so well and on such a grand scale. I will not even begin to tell you how the interior was ordered. And spiritegli(1) and giants and triumphal cars went about the town, and stages on wheels for the miracle-play of the Nunziata, whilst there were innumerable embellishments and the arms of France all over Florence. Above the gate of the Palagio de' Signori were the said arms, very large and magnificently blazoned.

(1) See note to 5th July, 1478.

No attachments

Astronomical Events

The moon was waning gibbous that night.
Sunrise in Florence was at 5:41 AM and sunset was at 5:49 PM.

1494

November 17

on Saturday

1 day 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.

No attachments

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

November 18

on Sunday

1 day later

The said king when to hear mass in Sa' Lorenzo, and I was at the same mass, and saw him quite close.

No attachments

Astronomical Events

The moon was waning gibbous that night.

1494

November 19

on Monday

1 day later

He again heard mass in Sa' Lorenzo; and then went for a ride through Florence, going to see the lions.(1) And it was his wish that some of the prisoners in the Palagio del Capitano should be liberated, those namely who were detained for political reasons; amongst them a Ser Lorenzo, and an Andrea, and others; and this desire of his to benefit the prisoners on the occasion of his passing through the town was granted.

(1) According to ancient custom, the Republic kept some lions in cages. These cages were behind the Palazzo del Capitano, now incorporated in the Palazzo Vecchio, whence the piece of street between Piazza di S. Firenze and the Logge del Grano is still called Via de' Leoni. This custom was discontinued towards the end of the seventeenth century.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was in the last quarter that night.
Sunrise in Florence was at 5:42 AM and sunset was at 5:49 PM.

1494

November 20

on Tuesday

1 day later

There were murmurs all over the city to the effect that the king wished to reinstate Piero de' Medici, and the ruling citizens seemed much vexed about this matter.

No attachments

Astronomical Events

The moon was in the last quarter that night.
Sunrise in Florence was at 5:42 AM and sunset was at 5:50 PM.

1494

November 21

on Wednesday

1 day later

Entry from "A Florentine Diary" by Luca Landucci:

The city was in great dread of being pillaged, and it was considered a bad sign that the king did not wish to sign the agreement. The French seemed to be becoming more and more masters of the place; they did not allow the citizens to go about armed, day or night, but took away their weapons, and kept striking and stabbing them. No one ventured to speak or to go out after the Ave Maria (at 5 o'clock); and the French went about robbing in the night, their guards parading the city. Everyone was so discouraged and intimidated, that when they saw anyone carrying stones or gravel they went crazy and struck out.

No attachments

Astronomical Events

The moon was in the last quarter that night.
Sunrise in Florence was at 5:43 AM and sunset was at 5:50 PM.

1494

November 23

on Friday

2 days later

The king rode out with a great troop of horsemen, and came to the Croce di San Giovanni; and when he was near the steps of Santa Maria del Fiore, he turned back and went towards the Servi; but having gone a few paces, he turned round again, and again went to the Croce di San Giovanni,(1) going at the back of San Giovanni, through that narrow Chiassolino,(2) and coming under the Volta di San Giovanni, d' Cialdonai(2); and those who saw him laughed,(3) and said slighting things of him, causing his reputation to suffer. Then he went through the Mercato Vecchio, and on as far as San Felice in Piazza, to see the festa of San Felice, which they were having on his account; but when he reached the door he would not enter; and they repeated everything several times, but he did not enter once.(4) Many people said that he was afraid, and did not wish to be shut in, and this proved to us that he was more afraid than we were; and woe to him if a disturbance had begun, although there would also have been great danger for us. But the Lord has always helped us, on account of the prayers of His servants and of the number of holy monks and nuns in the city, who are in truth on their way to God. At this time two Venetian ambassadors to the king arrived, and there were also the Genoese ambassadors, who came, it was said, to demand Serezzana and other things from him.

(1) The column with a small cross at the top of it, which was put up to commemorate the miracle of San Zenobi, in the year 341, as stated in the inscription. It was broken down by the flood of 1333 and set up again, which accounts for the inscription not being so old. (Trans.)

(2) This Chiassolino (alley) and the Volta da' Cialdonai were demolished when the Piazza was enlarged. (Trans.)

(3) The autographic MS. has a gap from page 17 till the 1st December, 1494; therefore I have supplied the missing pages from the MS. copy at the Marucelliana Library (Jodico del Badia).

(4) I copy this fragment from the Storie of Jacopo Nardi, who disagrees from what Landucci says here: "His Majesty the King, having rested a few days, was entertained by the representation of some solemn and beautiful feste, like that very singular one of the Virgine Annunziata, which is represented with ingenious and marvellous skill in the Church of San Felice in Piazza, and which pleased and delighted him so much, that having seen it once publicly, he wished to see it again incognito and privately." Our author also mentions this edificio (representation) of the Annunciation on 16th November, 1494. In Vasari's Life of Brunelleschi this is finely described.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was waning crescent that night.
Sunrise in Serezzano was at 5:43 AM and sunset was at 5:50 PM.

1494

November 26

on Monday

3 days later

Entry from "A Florentine Diary" by Luca Landucci:

The king went together with the Signoria to hear mass at Santa Maria del Fiore and here he swore to observe the articles which had been drawn up, and which were as follows: that we should lend him 120 thousand florins, giving him 50 thousand florins now, and the rest before the end of July 1495; and that he should leave and give back to us the forts of Pisa and all the others; and leave our territory free and unmolested; and that Piero de' Medici should be confined to boundaries 100 miles away from Florence; and that the price of 2000 florins placed upon his head should be taken off, and also off his brothers'. All this he swore to observe, on the altar of Santa Maria del Fiore, before Christ Jesus, on the word of a king.(1)

(1) These articles had been signed the preceding day in the palace of the Medici, where the king was quartered. The Marquis Gino Capponi published them in the Archivio Storico Italiano, I Serie, vol. I., pp. 348-75. There are twenty-seven articles, and the last twelve regard entirely the persons and interests of the Medici.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was a new moon that night.
Sunrise in Pisa was at 5:44 AM and sunset was at 5:51 PM.

1494

November 27

on Tuesday

1 day later

Entry from "A Florentine Diary" by Luca Landucci:

The king went out to see certain tents which had been set up on the Prato d'Ognissanti, and which had been presented to him by the Duke of Ferrara; there being one for the king himself that was really magnificent, with a sitting-room, a bedroom, and a chapel, and many other things besides. He was to have left this morning, but did not do so; the joy-bells were rung and bonfires were made. This morning more of the troops from Romagna reached Dicomano, and were quartered there, about 20 horses being put into my place even. I left my young son Benedetto there, and they nearly slew him several times, although he paid them proper respect, as I had impressed upon him. It was at a great cost to us. They were quartered everywhere, in the Val di Sieve, as far as the Ponte a Sieve and the Sieci, and then they went on along the upper valley of the Arno.(1)

(1) The king having proclaimed that all those who were with him should pay, on leaving, for everything that they had had, the Signoria, with a proclamation on this date, ordered the Florentines to be lenient in their demands, and requested anybody who thought himself overcharged to have recourse to them, threatening to cut off the hand of anyone who should offend the French. The following day they imposed the punishment of six blows of the lash upon anyone who should molest or strike the French.

No attachments

Astronomical Events

The moon was a new moon that night.
Sunrise in Emilia-Romagna was at 5:44 AM and sunset was at 5:52 PM.
Sunrise in Dicomano was at 5:44 AM and sunset was at 5:52 PM.

1494

November 28

on Wednesday

1 day later

Entry from "A Florentine Diary" by Luca Landucci:

The king left Florence after having dined, and went for the night to the Certosa, and all his men went before or after him, so that few remained here. It was said that Fra Girolamo of Ferrara, our famous preacher, had gone to the king and declared that he was not doing the will of God in stopping, and that he ought to leave. It was even said that he went a second time, when he saw that the king did not leave, and declared again that he was not following God's will, and that whatever evil should befall others would return on his head. It was thought that this was the cause of his leaving more speedily, because at that time the said Fra Girolamo was held to be a prophet and a man of holy life, both in Florence and throughout Italy. At the same time there came to Florence the captain of the French troops in Romagna, whose name was Begni,(1) and he told the king rather dictatorially that he ought to leave on every account, as the weather was favourable, and he declared that it would be ill to delay the advance. And in fact the king did leave, for he put more faith in this seigneur than in all the rest, and deservedly, as he was an extremely intelligent and worthy man, according to what was said; and this was in reality the strongest reason which induced him to leave.(2)

(1) Robert Stuart, Comte de Beaumont le Roger, Seigneur of Aubigny-sur-Nerre.

(2) On this day the Signori designed Guglielmo d'Antonio Pazzi, Braccio di Domenico Martelli, Niccolo Antinori, and Lorenzo di Pier Francesco de' Medici to go the following morning and accompany the king as far as Siena. Afterwards they substituted Francesco de' Rossi for the Medici.

No attachments

Astronomical Events

The moon was a new moon that night.
Sunrise in Florence was at 5:45 AM and sunset was at 5:52 PM.
Sunrise in Emilia-Romagna was at 5:45 AM and sunset was at 5:52 PM.

1494

November 29

on Thursday

1 day later

Entry from "A Florentine Diary" by Luca Landucci:

The rest of the king's troops which were in Romagna went past here, coming from San Godenzo to Dicomano and to the Ponte a Sieve, and then going along the upper valley of the Arno, doing much damage. At Corella they slew about eleven men, and took others prisoners and placed ransoms upon them; ruining all the country like a flame of fire. The wall of my house at Dicomano was broken, and also all the locks, whilst my farm was entered forcibly, and suffered not a little, the wine and corn being consumed, and any household goods to which they took a fancy being carried off. Those whom they slew at Corella were certain old men who had come to receive them, but there was a misunderstanding. It is true that at first certain young men had come out and tried to force them back, but these old men caused the others to desist; these brutes of Frenchmen, however, struck them on the head and left them lying dead in the fields; and they committed cruelties on all sides.

No attachments

Astronomical Events

The moon was a new moon that night.
Sunrise in Emilia-Romagna was at 5:45 AM and sunset was at 5:52 PM.
Sunrise in Dicomano was at 5:45 AM and sunset was at 5:52 PM.
Sunrise in Corella was at 5:45 AM and sunset was at 5:52 PM.
Sunrise in Arno was at 5:45 AM and sunset was at 5:52 PM.

1494

December 4

on Tuesday

5 days later

Entry from "A Florentine Diary" by Luca Landucci:

An embassy from the Duke of Milan came to Florence.(1)

(1) To congratulate the Florentines upon their recovered liberty.

No attachments

Astronomical Events

The moon was in the first quarter that night.
Sunrise in Florence was at 5:47 AM and sunset was at 5:54 PM.

Agents

Ludovico Sforza (1452-1508), aged 42: duke
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

1494

December 9

on Sunday

5 days later

It was proclaimed that Piero de' Medici was to be confined within boundaries 100 miles outside the Florentine territory.(1)

(1) On the 2nd of this month the Signoria, in order to carry the articles stipulated upon with the French king, absolved Piero from his condemnation as a rebel, and on the same day they consigned him to boundaries 100 miles from Florence. These decrees were published on the 9th.

No attachments

Astronomical Events

The moon was waxing gibbous that night.
Sunrise in Florence was at 5:49 AM and sunset was at 5:57 PM.