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Historian

1478

July 5

on Friday

The feast of San Giovanni was kept, not having been kept on the actual day, and perambulating shows went about, and there was a procession; the palio(1) was also run, and there were girandole and spiritegli and giganti(2) and many fine things, as if it had been the real day.

(1) The palio was actually the prize for which the races were so called were run, and consisted of a costly piece of drapery of velvet or silk, which was displayed at the winning-post. The famous palio of San Giovanni is mentioned by several historians as having taken place in the thirteenth century; the race was run from the Porta alla Croce to the Porta al Prato; and the prize was originally of scarlet velvet, and later of scarlet silk. (Trans.)

(2) The edifizi (shows mounted on carts) were platforms on wheels, upon which figures were placed, representing scriptural, mythological or other subjects, and sometimes short scenes were enacted. At the present time, on the day of San Giovanni, the band plays in the evening, mounted on a similar platform on wheels. (Trans.) Girandole were platforms covered with rockets and wheels of fire, which took the form of shops, houses, etc. Spiritegli were people on stilts, who admidst the dense crowd appeared to be walking in the air, over the heads of the rest, like spirits. Giganti were men with their feet bound to high stilts, who wore masks and were dressed up to appear like giants; they supported themselves on poles made to resemble walking-sticks (Vasari, Lives of the Painters). (Trans.)

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The moon was waxing crescent that night.

1480

1 year, 6 months later

The Anonimo Gaddiano claims that Leonardo da Vinci is living with the Medici and working in the Garden of the Piazza San Marco in Florence, a Neo-Platonic academy of artists, poets and philosophers.

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1483

June 14

on Thursday

3 years, 5 months, 15 days later

A league was made with the Sienese for twenty-five years, and our fortresses were restored to us. At this time there died at Faenza a Brother of the Order of the Servi di Maria,(1) who had performed many miracles; the bells having rung of their own accord when anyone died, and sick persons being healed. People went to him from all the country round. I spoke to a trustworthy man, who said that he had witnessed these facts. Miracles were constantly happening; sometimes down by the river and sometimes up in the mountains; and sometimes he was seen speaking with a woman, who was the Virgin. I mention this to show that people were in the mood to expect great things from God.

(1) From the Historie di Faenza by Giulio Cesare Tonduzzi, and the Annali dell' Ordine de' Serviti by Arcangelo Giani, we find that this was the Beato Jacopo Filippo Bertoni, who died on the 25th May, 1483. These writers also testify to the prodigies referred to by Landucci, which so moved the Faentini that they wished honours to be conferred upon Misserino Bertoni dalla Cella di Monte Chiaro, father of the defunct, by a public decree.

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The moon was in the first quarter that night.
Sunrise in Faenza was at 5:55 AM and sunset was at 6:02 PM.

1484

January 1

on Tuesday

6 months, 21 days later

The new Signoria(1) entered into office, and were stricter than the last. They sent for the citizens and required everyone to pay his debts; and they imprisoned them in the Bargello and the Stinche. Many were afflicted and worn out by so many wars.

In addition to other hardships, corn was sold at 50 soldi a bushel, beans at 46 soldi a bushel, white bread at 1 soldo 8 denari a pound, and flour rose to 3 lire a bushel.

On this 1st March our ambassadors returned from France, and Antonio Canigiani had been knighted by the French king. We did him honour, sending an escort to meet him.

The price of crushed beans now increased to 4 lire a bushel, peas to 5 lire, corn to 49 soldi, and everything dearer; and a little later corn rose to 3 lire 8 soldi a bushel.

(1) Alamanno Rinuccino in his Ricordi Storici also speaks ill of this Signoria.

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The moon was waxing crescent that night.
Sunrise in France was at 6:00 AM and sunset was at 6:08 PM.

1489

July 16

on Tuesday

5 years, 6 months, 18 days later

They began to dig the foundations on this side, and took about 10 braccia(1) off the Piazza.(2).

(1) A braccio was about 23 inches, so 10 braccia was about 19 feet (5.84 metres). (Trans.)

(2) The Piazza de' Tornaquinci; the Strozzi had permission from the Republic and from the consertia (assembly) of this family to occupy a portion of it. These records relating to the building of the palace are much more copious than those written by its founder and published in the appendix to the Vita di Filippo Strozzi (Firenzi, 1851). To show their exactitude they can be compared with those left us by Tribaldo de' Rossi in his Ricordanze.

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The moon was waning gibbous that night.

1490

October 19

on Sunday

1 year, 3 months, 5 days later

The bronze dragon was placed on the Palazzo Strozzi.(1)

(1) To understand and correct where necessary these notices, it will perhaps be a help to refer to the above-mentioned Tribaldo de' Rossi: "20th October, 1490, I record that at the palace which Filippo Strozzi is having built, the builders put up the campanella at the corner which is opposite the Loggia de' Tornaquinci, that is to say - the campanella del Serpente ...."

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The moon was in the first quarter that night.

1495

January 4

on Friday

4 years, 2 months, 18 days later

4th January (Sunday). We heard that the King of France had entered Rome by agreement,(1) but, nevertheless, they did not give up the Castel Sant' Agnolo to him. It was said that he had pillaged the Orsini.

(1) Giuseppe Molini, p. 22 of vol. i . of the Documents di Storia Italiana, publishes the agreement made on the 15th of this month between the Pope and the King.

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The moon was in the first quarter that night.
Sunrise in Rome was at 6:02 AM and sunset was at 6:09 PM.

Agents

King Charles VIII (1470-1498), aged 25: king
Pope Alexander VI (1431-1503), aged 64: pope

Source: Primary

Luca Landucci; "A Florentine Diary"; p. 79

1502

June 26

on Thursday

7 years, 5 months, 24 days later

Extract from a dispatch of Machiavelli to the Signoria of Florence concerning Cesare Borgia:

This Duke is so enterprising that nothing is too great to be discounted by him. For the sake of glory and the enlarging of his dominions, he deprives himself of rest, yielding to no fatigue, no danger. He arrives in one place before anyone knows he has left the other, he gains the good will of his soldiers, he attracts to him the best men in Italy, and he has constant good luck. For all these reasons he is victorious and formidable.

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The moon was in the last quarter that night.

Agents

Cesare Borgia (1475-1507), aged 27: condottiero; cardinal; duke
Machiavelli (1469-1527), aged 33: historian

Source: Primary

Machiavelli; "Leonardo da Vinci. The Flights of the Mind"; E-book, p. 595.

1502

September

2 months, 7 days later

A Greek and Italian parallel text edition of Herodotus' Histories done for Count Matteo Maria Boiardo is published in Venice by Aldus Manutius.

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Source: Primary

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1502

1502

December 26

on Friday

3 months, 26 days later

Cesare Borgia kills Ramiro D'Orco; this incident is referenced in Machiavelli's The Prince.

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The moon was waning crescent that night.

Agents

Machiavelli (1469-1527), aged 33: historian
Cesare Borgia (1475-1507), aged 27: condottiero; cardinal; duke

Source: Primary

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1502

1502

December 26

on Friday

Extract from a dispatch of Machiavelli to the Signoria of Florence while in the service of Cesare Borgia:

This morning Messer Rimino was found lying in the piazza cut into two pieces; he still lies there, so that everyone has had an opportunity to see him ... The reason for his death is not yet clear, except that such was the pleasure of the Prince, who shows is that he can make and unmake men according to their deserts.

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The moon was waning crescent that night.

1504

1 year, 6 days later

In Florence, Leonardo da Vinci and Niccolò Machiavelli become involved in a scheme to divert the Arno river, cutting the water supply to Pisa to force its surrender: Colombino, the project foreman, fails to follow da Vinci’s design, and the project is a major failure.

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Source: Primary

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1504

1504

May 4

on Wednesday

4 months, 4 days later

The mural for the Council Hall of Florence was commissioned from Leonardo with a contract of 4 May 1504, signed by Machiavelli as secretary of the Republic; but Leonardo had already begun working on the cartoon in the Sala del Papa in S. Maria Novella, which had been assigned to him on 24 October of the preceding year.

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The moon was waning gibbous that night.
Sunrise in Florence was at 5:52 AM and sunset was at 5:59 PM.

1504

Winter

Leonardo's work on the cartoon of the Battle of Anghiari was suddenly interrupted in the last months of 1504, and he went to Piombino on a somewhat official mission as a military architect. (During his absence Michelangelo was to receive the commission for the Battle of Cascina.) His mission was preceded by a diplomatic action conducted by Machiavelli himself. It can be inferred, therefore, that it was Machiavelli who suggested Leonardo's name for the programme of fortification projects suggested by Jacopo IV Appiano, Lord of Piombino, an ally of the Florentines at the time of the Pisian war, 1503-4, when Leonardo had already been consulted on the project of diverting the Arno River for strategic reasons, and when Antonio da Sangallo the Elder was the chief military architect of the Florentine Republic. Leonardo's activity at Piombino, revealed by newly discovered evidence, included the study of the city walls, the citadel and the main gate.

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1513

September 23

on Tuesday

9 years, 5 months, 27 days later

A landslide occurred in the Alps near Bellinzona which is described by Leandro Alberti in 1550:

In the past years an earthquake caused a large part of a mountain to collapse, in such a way that the Bregno valley came to be obstructed; and as the river came to be dammed up, it produced a large and dark lake with great damage to the inhabitants of the valley, many of whom were drowned and their houses submerged. And so it stayed for quite some time, until the fallen earth made gradually soft by the infiltrations of the water and being no longer sufficiently strong to retain the immense pressure of it, suddenly burst open to the fury of the swollen waters. And since the former river bed, which was joined to the Ticino, was no longer adequate to contain it, the water flooded all the neighbouring regions, overthrowing in part even that strong wall which Lodovico Sforza had built near Bellinzona.

It is suggested by Carlo Pedretti that Leonardo da Vinci describes this event in the Codex Atlanticus around 1513:

... for in our own times a similar thing has been seen, that is, a mountain falling seven miles across a valley and closing it up and turning it into a lake.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was in the last quarter that night.
Sunrise in Bellinzona was at 5:49 AM and sunset was at 5:55 PM.
Sunrise in Ticino was at 5:49 AM and sunset was at 5:55 PM.
Sunrise in Bregno was at 5:49 AM and sunset was at 5:55 PM.

1528

August 22

on Wednesday

14 years, 11 months, 7 days later

By a deliberation of the Signory, we are informed that the marble had been brought to Florence about three years earlier, and that Michelangelo now received instructions, couched in the highest terms of compliment, to proceed with a group of two figures until its accomplishment. If Vasari can be trusted, Michelangelo made numerous designs and models for the Cacus, but afterwards changed his mind, and thought that he would extract from the block a Samson triumphing over two prostrate Philistines. The evidence for this change of plan is not absolutely conclusive.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was in the first quarter that night.
Sunrise in Florence was at 5:58 AM and sunset was at 6:05 PM.

Source: Primary

Symonds, John Addington: "The Life of Michelangelo Buonarroti", Modern Library (New York), p.281

1529

4 months, 12 days later

Giorgio Vasari visits Rome.

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Source: Primary

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1529

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1550

21 years, 5 days later

Giorgio Vasari publishes his 'Lives of the Painters, Sculptors and Architects', the first book of art history scholarship. It features a prominent chapter on Michelangelo, who is still alive at this point.

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1657

August 3

on Friday

107 years, 8 months, 1 day later

Domenico Bernini is born in Rome.

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The moon was in the last quarter that night.
Sunrise in Rome was at 6:01 AM and sunset was at 6:08 PM.

1671

13 years, 5 months, 4 days later

Domenico Bernini is ordained as a Jesuit priest for a couple of years.

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1685

14 years, 4 days later

1705

20 years, 4 days later

Domenico Bernini publishes the four-volume folio, "Istoria, di tutte l'heresie", in Rome.

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1713

8 years, 2 days later

Domenico Bernini publishes a biography on his father, "Vita del Cavalier Gio. Lorenzo Bernini" in Rome.

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1717

4 years, 1 day later

Domenico Bernini publishes "Il tribunale della S. Ruota Romana" in Rome.

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1723

6 years, 1 day later

Domenico Bernini dies.

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