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attempted assassination

1476

April 26

on Wednesday

At about 15 in the forenoon (11 a.m.) in Santa Maria del Fiore, whilst high mass was being celebrated and the Host elevated, Giuliano, son of Piero, son of Cosimo de' Medici, and Francesco Nori were killed, near the choir of the said church towards the door which goes to the Servi; and Lorenzo de' Medici was wounded in the neck, and fled into the sacristy and escaped. They were killed in consequence of a certain conspiracy made by Messer Jacopo de' Pazzi and Franceschino de' Pazzi and Guglielmo de' Pazzi, the which Guglielma was he brother-in-law of Lorenzo de' Medici, his wife being a sister of theirs, called Bianca. And the sons of Messer Piero de' Pazzi were also there, that is, Andrea and Renato and Niccolo; and of the house of Salviati, there were Francesco, Bishop of Pisa, and Jacopo Salviati, who was son-in-law to Filippo Tornabuoni, and another Jacopo also a Salviati, and Jacopo, son of Messer Poggio, Bracciolini and Bernardo Bandini of the house of Baroncegli, and Amerigo Corsi, and many others. The conspirators brought Cardinal di San Giorgio(1) here, who was a young man; he entered Florence on the day above-mentioned, and they all came together in Santa Maria del Fiore, and, as I have said, at the elevation of the Host seized their swords, and it is said that Francesco de' Pazzi struck Giuliano, and Bandini the other. And having killed Giuliano they wanted to kill Lorenzo, but did not succeed, as he fled into the sacristy. Meantime the Bishop de' Salviati, with Jacopo, son of Messer Poggio, and two of his relatives who were both called Jacopo, went to the Palagio, with several priests, feigning to desire to speak to the Signoria, and they spoke to the Gonfaloniere, and became somewhat confused. The Gonfaloniere perceived the treachery, and he and his companions shut themslves up here and there, and ordered the doors to be closed, and the bell run for a parlamento. And what with the rumour which came from Santa Maria del Fiore of Giuliano's death and the bell ringing at the Palagio, the city was immediately in arms. And Lorenzo de' Medici was taken to his house. Meantime Messer Jacopo de' Pazzi rushed on horseback to the Piazza de' Signori, crying "Popolo e liberta!" (The People and Liberty!), wishing to take the Palagio, but the bishop not having succeeded in getting possession of it, Messer Jacopo was not able to enter. He then went towards his own house, and was advised to take to flight; and he fled by the Porta all Croce, together with many men-at-arms, in the Piazza and at Lorenzo de' Medici's house. And numbers of men on the side of the conspirators were killed in the Piazza; amongst others a priest of the bishop's was killed there, his body being quartered and the head cut off, and then the head was stuck on the top of a lance, and carried about Florence the whole day, and one quarter of his body was carried on a spit all through the city, with the cry of: "Death to the traitors!" That same evening the cardinal was taken to the Palagio, barely escaping with his life, all his companions being captured without exception.

And the bishop remained in the Palagio with all the rest. And that evening they hung Jacopo, son of Messer Poggio, from the windows of the Palagio de' Signori, and likewise the Bishop of Pisa, and Franceschino de' Pazzi, naked; and about twenty men besides, some at the Palagio de' Signori, and others at the Palagio dell Podesta and at the Casa del Capitano, all at the windows.

The next day (the 27th) they hung Jacopo Salviati, son-in-law of Filippo Tornabuoni, and the other Jacopo, also at the windows, and many others of the households of the cardinals and of the bishop. And the day after that (the 28th April, 1478), Messer Jacopo de' Pazzi was captured at Belforte. And that evening of the 28th, about 23 in the evening (7 p.m.), Messer Jacopo de' Pazzi and Renato de' Pazzi were hung at the windows of the Palagio de'' Signori, above the ringhiera(2); and so many of their men with them, that during these three days the number of those killed amounted to more than seventy. The cardinal remained a prisoner of the Palagio, and no harm was done him, except that he was made to write to the Holy Father, with his own hand, all that had happened. And the same day the prisoners in the Stinche(3) managed to break open the prison, and all escaped - with the exception of one unfortunate man who was captured and hung.

(1) Rafaello Riario.

(2) The ringhiera was the platform consisting in three steps and railing, which used to be round the Palagio (Palazzo Vecchio) on the front and on the north. It was used for haranguing the people and was only demolished in 1812, when the present steps and platform replaced it. (Trans.)

(3) The Stinche were the old prisons, which formed a large rectangular mass between the Via del Diluvio (now Via del Fosso), the Via del Palagio (now Via Ghibellina), the Via del Mercatino, and the Via de' Lavatoi. The exterior walls were extremely high, and windowless. The name was derived from that of a fortress which had rebelled against Florence at the beginning of the fifteenth century, and which the Florentines retook, bringing the prisoners back as a trophy. Originally intended for traitors and revels, these prisons were used afterwards for various purposes, even for madmen; whilst later on debtors and bankrupts were confined there, and others with life-sentences. In 1835, under the Grand-duke Leopold, it was decreed that they should be sold, and shops and houses were built on the area; also the large hall, called Filamonica, and riding-school, afterwards replaced by the Pagliani theatre, now called the Verdi. (Trans.)

Attachments
Bianca de' Medici is traditionally presumed to be the woman in the centre
Portrait of Giuliano de' Medici by Botticelli
The skull of Giuliano de' Medici, fractured from the blade that killed him
Portrait of Lorenzo de' Medici by Andrea del Verrocchio
The Stinche, or old prisons of Florence, as shown in an engraving

Astronomical Events

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

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