When Piero Soderino was elected to the new office of Gonfalonier of Justice in 1502, he was faced not only with the problem of foreign invasions of italy but also with a controversial new constitution based on a Great Council of over 3,000 members. With the return of the Medici in 1512, the earlier constitutional order was restored--one that was far more oligarchical, and much less satisfactory, for many Florentines. This book provides a lively account of political alignments and decision making in these two contrasting governments, and analyzes the causes and significance of the Medici overthrow of the popular government of Soderino. Butters also reveals both the skills and shortcomings of the governments' leaders and the impact of the Medici pope, Leo X, on the city's affairs.
Butters has now filled the last remaining gap in the history of Renaissance Florence....His extensive and accurate knowledge of the politics of the period enables him to demonstrate the weaknesses of rival approaches....At last we have an accurate account of the political events and decisions of this period that Machiavelli and Vaglienti would be the first to tell us is the real stuff of history. * Journal of Modern History *