Dino Compagni's notion that internal discord was the result of Florentine discord.

Essay by QuigyUniversity, Bachelor's September 2003

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In Dino Compagni's diatribe of the Florentine demise, it is clear that he believes the internal strife among her citizens was the backbone of a beautiful city's undoing. Contemporaries who have read Machiavelli's works, without a proper grasp of Italian life at his time, tend to think Machiavelli a cruel and ruthless man. Comparing Machiavelli's thoughts and beliefs on the subject of human nature with that of Compagni, however, lead to a very converging view of mankind. As Compagni disserts, he believes the citizens of Florence to be intrinsically wicked and duplistic. Thus, the 'wicked citizens' and 'wicked deeds' were the main cause of discord, coupled with the universal truth that men of different classes have different political and economic agendas. Compagni's fault however lies in his limited view and perspective. As a citizen at the time his writing concerns, he has tunnel vision which modern historians today do not.

Compagni has not felt the rule of an absolute monarch like other Europeans of his time, nor was he brought up in a part of medieval Europe where power was thought to radiate downward, from God, to the clergy, and finally to the king or emperor. In the communes that Compagni inhabited, power radiated upward from the popolo to its leaders. Compagni's belief that bad politics caused Florentine discord was true, but the guilt is misplaced on corrupt and irresponsible leaders, rather than a flawed political system.

Though Italian communes were extremely patriotic and incredibly loyal, they were wrent apart by internal discord. If a commune was threatened by an outside force they would quickly ban together. However, in times of peace they were quick to quarrel with each other. Internal division is essentially the internal history of Italian communes. Compagni detests both the Guelf and Ghibelline parties...