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Leonardi Bruni, Florentine traitor? Bruni, the Medici, and an Aretine conspiracy of 1437.

As the most prolific and widely cited intellectual of the early Florentine Renaissance, Leonardo Bruni has inspired lively debate as to what moderns would term his political "commitment." Hans Baron labeled him a "civic humanist," a defender of Florentine liberty against Milanese and other tyrannies, who attempted to promote the Florentine republican regime by underscoring its intellectual and moral ties to the republicanism of Ciceronian Rome.(1) Other scholars have called Bruni a "professional rhetorician," happy to use his skills as an orator to defend a variety of positions, including Florentine republicanism, but as a rhetorician lacking any core political beliefs.(2) These two choices, either making Bruni a civic-humanist ideologue, clutching his Historiae Florentini populi even on his tomb designed by Bernardo Rossellino, or, instead, painting him as a sort of Talleyrand figure adaptable to various political climates, have dominated most recent discussions, and especially the American discussions, of this important early humanist.(3)

In assessing Bruni's ideology, or lack thereof, however, close attention must be paid to Florentine internal politics. Except for the last decade of his life, Bruni's Florence was run by an oligarchy, which alternated between allowing broader popular access to public office (or being forced to allow it) and closing off that access. By the mid-1420s, as the more popular elements coalesced around Cosimo de' Medici, Florence came to be divided into two distinct parties or factions: a more popular Medici party and a more oligarchic party headed by Niccolo da Uzzano and Rinaldo degli Albizzi.(4)

It is here we are faced with the difficult question of Bruni's relation to the emerging Medici regime. Bruni's chancery began in 1427, not long after the Medici party came to be identified as a clear political force, and his election was regarded by some as a compromise acceptable to the Medici forces and their oligarch opponents.(5) Bruni's chancery lasted until his death in 1444 and thus through the first decade of the Medici regime. Bruni certainly cultivated the Medici, dedicating to Cosimo, before he came to power in 1434, his extremely popular Latin translation of the Economics, then attributed to Aristotle, and his translation of several of Plato's letters.(6) Bruni also composed (James Hankins has argued) some Latin letters for Cosimo and, as chancellor during the Medici regime, drafted a number of official letters supporting the government.(7) He even deposited money in the Medici bank.(8)

But more striking are Bruni's connections to the anti-Medicean oligarchs. Bruni had close ties to the man who emerged as the leader of the oligarchs, Rinaldo degli Albizzi, who orchestrated the oligarchic coup in 1433 and directed the putsch against the Medici a year later on Cosimo's return. As a leader of the oligarchic stronghold, the Parte Guelfa, Albizzi had earlier been a member of a commission to revise its statutes. The commission entrusted Bruni with composing the revisions, which he completed in 1420.(9) These revisions required some study of the notion of knighthood, and out of that work, and perhaps in gratitude to Albizzi (who had been made a knight in 1418), Bruni dedicated to him his De militia (On Knighthood) in 1421.(10) In this work Bruni tried to show that aristocratic and knightly values could be translated to a civic context. Paolo Viti has argued that the dedication had far more substance than Bruni's dedication to Cosimo of the Aristotelian Economics. The latter merely argues that the wealthy have opportunities to display their virtue, and that Cosimo can well exercise that option. But the dedication to the De militia considers Rinaldo degli Albizzi a necessary and central component of the Florentine regime.(11)

Bruni was also close to several members of the wealthy and powerful Strozzi family.(12) The richest and probably most learned of the oligarchs, Palla di Nofri Strozzi, had studied with Bruni under Manuel Chrysoloras. They were friends for years, exchanging a number of letters, and, according to Vespasiano da Bisticci, Bruni considered Palla to be the embodiment of perfect human happiness.(13) Bruni invested in the Strozzi bank, and it is apparent that Palla, like many Florentines, followed Bruni's intellectual interests.(14) Another quite prominent oligarch of the Strozzi family, Matteo di Simone Strozzi (probably best known today as the husband of Alessandra Macinghi), had very close links to Bruni as well. Matteo helped Bruni with investments, and Matteo's correspondents asked him to send their greetings to Bruni.(15) Bruni's funeral oration on Nanni Strozzi, larded with civic-humanist themes, also contains praise of the entire Strozzi family.(16) Bruni had a copy of it sent via Matteo to Nanni's brother, accompanied by a letter from Matteo actually composed, according to Hankins, by Bruni himself.(17)

Less well-known are Bruni's relations with Raimondo Mannelli, an oligarch, cousin of Matteo di Simone Strozzi, and sometime galley captain.(18) In 1431 this anti-Medicean felt his role had been overlooked in a naval battle involving Genoa, the battle of Rapallo, and he sent to Bruni a description of the battle, so that Bruni could use it in his Florentine Histories. In this communication Matteo di Simone Strozzi again served as an intermediary, polishing Mannelli's text and presenting it to the chancellor.(19) Mannelli later sent personal greetings to Bruni.(20)

But the strongest evidence for Bruni's closeness to the oligarchs is the marriage of his only son, Donato, to a daughter of Michele di Vanni Castellani in 1431.(21) By the early 1430s, the Castellani ranked right with the Albizzi and Strozzi as oligarch leaders, with Michele's brother Matteo presiding over the famous Santo Stefano meeting of 1426 (according to the account of Cavalcanti), when the oligarchs first discussed imposing by force a regime on Florence more to their liking.(22) Also, Michele's brother-in-law had married a daughter of Rinaldo degli Albizzi.(23)

Now we might also conclude that any ambitious humanist rising in political and economic clout should be expected to have such ties, when the oligarchs were so prominent in Florence. But in the "purer" world of humanist learning, Bruni's position is strikingly one-sided. The story of Bruni's relations with Medicean and anti-Medicean intellectuals still needs to be written. Much remains controversial. Of the leading Medicean intellectuals - Carlo Marsuppini, Niccolo Niccoli, Poggio, and Ambrogio Traversari - Bruni was superficially close to Poggio, cool toward Marsuppini, and bitterly inimical toward both Niccoli and Traversari.(24) In his early years in Florence Bruni had been a member of a circle of radical humanists led by Niccoli and Poggio, who were militant classicists seeking a definite and complete break with the cultural legacy of Trecento proto- and pre-humanism. These humanists distinguished themselves from the classicizing efforts, such as they were, of Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio, and they did not like the Christianizing, halfhearted humanism of Coluccio Salutati (who was tainted also by certain barbaric eccentricities in his Latin prose). Bruni had clearly been in the circle of these more radical humanists, and in his Dialogues to Pier Paolo Vergerio he allowed Salutati to identify him as one whose ideas were identical to those of Niccoli.(25) What is often overlooked is the political component, or potential political component, of this radical humanism. Niccoli and Poggio were rejecting the traditional, volgare, and Christianizing culture of the Trecento, a culture whose exponents emphasized a continuity of this learned, aristocratic culture into the early Quattro-cento.(26) This rejection naturally appealed to Cosimo, who drew his political strength from nontraditional elements. For some reason, perhaps because of political ambition and career reasons, in the early 1400s Bruni began distinguishing himself from the more radical humanists. In his Dialogues, after clearly acknowledging his reputation as a Niccoli done, which all surely knew about, he began to work on "damage control." He brought into the second dialogue Piero Sermini, the chancellor of the Parte Guelfa (the overseers, as it were, of oligarchic culture, who, according to Bruni, served Florence much in the same way as the Areopagites served ancient Athens), and he forced Niccoli to make a foolish and nonsensical refutation of his strident classicism.(27) Bruni meanwhile began distancing himself from Poggio's radical rejection of Trecento culture.(28)

By late 1410 the oligarchic regime made Bruni chancellor of Florence, a position he soon resigned in favor of a more lucrative and what seemed to be a more stable career with the papacy.(29) In 1415 papal and conciliar politics led Bruni back to Florence, where he began to win fame through his humanist activity, especially his promised Florentine Histories.(30)

Several years after arriving in Florence he had an open break with Niccolo Niccoli. Bruni assisted in composing one polemic against Niccoli, written under someone else's name, and then wrote another polemic under his own.(31) Niccoli's obsessive refusal to write for publication (an element of his radical classicism recorded in Bruni's Dialogues) would not let him respond, and Poggio was left with defending his friend's honor.(32) At about the same time Bruni had a falling out with another Medicean intellectual, Ambrogio Traversari, who, unlike Niccoli, was not prone to inviting polemics. Bruni's In hypocritas was an invective against unnamed figures, and contemporaries correctly recognized Traversari as the main object of attack.(33) This Camaldulensian monk, a resident of Florence and favorite of Cosimo, answered Bruni in his letters, chiefly accusing him of overestimating his own talents.(34) (Vespasiano da Bisticci claimed that Bruni's attacks on Traversari were rooted in his jealousy of Traversari, since the latter was being cultivated and praised by Cosimo, Cosimo's brother Lorenzo, and Niccolo Niccoli.)(35) Bruni meanwhile more directly drew closer to the oligarchic regime: as mentioned earlier, he was entrusted with revising the statutes of the Parte Guelfa (1420) and a year later completed the De militia to Rinaldo degli Albizzi.

In 1427 Medici partisans were strong enough to block the reelection of Paolo Fortini, an oligarch favorite, as chancellor of Florence.(36) The Medicean choice as his successor may have been Martino di Luca Martini, who was presumably unelectable, and Leonardo Bruni at last became chancellor as a compromise candidate, after a few unsuccessful attempts to elect him in the Florentine Councils.(37)

By now the Mediceans and oligarchs were identifiable, opposing factions, when from the outside came a major intellectual, Francesco Filelfo.(38) In some ways Filelfo's career paralleled Bruni's, for he too attempted to ingratiate himself with political and intellectual leaders of both camps. (Before arriving in Florence, Filelfo had been warned that the city was divided into factions.(39)) Filelfo dedicated works to Palla Strozzi and Cosimo de' Medici, and each, before Filelfo even came to Florence, offered him money and a place of residence.(40) Niccolo Niccoli helped Filelfo move to Florence, and another Medici partisan, Carlo Marsuppini, won Filelfo's praise in an early oration in the Florentine Studio.(41) Prior to his arrival in Florence, Filelfo dedicated a translation of Dio Chrysostomus to Bruni, who in turn drafted a letter to Filelfo urging him to accept the Studio appointment.(42) But this neutrality quickly evaporated. As a teacher of the humanities, Filelfo was at once embraced by the oligarchs, and he had a complete and early break with all the Mediceans.(43) In his letters, lectures, and satires he poured abuse on Carlo Marsuppini, Niccolo Niccoli, Poggio, Ambrogio Traversari, and Cosimo himself.(44) Bruni, however, was not only spared but won Filelfo's consistent praise.(45) And here Filelfo's closeness to Bruni and his antipathy toward the Mediceans was announced loudly to the Florentines. In fact, there is solid evidence that Filelfo was turning his large classroom (he had hundreds of students) into an anti-Medicean forum.(46) Consistent with anti-Medicean, oligarchic ideology, Filelfo emphasized the links between contemporary humanist culture and Florence's immediate cultural past, particularly the Trecento volgare culture of Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio. When Filelfo began lecturing on Dante in 1431, he and his students (the latter regularly gave practice orations), like Bruni, found the tre corone to be precursors of modern humanist culture. Filelfo's students identified two moderns, Leonardo Bruni and Filelfo himself, as worthy heirs of that tradition.(47) Meanwhile Filelfo, both in and out of the classroom, vilified the Mediceans. Medici partisans used those resources they had to counterattack: they canceled his appointment (a decision Filelfo got the government to overturn); fined him via a pro-Medici university rector; disrupted his lectures and even stormed his podium; had him arrested for verbally abusing a Venetian ambassador; and, at last, hired an assassin who managed only to slash his face with a knife.(48)

When the Medici were exiled from Florence in the late summer of 1433, Bruni remained as chancellor for the new regime. (Filelfo, meanwhile, urged the leaders of the regime to consider executing the arrested Cosimo.)(49) One could suspect that Bruni approved of the oligarchic regime, but his precise attitude is difficult to determine.(50) If he wrote any personal letters praising the new regime, and he may have been hesitant to do so, he carefully suppressed them.(51) Medicean intellectuals such as Poggio and Traversari backed Cosimo in public, even during the period of his exile.(52) Bruni meanwhile did write a state letter defending the exile of the Medici as necessary for the "peace and quiet and tranquillity of our regime": the letter is dated the very day of Cosimo's arrest (7 September 1433) and announces the places and terms of that exile, before, that is, those terms had even been officially agreed upon.(53) After the Medici return from exile, Bruni wrote the necessary letters supporting the new regime. Why did the Medici retain Bruni? No one in Florence, as far as I know, was exiled merely for his past ideological opposition to the Medici regime. Even Filelfo left on his own, for Siena, although he quickly enraged the Medici when, it was alleged, he got involved in one plot to stab a horse Cosimo had personally sent to the Sienese palio and in another plot to assassinate Carlo Marsuppini, Girolamo Broccardi (the rector of the university), and probably Cosimo himself.(54) Bruni composed the state letter to the Sienese government urging it to suppress such initiatives of the Florentine exiles.(55)

As for Bruni's true position toward the Medici regime, the evidence points toward a troublesome and potentially hostile relationship. Bruni was a prolific and popular author, and he was famous as a propagandist for Florence. Cosimo may indeed have considered it unwise to cashier him, even if a Martino di Luca Martini, Carlo Marsuppini, or even Poggio would have been a more loyal chancellor. Not long after assuming power the Mediceans did make some changes, however, and, according to the recent studies of Vanna Arrighi and Raffaella Zaccaria, these were designed to curb Bruni's power.(56) In 1435 they brought one Giovanni Guiducci into the government as the chancellor of the Tratte, a "delicato ufficio," in Zaccaria's words, that Bruni had previously held: this office handled eligibility to government offices and reformed Medicean scrutinies.(57) (I suspect that this reform and others were what led Filelfo to write to Bruni in late 1435 asking him, it seems, how he was faring in his official duties. Bruni wrote back that he was carrying out his public work as he always had.)(58) In 1437 the chancery was divided into two sections, with a second chancery handling internal affairs. This second chancery was staffed with Medici partisans.(59) The other oligarchic holdover from the previous regime, Filippo di Ugolino Pieruzzi, a friend of Bruni who became the Notaio delle Riformagioni (the notary in charge of recording new laws) in 1429, after the Medici partisan Martino Martini was sacked, was fired from his office just two months after the death of Bruni.(60) All this suggests that Bruni was being closely watched by the Medici.(61)

On the other hand, Bruni did manage to win prestigious offices during the Medici period. He became one of the Dieci di Balla from 1439 and was renamed to this prestigious office afterward, and later, a year before his death, he became a Prior.(62) One might suppose that the Dieci di Balia (usually Englished as "Ten of War") were officers with plenipotentiary powers and privy to sensitive military secrets. But Guidubaldo Guidi has recently argued that such was not the case: they met with the Priors and always worked in conjunction with them, and, according to another scholar, Guido Pampaloni, they were "a secondary organ of the government, which carried out the aims of the commune within the limits and with the means provided for by the law" which created them.(63) Zaccaria and others have argued that these offices for Bruni were mainly ceremonial: they may have been owed, partly, to Bruni's immensely popular Historie Florentini populi, first presented in 1439, and to his role in bringing to Florence the Ecclesiastical Council, earlier held in Basel and Ferrara, which resulted in the extraordinary celebration, in the newly-domed cathedral, of Church Union in 1439.(64) Bruni's close relationship with Pope Eugenius IV, according to Zaccaria, helped assure both his survival as chancellor and his entry into the more formal offices of the Medici regime.(65)

But Bruni's actual role with the Dieci di Balia may indeed have been more than ceremonial. During the time of his holding office in 1439-41, the major Florentine wars were against the Visconti allied with various Florentine exiles. How was Bruni behaving in the face of this "reappearance of the Milanese threat" (in the words of Baron) - the same Milanese threat that was causing the pro-Medici Poggio to be roused from his civic-humanist slumber to take up his pen against Milan?(66) Bruni became, for the first time in his life, pusillanimous - so much so that he felt he had to defend himself to his fellow member of the Dieci di Balla, Agnolo Acciaiuoli, and to others. In his preface to his commentary on Xenophon's Hellenica, dated about 1440, he stated that he had noticed that Agnolo had been puzzled by his "hesitation and slowness" in "actions that might easily lead to war." If "we have seemed hesitant and tardy," indeed "timid and diffident in such matters, either to you or to others, know that the reason was that historical examples are always holding me back and frightening me away from every kind of confrontation." And then, after a few remarks on how states are endangered by leaders lacking in moderation, who govern by spiritus rather than by prudentia, Bruni begins an exposition on Xenophon as his guide to military caution.(67)

Paolo Viti has noted one other eccentricity of Bruni during the Medici period. As Bruni began preparing his private letters for publication in the late 1430s, he made two significant revisions. He first suppressed or redrafted many of his early letters to Medici opponents: this is not particularly surprising, since humanists (and others) often suppressed letters embarrassing to them. What is surprising is that, according to Viti, Bruni also removed his pro-Medici letters.(68) Perhaps he did not want posterity to remember him as a Medici partisan. Or perhaps he was expecting, or hoping, that the Medici regime would collapse.

Moreover, Bruni reaffirmed his ties to Trecento culture. In 1436, not long after the Medici coup, Bruni wrote volgare lives of Dante and Petrarch.(69) In these are found themes we happily identify with the civic-humanist Bruni: Dante, for instance, becomes a family man, a patriot, and an exponent of the vita attiva. The frills of Beatrice, Boccaccesque love-musings on Dante, and even the Commedia are hardly mentioned. But even here Bruni exploits a genre about which early Medicean intellectuals felt uneasy, namely the great volgare traditions of the Trecento (what modern literary historians have called "traditional culture"), traditions that emphasized an aristocratic and even oligarchic continuity of the Trecento with the Quattrocento, which Niccoli and Poggio so much resisted.(70) Moreover, both Dante and Petrarch were Florentines forced by political circumstances to take up residence elsewhere. Were these works a form of defiance toward the Medici regime?

In his Commentationes Florentinae de exilio of about 1440, Francesco Filelfo created an imaginary dialogue taking place just after the Medici came to power in 1434 but before anyone had been exiled.(71) Bruni is given a role as one revolted by the tyranny of the Medici regime, by the low level of culture of Medicean intellectuals (Marsuppini, Niccoli, and Poggio), and particularly by Cosimo's use of money in ruining Florence.(72) But he joins the dialogue late, in Book III. Why was he late? It was not his voluntas, he answered, but a ratio temporis, and he knew that such viri gravissimi planeque sapientes did not really need him. But we are men, not gods, the interlocutor Rinaldo degli Albizzi replies, and the conditions require that something be done.(73) And so Bruni rises to the occasion and viciously attacks Cosimo. Palla Strozzi, at the end of the work, thanks Bruni for speaking the view of all ottimati. Strozzi concludes, however, that since Bruni has chosen to remain in Florence rather than become an exile, he should be on the lookout, lest his duties of humanity and friendship to the exiles cause him harm. Bruni responds that there is nothing he fears less than exile among viri optimi et clarissimi, and that on the next day (Book IV, "De servitute"), he will describe the terrible yoke of servitude under which Florence is held.(74) This section Filelfo apparently never bothered to write.

Could Bruni honor his "duties of humanity and friendship to the exiles," make his praise of the vita attiva more than just a rhetorical strategy, and still remain in Florence? In this context I present an extraordinary document from the Archivio di Stato in Milan (Archivio Ducale [Visconteo-Sforzesco], filza 14, no. 2: as far as I know, it has never been cited in the Bruni literature), which implicates Leonardo Bruni in an Aretine plot of 1437 to destroy the Florentine state.(75) The document is unsigned, and it appears to be a report from the Milanese chancery summarizing the testimony of an Aretine conspirator against Florence.(76) The document states that one Abbatinus of Arezzo claims that the more prominent and powerful citizens of Arezzo want to free themselves from the Florentine dominion.(77) They do not want to become Visconti subjects but will submit to the rule of one Malatesta or others from the Tarlati family of Pietramala, which had earlier ruled Arezzo and is now headed by the noblewoman Anfrosina. Leonardo Bruni and other Aretines in Florence, both doctores and others, will support the rebellion and move to Arezzo when it takes place. The method of proceeding will be for Malatesta and another condottiere, Cristoforo da Tolentino, to send their armies to the environs of Arezzo. Then leading Aretines will seize the town gates and allow the armies in, and the fortress will be taken. The Sienese and others will help if needed. Even if Arezzo is not to become a Milanese possession, the result of this will be the "destruction and ruin of the Florentines" (destructio et ruina Florentinorum). Abbatinus promises to become a hostage to guarantee the validity of his prediction for success. Finally, the report labels Lucca as a key source of anti-Florentine support. But Visconti should know that in Lucca, one Bartolomeo da Todi, the Capitano della Piazza, is in fact a Florentine agent, revealing all secrets to the Florentines, as Anfrosina learned and as Abbatinus has been advised by Leonardo Bruni.

Thus we have here Leonardo Bruni implicated in a conspiracy that will destroy the Florentine state. The Medici regime was in these years fragile, with Florentine exiles raising armies to retake Florence. These exiles exploited anti-Florentine sentiment in the distretto, especially in Arezzo and Pisa, and they could count on support from the free cities of Siena and Lucca.(78) According to the document, Bruni was a fifth columnist for the Aretines in Florence, supporting the rebellion and identifying Florentine agents in enemy territory, in this instance Lucca. Thus Bruni, the super-patriot author of the Laudatio Florentine urbis, has during the Medici regime become a Florentine traitor.

Yet for now the question mark after "traitor," in this paper's title, must remain, since we have but one document by an anonymous author giving a communication of an unidentified "Abbatinus": is this Abbatinus a name, surname, nickname, or title? Could it have been one of the many code names appearing in diplomatic correspondence designed to conceal the true name? Did the Medici know of the communication? (Probably not.) Would Bruni have been in trouble if they had known of it? (Possibly not, or perhaps in no more trouble than he was already in.) It is conceivable that the document was the product of the wishful thinking of someone living in Lucca, Arezzo, or the area northeast of Arezzo where Anfrosina and the Tarlati held power, and was designed to instill confusion and disloyalty within the Florentine regime and to encourage the Visconti to count on such disloyalty.(79) Florence, with some success, had created false documents during its war with Lucca in the early 1430s suggesting subversion within the enemy ranks.(80) Had he been confronted with this document, Bruni could have labeled it smoke.(81)

But there is one more curious element to this story, and it involves this madonna Anfrosina, a central figure in the conspiracy, who, Cavalcanti claimed in speaking of a later incident, was possessed of an intense hatred of the Florentines due to her foolishness or perhaps fastidiosa superbia.(82) If the Aretine conspiracy were to be a success, and the plan as outlined followed, her family would be among the big winners. She or her son Malatesta, or both, would control Arezzo. The curious element is this: through marriage, she was related to Leonardo Bruni.(83) Leonardo's only son Donato had married Alessandra, the daughter of Michele di Vanni Castellani and Bartolomea di Giovanni Gambacorta.(84) Alessandra's maternal grandfather, Giovanni Gambacorta, head of the ruling family in Pisa which the Florentines had rewarded for helping betray Pisa to them in 1406, had produced illustrious offspring.(85) A son, Gherardo, married Margherita, the daughter of the leading oligarch in Florence, Rinaldo degli Albizzi.(86) A daughter, Bartolomea, as we said, married another extremely powerful Florentine oligarch, Michele di Vanni Castellani, the father-in-law of Bruni's son Donato. Another daughter, Isabetta, married an entitled noble, that is, Giovanni, son of Count Gioacchino di Montedoglio.(87) This Giovanni was the brother of Anfrosina.(88) (See chart on next page.)

I present the document below in its original Latin and in an English translation. I think that even if Bruni's involvement was someone's falsification, the fact that such an involvement in an anti-Florentine rebellion could be presented as credible is in itself significant. While we should not expect, from what we know otherwise of Bruni, that he would be involved in a revolutionary conspiracy, we should remember that the document in question does not really promise Bruni's active involvement: rather, after the revolution has taken place, Bruni (and others) would move to Arezzo and join the liberated state. It would seem that the most serious charge against Bruni that could be derived from the document is that he was identifying Florentine agents in enemy territory. Whether or not the document is describing a true conspiracy, it at least provides further evidence for Bruni's alienation from Medicean Florence. Indeed it would have made no sense to portray a Medici partisan as a potential rebel against Cosimo's Florence; nor would Filelfo's portrayal of Bruni as anti-Medici in his Commentationes Florentinae de exilio have had any potential effect if Bruni was privately known to better-born Florentines as a Medici partisan.

In fact the weight of all the evidence, Bruni's ties of kinship, his intellectual circles, his personal refusal to praise the Medici for their coup of 1434 or to dedicate more works to them, the various reforms in his chancery, his evident disinclination to promote an aggressive policy toward Florentine and Medicean enemies while serving on the Dieci di Balla, his editing of his private letters, and now the document from Milan - all this suggests that Bruni had much to be unhappy about during the Medici regime. One can imagine Bruni's position in 143637, when the Aretine conspiracy was being conceived. Palla Strozzi, his close friend and fellow scholar since their youth, was now in exile in Padua. Bruni's fellow scholar and patron Matteo di Simone Strozzi, exiled to Pesaro, was now dead. Rinaldo degli Albizzi was not only exiled but in rebellion. Raimondo Mannelli was gone too. Other oligarch families were exiled in massive numbers: the Bardi, Brancacci, Gianfigliazzi, Guadagni, and Peruzzi.(89) Bruni was estranged from those major Florentine humanists close to Cosimo - Carlo Marsuppini, Niccolo Niccoli, Ambrogio Traversari, and perhaps Poggio. The only humanist of note left in Florence and willing to praise Bruni, Francesco Filelfo, had fled to Siena and was calling for rebellion. The Medici had possibly sent an assassin after him - the same assassin who had earlier slashed him - and Filelfo was now under public sentence from Florence to have his tongue be cut out.(90) Bruni's family was especially hard hit. The family of his only son's wife, the Castellani, was ruined: her brother, Otto, was in exile; two uncles, Iacopo and Piero, were in exile; her great uncle, Rinaldo degli Albizzi, was a rebel in exile; anyone else remaining in Florence from the entire branch of her family had a twenty-year ban on holding public office; and her father, Michele di Vanni, to paraphrase a classic expression from an undergraduate exam, had managed to save himself only by dying before the revolution took place.(91) And now for Bruni rebellion against Medicean Florence was promised by his Florentine and Aretine kin. One can imagine Bruni leading the chancery of an Aretine state, headed perhaps by his noble kinsmen in the Tarlati family.(92) Or one can imagine him dreaming of an Etruscan federation of republics and signories extending from Arezzo west to Siena, Volterra, and Pisa, and then up to Lucca, allying itself with the Visconti and finally overwhelming the Medici regime in Florence. Then others would in the future say of Bruni what Bruni, in 1436, had said of Petrarch: "he made his way to Arezzo . . . where he was born, and the citizens, learning of his coming, went out to meet him, as if it were a king that had come."(93)

Those scholars who have argued against some recent Italian scholarship that any notion of Bruni being anti-Medicean is anachronistic - an anachronism, that is, based on modern notions that Bruni is surely a civic humanist opposed to Medicean tyranny - now have more reasons than ever to reevaluate their hypotheses.(94) At the same time those who would turn Bruni into a disciple of republicanism should weigh the implications of the document produced below. The liberated Arezzo will be run by a signore, and no successful Aretine rebellion against Florence will be possible without Visconti support. An alliance with the Visconti surely troubled those traditional Florentine Guelfs in rebellion against the Medici state. Filelfo raised this very question in his Commentationes Florentinae de exilio, with Rinaldo degli Albizzi favoring a Visconti alliance, even a Milanese subjection of Florence, over a Medicean tyranny.(95) This too may explain what Gary Ianziti has noticed was a curious trait of Bruni's late work, his Rerum suo tempore gestarum commentarius, which surveyed Florentine history from 1378 to 1440. Bruni found little to say about Cosimo, but he spoke highly of the Milanese signore Filippo Maria Visconti.(96)

However much credibility Bruni's role in this Aretine conspiracy of 1437 may have, I know of no convincing evidence that the Visconti followed the recommendation to exploit specifically the situation in Arezzo.(97) The Milanese government never even informed Lucca that Bartolomeo da Todi was an alleged Florentine agent, or else the Lucca government did not receive the message or refused to believe it; possibly Milan did not believe it either.(98) Neither Malatesta Tarlati da Pietramala nor Cristoforo da Tolentino ever moved their armies to the Aretine outskirts, and the rebellious spirit of the citizens of Arezzo and their allies in Florence was never tested. After at least a decade of Florentine harassment, Anfrosina da Pietramala finally lost her tiny state to Florence with the battle of Anghiari of 1440.(99) The nearby Monterchi, where she signed her letters, would become famous not for the lady who gave birth to the rebellion that ruined Florence but for the Madonna del Parto of Piero della Francesca.

Nor was Bruni's revived Aretine patriotism put to the test. He, or rather his father, with Bruni's post factum approval, had betrayed his patria Arezzo to the Florentines in 1384. Bruni preferred to describe this not as an Aretine defeat but as a Guelf victory.(100) After the battle of Anghiari in 1440 the Medici regime and Florentine state were, for a time, secure. Bruni would not get the chance to betray his adopted patria Florence to the Aretines. And so, in the 1440s, he went into a respectable old age, perhaps regretting only that he had but one country to give for his life.



Milan, Archivio di Stato, Archivio Ducale (Visconteo-Sforzesco), filza 14, no. 2.

11 January 1437(101)

Abbatinus of Arezzo(102) advises the Lord [Duke Filippo Maria Visconti] that the greater part of the men of the city of Arezzo, that is, the more prominent and powerful, desire very much to escape their subjection to the Florentines and have a regime that is freer and more to their liking. They do not seek or wish to be subject to our Lord Duke: on the contrary, they do not wish it at all, but they would wish to have one from those of Pietramala who in former times had dominion in the aforesaid city of Arezzo, such as indeed Malatesta [Tarlati da Pietramala] who presently is with your lordship and whom they would receive freely as lord.(103) Leonardo [Bruni] of Arezzo, the chancellor of the Florentines, is in agreement with this also, as are many doctors and others from Arezzo(104) residing in Florence who, as soon as the revolution has taken place, will leave Florence and move to Arezzo.

The method of carrying out this enterprise would be for the said Malatesta to be sent towards that region, as close, namely, as is possible to the city of Arezzo. And with the aid and mediation of his brother-in-law Cristoforo da Tolentino, who, along with his wife, would be able to go to the lands adjacent to Arezzo, such an enterprise could be carried out.(105) For the leaders of the city, when they know of their arrival, would seize the gates of the said city, which are normally in their charge, and next they would let the aforesaid [Malatesta and Cristoforo da Tolentino] into the city and then storm the citadel, which they would take at once. And if needed the nearby Sienese would give them help and assistance. The Captain of your lordship [Niccolo Piccinino] with little or no difficulty could go to their aid as well.(106)

And after this business is accomplished, it could be considered and maintained that immediately there will follow the destruction and ruin of the Florentines, as the Lord [Duke Visconti] might be better informed by Count Guido [Torelli or Rangoni?](107) and Berardino [degli Ubaldini della Carda],(108) who have excellent knowledge as to the site and condition of the said city and those parts, and they also could know to advise whether the matter is realistic and feasible, and with what methods it will need to be carried out.

Moreover, the aforesaid Cristoforo da Tolentino will be prepared whenever he is asked and would freely attend to this matter, especially in consideration of his aforesaid relative [Malatesta Tarlati da Pietramala]. For he is not being paid by the Florentines nor by Count Francesco [Sforza]; rather, he serves as he is paid on a day-to-day basis.(109)

If this enterprise is carried out the aforesaid Abbatinus will remain in those parts or in these, as the Lord [Duke Visconti] prefers. And he says that he wants the Lord to place and hold him in prison and to dispose of his person as he wishes, if this enterprise does not work, as long as good methods [in carrying it out] are used.

But, for God's sake, careful attention should be paid to the guarding and preservation of the city of Lucca, which is so fine a key [to the enterprise, or to the greater mission of destroying Florence?], and in no way should one Bartolomeo da Todi [Bartolomeo di Francesco Paraventi da Todi] be permitted to reside there.(110) He was formerly chancellor to the lady Anfrosina [Tarlati da Pietramala](111) and is now Capitano [della Custodia] della Piazza of the said city of Lucca. For he is entirely inimical to the aforesaid Lord [Duke Visconti] and an extreme partisan of the Florentines. For lady Anfrosina at one time tortured him because she figured out, and heard, that he was revealing all her secrets to the Florentines, as the said Abbatinus was advised by Leonardo [Bruni] da Arezzo.

MCCCCXXXVII die XI Januarii(112)

Abbatinus de Aretio avisat dominum quod maior pars hominum civitatis Aretii, idest principaliores et potentiores, permaxime cupiunt exire subiectionem Florentinorum et habere statum liberiorem et eis gratiorem, non quod querant aut velint subici domino nostro duci; immo id nolunt ullatenus, sed vellent habere unum ex illis de Petramalla qui antiquitus habuerunt dominium predicte civitatis Aretii, ut pote Malatestam existentem apud dominum, quem reciperent libenter in dominum. Cui rei consentiunt etiam Leonardus de Aretio cancellarius Florentinorum et multi tam doctores quam alii de Arerio nunc Florentie residentes qui, cum primum facta fuerit novitas, ex Florentia recedent et Aretium se reducent.

Modus autem perficiendi istud negotium esset quod dictus Malatesta versus partes illas mitteretur quo propinquius silicet posset dicte civitati Aretii, et, mediante ac adiuvante Christofero de Tolentino cognato suo, qui posset cum eius conubria in terras suas proximas dicte civitati Aretii se reducere, huiusmodi negotium executioni mandaretur. Nam principallores civitatis, habita de ipsorum adventu noticia, portas dicte civitatis caperent, quia solent earum custodie curam habere, et subsequenter predictos introducerent in civitatem, ac deinde citadellain expugnarent, quam statim obtinerent. Et si opus esset, Senenses propinqui darent eis favorera et presidium. Capitaneus etiam domini sine aliquo vel parvo obstaculo ire posset ad eorum auxilium.

Et perfecto ipso negotio posset reputari ac teneri sequuturam statim destructionem ac ruinam Florentinorum sicut dominus melius informari poterit a comite Guidone et Berardino, de situ et conditionibus dicte civitatis ac partium iliarum optime instructis, et ipsi etiam scient dicere an res hec versimilis et factibilis sit, et quibus modis procedendum erit ad eius executionem.

Christoferus autem de Tolentino predictus paratus erit quandocumque fuerit requisitus et libenter intendet huic rei maxime respectu predicti eius cognati, quia nullam pecuniam habet cum Florentinis nec etiam a comite Francisco. Sed servit sicut diatim solvitur.

Si predictum negotium sortietur effecturn, predictus Abbatinus stabit in partibus illis vel in istis sicut gratius erit domino. Et dicit quod vult quod dominus eum ponat et teneat in carceribus et disponat de persona sua sicut voluerit nisi predictum negotium succedat, si servati fuerint boni modi.

Quod, pro deo, habeatur optima advertentia circa custodiam et conservationem civitatis Lucane, que est una clavis tam pulchra, et non permittatur aliqualiter ut quidam Bartholomeus de Thodi, olim cancellarius domine Anfrosine nunc capitaneus platee dicte civitatis Lucane, ibi resideat, quoniam est inimicissimus prefati domini et partialissimus Florentinorum. Nam domina Anfrosina alias ipsum excrucciavit (?) quia perpendit et sensit quod omnia secreta sua revellabat Florentinis, sicut dictus Abbatinus avisatus fuit a Leonardo de Aretio.

This study was made possible by a sabbatical leave from Indiana University (1996-97) and by the kind hospitality of the American Academy in Rome in the fall of 1996. Earlier fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation allowed me to study the political and intellectual context of the events here discussed. I am very grateful also to the directors and staffs of the Archivi di Stato of Florence, Lucca, Milan, and Siena, for their assistance and patience toward one delving into what was often terra incognita. Stylistic and other improvements were suggested by Brian Hoffman and Kate McBride, and Suzanne Hull of Indiana University provided technical assistance with the map and genealogy. I am especially grateful to Robert Black and John Monfasani for their comments on the paper as a whole and particularly for their improved readings of the Milanese document and suggestions for my English translation of it. In manuscript citation, I use the following abbreviations for libraries:

ArAS = Arezzo, Archivio di Stato FiAS = Florence, Archivio di Stato FiBLaur = Florence, Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana FiBNC = Florence, Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale FiBRicc = Florence, Biblioteca Riccardiana LuAS = Lucca, Archivio di Stato MiAS = Milan, Archivio di Stato SiAS = Siena, Archivio di Stato

1 Baron, 1966. Baron's Crisis appeared in an earlier, two-volume format in 1955.

2 The "professional rhetorician" argument is usually identified with Herde, 1965, 141-220; idem, 1973, 156-249; and Seigel, 3-48. Hankins, 1995, 309-38, has recently defended the "rhetorician" thesis, stating that Bruni had no "exclusive commitment to one political ideology such as republicanism" (326) and that Salutati and Bruni were "permanent under-secretaries, loyal to Florence rather than to the regime" (326). Like "his fellow humanists, Bruni's core political convictions were about the value of virtue and eloquence, and about the value of classical antiquity as providing models of virtue and eloquence" (327-28).

3 I shall not attempt to bring up to date the recent interpretations of Bruni and the Baron thesis. A useful discussion of the state of the question may be found in Hankins, 1995, 309-38.

4 Brucker surveys Florentine history from the Ciompi tumult (1378) to about 1430. He is less detailed for the period after 1426, apparently because he had available the detailed study of D. Kent and knew it was forthcoming in print. Kent, 211-52, carefully shows how the Medici party came to be identified as a recognizable faction from about 1426. There had been, since the Ciompi tumult, popular resistance to oligarch rule, but this seems to coalesce around the Medici only from the mid-1420s. For the Medici and oligarchic factions, see also the illuminating study of Padgett and Ansell, 1259-1319. It is now common, particularly in the American and British discussion of the Medici and Albizzi factions, to state that we are simply dealing with two forms of oligarchy. However truthful such assertions may be, I would reckon, based on the literary and archival evidence which I have examined, that references to the Mediceans as more "popular" than their opponents number in the hundreds, if not the thousands. I am now preparing a book-length study of the early Medici party focusing on the Medici party intellectuals, particularly the humanist intellectuals.

5 See n. 37, below.

6 Baron, in Bruni, 1928, 164-65, dates the translation of the Economics to 1419-20. The translation of Plato's letters dates, according to Hankins, 1990, 1:66, to late 1426. The literature on the individual works of Bruni is vast, and I shall not burden my notes with the frequently cited studies. One looks forward to the forthcoming bibliographies and chronologies of Bruni's works by Hankins, as well as his promised biography. The first part of these studies, the checklist of manuscripts, is now out (Hankins, 1997). As for the translation of the Plato letters, which Hankins regards as Bruni's attempt to ingratiate himself with the rising star of the Medici (Hankins, 1990, 1:76), the choices Bruni made seem to be peculiar indeed. He reproduces Plato's letter arguing that the best form of government is made of those with "the best and the most famous ancestors" (77): would this appeal to the Medici, famous in their own time as representing genre nuova? Even more puzzling is Bruni's identification of Plato's Letter XIII as spurious (79). Bruni rejects it partly because, as he says in his argumentum, Plato requests of Dionysius money for his daughters' dowries (79). The problem here is that Cosimo was identified, for praise usually, but occasionally for blame, with precisely such endowments (in his dialogues Commentationes Florentinae de exilio, Filelfo, using here Bruni as interlocutor, argued that Cosimo, in such cases, invoked the ius primae noctis: FiBNC II II 70, fol. 94r-v; for this text, see n. 71 below). If Bruni's main purpose was to praise Cosimo, why did he reject Letter XIII?. I frankly find it difficult to believe that Bruni, not known for his wit or ingenuity, would be clever enough to criticize the Medici under the cloak of a dedication. But the Plato letters are indeed puzzling.

7 See Hankins, 1991, for the letters he regards as composed by Bruni. For Bruni's letters supporting the Medici regime, see the careful comments of Viti, 1992, 113-36.

8 Martines, 119. The Medici also helped Bruni attain citizenship in 1416: see Zaccaria, 105.

9 See the editors' remarks in Bruni, 1987, 108; and De Angelis, 131-56. Bruni also composed two short volgare orations for the Captains of the Parte Guelfa: see Bruni, 1996, 800-02. The Parte Guelfa was an oligarch bastion. According to Brown, 42, after 1434 the Mediceans "engaged in a vigorous and sustained campaign against the Parte. At first they attempted to close it down altogether."

10 See Bayley, 208-10, and the editors' remarks in Bruni, 1987, 108.

11 Viti, 1992, 120.

12 Besides Bruni's connections with the famous Palla di Nofri Strozzi and Matteo di Simone Strozzi, Bruni is mentioned also by the less famous Palla di Palla Strozzi, in an unedited and undated autograph oration on justice, FiAS Cart. Strozz. III 125, fol. 123r-v, inc. Nostri maiores, prestantissimi viri, quanta prudentia quantaque diligentia. He refers to Bruni's translation of the Nicomachean Ethics as "libro ab illo profundissimo et acutissimo domini Leonardi Aretini ingenio nuperime ex creco [sic] in Latinum traducto et summa cum diligentia singularique eius industria explanato atque clarificato." The manuscript also contains the short orations of Aeschines, Demas, and Demosthenes in Latin versions sometimes attributed to Bruni (fol. 158r-v). As for this Palla di Pallas political views, in another speech, this time in Italian, on taxation and electoral scrutinies, he notes the following: "L'amunire si trovo a buon fine accioche veri ghuelfi governassono chome ragionevolmente dovevan governare la citta" etc. (ibid., fols. 126r-127v at 127r). This Palla di Palla was not, however, exiled by the Medici.

13 In his life of Alessandra Bardi: Vite 2:475.

14 Martines, 119. See also Palla Strozzi's letter to Orsino Lanfredini, FiBNC Naz. II V 10, fol. 218r, dated Arezzo, 6 January 1423/24, which describes a conversation with Bruni in Arezzo and urges Lanfredini to assist Bruni in making investments in their bank. Palla describes Bruni as a "valente huomo . . . et a me come fratello," and he indicates that he wants to preserve Bruni's "fratellanza" and "amicitia." He also mentions Bruni's study of Florentine history. For this letter, see now Viti, 1992, 119-20, n. 24. FiAS Cart. Strozz. III 46 contains what appears to be Palla Strozzi's autograph copy of Bruni's De militia: see Kristeller, 1:69, and Hankins, 1997, 37 no. 439. Franciscus Zephyrus's sixteenth-century Latin dialogue De quiete animi (seen by me in FiBNC Magi. VI 201) has, as interlocutors, Palla Strozzi, Leonardo Bruni, and Pier Paolo Vergerio.

15 Lorenzo di Stefano Guiglianti's letter to Matteo di Simone Strozzi, dated Prato, 12 December 1429 (FiAS Cart. Strozz. III 145, fol. 11r), mentions the efforts of Bruni ("molto tuo amicho") to buy a farm. Nofri di Palla Strozzi's letter to Matteo, dated Ferrara, 13 December 1432 (FiAS Cart. Strozz. III 112, fol. 119/2), mentions a dialogue of "messer L.," which surely means Bruni. Mariotto Nori's Latin letter to Matteo of 19 August, s.a., greets Bruni, "nostris ferme temporibus litterarum decor" (FiAS Cart. Strozz. III 131, fol. 6r). Matteo di Simone Strozzi's correspondence, only partially utilized by modern scholars, is rife with literary and scholarly references. He particularly followed the career of Francesco Filelfo. Hankins' statement that this Matteo wrote nothing in Latin is incorrect (Hankins, 1995, 335). Indeed the very last work of his best-known letterbook, FiAS Cart. Strozz. III 112, fol. 190r, is Matteo's Latin discussion of exile and free will, set in Pesaro and written just after Matteo was exiled there by the Medici at the end of 1434. An earlier letter to one Bernardus, dated Florence, 10 August 1423, is also in Latin (FiAS Cart. Strozz. III 131, fol. 5r-v). See also Benedetto di Piero Strozzi's letter to Matteo, dated Castelfiorentino, 26 December 1430 (FiAS Cart. Strozz. III 112, fol. 45r), written in Italian but with a Latin postscript: "Latine scribis? Et arbitraris me responsurum?" etc. Matteo's Latin learning, with most of the above examples, has been well illustrated by Guasti, in Macinghi, xv-xix, and especially by Della Torre, 287-92.

16 The English translation in The Humanism of Leonardo Bruni (Bruni, 1987, 12127) contains only the civic-humanist elements of the oration. For the full text, see Viti's edition and Italian translation (Bruni, 1996, 703-49).

17 Matteo's connection to the oration was recently discovered by me. For the letter and its context, see Hankins, 1995, at 334-36. But see n. 15, above.

18 For Mannelli as Matteo's cousin, see Guasti, 61.

19 I have not seen the Mannelli episode discussed in any Bruni literature of this century. Mannelli's description of the battle appears in two manuscripts: FiAS Cart. Strozz. III 114, fols. 40r-42v, with letters to Matteo, giving instructions, on fols. 39r-v and 43r-v, which have the reference to Bruni (in the inventory under "Lunardo d'Arezzo"), and FiBLaur Laur. 90 sup., 89, fols. 99r-114v, a letter to Leonardo "Strozi," as the manuscript states. The latter manuscript is edited by F. Polidori in 1844, in Mannelli, 135-61 (but Bruni's name does not appear in this study); both manuscripts are discussed by Guasti, 54-70. Guasti (68-70) is surely correct in assuming that the Laurenziana letter, copied by several fifteenth-century scribes, one of whom noted that he was working from pages that were damaged (fols. 114v, 115v), is actually addressed to Leonardo Bruni ("elegantissime vir," in the salutation): it refers at the beginning to Matteo di Simone Strozzi, and apparently a copyist assumed that it was addressed to the Strozzi kinsman Lionardo di Filippo Strozzi.

20 Raimondo Mannelli's letter to Matteo di Simone Strozzi, dated Genoa, 4 September 1433 (within a week, by the way, of the anti-Medicean, oligarchic coup of 1433), conveys greetings to Palla Strozzi "e messer L(ionard)o d'Arezzo e altri li amici" (FiAS Cart. Strozz. III 112, fol. 122r). An earlier letter, also to Matteo Strozzi, undated but from Pisa and, by position, late October 1431, greets "messer Lionardo," probably Bruni (FiAS Cart. Strozz. III 114, fol. 36r). Among others, Bruni was also associated with the oligarchs Galeazzo Ricasoli and Niccolo da Uzzano. Bruni dedicated his Isagogicon moralis discipline to Galeazzo Ricasoli in the mid 1420s (ed. Baron, in Bruni, 1928, 20-41; cf. Baron, 1971, 64-74). According to D. Kent, 151, the Ricasoli family was "severely punished" by the Medici in 1434. Niccolo da Uzzano, an extremely powerful oligarch who had occasional scholarly and artistic interests, was among those in charge of the planning of the Baptistery doors, and Bruni outlined his plan to him and his colleagues in a letter of 1424 (ed. Baron, in Bruni, 1928, 134). In a speech of 29 July 1430, among the richiesti (FiAS Consulte e Pratiche 49, fol. 64r), Niccolo mentioned the virtus cancellarii magna, which seems to refer to Bruni. The context is on the need to give verbal, rather than written, replies to ambassadors in negotiations with Venice.

21 For Castellani, see Ciappelli, 1991, 33-91, esp. 65-81; for the marriage of Donato, Bruni's first child, to Alessandra di Michele Castellani, see Borgia, 197.

22 Giovanni Cavalcanti has Matteo presiding over the Santo Stefano meeting (Istorie florentine, hk. 3, chaps. 1-3, esp. p. 54; Ciappelli, 1991, 78-79). The major speech at this meeting, however, was made by Rinaldo degli Albizzi. See the summaries in Brucker, 473-78, and D. Kent, 215-19.

23 See below, 1132, 1133.

24 Bruni's hostility toward Niccoli and Traversari is well known. As for Marsuppini, there is no evidence of close contact, and Marsuppini's closeness to Niccoli and Traversari, and his open hostility toward Bruni's friend Filelfo, would suggest that the lack of epistolatory contact means a coolness between them. Filelfo himself noted very soon after arriving in Florence Marsuppini's (and Niccoli's) estrangement from Bruni (Epistulae, fol. 9r-v, letter of 31 July 1429 to Giovanni Aurispa). To Marsuppini is attributed, however, the funeral inscription on Bruni on the Bernardo Rossellino monument in Santa Croce. He also wrote a funeral elegy on Bruni, dedicated to Bruni's close friend Benedetto Accolti, describing how Bruni, in the Elysian fields, would now be greeted by his leaders (duces) Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio, and Salutati (Black, 1985, 49 and n. 54). I am not entirely sure that, for a militant classicist like Marsuppini, this was the height of flattery. This would surely be the work mentioned by Vespasiano da Bisticci in his life of Bruni, not the funeral oration imagined by the editor A. Greco (1:473 and n. 3). Vespasiano's life of Marsuppini names Bruni only by saying that Marsuppini succeeded him (1:591-94 at 593). In his role as interlocutor in Filelfo's dialogue Commentationes Florentinae de exilio, FiBNC II II 70, Bruni attacks Marsuppini: "Karolus multa legit, multa audivit. Sed quoniam neque in doctoribus neque in libris ullo discrimine usus est, ita habet confusa omnia inter seque repugnantia, ut neque sese ipse intelligat, nec intelligatur ab aliis." Marsuppini is handicaped by nature, being slow and block-headed, and by fortune, having too many stupid people around him (fol. 109v). On Marsuppini, see Zippel, 198-214. Zippel, by the way, hardly mentions Bruni in his portrait of Marsuppini, and he gives no evidence of their closeness, except for what he identifies as a work that has escaped scholarly notice, Bruni's funeral oration on Cosimo's brother Lorenzo, dedicated to Marsuppini (FiBNC Magi. XXV 628, fols. 45r-55v; Zippel, 207, and 208, n. 32). But the work (inc. Miserius [alias: Si serius] mi doctissime Carole) is unattributed in the manuscript, misattributed to Bruni in the inventory, and is actually the well-known oration by Poggio.

Our familiarity with the famous letters between Bruni and Poggio, which seem to announce triumphantly the beginnings of mature humanism, might encourage us to overlook strains in the relations of these two leading humanists of the early Renaissance. This question still needs careful study. Poggio's classicism was more radical than Bruni's (the early Poggio, like Niccoli throughout, is treated negatively and unfairly by Baron as a disciple of "scholarly detachment" [Baron, 1966, esp. 404ff]), though both were secularist in general outlook. (Bruni was less secularist in a few notable writings, as when he responded to Poggio's famous letter on the execution of Jerome of Prague by warning his fellow humanist about praising heretics [Epist. 4.9, in Bruni, 1741, 1:119-20; Luiso, 1980, 87].) Poggio rejected more carefully the tre corone (discussed below), and he argued, correctly and against Bruni, that the ancient Roman proletarians knew Latin (Walser, 258-62). He also used a more classical orthography. The Aretine Girolamo Aliotti refers in his letters to what seems to have been a dispute between Bruni and Poggio in the 1430s (1:25-27, 27-29). That the two may have had fundamental ideological differences has curiously not been thoroughly explored, perhaps due to a reluctance to assign an ideology to such prominent rhetoricians. Krantz, 119-51, esp. 145, has made excellent beginnings of such a study in his comparison of their attitudes toward law, where we learn that ideas of the proto-Machiavellian Poggio were "quite different" from those of the more conservative Bruni. Poggio's funeral oration on Niccoli in 1437 is precisely a response to Bruni's attack on Niccoli (first noted, I believe, by Wotke, 295-301 esp. 300-01). Poggio's funeral oration on Bruni, unlike the official version of Giannozzo Manetti, presented the warts: though here, I suspect, for Poggio, who was far more appreciative than Manetti (or Bruni, for that matter) of the vicissitudes of the human condition, this was also a form of tribute (Poggio, 1963-69, 2:655-72).

25 Bruni, 1994, 250, lines 5-9.

26 For this "traditional culture," see the discussion in Martelli, 25-31, 70-104.

27 That Niccoli's refutation of his earlier position in the dialogue is lacking in sincerity has been carefully argued by Quint, 423-45. Bruni calls the Guelfs the "optimarum partium duces" and like the "Athenis areopagite" in his Laudatio Florentine urbis (Bruni, 1996, 638, 642). See also now Fubini, 1065-1103, who argues that Piero Sermini, earlier chancellor of the Parte Guelfa, had already become chancellor of Florence and that the dialogue must therefore be dated to no earlier than 1407 (1092-97). For Piero Sermini (or di ser Mino), see Marzi, 156-58.

28 See, for example, Baron, 1966, 266-67, 406-07. Here Bruni and Poggio parted, though Baron has Bruni sort of pushing Poggio in a better direction, toward an appreciation of the tre corone.

29 Rodolico Schupfer, 117-29.

30 The classic study of this work is Santini, 3-129, but the literature is immense.

31 See Davies' excellent discussion, 102-23.

32 Davies, 129-30, 139-40.

33 Gualdo Rosa, 89-111.

34 E.g. Traversari to Niccoli, 25 May 1424, on Bruni's translation of Plato's Phaedrus: "Habet haec sua extrema traductio magnos buccinatores, atque in primis se ipsum" (Epist. VIII, 8, in Traversari, 2:366-71 at 370; dated by Luiso, 1898-1903, fasc. 2, p. 4).

35 Vespasiano da Bisticci (in his life of Traversari), 1:455-58. Incredibly, the modern editor of Vespasiano, Aulo Greco, accepts uncritically Bruni's version of the episode (457, n. 1).

36 See now Ciappelli, 1998, 200-02.

37 The key letter is from Giuliano d'Averardo de' Medici to his father Averardo, dated Florence, 3 December 1427 (FiAS Archivio Mediceo avanti il Principato [hereafter MAP] II 65), where Giuliano mentions that "a ciaschuno piace tale eletione" (see Black, 1985, 108; D. Kent, 227-28; Zaccaria, 104). Other letters on this election are MAP II 62, 63, 69, 85,415. Giuliano's "eletione" means simply the selection by the Signoria and Colleges, for the choice had not been approved yet in the Councils. Bruni's election was rejected in the Consiglio del Popolo on 8 December and tabled on 10 December (FiAS Libri Fabarum 53, fol. 243r, 243v, or fol. 244r, 244v in modern foliation). By 16 December, Bruni was serving in the chancery (FiAS Cons. e Pratiche 48, fol. 1r: by page 2 of these records, fol. iv, Florence's favorite enterprise, war, is being classicized into bellum instead of the medieval guerra as preferred earlier). Bruni's "neutrality" is perhaps best symbolized by his catasto report that year, in which we learn that he deposited 1000 florins in Lorenzo di Palla Strozzi's bank, and another 1000 florins in the bank of Cosimo de' Medici and his brother Lorenzo (Martines, 119).

38 For Filelfo, see now the careful and useful sketch by Viti, 1997, 613-26, which has an ample bibliography. To this may be added Adam's detailed thesis on Filelfo, which has manuscript listings covering Filelfo's entire career. The Deutches Historisches Institut in Rome has long promised to publish Adam's work and has even advertised it for sale, and it has been cited as published in secondary literature (e.g. Partner, 232), but it still has not come out. Also to be added are the various studies and editions of Filelfo's poetry by Solis de los Santos (1988; 1994; and Filelfo, 1989).

39 See Filelfo's letters to Giovanni Aurispa (1502, fol. 8r; Bologna, 1 January 1429). and to Antonio Loschi (fol. 9r; Florence, 19 April 1429), where he notes that here in Florence "inter Scyllam Charybdimque navigabo."

40 In 1428 Filelfo dedicated to Palla Strozzi his Latin translation of a few orations of Lysias. Filelfo's poem, dated Bologna, 16 August 1428, praising Cosimo (inc. Cosmus es et cosmi decus) was recently edited by Solis de los Santos (1994, at 89-91). It had earlier been identified by Adam, 487, who argued, I think rightly, that the dates are jumbled in the manuscript (FiBLaur Acq. e Doni 323, at fols. 74v-76r) and that the work should be dated Florence, 15 October 1430. That the poem did not circulate (and it has not otherwise been cited in the Filelfo literature) is surely due to the fact that it would have embarrassed both Filelfo and Cosimo.

41 See Filelfo, 1502, fol. 7r (letter of 30 September 1428), for Niccoli's assistance. Filelfo's oration praising Marsuppini, like his poem praising Cosimo, would have embarrassed both the author and the one being praised, and hence it did not circulate. I recently discovered it in Piacenza, Biblioteca Comunale, Landi 31, fols. 36v-38r (olim 61v-63r), inc. Cure de litterarum magnitudine verba facturus sire. I was led to this text by Bertalot, 2:166, no. 3062.

42 For Dio Chrysostomus's Oratio ad Ilienses (or De Troia non capta), I utilized the translation in Rome, Biblioteca Vallicelliana, ms. C 87, which is dated at the end Bologna, 13 June 1428 (fol. 34r). The preface compares Bruni to Cicero. For Bruni's letter to Filelfo, see my note under FiBRicc 1200, in n. 47, below.

43 An early indication of which side Filelfo would favor (and be favored by) appears in his letter describing his reception in Florence, where he announced that he was received warmly by the primarii cives and nobilissimae foeminae and especially by the viri grandiores ex ordine senatorio (Filelfo, 1502, fol. 9r-v). Filelfo's poem in praise of one of these viri grandiores, Matteo di Simone Stozzi, Satire 1.10, dated 13 December 1431, has recently been edited by Solis de los Santos (in Filelfo, 1989, 97-113).

44 For Filelfo's code words for these five enemies, see Davies, 132-33. To Davies's excellent study of the polemics surrounding Niccoli may be added the work described at the end of n. 47, below.

45 Filelfo's lengthy early letter describing his reception in Florence, dated 31 July 1429, states that, while Marsuppini and Niccoli were hostile, Bruni was singing his praises (1502, fol. 9r-v). Poggio much later wrote that Filelfo began to attack Niccoli in order to ingratiate himself with Leonardo Bruni (10 January 1447, to Pietro Tommasi, in Poggio, 1984-87, 3:39-43 at 40). Several of Filelfo's attacks on Niccoli point out how the latter had incurred the enmity of Bruni, e.g. Satire 1.5 (Filelfo, 1476, fols. 7v-9r) and a letter to Cosimo, 1 May 1433 (1502, fol. 12r-v). More than a decade later, in his commentary on Petrarch's Sonnets, Filelfo cited Bruni as the source of an obscene expression concerning Niccoli and Poggio (in a gloss on the eighth sonnet, in Petrarch, fol. 8r). For Bruni and Filelfo, see now also Baldassarri, 7-36.

46 The point was earlier made in the excellent and underrated study of Gutkind, 74-75: "It even seems to be a fact that he [Filelfo] and his adherents tried to make the Studio into a sort of oligarchic citadel." I have discussed this question in a number of public lectures since the early 1990s, and I am now preparing a lengthy study of Filelfo and his students, and particularly the student orations, based on a number of Filelfo student miscellanies, including FiBLaur Acq. e Doni 323, FiBNC Magi. VIII 1440, FiBNC Nuovi Acquisti 354, FiBRicc 1200, and Rome, Biblioteca Vallicelliana, ms. F 20. For some preliminary suggestions as to where to begin looking, I am much indebted to Jonathan Davies and especially Daniela Pascale. In a letter to Giovanni Aurispa, 31 July 1429, Filelfo claimed he had four hundred or more students (1502, fol. 9r); Vespasiano da Bisticci mentioned two hundred or more (1:54).

47 FiBNC Magl. VIII 1440 and FiBRicc 1200 both have a number of interesting texts relating to Filelfo's teaching in Florence. Among numerous works of Bruni and Filelfo, Magi. VIII 1440 contains anonymous epitaphs on Dante and Niccolo da Uzzano (fol. 1r-v), an anonymous letter on a disputed Studio appointment, which may in fact be dealing with Filelfo (fol. 69r, inc. Tuae mihi pergratae fuerunt litterae), and an overlooked version of Filelfo's Oratio ad exules optimates (fols. 326r-358v, usually cited in the copy in Milan, Ambr. V 10 sup., based on a copy by Rinaldo degli Albizzi from 1437 and often considered to be the codex unicus: see n. 95, below). Fols. 72v-75r, 117r-156v, and perhaps others, contain formularies for letter writing and various commonplaces, and these include a few examples of Bruni and Filelfo among the examples of Cicero and others. The manuscript also has an anonymous poem, inc. Bella si (neque enim patres), which praises Bruni and Filelfo (fol. 172v). FiBRicc 1200, copied by Angelo di Gaspare Marchi da Volterra ca. 1450, has a great number of Filelfo student orations and rarer texts, including the original version of Bruni's letter to Filelfo on his Studio appointment, which Bruni later truncated for publication (fol. 157r-v). The manuscript contains an inaugural oration by Filelfo's student Giacomo da Pesaro on Filelfo's lectures on Augustine's De civitate dei, inc. Optassem et ego, prestantissimi viri, which includes a praise of Dante, Petrarch, Bruni, and Filelfo (140v-141v). On Giacomo da Pesaro, see Partoni, 541-60. Filelfo's Satire 1.5 against Niccoli (Filelfo, 1476, fols. 7v-9r) praises, among moderns, Dante, Petrarch, Manuel Chrysoloras, Bruni, and some others (fol. 8r-v). The oration in FiBNC Magl. VI 189, fols. 46r-50r, entitled (per ironiam) Oratio de laudibus et utilitate obtrectatorum, inc. Animadverti viri eruditissimi multos esse, attacking "Enopotes" ("wino," one of Filelfo's code words for Niccoli), is very likely by a Filelfo student. It is part of a manuscript including university orations attributed in the inventory to "Andreas Boccacinus." This is recte Andreas Boccacini, or Andrea the son of Boccaccino, who is in fact the well-known Andrea Alamanni (his father was known as Boccaccino and as Francesco), who had a large Latin and Greek correspondence with Filelfo for many years after Filelfo left Florence. Another copy of Alamanni's university orations is in Siena, Biblioteca Comunale, ms. H IX 9, fols. 108v-120v.

48 Zippel, 229-39; Gherardi, 245-46, 415-19, 425-38.

49 Zippel, 239.

50 Even though chancery letters had to be approved by the government (see Black, 1985, 122-23), presumably a chancellor with Bruni's credentials would have had a great deal of freedom in choosing his language for these letters. If there was any term the oligarchs liked for themselves it was ottimati (Latin: optimates or optimi cives). In Bruni's state letter to the Sienese, praising the Albizzi coup, Bruni described a restored city "renovato atque purgato nunc nostre civitatis regimine et ad manus optimorum ac pacificorum civium reducto" (letter of 8 October 1433, cited by Viti, 1992, 122). Compare Poggio's description of the Medici regime, in 1438: "Non enim unus aut alter imperat, non optimatum ac nobilium fastus regnat, sed populus aequo iure ascitus ad munera civitatis, quo fit ut summi, infimi, nobiles, ignobiles, divites, egeni communi studio conspirent" (letter to Filippo Maria Visconti, 15 September 1438, in Poggio, 1984-87, 2:320; I made an orthographic change to Harth's edition). Viti, 1992, 113-36, brings forth much evidence for Bruni's closeness to the oligarchs; but he also argues for his apparent accommodation to the Medici regime.

51 According to Viti, 1992, 124-30, Bruni did write a private letter to Pope Eugenius IV on behalf of an oligarchic candidate, Antonio Peruzzi, for the bishopric of Arezzo. The pope did not honor the recommendation but deferred the appointment until the Medici returned from exile (on their return in 1434, Eugenius IV, now in Florence, helped defeat an anti-Medici putsch) and then appointed a Medici partisan. Bruni did not include the letter in his letterbook.

52 Poggio wrote a consolatory letter to Cosimo on his exile, which became a popular de exilio model of sorts (Poggio, 1984-87, 2:181-88). Traversari actually went to Cosimo's cell in the Palazzo della Signoria, after Cosimo was arrested but before he went into exile (or, rather, escaped with his life). This sort of contact was punishable by death without a special license from the government, which Traversari had obtained (Gelli, 149). The episode is recounted in Traversari's Hodoeporicon (ed. in Dini-Traversari, section 3, 87ff). I dutifully note here that Niccoli, as far as we know, remained silent. But Niccoli always remained silent.

53 Viti, 1992, 117-18; Zaccaria, 105.

54 De Feo Corso, 193-94.

55 Viti, 1992, 133-35.

56 Arrighi, 175-89, esp. 186; Zaccaria, 97-116.

57 Zaccaria, 110-11. Arrighi, 178 and passim, who treats the details differently, likewise sees the reform of 1435 as an anti-Bruni initiative. The records of the Consulte e Pratiche were also, in late 1435, removed from Bruni's supervision (Klein, 170-71). It would not seem that the act of recording these government debates (reports, ex officio opinions, summaries of discussions in the Florentine quarters and gonfaloni, as well as spontaneous debates of individuals called in by the government to give advice) should be a political act, but these debates were indeed meant to be read and acted on, and for a number, or, rather, a vast majority of richiesri, these were their only speeches ever to be recorded in writing. Was Bruni politicizing these records when, after the Albizzi coup of 1433, he added, or had his adjuncts add, miles to Rinaldo degli Albizzi's name when he rose to speak (e.g. FiAS Cons. e Prat. 50, fols. 133r, 141r)? Or, before the Albizzi coup, could he have been demeaning the dignity of the social and political upstart Cederno Cederni when he truncated the draft of his speech? When Cederni spoke (on 3 July 1431, for the first time, as far as I know, before the government), his words were recorded, in Latin (as the chancery was supposed to record them), as follows: "Deus est res publica, et qui gubernat rem publicam gubernat deum. Item deus est iustitia, et qui facit iustitiam facit deum. Deputentur XII elves cum cervelleriis, qui non timeant, et veniat pecunia undecumque. Empedocles et Aristoteles, Salustius et Tullius et Potestas Florentina fuerunt in consulendo ab eo stantissime allegati" (FiAS Cons. e Prat. 49, fol. 169v; ed. in Pellegrini, cxxxiii). Bruni of course would have recognized the content of this to be perfect nonsense (the speaker seems to be a mulinaio Menocchio born a century and a half too soon), and he obviously truncated the speech by leaving out what Cederni actually said from these ancient authorities and the Florentine Podesta. The chancery record is here indeed condescending and perhaps mocking (the authorities stantissime allegati) in tone. The next time Cederni spoke the Bruni chancery translated every speech but his into a decent Latin, while Cederni's remarks about "questi gaglioffi ingrassati" and "questi gaglioffi pazi imperversati" (complaining about those who performed poorly in the Lucca wars) were left in their original Italian (FiAS Cons. e Prat. 50, fol. 19r, a debate from 5 November 1432). Cederni then disappears from the chancery records until the Medici period. After the Medici return and the elimination of Bruni's control over the Consulte e Pratiche, Cederni's nonsense resumes (e.g., 7 May 1436: "Libertas est deus et qui defendit libertatem defendit deum" etc.; FiAS Cons. e Prat. 51, fol. 34r). For the social background of the Cederni family, see F.W. Kent, 3-5.

58 Filelfo's inquiry seems to be extant in a truncated form (Epistulae, fol. 16, dated Siena 30 September 1438 but recte 1435, according to Luiso, 1980, 124, n. 40). For Bruni's reply see his Epist. 6.11 (1741, 2:69); and see esp. Luiso, 1980, 124-25.

59 Zaccaria, 111-12. Klein likewise argues that this reform was to bring more direct Medici control over the chancery (173-74).

60 Zaccaria, 104, n. 36, 106-07, who hypothesizes that the death of Bruni freed Cosimo from a dependence on the past and hence made it easier for him to sack Pieruzzi (or Peruzzi, as his surname sometimes appears).

61 There is another possible explanation for the chancery reforms of the mid- to late 1430s, and here Hankins may be correct that they were designed "to relieve the elderly chancellor of some of his duties' (Hankins, 1995, 334). Hankins goes on to state that this freedom allowed Bruni to participate in major public offices: this is part of Hankins's strenuous argument, against Viti et al., that the reforms were not directed against Bruni since the chancellor in fact supported the Medici (333-34). Let us consider the career of Poggio, whose chancery career in some ways parallels Bruni's but from an opposite political base. Cosimo's close friend Poggio was brought in as chancellor in 1453 to succeed Carlo Marsuppini, the Medicean who became chancellor on Bruni's death in 1444. Within a few years of Poggio's chancery, Cosimo began to lose control of the government (he retook it with a party coup in 1458). Now employed by a non-Medicean government, Poggio simply quit showing up for work. In November 1455 he was seized by an officer of the government and dragged relidans et protestans into the Palazzo della Signoria; presumably he was not arrested but was plunked down at the place where he was supposed to be working (Walser, 396-97; this section now reprinted in Poggio, 1963-69, 4:400-01). His appointment was not renewed in 1456, and late that year there was a discussion of reforming the chancery by bringing in adjuncts to do the work. Poggio was never reappointed by this anti-Medicean (or at least non-Medicean) government. In other words, in 1456 Poggio was fired as chancellor. The affair was embarrassing to everyone, Mediceans and anti-Mediceans alike, and the sacking of Poggio remained a secret for more than a half millennium, until Robert Black made the discovery very recently (see Black, 1985, 92-98, and Field, 39-40). Poggio did manage, however, to get out one treatise blasting the Florentine government and another one praising Venice (Field, 3942). With Bruni something of the same may have taken place, but with his opponents acting in a much less heavy-handed fashion. It would have been horribly embarrassing and perhaps politically foolish for Cosimo to have fired this most respected humanist, the official historian of the city of Florence, and the person largely credited for bringing the Church Council to Florence (which culminated in the huge celebration at the Duomo, in 1439, of the union of the Western and Eastern Churches). Instead of removing Bruni, adjuncts took over many of his chancery duties, just as it was proposed, in 1456, that others be brought in to "assist" Poggio, a proposal in his case not adopted (see Field, 39). At certain periods, when he held other offices, the revered chancellor was removed from his office as chancellor even in name (see Arrighi, 183, 188). These reforms and vicissitudes need much study. Whatever happened to Bruni as chancellor, he continued to draft official documents and be regarded as chancellor by his fellow Florentines, and I am not yet convinced that it is correct to say that Leonardo Bruni was fired as the chancellor of Florence.

62 Zaccaria, 109.

63 Guidi, 2:203-12, esp. 211; Pampaloni, 261-96, esp. 286-89. with quotation at 286: the Dieci were "un organo secondario di governo, che attua gli scopi del comune nei limiti e con i mezzi contemplati nella legge della propria istituzione."

64 Zaccaria, 109-10, 112-14. Cf. Hankins, 1995, 333-34.

65 Ibid., 107-08. See also Blacks discussion of Bruni's public offices (1985, 128-31). Black likewise argues that Bruni's great prestige in the papal curia led to his several public offices in Florence; like Zaccaria, Black still argues for Bruni's coolness toward the Medici (see n. 92, below).

66 Baron, 1966, 407. See also n. 78, below.

67 The English is the translation of the preface of the commentary by Gordon Griffiths, in Bruni, 1987, 194. A Latin edition of the preface is by Baron, in Bruni, 1928, 146-47. The work is usually cited in the secondary literature as the Commentaria rerum Graecarum.

68 Viti, 1992, 311-38 esp. 334-38.

69 See the edition by Viti, in Bruni, 1996, 531-60.

70 For this culture, see Martelli, 25-31, 70-104.

71 There is still no complete edition of this fundamental work, and I am utilizing FiBNC II II 70 (olim Magi. VI 209). The preface promises ten books, although Filelfo apparently finished only three. Book one, De incommodis exilii, has as interlocutors Palla Strozzi, Palla's son Nofri, Rinaldo degli Albizzi, Giannozzo Manetti, and Poggio (who is portrayed as a buffoon). In book two, De infamia, Ridolfo Peruzzi, Niccolo della Luna, and others join in. In book 3, De paupertate, Leonardo Bruni enters. From book three (fols. 80v-113v), Garin, 493-517, has edited most of fols. 80v-91r. For the dating, see Ferrau, 372-73, n. 7.

72 The third of the dialogues is largely a debate between the besotted Poggio, arguing in favor of any possible use of money for any purpose, and the virtuous Bruni. The attack on Marsuppini is fols. 109v-109bisr.

73 FiBNC II II 70, fols. 82v-83r; Garin, ed., 498.

74 Fol. 113r-v.

75 I discovered the document by accident, while examining Giovanni Vittani's inventory of the Visconti letters (Gli atti cancellereschi viscontei). The diligence of local archivists and the multiplicity of obscure, local publications, should make one wary of announcing any discovery. Yet I feel quite confident that the document has at least escaped the notice of Bruni scholars. I have asked those who know the Bruni literature well, namely Concetta Bianca, Lucia Gualdo Rosa, James Hankins, Paolo Viti, and Raffaella Zaccaria, if they have heard of any Abbatinus of Arezzo, and they assured me that they had not. The Milanese archivist, Giovanni Vittani, was quite learned (as one can see by examining his inventory), and he may have realized the document's significance in summarizing it. The paucity, to be frank, of documents from this period (most were destroyed in the revolution which led to the Ambrosian Republic in 1447) allowed him to make summaries of all of them: his summary, in Italian, of the document discussed below is excellent (Gli atti, pt. 2, 166, no. 870).

76 According to a communication of Robert Black, who has seen a photocopy of the document, both the script and the language indicate that the report is from the Milanese chancery. Internal references suggest that the redactor or notary, the ducal court or council (which is being addressed), and the informant (Abbatinus) are all in the same place. Apparently, that is, Abbatinus has shown up in Milan with the information found in the document. To guarantee its success, he will become a hostage, either going back to Tuscany or remaining in Milan ("Abbatinus stabit in partibus illis vel in istis sicut gratius erit domino").

77 An English translation of the document and a transcription of the original Latin follow. For the figures named in the following summary, see my notes to the English translation.

78 The history of early Quattrocento anti-Florentinism still, as far as I know, needs to be written. Given the number of times the anti-Florentines spoke of libertas, one may even want to describe an anti-Florentine civic humanism. Under attack by Florence, Lucca on 8 February 1431 appealed to those in Pisa, Pistoia, Arezzo, Cortona, Volterra, "et ceteris oppressis a crudellissimo populo Florentino," for unity in their war (Fumi, 9). That the Florentine youth began to parade around chanting "Ave Maria, grazia piena; avuto Lucca, avremo Siena" (Cavalcanti, bk. 6, chap. 18, p. 178) when Florence went into the war against Lucca in late 1429, could only reinforce the opposition of greater Tuscany, especially proud Siena. Andreoccio Petrucci's letters defending Sienese sovereignty against Florentine oppression are brilliant. In places like Arezzo, there were Guelfs and there were true patriots. The patriots indeed wanted freedom from Florentine oppression. The Guelfs (and here we have to think of Bruni) wanted this oppression if it was led by other Guelfs. Ergo there would be rebellions in 1431 (during the period of Florentine oligarchy) suppressed by the same forces that could support such rebellions in 1437, and rebels of 1431 could be supported by the Medici regime. One thinks of the Greek expert Francesco di Mariotto Griffolini, whose family was "shunned in Arezzo" after its "abortive anti-Florentine coup of 1431" but who was embraced by the Medici (Black, 1992, 43; also 1985, 185-91). But Cosimo would not let libertas Florentina extend much beyond the Mugello. After the oligarchic coup in Florence, the true Sienese patriot Antonio Petrucci felt he needed to remind the Sienese government that the new regime would be no better for them: "Et mandovi uno soneto facto in Firenze non da piebei ma dagli optimati accioche potiate in tute le cose vedere l'animo de' Fiorentini verso deli Senesi" (SiAS Concistoro 1931, no. 88/2, a letter of 11 February 1434). On the other hand, foul-weather patriots like Bruni, it seems, took up the banner of Aretine liberty only after their ottimati, or Guelfish, friends lost Florence.

Scholars have not sufficiently appreciated the question of social class in assessing such questions as the patriotism and political ideology of Bruni. On the other side we may wonder if Niccoli's notorious lack of patriotism (that is, his allegedly kind words about Visconti and Ladislaus, and his diffidence toward Florence's taking Pisa) reflected simply an antagonism toward the oligarchic regime (cf. Baron, 1966, 405-06). Poggio's patriotism, which Baron interprets as his finally coming around to civic humanism, seems to have gotten a jump start after the Medici coup in 1434 (cf. Baron, 1966, 406-09, where the Baronian prime mover of the new, improved Poggio is the "reappearance of the Milanese threat"). Cosimo himself knew that his famous "obedience to the Signoria" during the Albizzi coup in 1433 was mere posturing; as he stated in his diary, his friends, when he was arrested by the oligarchic regime in 1433, should have brought in, at once, an outside army (Fabroni, 2:97). Good luck, a refusal to eat the meat served him (which he suspected was poisoned), a personal charm toward his guards (and other government officials), and, finally, a number of bribes oiling that charm, allowed him to escape Florence with his life. He had already failed the patriot test in 1431, when he considered taking up long-term residence in Verona (Niccolo Piccinino, letter to the Sienese government, 12 April 1431 [SiAS Concistoro 1921, no. 11], noting that Cosimo believed that the "conditione de' Fiorentini" was in such bad shape that Cosimo, "uno de li principali ciptadini," had written to his brother, Lorenzo, that "dessidera partirsene et tornare ad Verona" [where he had gone earlier to avoid plague]). On social class and local allegiances, see also n. 92, below.

For Aretine rebellions against Florentine dominion, see Antoniella, 1989, 93-119; idem, 1993, 173-205; Berti, 495-521; and Pasqui, 3-19.

79 The Lucca government wrote to Anfrosina an undated letter (by position between 20 and 25 January 1436) responding to an unspecified request from her vicario ser Acquisto "de Bectona," stating that they will write the letters, unspecified, as requested, and that "grandissimo senno et arte e da usare secondo li tempi" (LuAS Anziani, Carteggi, Registro 532, fol. 84v). This could possibly refer to some sort of disinformation campaign. It is even possible that this set Acquisto da Bettona, through a Latin corruption of his name, is our mysterious Abbatinus of Arezzo. This Acquisto da Bettona is very likely the Acquistus who was a papal commissarius in 1444 (Kristeller, 4:491, transcribing a colophon, of Barcelona, Biblioteca Central, ms. 1582). See also n. 102, below.

80 Bratchel, 22.

81 While collecting his private letters for publication, Bruni in 1436 mentioned that a number were circulating that were not his. Viti, 1992, 312, speculates that he may have said this to protect himself from any private letters now politically suspect. This may be true, although there were a great deal of non-controversial pseudo-Bruniana out there as well.

82 Cavalcanti, book 14, chap. 28, 408.

83 For what follows, Borgia's study of the Brunis in Arezzo helps very little (191-203), since he focused on Bruni's immediate and not extended family.

84 Matteoli, 634.

85 One son appears now not to be identified with that Lorenzo who abandoned worldly ambitions and was patronized by Cosimo, became a canon of Cosimo's church of San Lorenzo in Florence, and then helped spur Marsilio Ficino to become a great Platonist. See Field, ad indicem s.v. "Lorenzo Pisano." But my account does not have much archival documentation, and the "curious" background to this Lorenzo (Field, 159) remains so (note esp. the documentation on Bartolomea, 160-61, n. 119).

86 Mosconi, 119. Bruni's state letter to Gherardo is dated 1441/42 (ed. ibid., 119-20n). The letter includes personal greetings, although these perhaps were meant to be understood as being not from Bruni but from the entire Signoria. Gherardo was regularly in close contact with Rinaldo degli Albizzi: see the latter's Commissioni, ad indicem.

87 Mosconi, 118.

88 Cavalcanti, book 14, chap. 28, p. 408.

89 I am following the exile lists in D. Kent, 355-57.

90 Viti, 1997, 616.

91 Matteoli, 634; Ciappelli, 1991, 67; also Giovanni Ciappelli, in Castellani, 11.

92 I have barely touched on the complicated question of Bruni's relations with Arezzo. Black, 1992, 34, states that Bruni "frequently intervened on behalf of Arezzo, especially in military and financial questions," and the sources he cites for this all date from 1437 and after (34, n. 10). He underscores the "affinity of the Aretines with Medici opponents" and notes that "Bruni had relatively little to do with the Medici" (43). The relations between Arezzo and Cosimo, on the other hand, were cool (33-47, esp. 42). Bruni maintained landed investments in Arezzo as well. According to Martines, 118, Bruni's property in Arezzo included by 1427 five farms in the contado, one residential country house, and one palazzo in the city itself. By contrast his Florentine landed property included only two farms, one country house, and one palazzo.

93 Bruni, 1996, 556: "fece la via d'Arezzo . . .; et sentendosi sua venuta, tutti i cittadini gl'uscirono incontra, come se fusse venuto un re."

94 This "anachronism" is the term used by Hankins, 1995, 326, to describe efforts of Viti and others to discern a political ideology in Bruni.

95 In the first dialogue (FiBNC II II 70, fol. 41r), Palla Strozzi remarks that Florence had unjustly made war on Milan and wonders if Filippo Maria Visconti will reduce Florence to servitude. Rinaldo degli Albizzi then answers that servitude is preferable to the rule of Cosimo. In the second dialogue, Albizzi refers to a rumor, known through Pope Eugenius IV, that he and other ottimati were seeking to betray the republic to the Visconti (fols. 51v-52r). Filelfo calls for a Milanese strike against Florence in Satires 5.1 (1476, fols. 62r-63v). See also Filelfo's oration(s) to the ottimati, Orationum in Cosmum Medicem ad exules optimates Florentinos liber primus, Milan, Biblioteca Ambrosiana, cod. V 10 sup., fols. 1r-58r; at the end, fol. 58r: "Finis die XV novembris 1437. Exscripsit Rainaldus Albizius eques Florentinus exul Ancone." Yet the colophon is surely copied by the scribe of the next piece, one Sachela. labeled "B. Sachela ex comitibus Sancti Petri" in another manuscript, a copy he made of Justinus, 29 April 1432 (Siena, Biblioteca Comunale, ms. K V 16, at fol. 80r). Despite the title of Filelfo's work, I have seen no version with more than one oration. The Bergamo copy, Biblioteca Civica, ms. MA 286 (formerly Delta V 6), fols. 15v-45v, has, at the end, "Compositus 1435." Another copy is in Seville, Biblioteca Capitular y Colombina, ms. 7-1-7, fols. 2r-69v, as described by Kristeller, 4:620, and Solis de los Santos, 1988, 619. I am following the unattributed copy in the Filelfo miscellany, FiBNC Magl. VIII 1440, fols. 326r-358v. In this oration, the author speaks of a possible anti-Florentine alliance including Milan, Genoa, Lucca, Bologna, Imola, Perugia, Siena, Eugenius IV, Venice, and the Florentine exiles (fols. 350r-358v). This oration would surely be the work Poggio (under constant attack in it, especially in the earlier part) described per ironiam in an undated letter to Cosimo as "un'oratione, che Filelfo ha facta in tua singular lode e mia ancora," edited in part by Fabroni, 2:115, and reprinted in Poggio, 1963-69, 4:611-13. I found the original (formerly, it seems, part of FiAS MAP,, filza 11), lost for more than a century, in Isola Bella, Pinacoteca Borromeo, Autografi e Manoscritti, P, 2 [Pogge, (le)], with the actual position in the archive being ABIB, AD.P, Poggio. 1 (communication and photocopy kindly provided by the librarian, Dott. Carlo A. Pisoni). I was led to this by Kristeller, 6:14. The rest of the letter, which I am editing separately, is Poggio's commendation of Gregorio da Lucca (inc. Io porto singulare amore a messer Gregorio da Luca).

96 Ianziti, 19. There is just one sentence in Bruni's Commentarius mentioning Cosimo, where Bruni notes that in 1434 there was a mutatio (Bruni, 1914-26, 452, lines 20-22). Here too we should remember Bruni's nonchalant attitude toward war with the Visconti while serving on the Dieci di Balla (noted above, 1126-27).

97 At the time of the document in question, there was discussion in the Florentine government of the possibility of war with Lucca and Siena, which would have been key players in the conspiracy (e.g. on 3 January 1436/37, FiAS Cons. e Prat. 51, fols. 74r-76v). Also, the suggestion in the antepenultimate paragraph of the document in question, about Cristoforo da Tolentino's being able to be lured from Florence and from Francesco Sforza, since he is paid on a day-to-day basis, may have been acted on. Giovanni di Andrea Minerbetti mentioned on 7 February 1436/37 that "Christoforus de Tollentino non potest operari, et licentiam petivit, ut audivi, et dicit nolle servire" (FiAS Cons. e Prat. 51, fol. 86v). On the other hand, it might have been difficult to convince Niccolo Piccinino to participate. In 1431 there was a similar plot: conspirators inside Arezzo were supposed to seize the gates, and the Sienese were supposed to provide assistance. Piccinino showed up with his army at the gates, saw no signs of help from within (the internal tumult had been squelched before it began), and, furious, marched his army off, destroying along the way harvested crops in the Aretine contado (see Pasqui, 3-19, esp. 10).

98 His office was actually extended in 1438. See the document at the end of n. 110, below.

99 Franceschini, 89. Poggio made note of this expansion of the Florentine state in his Historia Florentina (Poggio, 1715, 351): "Expugnata insuper, et recepta sunt, Montechium oppidum, et arx Valiallae, qua per lacunas ponte transitur, per Anfrosinam mulierem, et familiam Petramalae semper Florentinis inimicam antea longo tempore possessa."

100 Bruni, 1914-26. 428.

101 I shall indicate in the notes what I know concerning the chief figures. It is to be hoped that other scholars will add to this context: in particular, the identities of the scribe and of the "Abbatinus" are desiderata. I am leaving the date as it is: Milan used the ab nativitate style. In the document which follows, some of the identifications of figures are owed to Giovanni Vittani's quite competent Italian summary in Gli atti cancellereschi viscontei, pt. 2, 166, no. 870. Vittani identifies by name some figures but provides no commentary. The archival references are my own. Bruni's name, by the way, is indexed by Vittani under "Arezzo, Leonardo da."

102 As I mentioned in the text, the identity of this figure, key to this document, dudes me: is this a name or surname, or is he an abbot (or literally "young abbot"), or is this a nickname or code name designed to conceal his identity? I looked at some Aretine tax records and never found the name. The closest I found was in Arezzo, in ArAS Provv. (known also as the Deliberazioni e Partiti dei Priori e Consiglio Generale), filza 6, fols. 116v-117r, which states that "per venerabilem virum dominum Antonium Blaxii Abbatini Abbatie de Capolone dioc(esis) Ar(etii or Aretine) presentata fuerit quedam deliberatio" etc., registered by Johannes filius olim Luce Martini de Florentia . . . notarius pub(licus) Florentinus. The document is dated 7 October 1431. I am, of course, hesitant to identify this Antonio di Biagio (di?) Abbatino as a kinsman of our Abbatinus. The diocese of Capolona, however, was one of the Ghibelline strongholds in the Aretine contado that Florence had difficulty controlling (Antoniella, 1993, 186-87). See also n. 79 above.

103 Malatesta was a son of Anfrosina da Pietramala (see n. 111, below) and a descendant of the Tarlati family, which ruled Arezzo in the communal era. He became a famigliare in Visconti's Milan in 1425: see the letters described in Gli atti cancellereschi, pt. 1, 149, no. 1253, and 156, no. 1314.

104 Doctores here means Aretine lawyers, physicians, and teachers and students of the arts and sciences living or working in Florence (for uses of the term in Arezzo, see Black, 1996, 228-29, 234-36, 239-40, 250-53, 255-57, 258-59, 262-64). These could include Carlo Marsuppini (a reluctant rebel, one would presume, since he was very close to the Medici), Benedetto Accolti, his brother Francesco Accolti, their father Michele, members of the Roselli family, and perhaps Giovanni Tortelli. See Black, 1985, 12-21. Benedetto Accolti was not a Medici partisan (idem, 1985, ix, 176-78), and he became chancellor in 1458 at a time of when the Medici party could not control the government (the Medici partisan Poggio was sacked in 1456). When the party retook the government in August 1458, Accolti stayed on as chancellor, paralleling, in a way, Bruni's career after the Medici coup of 1434. After the Medicean coup of 1458 Accolti became a conspicuous Medici partisan in many areas, while maintaining a stubborn independence in others. See idem, 1985, 88-101, 176-77, 190-91.

105 The condottiere Cristoforo da Tolentino, a son of Niccolo da Tolentino, married a daughter of Anfrosina da Pietramala and was hence Malatesta's brother-in-law (Franceschini, 89). Bruni sent him a chancery letter, 27 April 1442, urging him to control his saccomanni in the Florentine contado, recalling to him also the "buona memoria del magnifico vostro padre" (FiBNC Panciatichi 148, fol. 184v). Bruni's volgare oration on this Niccolo, preserving that memoria, circulated rather widely. See Hankins, 1997, ad indicem (261).

106 Both Piccinino and Siena had played key roles in an Aretine conspiracy against Florence in 1431. See n. 97, above.

107 The parenthetical identifications of Count Guido are taken from Vittani's Italian summary, Gli atti, pt. 2, 166, no. 870.

108 From precisely this same time there was communicated to Duke Visconti a report "per Petrum Bartholi de Florentia" (in Italian, despite the title) dated Lucca, 13 January 1436/37 (MiAS Archivio Ducale (Visconteo-Sforzesco), filza 14, no. 3; summarized in Gli atti, pt. 2, 96, no. 615), that this Piero di Bartolo had been in the house of the condottiere Berardino della Carda and had planned strategy against Florence. The report indicates exasperation with Niccolo Piccinino's initiatives, since if he had moved against Florence he would have been able to take it within fifteen days. It also states that some move will have to be made against Florence, or otherwise our friends within the city and the exiles in Siena will lose all hope and messer Rinaldo (surely degli Albizzi), will look elsewhere. Earlier, writing from Monterchi, 27 March 1432, Andreoccio Petrucci mentioned this Berardino della Carda in the context of Anfrosina and another anti-Florentine campaign (SiAS Concistoro 1925, no. 6). Evidently Petrucci, then working for Anfrosina, had convinced Berardino to quit fighting for Florence and to go over to Siena (see Pertici's biographical sketch in Petrucci, 27).

109 Within a month of the date of this document Florentines learned that Cristoforo da Tolentino was no longer willing to work for them (see n. 97, above). Later, however, he was back in the Florentine camp. According to Pompeo Pellini's seventeenth-century account (pt. 2, 417; reference owed to Giorni, 39), in 1438 Anfrosina invited her son-in-law Cristoforo to a dinner and had him thrown in prison, at the urging of the Duke of Milan. I do not know Pellini's source.

110 From Monterchi, Anfrosina commended her ambassador Bartolomeo da Todi in a letter to the Sienese government, 25 March 1432 (SiAS Concistoro 1925, no. 50/1, evidently misfiled in the modern arrangement as if it were 25 April). Andreoccio Petrucci did the same, in a letter with the same date, which stated that this Bartolomeo was completely trustworthy and that he would be traveling in disguise, because of the many spies of our enemies (ibid., no. 2/1). In documents from Lucca, May 1437, he is described as a "Capitaneus et Maior Officialis Custodiae": Acton, 96-127 at 96, 123, 133 (in these he is "Bartholomeus q[uondam] Francisci de Paraventis de Tuderto," thus, unlike in the Abbatinus document under discussion, with the correct Latin for Todi). On 29 October 1438 he was reconfirmed in office as "Capitaneus custodiae plateae" and his office was even extended to cover outlying areas (LuAS Consiglio Generale, Riformagioni Pubbliche, filza 15, 302-07 with title at 302; reference owed to Bratchel, 205).

111 Anfrosina, daughter of Count Gioacchino di Montedoglio (or Monte d'Oglio), was the widow of Carlo di Bartolomeo di Maso (or Masio) Tarlati da Pietramala, and controlled a part of the Aretine contado near Anghiari (Franceschini, 89; Repetti, 3:49498). The ancestral Pietramala was some five miles northeast of Arezzo, where the Tarlati had once had a castello. It was utterly destroyed by the Florentines after they took Arezzo in 1384 (Pasqui and Viviani, 313; Repetti, 4:211-12). Anfrosina had constant complaints about Florentine intrusions into her state, which she apparently hoped to maintain and even extend (her letters from the 1430s are dated Monterchi). In his Istorie fiorentine, Cavalcanti remarked on her extreme hatred of Florence (book 3, chap. 26, 8384, and esp. book 14, chap. 28, 408). Bruno Giorni's brief discussion emphasizes her subservience to the Duke of Milan (38-40). In Florence, she is mentioned in a letter of Giannozzo Gianfigliazzi to Averardo di Francesco Medici, dated Arezzo, 21 June 1425, which states that "la donna fu di Charlo da Pietramala cercha esser d'achordo chol chomune" (FiAS MAP I 87). Leonardo Bruni's chancery letter to the government of Lucca, 3 January 1435/36, claims that the Florentines actually have no jurisdiction over the condottiere allegedly disturbing her territory (FiBNC Panciatichi 148, fols. 14v-15r; cited and edited in part by Franceschini, 79).

From Lucca, AS, Anziani, Carteggi, there are letters of the Lucchese rulers (the "ancients" or Anziani). In Registro 531, fol. 139r-v (modern pp. 283-84), 22 June 1433, the Anziani of Lucca mention a peace with Anfrosina and her sons (fol. 153v [312], 23 August 1433, same), naming the sons as Malatesta and Galeazzo. In Registro 532 (the second section of this register, which has the various sections, chronologically out of order, with their own foliations), fol. 37v, 21 March 1435, the Anziani inform Niccolo Piccinino that Anfrosina and her son Malatesta are true friends of the Duke Filippo Maria Visconti; fol. 49v, 5 June 1435, Anziani to Duke Filippo Maria Visconti, informs him that Anfrosina has told us via an embassy that she fears attack from the Florentines - we have informed Florence that an attack on her is an attack on us; fols. 50v-51r, undated instructions between documents dated 6 and 7 July 1435, tells Lucca's ambassadors that they should inform Florence that "id omne quod contra earn (sc. Anfrosinam) temptaretur contra Lucanum populum fieri putent"; fol. 67v, 9 November 1435, on Anfrosina; fol. 70v, 26 November 1435; fol. 77r-v, 30 December 1435, to the Duke of Milan, informs him that Anfrosina has requested of us military assistance against the Florentines; fol. 84v (see n. 79, above); fol. 92r-v, 23 February 1436, to Duke Visconti, on aiding Anfrosina.

Anfrosina wrote a number of letters to the Sienese priors and capitano: SiAS Concistoro 1918, no. 93 (dated Monterchi, 25 August 1430), no. 98/1-2 (two letters dated Monterchi, 31 August 1431); Concistoro 1919, no. 9/2 (Monterchi, 14 September 1430) and no. 37 (Monterchi, 9 October 1430). For Concistoro 1925, nos. 2 and 50, see the above note. Concistoro 1925, no. 6, is a letter from Andreoccio Petrucci, a rabid anti-Florentine and Sienese patriot, to the priors of Siena, 27 March 1432, favorably mentioning Berardino de la Carda and madonna Anfrosina, who can give "molti guai a' nostri inimici." See also Consistoro 1928, no. 72, a letter of Anfrosina (Monterchi, 27 February "1432"; Consistoro 1936, no. 22 (Monterchi, 3 May 1436); no. 29 (Monterchi, 10 May 1436); Consistoro 1939, no. 9/1, Monterchi, 24 October 1437, where she begs the Sienese to free a man who "se dice avere voluto amazare certi usciti di Fiorenza, la qual cosa e poco credibili [sic]"; no. 27 (Monterchi, 21 November 1437, on same matter).

Anfrosina also wrote two Latin letters to Phebus de Pergula magister, complimenting him on his remedies for plague and asking for other medicinals. See Savignano sul Rubicone, Biblioteca dell'Accademia Rubiconia dei Filopatridi, ms. 6, fol. 39r (Monterchi, 15 July 1431) and fol. 39v (Monterchi, 1 October 1431). I was led to these by Kristeller, 2: 570. Cf. Frioli, 172-74.

112 My notes in the English translation above indicate what I know about the names of the figures mentioned in the document. I am following the paragraph divisions noted with special markings in the original document; see fig. 1.


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Author:Field, Arthur
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Date:Dec 22, 1998
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