Page:The Life of Michael Angelo.djvu/118

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74
THE LIFE OF MICHAEL ANGELO

went to inspect the citadel of Pisa and the bastions of Arezzo and Leghorn. In July and August he was sent to Ferrara to examine the famous defences there and confer with the Duke—a great authority on fortifications.

Michael Angelo recognised that the most important strategical point of Florence was the hill of San Miniato, so he decided to make this position secure by means of bastions. But—why we know not—he met with opposition from the gonfaloniere Capponi, who sought to remove him from Florence.[1] Michael Angelo, suspecting Capponi and the Medicean party of wishing to get rid of him, in order to prevent the defence of the city, took up his quarters at San Miniato and moved not an inch. But his unhealthy distrust welcomed all the rumours of treason which ever circulate in a besieged town, and which, on this occasion, were only too well founded. Capponi, suspected, had been replaced as gonfaloniere by Francesco Carducci; but they had appointed condottiere and governor-general of the Florentine troops the disquieting Malatesta Baglioni, who was later to deliver the city into the hands of the Pope. Michael Angelo foresaw the crime, and communicated his fears to the Seigniory. "The gonfaloniere Carducci, instead of thanking him, reprimanded him insultingly; he reproached him with always being suspicious and full of fear."[2] Malatesta heard of Michael Angelo's denunciation. A man of his stamp stuck at nothing to get rid of a dangerous adversary, and, as general-in-chief, he was all-powerful in Florence. Michael Angelo thought that he was lost.

"I was, however, determined," he wrote, "to await


  1. Busini, according to confidences of Michael Angelo.
  2. Condivi. "And certainly," adds Condivi, "he would have done well to listen to the good advice, for when the Medici returned he was beheaded."