Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/205

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so belaboured him that he could scarce escape her clutches. At San Marco there was a case of hysteric epilepsy, while there can be small question that the fantastic visions of the somnambulist Fr& Silvestro obscured, as time went on, the sounder sense of Savonarola himself.

A not unnatural reaction against the new puritanism showed itself, whenever Savonarola temporarily withdrew or lost his influence. Then the gambling-hells, the taverns, the brothels drove a roaring trade; and Savonarola's death was followed by scenes of profanity such as Florence had never before witnessed. It was a necessary result of the fusion of ethics and politics that the reformer regarded opposition to his political views as involving sin. Thus the dividing line in politics produced cleavage in morals and religion, and vice versa. Serious political opponents became confused with men of pleasure, and, indeed, scents and silks and sin were too apt to be the outward signs of the party loyalty of the Arrabbiati. Florence on a small scale prefigured our own Commonwealth and its results.

Although Savonarola seemed for a time all-powerful, yet from the first there were elements of opposition. Florence had been saved from bloodshed but not from discord; as the chemist Landucci put it, "some would have it roast and others liked it boiled"; there were those who muttered, "this dirty friar is bringing us to grief." Parties began to shape themselves. It was scarcely a conflict of class against class, though as yet Savonarola could usually rely upon the middle, and, perhaps, upon the lower classes. Most of the aristocrats who had been instrumental in Piero's expulsion were opposed to the Friar who had robbed them of their reward. Less moderate than their leader Piero Capponi were the Nerli, the Pazzi, the younger line of Medici, and the clever lawyer Vespucci, the more pronounced of whom were nicknamed Arrabbiati. But Francesco Valori, a leading member of the Twenty, after some hesitation became the recognised head of the Savonarolists, who were christened Piagnoni (snivellers) or Colletorti (wry-necks). They could boast of other members of good family, who before or afterwards played leading parts. Such were Paol' Antonio Soderini, Giovanni Battista Ridolfi, Luca Albizzi, Alamanno and Jacopo Salviati, and Piero Guicci-ardini, the historian's father. The remnants of the Medicean party lay low, thankful to have escaped with a sound skin, or attached themselves to the other groups. The Savonarolist party, writes Parenti, included many Mediceans who had owed their lives to him; and it was a common accusation against the Friar that he was a secret adherent of the Medici.

Family solidarity was the most permanent feature of Florentine life, yet so intense was the excitement that families were riven asunder, father standing against son and brother against brother; the Ridolfi, the Salviati, the Soderini were divided. It was said, indeed, that Paol' Antonio Soderini made the family fortunes safe by inducing his son to join the Compagnacci, a dining club of young bloods and swashbucklers