Francesco Guicciardini

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Francesco Guicciardini
BirthplaceFlorence, Republic of Florence
Historian, statesman

Guicciardini, Francesco


Born Mar. 6, 1483, in Florence; died May 22, 1540, in Arcetri. Italian historian, humanist philosopher, and statesman. From 1511 to 1514 ambassador of Florence in Spain and from 1516 to 1534 successively papal governor in Modena, Romagna, and Bologna.

In the History of Italy (written in 1537-40), Guicciardini presented the history not of the separate Italian states but of the entire country as a whole, and he advocated the national and state unification of Italy. The basic propellant of history he held to be the selfish motivations of individuals. Being an ideologist of the early bourgeoisie, he developed an ethical doctrine of advantage as the basis of mutual utility; believing in the necessity of adapting to circumstances, he considered the use of any means entirely admissible for the attainment of political ends, and he was guided by this principle in his actions. Guicciardini was a partisan of oligarchic-republican rule and an adversary of popular participation in government (Dialogue on the Governing of Florence, written in 1525). He argued for the comprehensive development of the individual, who, as he saw it, found himself surrounded by constant cyclical social change. He was an opponent of astrology; in his works he criticized monastic hypocrisy, the papacy, and the church and offered a scheme for replacing religion with mutual relations of neighborly advantage (Political and Civil Notes, written in 1525-29, carefully concealed by him, and published in 1576).


Opere. Milan-Naples [1953].
Carteggi … , vols. 1-13. Milan, 1938-68.
In Russian translation:
Soch. Moscow-Leningrad, 1934.


Samarkin, V. V. “K voprosu o formirovanii politicheskikh vzgliadov F. Gvichchardini.” Vestnik Moscovskogo un-ta, 1960, no. 5, series 9, Iistoricheskie nauki.
Rutenburg, V. I. “Gvichchardini.” In the collection Ital’ianskoe Vozrozhdenie. [Leningrad] 1966.


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And the like was done by that league (which Guicciardini saith was the security of Italy) made between Ferdinando King of Naples, Lorenzius Medici, and Ludovicus Sforza, potentates, the one of Florence, the other of Milan.
The desultory encomium of Alfonso d'Avalos--the condottiere who praised Ariosto's poetry but was himself blamed by Guicciardini and Varchi for the horrors of the sack of Rome in 1527--marks an abrupt change in the host's method of understanding events.
Da quelle pagine si ricavano feconde nozioni sul fenomeno della demonologia, sul perche l'estetica come ramo della filosofia nasca nel Settecento, sul modo di trattare i concetti di mentalita e spiegare alla luce di quelli alcuni problemi relativi a Dante o a Ficino o a Guicciardini.
Even if he did not quite revolutionize history by establishing it as a modern discipline," Ianziti argues, "he set in motion a process of renewal that would lead more or less directly to the achievements of Machiavelli and Guicciardini in the following century" (p.
7 discusses history and the use of historical examples in Niccolo Machiavelli, Francesco Guicciardini, and Bodin.
Guicciardini wrote that the past illuminates the future, that things have always been the same and that things return with different colours.
In 1612, for example, Lodovico Guicciardini in his description of the Netherlands described Antwerp as governing herself from ancient times "almost in the way of a free city and republic" though under the official present rule of the Duke of Brabant "as her lord and prince" (qtd.
In this collection of essays, individual topics include the role of finance, tactics and strategy, the Adriatic fortifications against "the infidel," political restructuring in the writings of Machiavelli and Guicciardini, the fate of ducal families, the change in the role of the Papacy amongst European powers, changes in Milanese constructions of citizenship, questions of sovereignty between France and Genoa, the crisis of courtly culture, Italy as paradise (or not) in French texts, secular music in Florence and Rome, and the effects of the wars on Italian universities.
The view of history that the plays embody is, as John Jump has pointed out, somewhere between the divine providence view of Augustine and the purely humanistic approaches of Machiavelli and Francesco Guicciardini.
Based on a melange of contemporary rumors and historical details from Guicciardini, The Devil's Charter dramatizes Roderigo Borgia allegedly making a bargain with the devil in order to become Pope Alexander VI, involving, among multiple other murders, that of his daughter, Lucretia.
The Florentine historian Guicciardini described Bruges as a city where one could enjoy the good life, a city where the quality of life was important, an evocation of the 'ideal city' as seen from the human perspective.
Francesco Guicciardini, Maxims and Reflections (Ricordi), translated by Mario Domandi (Philadelphia, 1965), 44.