2 CATACLYSM AND CLASSICISM AT LARGE
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2 CATACLYSM AND CLASSICISM AT LARGE book
On his way to assert his Angevin claim to Naples in the autumn of 1494 Charles VIII of France swept through Lombardy unopposed: the Milanese usurper Ludovico il Moro, who had looked to France for help, had declared himself duke on the opportune death of Galeazzo Maria Sforza. In Florence Lorenzo de’ Medici’s son and successor, Piero, had sided with the Aragonese regime in Naples but sued for peace with the invaders as they took Pisa and Florence’s hard-won coastal territory. The French were hailed by the messianic Dominican friar Savanarola as the well-earned instrument of God’s chastisement for the impiety of the humanist Medici regime and provoked reaction: Lorenzo the Magniﬁcent’s heir, atypical of the Medici in his incompetence, was dismissed in favour of a pro-French republic. However, Charles’s extortionate demands and Savanarola’s demented extremism soon disillusioned the Florentines.