The Intellectual Struggle for Florence is an analysis of the ideology that developed in Florence with the rise of the Medici, during the early fifteenth century, the period long recognized as the most formative of the early Renaissance. Instead of simply describing early Renaissance ideas, this volume attempts to relate these ideas to specific social and political conflicts of the fifteenth century, and specifically to the development of the Medici regime.
It first shows how the Medici party came to be viewed as fundamentally different from their opponents, the 'oligarchs', then explores the intellectual world of these oligarchs (the 'traditional culture'). As political conflicts sharpened, some humanists (Leonardo Bruni and Francesco Filelfo) with close ties
to oligarchy still attempted to enrich traditional culture with classical learning, while others, such as Niccolo Niccoli and Poggio Bracciolini, rejected tradition outright and created a new ideology for the Medici party. What is striking is the extent to which Niccoli and Poggio were able to turn a Latin or classical culture into a 'popular culture', and how the culture of the vernacular remained traditional and oligarchic.
A specialist in Renaissance intellectual history, Arthur Field received an MA at the University of Chicago and a PhD at the University of Michigan. Since 1989 he taught in the History Department at Indiana University, taking early retirement in 2014. He has made notable discoveries in humanist Latin texts in Italy, including new works of Bruni, Ficino, Filelfo, and Poggio. A work on Bruni won the 'best article' prize from the Renaissance Society of America, and his highly acclaimed Origins of the Platonic Academy of Florence (1988) won an honorable mention from the Journal of the History of Ideas for best book in intellectual history. Awards include a Prix de Rome, and fellowships from Guggenheim, Fulbright, ACLS, and the Villa I Tatti.
PART 1: POLITICAL AND SOCIAL BACKGROUND; PART 2: TRADITIONAL CULTURE; PART 3: MEDICI CULTURE