In Florence, in the summer of 1501, a man named Antonio Rinaldeschi was arrested and hanged after throwing horse dung at an outdoor painting of the Virgin Mary. His punishment was severe, even for the times, and the crimes with which he was formally charged — gambling, blasphemy and attempted suicide — did not normally warrant the death penalty.
Sacrilege and Redemption in Renaissance Florence unveils a series of newly discovered sources concerning this striking episode. The authors show how the political and religious context of Renaissance Florence resulted both in Rinaldeschi’s death sentence and in the creation by Savonarola’s followers of a new religious devotion in the heart of the city commemorating the event.
William J. Connell, professor of history, holds the Joseph M. and Geraldine C. La Motta Chair in Italian Studies and directs the Charles and Joan Alberto Italian Studies Institute at Seton Hall University. His books include La citta’ dei crucci: fazioni e clientele in uno stato repubblicano del ’400 and a new translation of Machiavelli’s Prince.
Giles Constable is retired professor of history at the Institute for Advanced Study and former H. C. Lea Prfoessor of Medieval History at Harvard University and director of Dumbarton Oaks in Washington D.C. He has written and edited about twenty books and upward of eighty articles.
Essays and Studies 8
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