Living on the Edge in Leonardo’s Florence

Jeff Mielke

in Living on the Edge in Leonardo's Florence

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2005 | ISBN: 9780520241343
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520930995 | DOI:
Living on the Edge in Leonardo’s Florence

Show Summary Details


Florence in the fifteenth century was one of the five most populous cities in Italy. It was a wealthy city deriving its wealth from industry, trade, banking, agriculture, and craftsmanship. However, the city's wealth was divided unevenly, with only a few people enjoying the city's wealth. Despite the hierarchy of Florentine society, there was considerable interaction between the members of the social groups. In the fifteenth century, Florence was ruled by the Medici family. While Florence was one of the five major powers in Italy, it was one of the weakest major powers in the peninsula. This chapter discusses the sense of vulnerability and the awareness of grave perils that threatened Florence's security and prosperity during Leonardo da Vinci's lifetime. It focuses on the extreme anxiety that gripped Florence. Among the dangers that threatened Florence in the fifteenth century were natural disasters and two scourges over which they had no control: poor harvests and the food shortages which caused starvation and social unrest; and the epidemics of plague that struck the city on average once a decade.

Keywords: Florence; Italy; Florentine society; Medici; Leonardo da Vinci

Chapter.  5249 words. 

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.