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The Burning of the Vanities Savonarola and the Borgia Pope by Desmond Seward

The Burning of the Vanities Savonarola and the Borgia Pope


The Burning of the Vanities Savonarola and the Borgia Pope by Desmond Seward

'The city will no longer be a place of flowers, but an abode of robbery, of evil doing, of bloodshed.' This is the dramatic story of Girolamo Savonarola, the visionary friar who terrified Renaissance Florence by his uncannily accurate prophesies of doom - especially of a new barbarian invasion from Charles VIII - and denounced Lorenzo the Magnificent as a tyrant and the Borgia Alexander VI as an unworthy pope. He became virtual ruler of Florence, restoring republican government, and burning 'profane art' in pubic bonfires, most notably in the famous 'Bonfire of the Vanities' in 1497. The years when he dominated the city are among the most dramatic and tragic in Florentine history, and his supporters included: Michelangelo, Botticelli and Machiavelli. But, in the end, Alexander VI turned the Florentines against Savonarola and destroyed him. They stormed his friary, and after a mockery of a trial during which he was tortured and condemned as a heretic, he went to the stake. Desmond Seward tells the extraordinary story of the man who, even after his death, became a cult figure.

About the Author

Desmond Seward was born in Paris and educated at Cambridge University. He is the author of numerious books, including biographies of Henry IV of France, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Marie Antoinette, Empress Eugenie and Napoleon's Family.

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Book Info

Publication date

1st March 2006


Desmond Seward

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Sutton Publishing Ltd an imprint of The History Press Ltd


320 pages


Biography: religious & spiritual
European history
Early history: c 500 to c 1450/1500



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