Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Paul Strathern

Paul Strathern is the author of Death in Florence: The Medici, Savonarola, and the Battle for the Soul of a Renaissance City.

From his Q & A with Deborah Kalb:

Q: In the book, you write, "Yet this clash between the secular and the religious has continued to reverberate down the centuries..." What is the legacy today of the events in Florence 500-plus years ago?

A: Lorenzo de Medici was a standard-bearer for the values of the Renaissance. Savonarola, on the other hand, believed in a return to the ancient spiritual values. In simple terms, Lorenzo de Medici can be seen as a liberal, whereas Savonarola was more of a fundamentalist.

Though this is, of necessity, a gross simplification. The battle between these two figures in 15th century Florence can be seen as epitomising a battle which has undergone a sudden resurgence in our contemporary times: the contest for hearts and minds between the freedom and values of the western world and fundamentalism which opposes such “degeneracy.”

The struggle which took place in Florence so long ago is once again as relevant as ever. The battle is no longer for “the soul of a Renaissance city,” but for the soul of...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue