Monday, March 4, 2013

Machiavelli's Arrest Warrant

Okay, so here's this:

A British professor researching the history of town criers in Florence stumbled across the 500 year old arrest warrant for Machiavelli.  The actual document, the proclamation calling for his arrest.

Wow-y wow wow.   

He also found records of the payments made to the four horsemen "who scoured the streets of the Tuscan city for Machiavelli."

 Damn, that makes it all feel so scary and real to me. 

Real, because an actual person received that payment.  

These were real people living and dying and hunting each other down and fleeing.  They're not static historical figures, analyzed & figured out & frozen in images, flattened between the pages of a textbook.  

These were men who saddled up their horses that morning, men who needed that money, men who went home that night & maybe talked to their wives about their day, "Yeah, Giuliano wanted that guy, so we found him.  But...he looked scared. It's not going to go well for him." 

Scary, because I picture finding out about the arrest warrant.  Maybe you suspected it was coming, and this just is the awful thud of the other shoe dropping. 

Or maybe you thought you'd escaped the wrath of the d'Medici's.  Maybe. . .  maybe. . . .  No.  They didn't miss you, they didn't forget.  And now you're being hunted down by four professionals hired to bring you in. 

You have to know what's coming, right?   They don't want to have a conversation with you.  You were a high-ranking diplomat for the family that helped oust them, and now you're about to be brought low for it. 

Oh, and one of them is about to become Pope.

For me, this discovery brought this moment in history alive in a way its never been before. 

What about you??  When has a story--fictional or news--or an event or a conversation suddenly brought history alive?

Here's a link to the Telegraph article:

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