Online Encyclopedia

SIENA

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V25, Page 54 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
Spread the word: del.icio.us del.icio.us it!
SIENA, a city and archiepiscopal see of Tuscany, Italy, capital of the province of Siena, 59 M. by rail S. of Florence and 31 M. direct. Pop. (1901) 25,539 (town); 40,423 (commune). The area of the city within the walls is about 22 sq. m., and the height above sea-level 1115 ft. The plan, spreading from the centre over three hills, closely resembles that of Perugia. The city possesses a university, founded in 1203 and limited to the faculties of law and medicine. Among the other public institutions the following are the more important: the town library, first opened to students in the 17th century; the Archivio, a record office, instituted in 1858, containing a valuable and splendidly arranged collection of documents; the Fine Arts Institution, founded in 1816; and the natural history museum of the Royal Academy of the Physiocritics, inaugurated in the same year. There are also many flourishing charities, including an excellent hospital and a school for the deaf and dumb. The chief industries are weaving and agriculture. The public festivals of Siena known as the " Palio delle Con-trade " have a European celebrity. They are held in the public square, the curious and historic Piazza del Campo (now Piazza di Vittorio Emanuele) in shape resembling an ancient theatre, on the 2nd of July and the 16th of August of each year; they date from the middle ages and were instituted in commemoration of victories and in honour of the Virgin Mary (the old title of Siena, as shown by seals and medals, having been " Sena vetus civitas Virginis "). In the 15th and 16th centuries the celebrations consisted of bull-fights. At the close of the 16th century these were replaced by races with mounted buffaloes, and since 165o by (ridden) horses. Siena is divided into seventeen contrade (wards), each with a distinct appellation and a chapel and flag of its own; and every year ten of these contrade, chosen by lot, send each one horse to compete for the prize patio or banner. The aspect of Siena during these meetings is very characteristic, and the whole festivity bears a medieval stamp in harmony with the architecture and history of the town. Among the noblest fruits of Sienese art are the public buildings adorning the city. The cathedral, one of the finest examples of Italian Gothic architecture, obviously influenced in plan by the abbey of S. Galgano (infra), built in black and white marble, was begun in the early years of the 13th century, but interrupted by the plague of 1248 and wars at home and abroad, and in 1317 its walls were extended to the baptistery of San Giovanni; a further enlargement was begun in 1339 but never carried out, and a few ruined walls and arches alone remain to show the magnificence of the uncompleted design, which would have produced one of the largest churches in the world. The splendid west front, of tricuspidal form, enriched with a multitude of columns, statues and inlaid marbles, is said to have been begun by Giovanni Pisano, but really dates from after 1370; it was finished in 1380, and closely resembles that of Orvieto, which is earlier in date (begun in 1310). Both facades have been recently restored, and the effect of them not altogether improved by modern mosaics. The fine Romanesque campanile belongs to the first half of the 14th century. Conspicuous among the art treasures of the interior is the well-known octagonal pulpit by Niccola Pisano, dating from 1266-1268. It rests on columns supported by lions, and is finely sculptured. Numerous statues and bas-reliefs by Renaissance artists adorn the various altars and chapels. The cathedral pavement is almost unique. It is inlaid with designs in colour and black and white, representing Biblical and legendary subjects, and is supposed to have been begun by Duccio della Buoninsegna. But the finest portions beneath the domes, with scenes from the history of Abraham, Moses and Elijah, are by Domenico Beccafumi and are executed with marvellous boldness and effect. The choir stalls also deserve mention: the older ones (remains of the original choir) are in tarsia work; the others, dating from the 16th century, are carved from Riccio's designs. The Piccolomini Library, adjoining the duomo, was founded by Cardinal Francesco Piccolomini (afterwards Pius III.) in honour of his uncle, Pius II. Here are Pinturicchio's famous frescoes of scenes from the life of the latter pontiff, and the collection of choir books (supported on sculptured desks) with splendid illuminations by Sienese and other artists. The church of San.Giovanni, the ancient baptistery, beneath the cathedral is approached by an outer flight of marble steps built in 1451. It has a beautiful but incomplete facade designed by Giovanni di Mino del Pellicciaio in 1382, and a marvellous font with bas-reliefs by Donatcllo, Ghiberti, Jacopo della Quercia and other 15th-century sculptors. The Opera del Duomo contains Duccio's famous Madonna, painted for the cathedral in 1308-1311, and other works of art. Among the other churches are S. Maria di Provenzano, a vast baroque building of some elegance, designed by Schifardini (1594); Sant' Agostino, rebuilt by Vanvitelli in 1755, containing a Crucifixion and Saints by Perugino, a Massacre of the Innocents by 'Matted di Giovanni, the Coming of the Magi by Sodoma, and a St Anthony by Spagnoletto (?); the beautiful church of the Servites (15th century), which contains another Massacre of the Innocents by Matteo di Giovanni and other good examples of the Sienese school; San Francesco, designed by Agostino and Agnolo about 1326, and now restored, which once possessed many fine paintings by Duccio Buoninsegna, Lorenzetti, Sodoma and Beccafumi, some of which perished in the great fire of 1655; San Domenico, a fine 13th-century building with a single nave and transept, containing Sodoma's splendid fresco the Swoon of St Catherine, the Madonna of Guido da Siena, 1281, and a crucifix by Sano di Pietro. This church crowns the Fontebranda hill above the famous fountain of that name immortalized by Dante, and in a steep lane below stands the house of St Catherine, now converted into a church and oratory, and maintained at the expense of the inhabitants of the Contrada dell' Oca. It contains some good pictures by Pacchia and other works of art, but is chiefly visited for its historic interest and as a striking memorial of the characteristic piety of the Sienese. The Accademia di Belle Anti contains a good collection of pictures of the Sienese school, illustrating its development. The communal palace in the Piazza del Campo was begun in 1288 and finished in 1309. It is built of brick, is a fine specimen of Pointed Gothic, and was designed by Agostino and Agnolo. The light and elegant tower (Torre del Mangla) soaring from one side of the palace was begun in 1338 and finished after 1348, and the chapel standing at its foot, raised at the expense of the Opera del Duomo as a public thank-offering after the plague of 1348, begun in 1352 and completed in 1376. This grand old palace has other attractions besides the beauty of its architecture, for its interior is lined with works of art. The atrium has a fresco by Bartolo di Fredi and the two ground-floor halls contain a Coronation of the Virgin by Sano di Pietro and a splendid Resurrection by Sodoma. In the Sala dei Nove or della Pace above are the noble allegorical frescoes of Ambrogio Lorenzetti representing the effects of just and unjust government; the Sala delle Balestre or del Mappamonido is painted by Simone di Martino (Memmi) and others, the Cappella della Signoria by Taddeo di Bartolo, and the Sala del Consuitorio by Beccafumi. Another hall, the Sala di Balia, has frescoes by Spinello Aretino (1408) with scenes from the life of Pope Alexander III., while yet another has been painted by local artists with episodes in recent Italian history. An interesting exhibition of Sienese art, including many objects from neighbouring towns and villages, was held here in 1904. The former hall of the grand council, built in 1327, was converted into the chief theatre of Siena by Riccio in 1560, and, after being twice burnt, was rebuilt in 1753 from Bibbiena's designs. Another Sienese theatre that of the Rozzi, in Piazza Se A Pellegrino, designed by A. Doveri and erected in 1816, although modern, has an historic interest as the work of an academy dating iiom the 16th century, called the Congrega de' Rozzi, that played an important part in the history of the Italian comic stage. The city is adorned by many other noble edifices both public and private, among which the following palaces may be mentioned—Tolomei (1205); Buonsignori, formerly Tegliacci, an elegant 14th-century construction, restored in 1848; Grottanelli, formerly Pecci and anciently the residence of the captain of war, recently restored in its original style; Sansedoni; Marsilii; Piccolomini, now be-longing to the Government and containing the state archives;i Piccolomini delle Papesse, like the other Piccolomini mansion, designed by Bernardo Rossellino, and now the Banca d' Italia; the enormous block of the Monte de' Paschi, a bank of considerable wealth and antiquity, enlarged and partly rebuilt in the original style between 1871 and 1881, the old Dogana and Salimbeni palaces; the Palazzo Spannochi, a fine early Renaissance building by Giuliano da Maiano (now the post office) ; the Loggia di Mercanzia (15th century), now a club, imitating the Loggia dei Lanzi at Florence, with sculptures of the 15th century; the Loggia del Papa, erected by Pius II.; and other fine buildings. We may also mention the two celebrated fountains, Fonte Gaia and Fontebranda; the former, in the Piazza del Campo, by Jacopo della Quercia (1409-1419), but freely restored in 1868, the much-damaged original reliefs being now in the Opera del Duomo; the Fonte Nuova, near Porta Ovile, by Camaino di Crescentino also deserves notice (1298). Thanks to all these architectural treasures, the narrow Sienese streets with their many windings and steep ascents are full of picturesque charm, and, together with the collections of excellent paintings, foster the local pride of the inhabitants and preserve their taste and feeling for art. The medieval walls and gates are still in the main preserved. The ruined Cistercian abbey of S. Galgano, founded in 1201, with its fine church (1240–1268) is interesting and imposing. It lies some 20 M. south-west of Siena. History.—Siena was probably founded by the Etruscans (a few tombs of that period have been found outside Porta Camollia), and then, falling under the Roman rule, became a colony in the reign of Augustus, or a little earlier, and was distinguished by the name of Saena Julia. It has the same arms as Rome—the she-wolf and twins. But its real importance dates from the middle ages. Few memorials of the Roman era 2 or of the first centuries of Christianity have been preserved (except the legend of St Ansanus), and none at all of the interval pre-ceding the Lombard period. We have documentary evidence that in the 7th century in the reign' of Rotaris (or Rotari), there was a bishop of Siena named Mauro. Attempts to trace earlier bishops as far back as the 5th century have yielded only vague and contradictory results. Under the Lombards the civil government was in the hands of a gastaldo, under the Carolingians of a count, whose authority, by slow degrees and a course of events similar to what took place in other Italian communes, gave way to that of the bishop, whose power in turn gradually diminished and was superseded by that of the consuls and the commonwealth. We have written evidence of the consular government of Siena from 1125 to 1212; the number of consuls varied from three to twelve. This government, formed of gentiluomini or nobles, did not remain unchanged throughout the whole period, but was gradually forced to accept the participation of the popolani or lower classes, whose efforts to rise to power were continuous and determined. Thus in 1137 they obtained a third part of the government by the reconstitution of the general council with too nobles and 5o popolani. In 1199 the institution of a foreign podestd (a form of government which became permanent in 1212) gave a severe blow to the consular magistracy, which was soon extinguished; and in 1233 the people again rose against the nobles in the hope of ousting them entirely from office. The strife was largely economic, the people desiring to deprive the nobles of the immunity of taxation which they had enjoyed. The attempt was not completely successful; but the government was now equally divided between the two estates by the creation of a supreme magistracy of twenty-four citizens—twelve nobles and twelve popolani. During the rule of the nobles and the mixed rule of nobles and popolani the commune of Siena was enlarged by fortunate acquisitions of neighbouring lands and by the submission of feudal lords, such as the Scialenghi, Aldobrandeschi, Pannocchieschi, Visconti di Campiglia, &c. i In these are especially interesting the painted covers of the books of the bicchierna and gabella, or revenue and tax offices. 2 There are, however, remains of baths some 22 M. to the east; see P. Piccolomini in Bullettino Senese de stone patria, vi. (1899). Before long the reciprocal need of fresh territory and frontier disputes, especially concerning Poggibonsi and Montepulciano, led to an outbreak of hostilities between Florence and Siena. Thereupon, to spite the rival republic, the Sienese took the Ghibelline side, and the German emperors, beginning with Frederick Barbarossa, rewarded their fidelity by the grant of various privileges. During the 12th and 13th centuries there were continued disturbances, petty wars, and hasty reconciliations between Florence and Siena, until in 1254–1255 a more binding peace and alliance was concluded. But this treaty, in spite of its apparent stability, led in a few years to a fiercer struggle; for in 1258 the Florentines complained that Siena had infringed its terms by giving refuge to the Ghibellines they had expelled, and on the refusal of the Sienese to yield to these just remonstrances both states made extensive preparations for war. Siena applied to Manfred, obtained from him a strong body of German horse, under the command of Count Giordano, and likewise sought the aid of its Ghibelline allies. Florence equipped a powerful citizen army, of which the original registers are still preserved in the volume entitled Il Libro di Montaperti in the Florence archives. This army, led by the podesta of Florence and twelve burgher captains, set forth gaily on its march towards the enemy's territories in the middle of April 126o, and during its first campaign, ending on the 18th of May, won an insignificant victory at Santa Petronilla, outside the walls of Siena. But in a second and more important campaign, in which the militia of the other Guelf towns of Tuscany took part, the Florentines were signally defeated at Montaperti on the 4th of September 126o. This defeat crushed the power of Florence for many years, reduced the city to desolation, and apparently annihilated the Florentine Guelfs. But the battle of Benevento (1266) and the establishment of the dynasty of Charles of Anjou on the Neapolitan throne put an end to the Ghibelline predominance in Tuscany. Ghibelline Siena soon felt the effects of the change in the defeat of its army at Colle di Valdelsa (1269) by the united forces of the Guelf exiles, Florentines and French, and the death in that battle of her powerful citizen Provenzano Salvani (mentioned by Dante), who had been the leading spirit of the government at the time of the victory of Montaperti. For some time Siena remained faithful to the Ghibelline cause; nevertheless Guelf and democratic sentiments began to make head. The Ghibellines were on several occasions expelled from the city, and, even when a temporary reconciliation of the two parties allowed them to return, they failed to regain their former influence. Meanwhile the popular party acquired increasing power in the state. Exasperated by the tyranny of the Salimbeni and other patrician families allied to the Ghibellines, it decreed in 1277 the exclusion of all nobles from the supreme magistracy (consisting since 1270 of thirty-six instead of twenty-four members), and insisted that this council should be formed solely of Guelf traders and men of the middle class. This constitution was confirmed in 128o by the reduction of the supreme magistracy to fifteen members, all of the humbler classes, and was definitively sanctioned in 1285 (and 1287) by the institution of the magistracy of nine. This council of nine, composed only of burghers, carried on the government for about seventy years, and its rule was sagacious and peaceful. The territories of the state were enlarged; a friendly alliance was maintained with Florence; trade flourished; in 1321 the university was founded, or rather revived, by the introduction of Bolognese scholars; the principal buildings now adorning the town were begun; and the charitable institutions, which are the pride of modern Siena, increased and prospered. But meanwhile the exclusiveness of the single class of citizens from whose ranks the chief magistrates were drawn had converted the government into a close oligarchy and excited the hatred of every other class. Nobles, judges, notaries and populace rose in frequent revolt, while the nine defended their state (1295–1309) by a strong body of citizen militia divided into terzieri (sections) and contrade (wards), and violently repressed these attempts. But in 1355 the arrival of Charles IV. in Siena gave fresh courage to the malcontents,who, backed by the imperial authority, overthrew the government of the nine and substituted a magistracy of twelve drawn from the lowest class. These new rulers were to some extent under the influence of the nobles who had fomented the rebellion, but the latter were again soon excluded from all share in the govern-, ment. This was the beginning of a determined struggle for supremacy, carried on for many years, between the different classes of citizens, locally termed ordini or monti—the lower classes striving to grasp the reins of government, the higher classes already in office striving to keep all power in their own hands, or to divide it in proportion to the relative strength of each monte. As this struggle is of too complex a nature to be described in detail, we must limit ourselves to a summary of its leading episodes. The twelve who replaced the council of nine (as these had previously replaced the council of the nobles) consisted—both as individuals and as a party—of ignorant, incapable, turbulent men, who could neither rule the state with firmness nor confer prosperity on the republic. They speedily broke with the nobles, for whose manoeuvres they had at first been useful tools, and then split into two factions, one siding with the Tolomei, the other, the more restless and violent, with the Salimbeni and the noveschi (partisans of the nine), who, having still some influence in the city, probably fomented these dissensions, and, as we shall see later on, skilfully availed themselves of every chance likely to restore them to power. In 1368 the adversaries of the twelve succeeded in driving them by force from the public palace, and substituting a government of thirteen—ten nobles and three noveschi. This government lasted only twenty-two days, from the 2nd to the 24th September, and was easily overturned by the dominant faction of the dodicini (partisans of the twelve), aided by the Salimbeni and the populace, and favoured by the emperor Charles IV. The nobles were worsted, being driven from the city as well as from power; but the absolute rule of the twelve was brought to an end, and right of participation in the government was extended to another class of citizens. For, on the expulsion of the thirteen from the palace, a council of 124 plebeians created a new magistracy of twelve difensori (defenders), no longer drawn exclusively from the order of the twelve, but composed of five of the popolo minuto, or lowest populace (now first admitted to the government), four of the twelve, and three of the nine. But it was of short duration, for the dodicini were ill satisfied with their share, and in December of the same year (1368) joined with the popolo minuto in an attempt to expel the three noveschi from the palace. But the new popular order, which had already asserted its predominance in the council of the riformatori, now drove out the dodicini, and for five days (lrth to 16th December) kept the government in its own hands. Then, however, moved by fear of the emperor, who had passed through Siena two months before on his way to Rome, and who was about to halt there on his return, it tried to conciliate its foes by creating a fresh council of 150 riformatori, who replaced the twelve defenders by a new supreme magistracy of fifteen, consisting of eight popolani, four dodicini, and three noveschi, entitled respectively " people of the greater number," " people of the middle number," and "people of the less number." From this renewal dates the formation of the new order or monte dei riformatori, the title henceforth bestowed on all citizens, of both the less and the greater people, who had reformed the government and begun to participate in it in 1368. The turbulent action of the twelve and the Salimbeni, being dissatisfied with these changes, speedily rose against the new government. This time they were actively aided by Charles IV., who, having returned from Rome, sent his militia, commanded by the imperial vicar Malatesta da Rimini, to attack the public palace. But the Sienese people, being called to arms by the council of fifteen, made a most determined resistance, routed the imperial troops, captured the standard, and confined the emperor in the Salimbeni palace. Thereupon Charles came to terms with the government, granted it an imperial patent, and left the city, consoled for his humiliation by the gift of a large sum of money. In spite of its wide basis and great energy, the monte dei riformatori, the heart of the new government, could not satisfactorily cope with the attacks of adverse factions and treacherous allies. So, the better to repress them, it created in 1369 a chief of the police, with the title of esecutore, and a numerous association of popolani—the company or casata grande of the people—as bulwarks against the nobles, who had been recalled from banishment, and who, though fettered by strict regulations,were now eligible for offices of the state. But the appetite for power of the " less people " and the dregs of the populace was whetted rather than satisfied by the installation of the riformatori in the principal posts of authority. Among the wool-carders—men of the lowest class, dwelling in the precipitous lanes about the Porta Ovile—there was an association styling itself the "company of the worm." During the famine of 1371 this company rose in revolt, sacked the houses of the rich, invaded the public palace, drove from the council of fifteen the four members of the twelve and the three of the nine, and replaced them by seven tatterdemalions. Then, having withdrawn to its own quarter, it was suddenly attacked by the infuriated citizens (noveschi and dodicini), who broke into houses and workshops and put numbers of the inhabitants to the sword without regard for age or sex. Thereupon the popular rulers avenged these misdeeds by many summary executions in the piazza. These disorders were only checked by fresh changes in the council of fifteen. It was now formed of twelve of the greater people and three noveschi, to the total exclusion of the dodicini, who, on account of their growing turbulence, were likewise banished from the city. Meanwhile the government had also to contend with difficulties outside the walls. The neighbouring lords attacked and ravaged the municipal territories; grave injuries were inflicted by the mercenary bands, especially by the Bretons and Gascons. The rival claims to the Neapolitan kingdom of Carlo di Durazzo and Louis of Anjou caused fresh disturbances in Tuscany. The Sienese government conceived hopes of gaining possession of the city of Arezzo, which was first occupied by Durazzo's men, and then by Enguerrand de Coucy for Louis of Anjou; but while the Sienese were nourishing dreams of conquest the French general unexpectedly sold the city to the Florentines, whose negotiations had been conducted with marvellous ability and despatch (1384). The gathering exasperation of the Sienese, and notably of the middle class, against their rulers was brought to a climax by this cruel disappointment. Their discontent had been gradually swelled by various acts of home and foreign policy during the sixteen years' rule of the riformatori, nor had the concessions granted to the partisans of the twelve and the latter's recall and renewed eligibility to office availed to conciliate them. At last the revolt broke out and gained the upper hand, in March 1385. The riformatori were ousted from power and expelled the city, and the trade of Siena suffered no little injury by the exile of so many artisan families. The fifteen were replaced by a new supreme magistracy of ten priors, chosen in the following proportions—four of the twelve, four of the nine, and two of the people proper, or people of the greater number, but to the exclusion of all who had shared in the government or sat in council under the riformatori. Thus began a new order or monte del popolo, composed of families of the same class as the riformatori, but having had no part in the government during the latter's rule. But, though now admitted to power through the burgher reaction, as a concession to democratic ideas, and to cause a split among the greater people, they enjoyed very limited privileges.' In 1387 fresh quarrels with Florence on the subject of Montepulciano led to an open war, that was further aggravated by the interference in Tuscan affairs of the ambitious duke of Milan, Gian Galeazzo Visconti. With him the Sienese concluded an alliance in 1389 and ten years later accepted his suzerainty and resigned the liberties of their state. But in 1402 the death of 1 The following are the ordini or monti that held power in Siena for any considerable time—gentiluomini, from the origin of the re-public; nove, from about 1285; dodici, from 1355; riformatori, from 1368; popolo, from 1385. Gian Galeazzo lightened their yoke. In that year the first plot against the Viscontian rule, hatched by the twelve and the Salimbeni and fomented by the Florentines, was violently re-pressed, and caused the twelve to be again driven from office; but in the following year a special balia, created in consequence of that riot, annulled the ducal suzerainty and restored the liberties of Siena. During the interval the supreme magistracy had assumed a more popular form. By the partial readmission of the riformatori and exclusion of the twelve, the permanent balia was now composed of nine priors (three of the nine, three of the people, and three of ther iformatori) and of a captain of the people to be chosen from each of the three monti in turn. On 1th April peace was made with the Florentines and Siena enjoyed several years of tranquil prosperity. But the great Western schism then agitating the Christian world again brought disturbance to Siena. In consequence of the decisions of the council of Pisa, Florence and Siena had declared against Gregory XII. (1409); Ladislaus of Naples, therefore, as a supporter of the pope, seized the opportunity to make incursions on Sienese territory, laying it waste and threatening the city. The Sienese maintained a vigorous resistance till the death of this monarch in 1414 freed them from his attacks. In 1431 a fresh war with Florence broke out, caused by the latter's attempt upon Lucca, and continued in consequence of the Florentines' alliance with Venice and Pope Eugenius IV., and that of the Sienese with the duke of Milan and Sigismund, king of the Romans. This monarch halted at Siena on his way to Rome to be crowned, and received a most princely welcome. In 1433 the opposing leagues signed a treaty of peace, and, although it was disadvantageous to the Sienese and temptations to break it were frequently urged upon them, they faithfully adhered to its terms. During this period of comparative tranquillity Siena was honoured by the visit of Pope Eugenius IV. (1443) and by that of the emperor Frederick III., who came there to receive his bride, Eleanor of Portugal, from the hands of Bishop Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini, his secretary and historian (1452). This meeting is recorded by the memorial column still to be seen outside the Camollia gate. In 1453 hostilities against Florence were again resumed, on account of the invasions and ravages of Sienese territory committed by Florentine troops in their conflicts with Alphonso of Naples, who since 1447 had made Tuscany his battle-ground. Peace was once more patched up with Florence in 1454. Siena was next at war for several years with Aldobrandino Orsini, count of Pitigliano, and with Jacopo Piccinini, and suffered many disasters from the treachery of its generals. About the same time the republic was exposed to still graver danger by the conspiracy of some of its leading citizens to seize the reins of power and place the city under the suzerainty of Alphonso, as it had once been under that of the duke of Milan. But the plot came to light; its chief ringleaders were beheaded, and many others sent into exile (1456); and the death of Alphonso at last ended all danger from that source. During those critical times the government of the state was strengthened by a new executive magistracy called the balia, which from 1455 began to act independently of the priors or consistory. Until then it had been merely a provisional committee annexed to the latter. But henceforward the balia had supreme jurisdiction in all affairs of the state, although always, down to the fall of the republic, nominally preserving the character of a magistracy extraordinary. The election of Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini to the papal chair in 1458 caused the utmost joy to the Sienese; and in compliment to their illustrious fellow-citizen they granted the request of the nobles and readmitted them to a share in the government. But this concession, grudgingly made, only remained in force for a few years, and on the death of the pope (1464) was revoked altogether, save in the case of members of the Piccolomini house, who were decreed to be popolani and were allowed to retain all their privileges.. Meanwhile fresh discords were brewing among the plebeians at the head of affairs. The conspiracy of the Pazzi in 1478 led to a war in which Florence and Milan were opposed to the pope and the king of Naples, and which was put an end to by the peace of 13th March 1480. Thereupon Alphonso, duke of Calabria, who was fighting in Tuscany on the side of his father Ferdinand, came to an agreement with Siena and, in the same way as his grandfather Alphonso, tried to obtain the lordship of the city and the recall of the exiled rebels in 1456. The noveschi (to whose order most of the rebels belonged) favoured his pretensions, but the riformatori were against him. Many of the people sided with the noveschi, rose in revolt on 22nd June 1480 and, aided by the duke's soldiery, reorganized the government to their own advantage. Dividing the power between their two orders of the nine and the people, they excluded the riformatori and replaced them by a new and heterogeneous order styled the aggregati, composed of nobles, exiles of 1456 and citizens of other orders who had never before been in office. But this violent and perilous upset of the internal liberties of the republic did not last long. A decree issued by the Neapolitan king (1482) depriving the Sienese of certain territories in favour of Florence entirely alienated their affections from that monarch. Meanwhile the monte of the nine, the chief promoters of the revolution of 1480, were exposed to the growing hatred and envy of their former allies, the monte del popolo, who, conscious of their superior strength and numbers, now sought to crush the noveschi and rise to power in their stead. This change of affairs was accomplished by a series of riots between 7th June 1482 and 20th February 1483. The monte del popolo seized the lion's share of the government; the riformatori were recalled, the aggregati abolished and the noveschi condemned to perpetual banishment from the government and the city. But " in perpetuo " was an empty form of words in those turbulent Italian republics. The noveschi, being " fat burghers " with powerful connexions, abilities and traditions, gained increased strength and influence in exile; and five years later, on 22nd July 1487, they returned triumphantly to Siena, dispersed the few adherents of the popolo who offered resistance, murdered the captain of the people, reorganized the state, and placed it under the protection of the Virgin Mary. And, their own predominance being assured by their numerical strength and influence, they accorded equal shares of power to the other monti. Among the returned exiles was Pandolfo Petrucci, chief of the noveschi and soon to be at the head of the government. During the domination of this man (who, like Lorenzo de' Medici, was surnamed " the Magnificent ") Siena enjoyed many years of splendour and prosperity. We use the term " domination " rather than " signory " inasmuch as, strictly speaking, Petrucci was never lord of the state, and left its established form of government intact; but he exercised despotic authority in virtue of his strength of character and the continued increase of his personal power. He based his foreign policy on alliance with Florence and France, and directed the internal affairs of the state by means of the council (collegio) of the balia, which, although occasionally reorganized for the purpose of conciliating rival factions, was always subject to his will. He likewise added to his power by assuming the captainship of the city guard (1495) , and later by the purchase from the impoverished commune of several outlying castles (r 507). Nor did he shrink from' deeds of bloodshed and revenge; the assassination of his father-in-law, Niccolo Borghesi (1500), is an indelible blot upon his name. He successfully withstood all opposition within the state, until he was at last worsted in his struggle with Cesare Borgia, who caused his expulsion from Siena in 1502. But through the friendly mediation of the Florentines and the French king he was recalled from banishment on 29th March 1503. He maintained his power until his death at the age of sixty on 21St May 1512, and was interred with princely ceremonials at the public expense. The predominance of his family in Siena did not last long after his decease. Pandolfo had not the qualities required to found a dynasty such as that of the Medici. He lacked the lofty intellect of a Cosimo or a Lorenzo, and the atmosphere of liberty-loving Siena with its ever-changing factions was in no way suited to his purpose. His eldest son, Borghese Petrucci, was incapable, haughty and exceedingly corrupt; he only remained three years at the head of affairs and fled ignominiously in 1515. Throughthe favour of Leo X., he was succeeded by his cousin Raffaello Petrucci, previously governor of St Angelo and afterwards a, cardinal. This Petrucci was a hitter enemy to Pandolfo's children. He caused Borghese and a younger son named Fabio to be proclaimed as rebels, while a third son, Cardinal Alphonso, was strangled by order of Leo X. in 1518. He was a tyrannical ruler, and died suddenly in 1522. In the following year Clement VII. insisted on the recall of Fabio Petrucci; but two years later a fresh popular outbreak drove him from Siena for ever. The city then placed itself under the protection of the emperor Charles V., created a magistracy of " ten conservators of the liberties of the state " (December 1524), united the different monti in one named the " monte of the reigning nobles," and, rejoicing to be rid of the last of the Petrucci, dated their public books, ab instaurata libertate year I., II., and so on. The so-called free government subject to the empire lasted for twenty-seven years; and the desired protection of Spain weighed more and more heavily until it became a tyranny. The imperial legates and the captains of the Spanish guard in Siena crushed both government and people by continual extortions and by undue interference with the functions of the balia. Charles V. passed through Siena in 1535, and, as in all the other cities of enslaved Italy, was received with the greatest pomp; but he left neither peace nor liberty behind him. From 1527 to 1545 the city was torn by faction fights and violent revolts against the noveschi, and was the scene of frequent bloodshed, while the quarrelsomeness and bad government of the Sienese gave great dissatisfaction in Tuscany. The balia was reconstituted several times by the imperial agents—in 1530 by Don Lopez di Soria and Alphonso Piccolomini, duke of Amalfi, in 1540 by Granvella (or Granvelle) and in 1548 by Don Diego di Mendoza; but government was carried on as badly as before, and there was increased hatred of the Spanish rule. When in 1549 Don Diego announced the emperor's purpose of erecting a fortress in Siena to keep the citizens in order, the general hatred found vent in indignant remonstrance. The historian Orlando Malavolti and other special envoys were sent to the emperor in 1550 with a petition signed by more than a thousand citizens praying him to spare them so terrible a danger; but their mission failed: they returned unheard. Meanwhile Don Diego had laid . the foundation of the citadel and was carrying on the work with activity. Thereupon certain Sienese citizens in Rome, headed by Aeneas Piccolomini (a kinsman of Pius II.), entered into negotiations with the agents of the. French king and, having with their help collected men and money, marched on Siena and forced their way in by the new gate (now Porta Romana) on 26th July 1552. The townspeople, encouraged and reinforced by this aid from without, at once rose in revolt, and, attacking the Spanish troops, disarmed them and drove them to take refuge in the citadel (28th July). And finally by an agreement with Cosimo de' Medici, duke of Florence, the Spaniards were sent away on the 5th August 1552 and the Sienese took possession of their fortress. The government was now reconstituted under the protection of the French agents; the balia was abolished, its very name having been rendered odious by the tyranny of Spain, and was replaced by a similar magistracy styled capitani del popolo e reggimento. Siena exulted in her recovered freedom; but her sunshine was soon clouded. First, the emperor's wrath was stirred by the influence of France in the counsels of the republic; then Cosimo, who was no less jealous of the French, conceived the design of annexing Siena to his own dominions. The first hostilities of the imperial forces in Val di Chiana 0-552–1553) did little damage; but when Cosimo took the field with an army commanded by the marquis of Marignano the ruin of Siena was at hand. On 26th January Marignano captured the forts of Porta Camollia (which the whole population of Siena, including the women, had helped to construct) and invested the city. On the 2nd of August of the same year, at Marciano in Val di Chiana, he won a complete victory over the Sienese and French troops under Piero Strozzi, the Florentine exile and marshal of France. Meanwhile Siena was vigorously besieged, and its inhabitants, sacrificing everything for their beloved city, maintained a most heroic defence. A glorious record of their sufferings is to be found in the Diary of Sozzini, the Sienese historian, and in the Commentaries of Blaise de Monluc, the French representative in Siena. But in April 1555 the town was reduced to extremity and was forced to capitulate to the emperor and the duke. On 21st April the Spanish troops entered the gates; thereupon many patriots abandoned the city and, taking refuge at Montalcino, maintained there a shadowy form of republic until 1559. Cosimo I. de' Medici being granted the investiture of the Sienese state by the patent of Philip II. of Spain, dated 3rd July 1557, took formal possession of the city on the 19th of the same month. A lieutenant-general was appointed as representative of his authority; the council of the balia was reconstituted with twenty members chosen by the duke; the consistory and the general council were left in existence but deprived of their political autonomy. Thus Siena was annexed to the Florentine state under the same ruler and became an integral part of the grand-duchy of Tuscany. Nevertheless it retained a separate administration for more than two centuries, until the general reforms of the grand-duke Pietro Leopoldo, the French domination, and finally the restoration swept away all differences between the Sienese and Florentine systems of government. In 18J9 Siena was the first Tuscan city that voted for annexation to Piedmont and the monarchy of Victor Emmanuel II., this decision (voted 26th June) being the initial step towards the unity of Italy. Literary History.—The literary history of Siena, while recording no gifts to the world equal to those bequeathed by Florence, and without the power and originality by which the latter became the centre of Italian culture, can nevertheless boast of some illustrious names. Of these a brief summary, beginning with the department of general literature and passing on to history and science, is sub-joined. Many of them are also dealt with in separate articles, to which the reader is referred. As early as the 13th century the vulgar tongue was already well established at Siena, being used in public documents, commercial records and private correspondence. The poets flourishing at that period were Folcacchiero, Cecco Angiolieri--a humorist of a very high order—and Bindo Bonichi, who belonged also to the following century. The chief glory of the 14th century was St Catherine Benincasa. The year of her death (138o) was that of the birth of St Bernardino Albizzeschi (S Bernardino of Siena), a popular preacher whose sermons in the vulgar tongue are models of style and diction. To the 15th century belongs Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini (Pius II.), humanist, historian and political writer. In the 16th century we find another Piccolomini (Alexander), bishop of Patras, author of a curious dialogue, Della bella creanza delle donne; another bishop, Claudio Tolomei, diplomatist, poet and philologist, who revived the use of ancient Latin metres; and Luca Contile, a writer of narratives, plays and poems. Prose fiction had two representatives in this century—Scipione Bargagli, a writer of some merit, and Pietro Fortini, whose productions were trivial and indecent. In the 17th century we find Ludovico Sergardi (Quinto Settano), a Latinist and satirical writer of much talent and culture; but the most original and brilliant figure in Sienese literature is that of Girolamo Gigli (166o-1722), author of the Gaz_ettino, La Sorellina di Don Pilone, Il Vocabolario cateriniano and the Diario ecclesiastico. As humorist, scholar and philologist, Gigli would take a high place in the literature of any land. His resolute opposition to all hypocrisy—whether religious or literary—exposed him to merciless persecution from the Jesuits and the Della Cruscan Academy. In the domain of history we have first the old Sienese chronicles, which down to the 14th century are so confused that it is almost impossible to disentangle truth from fiction or even to decide the personality of the various authors. Three 14th-century chronicles, attributed to Andrea Dei, Agnolo di Tura, called I1 Grasso, and Neri di Donati, are published in Muratori (vol. xv.). To the 15th century belongs the chronicle of Allegretto Allegretti, also in Muratori (vol. xxiii.); and during the same period flourished Sigismondo Tizio (a priest of Siena, though born at Castiglione Aretino), whose voluminous history written in Latin and never printed (now among the MSS. of the Chigi Library in Rome), though devoid of literary merit, contains much valuable material. The best Sienese historians belong to the 16th century. They are Orlando Malavolti (1515-1596), a man of noble birth, the most trustworthy of all; Antonio Bellarmati; Alessandro Sozzini di Girolamo, the sympathetic author of the Diario dell' ultimo guerra senese; and Giugurta Tommasi, of whose tedious history ten books, down to 1354, have been published, the rest being still in manuscript. Together with these historians we must mentionthe learned scholars Celso Cittadini (d. 1627), Ulberto Benvoglienti (d. 1733), one of Muratori's correspondents, and Gio. Antonio Picci (d. 1768), author of histories df Pandolfo Petrucci and the bishopric of Siena. In the same category may be classed the librarian C. F. Carpellini (d. 1872), author of several monographs on the origin of Siena and the constitution of the republic, and Scipione Borghesi (d. 1877), who has left a precious store of historical, biographical and bibliographical studies and documents. In theology and philosophy the most distinguished names are: Bernardino Ochino and Lelio and Fausto Soccini (16th century) ; in jurisprudence, three Soccini: Mariano senior, Bartolommeo and Mariano junior (15th and 16th centuries) ; and in political economy, Sallustio Bandini (1677-1760), author of the Discorso sully Maremma. In physical science the names most worthy of mention are those of the botanist Pier Antonio Mattioli (1501-1572), of Pirro Maria Gabrielli (1643-1705), founder of the academy of the Physiocritics, and of the anatomist Paolo Mascagni (d. 1825). Art.—Lanzi happily designates Sienese painting as " Lieta scuola fra lieto popolo " (" the blithe school of a blithe people "). The special characteristics of its masters are freshness of colour, vivacity of expression and distinct originality. The Sienese school of painting owes its origin to the influence of Byzantine art; but it improved that art, impressed it with a special stamp and was for long independent of all other influences. Consequently Sienese art seemed almost stationary amid the general progress and development of the other Italian schools, and preserved its medieval character down to the end of the 15th century, when the influence of the Urnbrian and—to a slighter degree—of the Florentine schools began to penetrate into Siena, followed a little later by that of the Lombard. In the 13th century we find Guido (da Siena), painter of the well-known Madonna in the church of S Domenico in Siena. The 14th century gives us Ugolino, Duccio di Buoninsegna, Simone di Martino (or Memmi), Lippo Memmi, Pietro and Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Andrea di Vanni (painter and statesman), Bartolo di Fredi and Taddeo di Bartolo. In the 15th century we have Domenico di Bartolo, Sano di Pietro, Giovanni di Paolo, Stefano di Giovanni (I1 Sassetta) and Matteo and Benvenuto di Giovanni Bartoli, who fell, however, behind their contemporaries elsewhere, and made indeed but little progress. The 16th century boasts the names of Bernardino Fungal, Guidoccio Cossarelli, Giacomo Pacchiarotto, Girolamo del Pacchia and especially Baldassare Peruzzi (1481-1537), who while especially celebrated for his frescoes and studies in perspective and chiaroscuro was also an architect of considerable attainments (see RoME) ; Giovanni Antonio Bazzi, otherwise known as 11 Sodoma (1477-1549), who, born at Vercelli in Piedmont, and trained at Milan in the school of Leonardo da Vinci, came to Siena in 1504 and there produced some of his finest works, while his influence on the art of the place was considerable; Domenico Beccafumi, otherwise known as Micharino (1486-1550), noted for the Michelangelesque daring of his designs; and Francesco Vanni. There may also be mentioned many sculptors and architects, such as Lorenzo Maitani, architect of Orvieto cathedral (end of 13th century) ; Camaino di Crescentino; Tino di Camaino, sculptor of the monument to Henry VII. in the Campo Santo of Pisa; Agostino and Agnolo, who in 1330 carved the fine tomb of Bishop Guido Tarlati in the cathedral of Arezzo; Lando di Pietro (14th century), architect, entrusted by the Sienese commune with the proposed enlargement of the cathedral (1339), and perhaps author of the famous Gothic reliquary containing the head of S Galgano in the Chiesa del Santuccio, which, however, is more usually attributed to Ugolino di Vieri, author of the tabernacle in the cathedral at Orvieto; Giacopo (or Jacopo) della Quercia, whose lovely fountain, the Foote Gaia, in the Piazza del Campo has been recently restored; Lorenzo di Pietro (I1 Vecchietta), a pupil of Della Quercia and an excellent artist in marble and bronze; Francesco d'Antonio, a skilful goldsmith of the 16th century; Francesco di Giorgio Martini (1439-1502), painter, sculptor, military engineer and writer on art; Giacomo Cozzarelli (15th century); and Lorenzo Mariano, surnamed Il Marrina (16th century). Wood-carving also flourished here in the 15th and 16th centuries, and so also did the ceramic art, though few of its products are preserved. According to the well-known law, however, the Renaissance, made for the people of the plains, never fully took root in Siena, as in other parts of Tuscany, and the loss of its independence and power in 1555 led to a suspension of building activity, which to the taste of the present day is most fortunate, inasmuch as the baroque of the 17th and the false classicism of the 18th centuries have had hardly any effect here; and few towns of Italy are so unspoilt by restoration or the addition of incongruous modern buildings, or preserve so many characteristics and so much of the real spirit (manifested to-day in the grave and pleasing courtesy of the inhabitants) of the middle ages, which its narrow and picturesque streets seem to retain. Siena is indeed unsurpassed for its examples of 13th and 14th century Italian Gothic, whether in stone or in brick. See W. Heywood, Our Lady o August and the Polio (Siena, 1899) and other works; R. H. Hobart Cust, The Pavement Masters of Siena (London, 1901) ; Langton Douglas, History of Siena (London, 1902) ; E. G. Gardner, The Story of Siena (London, 1902) ; St Catherine of Siena (London, 1908) ; W. Heywood and L. Olcott, Guide to Siena (Siena, 1603) ; A. Jahn Rusconi, Siena (Bergamo, 1904). (C. PA.; T. As.)
End of Article: SIENA
[back]
SIR WILLIAM [KARL WILHELM] SIEMENS (1823-1883)
[next]
SIENETJO

Additional information and Comments

There are no comments yet for this article.
» Add information or comments to this article.
Please link directly to this article:
Highlight the code below, right click and select "copy." Paste it into a website, email, or other HTML document.