By Martin Surridge

 

Girolamo Savonarola

Girolamo Savonarola 

Liberty Magazine

July / August 2013

EXCERPT:  The Dominican monk from Ferrara knew that violence and power would not be able to bring about the kingdom of God on earth. He stated in his sermon on Christ's ascension that "the whole world knows that His glory has not been spread by force and weapons, but by poor fishermen." Savonarola knew that the way of God and the way of mankind were at odds with each other in Italy, and without taking up a sword there was little else that he could do in terms of forcibly changing the world in which he lived. It is believed that Niccolò Machiavelli's adage that "all armed prophets have conquered, and all the unarmed ones have been destroyed" was referring to Girolamo Savonarola when Machiavelli wrote The Prince in 1532. However, the story of Savonarola is not a lesson in the necessity of violence for a successful revolution, but rather a lesson in the dangerous consequences of speaking truth to power.

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