On this date in 1479, a fugitive of the previous year’s Pazzi Conspiracy — an ill-starred attempt by the Pazzi family to overthrow the Medici — was hanged in Florence.
Bernardo Baroncelli had actually struck the first blow on the Pazzi conspiracy’s big day, planting a dagger in the chest of Giuliano di Piero de’ Medici in the theatrical setting of Florence’s Duomo, with the theatrical declaration, “Here, traitor!”
Must’ve been a sight to see. Giuliano wound up dead, but the rest didn’t work out so well.
Baroncelli, however, managed to evade the resulting paroxysm of civic vengeance and hightail it to Ottoman Istanbul, where he had some contacts.
Unfortunately for Bernardo, Florence had some contacts there, too. Ottoman relations with the various Italian city-states were actually quite strong, and Florence in particular enjoyed lucrative trade arrangements bringing its wool textiles to Bursa to exchange for silk.
By letters of Bernardo Peruzzi we have learned with great pleasure how that most glorious prince [Mehmet] has seized Bernardo Bandini, most heinous parricide and traitor to his country, and declares himself willing to do with him whatever we may want — a decision certainly in keeping with the love and great favor he has always shown toward our Republic and our people as well as with the justice of his most serene Majesty … although as a result of the innumerable benefits done by his most glorious Majesty in the past for the Republic and our people, we owe him the greatest indebtedness and are the most faithful and obedient sons of his Majesty, nevertheless because of this last benefit it would be impossible to describe the extent to which our obligation to his most serene Majesty has grown.
A Florentine representative quickly sailed for the Ottoman capital to make the arrangements, and returned with the hated Bandini on Dec. 24. Five days later, he was hanged over the side of the Bargello.
A tan colored skull-cap, a doublet of black serge, a black jerkin, lined and the collar covered with a black and red stippled velvet.
A blue coat lined with fur of fox’s breasts.
Bernardo di Bandino Baroncelli.
In the video game Assassin’s Creed II, one of the missions (assigned by Giuliano’s surviving brother, Lorenzo the Magnificent) is to kill Bernardo Baroncelli … but not with trade relations and diplomacy.
* Conqueror of Istanbul/Constantinople, among other things.