The Republic of Florence was a very important state in late medieval and Renaissance politics. Florence is commonly considered the birthplace and centre of the Renaissance, and was the hometown of such eminent figures as Dante, Giovanni Boccaccio, Leonardo da Vinci, and Niccolo Macchiavelli. The Republic's importance came about as a result of social and demographic changes during the Late Middle Ages, when the conflict between the Guelphs and the Ghibellines and the depopulation of the Black Death weakened the feudal system and led to increased urbanisation and commercialisation.

However, the Republic was founded far earlier than the Late Middle Ages -- it was founded in 1115, when Florence rebelled against the March of Tuscany following the death of Matilda of Tuscany. Emperor Henry V appointed a German lord named Rabodo to be Margrave of Tuscany, thus breaking the hereditary succession of the March of Tuscany. Rabodo moved his court from Florence to a nearby fortified town, and Florence rebelled and established its own republic under the direction of the Signoria.

What if, however, the March of Tuscany defeated the Florentine rebellion, and Imperial authority over Tuscany had been asserted? How would the enduring March affect the Guelph-Ghibelline conflict, and how would it be affected by the Black Death? Would Imperial authority decline in Italy the same way as it did OTL, if the March was still an important player and the March still derived its authority from the Emperor? What would this mean for the cultural, social, commercial, and artistic developments of the Renaissance? I'm sure that, if the guilds did not control Florence like they did OTL, Florence's tradition of trade and banking would develop very differently. I'm also sure that there'd be no equivalent to Niccolo Macchiavelli, whose Discourses on Livy was very much a product of Republican political thought and whose The Prince may be interpreted as a critique of hereditary monarchy in general.

Cheers, all!
 
Does the POD have to be the defeat of the Florentine rebellion, or can it be earlier? What if Matilda left a legitimate heir or if Henry V appointed a different Margrave, for instance.

Otherwise, Tuscany controls much of the easiest access to Rome from the north and could potentially pose a threat to Papal lands if the wrong person controls it. I think it would be a frequent battleground between the Guelphs and Ghibellines.
 
Does the POD have to be the defeat of the Florentine rebellion, or can it be earlier? What if Matilda left a legitimate heir or if Henry V appointed a different Margrave, for instance.

Sure, either of those would work. Just so long as the Republic is never established, and the March or some other monarchical, Imperial government endures.
 
What would this mean for the cultural, social, commercial, and artistic developments of the Renaissance?
I'm thinking not too much, if Italy remains divided as it was. Florence wasn't the only cultural centre of the Renaisance. There were many places, both Republics and Signorias. An artist as Giotto worked in Assisi, Rimini, Padua, Rome and Siena beside his work in Florence. It's a question of money and patronage, and there's enough of that around.
I'm sure that, if the guilds did not control Florence like they did OTL, Florence's tradition of trade and banking would develop very differently.
Again Florence isn't unique. The oldest today stil existing bank is in Siena.
The Prince may be interpreted as a critique of hereditary monarchy in general.
This surprises me a little from what i read about it and about Machiavelli himself, but i must confess i haven't read the book myself. Is it especially the hereditary element that is critiqued?
How would the enduring March affect the Guelph-Ghibelline conflict
The Guelph-Ghibelline conflictwent at some point beyond the original cause of being an Imperial vs Papal conflict, and is therefore very hard to interpret. Dante f.i. got banished because an inner Guelph party the black Guelphs, got the upperhand in Florence. It is notable that this type of long enduring party conflict was not unique to Italy, but happened also at other places in Europe as a powerstruggle between cities and nobles. In France there are the Armagnacs and Bourguignons, in the Netherlands Hook and Codwars, Klauwaerts and Leliaerds, Schieringen en Vetkoppers, in England the War of the Roses can partly also be seen in this context. So as your PoD is after the initial papal imperial conflict, the investiture controversy, the initial positions in the Guelph-Ghibelline are set. In your timeline this conflict will also happen. Florence may start here as (forced) Ghibelline) but that doesn't IMHO makes the Ghibelline position stronger. Sienna as archrival of Florence may choose because of that the other side they picked in OTL and so may other rival cities. Beside that there will be internal struggles in Florence itself between Patricians and Guilds f.i.
 
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