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CONSTITUTION OF FLORENCE.                       89
constituted, or literally a large committee, with power to re-
form the state. The piazza being surrounded by armed men,
everything went through without opposition. The balia (or
men of the balia) met several times; at the first meeting
Cosimo was banished to Padua ; others of his house to other
places for various terms, and the Medici were made grandi^
i. e., incapable of holding office. At another meeting of the
same commission, an office, called the eight of the guard,
was instituted for the purpose of preventing disturbances of
the peace in the city and neighborhood, a measure plainly
pointing at the partisans of the Medici.* Less than a year
after Cosimo's banishment a signoriawas drawn, all the mem-
bers of which were favorable to him, the priors as well as the
gonfaloniere. His enemies were at a loss what to do, and
did nothing to prevent what they feared—his return. A
parlamento was summoned, a large balia or commission was
nominated, and, being nearly all of one mind, they not only
restored Cosimo, but gratified their political animosities, and
provided for the safety of their party far more than the Al-
bizzi party had done. Seventy-six of the citizens were
banished for a term of years, from ten downwards, including
Rinaldo Albizzi, Palla Strozzi, and other principal citizens.
Some were declared incapable of holding office for ten, some
for twenty years.t Others were made grandi, and thus ex-
cluded with their posterity from office. But some time after
the quiet produced by this " reform/1 a law was passed
taking away the restrictions imposed on the old nobles or
grandi, so that entrance was open to them into the offices of
the state. Yet this amounted to little, for, to use the words
of von Reumont, "the names of the nobles were not put
into the bag containing the list of eligible persons, and they
lost also those [extraordinary] offices which had been open
to them, such as legations and commissions for conducting
* Cavalcanti, Istor. Flor., b. ix., ch. 8-17. This author gives the
names and often the occupation of the men of these balias. Some
of them belonged to the lowest guilds.
f Cavalcanti, b. x., 10-20,