Girolamo Savonarola, 1452 - 1498

Girolamo Savonarola was an Italian religious and political reformer who became popular in Florence for his eloquent attacks on moral laxity and was hailed by some as an inspired prophet.  Beginning in 1493, Savonarola spoke with increasing violence against the abuses in ecclesiastical life, against the immorality of a large part of the clergy, and against the wickedness of many members of the Roman Curia, of Alexander VI, and of numerous princes and courtiers.  His preaching began to point plainly to a political revolution as the divinely-ordained means for the regeneration of religion and morality.  In 1497, after ignoring the pope's order to stop preaching, he was excommunicated from the Catholic Church in Rome.  Fiercely denounced by some Franciscans, he was executed for heresy on 23 May 1498.