— Girolamo Savonarola is burned at the stake in Florence, Italy, on the orders of Pope Alexander VI.

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Girolamo Savonarola (21 September 1452 – 23 May 1498) was an Italian Dominican friar and preacher active in Renaissance Florence. He was known for his prophecies of civic glory, the destruction of secular art and culture, and his calls for Christian renewal. 

Under torture, Savonarola confessed to having invented his prophecies and visions, then recanted, then confessed again.

On the morning of 23 May, a crowd of Florentines gathered in the Piazza della Signoria, where a scaffold had been erected on a platform (a plaque marks the spot today). 

Wood for the burning was heaped up below. Some of the crowd screamed abuse at Savonarola and his two companions, who were formally unfrocked and left in their under-tunics with bare feet and their hands tied, before their faces were shaved, as was the custom. It is said that a priest standing near asked Savonarola what he felt about this approaching martyrdom. He answered: "The Lord has suffered as much for me", and these were his last recorded words.

A trick of the heat made Savonarola’s right-hand move so that he seemed to be blessing the spectators. Some of them burst into tears, but others, including excited children, sang and danced delightedly around the pyre and threw stones at the corpses. 

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