In the middle of the period covered by this book, one of the most resonant accounts of urban life ever written was composed by the poet Dante. For all its startling vividness, however, Dante's evocation of the city in the Divine Comedy is not easy to interpret.
In 1992 a conference was held at Reading to study the changing relations between England and Normandy that resulted from the conquest of 1066.(1) Some ten years later, after a period of intense historical investigation, a colloque at Cerisy-la-Salle re-examined the questions raised at Reading and assessed the ways in which historical understanding of t
Caroline M. Barron’s book on London traces the history England’s largest medieval city, including its governmental structure, relations with the crown, its economy and guilds and its physical environment.
Political biography has a relatively minor part in medieval and renaissance Venetian historiography when compared to other European states – such as England – or Italy’s other major republic in the period, Florence.
Medieval Italian cities have frequently been the focus of international historical research. The particular qualities of the elites that emerged here were notably stressed by Marino Berengo in his classic book on the history of European towns.(1)
This splendid volume of essays addresses the late Philip Jones’s seminal contribution to the historiography of late medieval and early Renaissance Italy, and takes its title directly from his most well-known and influential article on the subject. Both the topic and the timing of this publication are propitious.
Hitherto, the historiography of ‘city-states’ has in general not been comparative, preferring to focus on one city, or one region, rather than taking a European perspective.
Comparative histories, especially between the Low Countries and Italy, have become common in recent years.
The name Medici is almost inextricably interlinked with the city of Florence and the idea of the Renaissance in both popular and scholarly imagination. The family dominated the Florentine republic politically for the better part of the 15th century and became, first, dukes of Florence and, then, grand dukes of Tuscany in the 16th.
Christian Liddy argues that the notion of a ‘citizen’ was not the preserve of abstract medieval thinking, based on classical modes, but a living concept that had pervaded urban life since the 13th century. It was evident in residents’ writings, speech, and actions. This also meant that citizenship was mutable and contestable in its ideas and practices.