A Provincial Elite in Early Modern Tuscany: Family and Power in the Creation of the State

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In this groundbreaking study of the interaction between familial strategies of Tuscan provincial families and the politics of the Florentine government, Giovanna Benadusi offers a new understanding of the social formation of the early modern state. The development of the modern state is a central theme of Renaissance and early modern European historiography, and the Florentine state was one of the first to create new state institutions, challenge municipal powers, and develop a new centralized political system. ...

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Overview

In this groundbreaking study of the interaction between familial strategies of Tuscan provincial families and the politics of the Florentine government, Giovanna Benadusi offers a new understanding of the social formation of the early modern state. The development of the modern state is a central theme of Renaissance and early modern European historiography, and the Florentine state was one of the first to create new state institutions, challenge municipal powers, and develop a new centralized political system. By incorporating into her account the families of shopkeepers, wool producers, landholders, notaries, and military officers who lived in the outlying town of Poppi, southeast of Florence, as integral contributors to state formation, Benadusi not only provides a vivid look at the ways power and resistance operated at the everyday level of social relations but also redefines the context and the participants in state formation.

Benadusi shows how changes in matrimonial and patrimonial politics as well as in the financial, political, and professional strategies of provincial families combined with the politics of central rulers to preserve socio-economic and political hegemony and to consolidate the structures of the state. Women contributed to the success of this partnership, she argues, although they were affected differently by it, and, in the end, state consolidation occurred at the expense of their status.

In the process of consolidating the state, Benadusi concludes, local families and central rulers redefined concepts of power and domination which conditioned political evolution along social and gender lines.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Benadusi (history, U. of South Florida-Tampa) offers a new perspective on the social formation of the early modern state by examining the interaction between familial strategies of Tuscan provincial families and the politics of the Florentine government, the earliest in Europe to establish state institutions. She looks at people from a wide range of levels and sectors of society, changes in matrimonial and patrimonial politics, financial and professional strategies, and the role of and impact on women. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Giovanna Benadusi teaches history at the University of South Florida, Tampa.

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Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables
Acknowledgments
Abbreviations and Dates
Introduction 1
1 The Local Setting: Poppi and the Casentino 14
2 The Emergence of Ruling Families: Patterns of Office Holding 31
3 Dynamics of Power and Authority: Poppi and Florence 53
4 The Wool Industry and Its Crisis 78
5 Bureaucrats and Notaries 97
6 Strategies of Matrimony 113
7 Patterns of Landownership 138
8 The Army; A Career for Success 163
9 Strategies of Patrimony 176
Conclusion 190
Appendix on Sources 199
Notes 205
Index 253
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