Creating the Florentine State: Peasants and Rebellion, 1348-1434

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This book takes a new approach to the political history of the Italian Renaissance. It examines the Florentine state from its mountainous periphery, where Florence met its most strenuous opposition to territorial incorporation. From a tributary state, which treated its surrounding countryside as little more than a tax reservoir and a buffer against foreign invaders, Florence began to see its own self-interest as intertwined with that of its region and its rural subjects—a change brought about by widespread and successful peasant uprisings, hitherto unrecorded by historians.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...provocative..." Speculum

"...makes gripping reading, and opens up new vistas in the history and historical geography of renaissance Tuscany." Kate Lowe, Times Literary Supplement

"Rebellious mountain peasants as founders of Medici Florence? That is the contention of this remarkable piece of 'history from below,' which is also a major contribution to the debate on state formation and the future of social history." E. J. Hobsbawm, Emeritus, University of London

"By challenging so many themes in the current orthodoxy, Professor Cohn's book invites a fundamental reconsideration of the historiography on the evolution of the Florentine 'Renaissance.' Cohn effectively demolishes the stereotype constructed by Braudel (among others), which depicted Florence's frontiersmen as uncouth, semi-pagan rustics. His evidence suggests a very different breed of highlanders: fiercely independent, capable of collective action, integrated into wide-ranging networks, deeply attached to their parish churches and (after 1400) more prosperous than the peasantry of the Arno plain. He has made a significant contribution to the literature of Florentine (and Italian) state-building in the late medieval and Renaissance era." Professor Gene Brucker, University of California, Berkeley

"This original and exciting book opens new questions and will give rise to valuable scholarship. Based on solid archival research, it approaches the Florentine state in an original and effective way and deals imaginatively with an important subject." William M. Bowsky, University of California, Davis

"...well-researched book...Readers of this book will be impressed by the archivistic detail that emerges from Cohn's prsentation." American Historical Review

"The book is soundly based on Florentine archival documents, clearly written and strongly argued, but with understanding for the historical actors. Highly recommended for undergraduates and above." Choice

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521663373
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/1999
  • Pages: 322
  • Lexile: 1820L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.98 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction; Part I. Culture, Demography, and Fiscality: 1. Networks of culture and the mountains; 2. Mountain civilization and fiscality, 1393; 3. Fiscality and change, 1355–1487; Part II. Peasant Protest in the Mountains: Three Views: 4. Peasant insurrection in the mountains: the chroniclers' view; 5. Peasant insurrection in the mountains as seen in the criminal records; 6. Rebellion as seen from the provvisioni; Part III. Governmental Clemency and the Hinterland: 7. Florentine peasant petitions: an institutional perspective; 8. The reasons for assistance; 9. What the peasants won; Conclusion; Appendices; Bibliography.

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