Family and Public Life in Brescia, 1580-1650: The Foundations of Power in the Venetian State

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This book focuses on the behavior of the ruling families of Brescia, a rich and strategically vital city under Venetian rule, during the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century. The first part of the book conceptualizes the civic leadership of Brescia, with a profile of its origins and a brief history of the process of aristocratization. Further, it examines the relationship between family structure and the local socio-political structures. Size, wealth, education, and marriage ties were all pivotal factors which helped determine the family's position in public life. Its strength rested ultimately on its continuity over time. Women and women's property are given careful attention. The second part places the Brescian elite within the Venetian state. Besides controlling urban political institutions, the Brescians held strong economic links with the surrounding countryside, the basis of their power, and they enjoyed ample authority in the rural communities subject to the city.

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Product Details

Table of Contents

List of illustrations; List of tables; Acknowledgments; Abbreviations; Money, weights, and measures; Introduction: the historiographical background; Part I. The Structural Framework: 1. Defining boundaries; Part II. Consolidation of the Ruling Class: 2. The evolution of the urban ruling class: profile of a composite elite; 3. Family and power: strategies of consolidation; 4. Marriage bonds, patrimonial strategies, and family relations; Part III. Aristocratization and the Governing Policies of the Venetian State: 5. Keeping civil order: families and factions; 6. The benefits of civic office; 7. The challenge to oligarchy: the''revolution of the discontented'; 8. Conclusion; Appendices; Bibliography; Index.

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