Medieval Towns and Town Life: A Reader

Medieval Towns and Town Life: A Reader

by Maryanne Kowaleski (Editor)

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Medieval Towns and Town Life: A Reader by Maryanne Kowaleski

This exciting new collection of documents from across Europe gives a fresh perspective and sharp taste of everyday life in a medieval town. The sources range from the standard chronicles and charters to the less often viewed accounts of marriage disputes, urban women, families, the environment, the dangers of town life, and civic ritual. Deliberately wide-ranging, these sources acknowledge the contributions of other disciplines—such as archaeology, architecture, demography, law, and environmental studies—to our understanding of urban life in the Middle Ages. Towns from Spain to Germany to Russia are covered, while the focus is on the more urbanized regions of medieval Europe, particularly Italy, the Low Countries, France, and England. In all, 150 primary sources are included, 35 of which are translated for this volume from Latin, Old French, Anglo-Norman, Franco-Venetian, medieval Danish, and other languages.

Academics please note that this is a title classified as having a restricted allocation of complimentary copies. Restricted titles remain available to adopters and to academics very likely to adopt in the coming semester. When adoption possibilities are less strong and/or further in the future, academics are requested to purchase the title, with the proviso that UTP Higher Education will happily refund the purchase price if the book is indeed adopted.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781551114491
Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Higher Education Division
Publication date: 05/19/2006
Series: Readings in Medieval Civilizations and Cultures Series , #11
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 424
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.82(d)

About the Author

Maryanne Kowaleski is Joseph Fitzpatrick S.J. Distinguished Professor of Social Science and History and Director of the Center for Medieval Studies at Fordham University in New York. She is also the author of Local Markets and Regional Trade in Medieval Exeter (Cambridge University Press, 1995), editor of The Local Customs Accounts of the Port of Exeter, 1266-1322 (Devon & Cornwall Record Society, 1993), and co-editor of Gendering the Master Narrative: Women and Power in the Middle Ages (Cornell University Press, 2003).

Table of Contents

Chronological Table of Contents

List of Tables

List of Figures

List of Maps


I. The Early Middle Ages

1. The Grandeur of Rome

2. The Roman Baths

3. The Humble Townspeople: Graffiti and Election Notices on the Walls of Pompeii

4. The Impact of the "Barbarian Invasions" on Fifth-Century Towns

5. Gregory of Tours's Ode to Dijon in the Sixth Century

6. Toll Exemptions in French Towns

7. The Raids of the Northmen

8. The Magyar Raids

9. The Creation of Bruges

10. Otto I Grants a Market in Bremen to the Archbishop of Hamburg, 965

11. The Origins of the Saxon Towns

12. The Customs and Rents of Hereford According to Domesday Book, 1086

13. Grant of Privileges to the Castilians, Mozarabs, and Franks of Toledo, 1086-1118

14. German Colonization in the East

15. Archaeological Excavations in Tenth-Century York

II. Communes, Government, and External Relations

16. The People of Cologne Rebel Against Their Archbishop, 1074

17. The Formation of a Commune at Laon, 1116

18. The Customs of Lorris, 1155

19. The Lombard Communes As Viewed by a German Bishop

20. Royal Charters Granted to Dublin, 1192-1229

21. Lübeck Is Made an Imperial City, 1226

22. The German Emperor Annuls All City Charters, 1231-32

23. Election of the Podestà, Consuls, and Officials of Volterra, 1224

24. The Magnates and the Rise of the
Popolo and Guilds in Florence, 1207-1328

25. The Greater versus the Lesser Citizens in Bristol, 1316

26. "Mother" Towns: Breslau Adopts the Charter of Magdeburg, 1261

27. "Daughter" Towns: The Citizens of Culm Seek Advice from the City Rulers of Magdeburg, 1338

28. Brunswick Extends Civic Rule to Its Suburbs, 1269

29. Florence Expands Its
Contado, 1202-89

30. The Struggle between the Guelfs and Ghibellines

31. The Establishment of the Rhine League and of Its Peace, 1254

32. Decrees of the Hanseatic League, 1260-64

33. The Cinque Ports Confederation

34. Parliamentary Summons to English Boroughs, 1295

35. The Pope and City Politics in Siena, Fifteenth Century

III. Urban Society and Social Conflict

36. Charter to the Non-Noble Knights of Burgos, 1256

37. Tower Fellowships and Factionalism in Florence

38. Factionalism and the Concerns of an Exile, 1312

39. Commercial Status, Wealth, and Political Office in Medieval Exeter

40. The Political Fortunes of a Florentine Merchant

41. The Distribution of Wealth in Two Towns

42. A Bondman Seeks Refuge in an English Town, 1237-38

43. Grievances of the Common Folk of Dublin, 1316-18

44. A Day in the Life of a Carpenter

45. A Londoner's Household Goods, 1337

46. Domestic Slaves

47. The Revolt of the Commons in London, 1194

48. The Risings in Ghent and Bruges Against the Patricians, 1301-02

49. The Demands of the Ciompi in Florence, 1378

IV. The Urban Economy

50. Market Regulations in Muslim Seville

51. The Champagne Fair Towns

52. Tolls at Southampton, c.1300

53. Regulations on the Sale of Meat and Fish in Beverley, 1365-1409

54. Shopping in the London Markets

55. Letter from the Genoa Branch to the Home Office of the Datini Company, 1393

56. Restoring Prosperity to the Port Town of Bordeaux, c.1465

57. Regulation of Trade by a Merchant Guild, 1257-73

58. Craft Guild Regulations: The Shearers of Arras, 1236

59. Regulations of the Guild of Skinners in Copenhagen

60. Guild Apprenticeships

61. Dispute Between the Master Saddlers of London and Their Journeymen, 1396

62. The Bakers of Coventry Strike, 1484

63. Guild Rivalry in Florence, 1425

V. Urban Finance, Jurisdictions, and Justice

64. Accounts of the City of Siena

65. The Town Accounts of Leicester, 1377-78

66. Tax Declarations in Florence for the
Catasto of 1427

67. Winchester Pleads for Tax Relief because of Urban Decline, 1452

68. The Jurisdiction of the Wardmotes of London

69. Proceedings in the Courts of Nottingham, 1395-96

70. The Cost of Recovering a Debt in Marseille, 1331

71. Feud and Vendetta: The Private Pursuit of Justice in Pistoia

72. Urban Punishments

73. The Dublin Prison, 1486

VI. Marriage and Family

74. The Del Bene Marriage Negotiations in Florence, 1381

75. Marriage in the Merchant Class

76. Contracting Marriage in York and Paris

77. Women, Family Relations, and Inheritance in Aragon

78. Women, Family Relations, and Inheritance in Magdeburg and Breslau

79. Wives at the Tavern

80. Childhood Deaths in London

81. Family and Household in Manosque, 1418-26

82. A Comfortable Retirement for the Wealthy

83. Caring for the Aged in Medieval Exeter

84. Family and Households: A Demographic Perspective

VII. Women

85. Proper Behavior for a Young Townswoman

86. Women and Gossip

87. Women and Fashion

88. Singlewomen in Coventry, 1492-95

89. Women in the Parisian Craft Guilds, c.1270

90. Limits on Employing Women as Weavers in Bristol, 1461

91. Advice on Hiring Maidservants, c.1393

92. Female Servants and Prostitution

VIII. Religion, Piety, and Charity

93. The Bishop of Speyer Gives the Jews of the City a Charter, 1084

94. Restrictions on Jewish Communities in English Towns

95. Persecution of the Jews in Strasbourg and German Towns, 1349

96. Problems among the Clergy of Rouen Cathedral, 1248

97. The Beguines of Ghent, 1328

98. The Good Canon of Cologne

99. A Popular Franciscan Preacher in Paris, 1429

100. Lay Piety and Reform: Peter Waldo of Lyons

101. The Processions of the Flagellants, 1349

102. The Religious Fraternity of St. Katharine at Norwich, 1389

103. The Accounts of the Churchwardens in Canterbury, 1485-86

104. Religion, Morality, and Politics: Savonarola's Influence over the Florentines

105. A Maison-Dieu in Pontoise, c.1265

106. The Distribution of Alms in Florence, 1356

107. Charitable Bequests in Siena, 1300-25

IX. Education

108. The Cost of Schooling, 1394-95

109. Niccolo Machiavelli as a Young Student

110. Privileges Granted to Masters and Students at the University of Paris

111. Town/Gown Controversies in Oxford and Paris

112. A Student Riot at Oxford, 1388-89

113. Wooing Masters and Students from Paris to the New University of Toulouse, 1229

114. Contract between the Town of Vercelli and the Students at Padua, c.1228

115. The Foundation of the University of Heidelberg, 1386

116. A Scholar in Paris

X. Entertainment and Civic Ritual

117. Sports in London

118. The Start of the Secular Stage, Exeter, 1348

119. Order of the Pageants of the Corpus Christi Plays in York, 1415

120. Trouble Behind the Scenes in York, 1420

121. Feast and Festival in Venice

122. The Feast Day of St. John the Baptist in Florence

123. A Wake in Oxford, 1306

124. Processions for Peace in Paris, 1412

125. Mayoral Elections in England

XI. The Dangers of Urban Life

126. Fires in Novgorod

127. Famine Mortality in Bruges and Ypres, 1316

128. Discrimination Against the Poor in Siena During the Famine of 1329

129. The Black Death in Florence, 1348

130. The Plague in Edinburgh, 1498-99

131. The Urban Militia of a Spanish Frontier Town: Cuenca, 1190

132. Parma at War

133. The Siege of Calais, 1346-47

134. Crime Prevention in London

135. Criminal Courts and Punishment in Marseille, 1406-07

136. The Road to Ruin in Dijon, 1492

XII. The Urban Environment

137. Air Pollution in Southwark, 1307

138. Regulations for London's Streets, 1297

139. Garbage Removal in English Towns, 1385

140. The Water Supply of Dublin

141. The Sounds of the City: Bells, Horns, and Town Criers

142. London Bridge, 1404

143. The Town Rents of Edinburgh, 1457

144. Building Regulations in London, 1189

145. The Rise and Fall of Urban Towers in Italian Towns

146. Building Contracts for a Tavern and House, 1342

147. A Merchant's House in King's Lynn

148. Clothing and Head-gear

149. Medieval Fast Food

150. Meat Consumption

XIII. The Idealized City

151. A Description of London, c.1173

152. In Praise of Milan's Townscape, 1288

153. The Evils of the Big City


Index of Topics

Index of Towns

Index of Town Officials


What People are Saying About This

Martha Howell

Medieval Towns will become a standard sourcebook. The sources chosen are representative of their type, well edited, and introduced by brief commentary that positions the text and guides the reader. The selections range widely, covering politics, economics, social life, and culture more generally, and treating all regions of western Europe. Many of the sources have not previously been available in English, and never have so many been collected in so accessible and intelligently edited a volume.

David Nicholas

This imaginatively arranged, geographically balanced, and interdisciplinary book should be on the shelves of all students of pre-modern urbanization. The illustrations and discussion questions make it especially suited to class use, but scholars and non-academic readers can also benefit from it. It includes chronicles and descriptions, which are found in most source readers, but goes far beyond them by incorporating tax records, accounts, statutes, court cases, archaeological data, charters, inventories, market regulations, rentals, tolls, commercial correspondence, wills, and poetry of social comment: documents that encapsulate the very essence of the daily experiences of men and women, elite and commoner alike in medieval cities.

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