Ordinances of Justice 1293
Cosimo de’ Medici (d. 1494)
Lorenzo de’ Medici (d.1492)
L-B Alberti (d.1472)
L. Valla (d.1457)
N. Machiavelli (d.1527)
Leonardo Bruni (d. 1444)
1. Rise of money economy was a result of long-distance trade & created a diff.
structure (new classes in society, including merchants who had power based
2. Italy was always different from rest of Europe (long distance trade never
really ceased) b/c of sophistication of city, Italy had other advantages:
Cities were ecclesiastical centers
Have to have money economy w/ Roman church in midst. Rome became
important economic center (based on trade, money was still there). Rome
was a magnet for the faithful, for pilgrims, who travelled w/ merchants.
Feudalism set down only the most shallow roots in Italy, only above the
Kingdom of Naples, b/c need for f. wasn’t there, b/c Italy had a means of
communication & had other solutions b/c there were alternatives. Italians
were more flexible in terms of cultural organization
Struggle between sovereignty based upon Guelfs & Gibellines who were both
in Italy (Pope & emperor, church & state). There were 2 sources of
sovereignty operating simultaneously.
place where cities continue to thrive, trade continued, lots of cosmopolitan travel:
Italy is quite diff. from rest of feudal Europe => Italy had advantages to capitalize
Italy was where people fled to during crusades b/c it was closest to where war
was taking place, Italians had skill in ship building, had concentration of
wealth in cities & a high degree of independence. Crusades provided
lubricant of cash.
1. By 1200, Italy developing in a way that would take another century in
Still were nobles in towns & cities in Middle Ages. Tension between merchants
& nobility (which were v. interdependent) was most intense in Italy than
anywhere else; cities were battlegrounds w/ common street fighting.
2. Grew rich & powerful b/c it made highest quality wool & cloth (new dying
technology) that could be sold throughout Europe @ very expensive prices,
making Fl. Extremely wealthy.
surplus money from trade was turned into more money, making Fl. Banks v.
large. Banks & trading co.’s were closely linked
rise of Papacy required efficient banking systems. Banks in Sienna rose up first
but Pope was nervous about this b/c it was Gibelline. Then Pope took advantage
of Fl. Which was a Guelf city, so he shifted all his economic activity to Fl., Fl.
Banks became largest & most sophisticated. Fl. Maintained monopoly on wool & expanded banking industry & provided
benefits to pope & ecclesiastical establishment but cutting out middlemen
between wool-sellers & banks.
3. Street violence was so intense that Pope had to step in, sent his nephew in
1280 to find way out & solution was: nephew said head of mercantile cartels
(7 guilds: judges, notaries, spice dealers, etc.) were recognized legally to
form a collective committee to take care of city’s economic situation & they
were good at it b/c they knew how to pool resources, start partnerships, etc.
& worked against common enemy (nobles) between 1282 & 1293,
merchants took over gov’t (first, took advantage of nobles distrust of each
other: merchants took “accounting” job in gov’t & in effect, became
employers of military, divided city into 6 sections, each w/ a militia, by 1289,
Fl. Merchants controlled much of organized military force & felt strong
enough to fight nobilitymerchants abolished serfdom (provided private
armies to nobles) in Fl. Territory (serfs pulled into cities b/c there was more
attractive work there)nobles became more violent