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Medieval LuccaAnd the Evolution of the Renaissance State$
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M. E. Bratchel

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199542901

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199542901.001.0001

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The Early Commune and the Conquest of the Contado

The Early Commune and the Conquest of the Contado

(p.27) 2 The Early Commune and the Conquest of the Contado
Medieval Lucca

M. E. Bratchel (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The traditional narrative sees the period from the 12th to the 14th centuries as a time of almost constant warfare between the urban authorities of the city‐state and the wild nobles of the countryside—sometimes (wrongly) called rural counts. This picture does not fit Lucca, and probably does not fit Tuscany. A revisionist literature paints a picture of underlying harmony, in which (at least in Lucca) the self‐interest of the nobility lay with the city that they themselves ruled; the city in which they often had their chief residences. This resulted, among other things, in the privileging of city courts over seigneurial courts—with the limitation of seigneurial power, at most, to cases of low justice. The function of this chapter is to reconcile the clear insights of the revisionist view with a chronicle tradition, dominated by accounts of citizen armies sent to destroy the castles of the treacherous nobles of the countryside, that would seem to contradict it.

Keywords:   contado, lordships, castelli, urban courts, warfare

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