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Anti-corruption in HistoryFrom Antiquity to the Modern Era$
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Ronald Kroeze, André Vitória, and Guy Geltner

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198809975

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198809975.001.0001

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Fighting Corruption in the Italian City-State

Fighting Corruption in the Italian City-State

Perugian Officers’ End of Term Audit (sindacato) in the Fourteenth Century

(p.103) 7 Fighting Corruption in the Italian City-State
Anti-corruption in History

G. Geltner

Oxford University Press

While auditing practices for public officials existed in all the Italian peninsula during the communal era, they had nowhere as prominent a place, or better surviving records, as in the Italian city-states. In this chapter, the author shows that the regulation of sindacato, an end-of-term audit for urban officials, was of a kind with normative and literary discourses about accountability, good government and the common good, but argues that these cannot be seen in isolation from documentary evidence. Based on a detailed analysis of the rich judicial and administrative records from fourteenth-century Perugia, this chapter shows that the connection between accountability of office and political legitimacy implicit in the sindacato is less straightforward than commonly thought. Rather than a marker of transparent, participatory politics, the sindacato was a complex, inherently biased, often slow and ineffectual mechanism, which could conceal as much as it revealed about the administration of the city.

Keywords:   corruption, anticorruption, Italy, fourteenth century, Perugia, sindacato, accountability, podestà

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