Daniel Waley and Trevor Dean illustrate how, from the eleventh
century onwards, many dozens of Italian towns achieved independence
as political entities, unhindered by any centralising power. Until
the fourteenth century, when the regimes of individual ?tyrants'
took over in most towns, these communes were the scene of a
precocious, and very well-documented, experiment in republican
Focusing on the typical medium-sized towns rather than the
better-known cities, the authors draw on a rich variety of
contemporary material (both documentary and literary) to portray
the world of the communes, illustrating the patriotism and public
spirit as well as the equally characteristic factional strife which
was to tear them apart. Discussion of the artistic and social lives
of the inhabitants shows how these towns were the seed-bed of the
cultural achievements of the early Renaissance.
In this fourth edition, Trevor Dean has expanded the book's
treatment of religion, women, housing, architecture and art, to
take account of recent trends in the abundant historiography of
these topics. A new selection ofailluminating images has been
included, and the bibliography brought up to date.
Both students and the general reader interested in Italian
history, literature and art will find this accessible book a
rewarding and fascinating read.
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