What led to the collapse of the Italian city republics?

Theodoric

Ad Honorem
Mar 2012
2,892
#13
Whoah! I totally posted that in the wrong thread! It was meant for the thread about famous people named Boris! Although... oddly relevant in a fictional sort of way!
 
May 2008
4,466
Fireland
#15
Actually reminds me of a bizarrely reactionary Freudian reading of Shelley’s Frankenstein which viewed the author as projecting a whole host of unacknowledged unconscious fears and preoccupations. The novel thus becomes an extended trope on the dangers of a post French Revolution newly empowered proletariat as a wicked by-product creation of the otherwise well-intentioned Enlightenment - a Burkean monster set to consume all venerated institutions of Church and State. Interestingly, just the sort of fear-complex many of the newly minted signori were exploiting in order to justify their 14th c. dismantling of the popolo, openly bribing both papacy and Empire for legitimizing accreditation; newly minted duchies, church endorsements etc.. .... oddly relevant indeed!
 
Jul 2009
9,955
#16
Interestingly, just the sort of fear-complex many of the newly minted signori were exploiting in order to justify their 14th c. dismantling of the popolo, openly bribing both papacy and Empire for legitimizing accreditation; newly minted duchies, church endorsements etc.. .... oddly relevant indeed!
Bribes for legitimate credentials were of course very common. Gian Galeazzo Visconti bought the title of Duke by paying the Emperor for it. At least he had a dynastic lineage. Sometimes, like in the case of Lucca or Perugia, the towns were sold among condottieri or the oligarchs themselves as if they were personal property.

Rule by the popolo was something of an aberration, and was not the historical form of governance in most places. Princely or signorial government was still widely recognized as the norm. The turbulence of popular factions aided the signori as they gained influence among the more important civic interests (oligarchs). Once they had sufficient support from those worthies, the signori could better establish themselves by granting offices and by dispensing other favors - tax exemptions and other privileges, etc. The signori could establish themselves by an aggregation of interests. One might call it "protection selling."

They also extended civil law to the clergy, in the prolonged absence of much Papal power, which diluted the authority of the Church and strengthened their own power. In addition, to reduce opposition from any discontented communal influences, the signori made use of subordinates from elsewhere, sidestepping much opposition.

The respect of the signori for the use of privilege as a political tool, which they could use to gain support, was assisted by the overall apathy of the popolo - as long as those folks were not over burdened or abused. In some cases, the popolo dismantled themselves, even to the point of appointing "captains of the people" for life.
 
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