Third Series, Volume 6 – (2009)
Edited by Roger Dahood and Peter E. Medine
Published by AMS Press, Inc.
- Land and Social Networks in the Carolingian Spanish March
— Cullen J. Chandler
- King John and the Symbol of the Fallen Crown in the Chronicles of Matthew Paris
— Judith Collard
- Defining Civic Identity in Genoa, 1257–1312
— Carrie E. Beneš
- Bromyard’s Other Handbook: Canon and Civil Law for Preachers
— Siegfried Wenzel
- Many Januses in Search of Unity: Equality in Fifteenth-Century Venice
— Dennis Romano
- Violence and Education, from Erasmus to Milton
— Jeffrey Gore
Many Januses in Search of Unity: Defining Civic Identity in Genoa, 1257–1312
— Carrie E. Beneš (New College of Florida)
Most Italian cities of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries vaunted legendary founders, often of classical origin, as part of their ideological arsenal; such a founder was perceived to improve a city’s prestige and diminish that of its neighbors on a regional, peninsular, or even continental scale. Nonetheless, late medieval Genoa’s dominant role in the Mediterranean economy—combined with its serious internal divisions—meant that its citizens’ efforts at community self-definition and legitimation were chiefly directed inward instead of outward. The promotion of the cult of Genoa’s mythical founder Janus in precisely this period aimed to persuade the Genoese away from factionalism by recalling a long-distant but unified unspoiled past. This essay puts the Genoese adoption of Janus in its context as one of many “civic improvements” attempted between 1257 and 1312, an era often considered the height of the medieval commune.
Land and Social Networks in the Carolingian Spanish March
— Cullen J. Chandler (Lycoming College)
Much recent scholarship in early medieval history has highlighted the role landed wealth played in the politics of the period. From royal patronage of monasteries to the activities of abbots and bishops protecting and augmenting their ecclesiastical patrimonies, land was the key ingredient in power. When the survival of source material permits, historians may see how the possession and alienation of land functioned in the lives of people of lesser stature. Buying, selling, and giving away land had social as well as economic significance in the early Middle Ages, allowing us to develop an understanding of the nature of the social networks on the local level. The present study applies this methodology to the relatively rich charter evidence of Old Catalonia, the Carolingian Spanish March, to demonstrate how lay people and ecclesiastical institutions used land to build wealth, to wield power, and to forge networks of association.
King John and the Symbol of the Fallen Crown in the Chronicles of Matthew Paris
— Judith Collard (University of Otago)
The representation of King John found in the chronicles of Matthew Paris operates within a variety of literary and visual contexts that reinforce the very negative portrait produced by the chronicler in the written text. The image of King John marks a significant disruption of an expected formulation of the crowned, enthroned monarch. Although there are comic aspects to the picture, the implications are serious and complement the demonization of John found within the text. While it is possible to consider the written text in isolation, the accompanying visual framework of illustrations and symbols both complicates and enriches the messages found within the page, with the signa acting as an economical signal to the writer’s disapproving portrait.
Violence and Education, from Erasmus to Milton
— Jeffrey Gore (University of Iowa)
One of the most widely read documents of Early Modern education is John Milton’s 1644 Of Education, but many of his suggestions come from the well known humanist writings of Desiderius Erasmus and John Colet. For the latter two writers, these pedagogical techniques can be seen as part of an antiwar, nonviolent curriculum. In this essay, I argue that Milton reintroduced violence into his humanist curriculum as part of the initiation process for young men to fight in Cromwell’s New Model Army.
Equality in Fifteenth-Century Venice
— Dennis Romano (Syracuse University)
The republican city-states of late medieval and Renaissance Italy experienced a continuing tension between their ideological commitment to the idea of equality and a countervailing impulse among the elite members of the ruling regimes to distinguish themselves from rank and file members. This tension between equality and distinction was especially pronounced in republican Venice, where the hereditarily defined ruling class was marked by divisions between rich and poor nobles. This essay examines what Venetian nobles meant by the term equality by examining how they used the term in everyday political discourse, as evidenced by legislation. Overwhelmingly, they understood equality as equity; the terms were virtually synonymous. As members of the ruling class, nobles expected equitable access to the privileges (the right to trade and offices) and equitable apportionment of the burdens (taxes) of noble status. At the same time, they also understood equality as equivalence of status and so resisted efforts to institutionalize distinctions among themselves. When they looked beyond their own class and to other members of Venetian society, nobles defined equality as the right to equitable application of the law. The definition of equality as the right of nobles to compete fairly accorded well with the city’s commercial enterprises and allowed them an opportunity to distinguish themselves from their peers.
Bromyard’s Other Handbook: Canon and Civil Law for Preachers
— Siegfried Wenzel (Chapel Hill, North Carolina)
The English Dominican John Bromyard (died c.1352) wrote not only the well-known Summa praedicantium but also a second work for the use of preachers, called Tractatus iuris ciuilis et canonici ad moralem materiam applicati (also known as Opus trivium), in which he made legal material, from canon and civil law as well as a number of glossators and commentators, available for moral instruction. This essay surveys the material contained in the Tractatus and its organization and discusses its purpose and relation to the Summa.
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