The reality, it is suggested, is that the political systems of republicanism and seignorialism were not so very different. Republican governments ignored universal suffrage, those supported by signori did not always run totalitarian governments, and in both cases, power continued to be held by recurring oligarchical groups who were unwilling to enter into constructive dialogue with their opponents. However, as the two sides fought for power, the political arena became the testing ground for new forms of communication that could be used to manage and manipulate public opinion.
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If you have personal access to this content, log in with your username and password here:. Author: Fabrizio Ricciardelli. Description Table of Content PDF The period between the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries saw significant discussion in Italy about the two different political models of republicanism and seignorialism, reaching a climax at the end of the Trecento when the most influential scholars of Florence and Venice began to attack the despotism imposed on Milan by the Visconti.
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The Yearbook will remain the annual reference work for country surveys on Muslims in Europe. The former article and review sections of the Yearbook are now published as the new Journal of Muslims in Europe. The Yearbook of Muslims in Europe remains an important source of reference for government and NGO officials, journalists, and policy makers as well as scholars. Terms and Conditions Privacy Statement. Powered by: PubFactory. Sign in to annotate. It had trouble paying;, in fact, and had to borrow money from a member of one of the famili Rural Communes and the City of Lucca 5 separated either; the same manentes, for example, were indifferently of one or the other.
It is thus not surprising that the men of Tassignano never denied that the patrons of the church had some local authority as patrons, which extended to definitely secular activities like participating in the digging of ditches. Elsewhere, however, it is much less evident that similar local potentates claimed such authority. The patrons of S. Stefano were in fact more visible even in church documents than were patrons in other places.
For example, in the neighbouring village of S. Margherita, barely a kilometre away, the commune is first documented in , when the consules communiter vicinorum ecclesie consented to a sale of church land: this is in fact a very characteristic early reference to a Lucchese commune, once again showing how closely linked it was to the parish.
In the same year, the church of S. Stefano also sold land with lay consent, but the format is quite different: cum consensupatronum et vicinum, with the patrons very much to the forefront and the villagers not yet structured by communal officials. Stefano's patrons from the start of the documentation for community activity is unusually extensive, and can be linked to another topic in the case, the issue ofmanentes.
Fiorentino and the patrons argued about how many manentes there were in Tassignano, but at least agreed that there had once been a good few in the village, constituting even on Fiorentino's figures half of the population in or thereabouts. Also implicit in the argument is the assumption that the number mattered: the more manentes there were, the more likely it was that the patrons had the right to nominate the local consuls.
Exactly how to define manentes is not an easy task. They appear in the twelfth- and thirteenth-century Lucchesia as free men, capable of making contracts, but subject in some way to the justice of their lords, and above all tied to the land. Regesti, ed. Gorsi, 'II "breve" dei consoli e del podesta del comune di S.
Maria a Monte', Atti dell'Accademia Lucchese di science, lettere ed arti, n. I will discuss the issue of communal origins, and its relationship to the parish, at greater length elsewhere. Maria Forisportam, 27 Aug. But they were certainly among the most subject people in the contemporary landscape, explicitly excluded from the rural commune in Marlia 5 km. In these instances, as at Tassignano, the key element is the judicial one, for the subjection of peasants to a lord's justice implied a degree of social control over such peasants that could be extended very easily to the denial of their right to participate in collective activity, or, as in Tassignano, to the direct control of any collective activity they did engage in.
It seems likely that the specifically demeaning characteristics of manentia did indeed develop with the expansion of signorial justice in the late eleventh century and early twelfth, although not everyone subject to local signorial rights was a manens. Inside the twelfth- and thirteenth-century Sei Miglia, signorial rights generally restricted to low justice tended to be associated above all with the scattered properties of some particularly privileged ecclesiastical and lay lords.
Stefano di Tassignano, with at least half the village their very subject tenants, were in this respect rather more privileged than most: property was normally highly fragmented in this period, with dozens of absentee owners in each village, not to speak of local peasant proprietors, and few other documented villages out of the hundred-odd in the Sei Miglia had as large a proportion of property associated with a single owner as did Tassignano.
It does at least look as if the local patrons had relaxed their control over many of their manentes in the late twelfth century, for there were certainly fewer of the latter in than there had been; the patrons may simply have thought to control the village by indirect means, through the church and the consulate.
They certainly could not, however, have moved in the other direction and crystallised their local control into a territorial signoria over the village, as lords elsewhere generally tried to do, for the city was too close and too jealous of its authority. It is indeed a truly striking testimony to the local hegemony of urban jurisdiction that Albertino and 8 AAL, AE90, a.
For manentes in general, apart from Vaccari, the classic account, see E. Conti, Laformazione della struttura agraria moderna nel contado fiorentino, i Rome, , pp. Panero, Terre in concessione e mobilita contadina Bologna, , pp. Wickham, 'Economia e societa rurale nel territorio lucchese durante la seconda meta del secolo XT, in S. Anselmo vescovo di Lucca, ed. Spicciani and G. Violante, in press. Rural Communes and the City of Lucca 1 Bandino's attempts to maintain control over a village they dominated tenurially was couched so largely in the terminology of patronage, the giving of feasts and the swearing of oaths, rather than according to the sharper lines of legal power and privilege.
The local landed power of the patrons was nonetheless greater than that of most landlords in the Lucca plain, including several who had rather more global wealth and power than Albertino and his colleagues. This in itself is one explanation for the tension of in the first place. Few other villages in the Sei Miglia had a local landowning family with as much power as the patrons had in Tassignano; few other villages show as much tension between classes.
The communes in other villages crystallised with much less difficulty and with much more local autonomy than that at Tassignano. The Tassignanesi did not have to fight a consolidated and domineering signoria, like the peasants in some of the well-known and more dramatic Italian peasant conflicts of the twelfth and early thirteenth century, on Monte Amiata or in the Veneto; but they had to struggle more than other Lucchese villages for a measure of independence. They duly did so, with disputed elections, boycotts and destruction of documents, running on for over a decade.
In other respects, however, Tassignano was more like other places in the Lucca plain. Its focus on its church was, for example, wholly typical of the area. The Lucca plain has always been an area of highly dispersed settlement, divided into very small units, with little to distinguish one village from the next, and with at times even a certain amount of confusion between them. Thickly settled, it is also not an area with extensive common lands, especially in places like Tassignano which are in alluvial plain, well away from the woods and pastures of the surrounding hills: it is noteworthy how little of the dispute hung on collective economic activity, which could come to act as a focus for village identity elsewhere.
Nor could territorial signorie, the usual framework for rural communal identity, act as such a focus here; for, as we have seen, these were virtually absent as well. Under these circumstances, the parishes of the plain, themselves a relatively recent development - indeed not completely formed before the early twelfth century — were the most visible territorial structures for early rural communes to crystallise around; many communes are first documented, like that at S. Institutionally, as I have argued, Lucca was the direct ruler of the village, undisputed as such by either side in Fiorentino, indeed, made a blatant play towards the judges, stating at one point 'maxima utilitas est habere consules civitatis et populi Lucani in Tassignano et in aliis villis'; Albertino refused to reply, on the grounds of its irrelevance to the case.
In social terms, however, the city was a focus for its surrounding villages as well, and this requires further attention. Who were the patrons, for a start? Essentially, they were city notables. They consisted of a group of linked families, a consorteria, of which Albertino and Bandino themselves were perhaps the least important and most local; at any rate, they and their father Soffreduccio di Ugolino are not very widely attested in Lucchese land documents, and are called de Tassiniano in city texts.
But Bandino was a treuguanus in , a prominent city judge; whether or not he lived in the city, he had status there. His kin and consortes in control of S.
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Stefano consisted of more important people still, including Antelminello di Antelmino, a consul maior in , and a member of a substantial landowning family, with their own towerhouse in Lucca, and a reputation for throwing their weight around inside the city walls: they would become, as the Antelminelli, one of the major Lucchese families of the next century or so. Fiorentino and the rural commune ought to have known they were going to lose in , unless they hoped for strictly factional support from the Antelminelli's enemies; factional enmity was certainly high in this period, and there had even been a brief civil war focussed on the city in Poisson, in press.
For parishes see L. Concordio ; S. Ponziano 31 Jan. Ponziano 3 Apr. RCL , a. I am grateful for many references for these men and others to the kindness of Arnold Esch. Jones, 'Economia e societa nell'Italia medievale: la leggenda della borghesia', in Storia d'ltalia. Annali, i Turin, , pp. Bongi Rome, i, Rural Communes and the City of Lucca 9 The villagers in Tassignano were, not surprisingly, less closely linked to the city than the patrons were; but they, too, show some substantial urban involvement which was not exclusively linked to the patronal consorteria, and partially ran counter to it.
If around half the villagers were directly dependent on the patrons, the other half were not. Up to the middle of the twelfth century, most of these were local peasant or quasi-peasant owners or their tenants. In the later twelfth century, particularly from the s, we begin to find city churches accumulating land in the village it was, as usual, these churches which preserved the documents we have , and also the nearby rural monastery of Pozzeveri, dependent on the rural aristocratic family of the Porcaresi.
We could well see these developments as the Tassignanesi looking for patrons, perhaps rivals of the Antelminelli, both in the city and outside it, to offset the power of the families who controlled the church. Tassignano owners also sold out to laymen who were certainly predominantly citizens; by the early decades of the thirteenth century there was a lot of lay property-owning by city-dwellers in the village, and by now markedly fewer local owners turn up in the documents.
Fiorentino was such an owner; in he got a tenant-house from his future son-in-law as part of their marriage negotiations, which probably indicates that Fiorentino was also rich enough to have tenants. These patterns can be found with minor variations in many villages around Lucca in the same period: the years around seem to have seen a considerable expansion of city landowning, and this was everywhere at the expense of the formerly independent peasantry, at least where it involved the acquisition of land rather than the immigration of its owners.
This was largely, of course, the result of the economic supremacy of the city and its markets. Tassignano had been fully integrated into the market structure already by , specialising in grain, as leases make clear; its inhabitants thus automatically looked to city buyers when they were short of money - as well as to city patrons when they needed social and political backing.
Citizens, when they gained control over local land, brought the requirements of the markets still further into village society, for they were certainly taking rents in produce to sell in the city, and may have bought land at least in part according to purely marginalist economic calculations.
There are too many Tassignano land transactions with external owners to list here; very many are registered and indexed in RCL. I am very grateful to the author for letting me see it. We do not know what sorts of rents the latter paid - probably grain rents for the city markets just like their neighbours, given the city orientation of their landlords; but the social presuppositions of their subjection went back to an earlier age, creating the disjunctions in types of obligation that Philip Jones described in The social condition of the manentes gave political coherence and tension to the developing commune; their freer neighbours, like Fiorentino, gave it leaders and an independent sphere of action; neighbouring villages all of which were more autonomous , and above all, these close economic links to the city provided an awareness of alternative and sometimes less totalising systems of subjection.
This was a recipe for trouble, and trouble duly followed.
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On economic grounds, even if not political ones, the city may have seemed like a potential ally for the commune of Tassignano against its patrons; while one must not naively assume that open, commerciallyorientated exploitation is always preferable to seigneurial subjection, it is at least worth stressing that the document gives no hint of any hostility to the city on anyone's part. In it did so directly and consciously by backing Albertino and Bandino; it tended to do so elsewhere rather more slowly and gradually, by the simple means of attracting potential communal leaders towards its walls.
Fiorentino was prepared to lead the commune of Tassignano against S. Stefano's patrons, for whatever reason; but he would have been unlikely to do so had he moved to Lucca. Many middling landowners like Fiorentino did precisely that. In Paganico, for example, a village 2 km. He is found associated with Paganico's consuls, and is just the sort of person who became a consul in other Lucchese villages, but he is never said to be a consul himself in all these texts.
He did buy a house in the city though, and spent some of his time there; by the time of his grandsons, in the mid thirteenth century, the family, while maintaining its land in Paganico, is described in the sources as an entirely urban one. The economic, or perhaps the political, framework of the city was evidently more enticing than the possibilities offered locally by 16 Cities elsewhere could also actively aid lords who were trying, against the resistance of rural communes, to establish the commercial rents in kind that would supply markets: e.
Dameron, 'Episcopal lordship in the diocese of Florence and the origins of San Casciano Val di Pesa, ', Journal of Medieval History, xii , a valuable comparison with my Tassignano material. In the Lucchesia, such rents were already normal a century earlier, as Jones, 'Manor', and Esch, ubi supra, have shown. Rural Communes and the City of Lucca 11 Paganico's weak consulate. I would also emphasise the importance of a third element: rural communes were the vehicle used by local elites to establish dominance over their neighbours. To men like Fiorentino or Cortafugga, prosperous country-dwellers with a certain local status, the rural world of provided certain clearly-defined possibilities.
They could try to dominate their villages from above, with the help of the most important local landowners churches, or aristocratic families like the Porcaresi or the Antelminelli , as local notables at the base of the 'feudal' hierarchy in the eleventh and twelfth centuries had often done. Such a choice, made by Fiorentino, led him to quite a considerable challenge, of course; but being a leader of the Tassignanesi may well have been preferable to being a client of the Antelminelli.
A third choice was the world of the city, no less than two hours' walk from Paganico and Tassignano, and locus of a far wider range of chances for advancement than village life, though a place where one would lose, at least at first, the satisfaction of local importance.
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We do not know if these three possibilities were mutually exclusive; people could certainly own houses and spend time in both city and country, for example. But in the end the conflict of interest was there, and, of the three, the city would win. The result is very clear in terms of the expansion of city ownership, as Plesner showed for Florence; but the effect on local social links themselves was certainly no less.
The coherence of twelfth-century rural communes in the Lucchesia was largely created by a tight-knit network of local middling owners and prosperous peasants, who had a certain independent local base; we can see such networks often enough in mid twelfth-century charters. At the start of the thirteenth century, such 17 Cortafugga: e. These patterns in Lucca anticipate by half a century the very similar Florentine processes described by J. Plesner, L'emigrazione dalla campagna alia citta libera di Firenze nel XIII secolo Florence, , though many of Plesner's examples were rather farther away from the city than is Tassignano.
Wickham, The Mountains and the City Oxford, , pp. The commune that every village had by could be given cohesion by a grouping of tenants of a single lord, as at Tassignano; even there their leader was a local middling owner. Where, as at Paganico, there was no such community of subjection any number of external owners owned in Paganico , and major local owners were leaving, the commune lost identity: the city sucked its life out. Communes continued to exist, and became in the thirteenth century very firmly institutionalised; but they lost status, becoming simply the local administrative arm of the city, at most frustrating city policy particularly its taxation and its justice as much as they could.
Tassignano's local atypicality may be not only the unusually high degree of tension by the standards of the Lucchesia between a landlord and his tenants but also the preparedness of local independent owners, for their own good reasons of course, to stay and fight; less united groups, focussed on dependent tenants, found cohesion harder. The Tassignano case also allows us to understand an important feature of rural communes as a group: that they were essentially organising devices, whose meaning changed according to the needs of each village. Some communes were directed against lords; others towards the exploitation of common land; others still towards the running of the local church or, later, the undermining of city control in the countryside.
We may be able to make some predictions as to how each commune might behave when we have analysed the landowning structure of each village: how many local owners there were and how rich they were; how much land was owned by how many external owners; how closely the village was tenurially or commercially linked to the city and how fast this changed; how much common land there was and who controlled it; and so on. We must also then look at what communes actually do in the documents at our disposal, so that we can understand how these patterns were transformed into social action.
The issue of what communes were for and how their purpose changed is among the most useful means of comprehending the social questions that mattered most to the inhabitants of each village. Only by such a means shall we come to understand what was going on in the countryside in general in , or in any other period. Pini, Citta, comuni e corporazioni ml medioevo italiano Bologna, , pp.
Something similar certainly happened beyond the Alps, most obviously in Paris, in the world of the university; nonetheless, it was above all in the Italian communes that the social, civic and economic conditions existed which could ensure that, in a relatively short space of time, the trained and cultured layman -jurist, notary or doctor - would become indispensable to the development of the community in which he lived.
In the cities culture soon became widely needed and consumed, and therefore the presence of those who could produce culture became ever more valued and essential. A simple reply cannot be given, as this essay aims to look at Italian society as a whole over two centuries of history, at a wide and hardly homogeneous geographical area and at a period of important and rapid changes.
It is certain, all the same, that if we look at certain jurists and notaries, and even at certain writers, poets or chroniclers who in one way or another were close to the holders of power, we find ourselves dealing with men who often influenced that power, as well as of course being themselves conditioned by it, and acting as a support to it, whether deliberately or not: that is to say, we find ourselves dealing with people capable of controlling their own political relationships.
The relationship between intellectuals and power will be the subject of this essay. In one sense the intellectual of the communal period was only rarely himself a real political figure for, as Max Weber commented, having political influence is very different from having power, if we 1 This is a survey article, with only a minimum of notes; it is nonetheless appropriate to state here how much it owes to Philip Jones's work, in particular his 'Economia e societa nell'Italia medievale: la leggenda della borghesia', Storia d'ltalia.
Annali i Turin, , pp. At first sight we will almost always be having to deal with men who were not the direct holders of power, for this was initially still in the hands of great ecclesiastics and the lay aristocracy, and later extended to entrepreneurs, bankers and merchants: intellectuals were restricted to the role of prominently 'the mouths of the law', 'opinion-makers'. This was of course not a small role; following Salvemini, one can see that it was not by chance that in late thirteenth-century Florence the judges and notaries, that is to say the 'lay intellectuals' par excellence, always ended up, no matter what their socio-economic location, on the side of the magnates.
We can see our intellectuals as mediators between rulers and subjects, as long as we keep in mind the relatively dynamic and fluid characteristics of the power of the period.
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This will bring our analysis very close to the Gramscian notion of the intellectual as having an organic relationship to a given social system. If we use a different definition of power, that of participation in decisionmaking,2 the objective power of intellectuals in the communal period is immediately apparent, even if also very heterogenous, from the simple fact that their presence in the society and the political struggles of the period was far from secondary or purely decorative. This new figure in the complex world of the Italian peninsula was the product of several different developments.
In northern and central Italy, there were on the one hand some of the great feudal courts Monferrato, the Malaspina, the da Romano, the Alberti, the Guidi, the Aldobrandeschi, Montefeltro and so on , with their intellectual patronage; on the other hand, many of the cities of the North and in Tuscany, Lucca, Siena and Arezzo had their own cultural traditions, generally based on the bishop and the cathedral school. In the South there was the Norman, and then Staufer, court of Palermo, faced with which some of the still flourishing cultural centres of more distant parts of the kingdom most obviously the cities of Puglia gradually weakened: this was, from the late thirteenth century, matched - but never fully supplanted - by the new Angevin court at Naples.
In the Palermo of the Norman kings and of Frederick II, there developed, by the first half of the century, an elaborate courtly culture, which was focussed under Roger II on a group of Arab functionaries and scholars Edrisi being the best known. To say that this culture was 'courtly' is not a statement made purely for the sake of form. The key point is rather that, following the traditions of 'sacral kingship' and of Oriental centralising bureaucracy, known in the Mediterranean above all thanks to the models of the courts of Byzantium and of the Arab princes, the residence of the sovereign was the heavenly centre of the country: the locus of power and glory, but also of delightful 2 A.
Kaplan and H. Lasswell, Power and Society London, , p. Intellectuals and Culture 15 and voluptuous living. The celebration of the palaces and gardens of Palermo by the Arab poets of the Norman chancery always had a precise political meaning, which is made clear by the emphasis they placed on the omnipotence of the ruler, living as he did surrounded by beauty and wealth. There developed a courtly koine that in the thirteenth century, thanks to the cultural model of Frederick IPs circle, began to expand throughout the peninsula. If, then, we wish to recognise, as we should, that one of the basic traits of the cultural development of Italy was its polycentrism, we must realise that an important historical component of that development was the southern court culture.
This does not mean that the South did not have its own notable civic traditions: but the latter had incomparably more importance in the North and Centre. It is principally these that we will henceforth discuss. The Italian cities of the twelfth century had a civic identity that is obvious to anyone who looks at them.
The communal movement was already established, and was going through its 'consular phase', as it is called, with the city aristocracies in power though the details of this phase were very different from city to city. Urban centres were expanding: this reflected a demographic growth that can be recognised in the whole of Europe, but in Italy it was reinforced by a considerable amount of immigration from the countryside as well, and resulted in the building of new and extended walls around many cities precisely in the twelfth century.
It was in this atmosphere that there developed the first clear signs of a patriotic civic culture: this was focussed on the cults of patron saints and their relics, on the local pride that resulted in the construction of solider and longer walls and greater cathedrals, and on the civic memory that was developing in a Latin literature of chronicle and panegyric. One sign of this is that in the twelfth century the legends of some of the great city saints took on their definitive form, and with this their cults: S.
Ranieri at Pisa; S. Petronio at Bologna; S. Miniato at Florence; S. Massimo at Reggio Emilia. The patron saints of the city communes were often bishops, and the sense of identity of the citizens tended to focus itself on these diocesan cults — though this does not take away from the fact that there was frequent friction and discord between the bishop and the local ruling classes whose principal families tended to have members who were canons of the cathedral. Bishop, cathedral chapter, and commune were in this period three forces making up the political framework of the city which were allied together, or were mutually opposed, in different ways in 3 See examples in F.
Gabrieli and U. Scerrato, Gli Arabi in Italia Milan, In the maritime cities, especially Genoa and Pisa, one can add a new element of city identity: participation in the Crusades — particularly the First Crusade — and in the anti-Saracen campaigns immediately before and after it. Thus, in Genoa, the chronicle of Caffaro proudly identified the birth of the Genoese Mediterranean empire with the liberation of the cities of the East from the Arabs and with the enormous booty which represented that liberation so gloriously: above all, the relics of St.
John and the so-called 'Sacred Chain' of Caesarea, which is still in the treasury of the cathedral. In Pisa, the Carmen in victoria Pisanorum exalts the Pisan victory over the North African port of al-Mahdiyah in , as a holy enterprise. A few decades later another poem was dedicated to another anti-Muslim campaign, this time in the Balearic islands. The poets praised their home towns by comparing them to the two great cities at the centre of Christian imagery, Rome and Jerusalem; from now on many cities became the 'new Rome' or the 'second Rome' as in the poem that Mose del Brolo dedicated to his own city of Bergamo in , or the 'new Jerusalem'.
The tradition of a link with ancient Rome was particularly generalised, and is even seen in some of the cities of the south, such as Salerno, which was influenced by the monastery of Montecassino, a great centre of classical studies and of the transcription of Latin texts. Pietro, shows, with its heap of legends about each classical monument, a tenacious urban cult of the past, soaked in respect and nostalgia, in which one can sometimes see through the legendary surface to a sort of primitive lay pride in the ancient city.
This was the 4 See for this G. Pasquali, Storia della tradizione e critica del testo, 2nd edn. Florence, , p. Delogu, Mito di una citta meridionale Naples, Zucchetti Rome, , pp. Intellectuals and Culture 17 environment of the man of 'lay' culture. The adjective needs closer definition. Not all such men were lay in the legal sense. Alfano of Salerno and Benedetto of Rome were clerics, and indeed men of episcopal or canonical rank, but they had a lay perspective.
They were not, that is to say, men of an exclusively religious or clerical culture, but experts in science and the secular arts ranging from Latin poetry to medicine , ready to express and involve their knowledge in themes that were no longer narrowly religious. Sometimes, too, the man of culture of the early communal period, who always saw his role as being that of serving civic interest, was legally a layman — not a small fact, in a period in which culture was so dominated by clerics that the word clericus meant both 'member of the clergy' and 'scholar', while laicus described the uncultured, idiotae or illiterati.
Not by chance did the University of Paris develop out of the episcopal school; and ecclesiastics still kept almost unchallenged, even if not total, control of all levels of teaching there. City life brought, however, growing importance to the intellectual professions, which could certainly be practised, at least initially, by clerics, but which nonetheless were all destined to end up in the hands of laymen. One thinks of those of doctor, notary, judge, and legist. A look at the last of these categories is perhaps the best way of letting us enter the reality of lay communal culture. It was in Italy that, in the first half of the twelfth century, the autonomous dignity of civil law was rediscovered, as was the sacredness of that dignity, insofar as it derived immediately and directly from the sacredness of imperial power itself.
The legend that associates the rebirth of legal studies with a translatio very similar to the 'holy thefts' of relics that had preceded and accompanied the crusades is in itself very significant. At the sack of Amalfi in , the Pisans were supposed to have removed a precious codex of the Corpus iuris civilis of Justinian, which they treated as a relic, showing it surrounded by candles to the bareheaded. It is irrelevant here how true this account is; but its meaning, that of the city's takeover of secular legal culture, is clear. From the early years of the century, in monastic and cathedral schools, it had been taught that law was subordinate to ethics and thus to theology inasmuch as it dealt with norms of behaviour, and to logic and thus to the seven 'liberal arts' inasmuch as it was based on the textual interpretation of legislation.
Nevertheless, the never-broken link with Rome had also allowed the survival of legal schools in the imperial and thus lay tradition, in centres such as Rome, Ravenna and Pavia. A legal school developed in Bologna too, perhaps, as has been proposed, protected in the eleventh century by the Countess Matilda, who made use of Bolognese judges in her courts; alternatively, perhaps it was already so prestigious as to attract her attention and protection.
It is clear that the legal experts of Bologna were laymen: the legis doctor Pepone, whom we see in at a legal tribunal of Matilda's Marturi in Tuscany, was advocatus that is to say legal 18 City and Countryside representative in the secular courts of the monastery of San Salvatore di Monte Amiata. Similarly, the great legist Irnerio was advocate of San Benedetto di Polirone; and we know that canon law did not permit clerics to exercise that office. It is beyond doubt that the major role in the foundation of the great tradition of legal studies at Bologna belongs to Irnerio, lucerna iuris lamp of the law , as the glossator Odofredo called him in the mid thirteenth century.
Irnerio, the magister in artibus of the first three decades of the twelfth century, was responsible, as Francesco Calasso so clearly showred, for the separation of law from both ethics and logic. Furthermore, although Irnerio recognised the importance of the concept of aequitas by which law is only created when the emperor, who is lex animata in terris, confers life on it through his power and will , he also came to attribute an entirely special role to the interpreters of legal texts, that is to say to the jurists, as mediators: this role thus had a number of objectively political meanings.
It should be noted that at the same time the bases of canon law were also being laid down. Closely connected to law were the study of rhetoric and the studies connected to the profession of notary, which was close to the centre of the complex activities of the communal ruling classes.
The tension between them is linked to the problem of the writing down of communal statutes. Rhetoric in the medieval West was a development from the models of Cicero and Quintilian, and had resulted in a discipline of better writing that was to rise to a level of considerable importance in a communal world dominated by politics and diplomacy.
The first treatise of this discipline, the ars dictandi, was written at Montecassino, where Alberico wrote his Breviarium dictaminis in the s. But it was at Bologna that the ars dictandi found its real place, at the same time as the development of civil and canon law. Kantorowicz and Raskins have shown how a real training in the ars dictandi existed at Bologna, which resulted in the production of important treatises: the Praecepta dictaminis of Alberto Samaritani; the Rationes dictandi prosaice of Ugo; the anonymous Rationes dictandi; the Introductiones prosaici dictaminis of Bernardo da Bologna; the Ars dictandi of Guido da Bologna.
In the early thirteenth century- the most interesting master of rhetoric then teaching at Bologna was certainly Boncompagno da Signa, several of 7 F. Calasso, Media evo del diritto i Milan, , pp. Intellectuals and Culture 19 whose works survive, such as the Rhetorica antiqua and the Rhetorica novissima, as well as many lesser writings.
Thanks to his garrulousness and his imaginativeness, the work of Boncompagno is a precious source of information about the culture and society of the city communes. He was, furthermore, the model and teacher for other writers. One should add to his name that of Bene da Firenze, who taught at Bologna as well, was author of a Summa recte dictandi and a Summa dictaminis, and whose ability attracted the attention of Frederick II himself.
It was from the University of Bologna and from this group of experts in style and rhetoric that Pier della Vigna came, who in entered the service of the emperor and became imperial chancellor. A fourth member of the group was Guido Faba, author of the Gemma purpurea, certainly the best known rhetorical manual of the entire thirteenth century, and of a volume of Parlamenta, that is to say orations in the vulgar tongue, Italian: with him it is clear that the ars dictandi, and its equivalent for the spoken word, the ars arengandi, had become by now two genres indispensable for city political life.
These new communal intellectuals — masters of law and rhetoric, notaries, doctors — were, in many ways, the creators of urban cultural self-consciousness. Feudal society had, for a long time, been able to live independently of the world of the city, although in Italy unlike the lands beyond the Alps, with the partial exception of the South of France urban society was a constant and unavoidable presence. Even when in the eleventh century the Italian cities began to be more densely populated again, the basic socio-cultural framework of the feudal world remained the same inside them: urban aristocracies, while engaging in entrepreneurial activities that would later lead to the development of the 'bourgeois5 world, remained linked to landed property and to signorial mental structures: artisans and labourers remained essentially peasants without land.
The two basic counterposed categories of courtly culture, the culture of a feudal curia, were curialitas, 'courtesy', and rusticitas, the rusticity of those still linked to agricultural toil. This is the dichotomy that one finds, for example, in the romances. The new urban intellectual, often from humble or at least modest origins, found the justifications of his culture and dignity, and his social motivation, in the city.