It is a widely known fact that during the conflict between the American Colonies and Great Britain, which resulted in independence and the birth of the United States of America, the insurgents presented their collective actions as lawful forms of resistance and defense against an unjust government in the motherland, which threatened their freedoms. They therefore did not consider themselves either disobedient or rebels. These views and these claims had, moreover, characterized early modern European history for centuries, on the basis of a shared politico-juridical culture.
This volume analyzes some Italian urban rebellions that occurred in the 16th and 17th centuries (Urbino, Messina, Mondovì, Castiglione dello Stiviere) from this perspective, emphasizing the resemblances with the Catalan (1640) and Neapolitan (1647) revolts. Fundamental problems emerge from all the cases under consideration: the borderline between loyalty and obedience, between unconditional and conditional obedience, the issue of sovereignty and its limits.
- 1. The Urbino Tumult (1572-1573)
- 1. A judge’s truth and a diarist’s truth
- 2. Agitators. The deposition of Gabriele de Beni
- 3. Just an error, not a crime. The deposition of Vincenzo Ridolfi
- 4. A just and clement prince, an infuriated plebs. The deposition of Alessandro Veterani
- 5. Defending oneself with arms or asking for pardon. The deposition of Severo Paltroni
- 6. The true reason of State and the false
- 2. Neither Disobedients nor Rebels
- 1. Resisting the unjust exercise of power. Self-defence
- 2. Historical facts and juridical texts. Exemplary cases
- 3. Delinquent communities, unpunished multitudes: the doctrine of ius commune
- 3. Intermezzo. Performances
- 1. The unpunishable multitude in emblem literature and in the theatre of Lope de Vega
- 2. Representing facts in terms of law: the Noticia Universal de Cataluña (1640)
- 3. Revolution and rebellion are not the same: Naples 1647
- 4. War Against Rebellious Cities: Messina 1674-1678, Mondovì 1680-1682
- 1. “To crush the proud” (“debellare superbos”): political reason against rebellious Messina 1674-1678
- 2. Why should the universitas be punished if it had not committed a sin? Mondovì and the Salt War (1680-1682)
- 5. Never Obey out of Fear: Castiglione delle Stiviere, 1689-1694
- 1. The voice of the community: impossible to obey an enemy prince
- 2. A prince may be resisted with arms. The legal advice of the jurist Antonio Gobbi
Originally published as Tumulti. Moltitudini ribelli in età moderna. Bologna: il Mulino 2013.
All chapters and ‘Conclusions’ translated by Alexandra Mary Lawrence and revised by Robert Fredona. ‘Introduction’ translated by Robert Fredona.