The Forgotten Story: Rome in the Communal Period

Jean-Claude Maire Vigueur
Translated by David Fairservice
Collana: Viella History, Art and Humanities Collection, 2
Pubblicazione: Ottobre 2015
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Edizione cartacea
pp. 402, 15,5x23, hardback
ISBN: 9788867280889
€ 50,00 -5% € 47,50
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Hidden by the ancient city and by the extravagances of the baroque period, medieval Rome has for long suffered undeserved discredit. From the time of the Renaissance, the prevailing image of Rome was of a city sunk in neglect amidst the scattered ruins of antiquity. Numerous observers took pleasure in stressing the greed, narrowness of spirit and ignorance of medieval Romans and in contrasting their supposed failings with the heroic virtues of their distant forebears.

However, the Eternal City and its inhabitants merit a far different approach. Medieval Rome needs to be studied anew and to be seen as an equal to the other great cities of communal Italy: Florence, Milan and Venice. This is the challenging task which Jean-Claude Maire Vigueur undertook in writing this book which brings to life the largely unknown city of the 12th, 13th and 14th centuries.

This broad-ranging study tells the story of Rome during the communal period: barons rub shoulders with leaders of the people, great landowners with agricultural labourers, rich merchants with cardinals and artists, against a backdrop of ancient architectural remains, of medieval farms, of gorgeous religious ceremonies and of unrestrained local festivals. The book provides a detailed and engaging picture which, eschewing clichés and preconceptions, recaptures the Middle Ages in all its colours.

  • Introduction
  • 1. Inside the walls
    • 1. Geographic space and human settlement
    • 2. The Lateran and the Vatican: two eccentric poles
    • 3. Nobles and their towers, barons and their fortresses
  • 2. Outside the walls
    • 1. Castles or casali?
    • 2. The triumph of the casale
  • 3. The people of Rome
    • 1. The Roman people: a problem of identity
    • 2. The world of crafts
    • 3. The two souls of the people
  • 4. The city nobility: metamorphosis of a social class
    • 1. A super élite
    • 2. The bases of a hegemony
    • 3. In search of a new identity
  • 5. A thoroughly Roman anomaly: the barons
    • 1. The heist of the century
    • 2. How to become a baron
    • 3. Living a baron’s life
  • 6. The Roman Commune: three centuries of stability and adaptability
    • 1. The Commune of citizen-knights
    • 2. The realm of wolves
    • 3. The people in power: the government of the Felice Società
  • 7. The colours of the city
    • 1. The baroque hurricane
    • 2. The twelfth- and thirteenth-century rebirth: the churches and their decoration
    • 3. Houses and palazzi: re-appropriation and colours
    • 4. Rome and the invention of modern painting
  • 8. The lure of the ancient world
    • 1. The beauty of Rome
    • 2. The myth of Rome
  • Conclusion
  • Maps
  • Bibliography
  • Index

Jean-Claude Maire Vigueur

Jean-Claude Maire Vigueur insegna Storia medievale all’Università di Roma Tre. Dopo ricerche di storia economico- sociale, si è specializzato nello studio dei sistemi politici in competizione nell’Italia degli ultimi secoli del Medioevo. È stato curatore dei due volumi su I podestà dell’Italia comunale (2000). Tra le sue pubblicazioni: Cavalieri e cittadini. Guerra, conflitti e società nell’Italia comunale (Il Mulino, 2004); Il sistema politico dei comuni italiani (in collaborazione con E. Faini)(Bruno Mondadori, 2010); L’altra Roma (Einaudi, 2011).

Jean-Claude Maire Vigueur teaches medieval history at the University of Roma Tre. His main field of interest is communal Italy. Among his publications are Cavalieri e cittadini. Guerra, conflitti e società nell’Italia comunale (Il Mulino, 2004) and Il sistema politico dei comuni italiani (Bruno Mondadori, 2010).

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