Catalogue


The war of the fists : popular culture and public violence in late Renaissance Venice /
Robert C. Davis.
imprint
New York ; Oxford : Oxford University Press, 1994.
description
vi, 232 p. : ill.
ISBN
0195084047 (pbk.) 0195084039
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
New York ; Oxford : Oxford University Press, 1994.
isbn
0195084047 (pbk.) 0195084039
catalogue key
235313
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Robert C. Davis is Assistant Professor of Renaissance Italian History at Ohio State University
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1994-09:
Every fall, hundreds or more Venetian artisans met on designated bridges for massed battles that pitted Venetian workers from different parts of the city against each other, while nobles, women, and distinguished foreign visitors watched. At first the artisans fought with sticks; in the 17th century they turned to bare fists. Although most participants experienced only bruises and a dunking, others suffered serious injuries, and a few died; victors enjoyed great prestige. The normally powerful Venetian state neither approved nor halted the battles for 200 years. These engagements reached a peak in the 17th century, but stopped after 1705 through a combination of government suppression and declining popular interest. Davis describes in great detail this little-known feature of Venetian popular culture, drawing out its social ramifications. Based on a range of original sources and graced with illustrations and maps, this is an excellent study of plebeian life in early modern Europe. Recommended for upper-division undergraduates and above. P. Grendler; University of Toronto
Reviews
Review Quotes
"A wonderful microstudy of the social history of power, honor, and class identities. Marvelously focused, this essay is about big themes....Should have a broad and commanding appeal to a whole range of students."--Peter Arnade, California State University, San Marcos
"A wonderful microstudy of the social history of power, honor, and classidentities. Marvelously focused, this essay is about big themes....Should have abroad and commanding appeal to a whole range of students."--Peter Arnade,California State University, San Marcos
"By studying the verified material closely in all its aspects, he has gathered much new information about the society of Venice and, in particular, about its people and culture and the relationship between the people and the nobility."--Journal of Modern History
"By studying the verified material closely in all its aspects, he hasgathered much new information about the society of Venice and, in particular,about its people and culture and the relationship between the people and thenobility."--Journal of Modern History
"Davis describes in great detail this little-known feature of Venetian popular culture, drawing out its social ramifications. Based on a range of original sources and graced with illustrations and maps, this is an excellent study of plebeian life in early modern Europe."--Choice
"Davis describes in great detail this little-known feature of Venetianpopular culture, drawing out its social ramifications. Based on a range oforiginal sources and graced with illustrations and maps, this is an excellentstudy of plebeian life in early modern Europe."--Choice
"Davis tells a colorful story with verve and acumen, and couches it comfortably in matters of import for the larger social history of pre-modern Europe."--Journal of Social History
"Davis tells a colorful story with verve and acumen, and couches itcomfortably in matters of import for the larger social history of pre-modernEurope."--Journal of Social History
"Davis tells a colorful story with verve and acumen, and couches it comfortably in matters of import for the larger social history of pre-modern Europe."--Journal of Social History "Davis describes in great detail this little-known feature of Venetian popular culture, drawing out its social ramifications. Based on a range of original sources and graced with illustrations and maps, this is an excellent study of plebeian life in early modern Europe."--Choice "In this fascinating and well written book Robert Davis opens up a surprisingly new and challenging vision of the social world and violent life of late Renaissance Venice from the apparently humble and insignificant perspective of regular battles waged by artisans and lower class toughs for the honor of dominating certain bridges in the city. This book can be read as an exciting example of the new social/cultural history, as a stimulating prototype of microhistory, as a rather different direction to take the history of sport, or simply as an intriguing read on the complex and still surprisingly unknown world of everyday life in the early modern period. Not only is this history that is fun to read and think about, it is history that will be most intriguing to build upon."--Guido Ruggiero, University of Connecticut "This is a fascinating evocation of the passions and behavior of the ordinary citizens of Renaissance Venice. Professor Davis vividly exposes the tensions that lay below the surface of that smoothly-functioning Republic, and suggests that the battles on the bridges provided an outlet for anger and rivalry that helped the Serenissima maintain its aura of social order and political calm. If topography and the involvement of all levels of society made Venice unique, this account nevertheless reveals the roots of modern public sports events in the confrontations, the maneuvers, and the forms of popular recreation that Davis here brings so colorfully to life."--Theodore K. Rabb, Princeton University "This study provides great insight into a characteristic of the popular culture of Venetian society too often neglected in the depiction of life in this Renaissance republic. Davis allows the reader to gain a more complete understanding of the various dynamic forces at work in the social and cultural world of the 'Queen of the Adriatic.' This well-written and intriguing study will be of interest to both cultural and social historians not only of Venice, but sixteenth-century society as a whole. Davis contributes to our further understanding of the complexity of this unique republic at a moment when it enjoyed the reputation of stability and tranquility among the Italian city-states of the Renaissance."--Sixteenth Century Journal
"Davis tells a colorful story with verve and acumen, and couches it comfortably in matters of import for the larger social history of pre-modern Europe."-- Journal of Social History "Davis describes in great detail this little-known feature of Venetian popular culture, drawing out its social ramifications. Based on a range of original sources and graced with illustrations and maps, this is an excellent study of plebeian life in early modern Europe."-- Choice "In this fascinating and well written book Robert Davis opens up a surprisingly new and challenging vision of the social world and violent life of late Renaissance Venice from the apparently humble and insignificant perspective of regular battles waged by artisans and lower class toughs for the honor of dominating certain bridges in the city. This book can be read as an exciting example of the new social/cultural history, as a stimulating prototype of microhistory, as a rather different direction to take the history of sport, or simply as an intriguing read on the complex and still surprisingly unknown world of everyday life in the early modern period. Not only is this history that is fun to read and think about, it is history that will be most intriguing to build upon."--Guido Ruggiero, University of Connecticut "This is a fascinating evocation of the passions and behavior of the ordinary citizens of Renaissance Venice. Professor Davis vividly exposes the tensions that lay below the surface of that smoothly-functioning Republic, and suggests that the battles on the bridges provided an outlet for anger and rivalry that helped the Serenissima maintain its aura of social order and political calm. If topography and the involvement of all levels of society made Venice unique, this account nevertheless reveals the roots of modern public sports events in the confrontations, the maneuvers, and the forms of popular recreation that Davis here brings so colorfully to life."--Theodore K. Rabb, Princeton University "This study provides great insight into a characteristic of the popular culture of Venetian society too often neglected in the depiction of life in this Renaissance republic. Davis allows the reader to gain a more complete understanding of the various dynamic forces at work in the social and cultural world of the 'Queen of the Adriatic.' This well-written and intriguing study will be of interest to both cultural and social historians not only of Venice, but sixteenth-century society as a whole. Davis contributes to our further understanding of the complexity of this unique republic at a moment when it enjoyed the reputation of stability and tranquility among the Italian city-states of the Renaissance."-- Sixteenth Century Journal
"Davis tells a colorful story with verve and acumen, and couches it comfortably in matters of import for the larger social history of pre-modern Europe."--Journal of Social History "Davis describes in great detail this little-known feature of Venetian popular culture, drawing out its social ramifications. Based on a range of original sources and graced with illustrations and maps, this is an excellent study of plebeian life in early modern Europe."--Choice "In this fascinating and well written book Robert Davis opens up a surprisingly new and challenging vision of the social world and violent life of late Renaissance Venice from the apparently humble and insignificant perspective of regular battles waged by artisans and lower class toughs for the honor of dominating certain bridges in the city. This book can be read as an exciting example of the new social/cultural history, as a stimulating prototype of microhistory, as a rather different direction to take the history of sport, or simply as an intriguing read on the complex and still surprisingly unknown world of everyday life in the early modern period. Not only is this history that is fun to read and think about, it is history that will be most intriguing to build upon."--Guido Ruggiero,University of Connecticut "This is a fascinating evocation of the passions and behavior of the ordinary citizens of Renaissance Venice. Professor Davis vividly exposes the tensions that lay below the surface of that smoothly-functioning Republic, and suggests that the battles on the bridges provided an outlet for anger and rivalry that helped theSerenissimamaintain its aura of social order and political calm. If topography and the involvement of all levels of society made Venice unique, this account nevertheless reveals the roots of modern public sports events in the confrontations, the maneuvers, and the forms of popular recreation that Davis here brings so colorfully to life."--Theodore K. Rabb,Princeton University "This study provides great insight into a characteristic of the popular culture of Venetian society too often neglected in the depiction of life in this Renaissance republic. Davis allows the reader to gain a more complete understanding of the various dynamic forces at work in the social and cultural world of the 'Queen of the Adriatic.' This well-written and intriguing study will be of interest to both cultural and social historians not only of Venice, but sixteenth-century society as a whole. Davis contributes to our further understanding of the complexity of this unique republic at a moment when it enjoyed the reputation of stability and tranquility among the Italian city-states of the Renaissance."--Sixteenth Century Journal
"In this fascinating and well written book Robert Davis opens up a surprisingly new and challenging vision of the social world and violent life of late Renaissance Venice from the apparently humble and insignificant perspective of regular battles waged by artisans and lower class toughs forthe honor of dominating certain bridges in the city. This book can be read as an exciting example of the new social/cultural history, as a stimulating prototype of microhistory, as a rather different direction to take the history of sport, or simply as an intriguing read on the complex and stillsurprisingly unknown world of everyday life in the early modern period. Not only is this history that is fun to read and think about, it is history that will be most intriguing to build upon."--Guido Ruggiero, University of Connecticut
"In this fascinating and well written book Robert Davis opens up asurprisingly new and challenging vision of the social world and violent life oflate Renaissance Venice from the apparently humble and insignificant perspectiveof regular battles waged by artisans and lower class toughs for the honor ofdominating certain bridges in the city. This book can be read as an excitingexample of the new social/cultural history, as a stimulating prototype ofmicrohistory, as a rather different direction to take the history of sport, orsimply as an intriguing read on the complex and still surprisingly unknown worldof everyday life in the early modern period. Not only is this history that isfun to read and think about, it is history that will be most intriguing to buildupon."--Guido Ruggiero, University of Connecticut
"...Sheds valuable light on previously unexplored aspects of early modern Venetian society and raises intriguing questions about the relationship between elite and popular culture."--Renaissance Quarterly
"...Sheds valuable light on previously unexplored aspects of early modernVenetian society and raises intriguing questions about the relationship betweenelite and popular culture."--Renaissance Quarterly
"This is a fascinating evocation of the passions and behavior of the ordinary citizens of Renaissance Venice. Professor Davis vividly exposes the tensions that lay below the surface of that smoothly-functioning Republic, and suggests that the battles on the bridges provided an outlet for angerand rivalry that helped the Serenissima maintain its aura of social order and political calm. If topography and the involvement of all levels of society made Venice unique, this account nevertheless reveals the roots of modern public sports events in the confrontations, the maneuvers, and the formsof popular recreation that Davis here brings so colorfully to life."--Theodore K. Rabb, Princeton University
"This is a fascinating evocation of the passions and behavior of theordinary citizens of Renaissance Venice. Professor Davis vividly exposes thetensions that lay below the surface of that smoothly-functioning Republic, andsuggests that the battles on the bridges provided an outlet for anger andrivalry that helped the Serenissima maintain its aura of social order andpolitical calm. If topography and the involvement of all levels of society madeVenice unique, this account nevertheless reveals the roots of modern publicsports events in the confrontations, the maneuvers, and the forms of popularrecreation that Davis here brings so colorfully to life."--Theodore K. Rabb,Princeton University
"This study provides great insight into a characteristic of the popular culture of Venetian society too often neglected in the depiction of life in this Renaissance republic. Davis allows the reader to gain a more complete understanding of the various dynamic forces at work in the social andcultural world of the 'Queen of the Adriatic.' This well-written and intriguing study will be of interest to both cultural and social historians not only of Venice, but sixteenth-century society as a whole. Davis contributes to our further understanding of the complexity of this unique republic ata moment when it enjoyed the reputation of stability and tranquility among the Italian city-states of the Renaissance."--Sixteenth Century Journal
"This study provides great insight into a characteristic of the popularculture of Venetian society too often neglected in the depiction of life in thisRenaissance republic. Davis allows the reader to gain a more completeunderstanding of the various dynamic forces at work in the social and culturalworld of the 'Queen of the Adriatic.' This well-written and intriguing studywill be of interest to both cultural and social historians not only of Venice,but sixteenth-century society as a whole. Davis contributes to our furtherunderstanding of the complexity of this unique republic at a moment when itenjoyed the reputation of stability and tranquility among the Italiancity-states of the Renaissance."--Sixteenth Century Journal
This item was reviewed in:
Choice,
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Summaries
Long Description
The War of the Fists explores early modern Venetian society through the lens of the festive combat which involved all classes, but especially the city's more marginal workers. It employs four different topical approaches: the social geography of Venetian factionalism; the structure of combat itself; the festive world which grew up around the encounters, providing workers with an alternative society of their own; and the response of the Venetian patriciate, government and police tothis largely uncontrollable, plebeian entertainment.
Long Description
The War of the Fists is a study of seventeenth-century worker culture in the city of Venice, focusing on the mock battles, or battagliole, which the town's two popular factions waged on public bridges. These "little battles" were partly festive battle, partly sport, and partly thinly veiled plebeian mayhem: they could involve as many as a thousand fighters on each side and attracted crowds of thirty thousand or more. Their importance in the city's plebeian life makes bridge battles an extremely valuable point of entry for exploring structures of Venetian popular culture, a task which Robert Davis attempts at four levels: the social geography of Venetian factionalism; the combat itself, and its relationship to social culture; the festive world which grew up around the encounters; and the response of Venice's patrician state to this largely uncontrollable worker celebration. From the study there emerges a popular world often surprisingly rich: with plebeian honor, status, and neighborhood loyalties that flourished in parallel and sometimes in competition with a patrician domination of urban life at the city's geographic center. In a sense, these encounters represented popular culture "in the making," as Venice's marginal classes fashioned out of apparent chaos the ritual structures they needed to satisfy social needs that otherwise went unmet in their aristocratic state. As a microhistory that uses Venetian bridge battles as a key to understanding many facets of popular society, The War of the Fists will be of interest to social historians and historical anthropologists, as well as historians of urban society, gender, workers, sports, social geography, popular art and culture, and the absolutist state.
Main Description
"The War of the Fists" is a study of 17th-century worker culture in the city of Venice, focusing on the mock battles, or "battagliole," which the towns two popular factions waged on public bridges. Their importance in the citys plebeian life makes bridge battles an extremely valuable point of entry for exploring structures of Venetian popular culture, a task which Robert Davis attempts at several levels.
Main Description
The War of the Fists is a study of seventeenth-century worker culture in the city of Venice, focusing on the mock battles, or battagliole, which the town's two popular factions waged on public bridges. These "little battles" were partly festive battle, partly sport, and partly thinly veiledplebeian mayhem: they could involve as many as a thousand fighters on each side and attracted crowds of thirty thousand or more. Their importance in the city's plebeian life makes bridge battles an extremely valuable point of entry for exploring structures of Venetian popular culture, a task whichRobert Davis attempts at four levels: the social geography of Venetian factionalism; the combat itself, and its relationship to social culture; the festive world which grew up around the encounters; and the response of Venice's patrician state to this largely uncontrollable worker celebration. From the study there emerges a popular world often surprisingly rich: with plebeian honor, status, and neighborhood loyalties that flourished in parallel and sometimes in competition with a patrician domination of urban life at the city's geographic center. In a sense, these encountersrepresented popular culture "in the making," as Venice's marginal classes fashioned out of apparent chaos the ritual structures they needed to satisfy social needs that otherwise went unmet in their aristocratic state. As a microhistory that uses Venetian bridge battles as a key to understanding many facets of popular society, The War of the Fists will be of interest to social historians and historical anthropologists, as well as historians of urban society, gender, workers, sports, social geography, popularart and culture, and the absolutist state.
Main Description
The War of the Fists is a study of seventeenth-century worker culture in the city of Venice, focusing on the mock battles, or battagliole , which the town's two popular factions waged on public bridges. These "little battles" were partly festive battle, partly sport, and partly thinly veiled plebeian mayhem: they could involve as many as a thousand fighters on each side and attracted crowds of thirty thousand or more. Their importance in the city's plebeian life makes bridge battles an extremely valuable point of entry for exploring structures of Venetian popular culture, a task which Robert Davis attempts at four levels: the social geography of Venetian factionalism; the combat itself, and its relationship to social culture; the festive world which grew up around the encounters; and the response of Venice's patrician state to this largely uncontrollable worker celebration. From the study there emerges a popular world often surprisingly rich: with plebeian honor, status, and neighborhood loyalties that flourished in parallel and sometimes in competition with a patrician domination of urban life at the city's geographic center. In a sense, these encounters represented popular culture "in the making," as Venice's marginal classes fashioned out of apparent chaos the ritual structures they needed to satisfy social needs that otherwise went unmet in their aristocratic state. As a microhistory that uses Venetian bridge battles as a key to understanding many facets of popular society, The War of the Fists will be of interest to social historians and historical anthropologists, as well as historians of urban society, gender, workers, sports, social geography, popular art and culture, and the absolutist state.
Unpaid Annotation
"The War of the Fists" is a study of 17th-century worker culture in the city of Venice, focusing on the mock battles, or "battagliole", which the town's two popular factions waged on public bridges. Their importance in the city's plebeian life makes bridge battles an extremely valuable point of entry for exploring structures of Venetian popular culture, a task which Robert Davis attempts at several levels.
Table of Contents
Introduction: The Chronicler's Artp. 3
Why Bridges?p. 13
Castellani and Nicolottip. 19
A World of Factionp. 32
Horatius on the Bridgep. 47
The Art of the Pugnip. 49
The Battle for the Bridgep. 72
The Lords of the Bridgesp. 78
The Spoils of Warp. 89
The Honor of Working Menp. 90
Naming and Belongingp. 109
The Pride of the Neighborhoodp. 117
The View from the Balconyp. 129
The Pastime of Aristocratsp. 131
The Pugni Out of Controlp. 140
The Ambiguities of Absolutismp. 155
Epilogue: The End of the Pugnip. 165
Notesp. 173
Bibliographyp. 219
Indexp. 227
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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