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A provincial elite in early modern Tuscany : family and power in the creation of the state /
Giovanna Benadusi.
Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996.
xiii, 259 p. : ill., map ; 24 cm.
080185248X (acid-free paper)
More Details
Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996.
080185248X (acid-free paper)
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. [205]-252) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1996-12-01:
In her study of the emergence of the early modern state from the 15th to the 18th century, Benadusi has selected the provincial town of Poppi (in the Casentino in the east of Florence) to center her work. Benadusi argues that the local elite of Poppi in the 15th century consisted of families of shopkeepers, wool producers, landholders, notaries, and military officers. Instead of resisting the curtailment of local autonomy under the influence of the capital city, these families accepted the situation and used it to consolidate their hold over the most important local offices. Gradually their economic basis changed to accommodate their advancing status: artisanal and merchant activities gave way to the acquisition of land and the pursuit of careers in law, church, and the military. In this process, the family remained the central focus. To preserve family influence, the introduction of primogeniture was delayed and, in the frequent lack of male heirs, female inheritance was the vehicle through which the family holdings were kept intact, the heiress's husband assuming the name of the holding and gaining admittance to local office. Hence the Poppi elite, instead of gravitating toward the central city to gain status, remained in Poppi and consolidated its status there. Graduate, faculty. K. F. Drew Rice University
Review Quotes
"A useful... discussion of a local elite... The author argues suggestively that there was a trade-off between Florentine control over criminal justice and an increasing likelihood for men from Poppi to serve as minor officers in the Ducal militia, which helped them to retain local control. In contrast to assumptions by historians that rpovincial elites adjusted to central authority by migrating to capitals and seeking bureaucratic or court offices, the Poppi families survived by staying where they were."-- Journal of Interdisciplinary History
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, December 1996
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Main Description
In this groundbreaking study of the interaction between familial strategies of Tuscan provincial families and the politics of the Florentine government, Giovanna Benadusi offers a new understanding of the social formation of the early modern state. The development of the modern state is a central theme of Renaissance and early modern European historiography, and the Florentine state was one of the first to create new state institutions, challenge municipal powers, and develop a new centralized political system. By incorporating into her account the families of shopkeepers, wool producers, landholders, notaries, and military officers who lived in the outlying town of Poppi, southeast of Florence, as integral contributors to state formation, Benadusi not only provides a vivid look at the ways power and resistance operated at the everyday level of social relations but also redefines the context and the participants in state formation. Benadusi shows how changes in matrimonial and patrimonial politics as well as in the financial, political, and professional strategies of provincial families combined with the politics of central rulers to preserve socio-economic and political hegemony and to consolidate the structures of the state. Women contributed to the success of this partnership, she argues, although they were affected differently by it, and, in the end, state consolidation occurred at the expense of their status. In the process of consolidating the state, Benadusi concludes, local families and central rulers redefined concepts of power and domination which conditioned political evolution along social and gender lines.
Table of Contents
List of Figures and Tables
Abbreviations and Dates
Introductionp. 1
The Local Setting: Poppi and the Casentinop. 14
The Emergence of Ruling Families: Patterns of Office Holdingp. 31
Dynamics of Power and Authority: Poppi and Florencep. 53
The Wool Industry and Its Crisisp. 78
Bureaucrats and Notariesp. 97
Strategies of Matrimonyp. 113
Patterns of Landownershipp. 138
The Army; A Career for Successp. 163
Strategies of Patrimonyp. 176
Conclusionp. 190
Appendix on Sourcesp. 199
Notesp. 205
Indexp. 253
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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