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Political and Legal Sources

Key Reading

Cohen, T. V. and E. S. Cohen, Words and Deeds in Renaissance Rome: Trials before the Papal Magistrates (Toronto, 1993), Introduction AND Chapter 3: 'Ottavia and her music teacher'


Seminar Questions

  • Why and how were political and legal sources produced in the Renaissance?
  • To what degree do they reflect some people’s voices more than others?
  • What are the particular challenges of using these sources?
  • How do archives organise and shape knowledge?

Secondary Reading

Benadusi, G., “Investing the Riches of the Poor: Domestic Women and their Last Wills,” American Historical Review, 109.3 (2004): 805-826.

Black, C., The Italian Inquisition (New Haven, 2009).

Burke, P., Social History of Knowledge: from Gutenberg to Diderot (Cambridge, 2000).

Burke, P., 'Classifying the people: the census as collective representation', in The Historical Anthropology of Early Modern Italy (Cambridge, 1987)

Burns, K., "Notaries, Truth, and Consequences", American Historical Review 110:2 (2005): 350-79.

Castiglione, C., "Adversarial Literacy: How Peasant Politics Influenced Noble Governing of the Roman Countryside during the Early Modern Period", American Historical Review 109:3 (2004).

Chojnacki, S., Women and men in Renaissance Venice: twelve essays on patrician society (Baltimore, 2000) (makes good use of wills and government records to examine questions of gender and agency in Renaissance Venice)

Cohen, E. S., 'She Said, He Said: Situated Oralities in Judicial Records from Early Modern Rome', Journal of Early Modern History 16/4-5 (2012), 403-30

Cohen, T. V., Love and Death in Renaissance Italy (Chicago, 2004)

Cohen, T.V., "Reflections on Retelling a Renaissance Murder" History and Theory, 41:4 (2002): 6-16.

Cohen, T.V., "Three Forms of Jeopardy: Honor, Pain and Truth-telling in a Sixteenth-Century Italian Courtroom" Sixteenth Century Journal XXIX/4 (1998): 975-998.

Cohn, S.K. jr., Women in the streets: essays on sex and power in Renaissance Italy (Baltimore, 1996).

Cohn, S.K. jr., The cult of remembrance and the Black Death: Six Renaissance cities in central Italy (Baltimore, 1997).

Cohn, S.K. jr., 'Renaissance attachment to things: material culture in last wills and testaments', Economic History Review, 65.3 (2012), 984-1004.

Dayton, C. H., "Rethinking Agency, Recovering Voices", American Historical Review 109:3 (2004): 827-842.

Dean, T., Crime and justice in late medieval Italy (Cambridge, 2007).

Dean, T. and K.J.P. Lowe (eds), Crime, society and the law in Renaissance Italy (Cambridge, 1994).

De Vivo, F., “Ordering the archive in early modern Venice (1400-1650)”, Archival Science 10:3 (2010): 231-248.

Ginzburg, C., The Cheese and the Worms: The Cosmos of a Sixteenth-Century Miller (London, 1992).

Ginzburg, C., The night battles: witchcraft & agrarian cults in the sixteenth & seventeenth centuries, translated by John & Anne Tedeschi (Baltimore, 1992) [this also includes two translated trials that could be used as primary sources]

Herlihy, D. and C. Klapisch-Zuber, Tuscans and their families: a study of the Florentine catasto of 1427 (New Haven, 1985)

Kuehn, T., Law, family, and women: toward a legal anthropology of Renaissance Italy (Chicago, 1991).

Nussdorfer, L., Brokers of Public Trust: Notaries in Early Modern Rome (Baltimore, 2009).

Padgett, J. F, "Open Elite? Social Mobility, Marriage, and Family in Florence, 1282–1494", Renaissance Quarterly 63 (2010): 357-411. - see also other papers by Padgett here.

Petitions in Social History, Special Issue of International Review of Social History 49, supp. 9 (2001).

Polverini Fosi, Irene, Papal Justice : Subjects and Courts in the Papal State, 1500-1750, trans. Thomas V. Cohen (Washington, D.C., 2011)

Pullan, B., "A Ship with Two Rudders: Righetto Mararano and the Inquisition in Venice", The Historical Journal 20 (1977): 25-58.

Queller, D. E., "The Development of Ambassadorial Relazioni", In J. R. Hale (ed.), Renaissance Venice (London, 1973), 174-196.

Raines, D., 'The Private Political Archives of the Venetian Patriciate – Storing, Retrieving and Recordkeeping in the Fifteenth-Eighteenth Centuries', Journal of the Society of Archivists 32 (2011), 135-46.

Shaw, J., "Market Ethics and Credit Practices in Sixteenth-Century Tuscany", Renaissance Studies (2012).

Shaw, J., "Writing to the Prince: Supplications, Equity, and Absolutism in Sixteenth-Century Tuscany", Past & Present (2012).

Steedman, C. "The space of memory: in an archive," History of the Human Sciences 11.4 (1998) : 65-83.

Tedeschi, J., The prosecution of heresy: collected studies on the Inquisition in early modern Italy (Binghamton, NY, 1991).

Varanini, G.M., "Public written records", in A. Gamberini and I. Lazzarini (eds), The Italian Renaissance State (Cambridge, 2012), 385-405.

Wray, S. K. and R. Cossar, "Wills as primary sources", in J.T. Rosenthal (ed.), Understanding Medieval Primary Sources (Abingdon, 2012), 59-71.

Zemon Davis, N., Fiction in the archives: pardon tales and their tellers in sixteenth-century France (Cambridge, 1987).

Primary Sources

Azzolini, M., and I. Lazzarini (eds), Italian Renaissance Diplomacy: A Sourcebook (Durham, NC, 2017)

Brucker, G., ed., The Society of Renaissance Florence: A Documentary Study (Toronto, 1998)

Chambers, D., ed. and trans., Patrons and Artists in the Italian Renaissance (London, 1970)

Chambers, D., B. Pullan, and J. Fletcher, eds. and trans., Venice: A Documentary History, 1450-1630 (Toronto, 2001)

Chojnacka, M. and M. E. Wiesner-Hanks (eds), Ages of woman, ages of man: sources in European social history, 1400-1750 (London, 2002).

Dean, T., The towns of Italy in the later Middle Ages (Manchester, 2000).

Del Col, A. (ed.), Domenico Scandella, Known as Mennochio: His Trials Before the Inquisition (1583-1599), trans. John & Anne C. Tedeschi (Tempe, AZ, 1997).

Gilbert., C. E., Italian Art, 1400-1500: Sources and Documents (Evanston, Ill., 1992)

Jansen, K. L., J. Drell, and F. Andrews (eds), Medieval Italy: texts in translation (Philadelphia, 2009).

The Florentine Catasto of 1427

Primary Sources on the History of Copyright, 1450-1900

Calendar of State Papers - concerning English affairs in the Archives of Venice