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Level 5

5AAH2001 Friends. Political Bonds in Late Medieval & Renaissance Italy (1300-1550)

Credit value:30

Module convenor/tutor (2018/19): Dr Serena Ferente
Teaching pattern: 20 x 2-hour seminars (weekly)
Availability: Please see module list for relevant year
Assessment: 1 x 3 hour examination (60%), 2 x 2,000 word essays (15% each) & 1 x oral presentation (10%)

Students are reassessed in the failed elements of assessment by the following methods: 1 x 3 hour examination (60%); 2 x 2,000 word essays (15% each); 1 x 1500 word essay (10%)

N.B. This module cannot be taken in conjunction with 5AAH1028 due to possible overlap of content.

The modules offered in each academic year are subject to change in line with staff availability and student demand: there is no guarantee every module will run. Module descriptions and information may vary between years.

Friendship was a crucial political bond in medieval Europe. It lay at the core of social and political groupings that have long interested historians as well as social scientists. This paper will analyse and compare forms of political friendship in late medieval and Renaissance Italy by looking at episodes and practices of political conflict. During the period 1300-1550 Italian women and men confronted unprecedented natural calamities, endemic warfare, and increasing taxation; they also developed doubts about the legitimacy of their rulers and new ideas about the order of the world. We will meet angry wool carders and persecuted monks, implacable mothers and irresolute patricians through stories of feuds, factional strife, and revolts in the cities and in the country. We will examine stable and inclusive party structures and compare them with more fluid, changing political configurations. The observations of contemporaries such as Dante, Marsilius of Padua, Bartolus of Saxoferrato, Bernardino of Siena, or Machiavelli will illuminate our cases and help us to test the explanatory value of categories such as patronage, class, or identity for the study of late medieval European society.

Provisional teaching plan

Semester 1

1. Introduction: Friendship and Politics
2. Princes in a Republic I: Florence and the Medici
3. Princes in a Republic II: from Cosimo to Lorenzo
4. The Florentine Republic Restored
5. New Princes: the Sforza
6. King and Nobility: the Aragonese
7. Republic and Oligarchy: Venice
8. Universal Monarchy: the Papacy
9. Empires: Venice and Genoa in the Eastern Mediterranean
10. Political Legitimacy: consensus and resistance 

Semester 2

11. Family I: Families and 'Clans'
12. Family II: The State and Marriage
13. Class I: the Ciompi
14. Class II: Patricians
15. Friendship and Feud
16. Party Friendship I: Guelphs and Ghibellines
17. Party Friendship II: the Medici Party
18. Religious Friendship: the Savonarolan Movement
19. Friendship and commerce: 'Genoese, ergo merchant'
20. Friendship among states: diplomacy 

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