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Absolutism in Renaissance MilanPlenitude of Power under the Visconti and the Sforza 1329-1535$
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Jane Black

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199565290

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199565290.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 27 February 2021

Plenitude of Power in Practice: Preserving Justice while Infringing Rights

Plenitude of Power in Practice: Preserving Justice while Infringing Rights

(p.114) Chapter 5 Plenitude of Power in Practice: Preserving Justice while Infringing Rights
Absolutism in Renaissance Milan

Jane Black

Oxford University Press

How the rulers of Milan contrived to disregard laws and rights while still maintaining a reputation for justice is addressed here. The Visconti reputation for justice is explored. The practical usage of absolute power is described: it was employed to undermine individual rights in defending the regime from opposition; it was invoked to issue pardons, to overrule court judgments, to make good legal defects in a decree or concession, and to repeal existing laws. Skilfully composed preambles could make the overruling of laws and rights appear as a higher form of justice. The fifteenth century saw the use of the phrase plenitude of absolute power, which also acquired its own conventions. The requirement to articulate a just cause provided an opportunity for the government to parade its championship of justice, even as basic rights were being infringed.

Keywords:   Visconti justice, plenitude of absolute power, pardons, legal defects

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