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Humanism and EmpireThe Imperial Ideal in Fourteenth-Century Italy$
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Alexander Lee

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199675159

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199675159.001.0001

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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: 24 September 2021

Communes, Signori, and Empire

Communes, Signori, and Empire

(c.1260–c.1335)

Chapter:
(p.31) 1 Communes, Signori, and Empire
Source:
Humanism and Empire
Author(s):

Alexander Lee

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780199675159.003.0002

In the sixth canto of the Purgatorio, Dante Alighieri lamented the pitiable condition of Italy. Though once the donna di provincie, it was now the ‘dwelling place of sorrow’. Bereft of peace, its cities were wracked by constant strife. Attributing this to the absence of imperial governance, he called on Albert of Habsburg to right Italy’s woes with all haste. As this chapter shows, the earliest humanists embraced the imperial cause for much the same reasons. Although aware of the condition of the regnum Italicum, they were concerned primarily with the affairs of individual cities, and used their classical learning to rationalize the character of urban life. Worn down by civil strife, they too called upon kings and emperors to restore their peace and liberty. But while some associated the Empire with signorial government, the most striking and persistent appeals to imperial authority came from humanists living under communal regimes.

Keywords:   humanism, communes, signori, Padua, Vicenza, Milan, Lovato de’ Lovati, Albertino Mussato, Stefanardo da Vimercate, Ferreto de’ Ferreti

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