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Resources for the Study of Italy in the Middle Ages
Medieval Italy by
Publication Date: 2010
Medieval Italy gathers together an unparalleled selection of newly translated primary sources from the central and later Middle Ages, a period during which Italy was famous for its diverse cultural landscape of urban towers and fortified castles, the spirituality of Saints Francis and Clare, and the vernacular poetry of Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio. The texts highlight the continuities with the medieval Latin West while simultaneously emphasizing the ways in which Italy was exceptional, particularly for its cities that drove Mediterranean trade, its new communal forms of government, the impact of the papacy's temporal claims on the central peninsula, and the richly textured religious life of the mainland and its islands. A unique feature of this volume is its incorporation of the southern part of the peninsula and Sicily--the glittering Norman court at Palermo, the multicultural emporium of the south, and the kingdoms of Frederick II--into a larger narrative of Italian history. Including Hebrew, Arabic, Greek, and Lombard sources, the documents speak in ethnically and religiously differentiated voices, while providing wider chronological and geographical coverage than previously available. Rich in interdisciplinary texts and organized to enable the reader to focus by specific region, topic, or period, this is a volume that will be an essential resource for anyone with a professional or private interest in the history, religion, literature, politics, and built environment of Italy from ca. 1000 to 1400.
Nuns and Nunneries in Renaissance Florence by
Publication Date: 2009
The 15th century was a time of dramatic and decisive change for nuns and nunneries in Florence. In the course of that century, the city's convents evolved from small, semiautonomous communities to large civic institutions. By 1552, roughly one in eight Florentine women lived in a religious community. Historian Sharon T. Strocchia analyzes this stunning growth of female monasticism, revealing the important roles these women and institutions played in the social, economic, and political history of Renaissance Florence. It became common practice during this time for unmarried women in elite society to enter convents. This unprecedented concentration of highly educated and well-connected women transformed convents into sites of great patronage and social and political influence. As their economic influence also grew, convents found new ways of supporting themselves; they established schools, produced manuscripts, and manufactured textiles. Strocchia has mined previously untapped archival materials to uncover how convents shaped one of the principal cities of Renaissance Europe. She demonstrates the importance of nuns and nunneries to the booming Florentine textile industry and shows the contributions that ordinary nuns made to Florentine life in their roles as scribes, stewards, artisans, teachers, and community leaders. In doing so, Strocchia argues that the ideals and institutions that defined Florence were influenced in great part by the city's powerful female monastics. Nuns and Nunneries in Renaissance Florence shows for the first time how religious women effected broad historical change and helped write the grand narrative of medieval and Renaissance Europe. The book is a valuable text for students and scholars in early modern European history, religion, women's studies, and economic history.