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Political Conflict in Medieval Cities

This book offers a new approach to the study of urban political conflict and revolt of interest beyond medieval studies and provides an in-depth comparative study of six cities in Italy and the Southern Low Countries

The Logic of Political Conflict in Medieval Cities. Italy and the Southern Low Countries, 1370-1440
By Patrick Lantschner
Series: Oxford Historical Monographs
ISBN: 9780198734635


The Logic of Political Conflict CoverThis volume traces the logic of urban political conflict in late medieval Europe’s most heavily urbanized regions, Italy and the Southern Low Countries. The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries are often associated with the increasing consolidation of states, but at the same time they also saw high levels of political conflict and revolt in cities that themselves were a lasting heritage of this period. In often radically different ways, conflict constituted a crucial part of political life in the six cities studied for this book: Bologna, Florence, and Verona, as well as Liege, Lille, and Tournai. The Logic of Political Conflict in Medieval Cities argues that such conflicts, rather than subverting ordinary political life, were essential features of the political systems that developed in cities. Conflicts were embedded in a polycentric political order characterized by multiple political units and bases of organization, ranging from guilds to external agencies.

In this multi-faceted and shifting context, late medieval city dwellers developed particular strategies of legitimating conflict, diverse modes of behaviour, and various forms of association through which conflict could be addressed. At the same time, different configurations of these political units gave rise to distinct systems of conflict which varied from city to city. Across all these cities, conflict gave rise to a distinct form of political organization-and represents the nodal point around which this political and social history of cities is written.


Part I: Conflict in a Polycentric Political Order
1. Legitimating Political Conflict
2. Modes of Political Conflict
3. Action Groups
Part II: Urban Systems of Conflict
4. Systems of Conflict: An Overview
5. Bologna and Liege: Volatile Systems of Conflict
6. Florence and Tournai: Constitutional Systems of Conflict
7. Lille and Verona: Contained Systems of Conflict


Patrick Lantschner is Junior Research Fellow, Merton College, University of Oxford

Patrick Lantschner studied at Oxford and Pisa, and is from the South Tyrol, a multilingual region in Northern Italy. He has published on cities in Europe and the Islamic world in the Middle Ages, and is broadly interested in societies in which the state is but one of a number of players. He takes a keen interest in comparative and transnational history, and has worked with scholars from anthropology, law, and oriental studies.