Aspects of Economic and Social Life in The Statute of the Commune of Cortona (1325)

Franco Franceschi

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12775/APH.2019.119.07

Abstract


An ancient Etruscan settlement located in the Valdichiana, along the border between Tuscany and Umbria, Cortona has attracted renewed interest over the last two decades among historians of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Falling into this line of research is the publication of the communal statute from 1325, when the government handed the reins of power to the seigneurial regime revolving around Ranieri Casali. In the same year, Cortona became an episcopal seat and thus also gained the status of a city proper. Through a careful analysis of this extraordinarily rich source, the article outlines the salient aspects of the city’s economy and society, with a focus on its environmental resources and urban activities, the distribution of wealth and its poor relief, the condition of women, and the topography of social relations. The picture that emerges from this analysis is that of a lively and dynamic city, arguably at the peak of its development, at a time when many urban centres in Italy and across Europe were already experiencing a downturn after the economic expansion of the Middle Ages.


Keywords


Cortona; Casali city lordship; city statute; crafts; guilds; wealth distribution; the condition of women; sociability

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References


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