Italians in the City of Cracow’s Authorities in the Sixteenth to Eighteenth Centuries

Zdzisław Noga

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12775/APH.2019.119.11

Abstract


The article discusses the participation of Italians in the town council and the judicial bench being local government authorities of the city of Cracow in the early modern period. As many as seventy-four Italians (this standing for 14 per cent of all the councillors and 8 per cent assessors or lay judges) are identifiable for the period in question; nineteen of them concluded their careers with the office of assessors, never getting ranked to councillor. While most of them were merchants by profession, as many as five councillors held a doctor’s degree. Italians were the most influential ethnic group in the council in the latter half of the seventeenth century and in the former half of the eighteenth, when in certain years the council-in-office, elected annually and consisting of eight members, featured as many as four Italians at the same time. Similarly, a considerable share of Italians in the judicial bench (almost 50 per cent) is observed for the first half of the eighteenth century; the detailed statistics is featured in the tables appended. Over 20 per cent of the families that accepted the municipal law in the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries obtained at least one of these offices. The share of Italians in Cracow’s local-government administration at that time, incommensurate with the actual size of local Italian population, is explainable by their larger interest in pursuing municipal career opportunities. In the medieval period, and even under the reign of Queen Bona Sforza, a number of Italians demonstrated different economic strategies. They satisfied themselves with the royal privilege of servitoriate, counted on fast moneymaking and expected to return home sooner or later. In the later years, most of the Cracow-based Italians were well assimilated and preferred to settle down in the city.


Keywords


Italians; Cracow; town council; judicial bench; local government; multiethnic city

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