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The Virtues of EconomyGovernance, Power, and Piety in Late Medieval Rome$
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James A. Palmer

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781501742378

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501742378.001.0001

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Ruin and Reality

Ruin and Reality

(p.13) Chapter 1 Ruin and Reality
The Virtues of Economy

James A. Palmer

Cornell University Press

This chapter discusses the structures and developments that paved the way for the transformation of the city of Rome in the late medieval period. It examines the Roman commune's political history, a history culminating in the mid-fourteenth-century revolution of Cola di Rienzo. In the wake of that event, Roman social and political values emerge with particular clarity, providing a glimpse of the cultural context within which the novel strategies of the late fourteenth-century ruling group emerged. Analysis of it elucidates the crossroads at which Roman politics had arrived by the late 1350s, clarifying the precise nature of the first of the two major challenges facing the city's ruling elite: the crisis of legitimacy. The chapter then considers the nature of humanist ideas about Rome and their enduring influence on subsequent studies of Rome, the Renaissance, and the rise of the modern state, the latter being a field in which the Papal States now figure prominently.

Keywords:   Rome, late medieval period, Roman commune, political history, Cola di Rienzo, Roman politics, ruling elite, legitimacy, humanist ideas, Renaissance

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