Second edition. A comprehensive survey of historical literature produced in Italy during the Renaissance; a major contribution which discusses hundreds of authors who wrote in Latin or Italian in all parts of Italy during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.
John Gagné Harvard University Press, 2020 Library of Congress DG657.8.G34 2021 | Dewey Decimal 945.206
A new history of how one of the Renaissance’s preeminent cities lost its independence in the Italian Wars.
In 1499, the duchy of Milan had known independence for one hundred years. But the turn of the sixteenth century saw the city battered by the Italian Wars. As the major powers of Europe battled for supremacy, Milan, viewed by contemporaries as the “key to Italy,” found itself wracked by a tug-of-war between French claimants and its ruling Sforza family. In just thirty years, the city endured nine changes of government before falling under three centuries of Habsburg dominion.
John Gagné offers a new history of Milan’s demise as a sovereign state. His focus is not on the successive wars themselves but on the social disruption that resulted. Amid the political whiplash, the structures of not only government but also daily life broke down. The very meanings of time, space, and dynasty—and their importance to political authority—were rewritten. While the feudal relationships that formed the basis of property rights and the rule of law were shattered, refugees spread across the region. Exiles plotted to claw back what they had lost.
Milan Undone is a rich and detailed story of harrowing events, but it is more than that. Gagné asks us to rethink the political legacy of the Renaissance: the cradle of the modern nation-state was also the deathbed of one of its most sophisticated precursors. In its wake came a kind of reversion—not self-rule but chaos and empire.
The beginnings of the state in Europe is a central topic of contemporary historical research. The making of such early modern Italian regional states as Florence, the kingdom of Naples, Milan, and Venice exemplifies a decisive turn in the state tradition of Western Europe.
The Origins of the State in Italy, 1300-1600 represents the best in American, British, and Italian scholarship and offers a valuable and critical overview of the key problems of the emergence of the state in Europe. Some of the topics covered include the political legitimacy of the aborning regional states, the changing legal culture, the conflict between church and state, the forces shaping public finances, and the creation of the Italian League.
The eight essays in this collection originally appeared in the Journal of Modern History. Contributors include Roberto Bizzocchi, Giorgio Chittolini, Trevor Dean, Riccardo Fubini, Elena Fasano Guarini, Aldo Mazzacane, Anthony Molho, and Pierangelo Schiera. This volume will appeal to historians, historical sociologists, and historians of political thought.