A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century by Barbara W. Tuchman

By Barbara W. Tuchman

The 14th century supplies us again contradictory photographs: a glittering time of crusades and castles, cathedrals and chivalry, and a gloomy time of ferocity and religious discomfort, an international plunged right into a chaos of conflict, worry and the Plague. Barbara Tuchman anatomizes the century, revealing either the good rhythms of historical past and the grain and texture of family lifestyles because it was once lived.

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14 These are powerful and persuasive arguments, but they contain difficulties and problems which need to be recognised. First, it is important to note that legal historians who have adopted the processual approach tend 12 13 14 Vallerani, ‘L’amministrazione della giustizia a Bologna’, pp. 304–5. A. Zorzi, ‘Conflits et pratiques infrajudiciaires dans les formations politiques italiennes du xiiie au xve si`ecle’, in L’ infrajudiciaire du Moyen Age a` l’´epoque contemporaine, ed. B. Garnot (Dijon, 1996), pp.

G. Marri Camerani (Florence, 1946), p. 201; Statuta patavina (Venice, 1528), fol. 100v (1329); Antiqua ducum Mediolani decreta (Milan, 1644), pp. 4–5 (1351). And see Statuti di Belluno del 1392, ed. E. Bacchetti (Rome, 2002), p. 280. 34 Statutes thus allowed judges to switch between different methods of prosecution, or ordered them to proceed in both methods at the same time. It has to be acknowledged that statements from lawyers and lawmakers do not tell us about actual practice, but they do reveal an evolution in attitudes.

Ginatempo and L. Sandri, L’Italia delle citt`a. Il popolamento urbano tra Medioevo e Rinascimento (secoli XIII–XVI) (Florence, 1990), pp. 70–2, 75, 85, 106, 109, 112. I. Scovazzi and F. , Savona, 1926–8), vol. 3, pp. 228–56. Trial records 35 moment of peace in a period marked by uprisings and warfare, in which Savona’s room for manoeuvre was constrained by its dependent relation on its close and powerful neighbour, Genoa. Savona had experienced a popular rising in 1345, and then in 1354 followed Genoa in surrendering to the Visconti of Milan.

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