Medieval Ferrara in Discussions about Land Relations
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Medieval Ferrara in Discussions about Land Relations
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The article is devoted to the peculiarity of the development of medieval Ferrara, which is more often seen in its land relations, which is traced on the basis of works, involving discussion points on this subject (E. V. Bernadskaja, L. A. Kotelnikova, T. Dean). Ferrara stands out for its eccentricity even amid notable differences Italian local centres: it is the first city of North and Central Italy to produce a stable, three hundred years Signoria; a city where the feudal-vassalic bonds were a continuing presence and importance. It is a city with an urban economy which failed to generate the social and political framework typical of cities of its size and economic function. T. Dean marks it as a paradox, considering one of the unresolved issues in the history of Ferrara: although described by the chroniclers of the economic prosperity of the city in the 13th century, a mercantile aristocracy failed to develop; the guilds were not politically active nor at all prominent; and there was no organized popolo and consequently no popular, “anti-magnat” or “anti-feudal” legislation. After the establishment of the d'Este as signori the development of the economy of Ferrara was addressed to the agricultural sector, which is the main difference of this city. Another paradox stands in the comparison of the works devoted to the land relations of medieval Ferrara: a study of new contracts (in particular, such a unique contract, as usus) linking landowner and a free worker (tenant or employee) shows an early and significant development of market relations; while the study of the foundations of the power of the d'Este — feudal-vassalic and similar relations, says long-term conservation of the very nature of medieval society, such relationships of domination and subordination, which assumed a lump sum and power over people and power over the earth. Thus, further study of these problems on the material Ferrara can give significant results in the study of Western medieval self-organizing systems in the diversity of their concrete manifestations.
Medieval Ferrara; the debate about the crisis of feudalism in Northern Italy XII—XIV centuries
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