1_Florence_History_12th_through_14th_Centuries.docx

1_Florence_History_12th_through_14th_Centuries.docx - Tu e...

Info icon This preview shows pages 1–2. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
T u e s d a y , M a y 3 1 , 2 0 1 6 P a g e | 1 HISTORY OF FLORENCE 12-14 TH C. THE PERIOD OF THE "COMMUNES" When Countess Matilda died in 1115 the Florentine populace to all effects already constituted a Commune. The numerous privileges conceded by her and the events in which the Florentine community had played a leading role in the struggle against the emperor, induced the people to organize autonomously and to undertake action aimed at weakening imperial power. It was therefore inevitable that in 1125, upon the death of the last emperor of the Franconian dynasty, Henry V, the Florentines decided to attack and destroy Fiesole, the neighboring rival city. As a result the two counties were conclusively united and remained as separate entities only on an ecclesiastic level with Fiesole maintaining its own diocese. The first mention of an officially constituted Commune dates to 1138, when at a meeting of the Tuscan cities it was decided to constitute a League, for fear that Henry the Proud who had in precedence oppressed them as imperial legate might be elected emperor. At that time the community wasmade up of religious and secular representatives, with three dominant social groups: the nobles, grouped into consorterie, the merchants, and the horse soldiers, the backbone of the army. Although the nobles held most of the power in the 12th century, it was nevertheless mainly the merchants who were responsible for the growth of the city. The rise of the merchants accelerated in the second half of the century, as trade with distant countries was intensified and became a new and much richer source for the accumulation of capital. Extensive trade and its inseparable companion, credit, were the basis for the economic and demographic expansion of the city. This process of expansion underwent a temporary halt when Frederick Barbarossa advanced south into Italy. In 1185 the emperor even deprived the city of its contado [countryside] [countryside] and restored the marquisate of Tuscany, but the provision had a brief life. In 1197, taking advantage of the death of Barbarossa's successor, Henry VI, Florence regained control of her contado [countryside]. Clear evidence of the power Florence had acquired in the course of the 12th century is to be found in the expansion of its urban territory. All around the circle of Matilda's walls, in correspondence to the gates, populous suburbs had sprung up. In 1172 the Commune therefore decided to enlarge the city walls and incorporate the newest districts. The perimeter of the new city walls, raised in barely two years, from 1173 to 1175, was twice that of the "old circle" and enclosed an area that was three times as great. As far as the suburbs across the Arno were concerned, it was not until later that they were fortified, even though a small part of the "Oltrarno" was enclosed in the walls as early as 1173-1175. As a result the Arno became an infrastructure within the city, as a communications route, a source of energy and a water supply for industries.
Image of page 1

Info icon This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Image of page 2
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern