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The Medieval City: City Air Makes One Free. The Culture of Cities Monday, February 27/2006. SOSC 2730. Selected Civilizations. Troyes, France. A Medieval Trade Centre. Count Henri I “Le Liberal” (1152-81). major construction work was undertaken

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The medieval city city air makes one free

The Medieval City:City Air Makes One Free

The Culture of Cities

Monday, February 27/2006

SOSC 2730

Troyes france

Troyes, France

A Medieval Trade Centre

Count henri i le liberal 1152 81
Count Henri I “Le Liberal” (1152-81)

  • major construction work was undertaken

    • enlarging the ramparts, new canals, a new palace

  • new churches built

    • Sainte Madeleine, Saint Nicolas, Saint Pantaléon

  • new gates welcomed European merchants

  • the Count and the Countess Marie encouraged a new artistic trend

    • Chrestien de Troyes and other scholars, artists, theologians were received at their Court

  • Marie became Regent for 13 years, until her death (1181-98)

  • 1190, first council of Troyes was created, managed by “bourgeois” and a mayor

Florence italy

Florence, Italy

Economic Consolidation


  • urban economic dominance

    • NSB Gras

      • trade

      • local, long-distance

      • manufacturing

      • finance

Florence italy1
Florence, Italy

  • Florence had rapidly become one of the foremost cities of Europe

  • Florence1250 a second-tier city rapidly on the rise

Florence italy2
Florence, Italy

  • bustling with a large immigrant population

  • new money

  • extensive new construction

  • growing wealth

  • expanding suburbs

Florence italy3
Florence, Italy

  • surpassing its rivals

    • Pisa, Arezzo, Siena, Lucca

  • economic & political prominence

  • 1300 population 100,000

  • only Paris was more populated

  • pace of demographic & economic growth was startling

Florence italy4
Florence, Italy

  • 1200 Florence had controlled little of its immediate countryside (contado)

  • in 50 years 1250-1300 this changed

  • banking companies

Florence italy5
Florence, Italy

  • by 1328 a series of political reforms

    • a more stable institutional structure created

  • the ruling elite that now governed the Commune was steadier than before

Florence italy6
Florence, Italy

  • by the 1320s Florence had become a centre for the manufacture of fine luxury textiles

  • a regime and civic culture bent on territorial expansion

Florence italy7
Florence, Italy

  • population swelled

    • newcomers from the countryside seeking employment in the large industrial enterprises

  • the streets seemed full of

    • poor, homeless, seasonally employed

  • 10% of the population was destitute in the midst of this growing prosperity

Florence italy8
Florence, Italy

  • Florentine culture

  • a paradox embedded in the religious environment of the city

    • pride in a prosperous Florence as a chosen city of God

    • disdain for the vices of greed & arrogance that had helped transform it so rapidly

Florence italy9
Florence, Italy

  • city divided between

    • rich & poor, insiders & outsiders

Florence italy10
Florence, Italy

  • how did this city — which in 1250 had scarcely expanded beyond the limits of the Roman walls—rapidly become by 1330 one of the most affluent, culturally dynamic, and politically powerful cities on the continent?

Florence italy11
Florence, Italy

  • its ability to dominate lesser cities militarily

    • its success at compelling Pisa to grant freedom of commerce into and out of its port (after 1254)

  • its close connections to the Roman papacy

  • its successful pursuit of a policy of “urban colonialism”

Florence italy12
Florence, Italy

  • its control of credit and capital flows that forced other communes into economic dependence

Florence italy13
Florence, Italy

  • two things developed in Florence & nowhere else in Tuscany

    • an advanced export-oriented textile industry

    • highly productive and efficient agricultural sector

Florence italy14
Florence, Italy

  • Florentine gold coin the florin

    • preferred currency of international trade

  • as a result

    • Florence controlled more of its surrounding territory than did Genoa or Venice

      • supplies of raw materials & labour

Florence italy15
Florence, Italy

  • Florentine merchants were apparently more prudent in their investments than were their counterparts

    • tended to counterbalance their riskier ventures with substantial expenditures in land

Florence italy16
Florence, Italy

  • Florentine Church, as an institution, had a role in this rapid and stunning transformation

  • 1250-1330 ecclesiastical institutions, personnel

    • promoted and facilitated the rapid ascent of Florence to a position of continental prominence & influence

Florence italy17
Florence, Italy

  • social and economic support to those who had been adversely affected by the transformation, those excluded from the prosperity associated with it

Florence italy18
Florence, Italy

  • significantly contributed to and benefited from the development of the region

    • food production, charity, shelter for the poor, the marginal,

    • urban development

The black death bubonic plague

The Black Death(Bubonic Plague)



  • labour shortages

    • beakdown of feudalism

  • beginnings of Western capitalism

    • accumulation of wealth

  • weakening of the Church

  • the role of cities strengthened