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Oligarchy: Councils Of The Commune

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Chapter Summary

Historians of Florence and Venice have argued that closure took place in those societies in the late thirteenth century and led to the formation of oligarchies that endured for centuries. But in the last decade the appropriateness of applying the concept of oligarchy to the medieval communes, paralleling the appearance of critiques of the theoretical orthodoxy of elitism described above, has also become controversial. The arguments in favor of and in opposition to the existence of oligarchies in the late medieval commune also parallel and relate closely to interpretations of the magnate-popolo struggle. The elite families are outside the popolo and guild republicanism: "At different times in diff erent places, most communes underwent the revolution of the popolo - the rise to power of coalitions of nonelite (emphasis added) merchants, notaries, artisans, and shopkeepers organized in guilds and federations of guilds"..

Keywords: commune; florence; Oligarchy; popolo; thirteenth century; venice



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