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9. Palermo in the 14th–15th Century: The Urban Society

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Chapter Summary

The chronological limits of this essay cannot be fixed with absolute precision, since they are determined by the type of perspective we choose to adopt regarding the "social" world of a great city. The importance of the Vespers for the argument therefore lies in its major consequence, namely, in the formation, together with a new and smaller Kingdom, of a different institutional structure, in which the urban "peripheries", took on a more prominent, and more independent function than in the past. In this context Palermo location within the royal demesne is beyond dispute: in the sources, emphasis is often laid upon the specificity of the Palermitan urban space as demesnial space, distinct from feudal and ecclesiastical space alike. Some urbanistic interventions conferred new signs of recognition upon it and sanctioned the shifting of its epicentre northwards and towards the sea.

Keywords: ecclesiastical space; Palermo; urban space; Vespers



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