“The field of finance”: War and Taxation in Holland, Flanders, and Brabant, 1572–85

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The Dutch province of Holland has solicited much research in the context of the link between war and political development, an important theme in early modern historiography. During the Dutch Revolt in the late sixteenth century it became the core and financial bedrock of a new, powerful, and very prosperous polity: the Dutch Republic. Why Flanders and Brabant, larger and traditionally wealthier, failed where Holland succeeded and were retaken by King Philip II’s army has never been explained.

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Empire and Medieval Simulacrum: A Political Project of Mercurino di Gattinara, Grand Chancellor of Charles V

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As the grand chancellor under Emperor Charles V, Mercurino di Gattinara (1465-1530) orchestrated the administration and the aims of the Spanish Empire. Claiming messianic status for Charles V, and supernatural powers for himself, Gattinara appropriated several fourteenth century sources such as Dante and Bartolus to establish political hegemony. More disturbingly, he embraced the irrational in the form of dreams, prophecies, and occult knowledge in a calculated effort to manipulate the emotions of his audience.

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Constitutional Thought and Practice in Early Sixteenth-Century France: Revisiting the Legacy of Ernst Kantorowicz

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This article revisits the contribution of Ernst Kantorowicz’s The King’s Two Bodies by examining the site and tenor of political and constitutional thought in early sixteenth-century France. With the aid of recent French scholarship, it revises previous accounts by considering alternative sites of political thought and the doctrinal sources of constitutional practice. The commentaries of academic jurists offer a range of constitutional theories that informed quotidian litigation over royal power in the king’s own courts.

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From Sin to Insanity? Suicide Trials in the Spanish Netherlands, Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries

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This article focuses on the relationship between suicide as an act inspired by the devil and suicide as an act of insanity in the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Spanish Netherlands. It has become widely accepted that from the end of the seventeenth century on suicide became decriminalized, secularized, and medicalized, i.e., the devil disappeared from explanations for suicide and was replaced by madness, and so harsh penalties vanished. This article seeks to contribute to the complication of these notions.

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Political Pamphlets in Early Seventeenth-Century France: The Propaganda War between Louis XIII and His Mother, 1619–20

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SKU: 1378328002673

In 1619, Marie de Medicis sought to regain her seat on the royal council by leading an armed revolt against her son King Louis XIII of France. She sought noble support through a pamphlet campaign attacking the king’s advisers, and the king responded with his own series of pamphlets. The king’s pamphlets were more widely read and more influential than his mother’s because they responded directly to the problem of resolving the crisis.

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“Selling stories and many other things in and through the city”: Peddling Print in Renaissance Florence and Venice

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Mobile and marginal, street sellers tend to disappear from the historical record, yet they played a very important part in the dissemination of cheap print from the earliest days of Italian publishing. They operated in the most central spaces of Italian cities such as Venice and Florence, selling cheap printed pamphlets, fliers, and images alongside other small consumer goods.

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Vasari, Leonardo, and il vero ritratto del tradimento et inumanità

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This analysis of Giorgio Vasari’s 1568 addendum to the vita of Leonardo explores Vasari’s rhetorical and narrative strategies to dramatize the importance of both visual artist and patron’s possessing l’intelletto d’arte—“the intelligence of art.” A close reading of Vasari’s tale about Leonardo and the Duke of Milan leads to new interpretive avenues, which reveal how Vasari prioritized his own competing values within a rhetorical program.

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Confession, Contention, and Confusion: The Last Words of Robert Barnes and the Shaping of Theological Identity

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SKU: 1378327260529

When the prominent Henrician evangelical Robert Barnes was burned as a heretic in July 1540, a flurry of pamphleteering ensued both in England and abroad. Coming quickly to dominate this polemical output was the text of Barnes’s last words spoken at the stake, which were printed in at least two languages and published by polemicists of three distinct theological orientations, and which survive in twenty editions.

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Botticelli’s Return of Persephone: On the Source and Subject of the Primavera

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SKU: 1378327021263

Most scholars, like Giorgio Vasari in the sixteenth century, have believed the central figure of Botticelli’s celebrated Primavera to be a manifestation of Venus, appearing as a goddess of spring. Careful studies of the history of Primavera scholarship and of the classical and Renaissance texts previously associated with the painting reveal the reasons for this belief, which has only tenuous support from the painting itself.

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From Illegitimate Son to Legal Citizen: Noble Bastards in Early Modern Venice

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SKU: 1378326617700

This essay considers over 150 supplications submitted to the Avogaria di Comun of Venice from 1569 through 1657 by the illegitimate sons of noblemen seeking formal inclusion in the citizen class. Although law codes explicitly prohibited this practice, numerous illegitimate sons pursued inclusion in the citizen class and expected that they would be granted citizen status. Through an examination of these anomalous bastard sons a more nuanced understanding of the citizen class and its relationship with the patriciate emerges.

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