The Early Modern City, 1450-1750

By Christopher R. Friedrichs | Go to book overview

A Note to the Reader

This is a book about cities and towns in early modern Europe. One might think that this is a perfectly straightforward statement, but in fact most of these terms require some clarification.

Some European languages have one principal word to describe an urban community, such as ville in French or Stadt in German. English, by contrast, has two: city and town. North American usage tends to favour 'city' except when the community is very small; British usage tends to favour 'town' except when the community is very large. But the distinction is never a precise one. In this book the terms city and town are used interchangeably.

'Early modern' is also problematic. Unlike 'medieval', which most people readily understand, the term 'early modern' has not achieved general currency. Historians use this phrase to refer to the period of European history which extends from the end of the middle ages to the beginning of truly modern times in the epoch of the French and Industrial Revolutions. Historians do not agree on the exact limits of the early modern era, but it always includes the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and usually includes something on either side. In this book the early modern era is defined as the period from 1450 to 1750.

Even ' Europe' creates difficulties. Modern politicians find it hard to define exactly what constitutes Europe; historians can scarcely be blamed for finding it no easier. In this book Europe is understood to correspond to the region encompassed, at the start of early modern times, by the Church of Rome. This includes all of western and central Europe and some of eastern Europe, but it excludes Russia and the Ottoman Empire -- lands whose social and political structures set them sharply apart from the region which, at the beginning of early modern times, could still be identified as 'Latin Christendom'.

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The Early Modern City, 1450-1750
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Figures and Tables vi
  • Editor's Preface vii
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • A Note to the Reader x
  • Introduction A Way of Living 1
  • PART ONE The City in Context 17
  • Chapter One - Boundaries and Buildings 19
  • Chapter Two - City and State 43
  • Chapter Three - City and Church 61
  • Chapter Four - Production and Exchange 90
  • Chapter Five - Life and Death 114
  • PART TWO The City as a Social Arena 137
  • Chapter Six - Work and Status 139
  • Chapter Sevenfamily and Household 166
  • Chapter Eight Power and Pride 182
  • Chapter Nine Poverty and Marginality 214
  • PART THREE The City in Calm and Crisis 243
  • Chapter Ten Urban Routine 245
  • Chapter Eleven Urban Crisis 275
  • Chapter Twelve Urban Conflict 303
  • Conclusion A Way of Looking 327
  • Suggestions for Further Reading Bibliography of Works Cited Map Index 335
  • Bibliography of Works Cited 347
  • Map 371
  • Index 375
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