Medieval Italy: Texts in Translation

Medieval Italy: Texts in Translation

Medieval Italy: Texts in Translation

Medieval Italy: Texts in Translation

Synopsis

This collection of newly translated primary sources highlights the continuities with the medieval Latin West while at the same time considering the ethnically and religiously differentiated voices of Hebrew, Arabic, Greek and Lombard voices. The book pays particular attention to the southern part of the peninsula and Sicily.

Excerpt

Medieval Italy: Texts in Translation gathers together for the first time in one volume the primary sources in translation necessary for teaching the history of the Central and Later Middle Ages in Italy. Over the past fifty years or so, medieval Italy has been a vibrant area of scholarly research as new documents have been discovered and modern methodologies, questions, and theory have been brought to bear on well-known texts. Although the period is famous for forests of urban towers, the spirituality of Saints Francis and Clare, the fortified castles of Frederick II, and the vernacular poetry of Dante, the study of the Italian Middle Ages has until very recently been largely underrepresented in the classroom. This volume, drawing on current scholarship combined with a few “classic” texts, aims to provide a teaching tool that will both introduce students to, and deepen their understanding of, this important aspect of the medieval world, for too long eclipsed by the long shadow cast by Anglo-French topics and the “normative” Middle Ages those interests produce. In many ways, the book highlights Italy’s continuities with the medieval Latin West, but it also points out the ways in which it was exceptional, particularly in regard to the cities that drove Mediterranean trade for centuries, the glittering Norman court at Palermo, the multicultural emporium of the South, the new communal forms of government, the impact of the papacy’s temporal claims in central Italy, and the richly textured religious life fashioned by the laity throughout the peninsula and its islands.

In the last half-century Anglo-American scholarship, building on a distinguished tradition of Italian historiography and, in many cases, in close collaboration with Italian scholars, has produced innovative studies on a wide variety of subjects, including commerce and trade, communal politics, institutions of the Regno, family structure and lineage, legal culture, urbanism, religious experience and practice, and the history of everyday life, to name but a few. This dynamic field of English-language scholarship has appeared largely as monographic studies and articles, research tools, and scholarly editions of documents, rather than as teaching aids and texts in translation. Happily, all this has begun to change. In addition to Daniel Waley’s The Italian City-Republics, J. K. Hyde’s Society and Politics in Medieval Italy, John Larner’s Italy in the Age of Dante and Petrarch, and Giovanni Tabacco’s The . . .

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