Download PDF Sleepwalking into a New World: The Emergence of Italian City Communes in the Twelfth Century

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Here we have a familiar narrative reinterpreted, from virtuosic research, by a master historian.


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With consummate vigor and clarity, Wickham shows how the rise of communal regimes in medieval Italy was hardly the doing of revolutionaries, as some once thought, but was rather a pragmatic adaptation to social and economic change by men assuming consular responsibilities within the lordships of bishops.

Bisson, Harvard University "How and why did the commune, that remarkable form of medieval Italian urban governance, evolve, under what stimuli and with what longer term results? These are some of the key questions to which we are given persuasive and well-argued answers in this eminently readable, deeply scholarly, and very welcome volume--a major achievement on which the author is to be heartily congratulated.

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Haldon, Princeton University "Absent from this book are the myths of urban liberty, proto-democracy, and incipient modernity commonly associated with the rise of the Italian commune, and in their place stand defensive reactions to crises, warfare, improvisation, and broader political participation. Wickham describes the process eloquently and with the skill of a gifted social historian. Wickham is the leading medieval historian of this generation, and his decades of studying Italian cities are evident on every page.

It boldly sets forth a new interpretation of how and why the communes emerged while pointing out aspects of their institutional development that merit greater scrutiny. Sleepwalking into a New World is a tour de force by one of the most original historians working today. Review Text "This is a brilliant book that will generate much debate. Review quote "Wickham's expert analysis and meticulous academic approach build on previous. Limited examinations and substantial documentation to turn established research on its head, as he presents a fresh look into how communes in the midth century successfully prepared Italian power structures for the cultural significance they would later have.

Based on substantial contemporary evidence, Wickham's analysis is meticulous and incisive, and he situates his conclusions clearly in light of the prior historiography. Rating details. Book ratings by Goodreads. Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews.

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Sleepwalking into a New World: The Emergence of Italian City Communes in the Twelfth Century

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