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Palmer, James A.

The Virtues of Economy

Governance, Power, and Piety in Late Medieval Rome


    86,95 € / $99.95 / £79.00*

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    Publication Date:
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    To be published:
    December 2019
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    Aims and Scope

    The humanist perception of fourteenth-century Rome as a slumbering ruin awaiting the Renaissance and the return of papal power has cast a long shadow on the historiography of the city. Challenging this view, James A. Palmer argues that Roman political culture underwent dramatic changes in the late Middle Ages, with profound and lasting implications for city's subsequent development. The Virtues of Economy examines the transformation of Rome's governing elites as a result of changes in the city's economic, political, and spiritual landscape.

    Palmer explores this shift through the history of Roman political society, its identity as an urban commune, and its once-and-future role as the spiritual capital of Latin Christendom. Tracing the contours of everyday Roman politics, The Virtues of Economy reframes the reestablishment of papal sovereignty in Rome as the product of synergy between papal ambitions and local political culture. More broadly, Palmer emphasizes Rome's distinct role in evolution of medieval Italy's city-communes.


    258 pages
    1 b&w halftone, 2 maps 2 Fig.
    Medieval History, Renaissance History, religious History, documentary culture/practice, urban history

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    James A. Palmer is Assistant Professor of History at Florida State University. Follow him on Twitter @Jamespqr77.


    Carol Lansing, University of California, Santa Barbara, author of Passion and Order:

    "Virtues of Economy is an engaging book in which the author draws on rich social and religious material to illuminate the fascinating and understudied culture of fourteenth-century Rome."

    Ronald G. Musto, University of Bristol, author of Apocalypse in Rome:

    "James A. Palmer has written an important book. His great contribution to the study of late medieval and Renaissance Rome is to grapple with the details of how the City of God functioned on a human level in its rioni and piazze, its palazzi, churches and convents. In The Virtues of Economy, really for the first time, Palmer brings us a new synthesis of Rome after Avignon, and offers a unitary model not only for the spiritual, economic and material conditions of trecento Rome but for late medieval urbanism in Europe."

    Carrie Beneš, New College of Florida, author of Urban Legends:

    "Virtues of Economy is cohesive and compelling, a much-needed contribution to the literature on late medieval Rome."

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