1st Edition

Aspects of Violence in Renaissance Europe

Edited By Jonathan Davies Copyright 2013

    Interest in the history of violence has increased dramatically over the last ten years and recent studies have demonstrated the productive potential for further inquiry in this field. The early modern period is particularly ripe for further investigation because of the pervasiveness of violence. Certain countries may have witnessed a drop in the number of recorded homicides during this period, yet homicide is not the only marker of a violent society. This volume presents a range of contributions that look at various aspects of violence from the fourteenth to the seventeenth centuries, from student violence and misbehaviour in fifteenth-century Oxford and Paris to the depiction of war wounds in the English civil wars. The book is divided into three sections, each clustering chapters around the topics of interpersonal and ritual violence, war, and justice and the law. Informed by the disciplines of anthropology, criminology, the history of art, literary studies, and sociology, as well as history, the contributors examine all forms of violence including manslaughter, assault, rape, riots, war and justice. Previous studies have tended to emphasise long-term trends in violent behaviour but one must always be attentive to the specificity of violence and these essays reveal what it meant in particular places and at particular times.

    Contents: Introduction, Jonathan Davies; Part I Interpersonal and Ritual Violence: Student violence in 15th-century Paris and Oxford, Hannah Skoda; The politics of transition: pillaging and the 1527 sack of Rome, Joëlle Rollo-Koster; Death on the Danube, Miriam Hall Kirch; Plague, propaganda and prophetic violence in 16th-century Lyon, Justine Semmens. Part II War: Rethinking the Peace of Westphalia: toward a theory of early-modern warfare, Alan James; ’Broken verses across a bloodied land’: violence and the limits of language in the English Civil War, Sarah Covington; Peter Paul Rubens: broker of peace, painter of violence, Marina Daiman. Part III Justice: Violence, rites, and social regulation in the Venetian terra firma in the 16th century, Lucien Faggion; ’Una causa civile’: vendetta violence and governing elites in early-modern Modena, Amanda G. Madden; Bibliography; Index.


    Jonathan Davies is Associate Professor of Italian Renaissance History at the University of Warwick. His publications include Florence and Its University during the Early Renaissance (Leiden: Brill, 1998) and Culture and Power: Tuscany and its Universities 1537-1609 (Leiden: Brill, 2009). He is currently working on a book on the academic environment of violence in early modern Italy.

    '... will be useful to anybody wanting to study violence and deviance in this period.' Sixteenth Century Journal 'It can be difficult to assess the success or failure of a volume composed of essays so divergent in their methodologies, interests, and aims. But as a collection committed to establishing both the variation and specific resonances of acts of violence visible between the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries in Europe, this book largely succeeds, and not only for its zealous adherence to its stated objective. ... readers with an interest in interdisciplinarity might take this work as an example of how scholars from a variety of fields might collaborate productively while stilI preserving the integrity and pleasure of their respective intellectual vistas.' Comitatus ’La preziosa introduzione del curatore ha il merito di sintetizzare gli aspetti emersi dalla ricerca, evidenziando moltissimi punti di interesse. ... La ricca appendice bibliografica che conclude il volume offre infine uno strumento utilissimo per tutti gli studiosi interessati ad affrontare nuove ricerche su questo tema.’ [’The valuable introduction by the editor has the merit of summarizing aspects arising from the research and highlighting many points of interest. ... The rich bibliographical appendix at the end of the book provides an extremely useful tool for all scholars interested in taking on new research on this topic.’] Archivio Storico Italiano