Garrisoning the Borderlands of Medieval Siena : Sant'Angelo in Colle: Frontier Castle under the Government of the Nine (1287–1355) book cover
1st Edition

Garrisoning the Borderlands of Medieval Siena
Sant'Angelo in Colle: Frontier Castle under the Government of the Nine (1287–1355)

ISBN 9781409426035
Published December 28, 2011 by Routledge
456 Pages

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Book Description

Through a close study of local demographies and topographies, this study considers patterns of piety, charity and patronage, and by extension, the development of art and architecture in Siena's southern contado during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Garrisoning the Borderlands of Medieval Siena describes Sant'Angelo in Colle as a designated 'castello di frontiera' under the Sienese Government of the Nine (1287-1355), against the background of Siena's military and economic buoyancy during the early fourteenth century. At the same time, mining thoroughly the Tax Record of 1320 and the Boundary Registration of 1318 and presenting a large number of individual records that have not been published before-including wills, tenancy agreements, land exchange and sharecropping contracts-the author constructs a portrait of the people, buildings and surrounding countryside of Sant'Angelo in Colle. Finally, adopting the methodological approach of first considering patterns of ownership of land and property in the context of identifying potential patrons of art, the study considers patterns of piety and charity established in the early fourteenth-century village and the extent to which these affected the development of the urban fabric and the embellishment of key buildings in medieval Sant'Angelo in Colle.

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; Introduction; Documentary sources and medieval toponyms; Appendices; Part I Topography and Demography: The Territory: Boundaries, demarcations and the politics of land ownership; The Urban Fabric: Walls, gates and waterways; Public institutions, key buildings and private houses: accommodating the statistics and locating the structures. Part II Society and Societal Values: The People: The homeless, the dispossessed, the poor and the 'mezzadria'; Widows, wives, spinsters and daughters: poor relations or women with prospects?; The male elite: Sienese 'outsiders', seven rich locals and two exceptionally wealthy clans?; Civic Awareness: Piety, charity and social welfare; Embellishing the fabric; Afterword; Bibliography; Index.

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After a career in University teaching in the UK, most recently in the department of Art History at Birkbeck College, University of London, Anabel Thomas has for the last ten years lived in Tuscany. She is the author of The Painter's Practice in Renaissance Tuscany (Cambridge University Press, 1995) and Art and Piety in the Female Religious Communities of Renaissance Italy (Cambridge University Press, 2003) as well as of articles in learned periodicals in the UK, USA, and Italy.


'This is a meticulous and detailed study of a small frontier community on the southern borders of the territory of Siena, an Italian city-state in the late 13th and early 14th centuries, in a famed and much studied period of its history. The author has a full command of the historical sources, an excellent knowledge of the historiographical debates concerning the issues she addresses, and, as a resident of the village, an intimate feel for its architecture and topography and more generally its past, present and future. This is both micro-history and the longue durée at their finest.' Peter Denley, Queen Mary University of London, UK 'Thomas has done a fine job of reconstructing the commune of Sant’Angelo in Colle during its period as a Sienese frontier settlement. She uses her source material admirable, teasing out the specifics of individual people and their use of land and space. Her discussion of the artwork in San Michele and the pietyof wealthy patrons in Sant’ Angelo is particularily illuminating... Thomas’s Garrisoning the Borderlands of Medieval Siena provides a close, if isolated, analysis of Sant’ Angelo in Colle. She has done much to illuminate life in the commune, using her source material to its fullest extent.' Comitatus 'Thomas’s book provides interesting and detailed analyses of certain social dynamics and some aspects of the mentality connected to piety and devotion... it represents a sound contribution to the history of late medieval Tuscan countryside. Future studies in this field will surely profit from it.' The Medieval Review 'This volume provides an excellent analysis and exploration of a Tuscan frontier town and its varied population in the early 14th century; it certainly brings alive the walls, house plans and artefacts that medieval archaeologists have uncovered across this and other parts of Italy.' Journal of Medieval Archaeology