Popular Politics in an Aristocratic Republic : Political Conflict and Social Contestation in Late Medieval and Early Modern Venice book cover
1st Edition

Popular Politics in an Aristocratic Republic
Political Conflict and Social Contestation in Late Medieval and Early Modern Venice

ISBN 9780367862282
Published May 26, 2020 by Routledge
266 Pages

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Book Description

Popular Politics in an Aristocratic Republic explores the different aspects of political actions and experiences in late medieval and early modern Venice.

The book challenges the idea that the city of Venice knew no political conflict and social contestation during the medieval and early modern periods. By examining popular politics in Venice as a range of acts of contestation and of constructive popular political participation, it contributes to the broader debate about premodern politics. The volume begins in the late fourteenth century, when the demographical and social changes resulting from the Black Death facilitated popular challenges to the ruling class’s power, and finishes in the late eighteenth century, when the French invasion brought an end to the Venetian Republic. It innovates Venetian studies by considering how ordinary Venetians were involved in politics, and how popular politics and contestation manifested themselves in this densely populated and diverse city. Together the chapters propose a more nuanced notion of political interactions and highlight the role that ordinary people played in shaping the city’s political configuration, as well as how the authorities monitored and punished contestation.

Popular Politics in an Aristocratic Republic combines recent historiographical approaches to classic themes from political, social, economic, and religious Venetian history with contributions on gender, migration, and urban space. The volume will be essential reading for students of Venetian history, medieval and early modern Italy and Europe, political and social history.

Table of Contents


Maartje van Gelder and Claire Judde de Larivière


Chapter 1. Popular protest and alternative visions of the Venetian polity, c.1260 to 1423

Dennis Romano

Chapter 2. Memorializing conspiracy and unrest. Venetian historical writing at the turn of the sixteenth century

Monique O’Connell

Chapter 3. Political participation and ordinary politicization in Renaissance Venice. Was the popolo a political actor?

Claire Judde de Larivière

Chapter 4. Popular heresies and dreams of political transformation in sixteenth-century Venice

John Jeffries Martin

Chapter 5. Spaces of unrest? Policing hospitality sites in early modern Venice

Rosa Salzberg

Chapter 6. Protest in the Piazza: contested space in early modern Venice

Maartje van Gelder

Chapter 7. Female agency, subjectivity, and disorder in early modern Venice

Joanne M. Ferraro

Chapter 8. Tensions and compromises in the republican system of justice in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Venice

Cristina Setti

Chapter 9. Boatmen, fishermen, and Venetian institutions: from negotiation to confrontation

Robin Quillien and Solène Rivoal

Chapter 10. Conflicts, social unease, and protests in the world of the Venetian guilds (sixteenth to eighteenth century)

Andrea Zannini


Edward Muir


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Maartje van Gelder is Associate Professor in early modern history at the University of Amsterdam. Recent publications include a co-edited volume on Cross-Cultural Diplomacy and Diplomatic Intermediaries in the Early Modern Mediterranean (2015) and 'The People’s Prince: Popular Politics in Early Modern Venice', The Journal of Modern History 90.2 (2018): 249–291.

Claire Judde de Larivière is Senior Lecturer in medieval and Renaissance history at the University of Toulouse, and Honorary Research Fellow at Birkbeck, University of London. She has recently published The Revolt of Snowballs: Murano Confronts Venice, 1511 (trans. Thomas V. Cohen, 2018).