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dc.contributor.authorSHAW, Jamesen
dc.date.accessioned2006-06-09T12:12:18Z
dc.date.available2006-06-09T12:12:18Z
dc.date.created1998en
dc.date.issued1998en
dc.identifier.citationFlorence, European University Institute, 1998
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1814/5978
dc.descriptionDefence date: 30 November 1998
dc.descriptionExamining board: Prof. Gerard Delille, European University Institute ; Prof. Olwen Hufton, Merton College, University of Oxford (thesis supervisor) ; Dr. Richard Mackenney, University of Edinburgh (external supervisor) ; Prof. Brian Pullan, University of Manchester
dc.descriptionFirst made available online 29 August 2017
dc.description.abstractThis study seeks to account for the political tranquillity of the Venetian people in early modem Venice (1550-1700). According to the ideology of the aristocratic elite, this was primarily attributable to its unique system of justice. Gasparo Contarini, the classic exponent of the 'myth' of Venice, derived the republic’s famed political stability from its guiding principle that, justice should be equally administered to all. Many studies have sought to explode this myth of Venetian justice by comparing these high principles with their operation in practice. The study focuses on the operation of the justice system in a specific area which touched the lives of all Venetians: the regulation of the internal market. As in other European cities, the market had a corporate structure, being divided up among guilds - privileged interested groups which possessed a monopoly on a limited sector of the market. While unusually, Venetian guilds were denied any formal political participation, alternative channels of communication between guilds and government existed in the courts, where the laws regulating the market might become the object of negotiation. The study of the courts therefore illuminates the whole question of guild-state relations in Venice. The role of the government in market justice was a dual one: it prosecuted lawbreakers in the name of the public interest, but was also the adjudicator of civil disputes between the rival private interests of the guilds. This is reflected in the division of the thesis into two halves. The first half examines the relation between public and private in the administration of the public law, while the second half focuses upon the resolution of private disputes, both between the guilds and within them. The study begins with a historiographical introduction to the problematic of political stability, justice and the world of the guilds. The first chapter examines the structure of the government courts and the extent to which the system was in fact governed by private interests. The gap between the law of the court-room and the reality of the street is examined in chapter two. The unreliability of the police forced the government to rely upon a system of self-interested policing by the guilds, and this gave the guilds significant influence over the implementation of policy in practice. Chapter three shows how government efforts to implement its own agenda in the public interest were often compromised by this need to cooperate with the guilds. The fourth chapter turns aside from issues of public law and looks within the boundaries of the guilds, seeking to determine to what extent they were genuinely popular institutions. Government regulations to protect ordinary guildsmen from dominance by a minority were also motivated by the desire to prevent the emergence of a wealthy class of elite guildsmen, who might have demanded political participation. Chapter five examines the nature of the external boundaries between guilds - their definition, violation and formation. The increasing rigidity of these boundaries in the seventeenth century and the consequent intensification of disputes between guilds were related to the imposition of an inflexible system of taxation by the government. Chapter six goes on to examine the resolution of such disputes, in terms of costs and legal procedures, and the consequences of this for rich and poor. Government attempts to impose an efficient system of summary justice were resisted by 'parasitic' elements within the courts - in particular those poorer nobles who earned their living from civil litigation. Tensions at the heart of the ruling elite therefore ensured that the free play of wealth in the court system was allowed to continue. The implications of the study are summarised in the conclusion.
dc.format.mediumPaperen
dc.format.mimetypeapplication/pdf
dc.language.isoenen
dc.relation.ispartofseriesEUI PhD thesesen
dc.relation.ispartofseriesDepartment of History and Civilizationen
dc.rightsinfo:eu-repo/semantics/openAccess
dc.subject.lcshPolitical realism -- Venice (Italy) -- History
dc.subject.lcshVenice (Italy) -- Guilds -- History
dc.titleThe scales of justice : law and the balance of power in the world of Venetian guilds, 1550-1700en
dc.typeThesisen
dc.identifier.doi10.2870/79095
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