Greetings all. Please accept my apologies for the lateness of this missive:
The weather here on the East Coast of the US and it's effect on the local
plant life's pollen cycle has not been conducive to breathing well and
consistently. To quote an unrecalled comedian, "But I'm feeling Muuuuuch
better now!"

This week's Links list is about Meieval Italy, by request of one of my
readers, my daughter. I hope you enjoy it in the spirit it is offered (that
of unceasing curiosity which, if left untreated, has been shown to effect
the lifespan of cats :), and will pass it along wherever it will find eager
readers. Searching for information about Medieval Italy (which really didn't
exist in it's modern form until later in  our period of study, except in
several over-run but plucky divisions), is a bit like looking for clams on
the beach: you know they are there, but it takes a lot of digging to find
the good ones.



Labrynth Library: Italian Texts
This is a list of links to Italian sources on the web. The primary sources
center around Dante and Bocaccio. Some images can be found at the Columbia
University site.

Online Catasto of 1427
Edited by David Herlihy, Christiane Klapisch-Zuber, R. Burr Litchfield and
Anthony Molho
(Site Excerpt) The Online Catasto is a World Wide Web searchable database of
tax information for the city of Florence in 1427-29. It is based on David
Herlihy and Christiane Klapisch-Zuber, Principal Investigators, Census and
Property Survey of Florentine Dominions in the Province of Tuscany,

Sandro Botticelli Image Directory
This site is composed of  six gif's of Botticelli's work. Click on a menu
item to see it. (Medieval Tuscan Castles)
(Site Excerpt) ....But one can not pass through this land without being
aware of Medieval Tuscany. Still visible are the small walled towns which
are a testimony to the Middle Ages just as much as its great cities.
Castles, fortresses, watch-towers, and town walls appear everywhere; some
are well preserved, others are in ruins, but the main remnants are not on
the tourist routes. In this site, created to inform people of the existence
and preservation state of these testimonies to the medieval era, you will
find history, photos, and plans of some of these fortifications.

ORB Online Encyclopedia
Late Medieval Italy
A Guide to Online Resources

Medioevo Italiano
Click the English link at the bottom of the page. This is a portal to
Medieval Italy resource site, inlcuding the yahoogroup dedicated to Medieval
Italy, which bears the same name as the site.

Albertano of Brescia resource site
(Site Excerpt) This site offers texts and basic bibliographical references
to those interested in the works and influences of the thirteenth-century
Brescian causidicus , Albertano. Known and used by i.a. Brunetto Latini,
John Gower, Peter Idle (Idley), Erhart Gross, Geoffrey Chaucer, Renaut de
Louens, Dirc Potter, Heinrich Schlüsselfelder (= 'Arigo'), Jan van Boendale,
archbishop Pedro Gomez Barroso of Seville, Bono Giamboni, Zucchero
Bencivenni, the author of the Fiore di virtù, the author of the Cavallero
Zifar, Guilhelm Molinier, Christine de Pizan and (arguably) Dante Alighieri,
Jacobus von Jüterbog (= Jakob von Paradies), Raimund of Béziers, Aegidius
Albertinus and Fernando de Rojas, Albertano and his work are often known
only vicariously to mediævalists.

Vatican Library Exhibit: Rome Reborn
(Site Excerpt) Rome now is one of the grandest cities in the world. Millions
of pilgrims and tourists come every year to admire, and be awed by, its
treasures of architecture, art, and history. But is was not always this way.
By the fourteenth century, the great ancient city had dwindled to a
miserable village. Perhaps 20,000 people clung to the ruins despite the
ravages of disease and robber barons. Popes and cardinals had fled to
Avignon in southern France. Rome was dwarfed in wealth and power by the
great commercial cities and territorial states farther north, from Florence
to Venice. In the Renaissance, however, the popes returned to the See of
Saint Peter. Popes and cardinals straightened streets, raised bridges across
the Tiber, provided hospitals, fountains, and new churches for the public
and splendid palaces and gardens for themselves. They drew on all the riches
of Renaissance art and architecture to adorn the urban fabric, which they
saw as a tangible proof of the power and glory of the church. And they
attracted pilgrims from all of Christian Europe, whose alms and living
expenses made the city rich once more. The papal curia--the central
administration of the church- -became one of the most efficient governments
in Europe. Michelangelo and Raphael, Castiglione and Cellini, Giuliano da
Sangallo and Domenico Fontana lived and worked in Rome. Architecture,
painting, music, and literature flourished. Papal efforts to make Rome the
center of a normal Renaissance state, one which could wield military as well
as spiritual power, eventually failed, but Rome remained a center of
creativity in art and thought until deep into the seventeenth century.

Medieval Italy
(Site Excerpt) Byzantine dominion was however short-lived. In 568AD a new
Barbarian invasion brought the Lombards of Alboin to Italy. They reached as
far as the southern regions and built a large kingdom, with its capital at
Pavia, which was to last for over two hundred years (774AD). Italy was now
incapable of taking an independent political initiative and after the
Lombards had to submit to another European people. The Franks descended into
Italy to support the pope against the Lombards. With the victory of
Charlemagne over the Lombard Desiderius, Italy was to remain for over two
centuries (774AD) in the orbit of the Carolingian dynasty, which had
substituted the Lombards in the Kingdom of Italy.

The Chivalric Epic in  Medieval Italy Book Review
(Site Excerpt) The Chivalric Epic in Medieval Italy offers a new
interpretation of the role of one of the most popular literary traditions in
northern Italian medieval culture. Whereas most previous studies describe
these epics as either inferior copies of their aristocratic French models or
as representations of a bourgeois ethos, Juliann Vitullo shows how the epics
contributed to discourses of social power. Emphasizing issues of orality,
literacy, and identity, she challenges the notion that late medieval Italian
society uniformly adopted humanistic models of bourgeois individualism.

Warfare in Medieval Italy (from Eleventh to Fifteenth Centuries) A
A comprehensive bibliography woth several types of materials listed.

The Very Model  of a Medieval General:
A Website Dedicated to the Career of Matilda of Tuscany
(Site Excerpt) Matilda of Tuscany is one of the few women whose place in
history rests on military accomplishments. The details of her career have to
be gleaned from sources such as monastic chronicles, saints' lives and
polemics that were not intended to record military actions in a logical or
systematic manner. Despite their deficiencies by modern standards, these
sources allow a reconstruction of the measures taken by Matilda of Tuscany
on the pope's behalf when used in conjunction with other tools, especially
maps, and a working knowledge of the now-accepted paradigms of medieval

The Battle at the Hill of Death
(Note: Site contains an image of the original MS with a striking
illustration of battle. Site Excerpt) What links the beautiful Tuscan town
of Sienna with Dante's vision of hell? The answer lies in an act of
treachery that decided the course of the bloodiest battle in medieval
Italian history.
In the thirteenth century, Italy as we know it today did not exist. In the
South, the Kingdom of Sicily (which incorporated most of southern Italy) was
ruled by King Manfred, the illegitimate son of the Holy Roman Emperor
Frederick II. Central Italy was under the nominal rule of the Pope, who vied
with the Emperor for the hearts and minds of Christian Europe. But the north
of Italy was a fractious and shifting collection of city states, ruled by
petty tyrants and warlords and dominated by the competing interests of Pope
and Emperor.  In 1260, the town of Sienna, in northern Italy, was prosperous
as never before. Sienna's fortune was an accident of geography, for it
straddled the great Francigene Road, the major highway that lead from Rome
northward toward the heart of the Holy Roman Empire. The taxes reaped from
merchants that travelled the Francigene Road had spawned a mercantile
industry that made it the envy of its neighbours, an envy that spawned a
fierce rivalry with neighbouring Florence. And in the fragmented politics of
thirteenth century Italy, such commercial rivalry could easily flare into
bitter warfare.

Booklist: Medieval Italian History

The Sforza Hours
(Site Excerpt) The Sforza Hours, is one of the British Library's outstanding
Renaissance treasures. The manuscript was commissioned about 1490 for Bona
of Savoy, widow of Galeazzo Sforza, Duke of Milan. It was decorated by
Giovan Pietro Birago, a leading Milanese illuminator much favoured by the
ducal court, whose style reflects familiarity with the work of Mantegna and
Leonardo da Vinci. Even before work on the book was finished, a number of
major illustrated pages had been stolen from Birago's workshop and the Hours
remained incomplete for more than quarter of a century until it passed into
the hands of Margaret of Austria, Regent of the Netherlands and Bona's niece
by marriage. In 1519-20 she arranged for the missing pages to be supplied by
her own court painter, Gerard Horenbout, one of the most celebrated Flemish
book painters of the day.

The Art of Manuscript Illumination (In Italy)
(This site is richly illustrated with examples of Italian Illumination. Site
Excerpt:) The decorated initial emerged as an accentuated or emphasized
first letter of script, providing a marker for the reader's eye in an
otherwise unbroken line of text. Initials mark the beginnings of books or
chapters and, in this way, offer a visual gateway into the more important
parts of a book's text. Such initials became the focus of exceptional
decoration clearly to draw attention and to help classify the priorities of
the text. Familiar images within an initial's decoration (called historiated
initials) further assisted in explaining the text visually. In an era when
books contained no page numbers, decorated letters made a text easier to
find. Large decorated letters also enhanced a manuscript visually by
providing a look of great luxury, often sought by the book's owner.

History for Kids: High Middle Ages Italy

Italian Renaissance Persona
(Site Excerpt) Rinaldo Moretto de Brescia is the name of one of my secondary
personas. It allows me the excuse to wear the Italian garb that I like. I am
fortunate to have a wonderful Lady-wife who loves to make clothes for me.
Check out her wonderful work on one set of my Italian garb made of white
satin and blue leather, by clicking here. If you have an interest in
developing an Italian name and/or persona, check out the following links:

Family Portrait: The Medici of Florence
The Founder of the Medici fortune was Giovanni, son of Averardo (also
colled Bicci).
He belonged to the Cafaggiolo branch of the family and he occupied the
highest position in the popular party. There he worked prudently and
silently, in accordance with his mild, affable character. The Medici policy
was always aimed at encouraging democratic aspirations, but the basic
intention of the family was to turn those aspirations to their own advantage
and to exploit them into their own interest. Giovanni was a skillful banker,
intelligent businessman, thoughtful and reserved. He didn't distinguish
himself in dress or lifestyle. He lived simply in the serene peace of his
family. Giovanni didn't like to be involved with public appointments, but he
accepted to be "Priore" (prior) in Florence for three times.

Stefan's Florilegium: Clothing of Medieval and Renaissance Italy
This collection of messages from various email lists deals witht he subject
of clothing in Medieval and Renaissance Italy.

Italian Illumination from the Bodelian Library collection

Distinguishing Characteristics of Medieval Italian Heraldry
©1997 Louis Mendola
(Site Excerpt) Were the observer to view the oldest Italian coats of arms
depicted in medieval rolls and seals, or engraved in relief on the walls of
castles and other structures during the Middle Ages, he would encounter
designs remarkably simpler than the ornate Renaissance and Baroque imagery
identified with Italian armory today. During the Longobard, Norman, Swabian
and Angevin domination of much of what is now Italy, Italian coats of arms
were not too different from those encountered in France, England or
elsewhere. Something resembling the "heater" shield, as opposed to the
squarish escutcheon (scudo sannitico) seen in most Italian achievements
today, was usually employed in these early representations, and most of the
charges were not rendered too differently from those seen in the coat armor
in use outside Italy. None of this is surprising or unexpected if one
considers the origins of the peoples who ruled Italy when heraldry was

Modern Political Map of Italy in about 1050

Aila's Atlas of the early Italian Renaissance
Menu items are: Early Modern Italian States and Early Modern Italian Cities.
A drop-down menu provides a comprehensive list of in-depth articles to read.