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Title: Languages of political identity : Visconti historiography and the making of the territorial state
Author: Kolkey, William Daniel
ISNI:       0000 0004 6498 5523
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis is about the political communities that organized the urban life of the Visconti territorial state. It is about the languages used by these communities to give structure and meaning to their identities. And it is about how the emergence of the territorial state challenged the form and function of these languages of political identity. It is a weighty topic, so to render it manageable, this study is limited to deconstructing the political languages of Visconti historiography from 1329 to 1402, a period that extends from the onset of the signoria of Azzone Visconti to the death of Gian Galeazzo. It focuses on texts from four urban centres: Milan, Monza, Novara, and Piacenza. In Milan, the chronicles of the Dominican friar Galvano Fiamma interpret the history of the Ambrosian City through various factional lenses, with each text recounting events from the perspective of either Milan's populus, nobility, or merchants. This allows Fiamma to legitimate the monarchism of the Visconti within the mental frameworks of Milan's various social constituencies. In Monza, the chronicle of Bonincontro Morigia constitutes a particularly unique example of a quasi-città's usage of biblical metaphor (drawn from 1 and 2 Maccabees) to defend the sovereignty of the Visconti territorial state and Monza's status therein as a Lombard Jerusalem. In Novara, the histories of Pietro Azario articulate the values of northern Italy's populares, championing their enduring relevance in a political system that, Azario feared, threatened those values' survival. Finally, in Piacenza, the history of Giovanni Musso is an example of how a Ghibelline social memory could be used to reframe the relationship of a city's milites and populus with the empire and Visconti. Studying the political languages of these texts is important for deepening our understanding of how the territorial state impacted the mental categories of local communities.
Supervisor: Wickham, Chris Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available