Matthew Vester

Perché l'autonomia istituzionale non significò meno tasse nella Bresse savoiarda (1560 - 1580)

  • Abstract

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In the westernmost Savoyard provinces of Bresse and Bugey, a clergy assembly administered tithe revenues and oversaw relations with other political actors, both within and outside of the Savoyard lands. The Bresse clergy assembly relied on informational control, technical expertise, and political support in order to establish a significant degree of institutional autonomy with respect to Duke Emanuel Filibert. Given the assembly's political independence, the degree to which both it cooperated with the duke in taxing itself (by transferring tithe revenues to ducal treasurers) is surprising. A key reason for its willingness to contribute was its desire to spare itself the kind of destruction that afflicted the neighboring Lyonnais during the religious wars of the 1560s and 1570s. This case shows that it was possible for political autonomy and financial support of the sovereign to coexist, based on shared strategic interests. But this coexistence was the result of relationships that were far more wide-ranging and complex than a simple wealth extraction model would suggest.

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