Angelo Torre

Separated lands and immunity in early modern Piedmont

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The article analyses the processes of formation of fiscal immunity in the old regime Piedmontese countryside. Starting from a topographical analysis of forms of Piedmontese fragmented settlement, the author sorts out the farmhouse as settlement, social and cultural unity which acquires juridical meanings in the case of the conquest of immunity, that is exemption from state fiscal burden. The work individualises different forms of local formation of immunity, that is attempts by the villgers to submit landlords' farmhouses to state and military fiscal burden by including them within the overall bargaining to relationships with the landlords themselves and the territorial authorities. One further form is represented by territorial tensions between neighboring communities, which tends to produce formal agreements on light fiscal burden between peasants, landlords, the courts and the state. These cases are then confronted with the juridical doctrine of the continental common law, and an hypothesis on the link between the culture of immunity and the culture of possession is proposed.

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