Alessio Fiore

«Bonus et malus usus». Power, consent and coercition in the seigneurial world of north-central Italy (XI-XII centuries)

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In the Italian countryside the period between 1050 and 1150 was marked by the consolidation of the model of seigneurial power. The article examines evidence about the relationship between lords and their subjects by investigating the registration of depositions of peasants jurors asked by their lords. These acts were characterized by a discourse of reciprocity between lord and peasants. The legitimation of the lordship rested on the consent of the subjects. These ideas are very important to comprehend the relation lord-subjects, even though they might obscure other forms of lordly power and others political discourses, more based on force and coercion. The latter are, because of their nature, much less apparent in written documents, but not in the social reality, where they seem very common.

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