Informations and abstract
The diffusion of direct taxation in the Italian city-states of the 13th century marks an important step towards the development of new forms of belonging. The registration of individual properties in urban inventories and the payment of direct taxes such as the "collecta" became essential requirements in order to be recognized as cives. On the other hand, the evasion of taxes and the non-registration of properties in fiscal inventories were considered acts of political infidelity and punished with growing severity from the beginning of the 14th century onwards. This paper focuses both on the forms of tax evasion and on their effects on citizenship rights in medieval Bologna, analysing especially the lists of tax evaders (the so-called books of «malpaghi») and the judicial registers dating back to the first decade of the 14th century. The «malpaghi» books testify that tax evasion was massive: more than half of the active urban population didn't pay the "collectae" or didn't inscribe their properties in public registers ("estimo"). The judicial registers, on the other hand, show the serious consequences of the crime of evasion: tax evaders lost the protection of their cities and could not defend themselves in court even if they were assaulted. The severity of the punishments on the one hand, and the massive proportions reached by tax evasion on the other, can be read as signs of the deep crisis of direct taxation: a significant part of the population and some important families of the economic élite did not participate in the urban tax system.