Keywords: Nobility, Inequality, Late medieval Italy, Renaissance Italy.
Between the late medieval and early modern period in the cities of central and northern Italy the inequality between citizens and nobles was increasingly marked by creating lists with the names of all noble families. Such lists displayed a similar rationale, since they recorded a series of surnames; nevertheless, several differences are evident. They regard – for example – the context which led to the establishment of lists; the authority in charge of producing them – not necessarily the legitimate holder of power in the city; the forms these records could take and the ways they could be amended or integrated. The paper scrutinizes and compares some relevant examples
of lists of nobility, with the main aim of understanding to what extent the closing of the noblemen’s ranks via lists in Italy was combined with growing political control over the definition of nobility.