Patrons and Adversaries: Nobles and Villagers in Italian Politics, 1640-1760

Paperback | November 26, 2004

byCaroline Castiglione

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The early modern Roman countryside was a site of contestation between great aristocratic families and an expanding papal political regime. Rarely has the role of the inhabitants of this landscape--the villagers--been considered as part of that power struggle. As Caroline Castiglione shows in this compelling revisionist work, one Roman aristocratic family, the Barberini, was not squeezed out of governing by the extension of the papal bureaucracy, but rather became increasingly engaged with it during the long eighteenth century. Through theirparticipation in the rural commune, villagers in an extensive territory belonging to the Barberini became active participants in the governing of the countryside. Villagers cultivated and exploited interference from the aristocratic family and the papal government, but they also kept urban elitesat bay, defending their rights through the strategies of adversarial literacy. Such literate practices drew on village mastery of local constitutions, debates in the village assembly, and brilliant use of the legal system of the papacy to thwart the designs of the Barberini. Later villagers createdand interpreted sources for themselves, effectively challenging the elite monopoly on making and interpreting texts. A lost world of increasingly savvy villagers, irate nobles, and exasperated bureaucrats emerges here in an engaging narrative that chronicles how seemingly marginalized villagers challenged the pragmatic control of the Roman countryside, using texts and ideas that urban elites had exported to thecountryside for other purposes.

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The early modern Roman countryside was a site of contestation between great aristocratic families and an expanding papal political regime. Rarely has the role of the inhabitants of this landscape--the villagers--been considered as part of that power struggle. As Caroline Castiglione shows in this compelling revisionist work, one Roman...

Caroline Castiglione is at University of Texas at Austin.

other books by Caroline Castiglione

Format:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 6.1 × 9.09 × 0.71 inPublished:November 26, 2004Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195173872

ISBN - 13:9780195173871

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"Castiglione analyzes rural society as a vibrant, politically-engaged world riven by legal disputation and even grass-roots organization aimed at preserving traditional rights against the pretensions and privileges claimed by lords and heirs. Ongoing debates in the disciplines of history,anthropology, political science, and sociology will find a rich, rewarding profile of peasant society and culture in the Roman Campagna."--John A. Marino, University of California, San Diego