Medieval Towns: A Reader

Edited by Maryanne Kowaleski

© 2006

This exciting new collection of documents from across Europe gives a fresh perspective and sharp taste of everyday life in a medieval town. The sources range from the standard chronicles and charters to the less often viewed accounts of marriage disputes, urban women, families, the environment, the dangers of town life, and civic ritual. Deliberately wide-ranging, these sources acknowledge the contributions of other disciplines—such as archaeology, architecture, demography, law, and environmental studies—to our understanding of urban life in the Middle Ages. Towns from Spain to Germany to Russia are covered, while the focus is on the more urbanized regions of medieval Europe, particularly Italy, the Low Countries, France, and England. In all, 150 primary sources are included, 35 of which are translated for this volume from Latin, Old French, Anglo-Norman, Franco-Venetian, medieval Danish, and other languages.

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Product Details

  • Series: Readings in Medieval Civilizations and Cultures
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 406 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.9in x 9.0in
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SKU# HE000171

  • PUBLISHED AUG 2008

    From: $39.91

    Regular Price: $46.95

    ISBN 9781442600911

Quick Overview

"Medieval Towns will become a standard sourcebook." - Martha Howell, Miriam Champion Professor of History, Columbia University

Medieval Towns: A Reader

Edited by Maryanne Kowaleski

© 2006

This exciting new collection of documents from across Europe gives a fresh perspective and sharp taste of everyday life in a medieval town. The sources range from the standard chronicles and charters to the less often viewed accounts of marriage disputes, urban women, families, the environment, the dangers of town life, and civic ritual. Deliberately wide-ranging, these sources acknowledge the contributions of other disciplines—such as archaeology, architecture, demography, law, and environmental studies—to our understanding of urban life in the Middle Ages. Towns from Spain to Germany to Russia are covered, while the focus is on the more urbanized regions of medieval Europe, particularly Italy, the Low Countries, France, and England. In all, 150 primary sources are included, 35 of which are translated for this volume from Latin, Old French, Anglo-Norman, Franco-Venetian, medieval Danish, and other languages.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: Readings in Medieval Civilizations and Cultures
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 406 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.9in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    If you teach a course on medieval towns, you will want to assign it. If you have students interested in projects connected with medieval cities, you will want to recommend it. And if you simply want to learn more about the lives of townspeople in the Middle Ages, you will want to pick it up and browse through it. But be forewarned; once you start reading, you may find that the range and vitality of the material in this volume makes it difficult to put down.


    The Medieval Review

    Medieval Towns will become a standard sourcebook. The sources chosen are representative of their type, well edited, and introduced by brief commentary that positions the text and guides the reader. The selections range widely, covering politics, economics, social life, and culture more generally, and treating all regions of western Europe. Many of the sources have not previously been available in English, and never have so many been collected in so accessible and intelligently edited a volume.


    Martha Howell, Miriam Champion Professor of History, Columbia University

    This imaginatively arranged, geographically balanced, and interdisciplinary book should be on the shelves of all students of pre-modern urbanization. The illustrations and discussion questions make it especially suited to class use, but scholars and non-academic readers can also benefit from it. It includes chronicles and descriptions, which are found in most source readers, but goes far beyond them by incorporating tax records, accounts, statutes, court cases, archaeological data, charters, inventories, market regulations, rentals, tolls, commercial correspondence, wills, and poetry of social comment: documents that encapsulate the very essence of the daily experiences of men and women, elite and commoner alike in medieval cities.


    David Nicholas, Professor Emeritus of History, Clemson University
  • Author Information

    Maryanne Kowaleski is Joseph Fitzpatrick S.J. Distinguished Professor of Social Science and History and Director of the Center for Medieval Studies at Fordham University in New York. She is also the author of Local Markets and Regional Trade in Medieval Exeter (Cambridge University Press, 1995), editor of The Local Customs Accounts of the Port of Exeter, 1266-1322 (Devon & Cornwall Record Society, 1993), and co-editor of Gendering the Master Narrative: Women and Power in the Middle Ages (Cornell University Press, 2003).

  • Table of contents

    Chronological Table of Contents
    List of Tables
    List of Figures
    List of Maps

    Introduction

    I. The Early Middle Ages

    1. The Grandeur of Rome
    2. The Roman  Baths
    3. The Humble Townspeople: Graffiti and Election Notices on the Walls of Pompeii
    4. The Impact of the "Barbarian Invasions" on Fifth-Century Towns
    5. Gregory of Tours's Ode to Dijon in the Sixth Century
    6. Toll Exemptions in French Towns
    7. The Raids of the Northmen
    8. The Magyar Raids
    9. The Creation of Bruges
    10. Otto I Grants a Market in Bremen to the Archbishop of Hamburg, 965
    11. The Origins of the Saxon Towns
    12. The Customs and Rents of Hereford According to Domesday Book, 1086
    13. Grant of Privileges to the Castilians, Mozarabs, and Franks of Toledo, 1086-1118
    14. German Colonization in the East
    15. Archaeological Excavations in Tenth-Century York

    II. Communes, Government, and External Relations

    16. The People of Cologne Rebel Against Their Archbishop, 1074
    17. The Formation of a Commune at Laon, 1116
    18. The Customs of Lorris, 1155
    19. The Lombard Communes As Viewed by a German Bishop
    20. Royal Charters Granted to Dublin, 1192-1229
    21. Lübeck Is Made an Imperial City, 1226
    22. The German Emperor Annuls All City Charters, 1231-32
    23. Election of the Podestà, Consuls, and Officials of Volterra, 1224
    24. The Magnates and the Rise of the Popolo and Guilds in Florence, 1207-1328
    25. The Greater versus the Lesser Citizens in Bristol, 1316
    26. "Mother" Towns: Breslau Adopts the Charter of Magdeburg, 1261
    27. "Daughter" Towns: The Citizens of Culm Seek Advice from the City Rulers of Magdeburg, 1338
    28. Brunswick Extends Civic Rule to Its Suburbs, 1269
    29. Florence Expands Its Contado, 1202-89
    30. The Struggle between the Guelfs and Ghibellines
    31. The Establishment of the Rhine League and of Its Peace, 1254
    32. Decrees of the Hanseatic League, 1260-64
    33. The Cinque Ports Confederation
    34. Parliamentary Summons to English Boroughs, 1295
    35. The Pope and City Politics in Siena, Fifteenth Century

    III. Urban Society and Social Conflict

    36. Charter to the Non-Noble Knights of Burgos, 1256
    37. Tower Fellowships and Factionalism in Florence
    38. Factionalism and the Concerns of an Exile, 1312
    39. Commercial Status, Wealth, and Political Office in Medieval Exeter
    40. The Political Fortunes of a Florentine Merchant
    41. The Distribution of Wealth in Two Towns
    42. A Bondman Seeks Refuge in an English Town, 1237-38
    43. Grievances of the Common Folk of Dublin, 1316-18
    44. A Day in the Life of a Carpenter
    45. A Londoner's Household Goods, 1337
    46. Domestic Slaves
    47. The Revolt of the Commons in London, 1194
    48. The Risings in Ghent and Bruges Against the Patricians, 1301-02
    49. The Demands of the Ciompi in Florence, 1378 

    IV. The Urban Economy

    50. Market Regulations in Muslim Seville
    51. The Champagne Fair Towns
    52. Tolls at Southampton, c.1300
    53. Regulations on the Sale of Meat and Fish in Beverley, 1365-1409
    54. Shopping in the London Markets
    55. Letter from the Genoa Branch to the Home Office of the Datini Company, 1393
    56. Restoring Prosperity to the Port Town of Bordeaux, c.1465
    57. Regulation of Trade by a Merchant Guild, 1257-73
    58. Craft Guild Regulations: The Shearers of Arras, 1236
    59. Regulations of the Guild of Skinners in Copenhagen   
    60. Guild Apprenticeships  
    61. Dispute Between the Master Saddlers of London and Their Journeymen, 1396
    62. The Bakers of Coventry Strike, 1484   
    63. Guild Rivalry in Florence, 1425

    V. Urban Finance, Jurisdictions, and Justice

    64. Accounts of the City of Siena
    65. The Town Accounts of Leicester, 1377-78
    66. Tax Declarations in Florence for the Catasto of 1427
    67. Winchester Pleads for Tax Relief because of Urban Decline, 1452
    68. The Jurisdiction of the Wardmotes of London
    69. Proceedings in the Courts of Nottingham, 1395-96
    70. The Cost of Recovering a Debt in Marseille, 1331  
    71. Feud and Vendetta: The Private Pursuit of Justice in Pistoia 
    72. Urban Punishments
    73. The Dublin Prison, 1486

    VI. Marriage and Family

    74. The Del Bene Marriage Negotiations in Florence, 1381
    75. Marriage in the Merchant Class
    76. Contracting Marriage in York and Paris
    77. Women, Family Relations, and Inheritance in Aragon
    78. Women, Family Relations, and Inheritance in Magdeburg and Breslau
    79. Wives at the Tavern 
    80. Childhood Deaths in London
    81. Family and Household in Manosque, 1418-26 
    82. A Comfortable Retirement for the Wealthy 
    83. Caring for the Aged in Medieval Exeter
    84. Family and Households: A Demographic Perspective  

    VII. Women

    85. Proper Behavior for a Young Townswoman
    86. Women and Gossip
    87. Women and Fashion
    88. Singlewomen in Coventry, 1492-95
    89. Women in the Parisian Craft Guilds, c.1270
    90. Limits on Employing Women as Weavers in Bristol, 1461
    91. Advice on Hiring Maidservants, c.1393
    92. Female Servants and Prostitution

    VIII. Religion, Piety, and Charity

    93. The Bishop of Speyer Gives the Jews of the City a Charter, 1084
    94. Restrictions on Jewish Communities in English Towns
    95. Persecution of the Jews in Strasbourg and German Towns, 1349
    96. Problems among the Clergy of Rouen Cathedral, 1248
    97. The Beguines of Ghent, 1328     
    98. The Good Canon of Cologne
    99. A Popular Franciscan Preacher in Paris, 1429
    100. Lay Piety and Reform: Peter Waldo of Lyons
    101. The Processions of the Flagellants, 1349
    102. The Religious Fraternity of St. Katharine at Norwich, 1389  
    103. The Accounts of the Churchwardens in Canterbury, 1485-86
    104. Religion, Morality, and Politics: Savonarola's Influence over the Florentines
    105. A Maison-Dieu in Pontoise, c.1265
    106. The Distribution of Alms in Florence, 1356  
    107. Charitable Bequests in Siena, 1300-25

    IX. Education

    108. The Cost of Schooling, 1394-95
    109. Niccolo Machiavelli as a Young Student
    110. Privileges Granted to Masters and Students at the University of Paris
    111. Town/Gown Controversies in Oxford and Paris
    112. A Student Riot at Oxford, 1388-89
    113. Wooing Masters and Students from Paris to the New University of Toulouse, 1229
    114. Contract between the Town of Vercelli and the Students at Padua, c.1228
    115. The Foundation of the University of Heidelberg, 1386
    116. A Scholar in Paris

    X. Entertainment and Civic Ritual

    117. Sports in London 
    118. The Start of the Secular Stage, Exeter, 1348
    119. Order of the Pageants of the Corpus Christi Plays in York, 1415
    120. Trouble Behind the Scenes in York, 1420  
    121. Feast and Festival in Venice
    122. The Feast Day of St. John the Baptist in Florence
    123. A Wake in Oxford, 1306
    124. Processions for Peace in Paris, 1412
    125. Mayoral Elections in England 

    XI. The Dangers of Urban Life

    126. Fires  in Novgorod
    127. Famine Mortality in Bruges and Ypres, 1316
    128. Discrimination Against the Poor in Siena During the Famine of 1329
    129. The Black Death in Florence, 1348
    130. The Plague in Edinburgh, 1498-99
    131. The Urban Militia of a Spanish Frontier Town: Cuenca, 1190
    132. Parma at War 
    133. The Siege of Calais, 1346-47
    134. Crime Prevention in London
    135. Criminal Courts and Punishment in Marseille, 1406-07
    136. The Road to Ruin in Dijon, 1492

    XII. The Urban Environment

    137. Air Pollution in Southwark, 1307
    138. Regulations for London's Streets, 1297
    139. Garbage Removal in English Towns, 1385
    140. The Water Supply of Dublin
    141. The Sounds of the City: Bells, Horns, and Town Criers
    142. London Bridge, 1404 
    143. The Town Rents of Edinburgh, 1457
    144. Building Regulations in London, 1189
    145. The Rise and Fall of Urban Towers in Italian Towns
    146. Building Contracts for a Tavern and House, 1342
    147. A Merchant's House in King's Lynn  
    148. Clothing and Head-gear
    149. Medieval Fast Food
    150. Meat Consumption

    XIII. The Idealized City

    151. A Description of London, c.1173
    152. In Praise of Milan's Townscape, 1288
    153. The Evils of the Big City

    Maps

    Index of Topics

    Index of Towns

    Index of Town Officials

    Sources

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