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Cultures of Voting in Pre-modern Europe examines the norms and practices of collective decision-making across pre-modern

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Cultures of Voting in Pre-modern Europe
 113856818X, 9781138568181

Table of contents :
List of figures and table
Notes on contributors
Part One Ideas and representations
1 Not just voting, but being counted: the cases of Ancient Greece
2 Roman reflections on voting practices: also a Pythagorean affair
3 Cultures of unanimity in Carolingian councils
4 A vote for the new world order: the Dardanelles meeting in 1235 (the Council at Lampsacus-Gallipoli)
5 Voting at the Council of Constance (1414–18)
6 Cultures of secrecy in pre-modern papal elections
7 ‘Conforme al vivere civile et politico’: Machiavelli’s newly discovered proposal for electoral reform in 1512
8 A culture of voting in seventeenth-century England
9 Dead and buried after the elections? Voting and citizenship in the Batavian Revolution
Part Two Practices, institutions, procedures
10 The culture of voting in medieval Split: appearance and reality
11 From discussion to vote: practices of political deliberation and written records in communal Italy
12 Parties, quotas and elections in late medieval Genoa
13 The election of the abbess: political reasons of monastic discipline in Renaissance Parma
14 Political decision-making in the Republic of Ragusa (Dubrovnik) in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries
15 ‘Il fait bon voir de tout leur sénat ballotter’: the ubiquity of voting in late medieval and Renaissance Venice
16 The citizens and the king: voting and electoral procedures in southern Italian towns under the Aragonese
17 Voting in the parliaments of the Crown of Aragon, c. 1300–1716
18 Voting and elections in the elite Ragusan confraternities of St. Anthony and St. Lazarus
19 Voting at home and on the move: elections of mayors and caravanbashi by Armenian merchants in Poland and the Ottoman Empire, 1500–1700
20 Municipal elections and contested religious space: electoral practices and confessional politics in Mediterranean France during the French Wars of Religion

Citation preview


Cultures of Voting in Pre-modern Europe examines the norms and practices of collective decision-making across pre-modern European history, east and west, and their influence in shaping both intra- and inter-communal relationships. Bringing together the work of twenty specialist contributors, this volume offers a unique range of case studies from Ancient Greece to the eighteenth century, and explores voting in a range of different contexts with analysis that encompasses constitutional and ecclesiastical history, social and cultural history, the history of material culture and of political thought. Together the case-studies illustrate the influence of ancient models and ideas of voting on medieval and early modern collectivities and document the cultural and conceptual exchange between different spheres in which voting took place. Above all, they foreground voting as a crucial element of Europe’s common political heritage and raise questions about the contribution of pre-modern cultures of voting to modern political and institutional developments. Offering a wide chronological and geographical scope, Cultures of Voting in Premodern Europe is aimed at scholars and students of the history of voting and is a fascinating contribution to the key debates that surround voting today. Serena Ferente is Senior Lecturer in Medieval History at King’s College London. Lovro Kunčević is Faculty Member of the Institute for Historical Sciences, Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Dubrovnik. Miles Pattenden is Research Fellow in Early Modern History at Wolfson College, Oxford.


Edited by Serena Ferente, Lovro Kuncˇevic´, and Miles Pattenden

First published 2018 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN and by Routledge 711 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2018 selection and editorial matter, Serena Ferente, Lovro Kunčević, and Miles Pattenden; individual chapters, the contributors The right of Serena Ferente, Lovro Kunčević, and Miles Pattenden to be identified as the authors of the editorial material, and of the authors for their individual chapters, has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data A catalog record for this book has been requested ISBN: 978-1-138-21596-2 (hbk) ISBN: 978-1-138-56818-1 (pbk) ISBN: 978-1-351-25504-2 (ebk) Typeset in Bembo by Apex CoVantage, LLC


List of figures and table Notes on contributors

viii ix

Introduction1 Serena Ferente PART ONE

Ideas and representations


  1 Not just voting, but being counted: the cases of Ancient Greece Paul Cartledge


  2 Roman reflections on voting practices: also a Pythagorean affair Valentina Arena


  3 Cultures of unanimity in Carolingian councils Cristina La Rocca and Francesco Veronese   4 A vote for the new world order: the Dardanelles meeting in 1235 (the Council at Lampsacus-Gallipoli) Vesselina Vachkova



vi Contents

  5 Voting at the Council of Constance (1414–18) Alexander Russell


  6 Cultures of secrecy in pre-modern papal elections Miles Pattenden


 7 ‘Conforme al vivere civile et politico’: Machiavelli’s newly discovered proposal for electoral reform in 1512 Andrea Guidi   8 A culture of voting in seventeenth-century England Derek Hirst   9 Dead and buried after the elections? Voting and citizenship in the Batavian Revolution Wyger Velema

113 129



Practices, institutions, procedures


10 The culture of voting in medieval Split: appearance and reality Nella Lonza


11 From discussion to vote: practices of political deliberation and written records in communal Italy Lorenzo Tanzini 12 Parties, quotas and elections in late medieval Genoa Serena Ferente

172 187

13 The election of the abbess: political reasons of monastic discipline in Renaissance Parma Letizia Arcangeli


14 Political decision-making in the Republic of Ragusa (Dubrovnik) in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries Lovro Kunčević


15 ‘Il fait bon voir de tout leur sénat ballotter’: the ubiquity of voting in late medieval and Renaissance Venice Claire Judde de Larivière


Contents  vii

16 The citizens and the king: voting and electoral procedures in southern Italian towns under the Aragonese Pierluigi Terenzi


17 Voting in the parliaments of the Crown of Aragon, c. 1300–1716 Vicent Baydal Sala


18 Voting and elections in the elite Ragusan confraternities of St. Anthony and St. Lazarus Zrinka Pešorda Vardić


19 Voting at home and on the move: elections of mayors and caravanbashi by Armenian merchants in Poland and the Ottoman Empire, 1500–1700 Alexandr Osipian 20 Municipal elections and contested religious space: electoral practices and confessional politics in Mediterranean France during the French Wars of Religion Brian Sandberg





Figures 3.1 3.2 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 10.1 1 8.1 18.2 18.3 18.4 18.5

The councils of 813 The councils of 829 The First, Seventh and Sixth Ecumenical Councils The Holy Seven Ecumenical Councils Saint Nicholas and the heretic Arius at the Council of Nicaea, 325 Voting by grouping during the ecumenical council Voting by name (signature) and commitment of the emperor during the First Ecumenical Council “We hold our opinion and we stand behind it”, the First Ecumenical Council The Holy Spirit imposing the conciliar decision at the Council of Chalcedon, 451 Libri consiliorum communitatis Spalati – Reformationes annorum 1357–1359, f.23r Book of Statutes, confraternity of St. Anthony, Dubrovnik The quorum requirements in the Book of Statutes, confraternity of St. Anthony, Dubrovnik The quorum requirements in the Book of Statutes, confraternity of St. Lazarus, Dubrovnik Reference to balle negre in the Book of Statutes, confraternity of St. Lazarus, Dubrovnik Description of the voting procedure in the Book of Statutes, confraternity of St. Lazarus, Dubrovnik

42 48 60 60 62 63 64 64 66 161 293 298 298 300 301

Table 16.1 Institutional reforms under the Aragonese, 1466–93



Letizia Arcangeli is Associate Professor of Early Modern History at the Università degli Studi di Milano and the author of Gentiluomini di Lombardia: Ricerche sull’aristocrazia padana nel Rinascimento (Milan: Unicopli, 2003). Valentina Arena is Reader in Roman History at University College London and

the author of Libertas and the Practice of Politics in the Late Roman Republic (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012). Paul Cartledge is Emeritus A.G. Leventis Professor of Greek Culture at the Uni-

versity of Cambridge and Senior Research Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge. He is the author of numerous books, including Sparta and Lakonia: A Regional History, 1300–362 BC (2nd edition, London and New York: Routledge, 2001) and The Greeks: A Portrait of Self and Others (2nd edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002). Serena Ferente is Senior Lecturer in Medieval European History at King’s College London and the author of La sfortuna di Jacopo Piccinino: Storia dei bracceschi in Italia (1423–1465) (Florence: Olschki, 2005) and Gli ultimi guelfi: Linguaggi e identità poltiche in Italia nella seconda metà del Quattrocento (Rome:Viella, 2013). Andrea Guidi is Member of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, for the

year 2016–17 and the author of Un Segretario militante: Politica, diplomazia e armi nel Cancelliere Machiavelli (Bologna: Il Mulino, 2009). Derek Hirst is William Eliot Smith Professor of History Emeritus at Washington University in St. Louis and the author of four books, including The Representative of the People? Voters and Voting in England Under the Early Stuarts (2nd

x  Notes on contributors

edition, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008) and Dominion: England and Its Island Neighbours, c. 1500–1707 (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2012). Lovro Kuncˇevic´ is Faculty Member of the Institute for Historical Sciences of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts in Dubrovnik and the author of Mit o Dubrovniku: Diskursi o identitetu renesansnoga grada (Zagreb-Dubrovnik: Zavod za povijesne znanosti HAZU u Dubrovniku, 2015). Claire Judde de Larivière teaches history at the Université Toulouse II and is

Honourary Research Fellow at Birkbeck, University of London. She has published widely on Venetian history, including the books Naviguer, commercer, gouverner: Économie maritime et pouvoirs à Venise (XVe–XVIe siècles) (Leiden: Brill, 2008) and La révolte des boules de neige: Murano face à Venise, 1511 (Paris: Fayard, 2014). Cristina La Rocca is Professor of Medieval History at the University of Padua and

author of Tesori: Forme di accumulazione della ricchezza nell’alto medioevo (secotli V–X) (Rome: Viella, 2005) and Tempi barbarici: L’Europa occidentale tra antichità e medioevo (300–900) (Rome: Carocci, 2012). Nella Lonza is Faculty Member of the Institute for Historical Sciences of the

Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts in Dubrovnik and the author of Kazalište vlasti, Ceremonijal i državni blagdani Dubrovačke Republike u 17. i 18. Stoljeću (ZagrebDubrovnik: Zavod za povijesne znanosti HAZU u Dubrovniku, 2009). Alexandr Osipian is Associate Professor at the Kramatorsk Institute of Econom-

ics and Humanities, Tara Shevchenko National University of Kiev. He publishes widely on the Armenian diaspora and the history of Eastern Europe. Miles Pattenden is Research Fellow in Early Modern History at Wolfson College, Oxford and the author of Pius IV and the Fall of the Carafa: Nepotism and Papal Authority in Counter-Reformation Rome (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013) and Electing the Pope in Early Modern Italy, 1450–1700 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017). Alexander Russell is a Member of the Centre for the Study of the Renaissance at the

University of Warwick. His book is Conciliarism and Heresy in Fifteenth-Century England: Collective Authority in the Age of the General Councils (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017). Vicent Baydal Sala is Beatriu de Pinós Research Fellow in Medieval History at

Universitat Pompeu Fabra and the author of eight books, including Guerra, relacions de poder i fiscalitat negociada: Els orígens del contractualisme al regne de València (1238– 1330) (Barcelona-Lérida: Fundación Noguera-Pagès Editors, 2014).

Notes on contributors  xi

Brian Sandberg is Associate Professor of History at Northern Illinois University. His books include Warrior Pursuits: Noble Culture and Civic Conflict in Early Modern France (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010) and War and Conflict in the Early Modern World: 1500–1700 (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2016). Lorenzo Tanzini is Associate Professor of Medieval History at the Università di Cagliari and the author of several books, including A consiglio: La vita politica nell’Italia dei comuni (Rome-Bari: Laterza, 2014). Pierluigi Terenzi is Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Padua and author

of L’Aquila nel Regno: I rapporti politici fra città e monarchia nel Mezzogiorno tardomedievale (Naples-Bologna: Instituto italiano per gli studi storici-Il Mulino, 2015). Vesselina Vachkova is Member of the National Academy of Art in Sofia and pub-

lishes on Byzantine and Bulgarian history. Zrinka Pešorda Vardic´ is Faculty Member of the Institute for Historical Sciences

of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts in Dubrovnik and the author of U predvorju vlasti: Dubrovački antunini u kasnom srednjem vijeku (Zagreb-Dubrovnik: Zavod za povijesne znanosti HAZU u Dubrovniku, 2012). Wyger Velema is Senior Lecturer in Early Modern History at the University of

Amsterdam. His books include Republicans: Essays on Eighteenth-Century Dutch Political Thought (Leiden: Brill, 2007). Francesco Veronese is Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Padua work-

ing on the cult of saints in medieval Europe.


This volume is the main outcome of a research project on Cultures of Voting in PreModern Europe, funded by the British Academy in 2014. When the project started, scholarly and public debates on voting revolved around the seemingly unstoppable growth of voter disaffection in Western democracies, the perception that traditional electoral procedures were unable to effect real political change, and, last but not least, the suspicion of an oligarchic or plutocratic bias in electoral systems in use in democratic countries.Voting, a famously disappointing substitute for real power, was felt to be all the more inadequate as a proxy for democratic governance in those countries where ‘free’ elections followed violent or revolutionary regime change, as for example in post-Communist European states, or in North African ones after the Arab Springs. ‘Against elections’, a vivacious debate on the benefits of sortition as opposed to traditional election was taking place, which explicitly engaged with ancient, medieval and early modern models of voting.1 Three years later, the mood has changed dramatically. Voting appears to have recovered much of its mystique and to be as capable to deliver unexpected and radical results as any other form of collective political action. Established voting procedures have shown themselves to be as creative and destructive as ever. Some crucial votes have been moments of heightened emotion and have already taken a special place in collective memory; new cleavages have arisen from them and transformed long-standing party landscapes.The Scottish independence referendum of 2014 and the EU membership referendum of 2016 in the United Kingdom; the constitutional referendum in Turkey in 2017; the referendums, whose legal status is disputed, in Crimea in 2014 and in Catalonia in 2017; the political elections in Taiwan, Hong Kong and the United States in 2016; and those in the Netherlands, France and the United Kingdom in 2017 have all already left profound marks on public opinion both at home and abroad. Parliamentary votes to impeach sitting prime ministers in Brazil and South Korea in 2016 were also the climax of intense political dramas.

2 Introduction

Many of the classic questions connected with voting have re-emerged in public debates, in some cases prompting a rehearsal of late nineteenth- and early twentiethcentury discussions. Back on the agenda are the extension or suppression of the right to vote, the significance and limits of the majority principle, the need for ‘good’ information and deliberation before the vote and the role of popular votes in legitimizing charismatic strongmen and authoritarian regimes. The material and procedural aspects of elections, too, are again an urgent issue, in a context where technological change has ushered in new ways of manipulating or corrupting the vote, and new fears. This volume intends to contribute to such debates from a historical perspective and a long-term view of European history (with particular attention to the Mediterranean area, east and west) from Antiquity to the late eighteenth century. Its wide chronological and geographical framing is meant to expand the range of phenomena taken into consideration and produce, it is hoped, a fresh picture.2 If the remit of ‘voting’ is intended capaciously to include all the means for reaching conscious collective decisions, then voting appears to be a very widespread practice in pre-modern times. Ethologists are increasingly persuaded that some species of schooling animals practice forms of voting, despite living in hierarchically structured groups. Baboons ‘vote’ when confronted with intra-group conflict over the choice of direction of collective movement; they divide into two separate groups, compromise between two options when the difference is small, but opt for the direction favoured by the largest number when the difference is large.3 A decision that affects all is taken by all, rather than by leader(s) of the pack.There is something primal about voting, then, and enough in these new data to upend the dubious association between voting and modernity. The pervasiveness of voting emerges clearly from the essays included in this volume. One of the consequences of adopting a pre-modern perspective on the topic is that no preliminary discrimination is assumed between properly ‘political’ instances and supposedly non-political ones. Religious and socio-economic communities and phenomena are taken here to be as pertinent as secular ones. As simple and uncontroversial as this premise may be among historians of premodern Europe, it is still a highly significant one. By itself it opens up a vast range of case studies and documents, which in turn change our understanding of the topic.When monasteries, church councils, confraternities and caravans are included in the analysis, alongside more traditional objects of study such as city and parliamentary assemblies, guilds or conclaves, larger groups of people who participated in voting, including women, become visible, and periods or areas that were thought to be uninteresting for the study of voting re-enter the picture. Charitable ladies in late medieval Genoa and nuns in Renaissance Parma were directly involved in elections and, through elections, in the party politics of their cities. There was voting in Carolingian Europe and in the Byzantine Empire. Elections happened not only in the better-studied guilds of late medieval and early modern cities but also in temporary economic associations such as merchant caravans or pirate ships.

Introduction  3

What varies dramatically, however, is the cultural prominence of voting in each society. There are great differences, for example, in the degree to which voting is the object of written regulation and recording, and as a consequence there are great differences in the quantity of written and material traces a given culture of voting generates and preserves. Historians of pre-modern Europe can access past cultures of voting via documents of many kinds, including the tools and objects used for voting, the direct records of voting procedures, narrative and visual descriptions and normative texts such as laws or political tracts. These sources convey different images of voting, which are not always immediately comparable and need to be analyzed in their own terms. As several essays in this volume particularly emphasize, the role, purpose and culture of those who produced the documents we rely on, be they rhetoricians or notaries, chroniclers or painters, must be carefully considered. What political meaning, if any, can be then ascribed to the cultural prominence of voting and the amount of regulation and record-keeping surrounding voting and elections in a given society? Is there a clear relationship between democracy or democratic instances and the prominence of voting? One of the earliest historians of medieval legislation about voting, Edoardo Ruffini, posited that a direct correlation exists between ‘the juridical rigor of the rules’ and ‘the immediacy and efficacy of an assembly’s contribution to the formation of what is later to appear as its will’.4 That is to say, the more directly and efficaciously a given assembly decides, the more it seeks regulated voting procedures. Vice versa, more informal and unregulated voting procedures would indicate that the assembly’s true input is less direct and efficacious – one might think, for example, of advisory councils or public acclamations, where the assembly is not the only, or the true, decision-maker and where voting may take place but needs not be strictly regulated or recorded in detail. Whether one accepts such a connection or not, this is not the same as suggesting that there is a direct correlation between voting and democracy. Assembly politics and collective governance are indispensable ingredients of democracy, yet, as many essays in this volume show, collective rule and the cultural prominence of voting have long been a feature of aristocratic and monarchic constitutions founded on the legal exclusion of the vast majority of people from government.Voting and its regulation seems instead more clearly connected with values and notions of equality, an equality that often applied only to the members of an elite group and indeed contributed to their collective identity and social distinction. However paradoxical this may sound to the modern ear, the elites and nobilities of Europe were often eager champions of equality in their midst, and they were at the same time the most enthusiastic adopters of highly regulated voting procedures. This can be verified not only in the ethos of the mercantile patriciates of republics such as Venice or Ragusa-Dubrovnik but, strikingly, also in the assemblies of the noble estate in the Catalan parliaments, analyzed in this volume by Vicent Baydal Sala. The fundamental equality that underpins the act of voting was in constant tension with the myriad ways, intra- and extra-procedural, of acknowledging inequalities among those entitled to vote. Differences in power, wealth, status, competence, wisdom

4 Introduction

and so on were a fact, often considered not only inevitable but also just and desirable, and voting systems could be modulated either to reflect (and thereby also reinforce) those differences or to diminish or eliminate their impact. Valentina Arena’s essay on voting in the Roman Republic emphasizes the degree to which contemporary observers consciously accepted the delicate interplay between equality and inequality in the Servian electoral system, where the power to affect the final result was in principle given to all but in amounts that varied greatly according to census classes. The famously complex and long procedures for the election of the Venetian doge and the Ragusan rector aimed instead, as Lovro Kunčević shows in his essay, to reduce as much as possible the impact of social and political inequalities within the aristocratic group of patricians. They did so by strictly regulating gestures, objects and behavior, and by resorting to random sortition and secrecy in some phases of the electoral process. Letizia Arcangeli ascribes similar political significance to the stricter enforcement of the rule about silence and manners in sixteenth-century female monastic houses in Parma, where the election of the abbess was reformed with the aim of reducing the grip that prominent families had on the office of the abbess. The role of sortition and secrecy in the voting process runs as a thread through many essays in this volume, which suggest that conclusions about one or the other’s connection to democracy and democratic instances need to be carefully checked against the background of specific historical contexts. In the case of sortition, as Paul Cartledge stresses in his study of ancient Greek city-states, its use in the choice of officials implies that each citizen has a share in the government of the polis, and that the polis is a thing held in common. It is not too difficult to apply the same conceptual framework to the government of most late medieval Italian communes, which also used sortition extensively to select their officials. The radically egalitarian potential of sortition is obvious. Yet both ancient Sparta and late medieval Florence constrained the randomness of sortition with procedures of preliminary selection of those admissible, and it was during these phases that differences of all kinds corrected or corrupted the absolute equality potentially guaranteed by sortition. Because such processes of scrutiny were often conducted by small commissions of elders or specially appointed officers, electoral systems founded on sortition could ultimately be less democratic than a public competition between candidates would be in a modern democracy. The secrecy and anonymity of the vote exhibits a similar tension between principle and practice. In a group of real equals no one needs to vote secretly, because no one votes for reasons other than his or her judgement of the matter at hand; in such an ideal assembly influence is mutual, a good and necessary component of decision-making. Few believed that such an equality could exist, however, and it was indeed precisely the purpose of the secret ballot to make real inequalities less corrupting and to reduce or eliminate influence, intimidation or fear, by removing the possibility of retribution or accountability. This was very much the objective of reforms to the process of the papal election, as Miles Pattenden shows in his essay, which aimed to protect cardinals from the violent pressures of the Roman factions

Introduction  5

as well as those coming from the cardinals’ own secular backers. Rather than eliminating factions, however, the enforcement of secrecy and anonymity in the case of papal elections contributed to the increasing distance between the electoral college and the people over whom the new pope was to rule. In Pierluigi Terenzi’s essay on the electoral reforms King Ferrante I sent to several cities of the Kingdom of Naples in the late fifteenth century, the secrecy of the vote seems to have an equally ambiguous relation with democratic instances. In prescribing the secret ballot for elections of urban officials, the king sought to undermine, or at least control, clientelistic and factional ties between local aristocracies and urban populations in the name of ‘free’ elections; yet among the objectives of these reforms was also a sharp reduction of the cities’ autonomy vis-à-vis the monarchy. Both sortition and secrecy, in any case, contribute to the significance of voting and elections as rituals. As in the Eastern Church councils analyzed in Vesselina Vachkova’s essay, a vote can re-make the world, and the collective will it expresses partakes of the sacred. The vote marks a collective transition from one state to another, and takes place in a more or less extended liminal phase, where some or most of the rules underpinning the normal functioning of a community are suspended or subverted. In the case of major votes, secular or ecclesiastical, the presence of the divine may be invoked, symbolized, or recognized ex post, and the sacredness of the occasion is often unmistakable. With liminality comes also vulnerability and danger, a heightened sense of suspense and risk, which still pervades contemporary experiences of elections. The ritual essence of electoral appointments can be detected in their calendars, as Alexandr Osipian observes about the elections of mayors in Armenian communities in Poland-Lithuania. It is also evident, as Derek Hirst remarks in his essay, when one observes that electoral campaigns and elections are traditionally festive occasions, involving a good amount of spectacle, consumption and celebration. During elections the community displays itself to itself and participation in the ritual and festive aspect of the vote is often not limited to the enfranchised. In fact the audience for such mises en scène is crucially important, even when it does not directly take part in the main electoral processes – Claire Judde de Larivière, for example, shows the extent to which voting was a shared culture in Venice beyond the confines of the patriciate. In communities where the vote is a relatively frequent and ordinary event, its exercise can be perceived as a burden to be avoided, as Nella Lonza notices in her essay on medieval Split. Yet because of the representational properties of the vote, its gestures, words and material props are also powerful status symbols, signifying inclusion and exclusion, inviting appropriation, imitation and mocking. As in the case of Ragusan confraternities studied by Zrinka Pešorda Vardić, the formally enfranchised elites understood the transgressive meaning of similar acts of appropriation and sought to prohibit them. The ideal image the vote was expected to convey was one of unity. It is hard to underestimate the legitimizing and unifying effects of unanimity, the awesome power of the many speaking with one mind, as Cristina La Rocca and Francesco Veronese’s essay shows in the case of bishops in Carolingian Europe. In practice, of

6 Introduction

course, unanimity (or the next best thing, overwhelming majority) is rare and difficult to reach, more often a matter of performance and representation (for example on written or visual records) than a reality. It is perhaps not surprising to find that simple majorities were seldom deemed sufficient in all kinds of normative texts about votes and elections, and not only because, as Canon Law suggested, the maior pars (the greater part) was not necessarily deemed to be the sanior pars (the better part). Resistance to the idea that all voters should have the same weight – the good and the bad, the wise and the unwise, those who care (zelantes) and those who do not – is not the only obstacle to the simple majority rule. An equally troublesome aspect is that the simple majority rule allows for the existence of very large minorities, and these in turn destroy the all-important image of unity. If one takes the successful ritual parable of the vote to go from unity to division to (new) unity, then the vote’s potential for division constantly threatens to burst outside the boundaries of the intermediate phase, and either reveal or cause a more permanent and destructive kind of division.Voting is intimately associated to division; most pre-modern cultures of voting were especially preoccupied with containing the divisive effects of votes and elections and consistently resorted to widely shared discursive repertoires against discord, faction and civil conflict. Partisanship was generally conceived as a form of corruption of ‘free’ and proper votes and elections. Electoral procedures were deliberately designed as a way to defuse partisan divisions, as Andrea Guidi highlights in his analysis of Machiavelli’s electoral reform proposal of 1512, which sought to offer the newly resurgent Medici party a way back into government without compromising the Florentine republican institutions and vivere civile e politico. Yet in some contexts the dialectic and competitive aspect of politics remained a recognized and explicit element of electoral and voting procedures. Lorenzo Tanzini describes the role of official contradictor, someone charged with speaking against the government’s proposal before the vote when no other member of the assembly wished to do so, in Siena and other late medieval Italian communes. In my essay, I show how a republic like Genoa found ways of institutionalizing partisan affiliation in electoral procedures by prescribing parity of representation of certain sociopolitical groups, thus making the reviled notion of party a quasi-normal aspect of government. Brian Sandberg suggests in his essay that consular elections in southern French cities during the Wars of Religion became the site where a policy of coexistence via equal representation between Catholics and Huguenots was put to the test. More research is needed on the crucial interaction between voting procedures and party systems before the age of modern party politics; electoral practice needs to be connected with theories and discourses of political pluralism. Political and juridical debates around the notion of representation, for example, are connected to debates about voting and election well before the late eighteenth century – the chronological end point of this volume, explored from the Dutch ‘Batavian’ perspective by Wyger Velema. The emergence of a representation of ‘national’ communities within the one ‘universal’ (Latin) Church during the Council of Constance, for example, was related, as Alex Russell shows in his essay, to the

Introduction  7

demand for an electoral weighing of the ‘nations’ and not just the ‘heads’ during conciliar proceedings. The interplay between representations and practices of voting, on the one hand, and political and juridical thought, on the other, remains perhaps one of the most promising avenues for further research on voting cultures in the pre-modern world, in Europe and beyond. Indeed this project’s focus on Europe should not lead to the assumption that Europe was the only area where voting took place and left behind material traces in the pre-modern period. Some of the oldest references to voting, for example, are in the Buddhist vinaya, rules for the communities of monks or nuns, which delve into procedural aspects of voting in great detail and may be in part elaborations of voting practices in use in self-governing city-states in north-east India in the age of Siddhārtha Gautama (sixth–fifth centuries BCE). Such practices spread with Buddhist monasticism throughout Asia.5 A consideration of pre-modern cultures of voting in a global context would be an obvious and exciting next step. *** This volume collects papers presented at the conferences Cultures of Voting in the Mediterranean (ca. 1200 – ca. 1600), held in Dubrovnik on 25–26 April 2014, and Cultures of Voting in Pre-modern Europe, held in London on 26 June 2015. Heartfelt thanks go to all the participants, including Maud Harivel, Ian McBride, Janet Nelson and Maartje Van Gelder, and in addition, to Letizia Arcangeli and Claire Judde de Larivière, who joined the project at a later stage.

Notes 1 The reference is to David Van Reybrouck, Against Elections: The Case for Democracy (London: The Bodley Head, 2016) (first Dutch edition 2013). 2 Existing collections of studies on specific areas and chronological periods include Federica Cordano and Cristiano Grottanelli, eds., Sorteggio pubblico e cleromanzia dall’antichità all’età moderna: atti della tavola rotonda (Milan: ET, 2001); Rudolf Schlögl, ed., Urban Elections and Decision-Making in Early Modern Europe, 1500–1800 (Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009); Christoph Dartmann, Günther Wassilowsky and Thomas Weller, eds., Technik und Symbolik vormoderner Wahlverfahren, Historische Zeitschrift Beiheft 52 (Oldenbourg:Verlag München, 2010); see also several essays in Jean-Philippe Genet, Dominique Le Page and Olivier Mattéoni, eds., Consensus et représentation (Paris: Publications de la Sorbonne, 2017). 3 Ariana Strandburg-Peshkin, Damien R. Farine, Iain D. Couzin and Margaret C. Crofoot, “Shared Decision-Making Drives Collective Movement in Wild Baboons”, Science, 348.6241 (2015): 1358–1361. 4 Edoardo Ruffini, La ragione dei più: Ricerche sulla storia del principio maggioritario (Bologna: Il Mulino, 1977), 221 (original essay first published in 1921). 5 See, for example, Hubert Durt, “The Counting Stick (śalākā) and the Majority/Minority Rule in the Buddhist Community”, Journal of Indian and Buddhist Studies, 23 (1974): 28–34; Fabio Rambelli, “Buddhist Republican Thought and Institutions in Japan: Preliminary Considerations”, Japanese Studies Around the World (2008): 127–153.


Ideas and representations

1 NOT JUST VOTING, BUT BEING COUNTED The cases of Ancient Greece Paul Cartledge

There was no such thing as ‘Ancient Greece’: there was no one country or state of that name – for two main reasons. First, instead of one nation-state, such as the state (kratos) of the Hellenic Republic (Elliniki Demokratia) today, the ancient Greek world was made up of a far-flung congeries of about 1,000 political entities, most of them of the state form known as polis (citizen-state) as analyzed most acutely and comprehensively in the Politika (‘Matters Concerning the Polis’) of Aristotle (330s/320s BCE). Second, the ancient Greeks no more called themselves ‘Greeks’ than do their contemporary Greek descendants: they are ‘Hellenes’, who in antiquity collectively both inhabited and comprised ‘Hellas’, the ancient Greek world – a fundamentally cultural rather than political concept on a par with, say, Christendom in the European Middle Ages, or the Arab world today. The keynotes of ancient Hellas, politically speaking, were diversity and disunity. To take the limit case, the way that democratic Athenians did politics was extremely different from, if not actually opposed to, the way that their Spartan coethnics and too often antagonists did. On one matter, however, they did all agree – on the cardinal significance of what we, following the Romans’ Latin terms civis/civitas, call ‘citizenship’, and what they, taking their cue from their word polis, called politeia. Citizenship was a key aspect of ancient Hellas, the ancient Greek world, and a key aspect too not only of ancient Greece but also, if very differently focused, of ancient Rome. So culturally important indeed was politeia to the ancient Greeks that, as we shall see, it could be referred to unproblematically, almost casually, as the ‘life’ or ‘soul’ of a Greek polis. Central to the exercise of (the various modes of) citizenship in practical political terms was the casting of decisive votes, whether for legislation and other kinds of policy making or for elections to high office. Central to that practice, in its turn, was the question of eligibility: who shall be entitled to count as a citizen (polites in Greek, a polis-person)? It is no accident that Aristotle in

12  Ideas and representations

the Politics, after first defining to his satisfaction the notion of polis, turned – after some critical contemplation of a variety of ‘ideal’ states proposed by a variety of thinkers – to the definition of the polites. In the end, he decided that the citizen was best defined as he (only free, legitimate adult males were in question, unsurprisingly, in a gender-skewed and slave-owning world) who has the privilege of exercising krisis (judgment), including legal judgment, and arkhe (rule or office). But he felt constrained to add at once that that definition more closely fitted the various kinds of democracy than of oligarchy, since democracies were more broadly inclusive and genuinely egalitarian.1 Citizenship matters were managed differently, and I would argue in many ways better, in the ancient Graeco-Roman world. Or rather, since in this case ‘Greece’ and ‘Rome’ are quite different in key respects, in the Greek and Roman worlds. And central to the understanding and practice, the culture, of ancient Greek citizenship was voting, both individually and en masse. Much or even most of English political descriptive vocabulary (monarchy, oligarchy, democracy, tyranny, etc.) comes ultimately from ancient Greek, not Latin. But ‘citizenship’ and ‘citizen’, as noted, come to us from Latin (civitas, civis), not Greek. The term civitas is cognate with civilitas, civilization – both literally, that is etymologically, and metaphorically, that is symbolically. Thus to be a citizen in ancient Rome or elsewhere in the vast ancient Roman world empire as a whole was to be civilized, and conversely Roman citizenship was one of the hallmarks, the high points, of Roman culture.2 So, too, was Greek citizenship, although unlike for the Romans it was for the Greeks politically vital that they did not form a single unified political entity. Politically speaking, the Athenians, for example, were ‘Athenians’ before they were ‘Hellenes’. The culturally specific translation of polis as ‘citizen-state’ therefore captures both the central, defining importance of citizenship in the ancient Greek world and emphasizes the ancient Greeks’ concrete rather than abstract understanding of the strong political community to which they belonged, as a living corporate entity. Greek citizens saw themselves as having and enjoying the privilege of an active share and stake in their political community.3 To show just how close citizenship lay to the very heart of the ancient Greeks’ political praxis, we might first note that they used the same word, politeia, both for ‘citizenship’ and for what we, again borrowing from Latin rather than Greek, call a ‘constitution’.4 Moreover, to illustrate how deeply and how intimately citizenship as an institution was connected with citizenship as culture in ancient Greece, one can quote two leading Greek intellectuals and political theorists, who were contemporaries and co-residents in Athens, though one, Isocrates, was an Athenian citizen and notionally a democrat, and the other, Aristotle, was not.5 Isocrates of Athens called a polis’s politeia (in the sense of constitution) its ‘soul’, while Aristotle in his foundational text the Politics referred to it as its ‘sort of life’, meaning its way of life. Aristotle was, it is true, philosophically committed to a teleological view of the polis as the final end or full realization of the good life for humankind in society; he might therefore be held to be guilty of intellectual bias. But Isocrates the

Not just voting, but being counted  13

practical rhetorician and ideologue had no such theoretical axe to grind and was a much more conventional and even humdrum political thinker. The main focus of this essay will be a detailed comparison and contrast between citizenship and voting as they were practiced and felt and thought in two different, indeed in some ways antithetical, Greek poleis – Sparta and Athens. But first I must essay a general point of comparison – or rather contrast – within the ancient world as a whole, that is between Greece generally and Rome generally. This is a point that has been succinctly made by Philippe Gauthier in his distinction and opposition of ‘avarice grecque’ to ‘générosité romaine’.6 Greek avarice, Roman generosity: as an ideal type, or at least as a stereotype, that contrast will work very well. For the Romans did indeed extend versions of their Roman citizenship far more widely – in space, as well as in social milieu – than did the Greeks. Indeed, the emperor Claudius (according to Tacitus’s version of his Senate speech in 48 CE: Annals 11.48) accurately attributed the longevity of the Roman empire, as compared to the relatively transient, fly-by-night Spartan and Athenian empires, to precisely this politico-cultural difference. But it is not just the fact of the difference but the reasons behind that fact that matter. For such Roman-style ‘generosity’ with their citizenship would have appalled the Athenians, let alone the even more exclusive and inner-focused Spartans (to whom all foreigners, whether Greek or non-Greek, were alike ‘aliens’, xenoi). In the world of the Greek polis it was rare enough for a free Greek person originally born and raised in another city to become a fully political member, a citizen, of a new one. Aristotle, for example, as noted, did not become a citizen of Athens, even though that was where he lived for several decades and where he founded his philosophical school. Throughout his life he remained a citizen of his native Stageiros, and held only second-class, metic (resident alien) status at Athens. The rare exceptions to that rule were all free persons and mainly Greek persons, though Athens did develop the notion of honorary citizenship for foreign and not only Greek potentates who might welcome the honor, but who would not regularly exercise the rights of Athenian citizenship in Athens itself.7 In the sharpest possible contrast, at Rome even liberated slaves could automatically become voting citizens, whereas in both Athens and Sparta, and as far as we know everywhere else in the Greek world, too, the highest status that such freedmen could aspire to was that of metic, one who lived with, for example, the citizens of Athens but did not live as an Athenian citizen.8 It is a considerable irony that in terms of formal legal status at Athens Aristotle was on a par with a liberated slave.The deepest reason for this rigid exclusivity was that the citizen body of Athens or Sparta or whatever other Greek city was essentially conceived organically: as an enlarged family, or descent-group, in which members had a share, by right primarily of birth.9 For Aristotle, therefore, in his Politics the basic building block of a polis or the polis was the oikos, or household, and one became a polites ‘citizen’ and acquired politeia in the first instance because one had been born into a citizen household. To sum up, ‘Hellas’ was what the Hellenes themselves called their cultural sphere or space, the world within which they defined themselves culturally speaking in

14  Ideas and representations

terms of shared descent, language and customs, especially religious customs.10 But politics, including the politics of voting, was something that divided rather than unified them. So, rather than talking of one ancient Greek culture or political culture, one should speak instead of ‘the cultures within ancient Greek culture’, and that, centrally, involved conflict, as well as contact and collaboration.11

Sparta I shall consider first the political culture of ancient Sparta, because that is the city which – arguably – invented the Greek citizen ideal, or at least gave a first definition of it in practice.12 But I shall sidestep the vexed question of how the developed Spartan ‘constitution’ should best be classified: was it a funny kind of oligarchy, or a funny kind of democracy, or even a funny kind of kingship, or a mixture of all three types?13 That is only partly relevant here, and not to the issue of voting. Instead, I will concentrate on the ‘spirit’ of Spartan citizenship, if I may call it that.14 The qualifications laid down for gaining and holding Spartan citizenship are as interesting as the ways in which it was exercised politically. The qualifications were uniquely Spartan, but in cultural terms they were also thoroughly Greek. As often, the Spartans were in this respect the same as other Greeks, only more so. Herodotus knew of just two men who had held the Spartan citizenship despite their not having been born Spartans; indeed, so odd was that fact to him that this is the one and only occasion (9.35) on which he used the abstract noun politeia in the meaning of ‘citizenship’. Normally, in other words, Spartan parentage on both sides was a prerequisite. But that was only the first, by no means the last, of a whole series of qualifying conditions – which indeed never ended: for apart from demotion for criminal behavior, as was possible in other cities, it was possible in Sparta to go from being a first-class citizen to being no citizen at all – not just a second-class citizen – purely for economic reasons. In all Greek cities some semblance of equality was a precondition of the very existence of a citizen body of the Greek type. The Spartans, however, sought to emphasize the – relative – equality and homogeneity of their citizen body by calling themselves Homoioi.This word is regularly mistranslated into English as ‘Equals’. What it actually means is ‘Same-ish’, that is the same in one or some, but not all, respects. And becoming a Spartan citizen meant constantly having to undergo, and pass, publicly imposed tests, in which some inevitably performed better than others. For a start, there was in Sparta a purely physical criterion for citizenship. This took the form, first, of a judgment of the elders on whether an infant boy was fit to be reared, and then, between the ages of 7 and 17, came the Agoge, a sort of prolonged trial by ordeal: that is the compulsory, state-imposed ‘Upbringing’, unique in all Hellas (as Aristotle emphasized, while at the same time violently criticizing it for its anti-intellectual bias). There was a telling Greek phrase that translates literally as ‘staying in’ the Agoge; this meant managing to survive the constant series of ever-more-grueling physical and psychological – rather than intellectual – tests. Then, for those youths who had reached the threshold of adulthood at age 20,

Not just voting, but being counted  15

there was a further test by election to a communal warrior dining mess. Once elected, a Spartan citizen had to satisfy two further criteria: first, a moral criterion, namely appropriate behavior on the battlefield; second, an economic one, namely the requirement to contribute a fixed minimum of natural produce every month to his dining mess. Those who failed either the physical-psychological or the moralmilitary or the economic tests at any stage were placed among, or rather relegated to the ranks of, the so-called Hupomeiones, the Lessers or Inferiors, who were Spartans ethnically but not politically. However, even given that a Spartan had acquired and maintained his citizenship, to the extent of being able to participate in the decision-making (or, more usually, just rubber stamping) Spartan Assembly, some Spartan citizens were nevertheless more equal than others. I do not mean just intellectually or socioeconomically, but physically. And this is where voting, specifically, comes into play. Like all Greek poleis, Sparta had an Assembly, called as at Athens ekklesia. But at Sparta, unlike Athens, the Assembly was simply the heavy-armed infantry army in ‘civvies’, as it were, meeting once a month (at least) to decide or ratify issues of public policy or, annually or even less frequently, to conduct elections to office. The fifth-century BCE historian Thucydides, an Athenian intellectual par excellence, was annoyed by what he called ‘the secrecy of the Spartan politeia’ (5.68.2), since this prevented him from discovering such key facts as the precise number of soldiers who were full Spartan citizens in a composite Spartan-led army. But he was no less astonished and discombobulated by the fact that in the Spartan Assembly voting was done, as he put it, ‘by shouting and not by ballot’ (1.87: ‘ballot’ translates Greek psephos; that literally meant a pebble, though stones were not in fact necessarily used for voting at Athens or elsewhere). In other words, votes in the Spartan Assembly were not counted but measured, or rather guesstimated, and those with the louder voices collectively carried more weight and clout. Exactly the same procedure at Sparta was used for electing all officials, including the over-60s lifetime senators, as described by Plutarch in his early second-century CE pseudo-biography of the Spartans’ fundamental lawgiver Lycurgus. Plutarch in turn had derived his information from his reading of a lost work of Aristotle, who in his Politics had roundly condemned the procedure as ‘childish’, since it was so easily manipulated by interested and nonresponsible parties. To an ancient Greek democrat, however, as Aristotle was not, election was in itself an oligarchic procedure, not a democratic one, since it differentially and disproportionately favored the notables over ordinary, everyday citizens. But the Spartans’ mode of election, by shouting, was peculiarly objectionable, since it was the very negation of the fundamental democratic principle of absolute equality among all qualified voters: one citizen, one vote; of the principle that everyone shall count – and be counted – for one, and no one for more than one. That was, at any rate, normally the case in Sparta: the singularity of Thucydides’s remark lies in the fact that on just one occasion, in 432 BCE, the presiding Spartan official claimed he could not determine which of the two shouts – for or against going to war with Athens – was the louder, and therefore, uniquely, called for a division, which resulted (as he had intended) in an even huger majority for going to war.

16  Ideas and representations

In short, although Sparta was a pioneer in implementing a thoroughly Greek notion of politeia, that is an idea of citizenship as strong membership in a corporate self-governing body, we are not dealing here with a citizenship of equals. For the full-blown, egalitarian version of citizenship – the one that so upset its intellectual critics such as Plato and Aristotle – we must turn rather to democratic Athens.

Athens To be a full citizen of Athens one had to be male, of the right birth (legitimate, and born to citizen parents), and aged 18 or over – and registered as such, through the vital aid of reliable witnesses, on the roll of one’s local deme (village, parish, ward). That was all. There were no moral or physical or educational tests to pass, no property or other economic qualifications to satisfy. By comparison to Spartan, Athenian citizenship was relatively inclusive. Much too inclusive, at any rate, for critics of Athens’s democracy – of which there were many: in fact, most of our surviving authors.15 They objected to it on all sorts of grounds. But the criticisms all boiled down essentially to a class-based or class-inflected criticism of the fact that democracy was the rule of the poor (and therefore ignorant, unprincipled and fickle) citizens over their social and economic and intellectual superiors, the minority of rich and well-educated citizens. And that was the case quite simply because the poor were always the majority of the citizen body and, by and large, they – allegedly – thought and voted along similar lines. At least, as Aristotle theorized it, demokratia was precisely the rule of the poor: the kratos (power, force) of the demos in the sense of the poor masses.16 Ancient Greek democracy came in various forms, varying in degree of popular empowerment, and differing from polis to polis; but it was always direct democracy. It lacked a notion of representation, and it performed the rituals of voting face to face, either in public assembly, in a system of government by mass meeting or in open law court. In the case of Athens, an open-air assembly took place on the Pnyx hill below the Acropolis with maybe six thousand citizen participants. Here, to save time, votes would normally be estimated from a show of hands (kheirotonia) rather than individually counted from voting tokens. But in cases of uncertainty, individual balloting would be required. In the law courts, however, to which jurors were appointed by the democratic procedure of the lottery, decisions were always taken by secret ballot, individually.That practice of law court voting and counting of votes likely goes back as far as about 600 BCE, well before the introduction of democracy itself.17 Under the democracy, performing this role of juryman was considered a no less central political function than voting in the Assembly. The trial of Socrates in 399 is just one of the more spectacular exemplifications of this general rule.18 In such a form of direct democracy there was always the risk that a vote would generate what the Greeks called stasis. Stasis in ancient Greek is, in a way, the very opposite of our anglicized word ‘stasis’. It meant an active and often angry standing apart or faction: civil strife, in other words, that might on occasion lead to outright civil war (also called stasis – as in Thucydides’s brilliant analysis of the stasis that

Not just voting, but being counted  17

broke out so violently on the island of Kerkyra, modern Corfu, in 427 BCE). Suppose, for the sake of argument, that the majority on a particular issue was wafer thin. Suppose the issue was a particularly fraught matter of foreign or domestic policy – the extension of the citizenship to a group of outsiders, for example, or going to war with, say, Sparta. Suppose, further, that the opposed positions were polarized under the championship of the two most influential political figures of the day.Then the potential for explosive discord was immense. And that sufficiently explains why the universally avowed political ideal was homonoia, which literally means same-mindedness, that is complete and utter unanimity, not just concord, let alone mere consensus. An ideal, however, that was very rarely – if ever – actually realized.19 It was, I believe, in order to break such a deadlock between polarized positions and leaders that one particular and rather peculiar method of voting was first introduced at Athens around 500 BCE, and it was in order to give themselves the opportunity in principle to prevent or abort stasis arising from such a deadlock that the Athenians maintained it on the statute books throughout the term of the democracy. I refer to the practice of ostracism (from ostrakon, a potsherd).20 On a given day, provided that a quorum of 6,000 citizens turned up to cast their potsherds (inscribed with the name of the citizen they wished to have exiled for ten years), the ‘winner’ of this reverse election was the ‘candidate’ against whom the most potsherds were cast. So important was it considered to be, symbolically, to retain the possibility of holding an ostracism that it was maintained even long after other more practical – or no less practical – instruments for dealing with stasis or the potential conditions for stasis had been devised. Through the device of ostracism, the demos, the people or citizen body of Athens, demonstrated powerfully that no one individual political leader was too big and influential, too high and mighty, not to be exiled, and that kratos really did reside, ultimately, with the demos. But that of course was precisely what upset a critic of democracy such as Aristotle. There were some individuals, he believed, who were so superior that they simply did not deserve to be treated so unjustly; and in any case, if the idea behind ostracism was to prevent or cure stasis, something dear to Aristotle’s own heart, too, then he believed the constitution should have been so framed in other ways as to render such a desperate and unjust expedient unnecessary. But from the point of view of the demos, the democratic majority, the merits of ostracism were obvious, not only practically, but also spiritually. The force of the exiling was something like a religious ritual of cleansing, or, if one prefers a medical metaphor, the expelling of a cause of corruption from the body politic. The view of the persons actually ostracized, however, always members of the social or political elite, is more likely to have approximated that of Aristotle than that of the masses.

Conclusion It is questionable, in conclusion, whether there is any direct ‘legacy’ of citizenship from ancient Greece to the modern world, although the claim for some

18  Ideas and representations

continuity from Roman to modern European and American forms of citizenship is easier to establish, at least theoretically speaking.21 At any rate, there is absolutely no continuity or indeed close similarity between ancient and modern forms of ‘democracy’.22 It is also questionable whether we would actually want there to be continuity, for the ancient Greeks were not pluralists. They did not believe that on principle ‘others’, whether insider others or outsider others, had rights, or at any rate rights in principle to be different, or to dissent. They did not countenance ‘minorities’, let alone minority rights. On the other hand, there are senses in which we can and should look back to the ancient Greeks for inspiration, in the matter of citizenship as on so many other of our core political values, ideals and practices. I should therefore like to end by quoting a definition of citizenship provided by Danielle Allen. Shortly after 9/11 she was due to deliver an ‘Aims of Education’ address to incoming University of Chicago freshmen. The events of that terrible day, however, compelled her to rewrite her talk almost completely from scratch. So she began it, in a thoroughly Demosthenic style, with a section titled ‘What I Would Have Said’. The substance of what she then went on to say she titled ‘The Power of Education’, and this is the definition she gave of citizenship: Citizenship is the struggle, carried out through conversation, to achieve accounts of the world that accord with norms of friendship and provide grounds for action.23 From that characteristically rich and dense formulation, what I want to pick out are the first and last nouns: struggle and action. Citizenship is, or consists in, struggle, and citizenship is, or is realized through, action. Suffrage, although that English term is derived from a Latin word, is part of our common Western heritage from ancient Greece.24 If, that is, we wish it to be.

Notes 1 On all aspects of ancient Greek politics, with an emphasis on political thinking, see my Ancient Greek Political Thought in Practice (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009). For the full works, Mogens Herman Hansen and Thomas Heine Nielsen, eds., An Inventory of Archaic and Classical Poleis (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004). In brief, Paul Cartledge, Ancient Greece: A History in Eleven Cities (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011). 2 Claude Nicolet, The World of the Citizen in Republican Rome (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1980) [French original 1976]. 3 Mogens Herman Hansen, POLIS: An Introduction to the Ancient Greek City-State (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006). 4 Jacqueline Bordes, Politeia dans la pensée grecque jusqu’à Aristote (Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 1982). 5 David Whitehead, “Aristotle the Metic”, Proceedings of the Cambridge Philological Society, 21 (1975): 94–99. 6 Philippe Gauthier, “ ‘Générosité’ romaine et ‘Avarice’ grecque: sur l’octroi du droit de cité”, Mélanges d’istoire ancienne offerts à William Seston (Paris: Publications de la Sorbonne, 1974), 207–215.

Not just voting, but being counted  19

7 Michael J. Osborne, Naturalisation in Athens, vol. III (Brussels: AWLSK, 1983). 8 David Whitehead, The Ideology of the Athenian Metic [Supp.Vol. 2 to the Proceedings of the Cambridge Philological Society] (Cambridge: Faculty of Classics, 1977). 9 John Kenyon Davies, “Athenian Citizenship: The Descent-Group and the Alternatives”, Classical Journal, 73 (1977/8): 105–121. 10 A key, ideologically overdetermined text is Herodotus, Histories, book 8, chapter 144; see Herodotus, The Histories, ed. Paul Cartledge, trans. Tom Holland (London: Penguin Books, 2013). 11 Carol Dougherty and Leslie Kurke, eds., The Cultures Within Ancient Greek Culture: Contact, Conflict, Collaboration (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003). 12 Paul Cartledge,“Spartan Citizenship”, in Defining Citizenship in Archaic Greece, eds. Roger Brock and Alain Duplouy (forthcoming). 13 Paul Cartledge, “The Peculiar Position of Sparta in the Development of the Greek CityState”, Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy. Section C: Archaeology, Celtic Studies, History, Linguistics, Literature, 80C (1980): 91–108; Paul Cartledge, Spartan Reflections (Duckworth: London & Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003), 21–38. 14 Paul Cartledge, “Comparatively Equal: A Spartan Approach”, in Demokratia: A Conversation on Democracies Ancient and Modern, eds. Josiah Ober and Charles Hedrick (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996); Paul Cartledge, Spartan Reflections (Duckworth: London & California: University of California Press, 2001), 68–75. The Washington conference was held to mark the 2,500th anniversary of the introduction of democracy – or proto-democracy – at Athens in 508/7 BCE. 15 Jennifer Tolbert Roberts, Athens on Trial: The Anti-Democratic Tradition in Western Thought (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994); Josiah Ober, Political Dissent in Democratic Athens. Intellectual Critics of Popular Rule (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1998). On the cardinal role of the deme in Athenian democratic politics and identity, see David Whitehead, The Demes of Attica 508/7- ca. 250 BC: A Political and Social Study (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1986). 16 Geoffrey Edward Maurice de Ste. Croix, The Class Struggle in the Ancient Greek World: From the Archaic Age to the Arab Conquests (London, Duckworth & Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1981, 1983). 17 Jakob Aall Ottesen Larsen, “The Origins and Significance of the Counting of Votes”, Classical Philology, 44 (1949): 164–181. 18 Cartledge, Ancient Greek Political Thought in Practice, 76–90. 19 Nicole Loraux, La cité divisée (Paris: Payot, 1997). 20 Sara Forsdyke, “Exile, Ostracism and the Athenian Democracy”, Classical Antiquity, 19 (2000): 232–263. 21 Annabel Brett, “The Development of the Idea of Citizens’ rights”, in States and Citizens: History, Theory, Prospects, eds. Quentin Skinner and Bo Stråth (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 97–112. 22 The contention therefore of Emilee Chapman, in her “Voting Matters: A Critical Examination and Defense of Democracy’s Central Practice” (PhD diss., University of Princeton, 2015), that voting’s distinctiveness in modern democracy is as ‘a form of mass participation in which all citizens are expected to take part’ (her emphasis), carries little relevance or resonance for my topic, as does Bryan Caplan’s doubtlessly pungent, provocative and plangent exposure of what he calls The Myth of the Rational Voter (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008), subtitled Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies. 23 Danielle Allen, “The Aims of Education Address 2001”, sites/ Allen.pdf, accessed 11 March 2016, 7. Prof. Allen is one of my most brilliant former Cambridge doctoral students. 24 Geoffrey Edward Maurice de Ste. Croix, “Suffragium – from vote to patronage”, British Journal of Sociology, 5 (1954): 33–48.

2 ROMAN REFLECTIONS ON VOTING PRACTICES Also a Pythagorean affair Valentina Arena

Throughout the greater part of the twentieth century, Roman elections have attracted scholarly attention mainly in regard to their technical functioning rather than the role they fulfilled in the political dynamics of the Republic.1 In a political reality almost invariably understood as dominated by a closed elite, Roman assemblies have been largely interpreted as a mere tool in the elite’s struggle for power. However, since the 1980s, when Fergus Millar initiated a revision of Roman political culture by proposing a democratic reading of the Republican political system, Roman assemblies have gained a place of pride in scholarly investigations and have been the subject of a very intense debate.2 My aim in this chapter is to explore the theoretical justification the Romans provided to describe their voting practices in popular assemblies (the comitia) and in particular in the comitia centuriata, the assembly in charge of electing the highest magistrates of the Republic (the consuls, the praetors, and the censors), of enacting legislation, of deciding on matters of war and peace, and of acting as a jury court in cases of capital sentences. The main structure and underlying principles of this assembly, which, although subject to some alterations in the course of the Republic, in its original form coincided with the military organization of the army, are discussed in three rather different texts dated to the first century BCE: the second book of Cicero’s theoretical political treatise De re publica, the first book of Livy’s historical account of Rome from its foundations, and the fourth book of Dionysius of Halicarnassus’s Roman Antiquities.3 Despite some differences, these texts all agree on one fundamental point – that, according to the tradition available to them, the sixth king of Rome, Servius Tullius, created an elaborate military and political system which assigned the citizens’ exercise of political and military power according to a timocratic criterion.4 These works, written in the second half of the first century BCE (the earliest, Cicero’s De re publica, was composed between 54 BCE and 51 BCE, while the latest, Dionysius of Halicarnassus’s fourth book of Roman

Roman reflections on voting practices  21

Antiquities, was most probably written in the last decade of the first century BCE), belong to a time when the political fight in Rome had reached its highest point, and among contemporaries it was widely perceived that the protagonists of the political scene were striving for their own power rather than the restoration of the proper (perhaps ideal) res publica. This commonwealth, they all (implicitly) claimed, was based on the proper functioning of the centuriate system, which guaranteed that the greatest political power was in the hands of the wealthiest members of the community. These authors sustain this point by adopting a number of subtle arguments, which are clearly informed by Greek philosophical precepts. The prevailing scholarly trend is to analyze these texts for the information they may provide on this institution, disregarding the conceptual framework in which its description is embedded. Based on the assumption that the Greek philosophical concepts adopted to describe it are part of a literary tradition, scholars tend to bypass them in their search of the historical truth concerning its functioning. However, a new way of understanding the relation between philosophical thought and the actual working of politics in Rome has been put forward and seems well worth developing.5 My principal aim in what follows is to expand on it, examining the justifications put forward by these authors and their philosophical models. By means of a close reading of these texts, it will become apparent that, according to these three ancient authors, the structure of the comitia centuriata was essential to the success and prosperity of the commonwealth. This was the only system which, in their opinion, would guarantee the upholding of the most important Republican virtues: liberty, fairness (or justice), and concord, and thereby the flourishing of the community. The successful enactment of these virtues was enabled by the fact that the structure of the comitia centuriata was described and perceived as informed by the mathematical principle of proportion, arithmetical as well as geometrical, first applied to the political sphere by Archytas, a Pythagorean philosopher from Tarentum of the fourth century BCE, whose work was well known in Rome in the first century BCE. Only when the philosophical underpinning of the language used to describe the working of the comitia centuriata comes to the fore of our analysis, I argue, are we able to understand the Romans’ perception of the crisis of the Republic and their proposed attempts at reforming the voting system attested in the Pseudo-Sallustian Epistle to Caesar, to which I shall turn at the end of this discussion. Behind the technical aspects concerning the reform of the voting order suggested in these texts lies not so much an attempt at providing the Roman people with an effective (or less nominal) political power but instead a redefinition of the notion of dignitas: traditionally the realm of the elite, dignitas is there reframed by redesigning the premises on which the centuriate system was based and assigning centrality to the value of virtus.

Rome’s assemblies Traditionally, Rome’s many assemblies were distinguished by three different names: comitia (the singular comitium indicates the specifically built meeting place), which

22  Ideas and representations

designated an assembly of all adult male citizens meeting in an appropriate place with the purpose of reaching a decision by voting (this might concern elections, the passing of legislation, or a judicial verdict); concilium, which identified the assembly of the plebs (as opposed to a gathering of the whole populus Romanus) or of the Latins, which, as a consequence of the lex Hortensia in 287 BCE, came to be used to indicate more generally Roman deliberative assemblies (with which it often was identified); and contio, the most informal of the Roman assemblies, with no restriction on either venue or participants, where no legally binding decisions were taken, but information on a variety of issues concerning the community, from the edict of a magistrate to a victory in the battlefield or the content of a law proposal, were communicated to those gathered there. The comitia were divided in comitia curiata (with its further permutation comitia calata curiata), comitia tributa, and comitia centuriata. All these assemblies were based not on a system of correspondence between one vote and one citizen but on voting units. In all these assemblies where voting took place, the majority of individual votes within one unit constituted the vote of that unit, and the majority of units determined the final outcome. However, the comitia differed on the nature of the voting units – respectively, the curiae, the most ancient divisions of the Roman people traditionally attributed to Romulus and perhaps based on kinship; the tribus, the territorial districts in which the Roman people were distributed, which by 241 BCE had reached the fixed number of thirty-five (four urban and thirty-one rural); and the centuriae, originally the smallest infantry units of the Roman army, on which the assembly was initially modeled. However, although the comitia centuriata still preserved some military traits (their preferred meeting place was, for example, the Campus Martius), by the third century BCE the centuriae in the assembly no longer corresponded to the centuriae in the army. By the first century BCE (the period when the texts mentioned previously were composed) the comitia curiata was effectively no longer in existence, being symbolically replaced by a gathering of thirty lictors, magisterial attendants, who represented the original thirty curiae.6 These oversaw the adrogationes, that is the adoption of a citizen sui iuris (a legally independent citizen), the making of testaments, the inauguration of priests, and passed the controversial and obscure lex curiata de imperio, which ratified or perhaps sanctioned the status of the elected magistrates.7 The comitia tributa and the comitia centuriata (the two most important assemblies of the period) elected magistrates, passed legislation, and acted as a jury court for cases of capital punishment. From the second century BCE onward, however, their remits were subjected to some alterations: the comitia tributa elected minor magistrates and enacted or rejected legislation, while the comitia centuriata came to enact only one law (concerning the recall of Cicero from exile in 57 BCE)8 and rarely acted as a judicial body, but continued to elect the highest officers of government, the censors, the consuls, and the praetors. Cicero’s De re publica, Livy’s Ab Urbe condita, and Dionysius of Halicarnassus’s Roman Antiquities, although diverse in nature from one another, all describe the origin of the centuriate system, giving accounts that differ on matters of technical

Roman reflections on voting practices  23

detail but agree on the ideological reasons for such a structure. They all agree that Servius Tullius divided Roman citizens into five census classes, whose men were enrolled in the infantry, and selected the principal men of the community to be part of the cavalry.To each census class he assigned a number of centuriae (voting units as well as military ones), which was directly proportionate to the citizens’ wealth: the higher the amount of property owned, the larger the number of centuriae assigned to that class. In this manner, they all claim, Servius distributed military and civil duties according to the amount of wealth each man possessed. An important upshot of this voting configuration, which did not escape any of these writers, was that it was sufficient that the centuriae of the cavalry and those of the first census class agreed for a majority to be reached without consulting the other census classes.9 Livy’s and Dionysius of Halicarnassus’s accounts, differing from one another only on the total number of centuriae of the whole system, seem to be based on a common historical and antiquarian source (most likely composed at the very beginning of the first century), which, without taking into account the little-known reform of the third century BCE, presented the whole system as built on the principle that in voting procedures the centuriae of the cavalry and those of the first class of census should have the majority.10 In their system, most extensively described in Livy, alongside the eighteen centuriae of the cavalry and the one hundred and seventy of the infantry, there were six additional centuriae of military-related personnel and attendants, subdivided between the first and the fifth census class, and one final centuria, at the very bottom of the timocratic structure, to which were assigned those who did not own any property and were registered by the censors on the basis of the only thing they could offer the commonwealth, their children (whence their appellative proletarii), or, if they did not have any, only their own person (hence capite censi).11 Those registered in this last centuria were exempt from military levy (except in situations of state emergency) and from taxation. The basic structure of this system is analogous to the picture drawn by Cicero, yet it is apparent that in the De re publica the configuration of this assembly reflects a later development (to be dated after 241 BCE), which somehow connected the seventy centuriae of the first class with Rome’s thirty-five tribes and echoed the progressive proletarization of the Roman army, eventually sanctioned by Marius’s reform.12 In Cicero’s description, alongside the eighteen centuriae of cavalry, there were seventy centuriae assigned to the first census class, to which one centuria of carpenters was also associated (by virtue of their importance in military affairs), and the remaining one hundred and four centuriae distributed to the other census classes. Here, too, one centuria was assigned to those who possessed less ‘than 1500 denarii or nothing at all except their own person’ (2.40), who, alongside those of the other ninety-six centuriae, vastly outnumbered those registered in the first class of the census. Despite these technical differences concerning the precise mechanisms of the working of these assemblies, in describing the centuriate organization and its constitutive traits these authors unanimously make three fundamental claims concerning the advantages of the structure of the comitia centuriata. Firstly, they

24  Ideas and representations

claim that this structure is such in order to guarantee that the greatest power resides in the hands of those who, owing a greater amount of wealth, have more at stake in the commonwealth and thereby display a greater interest in its welfare. Second, they claim that, despite its timocratic structure, no member of the civic community is deprived of his political right of suffragium.Third, its components, the different socioeconomic groups that make up the Roman citizen body, are seen as standing side by side and working together toward the common good, in a full and harmonious appreciation of each group’s role in the functioning of the commonwealth. In other words, these authors all claim that the Servian political organization both embodies and guarantees the implementation of the three most fundamental Republican values: fairness, liberty, and concord, which, in turn, guarantee the stability of the political system and its flourishing. In this system, they remark, no citizen is deprived of the right to vote, as, in the words of Cicero, this would be tyrannical and tantamount to depriving someone of his liberty.13 Still, they all emphasize, in this system ‘whilst no one was ostensibly deprived of his vote, all the voting power was in the hands of the principal men of the state’.14 If, on the one hand, there is no doubt that holding the right to vote was not tantamount to having a real opportunity to exercise it, on the other hand, the Servian organization ensured that no member of the community could claim to be forced to conduct a life according to laws which he himself did not have the right to approve or reject, and to live under the leadership of people whom he could not have entrusted with the management of the commonwealth on his behalf and in his interests.15 The charade put up by the Servian system did not escape these ancient authors. As Dionysius emphasized, the people happily relinquished their power almost by deception, since this specific institutional configuration made the citizens think ‘they all had an equal share in government because every man was asked his opinion, each in his own century . . . [while] the whole century, whether it consisted of a small or very large number of citizens, had but one vote’ and ‘the poor, who were very numerous, had but one vote and were the last called’ (4.21.1). Although in practice he deprived the people of any significant part in public affairs, in Dionysius’s opinion Servius succeeded in providing them with the impression of having an equal share in government. This idea was ultimately supported by the fact that all (adult male) members of the community held the right to vote and the legal possibility to exercise it, which ensured their status of liberty. The second important principle informing this institutional structure, on which all these authors remarked, was that ‘while no one was deprived of the suffrage, the majority of votes was in the hands of those to whom the highest welfare of the state was the most important’ (Cic. de rep. 2.40). Thus what these authors are claiming is that one of the criteria behind this system was to ensure two important aims: first, to prevent the greatest political power being in the hands of the most numerous; second, to ensure that the greatest voting power resided in those with the greatest interest in the best possible administration of the commonwealth. Contrary to how it may appear at first sight, this organization was not the expression of the most blinkered conservative thinking, which wishes to retain the power

Roman reflections on voting practices  25

in the hands of a minority elite for its own sake, but rather was informed by and mirrored a distinctive principle of fairness. As Livy puts it, just as Numa had been the author of religious laws and institutions, so posterity extols Servius as the founder of those divisions and classes in the state by which a clear distinction is drawn between the various grades of dignity and fortune (gradus dignitatis fortunaeque). (1.42.4) By instituting the census, he continues, as a criterion on the basis of which to distribute civic and military duties, Servius structured the voting system in such a way as to guarantee that although everyone was entitled to vote, actual political power was proportionate to the amount of property each man possessed. The way in which this gradus dignitatis (distinction of rank) can successfully be achieved, as argued by Scipio in Cicero’s De re publica, is, in the best form of government, the mixed and balanced constitution. Such a constitution, he argues, combining together the good, simple forms of government (kingship, aristocracy, and democracy) and based on the Servian centuriate system, ‘offers, in a high degree a sort of equality, which is a thing free men can hardly do without for any considerable length of time (aequabilitatem quondam magnam, qua carere diutius vix possunt liberi), and, secondly, it has stability’ (Cic. de rep. 1.69). Distinct from aequitas, this idea of fairness embedded in the mixed and balanced constitution functions as a principle of governance and indicates a rather distinct notion of equality. This equality combines the arithmetic idea of equality, according to which everyone is entitled to the same identical amount, with the proportionate concept of equality, which assigns everyone proportionally the same amount.16 While allowing for the granting of a minimal amount of equality necessary to make sure that none of the constituent parts of the community feel neglected, and, in Scipio’s words, ‘without which free men cannot live for any length of time’, the mixed and balanced constitution and the centuriate voting system, which reproduces its main tenets, also prevent the establishment of that aequabilitas iuris, ‘equality of legal rights’, of which, he claims, free people are so fond. The latter kind of fairness, the argument continues, leads to two main problems. The first is practical and concerns the actual political inapplicability of this idea, as the very people who cherish this value found themselves conferring extraordinary powers on individuals to solve acute crises, thereby ‘creating a distinction among men and the honours granted to them’ (1.53). The second problem is of a more conceptual character, since as a result of granting the same honor to the highest and to the lowest members of the community, an alteration of the nature of the value of equality occurs and ‘what is called equality is really the most inequitable (eaque, quae appellatur aequabilitas, iniquissima est)’ (1.53). The reason why the kind of aequabilitas that distributes arithmetically equal power to the people is most inequitable resides in the fact that, as mentioned previously, ‘it allows no distinctions of rank (ipsa aequabilitas est iniqua, cum habet nullos gradus dignitatis)’ (1.43). It follows that, alongside the notion of liberty, which guaranteed

26  Ideas and representations

that all Roman (adult male) citizens were accorded the same (in the sense of arithmetically equal) right to vote, the Servian configuration embodied and guaranteed the enactment of the value of fairness, as it was construed in such a way to preserve the gradus dignitatis by assigning political power according to the criterion of the census classification. With this system Servius ensured that the greatest number of votes belonged not to the common people, but to the rich, and put into effect the principle which ought always to be adhered to in the commonwealth that the greatest number should not have the greatest power. (Cic. de rep. 2.39) A third important point that the three authors all make is that, as a result of the embodiment of this idea of fairness, which combines a minimal equal distribution of rights with a proportionate assignation of actual power, this political and institutional system fostered concordia and, as a consequence, was characterized by stability.17 In the Servian organization, as Dionysius of Halicarnassus put it, The rich, though paying out large sums and exposed without intermission to the dangers of war, were less inclined to feel aggrieved now that they had obtained control of the most important matters and had taken all the power out of the hands of those who were not performing the same services; and the poor, who had but the slightest share in government, finding themselves exempt both from taxes and from military service, prudently and quietly submitted to this diminution of their power. (4.21.29) In a system that rewarded the highest effort on behalf of the commonwealth with the highest powers and compensated the lack of true power with exemptions from the hardest toils,18 everyone was satisfied with the station they held in the hierarchy of society. A sense of concordia was fostered among the members of society as not only did everyone think they were receiving their fair share but they also felt that they were collaborating in a joint enterprise, promoting the welfare of the community. Even the names assigned to the two main groups of citizens, that is those who owned more or less than one thousand and five hundred denarii, had been created in such a way to foster a sense of common enterprise: the wealthy in fact were called assiduii, ‘the “money-givers”, because they paid the expenses of the commonwealth (ab asse dando)’, while the other group, who possessed little or nothing at all except their own persons, ‘ “child-givers” thus showing that he [Servius] expected from them only children, that is, the offspring of the commonwealth’.19 By virtue of this idea of fairness that combined the notion of arithmetic and proportionate equality, all members of society were content with their position within the community, as they held the conviction that their amount of political and civic rights and duties corresponded exactly to what they deserved. It follows, these authors argue,

Roman reflections on voting practices  27

that in any system where this kind of aequabilitas is implemented, the citizens do not see any reason for change, strife, or revolution, but rather ‘firmly established in his own station (in suo quisque est gradu firmiter collocatus)’, as Scipio puts it, each one conducted his life in harmony with one another.20

Philosophical framework Thus at the foundation of the Servian system, ensuring the embodiment of these political ideals, lies the very important notion of a mathematical principle, that of proportion, as a criterion to structure the civic and political life of a community. This idea was first elaborated by Archytas, the Pythagorean from Tarentum who lived in the first half of the fourth century BCE, in a fragment universally considered authentic from his ‘On Things Scientific’.21 There Archytas claims that logismos, to be understood as ‘calculation’ rather than rational thinking, should be adopted as the ordering principle of the civic community, as it would enable the achievement of two main aims: first, the distribution of resources in such a way as to avoid their concentration in the hands of those already wealthy; second, the unassailable clarity that only mathematics can provide showing to members of the community they have received their fair share. Having asserted the importance of this new knowledge, Archytas claims that Once calculation (logismos) was discovered, it stopped discord (stasis) and increased concord (homonoia). For people do not want more than their share (pleonexia), and equality (isotas) exists, once this has come into being. For by means of calculation we will seek reconciliation in our dealings with others. Through this, then, the poor (penētes) receive from the powerful (dunamenoi), and the wealthy (plousioi) give to the needy (deomenoi), both in the confidence they will have what is fair (to ison) on account of this. It serves as a standard and a hindrance to the unjust. It stops those who know how to calculate, before they commit injustice, persuading them that they will not go undetected, whenever they appeal to it [sc. as a standard]. It hinders those who do not know how to calculate from committing injustice, having revealed them as unjust by means of it [i.e. calculation].22 The most innovative feature of Archytas’s thinking is that he confers to logismos the ability to produce agreement within a civic community. The gist of his argument is that a new knowledge based on the function of calculation is needed to achieve the condition of a unified city-state free of any discord. The second point that Archytas makes is that by virtue of calculation those in need will be delighted to receive from those better off than them, and conversely those in power will be happy to share their wealth with the more disadvantaged people. In other words, according to Archytas, the main aim of the application of calculation to political life consists in the eradication of the pleonexia, wanting more than one’s share, even on the part of those more in need, as only this will be conducive to the establishment

28  Ideas and representations

of concord. An upshot of the application of logismos to civic life is that the community will be free from injustice, as those able to calculate, even if they are tempted to commit a crime, will immediately realize that their crime would be easily brought to light, while, on the other hand, those unable to calculate will be easily caught and their behavior immediately judged as unjust. Plato, Archytas’s dear friend, who had helped him during his troubles with Dionysius of Syracuse, built on this notion in the Laws, where he considered the need to combine an idea of equality, according to which each man should be regarded as having the same value as the next, with another notion of equality, in his opinion higher, based on virtue and education.23 The latter, he states, gives to the greater more and to the inferior less, and in proportion to the nature of each; and above all, greater honour always to the greater virtue, and, to the less, less; and to either in proportion to their respective measure of virtue and education. And this is justice, and is ever the true principle of states, at which we ought to aim.24 Contrary to Plato, who appears to regard the adoption of arithmetical proportion as a necessary concession to a democratic principle in order to avoid political unrest, Aristotle, himself very familiar with Archytas’s work, seems to consider the adoption of this notion of arithmetical proportion as almost a neutral means to achieve the best possible form of commonwealth. Building on and responding to Archytas’s idea of logismos as an ordering criterion for the just commonwealth, Aristotle categorizes two types of justice, distributive and corrective justice, each identified by a mathematical proportion: All men agree that what is just in distribution must be according to merit in some sense, though they do not all specify the same sort of merit, but democrats identify it with the status of freeman, supporters of oligarchy with wealth (or with noble birth) . . . For proportion is equality of ratios . . . Mathematicians call this kind of proportion geometrical; for it is in geometrical proportion that it follows that the whole is to the whole as either part is to the corresponding part . . . This, then, is what the just is – the proportional; the unjust is what violates the proportion.25 As Aristotle states in his Politics, all forms of government are based on the ‘acknowledgment of justice and proportionate equality’. Each kind of constitution, however, privileges only one criterion as the determining factor in relations between men and abusively extends it to other domains: Democracy, for example, arises out of the notion that those who are equal in any respect are equal in all respects; because men are equally free, they claim to be absolutely equal. Oligarchy is based on the notion that those who are unequal in one respect are in all respects unequal; being unequal, that is, in

Roman reflections on voting practices  29

property, they suppose themselves to be unequal absolutely. The democrats think that as they are equal they ought to be equal in all things; while the oligarchs, under the idea that they are unequal, claim too much, which is one form of inequality. All these forms of government have a kind of justice, but, tried by an absolute standard, they are faulty.26 For Aristotle, therefore, the best possible, even if not ideal, constitution (politeia) is a mixed form of government, which results from the fusion of two kinds of government, democracy and oligarchy, and of their respective notions of equality: arithmetic (or numerical) equality and geometric (or proportional) equality. For in a democracy everybody, being equally free, is a member of the citizenry (however different in wealth); in an oligarchy honors and offices are reserved for the wealthiest, and, since they are not all equally deserving, the worthiest are chosen thanks to the vigilance of the whole. It is this application of the mathematical criterion of proportionality in ordering the commonwealth that will favor the abolition of stasis.27 Although some commentators have emphasized Cicero’s debt to Plato’s understanding of equality in the De re publica – no doubt present in the overall argument of the treatise – it seems that in the specific description of the Servian system, Cicero, Livy, and Dionysius of Halicarnassus – or more precisely their sources – present an understanding of fairness closer to the Aristotelian approach, which focuses on the gradus dignitatis as a distinction primarily in wealth and honor rather than virtus.28 Building on Archytas’s idea of logismos as an ordering criterion of a society, these authors all highlight that by combining these two kinds of equality the Servian configuration achieves three main aims: first, every citizen, regardless of his riches, does not feel dominated by the wealthy, and the poorer citizen is happy to be devoid of any meaningful political power as he is not burdened with any military and fiscal duty; second, the wealthy are content with their higher share of military and monetary contributions to the commonwealth as they hold political power and are in charge of making decisions and play a central part in defending their own properties; third, the community is stable as its members take part in the common enterprise while being satisfied with the different ranks they hold in society.29 As recent scholarship has stressed,Archytas, and Pythagoreanism more in general, occupied a prominent place in the intellectual landscape of late Republic.30 Not only does Cicero mention Archytas several times in his works, but Archytas’s biography composed by Aristoxenus was certainly known even during the early empire. Most significant of all, perhaps, the famous ode by Horace (1.28) presents the corpse of a drowned sailor apostrophizing Archytas to assert the point that no one can escape death, regardless of the greatness of one’s own achievement.31 The first century BCE saw a renaissance of interest not only in Archytas, acclaimed as an astronomer, cosmologist, and mathematician, but also in Pythagoreanism – once of such importance in Rome that a statue of Pythagoras, alongside that of Alcibiades, had been erected in the third century BCE in the Forum to represent the wisest and the bravest of the Greeks, only to be destroyed by

30  Ideas and representations

Sulla at the beginning of the first century BCE.32 In the last century of the Republic, the Pythagorean attestations of Nigidius Figulus, Varro, and Cicero himself all testify to the vitality of this trend of thought in Rome.33 It would not be implausible to argue that the ideological framework attributed to the Servian arrangements was, to a certain extent, an outcome of the pervasive role of Pythagorean thinking in the first century BCE, or of what the Romans of the time considered as such. There is no doubt that the consistent references to Archytas and, more generally, to Pythagoras and the Pythagoreans were part of an attempt by the intellectuals of the late Republic to claim Pythagoreanism as ‘native Italian philosophy’ and Archytas as one of its most illustrious representatives. Cicero’s, Livy’s, and Dionysius’s descriptions of the comitia centuriata, in fact, have long been recognized as a late Republican reconstruction of a more or less mythical past.34 It will be sufficient to point out that in these texts the census figures are computed in asses, Roman bronze coins, which were introduced in Rome only in the first half of the third century BCE, and that the clipeus, the oval (or at times round) shield, adopted by Roman soldiers and associated with the first census class by Livy, came to replace the scutum, the convex rectangular shield at about the same time.35 There is a general consensus among scholars that Livy and Dionysius must have used the same source, often identified with Valerius Antias, whose main activities can be dated to the first half of the first century BCE.36 Even if Cicero might have borrowed from a different source, or at least adapted the same source to a more contemporary description of the Servian system,37 it seems highly probable, as Emilio Gabba argued some time ago, that the ideological construction of the centuriate system, homogenously presented in the three authors, finds its origins in a reassessment of the archaic history of Rome, which took place between the 80s and 50s BCE.38 It was during this time that Rome went through a great number of institutional reforms and constitutional upheavals – from Sulla’s dictatorship in 81 BCE, aimed at the institutional reorganization of the commonwealth (the dictatura de legibus constituendis), to the election of Pompey as consul without a colleague (consul sine collega) in 52 BCE, which sparked an intensive constitutional debate. It was in these moments that a rethinking of the early history of Rome took place, with particular attention to the constitution of the first two kings, Romulus and Numa, as well as Servius: informed by philosophical principles of Pythagorean origin which provided the conceptual language in which to express and think about them, those ancient constitutional systems functioned as a foil for the needs of the contemporary political scene. Alongside the image of an antisenatorial Servius Tullius, who put forward tribunician reforms and acted in a demagogic manner (perhaps elaborated by the annalist Licinius Macer), there was the image of a Servius who consulted the Senate, which he renewed with the addition of worthy plebeian members.39 Sulla himself had been inspired by Servius Tullius in reforming the voting system: not only, as Appian tells us, did he propose that no question should ever again be brought before the people which had not been previously considered by the Senate, an ancient practice which had

Roman reflections on voting practices  31

been abandoned long ago, [but] also that the voting should not be by tribes, but by centuries, as King Servius Tullius had ordained. In his opinion and in that of his colleague Pompeius Rufus, the introduction of these two reforms concerning voting procedures would have brought an end to civil discord, as the Senate would have ensured that each law presented to the people would have been suitable and advantageous for the commonwealth, and that ‘voting should be controlled by the well-to-do and sober-minded rather than by the pauper and reckless classes, so that there would no longer remain any starting point for civil discord’ (App. bc 1.59).40 Thus, in the turmoil of the first century BCE, the political struggle over contemporary issues concerning the reforms of the commonwealth was fought through a rereading and reelaboration of the Roman past in light of the categories of the Pythagorean intellectual tradition. At the time when Sulla embarked on a program of radical constitutional reforms, any recalling of Servius Tullius might have been ideologically construed as a powerful political weapon: to align oneself with Servius meant to support a political model that, within a framework that recognized political liberty for each citizen, preserved gradus dignitatis fortunaeque and distributed political and civic rights and duties according to each citizen’s economic standing.

Reforming the system Although, as is often remarked, the Romans never attempted to establish a different political system to replace the decaying res publica, endeavoring instead to recapture a mythical past of splendor which might never have existed, in second century BCE they enacted (or so it appears) a democratic reform of the centuria praerogativa, the first centuria to take the vote and announce its result in the comitia centuriata.41 The reform is explicitly attested only in the Second Letter to Caesar on the Commonwealth, an ‘open letter’ whose authorship is still a matter of contention among scholars – even if the current consensus gravitates toward the rejection of Sallustian authorship and favors an interpretation of the text as an anonymous exercise of rhetoric (a suasoria) produced during the early empire.42 In this letter the author suggests to Caesar a number of socioeconomic as well as institutional reforms, the implementation of which, the author argues, should arrest the contemporary decline of the commonwealth and restore the res publica of old. Among these reforms (such as, e.g., the foundation of new colonies and the extension of Roman citizenship to members added to these new settlements), the author proposes a number of alterations concerning the deliberative process, specifically focusing on the working of the comitia centuriata and of the senate. ‘As regards the election of magistrates’, he says, I for my part very naturally approve the law which Gaius Gracchus proposed in his tribunate, that the centuries should be called up by lot from the five classes without distinction (quam C. Gracchus in tribunatu promulgaverat, ut ex confusis quinque classibus sorte centuriae vocarentur).

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Thus, he continues, ‘in this way money and worth are put on an equality and each man will strive to outdo his fellow in merit (ita coaequantur, dignitate pecunia, virtute anteire alius alium properabit)’ (Ps-Sall. Ep. II. 8.1–3).43 This reform, which some scholars claim was never enacted, or, if passed, it was abrogated in 121 BCE, dealt with the order of voting.44 On the day of election, after a short contio held for administrative purposes, a herald called the comitia centuriata, at times referred to in the sources as exercitus, to meet outside the pomerium on the Campus Martius, where the voting operations began (by the second half of the second century by secret ballot). As a result of a third-century reform, the first centuria to cast its vote, the so-called centuria praerogativa, was chosen by lot from those of the iuniores of the first census class (rather than among the eighteen centuriae of knights) and its voting result was immediately announced.45 This had a great impact on the voting of the other centuriae of the same class, which were then called to cast their vote, so that the aim of this mechanism appears to be a unanimous vote of the centuriae of the first class of the census, ensuring the prevalence of the wealthiest citizens. The reason why the vote of the centuria praerogativa was considered of great importance is that it exerted an influence that Lily Ross Taylor described as ‘the bandwagon effect’, not dissimilar from that of the first states’ results in US primary elections; Cicero claimed that the centuria praerogativa functioned as omen since its choice ended up coinciding with the final decision of the comitia.46 The other centuriae of the same class of the census followed suit, each announcing its result as soon as known. C. Gracchus proposed (and most likely implemented) a reform according to which the centuria praerogativa had to be chosen by lot among all five classes of the census.47 This reform was no doubt innovative: its distinctive trait lay first of all in breaking the monopoly of power of the first census class, as well as in potentially granting political voice to those registered in the lower classes. According to the author of the Second Letter to Caesar, however, its aim was to break the dependence of the notion of dignitas from pecunia and anchor it firmly in virtus.48 The point of the reform was not so much to equalize dignitas, as Nicolet claims, but rather to dissociate it from money, while preserving its hierarchical function within society.49 Its implementation would radically modify, though not annul, the relation between the economic condition of the citizens and the direct exercise of their voting rights. Those less affluent among the citizens, whose moral stamina, the author suggests, would be restored by a number of socioeconomic reforms that he proposes, will have the opportunity to exercise their right to vote on the basis of their own virtus.50 The true purpose of this reform as conceived by the Pseudo-Sallust, in fact, was the disassociation of decus from pecunia, that is the eradication of the place of honor that men assign to wealth, since, the author argues, no one seeks riches for their own sake, but because society bestows importance upon them.51 If all members of the civic community succeeded in replacing avaritia (the love for wealth) with virtus (virtue), it would be possible to restore that best form of commonwealth that belonged to the Romans of old.52 In the opinion of the author, the institutional and political arrangements, which reached perfection after the struggle between

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the orders, were structured in such a way that the nobiles (to whom at times the author refers as patres) held a more prestigious position in the hierarchy of society not because of their ‘riches or ostentation’, but rather because of ‘good repute and valiant deeds (divitiis aut superbia, sed bona fama factisque fortibus)’.53 It is through their virtus that they have acquired their riches, respect, and renown, and thereby by virtue of this higher economic as well as ethical status they deserve a larger share of political power, since, the author argues, ‘a man who has in his own state a higher and more conspicuous position than his fellows . . . takes a greater interest in the welfare of his country’.54 When the commonwealth is secure, the whole citizen body is guaranteed its own freedom, but those who per virtutem have gained riches will prosper even more and will worry much more if the commonwealth begins to decline: ‘the more prosperous he was in prosperity, the more cruelly is he harried and worried in adversity’.55 The humillimi (‘the humblest’, whom the author often qualifies as the plebs) gave their contribution to the running of the commonwealth by both working the fields and fighting in battles, fulfilling their military and civic duties. Their interests and most of all their libertas were ensured by those who governed the commonwealth, who by being virtuous could ensure that ‘no man’s power was superior to laws (nullius potentia super leges erat)’.56 In the working of the commonwealth they obeyed the governing elite ‘as the body does to the soul’ and, carrying out its decrees, happily obliged to it.57 As a result, in those days ‘the commonwealth was united; all citizens had regard for its welfare; leagues were formed only against the enemy; each man exerted body and mind for his country, not for his own power’.58 Thus the ideological framework of voting within which the author of the Second Letter to Caesar operates is, on the whole, not so dissimilar from the one described in Cicero, Livy, and Dionysius of Halicarnassus.The political and institutional arrangements of the best res publica of old should, the author argues, be of such a nature as to ensure the liberty of all Roman citizens, so that no one should be above the law, and guarantee the harmonious functioning of the commonwealth, as all citizens work together for the common good rather than for their own power, according to their different ranks in society. What appears to be different is the role that the author of the Letter assigns to the idea of fairness. At first sight, the notion of gradus dignitatis fortunaeque, standing in for the mathematical principle of geometric proportionality and based on the economic status of Roman citizens, is replaced by a kind of gradus virtutis, where virtus, in the ideological framework of the author, should not entirely substitute riches, but rather function as the primary engine of society, upon which a timocratic configuration should be built.59 As the senate is reinvigorated in its virtus by an increase in the number of its members and the introduction of the secret ballot in its voting procedures, so the comitia centuriata should be reformed in such a way as to provide all Roman citizens with the opportunity to exercise their virtus.60 The deliberative system conceived by Pseudo-Sallust, therefore, preserves liberty, concord, and a notion of fairness, whose premises are radically different from those in the texts of Cicero, Livy, and Dionysius. The political system as conceptually

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articulated by Pseudo-Sallust still maintains at its foundation a combination of geometric and arithmetic equality: on the one hand, everyone is entitled to liberty, and on the other, those in the position of power will be those with more wealth, respect, and renown.Yet for the commonwealth to flourish again, the author urges Caesar to enact institutional reforms: among those he proposes the reorganization of the comitia centuriata, which, in his opinion, will also ensure an arithmetic equality of virtus, without which the commonwealth is doomed to fail. Despite some differences, the descriptions of the centuriate system by Cicero, Livy, and Dionysius of Halicarnassus are framed within a conceptually homogenous context informed by Pythagorean principles. Building on the role of mathematical proportion in political life, these authors claim that the Servian system successfully achieved the harmonious collaboration of all members of the community, who, all equally assured of their liberty, were accorded political and civic rights and duties according to their standing in society. The criterion on the basis of which such a standing was valued became the issue at stake: this is the heart of the PseudoSallust’s discussion of the voting order of the comitia centuriata. Only by bearing in mind this intellectual tradition which, beginning with Archytas, applied the principle of calculation to civic life is it possible to appreciate fully ancient discourses on Roman voting practices and their attempts at reforming it (however fictitious). By supplying these notions to a discourse about their political institutions, the Pythagorean intellectual tradition provided ancient authors with key conceptual categories, which allowed them to think about, modify, and ultimately justify the institutional arrangements they privileged.

Notes 1 The greatest advancement in understanding the working of Roman assemblies is provided by Lily Ross Taylor, Roman Voting Assemblies From the Hannibalic War to the Dictatorship of Caesar (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1966) and Ead. The Voting Districts of the Roman Republic:The Thirty-Five Urban and Rural Tribes, with updated material by Jerzy Linderski, (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, c2013; 1st ed. 1960). For a review of past scholarly trends, see John A. North, “Democratic Politics in Republican Rome”, Past and Present, 135 (1990): 3–21. 2 Fergus Millar,“The Political Character of the Classical Roman Republic, 200–151 B.C.”, Journal of Roman Studies, 74 (1984): 1–19; Fergus Millar, The Crowd in the Late Republic (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1998). On this whole debate, see most recently Alexander Yakobson, “The Political Culture of the Republic Since ‘Roman Revolution’ – A Story of a Debate”, in Companion to the Political Culture of the Republic, eds.Valentina Arena and Jonathan Prag (forthcoming). 3 On the working of Roman assemblies, see Taylor, Roman Voting Assemblies; Andrew Lintott, The Roman Constitution (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999); Rachel Feig Vishnia, Roman Elections in the Age of Cicero: Society, Government, and Voting (New York, London: Routledge, 2012); Luigi Capogrossi Colognesi, Law and Power in the Making of the Roman Commonwealth (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014). 4 Cic. de rep. 2.39–40; Liv. 1.42–3; Dion. Hal. Rom. Ant. 4.20–1. 5 Miriam T. Griffin, “Philosophy, Politics, and Politicians at Rome”, in Philosophia togata: Essays on Philosophy and Roman Society, eds. Miriam T. Griffin and Jonathan Barnes (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989), 1–37; Matthew Fox, Cicero’s Philosophy of History

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(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007); Ingo Gildenhard, Paideia Romana: Cicero’s Tusculan Disputations (Cambridge: Cambridge Philological Society, 2007), 8–63; Valentina Arena, Libertas and the Practice of Politics in the Late Roman Republic (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012); Sean McConnell, Philosophical Life in Cicero’s Letters (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014). 6 Cic. de rep. 2.14; Liv. 1.13.6; 9.38.15; Fest. 180–2 and 503L; Dion. Hal. Ant. Rom. 2.50.3; Cic. Dom. 77; on the lictors Cic. leg. agr. 2.31. 7 On this controversial law, see most recently Hichel Humm, “The Curiate Law and the Religious Nature of the Power of Roman Magistrates”, in Law and Religion in the Roman Republic, ed. Olga Tellegen-Couperus (Mnemosyne supplements, 336; Leiden, Boston: Brill, 2011), 55–84; and Françoise Van Haeperen, “Auspices d’investiture, loi curiate et investiture des magistrats romains”, Cahiers du Centre Gustave Glotz, 23 (2013): 71–111, with ample discussion of previous bibliography. 8 Giovanni Rotondi, Leges publicae populi romani: elenco cronologico con una introduzione sull’attività legislativa dei comizi romani (Milan: Società editrice libraria, 1912). 9 It is, however, important to observe that in two very interesting studies, Alexander Yakobson, “Petitio et Largitio: Popular Participation in the Centuriate Assembly of the Late Republic”, Journal of Roman Studies, 82 (1992): 32–52 and Elections and Electioneering in Rome: A Study in the Political System of the Late Republic (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1999), ch. 2,Yakobson has shown that the role of bribery and the social standing of candidates do not support the idea that the lower classes of the census were never called upon and that the centuriae of the cavalry and of the first class always voted in accord. 10 Liv. 1.42.12 and Dion.Hal. Rom. Ant. 4.20.3 and 21.3. On this see also H. Last, “The Servian reform”, Journal of Roman Studies, 35 (1945): 30–48 and Ronald Th. Ridley, “The enigma of Servius Tullius”, Klio, 57 (1975): 147–177. On the third-century reform, see Lily Ross Taylor, “The comitia centuria before and after the reform”, American Journal of Philology, 78 (957): 337–354. 11 On the difference between the proletarii and the capite censi, see Dominic H. Rathbone, “The Census Qualification of the assiduii and the prima classis”, in De agricultura: In memoriam Pieter Willem de Neeve (1945–1990), eds. Heleen Sancisi-Weerdenburgin et al. (Amsterdam: J.C. Gieben, 1993), 121–152. 12 Lintott, Constitution, 56–58, on the relation between tribus and centuriae in Cicero. Contra G. V. Sumner, “Cicero on the comitia centuriata: De re publica II.22.39–40”, American Journal of Philology, 81 (1960): 113–135; Emilio Gabba, “ ‘Sull’arruolamento dei proletarii nel 107 a. C”, Athenaeum, 51 (1973); 135–137; and Elio Lo Cascio, “Ancora sui censi minimi delle cinque classi serviane”, Athenaeum, 66 (1988): 273–304, on the progressive proletarization of the army in relation to the census requirements. 13 For a full discussion of the connection between the right to suffragium and the Republican notion of liberty, see Arena, Libertas, 54–7 and 60–62. 14 Livy 1.42.10. 15 Valentina Arena, “Popular Sovereignty in the Late Roman republic: Cicero and the Will of the People”, in Popular Sovereignty in Historical Perspective, eds. Richard Bourke and Quentin Skinner (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016), 73–95. 16 On the idea of aequabilitas, see Elaine Fantham, “Aequabilitas in Cicero’s Political Theory and the Greek Tradition of Proportional Justice”, Classical Quarterly, 23 (1973): 285–290; James E. G. Zetzel, ed.,Cicero De republica: Selections (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995) ad loc.; Andrew R. Dyck, “On the Interpretation of Cicero De re publica”, Classical Quarterly, 48 (1998): 564–568; Fausto Pagnotta, Cicerone e l’ideale dell’aequabilitas: L’eredita’ di un antico concetto filosofico (Cesena: Stilgraf, 2007). Most recently Jonathan Zarecki, Cicero’s Ideal Statesman in Theory and Practice (London, New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2014), 85–86, interprets rather unconvincingly aequabilitas as ‘impartiality’. 17 On the idea of concordia, see John A. Lobur, Consensus, Concordia and the Formation of Roman Imperial ideology (London: Routledge, 2008), and most recently Philippe Akar,

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Concordia: un idéal de la classe dirigeante romaine à la fin de la République (Paris: Publications de la Sorbonne, 2013). 18 Cf. Dion.Hal. Rom. Ant. 4.20. 19 Cic. de rep. 2.40. For a different reading of these figures, see Liv. 1.42.7–8. 20 Cic. de rep. 1.69. 21 Stobeus 4.1.139 = Iamblichus, On General Mathematical Science II. The best edition of the work of Archytas is Carl Huffman, Archytas of Tarentum: Pythagorean, Philosopher and Mathematician King (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), to which I am very much indebted. For a reconstruction of this intellectual tradition and its applicability to the Roman political system, see Arena, Libertas, 102–10. On Archytas, see also more recently Malcolm Schofield, “Archytas”, in A History of Pythagoreanism, ed. Carl Huffman (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014), 69–87. On the issue of authenticity see also Monte Johnson, “Sources for the Philosophy of Archytas”, Ancient Philosophy, 28 (2008): 1–29. 22 Archytas fr. 3 Huffman with an excellent commentary. 23 More in general on the relation between Plato and Pythagoreanism, see Philip S. Horky, Plato and Pythagoreanism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013). 24 Pl. Laws 6.757b–c. For a full history of this concept of equality, see F. David Harvey, “Two Kinds of Equality”, Classica et Mediaevalia, 26 (1965): 101–46. 25 Ar. Eth. Nic. 5.3.1131a–b. 26 Ar. Pol. 5.1301a26–b4. 27 For the application of these ideas to a tripartite or even quadripartite form of government, see Arena, Libertas, 106–9, with cited bibliography. 28 Claude Nicolet, “Cicéron, Platon et le vote secret”, Historia, 19 (1970): 39–66; Elizabeth Asmis, “A New Kind of Model: Cicero’s Roman Constitution in De re publica”, American Journal of Philology, 126 (2005): 377–416; Jed W. Atkins, Cicero on Politics and the Limits of Reason:The Republic and Laws (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 111–114. 29 For a development of the notion of concordia in these authors see Arena, Libertas, 111–116. 30 Jaap-Jan Flinterman, “Pythagoreans in Rome and Asia Minor Around the Turn of the Common Era”, in History of Pythagoreanism, ed. Carl Huffman (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014), 340–359; Katharina Volk, “Roman Pythagoras”, in Roman Reflections: Studies in Latin Philosophy, eds. Gareth D. Williams and Katharina Volk (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015), 33–49; and Phillip S. Horky “Italic Philosophy in the Hellenistic Age”, in The Oxford Handbook of Roman Philosophy, eds. W. S. Shearin and R. Fletcher (Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming). 31 For a collection of sources on the later fortune of Archytas, see Huffman, Archytas, 19–22. Specifically on Horace’s ode 1.28, see L. A. Mackay, “Horatiana: Odes 1.9 and 1.28”, Classical Philology, 72/4 (1977): 316–318; Bernard Frischer, “Horace and the Monuments: A New Interpretation of Archytas Ode (c. 1.28)”, Harvard Studies in Classical Philology, 88 (1984): 71–102. 32 Plin. HN 34.26. See Federico Russo, “Genealogie numaiche e tradizioni pitagoriche”, Rivista di Cultura Classica e Medioevale, 47 (2005): 265–290; and Federico Russo, “Le statue di Alcibiade e Pitagora nel comitium”, in Annali della Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, 5 (2011): 105–134. 33 For further discussion, see Flienterman 2014 and Volk 2015. 34 On the debate over the historicity of Roman monarchy specifically focused on Servius Tullius, see Rudi Thomsen, King Servius Tullius: A Historical Synthesis (Copenhagen: Gyldendal, 1980); and Vittorio E. Vernole, Servius Tullius (Roma: L’Erma di Bretschneider, 2002). 35 See Robert M. Olgivie, A Commentary on Livy: Books 1–5 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1965), ad loc. 36 See most recently Silvia Marastoni, Servio Tullio e l’ideologia sillana (Roma: Bretschneider, 2009), 35–37. On Valerius Antias, see Gary Forsythe, “Dating and Arranging the Roman History of Valerius Antias”, in Oikistes: Studies in Constitutions, Colonies, and Military Power in the Ancient World: Offered in Honour of A.J. Graham, eds. Vanessa Gorman and Eric W.

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Robinson (Leiden: Brill, 2002), 9–112; and John Rich, “Valerius Antias and the Roman Past”, BICS 48/1, (2005): 137–161, expanded with also the fragments and testimonia in Timothy Cornell, ed., The Fragments of the Roman Historians (Oxford: Oxford University press, 2013), n. 25. 37 Cic. Phil. 2.82 seems to suggest so. On Cicero’s sources, see Elisabeth Rawson, “Cicero the Historian Cicero the Antiquarian”, Journal of Roman Studies, 62 (1972): 33–45. 38 Emilio Gabba, “Studi su Dionigi di Alicarnasso I. La costituzione di Romolo”, Athenaeum, 38 (1960): 175–226. 39 On the two traditions on Servius Tullius present in the first century BC, see Emilio Gabba “Studi su Dionigi da Alocarnasso II: Il regno di Servio Tullio”, Athenaeum, 39 (1961): 98–121. 40 On this see Marastoni, 2009. 41 C. Meyer, RE Suppl. 8, 567.44 (s.v. praerogativa centuria); Ross Taylor, Roman Assemblies, 91–96; E. S. Staveley, Greek and Roman Voting and Elections (London: Thames & Hudson, 1972), 154–155. 42 The strongest blow against the authenticity of the document was struck by Ronald Syme, Sallust (Berkeley: University of California Pres, 1964), 314–351. For a review of the status quaestionis, see, most recently, Federico Santagelo, “Authoritative Forgeries: Late Republican History Re-Told in the Ps-Sallust”, Histos, 6 (2012): 27–51. For a recent opposition to the prevailing view, see Iris Samotta, Das Vorbild der Vergangenheit: Geschichtsbild und Reformvorschläge bei Cicero und Sallust (Stuttgart: F. Steiner, 2009). 43 On the emendation of the transmitted coaequantur with coequatur, see Claude Nicolet, “Confusio Suffragiorum: A propos d’une réforme électorale de Caius Gracchus”, MEFRA, 71 (1959): 156–157; and full discussion of possible variants in Paolo Cugusi, Epistulae ad Caesarem: introduzione, testo critico e commento (Cagliari: Annali della Facolta’ di Lettere e Filosofia, 1968), comm. ad loc. loc. 44 On the abrogation of the law and its history throughout the Republic, the most complete treatment, to my knowledge, is still Nicolet, “Confusio”. 45 Liv. 24.7.12; Cic. Phil. 2.82. 46 Ross Taylor Roman Assemblies, 91. Interesting remarks in Claude Nicolet, The World of Citizen in Republican Rome (Berkeley, Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1980), 336; On the centuria praerogativa and its role in securing success, see Cic. Plan. 49. For its consideration as omen comitiorum, see Cic. Div. 1,103; 2,83; cf. Cic. Mur. 38; on its importance, see Cic. Q. fr. 2.14.4 and Plut. Cat. Min. 42. Its result was so important that it was at times contested: Liv. 24.9; 26.22; 27.6 with discussion in Ayelet H. Lushkov, Magistracy and the Historiography of the Roman Republic: Politics in Prose (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 115–118. 47 It is not entirely clear in what way C. Gracchus’s reform relates to the one perhaps proposed by Sulpicius Rufus in 63 BC: Cic. Mur. 47 (see the occurrence of the expression aequationem gratiae dignitatis suffragiorum). Unfortunately Cicero’s text is corrupt, on which most recently the interesting restoration in Andrew R. Dyck, “Cicero pro Murena 47 and 85”, Classical Quarterly, 64 (2014): 417–418: you demanded a jumbling of the votes, a selection of the praerogativa by lot from the five classes, a reprise of the Manilian law, a levelling of influence, standing, votes (confusionem suffragiorum flagitasti, praerogati < vae ex quinque classibus sortitionem, renovati > onem legis Maniliae, aequationem gratiae, dignitatis, suffragiorum). The text would contain a reference to the lex Manilia de libertinorum suffragiis rather than to a lex Manilia de suffragiorum confusione. 48 Cf. Cic. Att. 4.15.7. For the value of dignitas Joseph Hellegouarc’h, Le vocabulaire latin des relations et des partis politiques sous la République (Paris: les Belles lettres, 1963), 388–411; and Viktor Pöschl, Der Begriff der Würde im antiken Rom und später (Heidelberg: Carl Winter, 1989). 49 Nicolet, “Confusio”, 159.

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50 Ps. Sall. Ep. 2.5.4–8. Virtus in Sallust refers to a personal quality, which spurs men into action. See most recently Myles McDonnell, Roman Manliness: Virtus and the Roman Republic (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 356–384. 51 This is a recurrent theme in the text; see, for example, Ps-Sall. Ep. 2.5.4; 7.3; 7.10; 8.3–4. 52 Ps-Sall. Ep. 2.8.5. 53 Ps-Sall. Ep. 2.5.3. 54 Ps-Sall. Ep. 2.4.5. 55 Ps-Sall. Ep. 2.10.5. 56 Ps-Sall. Ep. 2.5.3. 57 Ps-Sall. Ep. 2.10.6. 58 Ps-Sall. Ep. 2.10.8. 59 This reading would echo Pl. Laws 6.757b–c and would be in line with the influence exercised by Plato on this letter. For a list of passages of Platonic derivation, see Cugusi 1968, 34–5. According to Nicolet, “Confusio”, 154–155, Sallust (whom he considers the author of the work) derives the idea of the combination of oligarchy and aristocracy from Aristotle’s Politics, with which he became familiar through Panaetius of Rhodes and Posidonius. 60 Ps-Sall. Ep. 2.11.2 and 5.


Introduction The Carolingian period saw an attempt to create an overall uniformity of thinking, writing and experience of life in an overwhelming set of ways and through an extended territory, stretching from Frisia to Catalunia and Italy, and from the Atlantic Ocean to Istria.1 This task was particularly hard: since the seventh century each of these regions had developed independent customs, written laws and cultural traditions; regional transformations had redefined the common background of the Late Roman Empire. The attempt to spread uniformity was also carried out in regions such as Saxony which had been formally outside of Roman imperial territory, with no direct experience of the urban organization, land taxation or bureaucratic and military hierarchies that shaped Roman society. The means used to diffuse uniformity were defined on the grounds of a political language deriving from the Bible, expressing the emperor’s duties as a ministerium: his main functions were to correct and admonish, that is, he held a duty of imposing behaviors and rules on the people God had assigned to him to provide them with salvation after death.2 One Christian ruler was to govern one Christian people, whose unity was expressed by the standardized religious practices of baptism and public enunciation of the creed during the mass, and by standardized political practices such as the oaths of loyalty to the king.3 The Christian calendar was adopted to celebrate the empire’s main political events, reflecting the agreement between earth and heaven: time was ordered around the major Christian feast days of Christmas and Easter, and the Royal Frankish Annals never fail to record the places where rulers celebrated them. From this and many other points of view, the emperor was the model that the whole society should imitate and perform.4 Concepts of harmony and uniformity shaped a political discourse in which disagreement was inevitably linked to deviations from sacred rules. Oppositions were

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interpreted as disruptive forces reflecting a loss of divine consensus over the ruler’s actions, which manifested itself in ominous signs such as storms, earthquakes and famines: discord showed, but also caused, the inconsistency of the political system. For this reason, Carolingian sources pay great attention to dissent and to the ‘right’ means to eliminate it, because it was a way to show and endorse someone’s ability to rule. On the other hand, the emperor’s decisions were presented more and more as acts approved by a group of people gathered in assemblies, both of layman and bishops.5 Their written records were central means for stressing, reaffirming and negotiating uniformity.6 Nevertheless the Carolingian period was also pervaded by difference and competition: some Roman traditions were claimed to be better than others; such differences were also found in the kingdom of Heaven, where some saints, mostly those belonging to a distant past, were thought to be more important than others.7 All these differences had to be eliminated in order to found a superior rule in a context of consent. In this chapter we focus on the acts produced by episcopal assemblies, which are by far the richest contemporary source for details about procedures of debate and decision-making. A strong interest in the idea of unanimity emerges in these texts; it was surely grounded on centuries-long traditions of conciliar decrees presented as the result of a heavenly inspired consent, but it also experienced a new political meaning in the context of a Christian rule, as well as important changes in the period. We will examine some particularly anxious moments, when discord at many levels and on many topics threatened to burst into open revolt and opposition – and sometimes actually did so.

Carolingian bishops and councils Carolingian times were a period of strong conciliar activity: in his survey on Carolingian episcopal assemblies Wilfried Hartmann listed 220 such events, underlining their strong increase in comparison with Merovingian times.8 Many of the most important Carolingian councils were summoned by the Carolingian rulers themselves, even when they were still only the masters of the Merovingian palace. In the 740s, and within a strategy that presented moral and ecclesiastical reform as necessary in a kingdom whose official rulers were not able to take care of such questions, Pippin and Carloman used episcopal gatherings as tools of legitimation for their rise to Frankish royal authority, already featuring strong connections with the sacred.9 After Pippin’s coronation in 751 and papal anointment in 754, conciliar activity maintained its role in legitimating Carolingian power, as councils served as occasions for debating and elaborating the programs of moral reform that the Carolingians continuously pursued. Partially as a result of that, bishops acquired an even more central role in the political life of the kingdom than they had done in Merovingian times. They were assigned more or less official public duties: the administration of some types of judicial cases, the maintenance of ecclesiastical buildings, hospitality of kings during their itinerancies.10 Councils were also part of the representation

Unanimity in Carolingian councils  41

of Carolingian power as a shared enterprise, in which the kingdom’s elites were called to express their consensus with regard to the ruler’s decisions and also to help him by means of advice. General councils were frequently held in places where the kings had their palaces and were contemporaneous with aristocratic assemblies: royal capitularies assumed conciliar proceedings as the grounds for secular law. Bishops were members of the Frankish kingdom’s political elite. Nevertheless, they were not a monolithic group. Even though episcopal consecration meant ipso facto their involvement in the affairs of elites, they were pushed to move by different factors. They were individuals, working for personal purposes. But they were also members of their kinship group, and often acted according to that group’s strategies. As leaders of their churches they also had to protect those churches’ interests and goods. Finally, they were called to take positions with regards to the highest level of political business, that which finally resolved in one question: whether to support, oppose or negotiate with Carolingian rulers. Despite that, recent historiography has increasingly emphasized the emergence of a group identity for Carolingian bishops, an ‘esprit de corps’, as Matthew Innes called it, ‘rooted in a sense of collective religious leadership’.11 That process is particularly true of the 820s, when the bishops’ collective identity rose to prominence and underwent deep changes. The definition of the ruler’s duties as a ministerium, a service he undertook for the Christian people’s salvation and that he shared with the social and ecclesiastical elites of his kingdom, also led to the definition of a ministerium for bishops: the moral correction of the other social actors, including the king himself. Such a redefinition of episcopal identity is particularly evident in the conciliar acts of those years and was also expressed by different uses of the idea and vocabulary of unanimitas.

The councils of 813: reform at stake In 813 an elderly Charlemagne convoked five episcopal councils in Tours, Reims, Mainz, Arles and Châlon-sur-Saone (Figure 3.1). Even in the context of strongly reactivated conciliar practice, this was an extraordinary initiative. The preparatory stages of the five councils were also extraordinary. A letter-questionnaire by Charlemagne was sent to his archbishops the year before the gatherings and that was mostly concerned with baptism.12 The councils also responded to a general interest in the unification, moralization and stratification of society; a capitulary of 811, in which the ruler wondered ‘in what way can those who have left the world be distinguished from those who still follow the world’, attests to this.13 The acts of all five councils – held at the same time and by the will of the same authority – have come to us and give us a glimpse of the procedures which they followed.14 We do not possess lists of their participants, but in at least some cases the acts hint to the sorts and categories of people attending: not only bishops and members of their clergy but also abbots and their monks, and even lay magnates and public officers, were called to contribute actively to the debate.

42  Ideas and representations u R. R














Mainz Wurzburg Regensburg

R. D anu be

S R.

















R. Rhone





Spoleto Rome


The councils of 813

The councils were summoned in order to discuss whatever subject related to Christian belief and life that needed change (emendatio) and correction (correctio).15 The five assemblies debated a large number of common themes, which nevertheless were treated in different ways and with different emphasis, and were associated to other topics peculiar to each assembly. Procedures varied. A description of the practical goings-on of conciliar debates is given by the acts of Mainz. Participants divided themselves into three groups, working on different textbooks and topics: bishops, together cum quibusdam notariis, read the Bible and Gregory’s Regula Pastoralis and discussed ecclesiastical laws; monks and abbots read Benedict’s rule and debated regular life; lay public agents dealt with secular law.16 Such divisions clearly reflected ideas and models for the representation of Carolingian society conceived via a tripartite distinction between secular clergy, monks and lay people.17 It called them to cooperate to sustain the peace and safety of the kingdom, in the name of pax, concordia and unanimitas, as Mainz’s canon 5 recalls.18 Conciliar proceedings and their textual descriptions could therefore work as mirrors of and proposals for social representations, as well as answers to Charlemagne’s anxieties about distinctions between groups. Techniques of composition also vary. The acts of the Council of Mainz are the richest in both biblical and patristic quotations and also in details about the procedures of decision-making. The Council of Châlons, by contrast, did not follow a preestablished order, but rather developed around specific questions that its participants put forward. In only two cases, Arles and Mainz, is the place of gathering indicated in detail, respectively in the churches of Saint Stephen and Saint Alban. The acts of Tours instead give glimpses into the negotiations that led to the choice

Unanimity in Carolingian councils  43

of that city as the place where commodius et compendiosius bishops could meet.19 The dispositions that Charlemagne had given to the conciliar fathers were quite prescriptive about the general issues and purposes of the assemblies, but clearly left space and freedom on practical aspects. Nevertheless, the royal dispositions were apparently strong enough for common features to emerge. The attention the acts’ authors paid to procedures was generally high and on certain aspects common practices followed by two or more councils are attested, such as that of reading the Gospels or works of the Fathers. A common element seems to have important meanings. All five councils opened or closed with references to the authority who summoned them and dictated their agendas: Charlemagne. Almost all of them (only the acts of Reims are less explicit about this) acknowledge Charlemagne as having had the role of reviewing, approving or amending their acts, so the five gatherings explicitly asserted their subordination to the Christian emperor.20 And indeed Charlemagne took this duty seriously. As Jennifer Davis has underlined, 813 was a very productive year for capitularies.21 All of the eight texts she assigns to that year deal with topics debated by contemporary episcopal councils, and sometimes even copied their canons.22 The Annales regni Francorum record that at the assembly of Aachen of September 813, where Charlemagne’s son Louis the Pious was acknowledged by the magnates of the kingdom as his successor, a collection of the conciliar decrees was also presented to the emperor.23 According to the almost contemporary Chronicon Moissiacense, in that occasion Charlemagne also produced a capitulary ‘on the issues necessary to the Church of God and to the Christian people’.24 Hartmann rejected the identification, proposed by Boretius, between the collatio and capitulary 78 of the MGH edition (Capitula e canonibus excerpta).25 Yet it seems clear that the assembly of Aachen, where Charlemagne settled the question of the continuation of the kingdom after his death, ideally summed up the results of the synods and of the program of reasserted reform begun in 811. In the convergence of these two aspects it is highly tempting to read a sort of agenda which the emperor addressed to his son and successor: Louis was called to go forward on the path of reform; the starting point was his father leaving him with a picture in which bishops were subordinated to the emperor and councils gave advice but the ruler had the last word. This portrait of the relationship between emperor and bishops also guides the acts’ references to pax, concordia and unanimitas. Four conciliar acts – the exception is, once again, Reims – mention at least one of these words. Warnings to maintain peace reflected issues expressed by contemporary capitulary legislation: the acts of Arles, Châlons and Tours emphasize the necessary cooperation between bishops and counts, who shared similar duties in local administration.26 The acts of Mainz put it on a theological, but no less political, level, justifying the need of peace on the grounds of the one and common faith of all the empire.27 The acts of Tours oppose the three terms to their contraries, odium et discordia, once again within a Christian setting.28 Thus in the acts of 813 the culture of unanimity supports the exercise of Carolingian power, reaffirming the role of cooperation between the different social groups as a pillar for collective prosperity. The bishops’ gatherings present

44  Ideas and representations

themselves as mirrors of this ideal picture: the general consensus of the participants is very often indicated as the driving principle in the processes of decision-making. Two councils, Arles and Tours, also use the term unanimitas as a synonym for the gatherings themselves.29 Unanimity was elevated to the role of an aspect of the bishops’ identity: as the participants spoke unanimously and with one voice, none of the acts’ authors felt the need for reporting their single names. The councils of 813 were presented as strictly following the ideally correct procedures of debating and deliberating on subjects of general concern, thus bishops and the other participants showed themselves as fully accomplishing their duty of (subordinated) advisers of the ruler.

Aachen 816–7: continuity and changes The councils of 813 represented the final point of Charlemagne’s conciliar season. Under Louis the Pious conciliar activity underwent both continuity and changes – a situation which reflected the new emperor’s strategies for self-legitimation, as he insisted on the elements he had in common with his father, but also emphasized differences with him, most of all from a moral point of view.30 Carrying on with the reform program was the most important aspect of continuity; Louis expressed it by means of councils, but these nevertheless acquired new functions. The reconsideration of Louis’s figure in recent historiography has hardly touched on his involvement in councils, so this is a rich and unexplored field of investigation.31 Reform was pushed a step further at the councils held in Aachen in 816–7 and chaired by the emperor. On that occasion the standardization of religious experiences all over the empire was applied to the regular world: Benedict’s rule was extended to every male monastery of the empire; a rule was then promulgated for the communities of regular clerics and another for canonesses.32 The ambition of these councils was formidable. The uniformity Louis was pursuing was not fully achieved, but results were less important than the impulse itself. Louis moved in the direction his father had begun, thus showing himself willing and able to take up his ancestors’ legacy. Moreover, he did so in Aachen, a place charged with symbolic meanings for Carolingian memory and royal authority: Charlemagne built his palace and was buried there.33 By means of general councils the emperor asserted his control of his father’s legacy as well as of imperial dignity.34 The emperor’s presence at the councils of 816–7 made their proceedings inevitably different from those of 813. Louis dictated their agendas and watched over the debates, something the old and unubiquitous Charlemagne could not do in 813; because of this circumstance, the acts of those councils do not hint at any sort of imperial review over the conciliar decisions. This was not a conscious sign of discontinuity; on the contrary, the emperor reaffirmed the practice of royal chairing of councils followed by Charlemagne. The new imperial nature of the Carolingian rulers’ power linked their interventions in conciliar events to the model of late antique emperors such as Constantine, who was the object in Carolingian times of an overwhelming revival and refashioning: the first Christian emperor associated

Unanimity in Carolingian councils  45

imperial dignity to the care for the Church, a combination that Carolingian rulers equally embodied.35 Louis the Pious’s directive role over the Aachen councils was therefore a further aspect of imperial self-legitimation on the double grounds of his father’s and his late antique predecessors’ models. Thus in many ways the councils of Aachen 816–7 should be placed on a line of continuity with previous conciliar activity. Traces of change, however, also emerge, most notably in the formulae that bishops used in the texts resulting from the councils, the Institutio canonicorum, the Institutio sanctimonialium and the conciliar acts themselves. All the texts open with an introduction about the councils’ procedures; their description thus reveals something about the way the gatherings represented themselves.36 One of the most striking aspects of this is that the language of unanimity (unanimitas, unanimiter), which in 813 was used as a synonym for assembly, is completely absent. Different reasons might explain that. The Institutiones are not conciliar acts, but rather rules, divided into chapters, for regular canons and canonesses, so they do not necessarily use the vocabulary of conciliar decrees; but their format nevertheless strongly recalls that of canons collections.37 It may also be that the role of the emperor as the summoning authority and leader of the meetings was an element of unification strong enough to make a textual expression of the bishops’ unanimity unnecessary. Yet Charlemagne had already been acknowledged in such role in 813. A naïve reading could suggest that an absence of represented unanimity may reflect an absence of real unanimity. In fact other extant sources on the councils of 816–7 confirm that strong debates arose on several topics.38 Unanimity was not an important feature of these councils and was not chosen as a featuring element in how they were represented. A different formula was used to describe the processes of decision-making. In its introduction, the Institutio canonicorum indirectly reports Louis the Pious’s admonishments to the participants and the agenda they were expected to fulfill: they were called to survey previous canons and the Church Fathers’ works in order to put together the parts concerning regular canons’ life pari voto parique consensu; in c. 122, on food and drink, a very similar expression, communi voto communique consensu, occurs and is repeated verbatim in the introduction of the Institutio sanctimonialium.39 In the openings of both collections of acts, a very similar dyad, communi consilio ac pari uoluntate, occurs.40 So Louis admonished the bishops to take decisions ‘with the same opinion and the same consentment’, as they almost verbatim repeated in all the texts they produced. This formula was not new: the Council of Mainz of 813 had opened with a similar statement (communi consensu et voluntate).41 The Council of Châlons, the same year, used it (pari voto atque consilio) with reference to the way disputes between those holding hereditary rights on a church should be settled.42 Occurrences of similar formulae in fact crop up in the earlier acts of Merovingian councils, such as Epaon (517), Orléans (538) and Auxerre (between 573 and 603).43 They very frequently recur in successive Carolingian councils, from the councils of Aachen onward, while unanimitas is far less often evoked. Emphasis was thus set on slightly different images of cooperation. Votum, in Carolingian sources, mostly designates something offered to God through the mediation of the Church, both in a

46  Ideas and representations

material (lands, goods, offerings taken to the altar during the mass) and in a spiritual sense (prayers, protection, decisions), a definition of the res ecclesiae taken from Julian Pomerius’s De vita contemplativa and frequently repeated by Carolingian councils, which saw them as the sum of fidelium vota (offerings of the faithful), pretia peccatorum (ransom of the sinners) and patrimonium pauperum (patrimony of the powerless).44 Consensus was one of the leading concepts of Carolingian representations of power as grounded on a consent shared by ecclesiastical and social élites.45 Thus the association between votum and consensus seems to reflect the central pillars of Carolingian ideology, mixing secular power and sacred legitimacy.These considerations could suggest that under Louis the Pious conciliar legislation was more deeply absorbed as one of the tools by which rulers expressed and represented themselves. Such a perspective needs further investigation. But we can already notice that during the reign of Louis the Pious unanimity, strongly emphasized in previous conciliar acts, had lost the role of marker of identity for bishops’ collegiality and that other formulae acquired new meanings and functions. In 816 a process of redefinition in the representation of episcopal gatherings had thus begun. It was developed further in the councils of the 820s and 830s, together with – and most probably as a result of – more general changes in bishops’ identity and their role in the empire.46

825–9: growing moral anxieties In 825 a general meeting of bishops was held in Paris, once again summoned by the imperial authority, in order to discuss the question of the cult of images, which was once again lacerating the Byzantine Empire and Church, but was also harshly debated in the West.47 These issues had already been faced by Charlemagne at the Council of Frankfurt in 794; the ruler’s position had been expressed in written form in the Opus Caroli regis, usually attributed to Theodulf of Orléans.48 So the bishops gathered in Paris already had a rich dossier of Carolingian opinions on the matter; its reexamination, as the Libellus synodalis of 825 attests, was the starting point for any new pronouncement, which spared no one. All those who had taken position on that earlier occasion were attacked: the Byzantine Church, popes and Charlemagne himself – for he, in his condemnation of Byzantine statements, ‘tried to answer with what he wanted, not with what was fitting’.49 This sort of criticism of imperial power was not so disruptive as it may appear, because it matched Louis the Pious’s strategies of self-legitimation, also grounded in moral criticism toward his father.50 Criticism effectively arose in the 820s and was conveyed by texts describing visions of the other world, where Charlemagne was depicted as being punished in purgatorial fire for his sexual sins.51 Thus criticisms of Charlemagne were not so hard for Louis’s ears to listen to and bishops clearly knew that.Yet the contrast with the acts of 813 is no less striking: the same figure to whom five councils recognized the right to correct their decisions was now criticized because of a council over which he had presided.

Unanimity in Carolingian councils  47

Unfortunately, the acts of Paris in 825 do not reveal many procedural details; the precise place of meeting is not indicated, and no list of participants survives. But the meeting’s criticism of Charlemagne hints that something was changing in the modus operandi of such episcopal gatherings and in their self-representation. Imperial authority, and its role in summoning assemblies, was not discussed. Rather, bishops were elaborating new ideas about themselves and their functions, also encompassing the right – soon, later, the duty – of judging and correcting emperors. Louis’s strategy of criticizing his father opened the way to the idea that imperial power itself could be criticized.Visionary texts once again clearly show this shift in action: not only Charlemagne, but also Louis the Pious soon became the object of written dream narratives in which a destiny of damnation was prefigured.52 In 825 this process was still at its beginning and it was only between the end of the 820s and the first half of the 830s that it would reach its apex. In 827–8 things turned worse for the empire from a military point of view, after a series of defeats on the borders against non-Christian enemies.53 None of the defeats represented a real threat to the empire’s existence, but they did a lot of harm to Louis’s legitimacy: Christian armies losing against the pagans were read as signs that the empire and its ruler were no longer supported by God’s approval. Military troubles, even if of relatively limited relevance, unleashed moral panic; God’s favor had to be regained by means of correcting the whole society’s behavior. As an initial response to the crisis, Louis removed the officers responsible for those defeats in 828. Some of the most powerful lay magnates of the empire were pushed away from the imperial court, and extremely complex aristocratic networks had to be redefined; thus 828 also caused a social earthquake.54 A reconfiguration of aristocratic groups and balances of power may have been precisely the objective of these measures, and it was surely one of their consequences. That moral issues were equally central is proved by the four councils that Louis and his son Lothar summoned for 829 in Toulouse, Lyons, Mainz and Paris (see Figure 3.2), an operation very similar to that of Charlemagne in 813. Unfortunately, only the acts of the Parisian council survive, so they cannot be compared with those of the others. Nonetheless the Council of Paris itself offers many points of interest. In his letter to the bishops convoking the council, Louis set its agenda and, roughly, its procedures: ‘in these gatherings [bishops] must investigate, search and, with the help of God, find [solutions] on the matters concerning Christian religion and its care’.55 Everything looks familiar, up to this point: the emperor calls bishops to the gathering, and bishops gather. But, in the opening words of the acts, the bishops expressed a completely new conception of their authority. The context into which they inserted the council was that of an empire in need of correction by the means of penance, as God had been offended by human fragility. The rulers rightly argued that a change was necessary, but humbly acknowledged that indicating how that should be done was not part of their office; so they turned to priests, optimates, and the other fideles in order to decide who should be assigned that duty.

48  Ideas and representations u R. R









Mainz Wurzburg Regensburg

R. D


S R.


R. M


os ell a


eln R. Sh o











R. Rhone




ASTURIAS Spoleto Rome


The councils of 829

Choice fell – obviously – on the bishops, who thus met in Paris ‘daring to take decisions according to the ministry attributed to us (iuxta ministerium nobis conlatum consulere cupientes)’.56 The resulting acts were ‘by no means to be considered verbose or superfluous’.57 In a word, they were not to be amended or changed.Then a summary of their contents was made: first, the bishops discussed the ways in which they had to correct themselves in order to be good moral models for the people; then the rulers became the protagonists, as they equally underwent a process of episcopal criticism. Bishops thus set themselves up as the moral correctors of the empire and the emperor. True, they, too, needed correction, but self-correction became one more expression of their exclusive role of moral guides. Rulers had entrusted them with the function of indicating the way for the renewal of the correct relationship between God and his people; that role also encompassed correction and admonition of the emperor(s), showing a strong development from the criticism addressed to Charlemagne in 825. Correction was therefore presented as an integral part of episcopal ministerium, in clear conjunction with the definition of the royal ministerium as the duty of leading the people to eternal salvation. In 829 the assembly of Paris put its members at the center of the moral structure of the empire and claimed for them the function of correcting without being corrected – except by themselves. Increasing conciliar activity and a new role of councils in Carolingian reform programs, together with a contingent situation of diffused moral uneasiness, converged in the assertion of a new relationship between bishops and emperors: the former claimed a leading role in the moral administration of the empire.

Unanimity in Carolingian councils  49

These processes are reflected in the representation of the council’s proceedings. Continuity with the Council of Paris of 825 is hinted at, with the frequent use of the formula pari voto parique consensu in its different forms.58 Unanimitas is never used to indicate the assembly. The vocabulary of unanimitas does appear in the acts, but it refers to general calls to peace and harmony within the Christian people; more frequently bishops talk about unanimity in the section on the emperor’s duties, which also include watching over his people’s unity.59 A very important change concerns the very nature of the acts. They were not to be changed in any way, and, even though Louis was called to give them practical application, the prohibition of intervening in episcopal decisions seems to compel him, too. Bishops’ sentences thus had the ultimate prescriptive role, which was connected to the new balance bishops aimed to strike vis-à-vis the imperial power.

Judicial councils: the political uses of unanimity Councils dealing with general issues of Christian morality and reform were frequent in Carolingian times, but they were not the only such gatherings. Episcopal assemblies were also held to settle particular issues concerning the life of local churches, their relationships with each other and contingent cases of the highest relevance. These councils had a quasi-judicial nature and clearly recall contemporary trials and placita, when public courts pronounced public judgements.60 That is why these kinds of councils and their acts featured quite different proceedings from those we examined previously. We will now briefly turn to them. One of the most famous cases of a judicial council in Carolingian history is the gathering that, in Soissons in 833, declared Louis the Pious deposed from his imperial dignity and obliged him to undertake public penance. The events of Soissons were the highest point in the revolt of Louis’s sons against their father; scholars agree in reading it as the final result of the political and social tensions set in motion by the defeats of 827–8 and Louis’s measures following them.61 No real acts of Soissons 833 have survived; instead we have a relatio of those events, produced by a further council gathered in Compiègne, under Lothar’s authority some months later.62 The relatio was signed by the attending bishops, something notable per se when compared with the silence about participants in the acts previously analyzed. Unfortunately the list of signatures has not survived, but that does not prevent us from noticing that the bishops in Compiègne felt the need to declare openly who among them was assuming the responsibility of deposing an emperor and, some months later, of defining a memory of that event. The events of Soissons are described in a very detailed way. The ceremony is presented as accurately prepared. The text, although in many ways it condemns the emperor’s faults and sins, calls him venerabilis vir and frequently repeats that the meeting was conducted with his consent: the risky operation was being legitimated by asserting that Louis was aware of the troubles he had caused and consciously accepted the bishops’ advice (admonitio) to beg for public pardon.63 The relatio is maybe the clearest expression of the principles of the Council of Paris of 829: the

50  Ideas and representations

bishops’ ministerium of tying and solving gave them the ability to purify Louis from his sins after a sincere confession and penance. Louis spontaneously confessed his sins, which were listed in a document containing the eight major faults his enemies attributed to him; he had to hold the document in his hand, read it and thus confess publicly. Louis then placed the document on the altar of the Church of the Virgin in Soissons, where the ceremony took place, together with his military belt, the symbol of his public office.The relatio closes with a description of the documentary activity which resulted from Louis’s penance and from that moment of memory making which the council of Compiègne itself was: every bishop produced and signed his own written report of the ceremony and also a common version of it (the reference here is to the relatio itself).64 One of these individual documents has survived, so that we have proof that such a procedure was indeed implemented: it is the cartula written by Agobard, bishop of Lyons.65 In the relatio of Compiègne, the culture of unanimity and peace was put to very careful and politically meaningful use. The language of unanimity occurs in two passages, with reference to two different actors. The sacer conventus, the assembly of bishops, operated unanimiter and diligenter.66 The emperor, on the other hand, is charged with having broken the unanimitas established ‘by common counsel and consent of all his faithfuls (communi consilio et consensu cunctorum fidelium suorum)’ in his first division of the kingdom among his sons (817), later redefining it after the birth of his last son, Charles.67 The bishops presented themselves as the real defenders and enforcers of unanimity, while the emperor, who more than anyone was tasked with preserving it, had fallen into a grave error. Claims over the correct application of unanimity were thus considered powerful weapons to attack the emperor’s legitimacy and to justify his deposition. That is why Louis, who by virtue of his act of penance regained power and the imperial dignity one year later, launched a counterattack that aimed at turning the textual strategies of Soissons-Compiègne upside down. No acts survive of the synod held in Thionville in 835, when Louis was reinstated as emperor by the bishops, and Ebbo, the archbishop of Rheims, was made the scapegoat for all the bishops who supported Lothar and the deposition.68 Our evidence about the synod’s proceedings comes from later sources, such as the Annals of Saint-Bertin and a letter sent to Pope Nicholas I by the bishops who participated in the Synod of  Troyes of 867. It also comes from the booklet in which Ebbo recognized his own faults and resigned from his archbishopric. All these sources refer to the procedures of Thionville in a very similar way, reflecting a shared version of the memory of the acts, facts and procedures that featured in Louis’s reinstatement. All the evidence points to a production of written texts that was both intensive and reflected that which followed the penance in Soissons: every single bishop in Thionville produced his own charter or booklet asserting Louis’s reinstatement as emperor; a unified version signed by everyone was also made.69 Contrary to the case of Compiègne, no single text produced by bishops has survived, but it is in any case important to stress the sources’ agreement in emphasizing a strategy of overturning the humiliation of Soissons through an equal and opposed production

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of texts: the later memory of Thionville was developed as a direct answer to the documentary activity of Compiègne. A very similar strategy can be perceived about unanimity, one of the distinguishing features of the proceedings of the synod: according to the Annals of Saint-Bertin, bishops unanimiter agreed that Louis had to be reassessed and that everyone had to acknowledge him as the emperor.70 In the letter to Nicholas I, Louis’s reinstatement was expressed through a variation of what had become the peculiar formula of conciliar decision-making, communi consilio atque consensu.71 In Ebbo’s libellus of resignation, unanimitas does not appear directly but is nonetheless at work: as the archbishop personally admitted he was no longer worthy of his ministerium episcopale, all the participants – including Ebbo – agreed that he had to resign.72 The operation of Compiègne had been accurately prepared and wide-ranging. Lothar’s supporters had elaborated a multiplicity of tools which aimed to justify a somehow unjustifiable action: the deposition of a sacred emperor, effected by his sons. Louis’s sons had in fact broken the duty of love and obedience that, for Carolingian moralists, should have tied them to their father.73 The reaction of Thionville needed to answer every single point and with the same tools. Conciliar procedures of written production and the language of unanimity were two of those tools and were therefore at the center of harsh competitions in a moment of equally extremely contested imperial power. The cases of Compiègne and Thionville give us a glimpse into procedural aspects of judicial councils. First, we know that the bishops’ signatures were inserted at the end of the relatio. Our sources on Thionville equally say that participants signed the common version of Louis’s reinstatement personally; this is confirmed by the booklet containing Ebbo’s resignation.74 Thus the bishops’ individual identification distinguished Carolingian judicial councils from other councils mentioned earlier: when bishops met in order to pronounce judgements, they became members of a jury and had to identify themselves as personally responsible for their judgement. In Compiègne and Thionville, the list of bishops also acquired the role of listing supporters and of affirming political choices. The practice of recording the names of participants in a judicial council is also attested in the acts of the synod held in Mantua in 827, which was called to settle a dispute about ecclesiastical jurisdiction between the patriarchs of Aquileia and Grado. The list of the thirty-three clerics, bishops, priests and deacons gathered there has survived.75 The list opens with two legati of Pope Eugenius II and two imperial missi; then the archbishops of Ravenna and Milan, with some of their suffragans; finally, the bishops of the province of Aquileia. A strictly hierarchical order is thus respected, reflecting not only ecclesiastical rank but also the participants’ roles in the debates. They worked as members of a jury, from time to time called by the referees (papal legati and imperial missi) to decide on the legitimacy of the opposing sides’ claims. The acts report a quite detailed description of the procedures, which also recalls contemporary placita, with the word alternatively given to the two sides for exposing their reasons and textual supports; much detail in the description of procedural aspects is therefore another element common to judicial councils.

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The composition of the jury, which included all the suffragans of the patriarch of Aquileia and none of that of Grado, must have prevented the latter, Venerius, from presenting himself to a council in which his reasons had no chance of being acknowledged. The acts report the efforts made by the imperial and papal representatives to negotiate with Venerius and to invite him to the synod. Venerius refused. Instead, he sent his oeconomus, Tiberius, whose evidence attesting to the legitimacy of the patriarchy of Grado was rejected as nullius manu roborata.76 The final decision was that Grado had to abandon its claims to patriarchal authority and accept its subordination to Aquileia. The decision had been taken long before the bishops met in Mantua – itself a see whose bishop held his authority from Aquileia; nevertheless, the placita-like acts of the synod appear eager to show that everything was done regularly, on the grounds of authoritative texts, witnesses and traditions. The list of participants thus acquires the role of indicating the members of the jury who took the responsibility of, but also affirmed its authority over, deciding on this important matter of ecclesiastical politics. The acts of Mantua never refer to unanimitas, unlike Compiègne and Thionville, where unanimity was precisely at the core of opposed claims of legitimation. In Mantua, unanimity could not be invoked, simply because someone would never agree with the synod’s decisions: the loser of the judgement – the patriarch of Grado. Unanimity was not, and could not be, a feature of judicial councils, as their judgements always disappointed one side; unanimity was invoked only when its political meaning and use were at stake.

Conclusions The analysis of Carolingian councils between 813 and 835 shows that the culture of unanimity was a far less clear notion than one might think. In 813, the bishops’ unanimity reflected and embodied the ideals of peace and unity evoked in contemporary capitularies, thus supporting the model of society the emperor wished for. One may think that the new emphasis on moral and ecclesiastical reforms under Louis the Pious would strongly challenge this image, as it caused resistance – attested by the sources for the councils of 816–7. In the councils of the 820s, unanimity was set aside in order to present different perspectives, such as growing criticism of the emperor and the codification of an episcopal ministerium. Unanimity was reaffirmed in the 830s, when real and extremely violent conflict for political legitimacy was being fought. Political contexts guided the choice whether to emphasize unanimity or not in its different meanings; different actors used unanimity as part of their strategies for self-representation or for excluding their political opponents. The competition which arose around unanimity in the 820s and 830s was played out against a background of clashing claims over identification of the groups who actually embodied and practiced unanimity. That clearly speaks for the continuing role of unanimity as a source of legitimation, and for the elaboration of slightly different representations of consent, common purposes and convergence. Unanimity itself was under scrutiny, allowing other languages

Unanimity in Carolingian councils  53

of episcopal cooperation to emerge, as the fluidity of its meanings could cause uncertainty over its correct use. Expressions such as pari voto parique consensu appear on the whole not too distant from unanimitas, as different ways of expressing the same idea, in better defining the grounds of episcopal agreement. Unanimity was an object and a tool of competition or conflict, as were the councils themselves. Shifting uses of the vocabulary of unanimity and an increasingly decisive role of conciliar activity were two elements around which bishops elaborated their new group identity in the 820s. That identity then contributed to the clash between Louis the Pious and his sons in the 830s. In the first half of the ninth century, being unanimous was something over which there was no, or little, unanimity; but that should not cause us to underestimate the importance of unanimity in Carolingian processes of episcopal voting. It was precisely because of the central role of peace, concord and consent in Carolingian representations of society and power that different interpretations and uses of unanimity were formulated. Nobody wished to be seen as a breaker of peace; if such danger was in the air, it was far better to shift attention to other issues, or, if possible, to accuse someone else of breaking unanimity.

Notes 1 For a general introduction, see Marios Costambeys, Matthew Innes and Simon MacLean, eds., The Carolingian World (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011). 2 Olivier Guillot, “Une ordinatio méconnue: Le capitulaire de 823–825”, in Charlemagne’s Heir: New Perspectives on the Reign of Louis the Pious (814–840), eds. Peter Godman and Roger Collins (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1990), 455–486; Mayke de Jong, The Penitential State: Authority and Atonement in the Age of Louis the Pious, 814–840 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009). 3 On religious uniformity, see Mayke de Jong, “Ecclesia and the early medieval polity,” in Staat im frühen Mittelalter, eds. Stuart Airlie, Walter Pohl and Helmut Reimitz (Vienna: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 2006), 113–132; Matthew Innes, “ ‘Immune From Heresy’: Defining the Boundaries of Carolingian Christianity”, in Frankland: The Franks and the World of the Early Middle Ages: Essays in Honour of Dame Jinty Nelson, eds. Paul Fouracre and David Ganz (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2008), 101–125; Michael Moore, A Sacred Kingdom. Bishops and the Rise of Frankish Kingship, 300–850 (Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 2011), ch. 8, 286–327. On oaths, see Matthew Innes, “Charlemagne’s government”, in Charlemagne: Empire and Society, ed. Joanna Story (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2005), 80–82; Rosamond McKitterick, Charlemagne: The Formation of a European Identity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 268–270. 4 Stuart Airlie, “Private Bodies and the Body Politic in the Divorce Case of Lothar II”, Past and Present, 161 (1998): 7–8; de Jong, The Penitential State, 185–195. 5 Christina Pössel, “Authors and recipients of Carolingian capitularies”, in Texts and Identities in the Early Middle Ages, eds. Richard Corradini, Rob Meens, Christina Pössel and Philip Shaw (Vienna: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 2006), 253–276; Janet Nelson, “How Carolingians created consensus”, in Le monde carolingien: Bilan, perspectives, champs de recherches, eds.Wojciech Fałkowski and Yves Sassier (Turnhout: Brepols, 2009), 67–81. 6 Timothy Reuter, “Assembly Politics in Western Europe From the Eighth to the Twelfth Century”, in The Medieval World, eds. Peter Linehan and Janet Nelson (London: Routledge, 2001), 434–450; McKitterick, Charlemagne, 222–233.

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7 On Roman traditions and the Carolingians, see Rosamond McKitterick, “Les Perceptions Carolingiennes de Rome”, in Le monde carolingien, 83–103. On the Carolingian cult of saints, see Paul Fouracre, “The Origins of the Carolingian Attempt to Regulate the Cult of Saints”, in The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages: Essays on the Contribution of Peter Brown, eds. James Howard-Johnston and Paul Antony Hayward (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), 143–165; Julia Smith, “Old Saints, New Cults: Roman Martyrs in Carolingian Francia”, in Early Medieval Rome and the Christian West. Essays in Honour of Donald Bullough, ed. Julia Smith (Leiden: Brill, 2000), 317–334. 8 Wilfried Hartmann, Die Synoden der Karolingerzeit im Frankenreich und in Italien (Paderborn: Schoning, 1989), 2; on Merovingian bishops and councils, see Gregory I. Halfond, Archaeology of Frankish Church Councils, AD 511–768 (Leiden, Boston: Brill, 2010); and, most of all, Moore, A Sacred Kingdom, esp. ch. 3 to 4, p. 85–160. 9 Yitzhak Hen, “The Christianisation of Kingship”, in Der Dynastiewechsel von 751: Vorgeschichte, Legitimationsstrategien und Erinnerung, eds. Matthias Becher and Jörg Jarnut (Münster: Scriptorium, 2004), 163–177; Costambeys, Innes and MacLean, The Carolingian World, 138–141. 10 Steffen Patzold, Episcopus:Wissen über Bischofe im Frankreich des späten 8. bis frühen 10. Jahrhunderts (Ostfildern:Thorbecke, 2008); Geneviève Bührer-Thierry, “Épiscopat et royauté dans le monde carolingien”, in Le monde carolingien, 143–155. On the episcopal administration of justice Laurent Jégou, L’évêque, juge de paix. L’autorité épiscopale et le règlement des conflits entre Loire et Elbe (milieu VIIIe-milieu Xe siècle) (Turnhout: Brepols, 2011), esp. part 2, 137–286. 11 Matthew Innes, An Introduction to Early Medieval Western Europe, 300–900. The Sword, the Plough and the Book (London: Routledge, 2007), 466; Steffen Patzold, “Redéfinir l’office épiscopal: les évêques francs face à la crise des années 820/30”, in Les élites au haut Moyen Âge: Crises et renouvellements, eds. François Bougard, Laurent Feller and Régine Le Jan (Turnhout: Brepols, 2006), 337–359. 12 The questionnaire has been published in Susan Keefe, Water and the Word. Baptism and the Education of the Clergy in the Carolingian Empire (2 vols, Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2002), vol. 2, n. 14, 261–263. 13 “In quibus internosci possint hi qui seculum relinquunt ab his qui adhuc seculum sectantur”: Alfred Boretius, ed., Capitula de causis cum episcopis et abbatibus tractandis [MGH, Capit., 1] (Hannover: Impensis Bibliopolii Hahniani, 1883), 162–164: ch. 4, 163. The translation is taken from the title of an article by Rachel Stone, ‘ “In What Way Can Those Who Have Left the World Be Distinguished?’: Masculinity and the Difference Between Carolingian Men”, in Intersections of Gender, Religion and Ethnicity in the Middle Ages, eds. Cordelia Beattie and Kirsten A. Fenton (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), 12–33; all the other translations are ours. 14 Albert Werminghoff, ed., Concilia Arelatense, Remense, Moguntinense, Cabillonense,Turonense [MGH, Conc., 2/1] (Hannover-Leipzig: Impensis Bibliopolii Hahniani, 1906), 245–306. References to the single councils will be made from this edition. 15 Werminghoff, Concilium Cabillonense, 274. 16 Werminghoff, Concilium Moguntinense, 259–260. 17 Pierre Toubert, “La théorie du mariage chez les moralistes carolingiens”, in Il matrimonio nella società altomedievale (Spoleto: CISAM, 1977), 233–282: 235–237. 18 Werminghoff, Concilium Moguntinense, cap. 5, 261. 19 Werminghoff, Concilium Turonense, 286. 20 References to Charlemagne’s last word about conciliar decrees are all contained in the opening or closing formulae of the acts: Werminghoff, Concilium Arelatense, conclusion, 253; Werminghoff, Concilium Moguntinense, introduction, 260; Werminghoff, Concilium Cabillonense, introduction, 274, and cap. 67, 285; Werminghoff, Concilium Turonense, conclusion, 293. 21 Jennifer Davis, Charlemagne’s Practice of Empire (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 373; ibid., note 144 for the list of capitularies of 813 (in the text the author talks about seven capitularies, while in the note she refers to eight).

Unanimity in Carolingian councils  55

22 For instance, the first part of cap. 3 of the Capitula originis incertae is almost verbatim taken from the canon 6 of the Concilium Arelatense of 813, 251, and cap. 4 of the same Capitula clearly derives from canon 26 of the Concilium Mogintinense, 268. 23 Friedrich Kurze, ed., Annales regni Francorum [MGH, SS rer Germ] (Hannover: Impensis Bibliopolii Hahniani, 1895), 138, ad annum 813. 24 Georg Heinrich Pertz, ed., Chronicon Moissiacense, [MGH, SS, 1] (Leipzig: Karl W. Hiersemann, 1925), 280–313; 310, ad annum 813. 25 Hartmann, Die Synoden, 12; for the identification, see Capitula e canonibus excerpta, 173. 26 Werminghoff, Concilium Arelatense, cap. 12, 251–252; Werminghoff, Concilium Cabillonense, cap. 20, 277; Werminghoff, Concilium Turonense, cap. 33, 290–291. Some examples of capitularies exorting to cooperation between counts and bishops are Boretius, Capitularia regum Francorum [MGH, Leges, sectio III] 1, n. 28, cap. 30; n. 63, cap. 14; n. 163, cap. 1. 27 Werminghoff, Concilium Moguntinense, cap. 5, 261. 28 Werminghoff, Concilium Turonense, cap. 32, 290. 29 Werminghoff, Concilium Arelatense, introduction, 248; Werminghoff, Concilium Turonense, cap. 17, 288. 30 Roger Collins, “Charlemagne and His Critics”, in La royauté et les élites dans l’Europe carolingienne (du début du IXe siècle aux environs de 920), ed. Régine Le Jan (Villeneuve D’Ascq: Centre d’histoire de l’Europe du Nord Ouest, 1998), 193–211; de Jong, The Penitential State, 19–24. 31 The starting point was Peter Godman and Roger Collins, eds., Charlemagne’s Heir: New Perspectives on the Reign of Louis the Pious (814–840) (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990). For a general historiographical survey, see Martin Gravel, “De la crise du règne de Louis le Pieux: Essai d’historiographie”, Revue Historique, 658 (2011): 357–389. 32 Mayke de Jong, “Carolingian Monasticism:The Power of Prayer”, in The New Cambridge Medieval History, 2: c. 700 – c. 900, ed. Rosamond McKitterick (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 622–653. 33 Janet Nelson, “Aachen as a Place of Power”, in Topographies of Power in the Early Middle Ages, eds. Mayke de Jong and Frans Theuws (Leiden: Brill, 2001), 217–241. 34 De Jong, The Penitential State, 19–21. 35 Janet Nelson, “Translating Images of Authority: The Christian Roman Emperors in the Carolingian World”, in The Frankish World, ed. Janet Nelson (London: The Hambledon, 1996), 89–98. 36 Albert Werminghoff, Institutio canonicorum Aquisgranensis [MGH, Conc., 2/1], 312– 421: 312–313; Albert Werminghoff, Institutio sanctimonialium, ibid., 422–456: 422; Josef Semmler, ed., Synodi primae Aquisgranensis decreta authentica [CCM, 1] (Siegburg: Schmitt, 1963), 457–468: 457; Josef Semmler, Synodi secundae Aquisgranensis decreta authentica, ibid., 471–481: 471. 37 On the shape and tradition of the texts, see Gerhard Schmitz, “Aachen 816. Zu Überlieferung und Edition der Kanonikergesetzgebung Ludwigs der Frommen”, Deutsches Archiv für Erforschung des Mittelalters, 63 (2007): 497–545. 38 De Jong, “Carolingian monasticism”, 632. Clues of debate emerge both from the conciliar acts and from the so-called Statuta Murbacensia, ed. Josef Semmler [CCM, 1], 441–450, an anonymous report of the synods’ proceedings most probably compiled by an eyewitness. 39 Werminghoff, Institutio canonicorum, introduction, 312; cap. 122, 401; Werminghoff, Institutio sanctimonialium, introduction, 422. 40 Semmler, Synodi primae, introduction, 457; Semmler, Synodi secundae, introduction, 473. 41 Werminghoff, Concilium Moguntinense, introduction, 259. 42 Werminghoff, Concilium Cabillonense, cap. 26, 278. 43 Friedrich Maassen, ed., Concilium Epaonense [MGH, Conc., 1] (Hannover: Impensis Bibliopolii Hahniani, 1883), 15–30: cap. 40, 28; Maassen, Concilium Aurelianense a. 538, ibid., 72–86: cap. 36 (33), 83; Maassen, Concilium Autissiodorense hab. circa a. 573–603, ibid., 178–184: cap. 45, 183. 44 Julian Pomerius, De vita contemplativa, ed. Jean-Paul Migne [PL, 59] (Paris: Ex typis L. Migne, 1862), 415b-520b: 2, cap. 9, col. 454; Werminghoff, Institutio canonicorum, cap. 35,

56  Ideas and representations

357, and cap. 116, 398; Albert Werminghoff, ed., Concilium Parisiense [MGH, Conc., 2/2] (Hannover-Leipzig: Impensis Bibliopolii Hahniani, 1908) c. 15, 623; Werminghoff, Concilium Aquisgranense a. 836 (?) m. Februario, ibid., 704–767: cap. 19, 709, and cap. 48, 719. 45 Nelson, “How Carolingians”. 46 General surveys in Patzold,“Rédefinir”, Patzold., Episcopus; Bührer-Thierry,“Épiscopat”. 47 Werminghoff, Libellus synodalis a. 825 m. Novembri [MGH, Conc., 2/2], 480–532. On Carolingian debates about iconoclasm Thomas F.X. Noble, Images, Iconoclasm, and the Carolingians (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009). 48 Theodulf of Orléans, Opus Caroli Regis contra Synodum (Libri Carolini), ed. Ann Freeman [MGH, Conc., 2, Supplementum 1] (Hannover: Hahnsche Buchhandlung, 1998). On this text Paul Meyvaert, “Medieval Notions of Publication: The Unpublished ‘Opus Caroli regis contra Synodum’ and the Council of Frankfort (794)”, in The Art of Words: Bede and Theodulf, ed. Meyvaert (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008), 78–89. 49 ‘per singula capitula in illorum excusationem respondere quae voluit, non tamen quae decuit conatus est’: Werminghoff, Libellus synodalis, 481. 50 Moral criticism mostly focused on Charlemagne’s government of his household and daughters, whom he never gave in marriage and compelled to live with him at court; these women were then accused of sexual misconduct. Janet Nelson, “Women at the Court of Charlemagne: A Case of Monstrous Regiment?” in Medieval Queenship, ed. John Parsons (London: A. Sutton, 1993), 43–61; Anton Scharer, “Charlemagne’s Daughters”, in Early Medieval Studies in Memory of Patrick Wormald, eds. Stephen Baxter, Catherine E. Karkov, Janet Nelson and David Pelteret (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2009), 269–282. 51 On these texts, see Paul Dutton, The Politics of Dreaming in the Carolingian Empire (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1994). 52 A good example is the Visio cuiusdam pauperculae mulieris, ed. Hubert Houben, in id., “Visio cuiusdam pauperculae mulieris: Überlieferung und Herkunft eines frühmittelalterlichen Visionentextes (mit Neudeition)”, Zeitschrift für die Geschichte des Oberrheins, 124 (1976), 31–42: 41–42. 53 De Jong, The Penitential State, 39–40; 148–157. 54 They were Hugh, count of Tours and father-in-law of Louis the Pious’s son Lothar; Matfrid, count of Orléans and Hugh’s brother-in-law; and Baldric, duke of Friuli. Philippe Depreux, Prosopographie de l’entourage de Louis le Pieux (Sigmaringen: Thorbecke, 1997), resp. 262–264 (Hugh), 329–331 (Matfrid), 119 (Baldric). 55 ‘In quibus conventibus tractare, quaerere et cum Dei adiutorio invenire debent de causis ad religionem Christianam et eorum curam convenientibus’:Werminghoff, Constitutio de synodis [MGH, Conc., 2/2], 596–597: 597. 56 Werminghoff, Concilium Parisiense, 608. 57 ‘nequaquam prolixa aut superflua iudicanda sunt’: ibid., 609. 58 Ibid., cap. 5, 612, and cap. 68, 669 (pari voto parique consensu); cap. 21, 627 (pari consensu); cap. 25, 628 (communi consensu). 59 For instance, ibid., cap. 1, 610; cap. 77, 674; cap. 92, 678. 60 On bishops as judges, se Jégou, L’évêque, 183–229. 61 De Jong, The Penitential State. On the penance of Soissons, see also Courtney Booker, Past Convictions:The Penance of Louis the Pious and the Decline of the Carolingians (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009). 62 A new edition of the Relatio Compendiensis can be found in Courtney Booker, “The Public Penance of Louis the Pious: A New Edition of the Episcoporum de poenitentia, quam Hludowicus imperator professus esti, Relatio Compendiensis (833)”, Viator, 39/2 (2008): 1–19. 63 Booker, Relatio Compendiensis, 14. 64 Ibid., 19. 65 Agobard of Lyons, Cartula de Ludovici imperatoris poenitentia, ed. Lieven Van Acker, in Agobardi Lugdunensis Opera omnia, ed. Lieven Van Acker [CCCM, 52] (Turnhout: Brepols, 1981), 323–324. 66 ‘sacer idem conuentus unanimiter ad eundem uenerabilem uirum perrexit eumque diligenter [. . .] admonere et cuncta illi ad memoriam reducere curauit’: Booker, Relatio Compendiensis, 14.

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67 Ibid., 16. 68 On Ebbo’s deposition, see now Courtney Booker, “The False Decretals and Ebbo’s fama ambigua: A Verdict Revisited”, in Fälschung als Mittel der Politik? Pseudoisidor im Licht der neuen Forschung: Gedenkschrift für Klaus Zechiel-Eckes, eds. Karl Ubl and Daniel Ziemann (Wiesbaden: Harassowitz Verlag, 2015), 207–242. 69 Georg Waitz, ed., Annales Bertiniani [MGH, SS rer Germ] (Hannover: Impensis Bibliopolii Hahniani, 1883), 10, ad annum, 835;Wilfried Hartmann, ed., Troyes: Oktober – November 867 [MGH, Conc., 4] (Hannover: Hahnsche Buchhandlung, 1998), 229–245: 234. 70 ‘ab omnibus concorditer atque unanimiter inventum atque firmatum est, ut ipse [scil. Hludowicus] avito restitutus honori decorique regio merito reformatus, deinceps fidelissima firmissimaque oboedientia et subiectione imperator et dominus ab omnibus haberetur’:Waitz, Annales Bertiniani, 10, ad annum, 835. 71 Troyes: Oktober – November 867, 234. 72 Werminghoff, Libellus episcoporum, 703. 73 See the teachings by Jonas of Orléans in his De institutione laicali: Jonas d’Orléans, Instruction des laïcs, éd. Odile Dubreucq (Paris: Les éditions du Cerf, 2012–2013), book 2, cap. 15, 442–448. Also see Rachel Stone, Morality and Masculinity in the Carolingian Empire (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 205–208. 74 Werminghoff, Libellus episcoporum, 703. 75 Werminghoff, Concilium Mantuanum [MGH, Conc., 2/2], 584–589; the list is at 584– 585. On this council see Giorgia Vocino, “Les saints en lice. Hagiographie et reliques entre Cividale et Grado à l’époque carolingienne”, in Compétition et sacré. Entre médiation et exclusion, eds. Philippe Depreux, François Bougard and Régine Le Jan (Turnhout: Brepols, 2015), 273–294. 76 As reported in Werminghoff, Concilium Mantuanum, 587–588.

4 A VOTE FOR THE NEW WORLD ORDER The Dardanelles meeting in 1235 (the Council at Lampsacus-Gallipoli) Vesselina Vachkova

Byzantium, with its steadily propagated theocratic doctrine, has seldom been used as an example of the development of democratic theories and practices.1 Nevertheless, the Byzantine civilization, with its markedly urban character, was the political structure that preserved ancient democratic theories and practices and translated them for the rest of the European world.Voting – understood as the only legitimate way of approving or changing a given status quo, be it local or global – was one of these practices, and the institution that contributed to the greatest extent toward imposing voting as the ultimate legitimizing mechanism was the ecumenical council. The Dardanelles meeting in 1235 was one of the most prominent historical episodes that illustrated the function of the General Synod – the only institution capable, through voting, of legitimizing the new parameters of the Eastern Orthodox world, which emerged after the Fourth Crusade. The significance of the event has motivated my intention to focus in this chapter on a detailed description of the actions related to this synod, an extensive account of which is preserved in the so-called Boril’s Synodic from the fourteenth century. This document yields unique information on both the legal and administrative aspects of the conciliar vote in Late Byzantium and the specific procedures and practices characteristic of this highest, and truly ecumenical, type of voting assemblies in the Eastern Orthodox world. The lack of interest in democratic ideas and practices in Byzantium is understandable in many ways, given the markedly negative connotations the term ‘democratic’ has in the narratives by Byzantine authors, both ecclesiastical and secular. In Byzantium, the term ‘democracy’ (δημοκρατία) was used almost exclusively to relate to the following two conditions: civil unrest disrupting the social order (τάξις), and the barbarism of those nations which, not having reached the stage of civilization, lived in a state of democracy. Hence, even authors who have tried to affirm the democratic character of Byzantine society have generally been confined to

A vote for the new world order  59

expounding the nature of the Byzantine oikonomia (οἰκονομία).2 Although this wellknown Byzantine phenomenon – which is incidentally observed even today in Eastern Orthodox countries – certainly provided for social coherence and peace, it had nothing to do with the classical notions of democracy and its mechanisms. The oikonomia was a widely practiced compromise which did not set the rules but rather circumvented them.3 On the other hand, studies of Byzantine political theory and practice have always suffered from either overestimation of the rhetoric of the Byzantine authors or underestimation of the specific use those authors made of certain terms describing particular phenomena. To be sure, this is largely due to the style of Byzantine authors, who had but one guiding principle: rhetoric is not the truth, or at least rhetoric is not the whole truth.4 In other words, they very often made claims which were not expected to be taken as accurate information, especially when it came to statements made in stark contrast to facts well known to their contemporaries. The purpose of such claims was often markedly rhetorical, apologetic, or didactic, and at times simply stylistic. Next comes the tendency of scholars to regard Byzantine iconography as the quintessence of what has been recorded in other historical sources. This continues to be true despite the conclusions reached in the increasingly numerous and thorough studies of scholars such as Liz James, which have proved that the purpose of these texts was to educate and create aesthetic pleasure more than to note the exact events.5 Perhaps, the clearest evidence of such underestimation of rhetoric and confusion of different types of sources of information is research and comments on the councils in Byzantium.

The iconography of ecumenical councils The iconography of the councils, which has spread since the seventh century and remains a favorite subject of icon painters even today, has been the historians’ preferred source of information for drawing conclusions on how these supreme religious and political meetings operated.6 According to the iconography in question, a council was an extremely solemn, dignified meeting of church prelates gathered in a large temple and led by the Constantinople emperor (or the emperors in the Eastern tradition) or by the Roman pope (in the Western tradition).The purpose of this type of meeting was to deal exclusively with religious matters (i.e. with adoption of dogmas and disciplinary canons and the condemnation of heretics who had deviated, in one way or another, from central dogma, as well as clerics who had violated canons). Therefore, the councils, both in iconography and research, resemble legal proceedings rather than conferences intended for the exchange of views and for demonstrating the alliance between the empire and the Church, though such they truly were. In the Eastern Orthodox world, in particular, iconography has entrenched the idea that there were only seven ecumenical councils (Figures 4.1 and 4.2) as an unwavering dogma. These councils became the object of a separate cult, and not

FIGURE 4.1 From left to right: the First, Seventh and Sixth Ecumenical Councils. Zaharyi

Zograf, Rila Monastery, Bulgaria, 19th c., detail. Photo: V. Vachkova

FIGURE 4.2 The

Holy Seven Ecumenical Councils. Zaharyi Zograf, Rila Monastery, Bulgaria, 19th c. Photo: V. Vachkova

A vote for the new world order  61

only does each council have specific iconography but it also has, like any holy person, a special liturgy and festive day.7 In this context, it is perhaps understandable why no current, nor previous, researchers have studied the medieval ecumenical council as a sui generis voting assembly, although this was its original function, which has remained unchanged up to this day.The lack of interest in both the councils which remained outside the ‘magical’ number of the seven ecumenical councils and in the conciliar activities related to topics other than dogmas and canons (i.e. the condemnation of heretics and offenders) is also understandable. Not even Ramsay MacMullen, in his monograph Voting about God in Early Church Councils, the only study that examines the Church councils precisely from the perspective, has managed to avoid this cliché.8 It is true that, as Averil Cameron comments on the back cover of MacMullen’s study, ‘He shows how Christian doctrine came to be decided by the democratic votes of bishops, and how the passions that this aroused all too often led to actual violence’. But the following is also true: a fact well known to anyone who has dealt with ecumenical councils, or at least the history of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, is that the Christian dogma was adopted by majority vote and the vote of the majority was influenced, to varying degrees, by the emperors. The problem is whether that violence, which is also a recognized fact and to which Ramsay MacMullen pays particular attention, was the result of discussions about the dogma or else of disputes of a different nature. Especially serious is the problem of whether the councils’ democratic grounding should be sought primarily in the ancient articulation of the term ‘demos’ and its use in Byzantium, as the author seems to think. In other words, it is only in the title of his book that MacMullen raises the question of voting. Instead he is interested in the ways in which the mass of conciliar Fathers (the majority) were organized and manipulated and appears to be particularly impressed by the act of ‘crushing the defeated’ heretics or parties at the end of the councils.9 Such defeats are only to be found in the apologists’ rhetoric or in some depictions of councils and show a great deal of imagination at that (Figure 4.3).10 The main reason for doubting that things really looked like this in reality is the very approach in selecting the participants in a council, the arrangement of the sessions, the mechanism of voting, and the procedure for imposing a council resolution as a decision of the majority. The ecumenical council was created first as a Roman imperial institution. This institution may have inherited some features of the Apostolic council of the mid-first century of the Christian era and other earlier Church councils, but it functioned on the model of the Senate and other classic Roman voting assemblies. To be sure, what I refer to here are the Roman voting assemblies of the period prior to the introduction of the secret ballot.11 At Church councils, the ecumenical ones included, Orthodox Christianity has fully preserved the principle of open voting. As far as it can be judged from the images, the typical Roman voting by grouping – besides the vote in writing – was also preserved (Figure 4.4).12

62  Ideas and representations

FIGURE 4.3 Saint

Nicholas and the heretic Arius at the Council of Nicaea, 325. Sumela Monastery, Turkey, 18th c. Photo: M. Petrova-Shabarkova

It had been obvious to everyone since the time of the First Ecumenical Council that openly opposing the general opinion could get you into exile. However, nobody ever suggested that the open voting should be replaced by secret voting. Thus, an ecumenical synod was left by each participant in the way in which he had come to it – invited by name and having voted by name. All extant written documents lead to the reasonable conclusion that giving openly, in writing, your name in support of an opinion was considered more important than your formal personal presence at the council. A particularly telling example in this respect is the Council of Chalcedon of 451. This ecumenical council is known to have split – like all others – into two major parties, from the very beginning. Accordingly, the emperor later wrote to ask those delegates who had left earlier, for one reason or another, to submit their written opinions concerning both the ecclesiastical matters discussed in Chalcedon and the turmoil – at times bloody – that occurred in the East after the council. The emperor Marcian not only ensured that the signatures of the required number of delegates were in hand but also issued, the following year, two explicit edicts ratifying the canons of the Council of Chalcedon.13 Although scholars frequently fail to mention the fact,

A vote for the new world order  63

FIGURE 4.4 Voting

by grouping during the ecumenical council.Visoki Dečani Monastery, Kosovo, 14th c. Photo: V. Vachkova

all the canons adopted at ecumenical councils became valid only after the respective imperial edict (Figure 4.5). This peculiarity of the competences of the councils as voting assemblies is clearly reflected in the iconography of each particular council. The name of the emperor (or emperors) is included in the picture just as are the names of other prominent prelates.These names inscribed in the paintings – as well as the scrolls and books that the figures hold, or else the general banner behind which the emperor and the prelates are standing – symbolize the fact that these people have voted in favor of the conciliar decisions (Figure 4.6). The emperor is portrayed as present at the event even when he was actually not there. This was also the case with the Roman popes, who were never there, since it was usual for them merely to send representatives. Nevertheless, the emperor invariably occupies the center of the representation. Everyone was aware that imperial law had the authority to establish the opinion of the council’s majority as a mandatory law of the Church. However, the emperor’s exclusive role in the work

FIGURE 4.5 Voting

by name (signature) and commitment of the emperor during the First Ecumenical Council. St Sozomenus Church, Galata, Cyprus, 16th c. Photo:V. Vachkova

FIGURE 4.6  “We

hold our opinion and we stand behind it”. The First Ecumenical Council. Stavropoleos Monastery, Romania, 18th c. Photo:V. Vachkova

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of the ecumenical councils should not mislead us on the nature of his authority in the field of religious matters. What was discussed at the ecumenical councils invested religious dogmas, but it was primarily concerned with changes in the Church’s hierarchical structure. In this sense, if we need a precise criterion by which a council is to be classified as ecumenical, the presence on the agenda of a discussion concerning changes in the structure of the Church (which were, as a rule, connected with changes in the structure of the empire) is by far the most important. It was those changes, which often led to elevation of some churches and belittlement of others, which caused the bloody clashes between different groups of believers rather than the intricacies of the dogma.

Voting at ecumenical councils In as much as the idea of the Roman Christian world coincided with the world in general, voting at the ecumenical councils restructured the Church in conformity to the transformations of the empire and was thus actually voting for a new world order rather than a merely ecclesiastical one. As to the assumption that Christian doctrine was the result of the votes of several hundred conciliar Fathers, the following clarification should be made here: the idea that faith may be subject to human discussion and formulation is totally foreign to the scriptural and Christian traditions. Least of all should we imagine that faith was conceived of as something which might come as a result of voting or application of majority opinion.Voting implies the existence of at least two opinions on a given issue; despite all possible manipulations, voting is a process which remains unpredictable and, therefore, it is a dangerous thing. Last but not least, voting is human – all too human. This explains why for both contemporary and later chroniclers it was not sufficient to mention that the decisions were taken by the Fathers at the holy ecumenical councils, but claims were made that they were inspired directly by the Holy Spirit (Figure 4.7). Very soon, narratives about the councils came to refer to signatures which came not only from the earthly world but also from the heavenly one: for instance, the signatures of two fathers who had died before the end of the First Ecumenical Council, or the vote of the imperishable relics of St. Euphemia, which put an end to the disputes at the Council of Chalcedon. The imperial presence was given much the same meaning. Aside from the simple fact that only the emperor had the resources to convene councils ‘from all over the world’ and the real power to make their decisions effective – including the power to enforce the anathemas accompanied by removal from post and exile – during the council the emperor was essentially an earthly deputy of Christ.14 The emperor was actually only able to implement the decisions of the council’s majority in the empire by relevant laws. And he did so, where his personal religious biases coincided with the opinion of the council’s majority. The problem was that no conciliar decision and no imperial law could make the subjects of the empire believe in one or another dogmatic formula. The edicts provide a particular current political picture with government sanction. Most often the minority

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FIGURE 4.7 The

Holy Spirit imposing the conciliar decision at the Council of Chalcedon, 451. Zahari Zograf,The Great Lavra of St. Athanasius, Mount Athos, 19th c. Photo. L. Petrov

responded by convening a number of local councils to reject the decisions of the ecumenical council and agitated to convene a new council at which they would be the majority. An essential part of the said preparation for a new General Synod was that each party aspired to secure the support of the emperor in Constantinople and the Roman pontiff. For, regardless of whether they had voted for the third canon of the Constantinople Council (a local eastern council later declared to be

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the Second Ecumenical Council)15 or for the twenty-eighth canon of the Council of Chalcedon (the Fourth Ecumenical Council), everyone was aware of the following fact: the Pentarchy – that is, the idea of universal rule of five major episcopal sees over the whole of Christendom in the Roman Empire – established by those canons voted for by the majority at the said councils certainly did not reflect any ecclesiastical significance but rather the political and ideological importance of the Roman, Constantinople, Alexandrian, Antioch, and Jerusalem patriarchates. The archbishops of these major churches often would not have had real power, even in their own dioceses, had they held an opinion different from that of their parishioners. However, they had strong theological schools and Church leaders whose rhetoric was polished in law or philosophical schools. In addition, they had at their disposal considerable financial resources. And, as it is well known, the splendid appearance and eloquence – in the era of the early ecumenical councils very much as it is today – were the most powerful manipulators of mass opinion, including the mass vote. Incidentally, it was the brilliant philosophical education of some higher prelates from Antioch and Alexandria, with their complex and colorful speeches rich in imagery and rhetorical twists, which gave rise to almost all heresies. For their part, the emperor in Constantinople and the Roman pontiff – the latter, inter alia, being appointed by the former until the tenth century – were regarded as natural arbitrators in disputes: the former was called upon by the local Christian community to enforce the conciliar condemnation of Paul of Samosata as early as the time of the pagan emperor Aurelian (269 CE); several canons of the Council of Serdica acknowledged the latter as an arbitrator within the Church as early as 343 CE. It is justified, without any reservations, to speak of the imperial Church since the time of Constantine the Great – that is, the Church was a kind of imperial office.16 The care for this imperial structure was the responsibility and right of the emperor reigning in Constantinople, which was called New Rome – incidentally, this appellation was also imposed by a conciliar decision, and in particular, by the aforementioned canons of the Councils of Constantinople and Chalcedon. Although this general picture might not be an accurate reflection of reality, it does a good enough job as a theoretical framework of the Roman Christian world. The fact is that the Pentarchic theory was not affected either by the fall of the greater part of the Eastern Christian world under Islamic rule in the seventh century or the rise in the West of various so-called barbarian states, such as the Frankish Kingdom, or Bulgaria.The most serious attempt to revise this scheme of world order on the part of the barbarians – that is, the new Christian peoples and countries – was to be their insistence to involve themselves in it. That was the case with the Frankish criticism, during the Council of Frankfurt, against the iconoclast and iconodule ecumenical councils, whose subject was of interest almost exclusively to Constantinople. That was also the case with the discussion of the ‘Bulgarian Church question’ during the Eighth Ecumenical Council – which, to this day, is not considered ecumenical in the Orthodox world.

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The Council of Lampsacus-Gallipoli The need for a true renegotiation of the parameters of the world order occurred only at the beginning of the thirteenth century. At the time, another formal Church schism between Rome and Constantinople, that of 1054, had become a political fact with the sack of Constantinople by the knights of the Fourth Crusade (1204). At this particular moment, in the Western Christian world there was not a political figure authoritative and powerful enough to take the place of the Byzantine emperor. In the East, several crusader states were trying – not very successfully – to keep the idea of Christian Roman order and the integrity of the Christian world alive.17 In the Eastern Orthodox world, the rulers of Epirus, Nicaea, and Bulgaria laid successive claims to be heirs to the emperor of Constantinople. None of these countries had better arguments than any of the others and it is thus impossible to clearly identify either Epirus, or Nicaea, or Trebizond as а ‘Byzantium in exile’ prior to the 1230s.18 The same applies to Bulgaria, where John X Kamateros, the last patriarch of Constantinople, fled and subsequently died in 1206, and whose rulers had, since 1205, invariably used the title ‘Tsar of the Bulgarians and the Greeks’. Despite their claims, however, these monarchs cannot be considered as true regents of the Byzantine throne, occupied at that time by the Latins. In 1230, Bulgarian military supremacy eliminated Epirus’s claims. The ruler of Epirus, Theodore Komnenos, had previously been crowned emperor by the archbishop of Ohrid, in the capital of the recently conquered Latin Kingdom of Thessaloniki. For that purpose, the archbishop himself had been promoted, a little earlier, into patriarch by the king.19 Such orchestrated promotions of prelates and coronations of emperors also occurred before the thirteenth-century crisis. However, these actions had the primary purpose of putting pressure on some higher institution which had the authority to sanction a change of the status quo. In the thirteenth century this authority continued to reside in the General Synod, despite attempts of the Roman popes to impose their own authority over the council and despite the lack of an orthodox (from Eastern Christian perspective) emperor in Constantinople. This is why the first two attempts at regulating the new situation in the region were made precisely by convening two Church councils conceived as general: the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215 and the Council in Nymphaion of 1234.20 The latter was held a year before the successful effort, at least with regard to the Eastern Christian world, at the Council in Lampsacus-Gallipoli. The convening of a council in Lampsacus-Gallipoli allows me to illustrate the nature and effect of the majority vote at a general council. What follows is the description of the event by a contemporary, preserved in Boril’s Synodic, which is a Bulgarian translation with additions from the Byzantine Synodic: The great and pious Tsar Ioan Asen, son of the old Tsar Asen, who, having great love of God, glorified and illuminated the Bulgarian tsardom more than all former Bulgarian tsars, built monasteries and adorned them richly with gold, pearls, and many precious stones, presented all holy and divine churches

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with many gifts and declared that they have full freedoms [from obligations], dignified with great honours the members of the ecclesiastical estate, the high priests, the priests, and the deacons. With an even greater zeal he sought to renew the patriarchy of the Bulgarian tsardom. This is how the renewal happened: The most sanctified oecumenical Patriarch German, by God’s will and on account of the great zeal on the part of the Christ-loving great Tsar Ioan Asen, son of the old Asen, with the rest of his brothers and patriarchs, Athanasius, most sanctified patriarch of Jerusalem of Christ’s passions and His Resurrection, the Holy Church of Sion, mother of all churches and all of Palestine; Simeon, most sanctified patriarch of the city of God Antioch and all of Syria; Nicolas, most sanctified patriarch of Alexandria and all Egypt. The emperor of Nicaea, John III Doukas Vatatzes, ‘Tsar Kaloyan Ducas’, then sent a message to the patriarchs: ‘Our autocratic tsardom begs and calls on you fathers to fulfill our plea to you. Put together a message and send it to my tsardom in confirmation of your and my decision to declare and grant to the city of Tarnov the rank of a patriarchy equal to yours: to the church of the Ascension of Christ, the mother of the churches in the Bulgarian tsardom, because the Christ-loving Bulgarian Tsar Ioan Asen, brother-in-law of my tsardom, insisting, requests of our tsardom and our holy fathers that this is granted to his tsardom.’ After the most sanctified patriarchs read this epistle they considered it a good decision and each of them gave to the tsar’s messengers their assent. Also, they sent a message to the oecumenical Patriarch German, telling him the following: ‘To German, oecumenical patriarch and our brother, greetings. We received what you sent us and deeming it a good decision, we offer to your love the signatures of our testimony. Father, do what is pleasing to you and ourselves, for you have the power of the higher see.’ When the Greek tsar and the patriarch received that, [they] gathered the metropolitans, the archbishops, the bishops, the most honuorable monks, the archimandrites, and the abbots of his entire tsardom. In the same way, the Christ-loving tsar of the Bulgarians Ioan Asen [called] the metropolitans, the archbishops, the bishops, and the most honourable monks of the Holy Mountain [of Athos] of his entire tsardom.They gathered with the eastern Tsar Kaloyan on the Pontian Sea and proclaimed as patriarch the saintly meek and holy man, famous on account of his heremitic life and deeds, the previously ordained Archbishop Joachim; not only verbally, but with a writing by patriarch German as well, signed by all the eastern patriarchs. [This] was sealed with a seal and given to the pious tsar and the then newly sanctified patriarch Joachim, for an eternal and inalienable record.21 At first, one might think that this was an Eastern synod, where the independence of the Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Church was recognized, following the period

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of Byzantine rule over Bulgaria, which had lasted from 1018 to 1185, and especially after the conclusion by Tsar Kaloyan of a union with Rome, in 1204. The status of the Bulgarian Church was definitely the theme of the council. Moreover, since the Bulgarian patriarchate was declared in 927 by an imperial letter, which was not preceded or followed by a conciliar decision, the Council at Lampsacus-Gallipoli was virtually the first official recognition of the Bulgarian patriarchate headed by the bishop of the capital Tarnovo. The ‘restoration’ of the Bulgarian patriarchate, however – in terms of either statute or Eastern Orthodox religion – was certainly not the purpose of the council, as researchers usually tend to interpret it.22 To begin with, this council was certainly ecumenical and not just an Eastern Orthodox one. Bulgaria was still formally in a union with Rome.23 Therefore, both the Bulgarian tsar and the patriarch of Tarnovo were not representatives of the Eastern Orthodox world, but rather of the papacy. Two patriarchs, namely those of Antioch and of Alexandria, were also papal representatives, although they are usually described as Eastern. Theoretically, Simeon II of Antioch (1206 – post-1235) and Nicholas I of Alexandria (1210–1243) were prelates of the East. But their positions in the Pentarchy had last been voted for at the Fourth Lateran Council and their representatives had come to Lampsacus from Constantinople which was ruled, in the period under consideration, by a Latin emperor and a Latin patriarch. And so, since East and West never had geographic significance in Church rhetoric, at the council of 1235, Eastern representatives were the patriarch of Jerusalem, Athanasius (? – 1235), the Nicene ruler, John Duke Vatatzes (1222–1254), and the leader of the Nicene Church, German II (1222–1240).24 Secondly, we should note the following: Boril’s Synodic and other major sources about the event, namely, the writings of the Byzantine historians George Akropolites and Nicephorus Gregoras, as well as the chronicle of the Monastery of Vatopedi on Mount Athos, refer to the creation of the patriarchate of Tarnovo not as one of the council’s objectives, but rather as a kind of ‘side effect’, almost a friendly favor the council made to the Bulgarian ruler: when the treaty for cooperation was made between the two emperors, I mean the emperor John Doukas and the ruler of the Bulgarians, John Asan, the emperor arrived at Lampsacus first and crossed over to Kallipolis with his own forces and, having set up siege towers, made war on the town and conquered it in a short time, recovering it from the hands of the Venetians. After this, Asan also arrived at Kallipolis with his wife, Maria of the Hungarians, and his daughter, Helen, and he met the emperor at Kallipolis and both men acted according to the conventions of friendship. Asan, however, did not cross the Hellespont but remained in the region of Kallipolis. The emperor John took Asan’s wife and daughter Helen, and made the crossing to Lampsacus, where the empress Eirene was, and they concluded the union of the children with the Patriarch Germanos officiating at the holy service. It was at that time again that the bishop of Tarnovo, who was subordinate to the Patriarch of Constantinople, was honoured with independence and it was decided by an imperial

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and synodal decree that he be proclaimed Patriarch, favours were bestowed by the notables on the ruler of the Bulgarians, Asan, because of the marriage connection and the friendship. (The History of George Akropolites, 33 1–7)25 We might imagine that the ‘friendly favor’ in question was not made spontaneously, simply because the Bulgarian king appeared to be very willing to have his own church in the capital of Tarnovo. On the one hand, the creation of the Tarnovo patriarchate was an act of restoring the balance by creating a new Pentarchy. However, in this new Pentarchy the Tarnovo (Western) patriarchal see was not the only novelty. The rise of the Nicene bishop as the official patriarch of Constantinople was no less novel. As mentioned previously, Nicaea virtually proclaimed herself as a ‘Constantinople in exile’ and so did Epirus. However, neither the Nicene emperor and patriarch nor the Byzantine emperor in Epirus had the necessary proof to justify claims to the Constantinople heritage. All major churches and senior clergy of two empires were represented at the Council of Lampsacus-Gallipoli: that of Nicaea and of Bulgaria, and three major Christian political forces, the Hungarian presence being demonstrated by the daughter of King Andrew, Mary, the wife of the Bulgarian king and the mother of Elena, who was engaged to the heir to the Empire of Nicaea on the eve of the council. The convening of this council and the decisions it took – including that John Vatatzes was designated specifically as ‘eastern king’, but also as a Roman emperor, and German was unconditionally titled ‘Patriarch of Constantinople’ – supplied Nicaea with the badly needed legal evidence that it was the only legitimate heir of Constantinople and a new (temporary) Constantinople. Thus, the two major outcomes of the council were the creation of a new Tarnovo patriarchal see and the legitimation of Nicaea as a New Constantinople. Without these changes in the virtual scheme of the Roman Christian world, the fate of both Bulgaria and Byzantium would perhaps have been different. Perhaps, the fate of the Latin Empire would have been different, too, given that the mutual recognition between the Eastern (Nicene) and Western (Bulgarian) rulers – which was actually encoded in the very location of the council on the eastern and the western coasts of the Dardanelles – envisaged not only the sharing of the actual lands possessed by the Bulgarians and Byzantines.This mutual recognition included also common military actions – which did start immediately after the council – aimed at recapturing Constantinople.26 The General Synod of 1235 had a direct bearing on the legitimation and fate of a very peculiar new holy land, the monastic microstate formed on Mount Athos, which was, over time, increasingly to replace the ideal of Jerusalem in the consciousness of Orthodox Christians. Although the legend of its origin goes back to the distant era of the Empress Pulcheria – that is at the time of the Council of Ephesus – and of the Virgin herself, the monks of Mount Athos were recognized as a distinct community with a specific status only thanks to the diplomas and edicts of several eleventh-century Byzantine emperors. Although the text of Boril’s Synodic is not clear as to what role the holy monks of Mount Athos took during the

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council, according to the Chronicle of Vatopedi Monastery it was at this council that Mount Athos was granted autonomy – at this particular moment from Bulgaria under whose authority it was.27 In other words, the imperial edicts needed just as much the support of the decision of the council as the decisions of the council needed imperial support. The validity of the decisions taken at the council was guaranteed not only by personal signatures but also by placing the personal seals of the prelates beside their signatures. No doubt this was an act of providing additional divine protection as well, since the seals of the patriarchs depicted the Virgin and Child. A signature accompanied by a seal not only provided a double guarantee of the authenticity of the author’s opinion but also transformed the ‘all too human’ action of voting into an almost liturgical act. On the other hand, the inviolability over time and the practical application of these decisions was ensured by the personal commitment of the two rulers present at the council not only in person but also accompanied by their entire families. The permanent status of the conciliar decisions was further guaranteed by the dynastic marriage between the royal families that had backed the council. It is not by accident that some Western sources, while omitting all the details concerning the council, mention but one thing: the marriage between Elena Assenina and Theodore Laskaris.28

Conclusion In conclusion, it can be said that, no matter how ceremonial a synod looked, it always retained its basic function: to legitimize, at the highest possible level, a novelty, often having emerged from the political or social spheres, but having a direct bearing on the ecclesiastical one. Although the conciliar decisions were taken by a majority vote – which the rhetoric often masked as a consensus – people, processes, and ideas were discussed, whose success or condemnation depended on conciliar approval or rejection, as well as the intervention of the state for their practical implementation. In this particular situation, for example, we can be sure that, around 1235, Patriarch Germanos II was hardly more excited about the legitimization of the Bulgarian patriarchate than the ‘Byzantine Emperor’ in Epirus, Theodore Komnenos, and the Ohrid archbishop, Demetrios Chomatenos.29 However, the personal discomfort of the Ohrid archbishop and the Nicene patriarch, and likewise that of the patriarchs of Constantinople after 1261 – among whom Patriarch Callistus had a proverbially rigorist position – did not lead to a revision of the decision made at a general Church council and implemented by the Nicaean and Bulgarian rulers.30

Notes 1 The use of the term ‘democratic’ has always, even today, needed refinement. It is used here to mean governance based on the principle of nonauthoritarianism and nonoligarchy,

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with a crucial role attributed to voting and consensus reached after extensive and prolonged discussions involving different social circles and covering a vast geographical area. In fact, scholars generally see Byzantine democracy not as it has been reflected in the preserved practice of voting. However, not only the imperial position but also all other state and Church posts remained basically elective; see Gilbert Dagron, Empereur et prêtre: Étude sur le “césaropapisme” byzantin (Paris: Gallimard, 1995). This is the general conclusion reached by Karayannopoulos and Charanis about “Byzantine democratic monarchy”, which can be seen in J.-C. Cheynet’s study: Jean-Claude Cheynet, Pouvoir et contestations a byzance (963–1210) (Paris: Pantheon-Sorbonne, Centre de Recherches d’Histoire et de Civilisation Byzantines, 1990), where the author analyses 223 uprisings that broke out over a period of 250 years, and in an article by Dimitris Krallis, “ ‘Democratic’ Action in Eleventh-Century Byzantium: Michael Attaleiates’ ‘Republicanism’ in Context”, Viator, 40/2 (2009): 35–53. On the Byzantine democracy as the revitalized classical Greco-Roman idea of governance as ‘social covenant’, see Dimitar Angelov, Imperial Ideology and Political Thought in Byzantium, 1204–1330 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 310–350. 2 See, for example, John Meyendorff, Byzantine Theology: Historical Trends and Doctrinal Themes (London: Mowbrays, 1975 (also New York, 1979); Hélène Ahrweiler, L’idéologie politique de l’Empire byzantine (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France 1975); Tonia Kiusopulu, Βασιλεύς ή Οικονόμος: Πολιτική εξουσία και ιδεολογία πρίν την άλωση (Athens: Polis, 2007); Ioaniis Karajanopulos, Η πολιτικη θεωρία των Βυζαντινών (Thessaloniki: Banias, 1988); Carolina Cupane, “Appunti per uno studio dell’oikonomia ecclesiastica a Bisanzio”, Jahrbuch der österreichischen Byzantinistik, 38 (1988): 53–74. 3 See, in detail, Marie-José Mondzain, Image, Icon, Economy: the Byzantine Origin of the Contemporary Imaginary, trans. Rico Franses (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2005), 18–68. 4 Elizabeth Jeffreys, ed., Rhetoric in Byzantium: Papers From the Thirty-Fifth Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies (Burlington,VT: Ashgate, 2001). 5 Liz James, Art and Text in Byzantine Culture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007). 6 Sévérien Salaville, “L’iconographie des «sept conciles œcuméniques»”, Échos d’Orient, 142 (1926): 25, 144–176; Christopher Walter, L’iconographie des conciles dans la tradition byzantine (Paris: Institut français d’études byzantines, 1970). 7 Vesselina Vachkova, Сердикийският събор: 1670 години история и интерпретации (Sofia: Zlaten zmej, 2013), 224–236. 8 Ramsay MacMullen, Voting About God in Early Church Councils (New Haven:Yale University Press, 2006). 9 It is interesting that modern writers rather strongly insist on the Church having been able to overcome, even in apostolic times, the main problem in a democracy of the tyranny of the majority over the minority; see, for example, Luca Badini Confalonieri, Democracy in the Christian Church: An Historical, Theological and Political Case (London: Bloomsbury, 2012), 172–179. In fact, at the early Church councils, the majority was never dominant over the minority. Otherwise, new general councils would not have been convened, and indeed the division of the Churches in 1054 would not have happened either. 10 Christopher Walter, “Icons of the First Council of Nicaea”, Deliton, 16 (1991–1992): 209–218. 11 Alexander Yakobson,“Secret Ballot and Its Effects in the Late Roman Republic”, Hermes, 4 (1995): 426–442. Regarding the discussions on democracy in ancient Rome, see Allen Ward, “How Democratic Was the Roman Republic?” New England Classical Journal, 2 (2004): 101–119. 12 This type of voting is particularly indicative of the ritual nature of the procedure. See Virginie Hollard, Le rituel du vote: Les assemblées romaines du peuple (Paris: CNRS Editions, 2010), 27–107 et passim; Egon Flaig, “L’assemblée du peuple à Rome comme rituel de consensus [Hiérarchie politique et intensité de la volonté populaire]”, Actes de la recherche en sciences sociales, 140 (2001): 12–20.

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13 Richard Price and Mary Whitby, eds., Chalcedon in Context: Church Councils 400–700 (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2009). 14 André Grabar, L’Empereur dans l’art byzantin: Recherches sur l’art officiel de l’Empire d’Orient (Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 1936), 90–92; Gilbert.Dagron, Empereur et prêtre: Étude sur le “césaropapisme” byzantin (Paris: Gallimard, 1995), 260–275; Vachkova, Сердикийският събор, 55–57, 214–217, 294–310. 15 See in detail Vachkova, Сердикийският събор, 197–200. 16 Karl Baus, Hans-Georg Beck, Eeugen Ewig, and Hermann J. Vogt, eds., The Imperial Church From Constantine to the Early Middle Ages (History of the church, v. 2). trans. Anselm Biggs (New York: Seabury Press, 1980). 17 Concerning the direction which these attempts – made in the very epicenter of the events – took, that is, the Latin Constantinople, see Filip van Tricht, The Latin “Renovatio” of Byzantium:The Empire of Constantinople (1204–1228) (Leiden: Brill, 2011). 18 Concerning Epirus’s position and ambitions, see Günter Prinzing, “A Quasi Patriarch in the State of Epiros: The Autocephalous Archbishop of Boulgaria (Ohrid) Demetrios Chomatenos”, Zbornik radova Vizantoloshkog instituta, 41 (2004): 165–182; Apostolos Karpozilos, The Ecclesiastical Controversy Between the Kingdom of Nicaea and the Principality of Epiros (1217–1233) (Thessalonica: Kentron Vyzantinōn Ereunōn, 1973); Alkmeni Stauridu-Zafraka, Νίκαια και Ήπειρος τον 13ο αιώνα: Ιδεολογική αντιπαράθεση στην προσπάθειά τους να ανακτήσουν την αυτοκρατορία (Thessaloniki: Banias, 1990); Donald Nicol, The Despotate of Epiros (1204–1267) (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1957); and Spyros Troianos, “Byzantine Canon Law From the Twelfth to Fifteenth Centuries”, in The History of Byzantine and Eastern Canon Law to 1500, eds., W. Hartman and K. Pennington (Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 2012), 192–195. A great role in imposing the general opinion that Nicaea was the only ‘Byzantium in exile’ during the period between 1204 and 1261 was played by the writings of Nicene authors, such as George Acropolit (see Gill Page, Being Byzantine: Greek Identity before the Ottomans [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2008], 94–106), as well as by several recent studies, including Michael Angold, Church and Society in Byzantium Under the Comneni, 1081–1261 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 505–529; Alice Gardner, The Lascarides of Nicaea: The Story of an Empire in Exile (London: Methuen & co., ltd, 1912). Much more nuanced are the evaluations offered by Kenneth M. Setton, The Papacy and the Levant, 1204–1571 (4 vols, Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1976–84), vol. 1, 44–67; and Zhavornikov’s studies (see Bibliography, Петр И, Жаворонков). On Trebizond, see Antony Eastmond, Art and Identity in Thirteenth-Century Byzantium: Hagia Sophia and the Empire of Trebizond (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2004), 1–12, 61–76. 19 Details in Vasil Zlatarski, История на българската държава през средните векове, Т. III, Второ българско царство: България при Асеневци (1187–1280) (Sofia: Nauka I izkustvo 1972), 323–398. 20 See the documents of these councils, the former considered by the Catholic Church to have been the Twelfth Ecumenical Council, and the latter a local council in Bithynia, in Giovanni Domenico Mansi, ed., Sacrorum Conciliorum Nova Amplissima Collectio (31 vols, Florence and Venice: Antonio Zatta, 1758–98), 22 (1778): 953–1084 and 23 (1779): 270–323. About the less known council held in Nymphaion, the favorite winter residence of the Nicaean emperors, see Hieronymus Golubovich, “Disputatio Latinorum et Graecorum seu Relatio Apocrisiarium Gregorii IX de gestis Nicaeae in Bithynia et Nymphaeae in Lydia”, Archivum Franciscanum Historicum, 12 (1919): 418–470; Nicephori Blemmydae, Autobiographia sive Curriculum vitae necnon epistula universalior, ed. J. Munitiz, coll. CCSG 13 (Turnhout: Brepols, 1984), 57–64, Paul Canart, “Nicéphore Blemmyde et le mémoire adressé aux envoyés de Grégoire IX Nicée, 1234”, Orientalia Christiana Periodica, 25 (1959): 311–325. Michael Angold, “Exile 1204–1261”, in The New Cambridge Medieval History: Volume 5, c. 1198 – c. 1300, eds. R. McKitterick and D. Abulafia (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 505–563 (esp. 553–555).

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About the other councils held in the period 1233–35, including those related to the Albigensians, see Karl Joseph von Hefele, Histoire des Conciles d’après les documents originaux, trans. Henri Leclercq (11 vols, Paris: Letouzey et Ane, 1907–52), vol. V.2, 1536–1572. 21 English translation in Kiril Petkov, The Voices of Medieval Bulgaria, Seventh–Fifteenth Century: The Records of a Bygone Culture (Leiden: Brill, 2008) 256–7. The main editions of Boril’s Synodic are Michail Poprujenko, Синодик царя Борила: Български старини, т. 8 (Sofia: Bylgarska academia na naukite 1928) // Борилов синодик – издание и превод, eds. Ivan Bojilov, Anna-Maria Totomanova and I. Biljarski (Sofia: PAM, 2011). 22 Vasilij Vasilevskij G., “Обновление болгарского патриаршества при царе Иоана Асене ІІ в 1235г”, JMNPr, 233 (mars 1885): 1–56, still remains the most extensive study on the topic. See also the latest serious study on the subject with an overview of the main sources and literature in Genoveva Tsankova-Petkova, “Восстановление болгарского патриаршества в 1235 г. и международное положение Болгарского государства”, Vizantijskij vremennik, 28.53 (1968): 136–150. 23 In practice, the date of termination of the union concluded between Bulgaria and the papacy on 8 November 1204 is unknown. It has usually been assumed – by analogy with the reactions in Serbia – that it lasted until about 1232; see Dimitar Angelov, “Prosopography of the Byzantine World (1204–1261) in the Light of Bulgarian Sources”, in Identities and Allegiances in the Eastern Mediterranean After 1204, eds. Judith Herrin and Guillaume Saint-Guillainp (Burlington,VT: Ashgate, 2011), 101–120 (esp. 114). 24 This particular identification of the European “Eastern Orthodox” Churches as essentially belonging to the West and, as such, demanding Western patriarchal status is to be seen in the correspondence of John Apokaukos, Bishop of Naupactus. See Vasilij Vasilevskij G., “Epirotica saeculi XIII (из переписки Иоанна Навпактского)”, Vizantijskiij vremennik, 3 (1896): 241–299. 25 George Akropolites, The History: Translated With an Introduction and Commentary, trans. Ruth Macrides, Oxford Studies in Byzantium (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), 194. About this marriage, see in detail Dimitar Angelov, “Theodore II Laskaris, Elena Asenina and Bulgaria”, in Средновековният българин и „другите“: Сборник в чест на 60-годишнината на проф. дин Петър Ангелов, Съст. Ан. Николов, Г. Николов (Sofia: Universitetsko izdatelstvo 2013), 273–297. 26 John Langdon, “The Forgotten Byzantino-Bulgarian Assault and Siege of Constantinople, 1235–36 and the Breakup of the Entente Cordiale Between John III Ducas Vatatzes and John Asen II as Background to the Genesis of the Hohenstaufen–Vatatzes Alliance of 1242”, Buzantina kai Metabuzantina, 4 (1985): 105–135. 27 Philipp Meyer, Die Haupturkunde für die Geschichte der Athosklöster, ed. J. C. Hinrichs, Leipzig . . . (Leipzig, 1894), 187–89 (esp. 189, 13–33). See also Порфирий Успенский, История Афона, III, ч. 2. Тип. В. Л. Фронцкевича (Киев, 1892), 80–85 (specifically for the conciliar definition of the status of Mount Athos, 84–5); Порфирий Успенский, Восток христианский. Первое путешествие в Афонские монастыри и скиты в 1845 г., I, 1. Тип. В. Л. Фронцкевича (Киев, 1877), 46–47. 28 Cf. Marino Sanudo Torsello, “Marino Sanutus dictus Torsellus: Liber secretorum fidelium cructs”, in Gesta Dei per Francos, ed. Jacques Bongars (2 vols, Hanover, 1611), vol 2, 73: “Ех praemissis autem Exagorarum Imperator quam plurimum provocatus filiam suam in conjugem dedit Imperatori Graecorum partim Orientis”; Chronica Alberici Monachi Trium Fontium, Monumenta Germaniae Historica: SS, 23, ed. Georg H. Pertz (Hanover: Hahn, 1874), 938: “Vastachius et Alsanus duo reges potentissimi, quо erant invicem adversarii, facta pace inter se, ita quod filius Vastachii filiam debet habere Alsani, Con-polim obsident”; Andreae Danduli ducis Venetiarum Chronica per extensum descripta: aa. 46–1280. Scriptores rerum Italicorum, XII. 1, ed. Lodovico Antonio Muratori (Milan, 1728), 295: “Imperator del Cagora lohani Vatacio, qui se in Natholino colegerat, scribit ut secum parentelam faciat, et Latinos a parte orientali invadat”. The guarantees for mutual recognition between Bulgaria and Nicaea provided at the council of 1235 were extended, some thirty years later, by the marriage between

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the daughter of Elena Assenina and Theodore Lascaris and the new Bulgarian tsar, Constantine Tich.The ecclesiastical and political union between the two countries (in which Bulgaria stood for the West, and Nicaea was the East) was perfectly represented through the iconographic program of the frescoes in the St. Nicholas and Panteleimon Church, in Sofia (Boyana neighborhood). See Biserka Penkova, ed., The Boyana Church Between the Еast and West in the Art of the Christian Europe (Sofia: National Historical Museum, 2011). 29 Concerning the aggressive methods and rhetoric already characteristic of the first Nicene patriarch, Michael (IV) Autoreianos, see Oikonomidès Nicolas, “Cinq actes inédits du patriarche Michel Autôreianos”, Revue des études byzantines, 25 (1967): 113–145. Nevertheless, in the Balkans, Michael Autoreianos was actually recognized as patriarch of Constantinople only by his close friends, Michael Honiat, bishop of Athens, and Eustathius, bishop of Thessaloniki. 30 In this respect, a paradigmatic example was the position of Patriarch Callistus; see “Exhortatio Callisti patriarchae ad clerum in Trinovo de patriarcha Trinovi et de ritu baptizandi”, in Acta Patriarchatus Constantinopolitani, eds. Franz Miklosich and Joseph Müller, Vol. I (Vienna: C. Gerold 1860), 436–442 // Спиридон Н. Палаузовъ, “Грамота патріарха Каллиста какъ новый источникъ исторіи Болгарской церкви”. – Извѣстія II-го отдѣленія Академіи наукъ, т. VII (1858), 155–163. Срв. Nicephori Gregorae Byzantina historia, ed. Ludwig Schopen, Bon, CFHB, 1829. vol. I 29, 24–30, 6.

5 VOTING AT THE COUNCIL OF CONSTANCE (1414–18) Alexander Russell

The Council of Constance has been termed a ‘revolutionary’ assembly.1 Many historians have treated it as a resonant assertion of popular sovereignty against the papal monarchy, and, often implicitly, a milestone on the road to modern representative assemblies.2 This chapter will eschew this teleological paradigm.3 Instead it will situate the Council of Constance within the fabric of contemporary politics, demonstrating how its voting practices were based on norms prevalent in late medieval corporations. Brian Tierney indicated how the political theorists of the councils – the so-called conciliarists – adapted laws regarding ecclesiastical corporations, such as cathedral chapters, to justify their deposition of the rival popes of the Schism period.4 But this comparative exercise limited itself to theory. This chapter will, by contrast, combine an analysis of theory and praxis, focusing on the borrowing and modification of voting practices at Constance. Relative to the numerous studies devoted to the conciliarists’ political theories, voting procedure at Constance is a neglected topic. There was a great deal of self-conscious adaptation at the Council of Constance. The assembly was notable for leaving traces of the debates which accompanied its experimentation. Although dependent on preexisting theories and practices of voting in other collective assemblies, the Council of Constance modified these rules to fulfill its own unusual needs as a headless assembly containing delegates from disparate polities with differing attitudes toward Church reform and curial government. The interest of Constance to the historian of voting practices is manifold: it indicates the interconnections within fifteenth-century political culture. The forms of majority voting used at Constance and Basel were widespread in both ecclesiastical and secular institutions, yet it was the first time that they were systematically utilized in a council of the Western Church. The Council of Constance was also significant in revealing the lack of consensus concerning theories of regional and demographic representation in international assemblies. The disagreements

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between delegates over the relative weight to be attached to different regional groups, and the role of number in decision-making, reveal notable instabilities in contemporary theories of representation. It was not straightforwardly the case, as it has been sometimes claimed, that certain political agents merely by virtue of rank could claim to represent a political totality.5 The right of an agent to represent the Church was vigorously debated at Constance. The chapter begins by explaining why the Council of Constance came into existence and why it was in the unusual position of not being superintended by a pope. I will then describe how procedure was formulated at the councils, going on to argue that the councils borrowed their voting practices from corporate settings, notably cathedral chapters and university colleges. Lastly, I will consider how the voting practices at Constance were complicated by clashing concepts of representation.

The Schism and the genesis of the Council of Constance The councils were a product of the Great Schism of the Latin Church.6 This broke out when a number of cardinals renounced their obedience to Pope Urban VI in 1378 and fled to Avignon. The cardinals claimed that they had been intimidated by the Roman crowds, who threatened to kill them unless they elected an Italian pope. This point was contested in the public war of words which followed.7 In any case, the cardinals elected their own pope, Clement VII, and established a rival papal government in Avignon. Europe took sides and was divided between those polities which remained loyal to Rome and those who pledged allegiance to Avignon. The political implications of this situation were explosive. The polities of Europe now had religious grounds to stoke their rivalries. But the Church suffered most of all. As well as the devastating psychological blow of this division within a religious community supposed to be joined together by Christ, the two papal governments were badly deprived of income as a result of the Schism, and so had to increase taxes on the territories within their obedience.8 The situation was intolerable. But why did it last for thirty-nine years?9 At first neither set of supporters would acknowledge that they were wrong. However, even once both sets of cardinals had realized that something had to be done, none of the popes could be persuaded to step down voluntarily. The natural solution was to abandon and depose the popes. But it took senior churchmen a long time to confront this option. There were many statements in canon law stating that the pope had no superior and hence was above human judgement.10 This was a large obstacle. It was eventually overcome at the Council of Pisa (1409) where the rival papal claimants were deposed. Pisa made a disastrous start to ending the Schism because it did not gather the whole of Latin Christendom around the negotiating table. It left out the Crowns of Aragon, Castile and Scotland, as well as the emperor, Rupert of Palatinate and Ladislas of Naples. And so the pope it elected, Alexander V, and his successor, John XXIII, were not universally recognized. There was now a third rival pope to add to the other two, neither of whom had been abandoned

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by certain enclaves. The Council of Constance (1414–18) finally put an end to this mess. Thanks to the diplomacy of the emperor Sigismund, it managed to bring the Iberian peninsula to the talks, as well as all the Italian powers, and churchmen from across Europe managed to agree to allow the council to elect a new pope, departing from the principle that only the cardinals could do so. The Council of Constance was a large assembly, although it is difficult to measure its size at any one point in time, because there was no central registry of new entrants to the councils and most of the documents concerning the activities of the nation groups have been lost. One study puts the total number of delegates at 2,290, but this was over a four-year period, when people were coming and going all the time.11 It is certain that not of all these people were there simultaneously. Like a session of a modern parliament, attendance probably varied considerably depending on what kind of issues were being discussed. But it is reasonable to assume that there were often more than a hundred people in attendance at general sessions of the council.The French nation apparently comprised 400 delegates in March 1415, so even the gatherings of smaller groups within the council could be sizeable.12 Most of the delegates at Constance were from the clerical elite. Bishops, abbots, priors and other high-ranking prelates were the most important voices at the general councils, but they were accompanied by many university scholars who did not necessarily hold high office.13 There are also some hints that members of the laity had sought to make their voices heard in the earlier stages of the Council of Constance. In a letter to the duke of Orléans and the University of Paris, John XXIII complained that people of all ranks had been admitted to the council, regardless of whether they were laymen or clerics, married or unmarried, graduates or nongraduates. The pope even claimed that these people had tried to intimidate the prelates in their midst.14 This was almost certainly an exaggeration. The pope was using this scandalous accusation as a pretext for his flight from the council. We should note, however, that the German nation later referred to the comment as a legitimate criticism of the undiscerning admission of unqualified people into the council’s discussions.15 It is also telling that the French nation’s procedural proposals contain several comments about tightening its admission criteria. The proposals stipulated that not just anyone who had come to Constance to deal with legal business at the curia was to be admitted to the French nation. The proposal pointed out that any prospective entrant to the council would have to be aware of their contribution to the communal necessities.16 All of this suggests that lay people or minor clergy who had come to Constance (either in the retinue of churchmen and nobles, or on legal business) sought to attend the meeting of the nations and to vote therein. It appears that they were largely denied this right.

Procedure at Constance The procedure at Constance after February 1415 was shaped in large part by the assembly’s lack of a head. This was a highly unusual state of affairs for a representative institution in this period. The council was convoked by Pope John XXIII,

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who probably believed that he could rally those obedient to the rival popes behind him. When it became clear that all the popes would have to surrender their titles if the Schism were to be resolved, Pope John fled the council, losing whatever grip he had had over it.17 The question preoccupying the delegates at Constance from this point onward was how it could proceed without a pope to shape its deliberations. Its solution to this problem was distinctive. Previous general councils had been consultative bodies rather than active formulators of policy. Although we are badly informed about the procedure of the famous thirteenth-century councils, it appears that the Fourth Lateran Council (1215) had been preceded by Innocent III’s call in 1213 for prelates to make inquiries into abuses taking place within their churches.18 The results of these investigations were considered by the curia, and reform decrees were drafted. It would seem that the canons of the council were composed by the pope with his curial assistants and the draft legislation was presented to the council for its affirmation.19 The value of the council lay in bringing the pope into contact with prelates from across Europe. He could inform them of his intentions face to face and thereby facilitate the effective diffusion of the canons to the localities. The situation at Constance after the flight of Pope John XXIII was quite different. While John had presided, matters pertaining to the unification and reform of the Church had been decided in general sessions of the council.20 Thereafter, however, proposals for business were drafted by committees. Lacking an undoubted head, the only way that the council could make progress was through some form of collective decision-making. In previous councils, the legitimacy of the proposals presented to the council Fathers derived from their papal authorship. Now that this was no longer the case, and proposals possessed no intrinsic legitimacy, extensive consultation would be required. This consultation was framed by the council’s division of delegates into groups of nations.21 Naturally, the nations at Constance are not to be confused with modern nation states. There were initially four nations at Constance: the Italian, French, German and English nations – later joined by a Spanish nation. The English nation nominally included Welsh, Irish and Scottish delegates, even though English lordship of these places was strongly contested, to put it mildly.22 During this period, it should be remembered, Owain Glyn Dŵr was asserting his claims to the lordship of Wales. The German nation included delegates from very diverse regnal, ethnic and linguistic groups: including present-day Germany, Austria, Poland, Lithuania, Bohemia, Hungary, Croatia and Scandinavia.23 The grouping of the nations, in short, ran riot across contemporary political boundaries. In addition to the nations, there were a number of committees, such as the committee for reform, and the committee for the faith, which drew up proposals for discussion.24 A mixture of delegates from each nation was present to make sure that the proposals had some chance of answering a variety of concerns and were not too biased toward a single region’s interests. Once the committee had produced a draft proposal, this was handed to the nations. Each nation discussed the business and took a majority vote.The proposal was then turned over to a conference committee

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composed of two deputies elected from each nation, which sought to resolve any reservations raised by the nations. If agreement could be reached, then the proposal was put to a general session of the council. Here each nation voted as a bloc, and the support of all the nations was required for a proposal to be ratified. If a nation had earlier registered a fatal objection to the proposal, then it was presumably handed back to the committee for modification.25 Because the council Fathers at Constance had to invent solutions to unforeseen problems, we are granted an unusual insight into fifteenth-century attitudes toward collective decision-making. At Constance the rules governing procedure shifted over time.26 Our main source of evidence about voting practices are the procedural proposals drawn up by the German nation in May 1415 and the French procedural proposals from mid-1416. Although there is no evidence that these proposals were ratified in the general sessions of the council, it seems likely that they give us a good indication of the methods of decision-making used at Constance and they certainly help us to understand the aims and concerns of the council’s delegates.27

The rationale of voting practices at Constance There are no extant records of the deliberations which took place within the nations at Constance, so we have to infer a great deal from the procedural proposals. After an item of business had been discussed by a nation, a majority vote would decide whether the proposal would be accepted. Votes were to be taken either orally or in writing, and were to be read out afterward. These were not necessarily just ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers. It was anticipated that each delegate would give reasons for his decision.28 The council’s Fathers were concerned about how to resolve split votes. The French reform proposal offered one solution: ‘if votes are given to various judgements, an assessment of persons, dignities, ranks, merits, zeal and number should be made’.29 Tensions between numerical majority, intention and moral status were to be taken into account. Not all votes were equal in the nations’ discussions.The German nation wrote approvingly of the arrangements within its French counterpart, where all members were accorded a seat in the assembly in accordance with their rank. When the votes of the French nation were collected, the status of the voters was noted.30 The votes of delegates were (at least in contentious matters) weighed on the basis of their rank and learning. These patriarchal assumptions were well expressed by the German nation, who recognized that ‘the simple will learn from the erudite’ in the deliberations of the nations.31 But what was to happen if a majority of lesser delegates disagreed with their superiors? There were only hazy recommendations about trying to resolve disputed questions. In cases where a clear majority could not be achieved, further discussion was required and it was hoped that some could be persuaded to reconsider their opinions and adhere to another group. A later proposal by the French and Italian nations suggested that in cases where opinions were seriously divided, the deputies of the nations should confer with one another and try to bring the opposing views

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into concordance and then send them back to the individual nations for approval.32 It is likely that such measures were introduced partly to allow the rank and file to step into line after their superiors had spoken. In all the procedural proposals, however, there is a mixture of the practical and the idealistic. The council Fathers attempted, for example, to limit interference in decision-making in the nations with methods analogous to those used in the canonical scrutinium. In the latter procedure, the activities of the scrutatores (or vote collectors) were to be kept at arm’s length from the rest of the chapter. The scrutatores were supposed to congregate in a corner of the chapter house which was removed from the main body of voters. They were also supposed to cast their own votes in advance and were not to reveal their decisions to the other canons. They were not to sway the opinions of the other voters nor be tempted to cast a deciding vote in an evenly divided election.33 Similar measures were taken within the nations at Constance. The procedural proposals of the French nation made it clear that the general deputies of the nation were ‘to take no side in the matters being discussed and they were to pass no judgement themselves, but were only to provide the subject for debate and leave the judgement of the nations free and integral’.34 The council Fathers were aware of the risk that the organizers of business would attempt to force their own ideas on the general delegates and so the proposals suggested measures to prevent this. There was to be open discussion and flexible decision-making within the nations. The German proposal thought it advisable for delegates, when voting, to explain the reasons for their decisions, ‘so that after hearing the reasonable conclusions [of the other delegates] everyone may be informed’.35 The later French procedural proposals echoed the sentiment, although, wary of pontificators, they pointed out that in uttering votes brevity should be used, so that after the first have spoken, those following should not use much time but should adhere to the opinion which they have chosen, unless they have a new opinion to make or reason to give. Crucially, the French proposals made allowances for voters to change their minds: ‘If anyone says his vote and afterwards hears a reason which moves him to a different position, then he should not fear changing his vote and joining another side’.36 I think this gives an indication of the openness of discussion within the nations and the collaborative nature of decision-making. Those planning procedure at Constance realized that if every vote were set in stone, there would be no room for the changes of heart that would be required to resolve conflict. The members of the German nation evidently thought that the new procedural system would allow greater scope for meditation and discussion. The business of the council would now have to be debated within the nations before being voted upon in general sessions. This would have several advantages. As the German proposal put it, ‘according to the method used up till now, it could happen that only

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the deputies, and not even they, knew what business was to be discussed before a session’.37 This had led to confusion and needless time wasting in general assemblies. The proposal gave an example of this embarrassment: just as the council had been about to declare a list of John Wyclif ’s errors heretical, the French nation said that it knew nothing about the articles. By contrast, all the procedural proposals demanded that copies of conciliar documents should be provided to any delegate who wished to consult them.We know that there was a considerable staff of notaries and scribes at Constance and the survival of records of the Council’s acta throughout Europe bears witness to the diffusion of documents there. Jürgen Miethke has drawn our attention to the broadening of networks of textual transmission which occurred at the general councils of the fifteenth century.38 This was no accident. As the proposal of the German nation made clear, better decisions could be made when delegates were better informed. The German proposal also pointed out that if conciliar business had been debated and approved within the nations, the consent of the nations in the general sessions would be more meaningful. Delegates would have known what they were voting for and why. As the proposal put it, ‘if a scrutinium has been held [on an item of business] in the nations, it can be truly said that the whole synod approves it’.39 A contrast was made with the situation which had hitherto prevailed. It was noted that the silence of many members in the earlier sessions of the council could not necessarily be taken for consent: ‘It may be the case that many who disagree are quiet on account of their bashfulness or to avoid strife or because they have lost hope of making progress’.40 By allowing ordinary delegates to discuss matters within smaller and perhaps more familiar groups, they would feel that their presence at the council counted for something. The authors of the German proposals were well aware of the danger of disaffection at Constance. As they eloquently put it, When (delegates) see that they are not required, they consider themselves useless, and to have wasted their time and money needlessly. They see that they have not been chosen to serve God or to benefit the Church, or to increase their own worth, and they are given to boredom more than contemplation, and they seek a pretext for a recess and sometimes they do all in their power to be sent home by their superiors. And if they are forced by their superiors to remain at the council unwillingly, they grumble and are oppressed by all that is done there.41 The German nation’s proposal provides a peculiarly evocative account of the difficulties encountered by collective decision-making in an assembly as large as the Council of Constance. The proposal offered plausible reasons for transferring the primary location of decision-making in the council from plenary sessions to smaller committees and is testament to the desire of the council Fathers to promote collective consultation at Constance.

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The model of the scrutinium and majority voting at Constance The council’s reliance on majority decisions deserves special comment. This aspect of decision-making at Constance has been treated as a revolutionary development. But all revolutions have their origins in preexisting values and expectations.42 The Council of Constance was no different. In this section, the roots of majority voting at Constance will be explored. A degree of speculation comes into play here.We are investigating norms so deep-seated that they scarcely received explicit articulation. By exploring the wider world of corporate decision-making we can, nevertheless, access the suppositions of the delegates in their constitutional experimentation. Unfortunately, there are no extant documents from the fifteenth century which explicitly identify the foundations of political procedure at Constance. It has been argued that the methods of decision-making at Constance derived much from the working methods of older general councils as well as university government.43 In addition, I would like to draw attention to the significance of the canonical scrutinium (or election by head count). Language is of decisive importance in this comparison. The key terms used to designate voting by head at the council, such as scrutinium and the maior pars of the body of voters, were all borrowed from canonical elections. The same hymn, Veni creator spiritus, was sung to invoke divine aid before a canonical election and before voting at the general councils.44 As we shall see, the scrutinium was in widespread use in cathedral chapters and university colleges. As canons of cathedral chapters, fellows of colleges and in similar capacities, almost all the clerical delegates at Constance had personal experiences of such elections. It will become clear that the legal framework of the canonical election was not simply an ex post facto rationalization of commonsense political practice, but a set of normative ideas that shaped the unfolding drama of ecclesiastical politics in the period.45 In what follows, I take the theoretical prescriptions regarding canonical elections from the work of the famous thirteenth-century writer Guillaume Mandagout, whose practical handbook on the subject (written c. 1285) survives in numerous manuscript copies from the thirteenth to the fifteenth centuries.46 Mandagout, did not, of course, set out to author an original text, but helpfully compiled the mass of legislation and legal commentary on elections into a useable summary.47 It should be noted that the authorities on canonical elections did not accept a simple majority as an entirely reliable indicator of a good decision. It was widely accepted that all God-given decisions were unanimous. Electors were intent on discovering the divine will. One form of canonical election proposed by a decree of the Fourth Lateran Council, Quia propter, made provision for the direct inspiration of the Holy Spirit.48 This would manifest itself in a unanimous decision. Any disagreement among the electors was to be taken as a sign that the whole congregation had not been divinely inspired.49 Mandagout admitted, however, that election by divine inspiration was the least likely to end in success.50 A head count, or scrutinium, was more practical, even though it was less likely to honor the wishes of God. The obvious problem which confronted those who sought to elect by way of the scrutinium was how to resolve the split in opinion that was likely to arise. In the

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case of a split vote, the wishes of the maior et sanior pars (the greater and worthier part) were to carry the day. But what was the maior et sanior pars? It was not necessarily the numerical majority.51 Citing many legal authorities, Mandagout pointed out that if the numerical majority elected an unworthy candidate and the minority elected a worthy one, then the minority was to be considered the maior et sanior pars and its candidate should be elected.52 In the scrutinium the votes were to be collected and arranged in three ways. The first presented the candidates according to the number of votes each had received. The second arrangement assessed the zeal of each candidate’s electors, literally zeli ad zelum (zeal to zeal). This was easier said than done, and contemporary theorists knew it. Mandagout pointed out that zeal consisted in the intentions of each elector. As only God could know what the electors experienced inwardly, the intention of the electors could only be judged by conjectures.53 Significantly, the canonists argued that the electors’ zeal was to be judged indirectly, not by assessing the electors’ moral worth, but by looking at the candidate whom they had chosen. If the candidate was of sufficient learning, laudable character, legitimate birth and so forth, then it was to be presumed that the electors had acted with good intentions.54 Conversely, if the candidate was unworthy, or chosen because of family bonds or friendship, then the electors were held to have acted with bad intentions.This could be an extremely difficult matter upon which to adjudicate. As a rule of thumb, Mandagout pointed out it was to be assumed that greater zeal lay with the greater number and where the electors were old, and of great dignity and high office.55 For this reason the recorders of the votes were to make a note of the dignity and office of the electors. The third method of arranging the votes was to take account of the merit of the candidate. But as it has been seen, such considerations were implicit in considering the zeal of the electors. The guidelines surrounding canonical elections make it clear that medieval theorists were highly aware of the fallibility of majority decision-making and wished to correct its weaknesses by forcing it to take account of the moral status and intentions of the electors. The same dilemmas, as we have seen, were present in the debates surrounding procedure at the general councils of the fifteenth century, even if it is difficult to tell how the council Fathers resolved them in practice. It is clear, however, that the canonical election provided an important model for voting practices at Constance. There was, however, a crucial difference between voting in smaller corporations and voting at Constance. The members of a corporation acted on their own behalf, whereas at Constance delegates represented the universal Church. Stepping out onto new political terrain, the general councils had to confront the theoretical tensions within their universalist pretensions.

The problem of representation at the general councils The unusual aspects of procedure at Constance derived from the conceptual difficulty of defining how the assembly represented the entire community of the Christian faithful. Although it borrowed voting practices from smaller corporations, such as cathedral chapters and university colleges, there was a crucial difference

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between these small collectivities and the councils. In a small-scale corporation, each member represented himself or herself directly, whereas in the council each delegate represented a wider community of Christians. This situation raised two related questions. First, who was qualified to be present at the councils? Second, how could those in attendance be made to represent the universal Church? The status and geographical origins of those present at Constance were shaped by their proximity to the council, their freedom to put their ordinary activities on hold to attend and their ability to meet the costs of travel and lodging. How could this assembly, whose composition was so influenced by the accidents of geography and the vagaries of temporal affairs, be made to represent the universal body of the Church? In the councils of antiquity, only bishops, abbots and other high-ranking prelates had attended. For the Fourth Lateran Council, Innocent III had extended the invitation to the representatives of corporate groups, such as cathedral chapters and universities, the leaders of the major religious orders and lay ambassadors. In Constance, there was a heated debate about whether university scholars should be admitted. Ultimately, university graduates without senior positions in the Church attended in greater numbers than ever before. Senior figures at the council had probably decided that suspicious doctrines would need to be extensively scrutinized and that graduates in theology would have to contribute to this work. The question about the qualifications for entry shaded into a concern about how a diverse group of delegates could represent the Church as a whole. It was not assumed that each delegate could represent the whole Church equally effectively.The decision to group all the delegates into nations implied that the overall composition of the assembly was unrepresentative of the Church as a whole. We can imagine at least three sets of overlapping considerations which led to the adoption of the system of nations at Constance. First, as we have seen, there was a perceived need to provide discussion groups which would act as a source of feedback for the proposals drawn up in committees. The second consideration was to provide equal representation to the different regions of Western Christendom.Third, there was a desire to enlist the help of powerful secular political forces at the council and the hope that the nation groups would allow these actors to channel their influence more successfully. Any attempt to provide for all these three considerations would have resulted in a contentious organizational model, because it was inevitable that representatives from different regions of Christendom would clash over the relative weight of their input. Previous councils had met in a confirmatory capacity, and votes were expected to indicate the approval of papal legislation. Voting was not supposed to provide a mechanism for achieving consensus among an assembly with diverse, and sometimes clashing, priorities. Thus there was no preexisting model to provide a balance for the different regional interests at the council. In previous councils, it is true, delegates had informally associated in regional clusters, and the attendees at the Second Council of Lyon (1272–74) had even been grouped into metropolitan regions for the purposes of voting on an initiative to reform papal elections.56 Never before, however, had the nation been utilized as the central unit of decisionmaking at a general council.

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The procedural shift to voting by nations was not, of course, free of strategic calculations. It was apparently made at the behest of the English and German nations, who refused to proceed by a head count in the general sessions.57 The French cardinal Guillaume Fillastre accounted for this procedural change, claiming that many of the delegates were frustrated by the preponderance of Italian prelates at the assembly.58 The Italians easily outnumbered the delegates from other parts of Europe and were felt to be the least predisposed toward drastic reform of curial government. It was rumored that John XXIII had bribed his numerous appointees to vote in his interests at the council.59 Unsurprisingly, voting by nations was attacked by the Italian delegates as an unprecedented innovation with dangerously divisive implications.60 These disputes remind us that a numerical majority in voting was not itself accepted as a legitimate form of decision-making as long as the underlying principles of representation were disputed. The problem was that no one theory of representation commanded universal assent. Significantly, Constance witnessed the emergence of a theory based on demographic considerations. According to such an idea, delegates to the councils derived their authority, in part, from the number of ordinary Christians under their care or over whom they had spiritual influence. This theory emerged in an early debate at Constance over proposals to limit the vote to bishops, abbots and other holders of high office in the Church, as had occurred in previous general councils. To this, several French delegates objected.61 Pierre d’Ailly tackled the problem historically. He admitted that bishops had at one time been given the sole definitive voices in general councils, but this was because they had been in charge of the administration of the people and were holy and learned men elevated above others in the Church. But this was not necessarily the case, d’Ailly argued, in his own day. Bishops and abbots might hold grand titles, but they might also have very small flocks and sometimes no pastoral duties at all.62 There was no reason why they should have equal voting rights with the bishops of the most densely populated sees of Europe, such as Mainz.63 D’Ailly strongly implied that delegates at Constance were present as representatives of a wider body of Christians under their care. He proposed that graduates in theology and canon law should be granted voting rights in the council and justified their inclusion thus: the authority of preaching and teaching everywhere in the world has been given to them (especially to the theologians) and this authority over the Christian people is not small, but much more than of a single bishop or abbot who is ignorant, and only the holder of a title.64 If these doctors had not been present in the earlier councils, it was simply because the schola generalia had not then existed. It is surely significant that the ultimate criterion in d’Ailly’s argument was the degree of influence that a delegate might have on the lives of the faithful. The demographic theory at Constance was tied to wider discourses about the public role that scholars (as well as the higher clergy)

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were supposed to play in fifteenth-century society. Jean Gerson has been termed a ‘public intellectual’ and this label could be applied to many bishops of the period.65 The problem with the demographic theory, as I will label it for convenience, was that it was enormously difficult to measure the type of doctrinal influence attributed to scholars by d’Ailly and the numbers of people over whom they had influence. We know that university graduates were an overrepresented group at all the fifteenth-century councils, so arguments about the importance of doctors in theology and canon law must have been accepted in some measure.66 Nevertheless, where those with the care of souls were concerned, it was impossible for the council Fathers to ensure that the number of representatives from a particular region of Europe was commensurate with that region’s population. When the system of voting by nations was adopted at Constance, endless squabbles arose between the nations over precedence. The number of each nation’s Church provinces and parishes was one subject of contention. England, in particular, came under attack. The Spanish and French nations were furious that such a tiny geographical area with such insignificant and sparsely populated ecclesiastical provinces should have equal voting status with them in the council’s plenary sessions.67 The idea that voting by nations would allow the council to represent the universal Church more accurately was inherently contentious, because it called into play ideas about the relative influence of different regional units, as well as the principles upon which regional divisions would be made.There could be no politically neutral solution to this problem, and the fighting between the nations exposed proto-nationalistic rhetoric. The shift to voting by nations was partly designed to limit the influence of the Italian delegates, but there are also good reasons to believe that the system provided secular rulers with a means of coordinating their agents at the council. This pertained particularly to two key players at Constance: Henry V of England and Emperor Sigismund. We know from surviving letters sent from Constance to London that the leaders of the English nation were under strict instructions from the royal government to advance certain prearranged policies.68 Sigismund also used his status as emperor to exert strong control over the German nation at Constance. This political influence is most obvious in the attempts by the English and German nations, led by Sigismund, to forestall the election of the new pope until the council had agreed upon a reform program.69 The nations, like the reform committees, were not, however, always susceptible to political management.70 The German nation with its particularly unwieldy combination of antagonistic ethnic groups was prone to division on many issues.The conflict between German and Polish delegates over the legitimacy of the Teutonic order’s crusade in Poland and Lithuania illustrates the acrimony which could arise.71 The heterogeneous composition of the nations made them difficult for any one ruler to handle. This should warn us away from concluding that the nations were created merely as a political tool, even though they were occasionally serviceable to secular rulers. Any explanation of the procedural shift to nations at Constance must, therefore, attempt to reconcile the council Fathers’ desire to provide a platform for consultation on draft proposals, their wish, however ham-fisted, to make the assembly representative of interests outside of

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Italy and their intention of rendering the council more pliant to secular political influence (especially that of the emperor). None of these three aims were perfectly accomplished, but it is unlikely that any procedural system would have uniformly satisfied all those involved in this improvisatory political exercise.

Conclusion Voting at Constance was a reply to the crippling lack of legitimacy faced by an institution working independently of its head. Under such conditions, no source of political input in the council could be privileged over another. This did not amount to a theory of egalitarianism. The council constantly struggled to reconcile the need for majority decisions with the urge to take account of the moral status of those present. Following recent criticisms of majoritarian voting, the divisiveness of the procedure should be acknowledged. The adoption of majority voting was tantamount to acknowledging that the council would expose irreconcilable points of view, and that it would be more practical to ignore the views of a minority of delegates within the nation groups than to hope for consensus on all issues. To an extent, the voting practices reflect the aristocratic dimension of democratic decision-making identified by Bernard Manin, with its reliance on a culture of public competitiveness and its assumption that those with the greatest status or ability should lead.72 Nevertheless, in an assembly with hundreds of delegates, we may think that the amount of agreement required for a proposal to pass was impressively high. No extremely divisive measure could ever hope to succeed at Constance. It is extremely difficult to decide whether voting practices served functions that could not be met by other procedural forms. Any consideration of this question must, of course, remain counterfactual. Unlike a scientific experiment, we cannot recreate the Council of Constance under different conditions in order to test the influence of one variable. It is possible that a council directed by a pope, making provision for vigorous consultation with the delegates, could have achieved similar results. Indeed, something like this occurred at the Council of Trent (1545–63), where papal legates were instrumental in implementing the wishes of the popes, while at the same time accommodating the demands of the council Fathers as far as possible.The legates often appointed the leaders of the committees that discussed doctrinal matters, but they usually took care to gain the council’s approval for these interventions. These committees drafted items for discussion, consulted the bishops and took note of their opinions during general congregations.The drafting of decrees also involved an interplay of committee work and the emendations of bishops during general sessions of the council.73 With a higher degree of central management, the passage of business at Trent was perhaps more streamlined than at Constance, although it, too, could be onerously slow. Trent also made provisions for voting in general congregations of the council. Just as at Constance, there could be no assumption that draft decrees would be rubber-stamped by the assembly. When it was debated whether bishops had to be resident in their sees de jure divino, the council was so bitterly divided that the issue had to be endlessly postponed. Even at

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the very end of deliberations, the council’s final statement on the matter won only precarious acceptance.74 This serves to remind us that any attempt to reach consensus through collective deliberation was bound to be a prolonged, and sometimes acrimonious, exercise. The elaborate voting arrangements at Constance made it similarly difficult to reach agreement. It is significant that the council failed to approve a universal reform program. Unlike the Fourth Lateran Council, Constance promulgated no reform canons for the Latin Church as a whole. Once the new pope, Martin V, had been elected, he brokered regional reform packages, the so-called concordats, with the separate nation groups.75 The often-chaotic discussion at Constance has made it easy for historians to dismiss the council as either a freakish product of the Schism or a hopelessly utopian attempt at collective government of the Church. While both judgements may contain some truth, they both ignore the fact that many participants valued Constance enough to recreate an autonomous council at Basle.76 Arduous though decision-making at Constance might have been, it nevertheless had value to many of the delegates who saw in it a model for Church government.

Notes 1 John Neville Figgis, Studies in the History of Political Thought From Gerson to Grotius (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1916), 34. 2 The roots of this interpretation in the modern historiography rest in the observations in Otto von Gierke, Das deutsche Genossenschaftsrecht (Berlin:Weidmannsche Buchhandlung, 1868–1913), 3: 581. 3 For an astute critique of the tradition which saw the councils as an ‘ecclesiastical parliamentarism’, see Phillip Stump, The Reforms of the Council of Constance 1414–1418 (Leiden: Brill, 1994), 4–9. 4 Brian Tierney, The Foundations of the Conciliar Theory:The Contribution of the Medieval Canonists from Gratian to the Great Schism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1955), 106–153. 5 Susan Reynolds, Kingdoms and Communities in Western Europe 900–1300 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), 251. 6 For general studies of the Great Schism, se Walter Ullmann, The Origins of the Great Schism (London: Burns & Oates, 1948); Robert N. Swanson, Universities, Academics and the Great Schism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979); Howard Kaminsky, Simon de Cramaud and the Great Schism (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1983); and Renate Blumenfeld-Kosinski, Poets, Saints and Visionaries of the Great Schism, 1378–1417 (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2006). 7 Kaminsky, Cramaud, 20–25; Ullmann, Origins, 69–89. 8 Jean Favier, Les Finances Pontificales à l’époque du Grande Schisme d’Occident 1378–1409 (Paris: Bibliothèque des Écoles françaises d’Athènes et de Rome, 1966). 9 A useful narrative of the Schism period can be found in Étienne Delaruelle et al., L’Église au Temps du Grande Schisme et de la Crise Conciliaire (Paris: Bloud et Gay, 1962), 45–166. 10 Tierney, Foundations, 47–67. 11 Jürgen Miethke, “Die Konzilien also Forum der öffentlichen Meinung im 15. Jahrhundert”, Deutsches Archiv für Erforschung des Mittelalters, 37 (1981): 747. Miethke takes the figure from Joseph Riegel, “Die Teilnehmerlisten des Konstanzer Konzils: Ein Beitrag zur mittelalterlichen Statistik” (PhD diss., University of Freiburg, 1916). 12 Heinrich Finke, ed., Acta Concilii Constanciensis (Münster: Regensbergschen Buchhandlung, 1923), 2: 23.

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13 Miethke, “Konzilien”, 751–752. 14 Hermann von der Hardt, Magnum Oecumenicum Constantiense Concilium (Frankfurt and Leipzig: Christian Gensch, 1698), 2: 157 (Pars X, Cap. III): ‘Quoniam quicunque ad concilium (ad ipa consilia) fuit admissus, nulla facta differentia, an foret clericus, vel laicus, solutus, vel conjugatus, graduatus, vel non graduatus, honestus vel abjectus. Quorum voces, resecatis vocibus Praelatorum, acceptatae sunt usquequaque.’ 15 Ibid., 4: 191. 16 Finke, Acta, 2: 742: ‘De aliis autem sequentibus curiam nullus admittatur neque inscribatur, nisi in dignitate constitutus vel doctor aut licenciatus in theologia vel iure. Et caveant, qui volent inscribi, quia, sicut habebunt honorem, ita omnes, si contingat, onus eciam pecuniarum pro communibus necessitatibus subire.’ 17 Delaruelle et al., L’Église, 176–81. 18 Raymonde Foreville, Latran I, II, III et Latran IV (Paris: Éditions de l’Orante, 1965), 245–247; 248–250. 19 John Anthony Watt, “The Papacy”, in The New Cambridge Medieval History Vol. 5 c. 1198– 1300, ed. David Abulafia (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 119. 20 Hardt, Magnum concilium, vol. 2, 188–191. 21 Heinrich Finke, “Die Nationen in den spätmittelaterlichen allgemeinen Konzilien”, repr. in Das Konstanzer Konzil, ed. R. Bäumer (Darmstadt:Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1977), 347–368. 22 Aubrey Gwynn, “Ireland and the English Nation at the Council of Constance”, Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy. Section C, 45 (1940): 183–233. 23 Walter Brandmüller, Das Konzil von Konstanz, 1414–1418 (2 vols, Paderborn: Schöningh, 1997), vol. 1, 202. 24 On the organization of the reform committees at Constance, see Stump, Reforms, 26–44. 25 I am drawing here on the excellent summary in Stump, Reforms, 27. 26 The fullest guide to the procedural arrangements at Constance remains Johannes Hollnsteiner, “Studien zur Geschäftsordnung am Konstanzer Konzil: Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte des Parlamentarismus und der Demokratie”, repr. in Bäumer, Konstanzer Konzil, 121–42. See also Joseph Gill, “The Representation of the Universitas Fidelium in the Councils of the Conciliar Period”, in Councils and Assemblies, eds. G. J. Cuming and Derek Baker (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1971), 182–188. 27 Hollnsteiner, “Studien”, 124. 28 Hardt, Magnum Concilium, vol. 2, 190. 29 Finke, Acta, vol. 2, 745–746. 30 Hardt, Magnum Concilium, vol. 2, 191 (third point). This is corroborated in the later procedural proposals of the French nation: Finke, Acta, 2: 744. 31 Hardt, Magnum Concilium, vol. 2, 192 (eighth point). 32 Ibid., vol. 2, 752. 33 MS Codex 103, fol. 10–10v, University of Pennsylvania Library. 34 Finke, Acta, vol. 2, 743. 35 Hardt, Magnum Concilium, vol. 4, 190. 36 Finke, Acta, vol. 2,745. 37 Hardt, Magnum Concilium, vol. 4, 191 (fourth point). 38 Miethke, “Konzilien”, 753–767; Miethke, “Kirchenreform”, 28–39. 39 Hardt, Magnum Concilium, vol. 4, 191 (sixth point): ‘quia sic vere et secure, habito tali scrutinio in nationibus, dici posset: Placet toti synodo.’ 40 Ibid., vol. 4, 191 (sixth point): ‘Et praesertim quia forte multi dissentientes tacent propter verecundiam vel contentionem vitandam, vel quia non sperant se posse proficere.’ 41 Ibid., vol. 4, 192 (eighth point): ‘cum videant se in nullo requiri, aestimant se inutiles, imo otiose perdere tempus et expensas, nec hic legendo servire Deo, nec ecclesiae prodesse, nec proprium meritum augere, imo prae otio affici taedium et querunt occasionem recessus.’ 42 An old, but still valuable, reflection on the genesis of majoritarian decision-making in Europe can be found in Otto von Gierke, “Über die Geschichte des Majoritätsprinzips”,

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in Essays in Legal History, ed. Paul Vinogradoff (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1913), 312–335. 43 For a judicious overview of the longer history of conciliar procedure, especially in relation to the system of nations at Constance, see Jürgen Miethke, “Raumerfassung und Raumbewußtsein auf den Allgemeinen Konzilien des Spätmittelalters”, in Raumerfassung und Raumbewußtsein im späteren Mittelalter, ed. Peter Moraw (Stuttgart: Jan Thorbecke Verlag, 2002), 127–154. For the nations in universities, see Aleksander Gieysztor, “Management and Resources”, in A History of the University in Europe, Volume 1: Universities in the Middle Ages, ed. Hilde de Ridder-Symoens (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992), 114–6. 44 Leo Koep, “Die Liturgie der Sessiones Generales auf dem Konstanzer Konzil”, in Das Konzil von Konstanz: Beiträge zu seiner Geschichte und Theologie, eds. August Franzen and Wolfgang Müller (Freiburg: Herder, 1964), 246; 251. See also Bernhard Schimmelpfennig, “Zum Zeremoniell auf den Konzilien von Konstanz und Basel”, Quellen und Forschungen aus italienischen Archiven und Bibliotheken, 49 (1969): 291. 45 For an overview of the canonical prescriptions regarding elections, see Richard Helmholz, The Spirit of Classical Canon Law (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1996), 47–60. For the election of bishops, see Geoffrey Barraclough, “The Making of a Bishop in the Middle Ages: The Part of the Pope in Law and Fact”, The Catholic Historical Review, 19 (1933): 275–319. 46 On Mandagout, see the article by Guillaume Mollat in Dictionnaire d’histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, 22 (1988): 951–952. 47 References are primarily to an early modern printed text of Mandagout’s treatise with his accompanying gloss. These are supplemented with references to a fifteenth-century MS of the treatise (without the gloss) at the University of Pennsylvania which is now available online. “Penn in Hand: Selected Manuscripts”, http://hdl.library.upenn. edu/1017/d/medren/1580445, accessed 2 October 2016. 48 Norman Tanner, ed., Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils (London: Sheed & Ward, 1990), 1: 246–247. Quia propter was also enshrined in the Liber Extra at X 1.6.42. 49 Tractatus illustrium iurisconsultorum . . . tomi xv (Venice, 1584), fol. 423 (cap. 52): ‘si illum omnes vel maior pars capituli nominassent tunc enim praesumerentur in ipsum non inspiratione divina sed instigatione humana pocius consensisse.’ See also MS Codex 103, fol. 20v, University of Pennsylvania Library. 50 Tractatus, fol. 422v (cap. 52): ‘quia peccatis exigentibus rarissime fit electio per eamdem [formam] non est plurimum insistendum.’ MS Codex 103, fol. 20r, University of Pennsylvania Library. 51 Helmholz, Spirit, 52–55. Ferdinand Elsener, “Zum Geschichte des Majoritätsprinzips . . . insbesondere nach schweizerischen Quellen”, in Studien zur Reception des gelehrten Rechts, eds. Friedrich Ebel and Dietmar Willoweit (Sigmaringen: Thorbecke 1989), 17–51. Adhémar Esmein, “L’unanimité et la majorité dans les élections canoniques”, in Mélanges Fitting 2, ed. Edmond Meynial (Montpellier: Société Anonyme de l’Imprimerie Générale du Midi, 1907), 355–382. 52 Tractatus, fol. 415 (cap. 22). Gloss ad v. Et sanior: ‘nam licet una pars sit maior altera numero, non tamen est sanior . . . tunc enim minor est sanior et ideo debet praevalere.’ 53 Ibid., fol. 417v (cap. 31). Gloss ad v. zelum: ‘Consistit autem zelus in intentione animi . . . de zelo sive de intentione hominis iudicari non potest, nisi per coniecturas.’ 54 Mandagout referred to X 1.6.22, where Innocent III had said that if there were no impediments to a certain nominee’s candidature, it was to be presumed that the electors had chosen him bono zelo. 55 Tractatus, fol. 417v (cap. 31). Gloss ad v. zelum: Item presumitur zelus melio, ubi est maior numerus, et ubi eligentes sunt antiquiores tempore et in marioribus dignitatibus et ordinibus constitui. 56 Miethke, “Raumerfassung”, 139. 57 Finke, Acta, vol. 2, 210–211; Louise R. Loomis, The Council of Constance: The Unification of the Church (New York: Columbia University Press, 1961), 483.

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58 Finke, Acta, vol. 2, 19; Loomis, Constance, 216. The same reason for the council’s action was later given by John of Segovia. Monumenta Conciliorum Generalium Seculi Decimi Quinti, vol. 2 (Vienna: Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1873), 130. 59 Hardt, Magnum Concilium, vol. 2, 230–1 (Pars VIII, Cap. XVIII). 60 Finke, Acta, vol. 3, 102–105. 61 Finke, Acta, vol. 2, 18. 62 Hardt, Magnum concilium, vol. 2, 225 (Pars. 8 Cap. 15). 63 Ibid., 2: 225: ‘Et mirabile videretur, quod unus talis archiepiscopus aut episcopus vel abbas paucos aut nullos suffragentes habens et parvum aut nullum sibi subjectum, haberet tantam vocem in Concilio, sicut archiepiscopus Moguntinus ac alii magni praelati . . . qui plures habent parochiales ecclesias in quibus est major populus quam in pluribus . . . episcopatibus praedictis.’ 64 Ibid., vol. 2, 225–226: ‘non sunt excludendi a voce definitiva sacrae theologiae doctores ac juris canonici et civilis: Quibus, et maxime theologis, datur autoritas praedicandi aut docendi ubique terrarum, quae non est parva auctoritas in populo Christiano, sed multo maior quam unius episcopi vel abbatis, ignorantis, et solum titulati.’ 65 Daniel Hobbins, Authorship and Publicity before Print: Jean Gerson and the Transformation of Late Medieval Learning (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009), 128–151. 66 Miethke, “Konzilien”, 751–753. 67 Jean-Philippe Genet, “English Nationalism: Thomas Polton at the Council of Constance”, Nottingham Medieval Studies, 28 (1984): 60–78; Louise R. Loomis, “Nationality at the Council of Constance: An Anglo-French Dispute”, American Historical Review, 44 (1939): 508–527. 68 Christopher M. D. Crowder, “Correspondence Between England and the Council of Constance, 1414–18”, in Studies in Church History, Volume 1, eds. C. W. Dugmore and Charles Duggan (London: Nelson, 1964), 184–206. 69 Christopher Crowder, “Henry V, Sigismund, and the Council of Constance”, in Historical Studies IV, eds. Hugh R. Trevor-Roper and Gerald A. Hayes-McCoy (London: Bowes & Bowes, 1963), 93–110. 70 Stump, Reforms, 24. 71 Bernhard Bess, “Johannes Falkenberg O.P. und der preußsisch-polnische Streit vor dem Konstanzer Konzil”, Zeitschrift für Kirchengeschichte, 16 (1896): 385–464. 72 Bernard Manin, The Principles of Representative Government (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 132–160. For an analysis of the competitive aspects of majoritarian voting systems, see David Graeber, The Democracy Project: A History, a Crisis, a Movement (London: Penguin, 2013), 159, 183–186. 73 A useful synopsis of procedure at Trent is provided in John W. O’Malley, Trent: What Happened at the Council (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2013), 83–87. For a fuller account, see Johannes Beumer, “Die Geschäftsordnung des Trienter Konzils”, in Concilium Tridentinum, ed. Remigius Bäumer (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1979), 113–140. 74 O’Malley, Trent, 116–8, 179–81; 217–221. 75 Delaruelle, L’Église, 211–215. 76 Johannes Helmrath, Das Basler Konzil 1431–1449: Forschungstand und Probleme (Cologne: Böhlau, 1987).


If people know one thing about papal elections it is probably that they are supposed to be secret. They take place behind the locked doors of the Sistine Chapel; all prying eyes are excluded until a new pontiff appears in front of them – as if by magic – on the balcony of St. Peter’s. When a new pope emerges he is not a quantitative victor of counted votes but a man chosen by God and a figure of consensus. Only thus does he possess the authority to execute his office. His legitimacy stems from the lack of transparency in his election – a state of affairs that invites others to believe in him as the true apostolic successor of Christ. Just as it is today, this mystery was highly public and, indeed, ostentatious in the Middle Ages and the early modern period. Obvious and often unsubtle ceremonies publicized it: a coronation in St. Peter’s and a procession (possesso) to St. John Lateran for the pope to ‘take possession’ of his temporal lordship and episcopal see. Similarly, before the election the surviving cardinals buried the defunct pope with as much pomp as circumstances would allow and then made great show of their entry into deliberations. It was as if the series of set-piece rituals, heavily freighted with symbolism, themselves conveyed the august nature of their task. The self-assurance of the pageantry and the uncertainty of the electoral outcome, then as now, proved a potent mix for gripping drama. How was the casual observer to know the cardinals’ behavior – or how the Spirit moved them – as they struggled with their consciences to award Christendom’s greatest prize? The intriguing inscrutability of papal elections has often inspired historians, and understandably so. Many studies have been produced of what happened, when and to whom: Gregorio Leti’s Histoire des Conclaves depuis Clément V Jusqu’à Présent (c. 1667) and Ferdinando Petrucelli della Gattina’s Histoire diplomatique des conclaves (1864–66) are outstanding examples from the golden age of such texts, between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries.1 Scholars like Leti and Petrucelli della Gattina mined diplomatic archives to tell us what cardinals did behind secrecy’s

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veil. Further studies, which drew on the constant discussions which took place about future conclaves, soon supplemented their efforts. Paradoxically, the effect of all this work is that we know far more about many pre-modern conclaves than we do about most twentieth-century ones and can use this wealth of information to describe the complex and shifting alliances of the papal court. In some of the most interesting recent work – notably that of Agostino Paravicini Bagliani and Maria Antonietta Visceglia – historians have extended their focus onto the cultural dimension of how papal power was projected.2 Conclaves – and their attendant rituals – offered unique, if irregular, opportunities to express this power tangibly and visually, making them important markers of how papal power itself was gradually transformed.The tension between how cardinals presented the papal office at a pope’s funeral and how new popes sought to portray it through their own coronation ceremonies was substantial and dynamic. It offers in microcosm a glimpse of some of the papacy’s most intimate constitutional debates. At the very least, it discloses the fluidity of how successive generations interpreted concepts such as papal pastor or papal prince, the pope’s absolutist credentials or the cardinals’ senatorial ones. Shifts among these from the eleventh to the eighteenth century were crucial drivers in ecclesiastical – and Italian – history and therefore constitute vital knowledge for any student of these subjects. This chapter focuses on the theme of secrecy – an important subject for inquiry in its own right. What did the cardinals (and others) understand by it? How did that change over time? But here I also want to use secrecy as a vehicle for engaging with the bigger issues surrounding conclaves and their role as barometers of papal history, as previously described. Such analysis is not completely unprecedented (for little in papal history truly is), but I undertake it in a different way and in a different language from previous approaches, such as Frederic Baumgartner’s 2003 essay or Günther Wassilowsky’s recent study of Gregory XV’s ‘conclave reform’ in 1621–22.3 My preoccupation is not so much with the immediate culture of voting in the conclave – its symbols and the theology behind them – but with deeper currents: first, the incentives which acted upon the cardinals to shape their changing practices and, second, how such incentives related to the papacy’s changing nature as a whole. I look at how political and theological factors interacted to shape attitudes to secrecy in various forms over an extended period. I show how the evolving culture of secrecy reflected the strange hybrid constitution that gave rise to it: an elective monarchy with elements drawn from contemporary ideas about princes, older ecclesiastical strata and even the political practices of the ancient Roman Republic. The different meanings of secrecy themselves acquired new and altered significance to those who invested in them as the papacy’s pretensions shifted.What follows is about how that played out, from late Antiquity into the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, when the papal monarchy’s pomp and power were, arguably, at their zenith. This chapter, which addresses themes not fully developed in my monograph Electing the Pope, divides into three further sections.4 The first two briefly sketch changing understandings of secrecy and their immediate impact; they explain how

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theology justified – or even mandated – such understandings and how they interacted with the political calculations that all cardinals had to make individually or corporately. I argue that what we often think of as secrecy in the context of these elections is actually a combination of two different things: the isolation of the participants from the rest of the world and the suppression of information about how they had, or were going to, cast their votes. Traditional emphasis on the former gradually lost out to a new emphasis on the later as the cardinals grappled with the problems of electing a man whose political authority perhaps now exceeded even his spiritual authority as God’s direct representative.The chapter’s final section explains some of the further effects that this embrace of secrecy had for the papacy’s wider ‘culture of voting’: it considers how secrecy impacted the ceremonies associated with the election, ongoing papal administration during it and the attitude of the Roman populace to what they saw taking place. Finally, the chapter reflects on how the histories of isolation and anonymity intertwine and how the papacy’s example in this regard compares to that of secular Italian states. It ends by suggesting that cultures of voting always develop in response to certain factors and that the papacy illustrates this as clearly as we could hope to see from any historical example.

Isolation By one means or another, papal elections have been going on for around two thousand years (a sixteenth-century observer of the practice counted sixteen different modes by then, including selection by the clergy, by the laity and, initially, by Jesus himself).We know little about elections’ exact mechanics in the first Christian millennium, but we can say with some certainty that they were essentially public affairs. Secrecy, in any guise, played no decisive role. Cyprian of Carthage recalled how Cornelius had been made pope in 251 ‘by the judgment of God . . . the testimony of almost all of the clergy [and] the vote of the people who were then present’.5 The context of Cyprian’s letter was that two rival factions of the Roman faithful had, in fact, each publically acclaimed their own successor to Peter. Cyprian encouraged the whole congregation to accede to a principle of majoritarianism: whoever had the best organized supporters could proclaim himself pope. Cyprian’s reasoning was that, because such contests took place in public, there could be no doubt about how many followers each candidate had. In the seventh century, elections took place in the Lateran Basilica – the clergy’s domain – but the contest’s public nature had hardly changed at all. The clergy now dominated the decisionmaking, yet the laity still retained a role in ratifying their choice: the vita of Leo III, for example, records his election in 795 ‘by divine inspiration with one and the same will and concord, by all the priests and officials of the whole clergy, indeed by the nobility and the whole Roman people’.6 We might argue that the clergy’s nomination of Leo was secret (in the sense that the laity were excluded from participating in it), but the laity’s ability to reject Leo nevertheless undermines such a reading. Leo and his biographer were firm that the decision had been made collectively and therefore publicly – with the vox populi still needed to legitimate the

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choice. Neither isolation nor anonymity were yet integral to the process nor did either seem likely to be – so long as the papacy continued on its current course. This situation changed with the Gregorian Reform of the late eleventh and twelfth centuries (named for Gregory VII, pope from 1073 to 1085). Gregory’s immediate predecessors had already begun to formulate their monarchic authority with new zeal, a development which led directly to the rise of the electors’ isolation as an inexorable electoral principle. The key tenet of Gregorian reforms was that popes, as Vicars of Christ, reigned supreme, with authority exceeding that of all other earthly princes. Under such circumstances, no pope could accept that either the Roman laity or any other secular agent had been implicated in his election. Notwithstanding past precedent, or political realities, to have done so would have fatally undermined the pope’s position – for his authority could only be legitimate if it was seen to come not from man but from God. In 1059 Nicholas II published a bull reserving the right to participate in the election exclusively to ‘the clergy of Rome’.7 Subsequent popes clarified exactly who was included in this group. In order to enforce Nicholas’s decree, the designated clergy had to find some way to segregate themselves from external pressures that might be seen to have a bearing on their choice. Eventually in 1122, even the Holy Roman Emperor himself formally renounced any right to intervene in the election, though by then his role had already been restricted to one of mere ‘confirmation’.8 Isolation thus became a constitutional requirement and, wherever the pope died, the cardinals gathered alone to decide his successor, usually in a major ecclesiastical building. Cluny Abbey, as well as cathedrals Verona, Ferrara, Naples, Perugia, Arezzo,Viterbo and, of course, Rome all hosted proto-conclaves.9 Wherever they went, the cardinals insisted upon segregation as a necessary precondition for establishing the independence and, indeed, the virtue of their choice. Isolation also had a desirable practical benefit: it enabled the cardinals to pass their choice off as unanimous. Claims of unanimity (unanimitas) obscured the cardinals’ actual deliberations and thus concealed divisions from prying eyes outside; they also legitimated the chosen candidate by providing a sign that his election was God’s will. Public elections had always tried to demonstrate unanimitas, doing so through a process of acclamation.10 However, once the pope was elected by the cardinals alone in an internal vote, that was no longer an option. The cardinals, under those circumstances, could only sustain a fiction of unanimity by isolating themselves and thus suppressing what they did and said. Moreover, Nicholas II’s bull amplified this general incentive toward isolation in another way: Nicholas had been ambiguous as to what the voting threshold for election of a new pope was. With genuine unanimity not a practical possibility, there was disagreement over what it should be. Some cardinals said agreement among all the College’s ranks was required, others that it needed merely a majority of individual votes. The cardinal bishops, whom Nicholas II’s bull had privileged but whom other voting-systems disadvantaged, claimed that unanimitas involved consent by both the maior (greater) and sanior pars (healthier or, in effect, senior part). Disagreement flourished and, in consequence, schisms and antipopes were common throughout the twelfth century.11 Only in

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1179 did Alexander III rule definitively that a simple two-thirds majority of all votes achieved victory.That put an end to the confusion, yet the need to protect the fiction of unanimity remained.12 Pressure on the cardinals to take themselves away from secular influences therefore continued to grow. Of course, neither the constitutional nor the practical reasons for enforcing isolation necessarily required that it be institutionalized in the form of the conclave. Unsurprisingly, the impetus for that came not from the cardinals themselves but from elsewhere – specifically, the poor, disenfranchised laity which was often desperate that the cardinals reach a decision.The problem in this regard grew especially acute after 1179, because Alexander’s two-thirds majority rule made it very hard for anyone to be elected. In 1241, Gregory IX died in the middle of a serious conflict with the emperor Frederick II and the Romans urgently needed a new pope to negotiate terms for an imperial siege of their city to be lifted. Frustrated by the cardinals’ intransigence, the Senator of Rome eventually locked them in a dilapidated building, even threatening to exhume Gregory’s corpse and put it on public display if they could not find a replacement quickly enough.13 An interregnum from 1268–71 set new records for the papal vacancy, and afterward the new pope, Gregory X (who tellingly had not been a cardinal), formalized the conditions of isolation that the laity had already in practice imposed.14 Influenced by measures already established in the Dominican constitution of 1228, Gregory mandated that the cardinals be confined in a single room behind doors locked by key (in Latin, ‘cum clave’) until they all agreed on who had been elected as pope. Under Gregory’s rules, the cardinals could not communicate with the outside world and they lived under a regime of increasing austerity intended to motivate them to feel inspired: limited food and comforts from the outset and, after nine days, just bread, wine and water. The conclave now existed as a formal institution and had consolidated isolation’s legal basis to ensure that it remained central to the process of election henceforth.15 Gregory X’s rules remained the basis for all conclaves during the rest of the Middle Ages and early modern period. The cardinals did not like his prescriptions about austerity – and more than once persuaded popes to relax them – but they did not challenge his premise that they should isolate themselves.16 The conclave thus institutionalized, developing its own rhythms and rituals in the process. Accounts of how it was supposed to proceed survive from the mid-fourteenth century onward and document this in increasing detail (a testament to papal ceremony’s growing importance).17 Fourteenth-century cardinals may have resisted Gregory’s sumptuary restrictions, but they seem generally to have been better at adhering to those relating to communication. Of course, this may have been mere happenstance – few conclaves at this time lasted long enough to tempt cardinals to communicate extensively with the outside. Yet the fact that they did not do so probably also reflects the cardinals’ circumstances as electors: they were often few in number and lacked particular reasons to take orders from, or send accounts to, third parties in the secular world beyond. The year-long conclave of 1304–5 and the two-year one of 1314–16, which triggered, and then confirmed, the papacy’s move to Avignon were

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notable exceptions to this. However, the French Crown dominated papal politics so thoroughly in the decades that followed that it was the only third party whose wishes many cardinals felt they needed to take into account.This situation changed only after Gregory XI’s return to Rome in 1376. Two years later the cardinals succumbed to pressure from the populace to choose a new Italian pontiff.The result of their unfortunate decision was, of course, the Great Schism (1378–1417) – a painful reminder to future electors of how important isolation had become in guaranteeing the integrity and success of their choice.18 Yet, whatever lessons the Schism may have provided, by the late fifteenth century, the cardinals had already begun to erode the principle of isolation in practice. The big change from 1378 was that the papacy had consolidated its territorial state considerably and, by broadening and deepening its involvement in temporal government, it caused many new parties to develop or heighten their interest in the conclave’s outcome.19 Those who held title as papal vicars, whose families had purchased papal office or whose political aspirations needed a sympathetic pontiff to succeed could hardly afford not to register their voice in the pope’s election.20 Some won cardinals as their clients, others became a cardinal’s clients; many ended up inside the conclave among the cardinals’ ‘conclavists’, servants whom Gregory X had permitted as domestic help on the inside. Some interested parties even became cardinals themselves and the overall size of the College swelled: from around twenty-four in the decades after the Schism to a high of over seventy in the 1560s.21 Rivalry between France and Spain exacerbated this effect throughout the sixteenth century. Both Crowns were determined to influence the election to prevent a pope who might be sympathetic to their rival; both bought cardinals and did their best to instruct them on how to proceed.22 By the conclave of 1549–50 the idea of the cardinals as isolated, and thus beyond outside influence, was undermined by the fact that they cohabited inside the conclave with around two hundred and fifty other people (including, of course, both French and Spanish agents).23 Yet, even ‘normal’ conclaves now regularly involved over two hundred attendees: up to seventy cardinals plus two or three conclavists each and sundry other officials to take care of their needs. Adhering to Gregory X’s rules was now in practice impossible and several masters of ceremonies, whose job it was to maintain protocol, lamented as much.24 Sixteenth-century conclaves soon became hugely porous. There were so many people on the inside with so much reason to make contact with the outside that they employed ever more exotic means to exchanging information. Temporary permission to leave the conclave was granted often and those who obtained it could leave with their boots filled with missives. A conclavist of Cardinal Madruzzo was said to have taken so many he forgot his original instruction in 1549.25 Other conclavists, stuck inside, carved holes into walls to hold illicit conversations.26 Curial officials found they had to take hours to check all the dishes and baskets of food for concealed messages that might be attached to plates or even baked into pastries and loaves of bread.27 In 1549 Cardinal Farnese complained to Henry II of France that ‘the place that should be secret is public and all that is done here

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is published’.28 Henry’s ambassador meanwhile boasted of the ease with which he could communicate with the head of the French faction, and one of Farnese’s agents warned sarcastically that Emperor Charles V knew even the cardinals’ urinary habits.29 Unsurprisingly, this easy exchange of news spurred on a huge market in betting on the conclave’s outcome: brokers gathered in the city’s main piazze to shout out their odds at passersby, even presenting those willing to bet with printed chits that could be redeemed or exchanged with other clients. Sixtus V later tried to regulate this gambling – and Gregory XIV to ban it – but they likely did not succeed. Romans found the excitement and the unpredictability too great to ignore and sought out whatever scraps of information they could find to follow the action as it unfurled.30 The failure to enforce isolation was never without its critics, both among the population at large and the elite. Just as Cardinal Farnese lamented the conclave’s openness in 1550, reports that the cardinals had made ‘wagers of amber rosaries, perfumed gloves . . . mules, chains and even money’ shocked the ordinary citizens of Rome.31 In 1559, a group of women from the district of Sant’Eustachio went still further by holding their own imitation of the election, dressed in their wedding attire.32 Occasionally such scandals jolted the cardinals into action: in 1550, for example, they agreed to set up a committee with a remit to assist officials in removing extraneous personnel and ensuring conclave rules were enforced.33 Following the problems of 1559 Pius IV legislated to prohibit various undesirable practices – yet, as they were already illegal, his censure was nothing more than a reminder to future participants of the strictures they were obliged to obey.34 Individual cardinals had also begun to press for stricter enforcement of their segregation in the conclave as early as the 1530s. Pius IV’s reform bull ‘In eligendis’ may be viewed as a nod in the direction of some of their demands. As the century wore on, the voices for reform became more numerous and significant: Roberto Bellarmine, Federico Borromeo, Benedetto Giustiniani, Cesare Baronio and, even before his election as Gregory XV, Alessandro Ludovisi all agreed that restoring the conclave’s seclusion was a necessary precondition for the greater goals that popes should be above the vicissitudes of Italian politics and should fulfill their traditional role as pastoral leaders for all Christendom.35 In 1621 Ludovisi, now Gregory XV, produced a sweeping codification of how the conclave worked, reiterating and reinforcing Gregory X’s rules.36 This may have been no more successful than Pius IV’s legislation sixty years earlier, but it reasserted the importance of isolation in principle: without it the conclave’s victor could never be quite sure that everyone would accept his claim as legitimate.

Anonymity We know less about the culture of anonymity in conclaves before the sixteenth century than we do about the culture of isolation. Until Alexander III’s intervention in 1179, the cardinals seem usually to have tried to delegate nomination of a candidate to a subcommittee – a process hardly conducive to anonymous voting, which suggests that it was not a high priority at that time. Ubi Periculum, though

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it laid out strict conditions for isolation, said nothing about the form that ballots should take. Practice likely varied from one conclave to the next. The cardinals sometimes used written ballots (per scrutinium) but at others deliberated collectively and voted orally in public (per inspirationem).37 The first record of a burning of ballots dates from 1417, but that election – which ended the Great Schism – was unusual in many different respects.38 The cardinals used written ballots in both elections of 1503, but read and counted votes publically. In the first, each cardinal’s name was already prepared on his voting slips; in the second, it may not have been. However, accusations of simony tainted that election and, in the short term, discredited further attempts to anonymize the voting process.39 Thereafter the old variety of practices continued in use throughout the sixteenth century: oral votes, written votes, spontaneous adorations of the new pope, or combinations of all three.40 The pressure for anonymity grew during this period, but slowly, only becoming strong enough to overturn existing practice in the early seventeenth century. The cardinals’ default position seems to have been akin to what Hilary Bernstein once described in the context of early modern French municipal elections: today we see ballots as fostering integrity and as oral votes breeding collusion, but in sixteenthcentury France an assumption ‘that only mutual influence among electors could produce a unanimous decision that would be the true expression of the public good’ reigned supreme.41 This assumption only fractured in Rome when several disparate groups within the Sacred College, all motivated by self-interest, united to bring about radical change. In the early sixteenth century, the cardinals who agitated strongest for anonymity were generally opponents of the current pope or of one or more of his likely successors. In 1513, for example, the Florentine cardinal Francesco Soderini proposed, but failed to secure, a secret ballot – his reason, so far as we can gather, was a simple fear that his archrival Giovanni de’ Medici would win an open contest.42 Eight years later, after Medici had reigned and died as Leo X, Soderini tried to introduce a secret ballot again, this time in order to hinder Medici’s nephew Giulio. Sufficient other cardinals now wanted the same thing that Soderini’s proposal passed easily, by twenty-four votes to thirteen – notwithstanding that it stood against ‘ancient custom’, as the papal master of ceremonies ruefully noted.43 The papal office’s general strength and the facility it gave popes to bully cardinals ensured that a number of later sixteenth-century cardinals shared Soderini’s sentiments. All cardinals must have looked apprehensively at the executions of Alfonso Petrucci in 1517 and Carlo Carafa in 1561 (and the attempted execution of Benedetto Accolti in 1535), no doubt wondering if the same fate might befall them should they fall afoul of papal goodwill. At the end of the century Sixtus V (1585–1590) and Clement VIII (1592–1605) made an art form of picking off cardinals one by one to cajole them into accepting policies they themselves favored. Indeed, it is probably no accident that anonymous voting was finally implemented after Clement’s long pontificate and the then still longer one of Paul V (1605–21). Many cardinals probably disliked how a long reign concentrated power in the hands of the pope, his family and their associates; they looked for ways to mitigate this in the electoral process. Electing old

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men was one such technique, but anonymous voting – to make each cardinal less accountable for his vote – was perhaps another. An act of Paul IV (1555–59) gave the cardinals a second tangible reason for championing anonymous voting which interacted with the longer-standing incentives for doing so. In 1557, Paul ordered the arrest of Giovanni Morone on suspicion of heresy, an event which put all other cardinals on their guard.44 For all that previous popes had harassed cardinals, Paul’s attack on Morone was theological rather than political and for that reason also affected the many cardinals who had voted for Morone in previous conclaves. Were they now also to fall under suspicion for having endorsed a suspected heretic? Perhaps unwittingly, Paul heightened the risk of an open election by arresting Morone because he converted the threat to individual cardinals to a collective one to entire factions. In his desperation to destroy Morone, Paul upped the stakes further in 1559 when he promulgated a bull forbidding the cardinals from even considering candidates for the tiara who had been suspected of heresy.45 That bull clearly attacked the cardinals’ freedom of choice – Paul no doubt intended it as a device to discourage the College from choosing Morone as his successor – but it also laid the ground for something even more sinister: it created a legal proscription which turned voting for the wrong candidate into a potentially heretical act in itself. Under those circumstances, no cardinal could truly feel confident of expressing himself openly in the conclave unless he knew that he was supporting the winning candidate. Yet, even if his candidate did win, the danger did not end there. A future pope might still decide that his predecessor had been heretical and might condemn those who had voted for him.46 In 1564, Pius IV declared that it would now be held to be heresy for anyone to believe that the pope was obligated to give account of any matter to the cardinals, which potentially placed the cardinals in a further degree of jeopardy.47 Perhaps tellingly, the cardinals grew increasingly reluctant to consider dedicated inquisitors as potential pontiffs. These two reasons for anonymity might themselves have provided enough pressure for change on their own. However, a third, and perhaps more visible, one soon manifested in the final decades of the century, in the process creating what was to prove a decisive coalition for reform. A substantial minority of cardinals had always been uneasy with the influence of secular powers over the papacy, but, as the rivalry between pro-French and pro-Spanish factions within the College had augmented, their alarm no doubt seemed more justified, and all the more so in the new intellectual currents of the Counter-Reformation. Something of a crunch point was reached in the early 1590s, when Philip II of Spain ordered his clients within the College to veto any candidate who was not on a preapproved list of seven names he had precirculated. Even pro-Spanish cardinals were uneasy at such a blatant intrusion into their independence and, in the end, could not quite bring themselves to give Philip his way. Clement VIII, the eventual victor of this messy sequence of four conclaves, was especially keen in their aftermath to reassert the papacy’s operational independence. Articulating new plans to assert voter integrity should surely have been part of this – though, as Maria Teresa Fattori has documented, Clement was not necessarily well disposed toward the reforms’ strongest advocates within the

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College.48 Yet, whatever the curia’s internal tensions at this time, the push for isolation soon also linked it with voter anonymity and an old argument against it had been turned on its head. What had once seemed a practice that supported simony now seemed essential to guarantee libertas ecclesiae: princes might still instruct their loyal cardinals as to how to vote, but in a secret ballot how could they ever really know whether their orders had been obeyed? The culture of voting in the conclave moved decisively away from that which Bernstein described for France and toward another model. Filippo De Vivo has shown how in Venice ‘secrecy was tantamount to serenity’. In Rome, as in the Serenissima, it now became the principal means of maintaining the image of unanimity despite everything else.49 When Gregory XV codified the conclave’s rules it probably seemed natural to him to incorporate anonymity into them, on a seemingly unequivocal basis.Where previously the rules had required cardinals to vote to agree to have secret ballots, he now made them compulsory and declared them the only canonical form of vote. Adoring the new pope, without a formal ballot taking place first, was now strictly prohibited. Each cardinal could even protect his identity by inscribing the voting slip not with his name but with a unique combination of motto, number and ensign.50 This discouraged fraud yet rendered it theoretically impossible for anyone to reconstruct the vote. Officials seem only now to have institutionalized the production and preservation of tally sheets of how many votes each cardinal received in each scrutiny. As a further proof of valid election, the insignia of each voter were reproduced after the final tally together with the record of how he had voted in this decisive ballot.51 The aim of this was probably twofold: on the one hand, it satisfied the contemporary zeitgeist for written documentary evidence, but on the other, it simultaneously appeared to protect the voters themselves from posterity.The requirements of all parties within the conclave were thus by and large satisfied, the main losers being those on the outside who wished to influence what was going on. Seventeenth-century conclaves were thus models of voter anonymity in theory. But how far were they actually so in practice? Insofar as we can infer an answer to that question, it would surely be not as much as at first it might seem. Factions persisted with the College and isolation was still not properly enforced. Indeed, in the conclave after Gregory’s death, Venetian ambassadors produced a detailed letter recounting what they had learned from visiting the conclave.52 Those who so wanted could no doubt have used available information to guess the identities behind the numbers, mottos and ensigns recorded with the final ballot. If the pope was elected via accessus, a technical procedure that allowed cardinals to cast a second vote in each scrutiny, then the record revealed whom their first vote had been for, which was valuable contextual knowledge. What Gregory’s reform gave cardinals, if anything, was thus merely plausible deniability. Just as they could deny to their princely patron that they had abandoned his interests, so too did they have grounds to refute accusations that they had ever voted for any particular candidate (or had not voted for him). This may partly explain why seventeenth-century popes were in general less successful at dominating the cardinals than their sixteenth-century

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predecessors had been – at any rate, how cardinals voted in elections ceased to be a flashpoint for such tensions. Cardinals may not have had complete secrecy, but they certainly had more safety. In the world of Hobbes’s Leviathan, many surely thought this no bad thing. The effect of anonymity on how cardinals approached the conclave was similarly muted. Gregory XV’s rules may have entirely reformed the process of voting, but many within the College still adopted the kinds of tactics and strategies in the election that previous generations of cardinals had done before them. Not only did cardinals still split into factions but they also often wasted their votes by voting for candidates whom they knew could not succeed (or, perhaps a novelty, occasionally failing to vote at all). Faction leaders and others who coordinated candidacies within the College also still played their devious games – holding back their preferred choices until late on and trying to dupe their rivals with false maneuvers or rumors designed to throw them off their guard. As part of his reform, Gregory had restricted each cardinal to voting for one candidate in the main ballot, which ought to have occasioned change (because previously a cardinal could have cast an unlimited number of votes in the scrutiny). Yet, in practice the effect of this was slight, not least because sixteenth-century cardinals had rarely done anything different until voting was already quite advanced. If the imposition of anonymity affected these practices it was only to strengthen existing trends – for cardinals now found it even harder to inform themselves about their colleagues’ preferences (information they would need if they wished to formulate a decisive strategy). Most seventeenthcentury conclaves endured long periods of drift and stasis until suddenly something happened, enabling the cardinals to end it with a bang. The most noticeable change ushered in by anonymous conclaves was that they became longer. Gregory’s new rules limited the number of votes cast but still affirmed that the College should hold a maximum of two ballots per day – a sure recipe for extending the whole process, especially when combined with further incentives on the cardinals to adopt caution in their voting strategies. Fifteenthcentury conclaves, as a rule, had lasted only a few days (partly because there were far fewer cardinals and partly because, so shortly after the Great Schism, most of them greatly feared the consequences of not making a quick election). Sixteenth-century conclaves were longer, for more cardinals took part and there were more divisions among them – yet the longest still peaked at 50 days in 1523, 72 in 1549–50, 113 in 1559 and 61 in 1590, these being the occasions when the politics of the election were most complex and the cardinals most divided. At other times elections could be much quicker, with that of Gregory XIII in 1572 requiring just one ballot. By contrast the worst conclaves after Gregory XV’s reign were almost twice as long: 130 days in 1669–70, 151 in 1691, 130 in 1730 and 180 in 1740.The average length of all others increased substantially, too – there were no more quick agreements like that of 1572.53 Of course, in itself this had big effects on the wider administration of Rome and on the political culture that developed there. Secrecy had as much impact outside as within a conclave – and it is to the external effects that the final section of this chapter turns.

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Secrecy beyond the conclave The impact of either isolation or anonymity outside the conclave is inherently hard to measure. We cannot easily separate it from other factors: the political culture of central Italy, the idiosyncrasies thrown up by an ecclesiastical state, a broader desire to project papal power. All we can do is consider the areas in which the conclave’s culture of secrecy appears to have had influence, showing the contribution of isolation or anonymity or both. Such an approach underlines the conclave’s – and, by extension, the papal election’s – centrality to Rome’s political culture and gives some idea of how both isolation and anonymity impacted on that culture. This final section of the chapter describes, in turn, the public ceremonies associated with the papal election, the government of Rome in the Sede Vacante and the attitude of ordinary Romans during a papal vacancy (readers who feel I treat this in too cursory a fashion should consult John Hunt’s excellent study, The Vacant See in Early Modern Rome, for further detail). My argument here is that the drive to secrecy in one of its two forms shaped aspects of wider political culture in ways that would not otherwise have happened. The papacy’s interest in secrecy was not so far removed from that of republics like Florence or Venice, yet it remained refracted through its ubiquitous ecclesiastical prism and produced its own unique formations. Secrecy’s immediate impact on the public sphere was, of course, to relegate the decision itself to a secondary role in the great spectacle of a papal election. Where once the election had been a public ritual, now only select ceremonies associated with it were. Over the early modern period those select ceremonies came to reflect the value cardinals placed on secrecy and served as a key opportunity for broadcasting them to the Roman laity outside. It was no accident that the cardinals entered conclave with the antiphon ‘Veni Creator Spiritus’ (Come Holy Ghost) – a text which blatantly reminded listeners that the election was divine and would be unanimous.54 Ordinary Romans, complete with their betting slips, may well have been skeptical. However, their witness to the ceremony affirmed the antiphon’s ideological premise – and thus helped legitimate the election which then took place, whether it was really divinely inspired or not. The ceremonies of the coronation and possesso (the procession through Rome by which the pope ‘claimed’ the city) developed in similar fashion. New popes, who had the greatest say in their organization, used them likewise to heal – or, more accurately, to ignore – the divisions the election had laid bare, promoting the polity’s order and unity once again, as if the preceding weeks had been a mere blip.The pomp of these ceremonies increased throughout the period that anonymity became more important – correlation not causation, perhaps, but still related phenomena. The pope’s increased majesty was, of course, a major reason why cardinals wanted their votes to be anonymous – but the fiction of the pope at the head of a unified order was also only possible because no one could see how the final vote had been reached. At the same time, secrecy greatly strengthened the need for alternative arrangements for governing Rome during the conclave. The period of the election itself was a liminal time in Rome and the Church: in theory all papal officials lost their

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authority of office on the pope’s death; in practice the cardinals worked to create the legal means to carry on. However, those legal means were only of limited use when cardinals were trapped inside the Vatican and unable to communicate with those who would take their orders. In parallel to the general growth of papal government in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, a second shadow system thus had to be generated to provide a political hierarchy during times of interregnum. The cardinals themselves of course still played a part in this – a further reason why sixteenth-century conclaves were never as isolated as the rules demanded. This secondary political order, which was far less robust than the primary one, gave Romans a unique kind of moment in their political calendar when laws and norms were effectively suspended. Romans themselves often saw this as an opportunity to act with far greater license than was otherwise possible. As conclaves lengthened through the sixteenth century, and especially through the seventeenth, the effects of that became more marked (as the famous account in Giacinto Gigli’s diary chronicles).55 Of course, by Gigli’s time the cardinals’ isolation was ritual rather than practical and they were fully involved in managing the Sede Vacante  from inside the conclave. Yet, they still preserved a veil of secrecy to camouflage their actions – a sure sign that secrecy still mattered to them even if no one believed it accurately reflected what was going on. The Roman populace had always taken an interest in conclaves. However, during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries longer conclaves and more ceremonies helped to make the conclave even more prominent in public consciousness – with public attitudes shifting correspondingly to match. Romans took part in the election’s public ceremonies – when Urban VIII acceded in 1623, they even petitioned for more prominent roles. Romans and others also produced commemorative pamphlets which circulated from at least 1572 and held value both as souvenirs and also explanatory texts.56 Romans continued to engage with the election even between conclaves. Betting markets are harder to trace in the seventeenth century because popes cracked down on them hard after 1591, but the extraordinary interest in prophesies about when the pope would die or who the new pope would be suggests that much of the impetus for them carried on and, indeed, that the practice itself simply went underground.57 As John Hunt has observed, such media not only gave ordinary Romans ‘access to forbidden knowledge of politics’ but also allowed them to comment on important political events. Indeed, ‘this was a major accomplishment in an age of absolutist government when most people were barred from the “mysteries of the state”’.58 The histories of isolation and anonymity in the conclave may at first seem quite different: these two facets of secrecy served different purposes, they had different chronologies and different groups within the papal polity pushed for implementing them (or undermining the extent to which they were enforced).Their value varied with the changing balance of the pope’s own identities. When he was primarily a universal pastor an independent election was paramount; when he was a temporal prince it was not. Yet the two histories were also still highly connected – not just in how they affected the conclave’s wider culture but in how they impacted each

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other. Committing heresy in the conclave became far more dangerous when the papacy itself became politicized, otherwise what power did the Inquisition have? Cardinals who acted on their fear of it did so in reaction to the same forces that had already caused their ideal of isolation to break down. We could even argue that the advent of anonymous ballots altered the theology on which the conclave was based, because the Holy Spirit no longer inspired the cardinals to spontaneous action but to careful and considered written calculation. That in turn impacted isolation’s value: if the vote was now secret and intellectualized, then was it really so important that the cardinals separated themselves absolutely from everyone else? This intertwined history was also not so different to that of secrecy’s place in the secular Italian republics that flourished at the end of the Middle Ages. The need to conceal divisions in order to retain legitimacy drove civic elections in Florence and Venice, as Maartje van Gelder and Mark Jurdjevic (among others) have shown.59 Jurdjevic has drawn attention to the central role of mistrust in such republican settings – a situation which has clear parallels with the process of anonymizing votes in the papal scrutiny.The forms in which participants expressed their mistrust may have been different, but the mistrust had similar causes – and in both cases the deepening of the state was likely an important trigger. Overt political calculation may not have seemed to dominate papal politics as it did republican-oligarchic politics elsewhere, but that was a matter of language and presentation rather than intention. Yet, even there, more commonalities exist than might initially be supposed: the discourse of the Serenissima, for example, combined a sacred vocabulary with a republican one and, like that in Rome, it blended different strands into a cultural whole. It makes sense, therefore, to think of the conclave’s development within this wider context – as a prominent example of a much wider movement. After all, many cardinals themselves arrived in Rome from elsewhere in Italy replete with ideas and life experience. Yet those who participated in the papacy’s culture of voting still always had to mediate any similarities with other states through the papacy’s unique structures and specific practices. For example, the legacy of the Latin Church – in this case, traditions rather than texts – left them no opportunity to use selection by lot as a mechanism of choice, as electors in oligarchic republics did at this time. In contrast, other branches of Christianity did use lots and still do: the final stage of election for the Coptic pope is still undertaken by a blindfolded boy who chooses between three candidates.60 The cardinals thus lost from their electoral arsenal a key tool which both Florentine and Venetian patricians used to tame factions in their electoral politics. Indeed, it may in part explain why conclaves had factions. The conclave factions’ raison d’être was very different from that of factions elsewhere: they offered a means by which cardinals could conceal their voting patterns and were thus a guarantor of liberty – the very opposite of how Florentines or Venetians would have interpreted their presence. Ecclesiastical traditions also made the papacy’s elite much more open than that of Renaissance republics: clerics had to be celibate and therefore found it harder to close ranks into an impenetrable elite.61 The constant injections of fresh blood into the papal oligarchy – though we should

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not overstate that process – made it unfeasible to manipulate elections by setting conditions of eligibility, another important technique in Florence and Venice.62 In fact, the only way to control the election was to control the cardinals – a task that proved impossible, even for those who had already been elected pope. The history of secrecy in the conclave itself ultimately demonstrates the papacy’s essentially amorphous nature as an institution. Far from being the rock of stability in European history – as is still sometimes claimed – it was the product of individual human agents who, in this case, came together in their thousands to shape its course over centuries. Like that of every other institution in the history of human experience, the papacy’s story is one of the collective interaction of their individual actions. Its electoral culture was, likewise, a fluid and changing product – a vehicle for conveying meanings and agenda, not an end in itself.We should only compare it to others on those terms. In the end, the changing meaning of secrecy in conclaves also speaks to a wider truth: a culture of voting is inherently syncretic and part of a wider continuum of political ideas. It constantly absorbs influences from outside and displays that in every moment the voters – and, indeed, nonvoters – interact. The papal election is unique in being able to show us that in such detail over such a long period of time, but not in the dynamics it reveals. Secrecy figured largely in papal voting for similar reasons to those found elsewhere. Even the Holy Spirit could not change that.

Notes 1 For a list of early conclave histories, see Eduard Maria Oettinger, Historisches Archiv, enthaltend ein Systematisch-Chronologisch Geordnetes Verzeichniss 1700 der Brauchbarsten Quellen zum Studium der Staats- Kirchen- und Rechsgeschichte aller Zeiten und Nationen (Karlsruhe: Christian Theodor Groos, 1841), 44, 414. 2 Agostino Paravicini Bagliani, Morte e elezioni del papa: norme, riti, conflitti. 1. Il medioevo (Rome: Viella, 2013); Maria Antonietta Visceglia, Morte e elezioni del papa: norme, riti, conflitti. 2. l’Éta moderna (Rome: Viella, 2013). Other recent contributions in this area include Martine Boiteaux,“La vacance du Siège pontificale de la mort et des funérailles à l’investiture du pape: les rites de l’époque moderne”, in Religious Ceremonials and Images: Power and Social Meaning (1400–1750), ed. José Pedro Paiva (Coimbra: Palimage, 2002), 103–141; and Florence Buttay, “La mort du pape entre Renaissance et Contre-Réforme: les transformations de l’image du sourverain pontife et ses implications (fin XVe – fin XVIe siècle)”, Revue historique, 625 (2003): 67–94. 3 Frederic Baumgartner, “ ‘I Will Observe Absolute and Perpetual Secrecy’: The Historical Background of the Rigid Secrecy Found in Papal Elections”, Catholic Historical Review, 89 (2003): 165–181. Günther Wassilowsky, Die Konklavereform Gregors XV. (1621/22). Wertekonflikte, symbolische Inszenierung und Verfahrendswandel im Postttridentinischen Papsttum (Stuttgart: Hiersemann, 2010). 4 Miles Pattenden, Electing the Pope in Early Modern Italy, 1450–1700 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017). 5 Cyprian of Carthage, Letters 1–81, trans. Rose Bernard Donna C. S. J. (Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1964), letter 55, 138. 6 Thomas Noble, The Republic of Saint Peter:The Birth of the Papal State, 680–825 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1985), 199. 7 Detlev Jasper, Das Papstwahldekret von 1059. Überlieferung und Textgestalt, Beiträge zur Geschichte und Quellen des Mittelalters 12 (Sigmaringen:Thorbecke, 1986); Hans Erich

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Feine, “Zum Papstwahldekret Nikolaus’ II. In nomine Domini von 1059”, in Reich und Kirche: ausgewählte Abhandlungen zur deutschen und kirchlichen Rechtgeschichte, eds. Hans Erich Feine and Friedrich Merzbacher (Aalen: Scientia Verlag, 1966), 19–29. 8 “Pax Wormatiensis cum Calixto II”, in Constitutiones et acta publica imperatorum et regum, vol. 1, ed. Ludwig Weiland (Hannover: Monumenta Germaniae Historica, 1893), 159–161. 9 Frederic Baumgartner, Behind Locked Doors: A History of the Papal Elections (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005), 27–32. 10 Paolo Grossi, “Unanimitas. Alle origini del concetto di persona giuridica nel diritto canonico”, Annali di storia del diritto, 2 (1958): 229–331. 11 Adhemer Esmein, “L’unanimité et la majorité dans les élections canoniques”, Mélanges Fitting 2, ed. Edmond Meynial (Montpellier: Société Anonyme de l’Imprimerie Générale du Midi, 1907), 356–382. Klaus Ganzer, “Das Mehrheitsprinzip bei den kirchlichen Wahlen des Mittelalters”, in Theologische Quartalschrift, 147 (1967): 60–87;Werner Maleczek, “Wie kommt man zu einem vernünftigen Wahlergebnis?” in Wahlen und Wählen im Mittelalter, eds. Reinhard Schneider and Harald Zimmermann (Sigmaringen: Thorbecke, 1990), 79–134; Leo Moulin, “Sanior et maior pars: Studio sull’evoluzione delle tecniche elettorali negli ordini religiosi dal VI al XIII secolo”, Studi Politici, 6 (1959): 48–75. 12 Alexander III, “Licet de vitanda” (1179), in Sacrorum Conciliorum Nova et Amplissima Collectio ed. Giovanni Domenico Mansi (31 vols, Florence and Venice: Antonio Zatta, 1758– 98), vol. 22, coll. 217–33. 13 Walter Ullmann, A Short History of the Papacy in the Middle Ages (2nd edition, London: Routledge, 2003), 260. 14 On the ‘conclave’ of 1268–71, Paolo Brezzi, ed., VII Centenario del 1o Conclave (1268– 1271): Atti di convegno di studio (Viterbo: Agnesotti, 1975), Andreas Fischer, Kardinäle im Konklave: die lange Sedisvakanz der Jahre 1268 bis 1271 (Tübingen: Niemeyer, 2008). 15 Gregory X, “Ubi Periculum”, in Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils: From Nicea I to Vatican II, ed. Norman Tanner (2 vols,Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 1990), vol. 1, 314–315. 16 On the history of Ubi Periculum, see Pattenden, Electing the Pope, 65. 17 Marc Dykmans, Le cérémonial papal de la fin du Moyen Age à la Renaissance (4 vols, Brussels and Rome: Bibliothèque de l’Institut Historique Belge de Rome, 1977–85). The earliest is by Cardinal Giacomo Gaetani degli Stefaneschi, probably written at some point around 1352. 18 Joëlle Rollo-Koster, “Civil Violence and the Initiation of the Schism”, in A Companion to the Great Western Schism (1378–1417), eds. Joëlle Rollo-Koster and Thomas Izbicki (Leiden: Brill, 2009), 9–66; Marc Dykmans, “La troisième élection du pape Urbain VI”, Archivum Historiae Pontificiae, 15 (1977): 217–264. 19 On this process, see Paolo Prodi, The Papal Prince. One Body and Two Souls:The Papal Monarchy in Early Modern Europe, trans. Susan Haskins (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), 1–16. 20 Giuseppe de Vergottini, “Ricerche sulle origini del vicariato apostolico” and “Note per la storia del vicariato apostolico durante il secolo XIV”, in Scritti di storia del diritto italiano, ed. Guido Rossi (2 vols, Milan: Giuffrè, 1977), vol. 2, 535–84 and 585–612. 21 John Broderick, “The Sacred College of Cardinals: Size and Geographical Composition (1099–1986)”, Archivum Historiae Pontificiae, 25 (1987): 7–71; Jennifer DeSilva, “Red Hat Strategies: Elevating Cardinals, 1471–1549”, in Early Modern Rome, 1341–1667, ed. Portia Prebys (Ferrara: Edisai, 2011), 729–741; Christoph Weber, Senatus divinus. Verborgene Strukturen im Kardinalskollegium der frühen Neuzeit (1500–1800) (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 1996). 22 On the development of French and Spanish factions within the Sacred College, see Maria Antonietta Visceglia, “Factions in the Sacred College in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries”, in Court and Politics in Papal Rome, 1492–1700, eds. Gianvittorio Signorotto and Maria Antonietta Visceglia (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002),

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99–131; and Miles Pattenden, “Rome as a ‘Spanish Avignon’? The Spanish Faction and the Monarchy of Philip II”, in The Spanish Presence in Sixteenth-Century Italy: Images of Iberia, eds. Piers Baker-Bates and Miles Pattenden (Farnham: Ashgate, 2015), 65–84. 23 Matteo Dandolo to the Senate, 15 January 1550, in Rawdon Brown, ed., Calendar of State Papers and Manuscripts, Relating to English Affairs Existing in the Archives and Collections of Venice (38 vols, London: Longman, Trübner & Co, 1864–90), vol. 5, 298–99 (n. 627). 24 For example, Ludovico Branca de Firmani, “Diarium”, in Concilii Tridentini Diariorum, ed. Sebastien Merkle (3 vols, Freiburg im Breisgau: Herder, 1901–84), vol. 2, 526; Giovanni Paolo Mucanzio, “Gl’abusi et convenienti che si fanno nelle rote del conclave come per essempio si e’ veduto o sono gl’infatti”, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Vat. Lat. 12316, 492r-501r. 25 Sebastiano Gualtieri, “Diarium”, in Merkle, Concilium Tridentinum, 2: 81. 26 Francisco Vargas to Philip II of Spain, 30 November 1559, in Beiträge zur politischen, kirchlichen, une Cultur-geschichte der sechs letzten Jahrhunderte, ed. Johann Josef Ignaz von Döllinger (3 vols, Regensburg: George Joseph Manz, 1862–82), vol. 1, 300. 27 Johann Burchard, Liber Notarum, ed. Enrico Celani (3 vols, Città di Castello: Tipi della Casa editrice S. Lapi, 1906–14), vol.1, 46; Gian Paolo Mucanzio, “Diario”, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Vat. Lat. 12316, 493v-494r. 28 Frederic Baumgartner, “Henry II and the Papal Conclave of 1549”, The Sixteenth Century Journal, 16 (1985): 310. 29 Ibid. Anonymous to Cardinal Farnese, 8 January 1550, Brown, Calendar of State Papers: Venice, 5, 293 (n.617). 30 Renaud Villard, “Le conclave des parieurs: Paris, opinion publique et continuité du pouvoir pontifical à Rome au XVIe siècle”, Annales. Histoire Sciences Sociales, 64 (2009): 375–403; John Hunt, The Vacant See in Early Modern Rome: A Social History of the Papal Interregnum (Leiden: Brill, 2016), 224–234. 31 Matteo Dandolo to the Senate, 15 January 1550, in Brown, Calendar of State Papers: Venice, 5, 298–99 (n. 627). Other accounts of this conclave focus on the cardinals’ excessive gluttony and their penchant for extending their living quarters; Massarelli, “Diarium”, in Merkle, Concilium Tridentinum, vol. 2, 118. 32 Antonio Guido Mantuano, “Obitus Pauli IV et conclave cum electione Pii IV”, in Merkle, Concilium Tridentinum, vol. 2, 631. 33 Massarelli, “Diarium”, in Merkle, Concilium Tridentinum, 107. The tense political atmosphere in which this conclave took place meant that Carafa’s fear was not unfounded. Henri II of France had already moved to suggest that a council could undertake the election instead of the College; Renard to Charles V, 5 February 1550, in Briefe und Akten zur Geschichte des sechzehnten Jahrhunderts, ed. August von Druffel (4 vols, Munich: Rieger, 1873–80), vol. 1, 350. 34 Pius IV, “In eligendis”, 9th October 1562, in Bullarum Diplomatum et Privilegiorum Sanctorum Romanorum Pontificum Taurinensis edition, eds. Luigi Tomassetti, Luigi Bilio, Charles Cocquelines and Francesco Gaude (24 vols, Turin: Dalmazzo, 1857–72), vol. 7, 230–236. An earlier reform bull was drafted but not published by Julius III, Hubert Jedin, “Analekten zur Reformatätigkeit der Päpste Julius III. und Paul IV”, Römische Quartalschrift für christliche Altertumskunde und Kirchengeschichte, 43 (1935): 87–156. 35 Wassilowsky’s Konklavereform contains a detailed summary of these clerics’ arguments, 165–215. 36 Gregory XV, “Aeterni Patri Filius”, 15 November 1621, and “Decet Romanum Pontificem”, 12 March 1622, in Tomasetti, Bullarum Romanum, vol. 12, 619–26 and 662–73. 37 Wassilowsky, Konklavereform, 48–51. 38 “Diary of Cardinal Fillastre”, in Louise Ropes Loomis, The Council of Constance: The Unification of the Church, eds. John Hine Mundy and Kennerly H. Woody (New York: Columbia University Press, 1961), 424. 39 Wassilowsky, Konklavereform, 83–85. 40 Wassilowsky produces a useful table of how the voting took place in each sixteenthcentury conclave, Konklavereform, 103–104.

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41 Hilary Bernstein, “The Benefit of the Ballot? Elections and Influence in SixteenthCentury Poitiers”, French Historical Studies, 24 (2001): 621–652, quotation 621. 42 Kate Lowe, Church and Politics in Renaissance Italy:The Life and Career of Cardinal Francesco Soderini, 1453–1524 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 90. 43 Blasio de Martinelli, “Diarium”, in Giambattista Gattico, Acta Selecta Caeremonialia Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae (2 vols, Rome, 1753), vol. 1, 318. 44 On the circumstances of Morone’s arrest, see Adam Patrick Robinson, The Career of Cardinal Giovanni Morone (1509–1580): Between Council and Inquisition (Farnham: Ashgate, 2012), 87–109. 45 Paul IV “Cum ex apostolatus”, 15 February 1559, Tomassetti, Bullarum Romanum, vol. 6, 551–556. 46 On the problem of the Inquisition and its impact on elections in this period, see Agostino Borromeo,“Il dissento religioso tra il clero italiano e la prima attività del Sant’Ufficio Romano”, in Per il Cinquecento religioso italiano: clero cultura società, eds. Adriano Prosperi and Maurizio Sangalli (Rome: Edizioni dell’Ateneo, 2003), 455–85; Massimo Firpo, La presa di potere dell’inquizione romana, 1550–1553 (Rome: Laterza, 2014). 47 Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Barb. Lat. 2870, 95v. Gustave Constant, Concession à l’Allemagne de la communion sous les deux espèces: Étude sur le débuts de la réforme catholique en Allemagne (1548–1621) (2 vols, Paris: Boccard, 1923), vol. 1, 504. 48 Maria Teresa Fattori, Clemente VIII e il sacro collegio 1592–1605: Meccanismi istituzionali ed accentramento di governo (Stuttgart: Hiersemann, 2004), 215–240. 49 Filippo de Vivo, Information and Communication in Venice: Rethinking Early Modern Politics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), 40–46, quotation 46. 50 Gregory XV, “Decet Romanum Pontificem” explained this in detail;Tomassetti’s edition provides illustrated ballots, Bullarum Romanum, vol. 12, 662–673. 51 Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Barb. Lat. 4435–4449 (most conclaves between 1623 and 1730). A further tally for the 1623 conclave survives, but without this appendix, Archivo General de Simancas, Estado 1870, n. 278. 52 See, for example, Girolamo Soranzo and Renier Zen to the Senate, 22 July 1623, State Archive of Venice, Dispacci al Senato (Roma), filza 88, 504r-505r. 53 Wassilowsky, Konklavereform, 337. Pattenden, Electing the Pope, 92–94. 54 “Ordo Servandus in Processionibus Quotidie Facendis Tempore Sedie Vacantis durante Conclavi. Pro Electione Summi Pontificis,” (1669), Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Barb. Lat. 4440, 554r–559v. 55 Giacinto Gigli, Diario Romano (1608–1670), ed. Giuseppe Ricciotti (Rome:Tumminelli, 1958). See also Laurie Nussdorfer, Civic Politics in the Rome of Urban VIII (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992), 228–253; and Visceglia, Morte e elezione del papa, 61–90. 56 Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Vat. Lat. 9156, State Archive of Mantua, Archivio Gonzaga 1062 and 1063. 57 Hunt, The Vacant See, 65–67, 234; Pattenden, Electing the Pope, 156–158. 58 John Hunt, “The Conclave from the ‘Outside In’: Rumor, Speculation, and Disorder in Rome during Early Modern Papal Elections”, Journal of Early Modern History, 16 (2012): 382. 59 Mark Jurdjevic, “Trust in Renaissance Electoral Politics”, Journal of Interdisciplinary History, 34 (2004): 601–614; Maartje van Gelder, “The People’s Prince: Popular Protests and Patrician Politics in Early Modern Venice”, unpublished paper from the conference “Cultures of Voting in Pre-Modern Mediterranean, c. 1200–1700”, Dubrovnik, April 2014. 60 Otto Meinardus, “Procedures of Election of Coptic Patriarchs”, in Christian Egypt: Faith and Life (Cairo: American University in Cairo Press, 1970), 90–141. 61 Wolfgang Reinhard, “Le carriere papali e cardinalizie: Contributo alla storia sociale del papato”, in Storia d’Italia, annali 16: Roma, la città del papa, eds. Luigi Fiorani and Adriano Prosperi (Turin: Einaudi, 2000), 271–288; Barbara McLung Hallman, Italian Cardinals, Reform, and the Church as Property, 1492–1563 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985), 1–16; Peter Partner, The Pope’s Men:The Papal Civil Service in the Renaissance

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(Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992). In contrast, see John Najemy’s remarks in his A History of Florence, 1200–1575 (Oxford: Blackwell, 2006), 5–34; or Donald Queller, The Venetian Patriciate: Reality Versus Myth (Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 1986). 62 On the composition of the papal ‘oligarchy’, see Christoph Weber, Senatus Divinus, and Pattenden, Electing the Pope, 17–20, 29–35, 248–251.

7 ‘CONFORME AL VIVERE CIVILE ET POLITICO’ Machiavelli’s newly discovered proposal for electoral reform in 1512 Andrea Guidi *

In late August 1512, the sack of the small Tuscan town of Prato by a Spanish army of the Holy League caused the fall of the Florentine popular republic and its standardbearer of justice (gonfaloniere di giustizia), Piero Soderini, the first elected for life. This crisis was soon followed by the return of the Medici to Florence. In September of the same year, Machiavelli, who had been serving as head of the second chancery and secretary to the Council of the Ten of War since 1498, wrote in his own hand the final draft of a proposal for the return to the Medici of their expropriated properties and a reform of the procedures for the election of new members of the city councils, which, in what follows, I will cite as Minuta.1 The Minuta is a document as yet unknown to Machiavelli scholars and historians of Florence, which I recently discovered in the Florentine State Archives and which was published, in the original Italian, in an article in Laboratoire italien.2 It is a short text of approximately a thousand words on two folios, preserved in the collection of the Medici family archive (Mediceo avanti il Principato).The manuscript is not signed and was left undated. However, it is, without any doubt, in Machiavelli’s hand. In the inventories of the collection, published some decades ago, it is described as follows: ‘Minuta di una provvisione di mano di Niccolò Machiavelli, circa l’eredità di Lorenzo di Piero de’ Medici’.3 It is part of a register containing documents relating to several members of the Medici family down to 1534.4 In the light of the latest findings by Jérémie Barthas, we are now able to affirm that it was probably written on behalf of the Signoria and the new gonfaloniere Ridolfi.

The content of the Minuta The Minuta’s opening paragraphs propose to restore by law the properties that had once belonged to the returning Medici and had been expropriated in the course of their banishment after the French invasion in 1494 and the overthrow of the

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Medici regime. At the very center of the Minuta, however, is a proposal for the addition of new members to the city councils introduced in 1494 and reformed on 7 September 1512. Two new legislative councils had been instituted in 1494.5 The larger of the two was the Consiglio Maggiore, the Great Council, with broad political participation from the middle class, or popolo, and permanent membership.6 Inspired by the preaching of the friar Girolamo Savonarola, the Consiglio Maggiore had been established with a strong anti-Medicean orientation. The other was the Consiglio degli Ottanta, the Council of the Eighty, whose political composition depended on the results of successive elections.7 Membership in the Great Council was extended to those (male) citizens, designated as beneficiati, whose patrilineal ancestors had sat in the chief executive magistracy of the Signoria (and hence were called seduti) or whose names had been drawn and ‘seen’ (veduti), but who had not held office, or who were members of the Councils of the Commune and the People in 1494, and who were not in debt with the commune and were at least 29 years of age. The extension of the beneficio back over three generations significantly increased the size of the new council.8 Moreover, every three years, forty-five citizens could be nominated for membership and voted upon in the Great Council itself for admission.9 For the Council of the Eighty, every six months candidates were nominated both by the Signoria’s advisory colleges of the Twelve and the Sixteen and by forty members of the Great Council drawn by lot.The entire council then voted on each nominated candidate, and the eighty nominees with the highest vote totals became the members of this council.10 On 7 September 1512, after the fall of Soderini’s regime, a law called for the creation of a new council – of the One Hundred and Twenty, according to John Stephens – to be composed of the aforementioned Eighty, former members of the Signoria, the advisory colleges, and the Ten – this council would be thus dominated by the aristocracy of ottimati.11 The current Eighty, together with the Signoria, the Collegi, were to choose a further fifty ‘added members’ (arroti), intended to create a sort of restricted assembly, which was also supposed to include the supporters of the Medici.12 This new law was in force for only a few days and was not actually implemented.13 The proposal written by Machiavelli followed this reform by adding something more to the scheme: as will be explained later, after the first addition of fifty arroti (who were supposed to be elected by the council, but whose election never took place due to conflict within the council itself), and of another eleven arroti chosen by the Signoria, Machiavelli’s Minuta now proposed membership for twenty additional arroti, this time to be chosen only by the Signoria.The nomination and scrutiny of candidates every six months for the new Eighty was entrusted to the Signoria, the advisory colleges, and the arroti. The addition of new members, as well as the reelection of the Eighty, in the original plan of the new gonfaloniere, Giovan Battista Ridolfi, was intended to make of this new assembly a sort of aristocratic senate. These measures marked a partial shift in the balance of power in favor of the new senate, by limiting the strength of that Great Council, which represented the basis of the power of the previous

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popular regime led by Soderini and supported by Machiavelli.14 Yet, the fact that Machiavelli wrote these proposals in his own hand – in the shape of an informal document issued on behalf of the gonfaloniere and the Signoria – must be seen, above all, as indicating that the Florentine secretary himself considered it necessary to acknowledge the policy of the new regime. Machiavelli probably conceived this reform as an attempt to preserve the city’s political freedom (a topic of special importance in his writings), by preventing the Medici from dismantling the republican institutions. In order to do so, this reform aimed at a compromise with the Medici themselves, by following up the initiative of a group of moderate citizens who, although loyal to the family, favored the survival of the institutions on which the republican government had based its power since 1494. The Minuta, moreover, not only provides further information on one of the crucial moments of Florentine history, but also anticipates some aspects of Machiavelli’s political vocabulary as elaborated in his major works, as can be seen in key expressions that evoke similar ones in the Discourses on Livy. Despite the attempt to compromise with the Medici, to whom the Minuta was addressed, the reform of the Council of Eighty and arroti was never implemented: only a few days after the drafting of the Minuta, armed Medici partisans attacked the government palace and seized power by force – as many people in Florence feared they would do. They then created a new assembly (the so-called Balìa), which was loyal and subservient to the Medici family. These events marked the end of the popular republic and were the first steps toward the creation of a Medici principate. Machiavelli was dismissed from his position in the chancery in November; a few months later (in February 1513) he was accused of being involved in a plot against the Medici, arrested, tortured, and imprisoned for several weeks.

Electoral procedures Electoral procedures are at the core of the Minuta, in particular the reform that would have allowed adding members to the newly created city council, composed of the preexisting Council of Eighty and the already created arroti (added members). Machiavelli refers to the law of 7 September in the Minuta, a law which was already expected to add fifty arroti to the Council of Eighty. Here is the relevant passage: Considering the difficulty experienced in the election of the 50 citizens to be added to the Council of Eighty, as was established by a law of the sixth of this month [. . .], they [the Signori] decide that a half plus one of the beans will be enough for election to the seats that are still available.15 Machiavelli himself dates the law to the ‘sixth of this month’ and indeed the aforementioned provvisione of Giovan Battista Ridolfi was discussed by the Signoria and proposed to the Council of Eighty on that day. Nevertheless, the Great Council ratified the provvisione only a day after (i.e. on the seventh), because its members ‘were not present in the hall’ on the sixth.16 The Minuta – left undated – must

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have been written between 6 or 7 and 16 September (when the Medicean Balìa was established), and, as Barthas now claims, most probably during the night of 11 September.17 As suggested previously, the proposal’s focus on the Councils of Eighty and the arroti was due to the fact that the new government established after the overthrow of Soderini and dominated by the ottimati aimed to transform the Council of Eighty into a sort of senate (something the ottimati had desired since 1494).18 The arroti were meant to form de facto a kind of additional branch, which was supposed to join the Eighty to form a larger council. Yet, membership of the arroti was for life; by contrast, the Eighty were nominated by the arroti, the Signoria and the Collegi every six months. Election by simple majority was applied to the newly created council. One of the reasons for this was certainly to avoid the delay in the election of the fifty arroti to be added to the Eighty, although it favored the ottimati by allowing them to win a vote more easily.19 The law of 7 September also decreed that the Signoria could nominate eleven more citizens of minor age – a step certainly taken to favor the Medici.This Minuta proposed adding twenty more arroti by direct nomination of the Signoria: It is decreed that our current magnificent Priors shall be given the authority to elect and add to the number of the arroti – to whom the aforementioned law refers – up to twenty people.20 Moreover, whereas the law of 7 September had established that the eleven arroti ‘could be chosen from families which already had two arroti’, Machiavelli’s autograph does not mention this detail, which was obviously expected to favor young aristocrats.21 The Minuta says only that ‘[these arroti] are required to be Florentine citizens eligible for city-offices and at least 35 years of age’.22 The measures in this Minuta were pragmatically intended to add new members (the arroti) in order to allow Medicean supporters to enter the council. According to the contemporary historian Bartolomeo Cerretani, the purpose of the law of 7 September was to add fifty arroti to the Council of Eighty, because ‘it was thought [by these supporters, but also in general in Florence] that some men of stature and friends of the Medici would otherwise be excluded’.23 Machiavelli’s autograph ended by mentioning the voting procedures of the other legislative assembly, the Great Council, and especially the approval and ratification of legislative acts (i.e. its ordinary legislative procedure). Furthermore, it was established that henceforward a majority of one vote or bean will be enough to approve a law in the Great Council.24 Introducing the election by simple majority in the Great Council eased the passage of the laws favorable to the ottimati and gave the new joint council of arroti and Eighty more influence than the previous Eighty had had.25 Nonetheless, it is worth remembering that some of the prerogatives of the Great Council, particularly concerning financial matters, were left intact, according to both the law of 7 September and this proposal.

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The cultural context and the tradition of Florentine politics The Minuta combines the proposals for new procedures for the nomination and scrutiny of the arroti with an explanation of their aims. This explanation puts rhetorical emphasis on the necessity of broadening political participation, and concludes with the idea of preserving the vivere civile et politico, or, as the author puts it, ‘to be consistent with a civic and political way of life’. In fact, the reform was intended, as Machiavelli wrote in the Minuta, [to] . . . encourage any virtuous and competent man to aspire to join the number of the arroti [added members] of the Council of Eighty, although, according to the [current] law, there are no vacant seats, as well as to render this Council more common so that it is composed by a greater number of citizens; thus, it shall be more free and its elections shall be more consistent with the civic and political way of life.26 The vocabulary used by Machiavelli in this manuscript arises from a rhetorical heritage of Florentine politics, which during the early Quattrocento had been dominated by an idea of liberty which was linked to the humanist concept of the vita activa as vivere civile.27 Later on, it was shaped further by the equally humanist reelaboration of the civic political tradition which was part of an Aristotelian but, first and foremost, communal heritage (i.e. the intention to preserve the so-called common good).28 This language evolved in an older popular tradition of Florentine politics that was later absorbed into, but significantly modified by, a more aristocratic vision of republicanism by political writers of the early Quattrocento, such as Leonardo Bruni.29 A traditional sense of liberty in Florence arising from this heritage was therefore ‘the idea of maintaining a free constitution under which every citizen is able to enjoy an equal opportunity of involving himself actively in the business of government’.30 The phrase vivere civile was used to define a governo largo – that is, a constitution that should be ‘widely extended’ – in the particular political framework of Florentine politics post-1494, as John Pocock explained. However, ‘not all [Florentine] men thought it a supreme or an indispensable good that as many as possible should take part in public decisions’.31 In fact, when the Great Council was instituted in 1494, Florentine oligarchs tried to impose the Venetian model of a restricted assembly. It does not come as a surprise, then, that the creation of a more restricted council is at the very heart of the law of 7 September 1512, promoted by the victorious ottimati under the brief leadership of the gonfaloniere Giovan Battista Ridolfi. As already mentioned, this Machiavelli autograph must be related to this law, as it basically follows its scheme of constitutional reforms. Machiavelli was certainly aware that this proposal for changes in electoral procedures was necessary for responding pragmatically to the Medicean threats to the republican institutions

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in a moment of crisis. Not surprisingly, it also reflects, in some of its vocabulary, the spirit of the times when the Great Council was instituted. A comparison of the Minuta with Savonarola’s sermon of 7 December 1494, a few days before the establishment of the Great Council, in which the friar attacked the notion that the people should be kept entertained with festivals, feste, as being ‘true in tyrannies, but not in free, republican cities (città libere e civili)’ also reveals how Machiavelli’s use of this language must have resonated with the same popolo that supported the friar, among them the former piagnone, the new gonfaloniere Ridolfi.32 It is interesting to note that, from a linguistic perspective, the specific vocabulary of the Minuta differs from that of the law of 7 September, in which the expression vivere civile does not appear. The latter, in fact, extensively adopts an unequivocally oligarchic vocabulary and phraseology. The use of the word senato, for instance, is not reprised by Machiavelli in his Minuta; neither is the expression prudenti cittadini (wise citizens), often used by oligarchic theorists of the time. Similarly, the law of 7 September explicitly invokes the traditional social hierarchies of the Italian communes (in which, according to the text, men were ‘acquainted and satisfied with their own degree’), thus revealing the intentions and indisputably aristocratic culture of the law’s authors.33 The expression vivere civile in Machiavelli’s Minuta must therefore be interpreted as a rhetorical defense of the ‘civic way of life’ that had characterized the city since 1494, but it might also be specifically interpreted as an indication of the development of Machiavelli’s vocabulary, which would find an expression only a few years later in his major works. If, on the one hand, enlarging the council by adding twenty more arroti simply allowed the Medici party to be represented, on the other hand, this step certainly aimed to save the larger political participation permitted by the Great Council (although diminished in its prerogatives), which risked being abolished by the Medici, as many feared in Florence at that moment. In this perspective, the particular vocabulary used by Machiavelli subtly advocates a concept of liberty that recalls the model of political participation which had characterized the city since 1494.

Machiavelli’s major works and the Minuta The expression to be ‘more consistent with the civic and political way of life’ can be compared to similar ones found in other writings composed by Machiavelli a few years after the Minuta and his dismissal from the chancery. According to Maurizio Viroli, Machiavelli’s republicanism, as developed especially in the Discourses on Livy, is, above all, a commitment to such a vivere civile, civic life, which he opposes to tyranny.34 In order to understand this concept of Machiavelli’s political philosophy, one should start with chapter 5, Book 1, of his Discourses, whose aim is to define the way to maintain freedom (vivere libero).35 A republic should choose a guardian of its liberty: shall it be the ‘grandi’ (an aristocratic elite) as in Venice, or the popolo (i.e. the plebs, but also the middle class) as in ancient Rome? As he clarifies later in the chapter, Machiavelli chooses the second option – that is the Roman policy of

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making the popolo the guardian of liberty.36 The expression vivere civile, then, occurs several times in this work.37 Its occurrence within the phrase vivere civile e libero in chapter 9 of Book 1 of the Discourses is of special importance: the chapter’s subject is the exceptional role of Romulus, the legendary founder of Rome, who, according to Machiavelli, built a state not for his own glory or power but for the good of the Roman people.38 Thus, in the Discourses, the people should defend the liberty of the city. Moreover, the opposition between a despotic government and a free one, which is at the core of Machiavelli’s theory of liberty, is built around the idea of being ‘consistent with a civic and free way of life (più conformi a uno vivere civile e libero)’. This phrase in Discourses chapter 9, Book 1, repeats the nearly identical phrase of the 1512 Minuta, in which the writer recommends that nomination of the arroti would be ‘more consistent with the civic and political way of life (più conformi al vivere civile e politico)’. In the Minuta, the second term is politico instead of libero, but vivere politico in the Discourses clearly refers to the constitutional framework of free republics. According to Quentin Skinner and Maurizio Viroli, vivere politico in Machiavelli’s works follows the traditional humanist vocabulary mentioned previously.39 Moreover, it reflects the reception of Aristotle’s Politics and the notion of Politeia, in which citizens take part in government.40 In chapter 55 of Book 1, for instance, Machiavelli uses both vivere civile and vivere politico in discussing the difference between corrupted and uncorrupted republics by explaining that the latter do not tolerate the presence of gentlemen (as he defines the landed aristocracy from the countryside).41 Maurizio Viroli explains that Machiavelli introduced a change in the meaning of vivere politico in his major works.42 According to Viroli, the meaning of vivere politico in the Discourses refers to a concept of the republic based on participation and tumultuous political conflict rather than to the humanistic idea of a peaceful community of citizens. Moreover, in the Discourses the expression vivere politico refers to a concept of civic equality, civile equalità, that relates to a Florentine political tradition of popular opposition to the grandi.43 The suggestion expressed in the Minuta that the council be made ‘more common’ (i.e. more open, more accessible) and ‘composed of a greater number of citizens’ (so that ‘it shall be more free and its elections shall be more consistent with the civic and political way of life’) can be seen as an early indication of a similar concept. Although – as recently proposed by Barthas – this document was probably written on behalf of the same Signoria that had recently created a restricted council, and still bearing in mind the practical purpose to compromise with the Medici, one should consider that, in so doing, this council would have been a little less restricted. Above all, in that moment the gonfaloniere Ridolfi was one of those Florentine citizens of prominent families who ‘favored the Great Council’, although weakened in its power.44 A comparison between this Machiavellian autograph and important legislative acts concerning constitutional reform in Florence yields some clues in support of the hypothesis that, although written on behalf of the Florentine authorities, the particular vocabulary and expressions emanated from Machiavelli’s mind. In 1494

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the Medici were banned and the republic was restored. The aims of the law of 2 December 1494, which had initiated the political reforms, are conveyed by the following expressions and phraseology relating to the more traditional rhetoric of ‘preserving peace’: ‘for the common good and preservation of the liberty and peace of good citizens’,45 and ‘for the exaltation of this glorious people and the consolidation of liberty and peace’.46 The themes of peace and unity occur again in the law of 23 December 1494 that instituted the Great Council: ‘the magnificent Priors, seeking [. . .] the consolidation of [the city’s] newly recovered liberty [. . .] and the union of citizens’.47 Then, on 20 January 1511, only a year before Machiavelli wrote the Minuta, another law concerning the city councils expressed the same concept of a peaceful republic: ‘the magnificent and most excellent Signori [Priors] desiring to establish and consolidate the present peaceful condition of the people’.48 Finally, even the provvisione of 7 September 1512 expressed similar aims of governing ‘in peace and union’; and as it refers to a ‘free and popular way of life’, it accompanies this notion by (again) evoking the rhetoric of a ‘peaceful way of life’.49 In a nutshell, while previous legislation concerning constitutional reforms, written by other chancellors, often invoked the old concept of maintaining peace among factions, in the Minuta Machiavelli used only the expression ‘to avoid all causes of faction or tumult’, which again recalls the vocabulary of the Discourses.50 Consequently, the combination of the vivere civile and the vivere politico, as they appear in the 1512 Minuta, can be interpreted as one of the many Machiavellian ‘twins’ or, in the words of Emanuele Cutinelli-Rèndina,‘dittologie sinonimiche’, familiar to Machiavelli scholars.51 The Italian expression designates a couple of words with similar meanings which are put together in order to achieve a twofold effect, rhetorical as well as conceptual; both effects are based on the capacity of the second term to reinforce the strength of the phrase and to improve the meaning of the first one. By using this rhetorical figure, the Minuta, again, points out to the reader that the proposal aims at preserving political freedom and equality, which were now at stake because of fears of a coup d’état by the Medici. This is confirmed by the fact that, in the Minuta, this ‘dittologia’ is immediately preceded by a statement which (in the same line) expresses the intention to render the council more free (più libero). The Discourses on Livy developed an innovative political theory based on this same language. The discovery of the Minuta is evidence of the early development of Machiavelli’s vocabulary, later further elaborated in the theory of liberty in the Discourses. The same vocabulary reappears ten years later in another Minuta, drafted in 1522, already known to scholars, as well as in the Discursus Florentinarum rerum addressed to the Medici in the years 1520–21.52 It is not a coincidence that both the Minuta of 1512 and the Minuta of 1522 either are or contain proposals for electoral reforms. Machiavelli restricted such language ‘to the sphere of the city’ of Florence.53 Bearing that in mind, in the theory later elaborated by Machiavelli in the Discourses, liberty can flourish only where it is supported by law and institutions that provide for legal equality, not in the oligarchic tradition of civic humanism – that is, of a narrow political class of citizens who limited access to offices and councils to themselves.

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Conclusion The Minuta documents another aspect of those fifteen years of Machiavelli’s experience as secretary of Florence. The use of expressions such as the ones on which the present chapter focuses in his major works can be ascribed to this experience, although originally inspired by the city’s political debates, as well as by a humanist tradition. However, the Minuta must be considered as a milestone in the elaboration of the political vocabulary of the Discourses.This is particularly true of the use of the combined notions of vivere politico and vivere civile to define a constitutional framework that entails participation by the popolo. The expression to be ‘more consistent with a civic and free way of life (più conformi a uno vivere civile e libero)’ is the peculiar definition assigned by Machiavelli to the Florentine republic in the Discourses.54 As John Pocock has shown, a ‘significant group of ottimati’ opposed the popolo on the particular issue of the composition of the Great Council. Nonetheless, they ‘were still interested in trying to find a role for aristocracy within a vivere civile’.55 This proposal written by Machiavelli on behalf of the Florentine authorities in 1512 echoed many aspects of the rhetoric of liberty characteristic of this group of ottimati, among whom was Guicciardini, for whom liberty was natural and proper to the city of Florence. Guicciardini believed that a political elite should be allowed to rule, but rejected a formally closed oligarchy, and in the Discorso di Logrogno did not oppose the retention of the Great Council.56 The law of 7 September emerged from this moderate position. It refrained from abolishing the Great Council and simply aimed at diminishing its powers in favor of a senate. The constitutional measures outlined in this Minuta written by Machiavelli also emerged from this kind of reasoning, if indeed they were not simply imposed by the ruling ottimati. Machiavelli had no choice but to accept the reality of the new regime led by gonfaloniere Ridolfi. This does not mean, however, that the Minuta, which evokes the political language of the Discourses on Livy, should make us think of the theory of liberty in the latter work as based on concepts in agreement with Florentine political thinkers of the time, especially when it comes to the problem of how to create or maintain the conditions for liberty.57 According to some commentators, in Machiavelli’s political theory, the source, origin and foundation of political power, which includes but is not limited to its constitutional forms, are embodied by a concept which certain scholars define as a ‘constituent power’, a concept which defines the tension between the factual and political moment of the origin of the state and its normative and legal moment. As a consequence, for instance, even a principe civile, not elected by the people in a city council, embodies such a power by siding with the people against the oligarchy.58 Unlike a previous tradition of thought in which the concept of liberty had been strictly associated with the ideal of a free city of equal citizens who participate in the government,59 Machiavelli’s idea of vivere libero and civile in the Discourses was applicable to both a republic and a prince, because a community can be self-governing in both cases.60 This is the fundamental reason why electoral theory does not play a decisive role in his major works.

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As pointed out by scholars of the Florentine constitution such as Nicolai Rubinstein and Roslyn Pesman Cooper, the system of election introduced by the reform of 1494 – especially, but not only, the election of the Eighty – ‘was capable of both a democratic and an aristocratic interpretation’.61 ‘This was a common characteristic of electoral politics in the Italian communes, whose true nature goes far beyond the mere description of the techniques for the selection of officeholders’, as John Najemy has put it.62 The institutional framework of these political entities consisted of several legislative, judicial and regulatory powers, represented by different councils, magistracies and officials that originated over several centuries of communal development. Machiavelli was fully aware of this institutional framework, and a few years later his focus in his major works would be precisely on a way for the popolo of middle-rank artisans, professionals, merchants and workers to safeguard their interests. The short passage of the Minuta of 1512 on the vivere civile links the canonical idea that political participation is a precondition of liberty to the concrete pragmatic consideration that the council of the arroti should be ‘more common (più comune)’ and ‘composed of a larger number of citizens’, a statement that was not only meant to provide rhetorical support to the proposed measure which would have allowed the supporters of the Medici to enter the councils but also must be interpreted as an open defense of the ‘way of life’ that had shaped the republic since 1494. Both the new gonfaloniere Ridolfi and Machiavelli were perfectly aware of the potential consequences of keeping the Medici out of the new council of the arroti: that is, the suppression by force of that Great Council and, as it actually happened a few days later, the formation of a strictly Medicean Balìa, or special council. The fact that Machiavelli wrote in his own hand a document which was evidently following the previous reform of the city councils of 7 September hints to the possibility that, in that moment of crisis, Machiavelli supported the policy of saving the Great Council (although diminished in its prerogatives) implemented by the gonfaloniere Ridolfi, the same council that allowed for the widest political participation that the city had seen since the foundation of the commune in the Middle Ages.63 Indeed, it is extremely likely that Machiavelli prepared this document in the context of the attempts by the gonfaloniere Ridolfi to investigate Medici intentions (attempts mentioned by Machiavelli’s chancery colleague, Biagio Buonaccorsi, in his Diario) just before the coup d’état by Medicean supporters on 16 September.64 In this scenario, it might have been the gonfaloniere himself who asked Machiavelli to prepare the document, in order to present this proposal to the Medici.65 It is also possible that, perhaps, Machiavelli personally advised Ridolfi on this matter, as he personally considered this step as the only chance for the survival of the republican constitution in Florence at that moment. In any case, the expressions of the Minuta that we have described here must certainly be ascribed to Machiavelli. Thus in a moment of crisis this proposal, drafted by Machiavelli, arose from that part of the ottimati which was hostile to the destruction of the political institutions

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that had held the city since 1494, in an attempt to avoid the end of the vivere politico. At the same time, the proposal pragmatically allowed the Medici to be represented. Machiavelli was certainly conscious of what he was doing and writing, and it is more than possible that he agreed with the general purpose of saving the republican institutions, among them the Great Council, whose political power was threatened not only by the Medici but also by the most conservative among the ottimati themselves. The latter aimed to transfer what remained of political prerogatives of the Great Council to a senate, and armed supporters of the Medici would soon have abolished the council itself.66 A couple of months after he drafted the Minuta, Machiavelli personally suggested to the Medici the building of an alliance with the popolo against those aristocrats who wanted to take advantage of the political uncertainty which followed the coup d’état (he explicitly did that in addressing a famous letter to the Medici, now known as Ai Palleschi, as well as in his 1520–21 Discursus Florentinarum rerum).67 The autograph of the Minuta dating from before the suppression of the Great Council, in mid-September 1512, must be interpreted in the light of the specific moment of crisis described here. If, on the one hand, the political content of this document followed the reform of 7 September wanted by the ottimati, and on the other hand the idea expressed in the Minuta that the council of the arroti should be più comune, then it must be interpreted as a step in the formation of Machiavelli’s political vocabulary later developed in the Discourses, especially because this phraseology comes in combination with the notions of vivere politico and vivere civile that define the peculiar constitutional framework of Florence entailing the participation of the popolo. In the Discourses, the adjectives civile and politico refer to the preservation the common good through legal equality and support of the popolo against the grandi.68 In addition to the necessity of dealing with a dangerous moment of political crisis, in which a moderate aristocracy was temporarily, though ephemerally, ascendant, this document, written by Machiavelli on behalf of the authorities (as shown by Barthas in his contribution), must be interpreted as a pragmatic attempt to save the republican institutions, and above all the Great Council. Indeed, the text itself ends by mentioning the Great Council. In conclusion, the Minuta represents Machiavelli’s first attempt at confronting the problem of avoiding the collapse of republican institutions after the return of the Medici to Florence. In the context of that dramatic late summer of 1512 that marked the end of the popular regime, Machiavelli sought to save the Great Council, which, just days later, was abolished by a Medici coup d’état. It might be added, finally, that the similar language employed by Machiavelli in the 1512 Minuta and in the Discourses provides new evidence against any hypothesis of a dichotomy between a first and a second stage of Machiavelli’s thinking: a monarchical one, to which scholars such as Hans Baron assigned the Prince, and a subsequent republican one, to which Baron assigned the Discourses.69 The persistence of this vocabulary through the years, before and after the Prince, points to the unity of Machiavelli’s political works.

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Notes * This chapter benefitted, at a very late stage, from the recent research by Jérémie Barthas, “L’11 settembre di Niccolò Machiavelli: Su un autografo inedito del 1512”, Rivista Storica Italiana (forthcoming). I thank the author for kindly allowing me to read this work before publication. Although I disagree with the author’s conclusions, as I will explain more in detail in a reply to be published in the same journal, I made a few changes to this chapter where needed to acknowledge the importance of some of Barthas’s findings. While preparing his article Barthas was able to read an earlier version of my work. I would also like to thank the editors and the reviewers of this chapter for helpful comments. 1 Barthas, “L’11 settembre”, argues that the Machiavelli autograph might only be a copy, rather than a final draft. If this is the case, then it is certainly a copy of a rough draft, which is very likely to have been prepared either by, or under the supervision of, Machiavelli himself. In any event, a proposal for changes in the elections and for additions of new members to the city councils is a draft for changes to a previous law. 2 Andrea Guidi, “Un autografo inedito di Niccolò Machiavelli: Minuta di provvisione per la restituzione dei beni agli eredi dei Medici e per la riforma dello stato, 1512”, Laboratoire italien, 17 (2016): 321–334. 3 Francesca Morandini, Guido Pampaloni and Arnaldo D’Addario, eds., Archivio mediceo avanti il Principato: Inventario, vol. III [Pubblicazioni degli Archivi di Stato XXVIII] (Rome: Ministero dell’Interno, 1957), 359. 4 Cf. “Sommario del contenuto delle filze e volumi costituenti l’archivio”, in Archivio mediceo avanti il Principato. Inventario, vol. I, eds. Francesca Morandini, Guido Pampaloni and Arnaldo D’Addario [Pubblicazioni degli Archivi di Stato XXVIII] (Rome: Ministero dell’Interno, 1951), XI–XXXIX: XXI–XX: ‘[filza 89] Lettere 151 e documenti 220 attinenti ad Averardo di Francesco, a Giuliano di Averardo, a Giovanni di Bicci, a Francesco di Giuliano di Averardo, a Pierfrancesco il Vecchio, a Piero di Cosimo, a Lorenzo il Magnifico, a Lorenzo e Giovanni di Pierfrancesco, a Giovanni dalle Bande Nere, a loro agenti, a persone legate ai Medici da interessi politici e commerciali; protocollo delle lettere spedite dalla cancelleria di Lorenzo il Magnifico (1473 ott. 1–1474 feb. 28). 1395 lug. 15–1534 gen. 19’. 5 In this regard, see Jérémie Barthas,“Il pensiero costituzionale di Machiavelli e la funzione tribunizia nella Firenze del Rinascimento”, in Il laboratorio del Rinascimento: Studi di storia e cultura per Riccardo Fubini, ed. Lorenzo Tanzini (Florence: Le Lettere, 2016). 6 The council had been established by the Provvisione of 23 December 1494, published in Giorgio Cadoni, ed., Provvisioni concernenti l’ordinamento della Repubblica fiorentina 1494– 1512, vol. I (Rome: Istituto Storico Italiano per il Medio Evo, 1994), 41; cf. Giuseppe Pansini, “Predominio politico e gestione del potere in Firenze tra Repubblica e Principato”, in I ceti dirigenti in Firenze dal gonfalonierato di giustizia a vita all’avvento del ducato, ed. Elisabetta Insabato (Lecce: Conte, 1999), 113. 7 According to a study by Roslyn Pesman Cooper, the Council of Eighty was composed by members of the magnate families (i.e. members of the traditional aristocratic class, the so-called ottimati): Roslyn Pesman Cooper, “The Florentine Ruling Group Under the ‘governo popolare’ 1494–1512”, Studies in Medieval and Renaissance History, 7 (1984): 71–181; 91–94; see also Nicolai Rubinstein, “Politics and Constitution in Florence at the End of the Fifteenth Century”, in Italian Renaissance Studies, ed. Ernest Fraser Jacob (London: Faber and Faber, 1960), 148–163; Guidubaldo Guidi, Lotte, pensiero e istituzioni politiche nella repubblica fiorentina dal 1494 al 1512, vol. II (Florence: Olschki, 1992), 478–479. However, for an up-to-date discussion on the composition of the Florentine ruling class, cf. Nicholas Scott Baker, The Fruit of Liberty: Political Culture in the Florentine Renaissance, 1480–1550 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013), 235–252. For the composition of the Council of Eighty in the years 1506–7, cf. also Andrea Guidi, Un Segretario militante: Politica, diplomazia e armi nel Cancelliere Machiavelli (Bologna: Istituto Italiano di Scienze Umane, Il Mulino, 2009), 236.

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8 Cf. Cooper, “The Florentine Ruling Group”, 76–77. 9 Cf. Ibidem. 78; Giorgio Cadoni, Lotte politiche e riforme istituzionali a Firenze tra il 1494 e il 1502 (Rome: Istituto Storico Italiano per il Medio Evo 1999), passim. 10 Cf. Cadoni, Provvisioni, vol. I, 53; and Cooper, “The Florentine Ruling Group”, 91–92. 11 Large parts of the provvisione which created this new regime are published in Riccardo Fubini, “Discorrendo di cose fiorentine: la provvisione effimera del gonfaloniere Giovan Battista Ridolfi (7 settembre 1512)”, in From Florence to the Mediterranean and Beyond: Essays in Honour of Anthony Molho, eds. Diogo Ramada Curto, Eric R. Dursteler, Julius Kirshner and Francesca Trivellato (Florence: Olschki, 2009), 1–12. Cf. John N. Stephens, The Fall of the Florentine Republic (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983), 59; John M. Najemy, A History of Florence (Oxford, Malden MA: Blackwell, 2006), 423. 12 Stephens, The Fall, 59–60. 13 Cf. Fubini, “Discorrendo”, 3. 14 Cf. ibid., 4 ff; Humfrey Butters, Governors and Government in Early Sixteenth-Century Florence (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1985), 174. 15 Considerando anchora e’ magnifici Signori la dificultà suta nella citatione de li 50 cittadini da arrogersi nel Consiglio degli 80, secondo che per la leggie fu deliberato sotto dì sei del presente mese per sua finale conclusione obtenuta, et come tale dificultà nasce per haversi ad obtenere el partito per li dua terzi delle fave nere, pertanto providono che basti alla deputatione di tucti quelli che mancano ad fornire el numero delli 50 la metà delle fave nere et una più; non uscendo in ceteris dello ordine che nella preallegata leggie si contiene. Translation is mine. On this provvisione cf. Giovanni Cambi, Istorie, vol. II (Florence: Cambiagi, 1785), 312–313; Bartolomeo Cerretani, Storia fiorentina, ed. Giuliana Berti (Florence: Olschki 1994), 444–446; both mentioned by Stephens, The Fall, 59–60. Furthermore, this provvisione is mentioned in both the Diario and the Storia by Biagio Buonaccorsi, Diario dall’anno 1498 all’anno 1512 e altri scritti, ed. Enrico Niccolini (Rome: Istituto Storico Italiano per il Medio Evo, 1999), 217, 364. Please note that, according to Cerretani (444), out of fifty arroti, only twenty-one were actually created (‘50 de’ quali solo se ne fe’ 21’). 16 State Archive of Florence, Provvisioni, Protocolli 65, fol. 388r: Die VII eiusdem, in consilio Maiori; added over the line: Die 6 [follow Augusti, strikethrough] Septembris 1512, in consilio 80; added in the margin: Die 6 settembris 1512 per Dominos solos, dicta die per Dominos et Collegia et que hodie proponatur in Consilio et quod non stet in sala. Cf. Butters, Governors and Government, 173. 17 Barthas, “L’11 settembre”. 18 Cf. Riccardo Fubini, “Innovazioni costituzionali all’uscita dal sistema politico quattrocentesco”, and “Legislazione e costituzione a Firenze dal regime mediceo al Guicciardini”, in Riccardo Fubini, Politica e pensiero politico nell’Italia del Rinascimento: Dallo stato territoriale al Machiavelli (Florence: Edifir, 2009), 180 ff. & 241 ff; also Barthas, “Il pensiero costituzionale”. 19 Cf. Butters, Governors and Government, 175. 20 ‘Si provede che a’ magnifici Signori presenti s’intenda essere data autorità di potere, durante el magistrato loro, eleggiere ancora et adgiugnere a decti Arroti, de’ quali nella preallegata leggie si fa mentione, infino al numero di 20 huomini’. Translation is mine. 21 Cf. Butters, Governors and Government, 174. 22 ‘Sendo cittadini fiorentini habili alli ofitii et d’età d’anni 35 almeno’. Translation is mine. 23 Cerretani, Storia, 444: ‘e perché e’ pareva loro che alcuni restassino indietro, di qualità e amici de’ Medici’. Translation is mine. On these lines of Cerretani, see also Stephens, The Fall, 59–60. 24 ‘Ancora si provede che per lo advenire basti ad vincere tucte le provisioni nel consiglio Maggiore la metà delle fave nere et una più’. Translation is mine. 25 Cf. Butters, Governors and Government, 175.

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26 Et per dare speranza a qualunque huomo virtuoso et di qualche qualità di potere entrare nel numero degli arroti di decto consiglio delli 80 non obstante che per lo ordinario alcuno non ne vacassi, et per fare ancora decto consiglio più comune et composto di più cittadini, acciò che sia più libero et che le electioni sua sieno più conforme al vivere civile et politico. Translation is mine. 27 Hans Baron, The Crisis of the Early Italian Renaissance: Civic Humanism and Republican Liberty in an Age of Classicism and Tyranny (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1966); John Pocock, The Machiavellian Moment: Florentine Political Thought and the Atlantic Republican Tradition (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1975), 83 ff. 28 Cf. ibidem, 57 ff & 75 ff. 29 Cf. John Najemy, Corporatism and Consensus in Florentine Electoral Politics, 1280–1400 (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1982), 14. 30 Quentin Skinner, The Foundations of Modern Political Thought, vol. I, The Renaissance (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1978), 78. 31 Cf. Pocock, The Machiavellian Moment, 118. 32 Najemy, A History of Florence, 383. 33 The advice to delegate the government to the prudenti cittadini is at the very basis of Francesco Guicciardini’s Dialogo del reggimento di Firenze; cf. Jean-Louis Fournel and JeanClaude Zancarini, La politique de l’expérience. Savonarole, Guicciardini et le republicanisme florentin (Alessandria: Edizioni dell’Orso, 2002), 212 ff. 34 Cf. Maurizio Viroli, “Machiavelli and the Republican Idea of Politics”, in Machiavelli and Republicanism, eds. Gisela Bock, Quentin Skinner and Maurizio Viroli (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), 143–171. 35 Niccolò Machiavelli, Discourses on Livy, Trans. Harvey Mansfield and Nathan Tarcov (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1996), 17. 36 Ibid., 18. 37 In Machiavelli’s Discourses, the expression ‘vivere civile’ occurs seven times, ‘vivere politico’ also seven times, and ‘vivere libero’ twenty-one times. 38 Ibid., 28–29. 39 Viroli, “Machiavelli and the Republican Idea of Politics”, 151–161; Skinner, The Foundations, I, 113–115; 157–158. 40 Cf. Niccolò Machiavelli, Opere, vol. I, tomo I, De principatibus, Discorsi sopra la prima deca di Tito Livio, ed. Rinaldo Rinaldi (Turin: Classici UTET 1999), 458, note 20. 41 Ibidem, 109–111. 42 Viroli, “Machiavelli and the Republican Idea of Politics”, 161. 43 Cf. John Najemy,“Civic Humanism and Florentine Politics”, in Renaissance Civic Humanism: Reappraisals and Reflections, ed. James Hankins (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), 75–105. 44 Bartolomeo Cerretani, Ricordi, ed. G. Berti, Florence: Olschki, 1993, 286. 45 ‘Anchora, per bene publico et mantenimento della libertà et pace de’ buoni’ (G. Cadoni, Provvisioni, I, 10. Translation is mine). 46 ‘Et più, ad exaltatione di questo glorioso popolo et fermamento di libertà et pace’ (ibid., 14. Translation is mine). 47 Intendendo e’ Magnifici et Excelsi Signori [. . .] con tutto el loro ingegno et forza alla conservatione della libertà [. . .] nuovamente recuperata, et all’unione de’ ciptadini, et di pensare a tucte le cose che riguardino el bene publico et universale. (ibid., 40; the translation is mine). 48 I quote from the English translation in Pasquale Villari, The Life and Times of Niccolò Machiavelli (London: T. Fisher Unwin, [1918]), 482. 49 Cf. the text of this Provvisione in Fubini, “Discorrendo”, 9: ‘et di questo presente libero et pacifico et popolare vivere’. 50 ‘Et per levare via ogni cagione di setta et di tumulto’. Translation is mine. 51 Emanuele Cutinelli-Rèndina, “Osservazioni e appunti sulla corrispondenza amministrativa di Niccolò Machiavelli”, in Machiavelli senza i Medici: scrittura del potere/ potere

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della scrittura (1498–1512), ed. Jean-Jacques Marchand (Rome: Salerno editrice, 2006), 117–129. 52 These texts are published in Niccolò Machiavelli, L’arte della guerra: Scritti politici minori, eds. Jean-Jacques Marchand, Giorgio Masi and Denis Fachard [“Edizione Nazionale delle Opere”, vol. III] (Rome: Salerno editrice, 2001), 621–641 & 645–654. For instance, the expression ‘vivere civile’ appears in the Discursus (640), and the expression ‘vivere libero’ in the 1522 Minuta (648). For the Discursus, cf. Robert Black, Machiavelli (London: Routledge, 2013), 232. As Barthas, “Il pensiero costituzionale”, claims, Machiavelli’s aims concerning the Great Council in the Discursus Florentinarum rerum were to increase the number of its members. 53 Viroli, “Machiavelli and the Republican Idea of Politics”, 161. 54 Fabio Raimondi, “Les ‘Tumultes’ dans Le Prince et dans les Discours. Notes pour un lexique machiavélien des luttes”, in Machiavel: le Pouvoir et le Peuple, eds.Yves Charles Zarka and Cristina Ion (Paris: Éd. Mimésis, 2015), 170. 55 Pocock, The Machiavellian Moment, 121. On the opposition between ottimati and popolo, see also Cadoni, Lotte politiche, passim. 56 Cf. Pocock, The Machiavellian Moment, 126 ff. Also see Riccardo Fubini, “Pier Soderini gonfaloniere perpetuo di Firenze committente del Machiavelli e di Leonardo da Vinci: A proposito delle note di Agostino Vespucci alle Ad Familiares di Cicerone”, Humanistica, 9 (2014): 209. 57 In his The Foundations, Skinner claimed that in the Discourses Machiavelli adopts the same type of analysis which can be found in the works of earlier Florentine humanists (Skinner, The Foundations, I, 157–158). According to this tradition, Machiavelli considers liberty the power of a free people to govern itself. 58 Cf. Filippo Del Lucchese, “Machiavelli and Constituent Power: The Revolutionary Foundation of Modern Political Thought”, European Journal of Political Theory, 16/1 (2014): 11. 59 On the idea of liberty and equality among the ottimati, cf. also Giorgio Cadoni,“L’’equalità’ nel ‘Dialogo del Reggimento di Firenze’ di Francesco Guicciardini”, Il Pensiero Politico, 22/1 (1989): 95–101. 60 Cf. Quentin Skinner, Liberty before Liberalism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 54. 61 Cf. Pesman Cooper,“The Florentine Ruling Group”, 92; Rubinstein, “Politics and Constitution in Florence”, 178–179. 62 Najemy, Corporatism and Consensus, 6. 63 Jérémie Barthas, “Le riche désarmé est la récompense du soldat pauvre: Machiavel et le régime financier de l’ordre politique”, Politix, 105/1 (2014): 37–60, accessed March 2016, doi:10.3917/pox.105.0037; also Barthas, “Il pensiero costituzionale di Machiavelli”. 64 Buonaccorsi, Diario, 364: ancora che la Signoria si fussi accorta della mala contentezza loro [i.e. of the Medici] e più volte tentassi Giovambattista di Luigi Ridolfi, su[t]o [I read ‘suto’ instead of ‘suo’ in Niccolini’s edition] di già eletto Gonfaloniere di Iustizia, d’intendere l’animo loro, non ritraeva altro se non che cercavono la securtà loro. 65 This interpretation, which I had already formulated in the first version of this chapter, is now reinforced by the hypotheses advanced by Barthas, “L’11 settembre”, who, as previously mentioned, produced new findings that confirm that the Minuta was probably written on behalf of the Signoria. 66 Stephens, The Fall, 60. 67 N. Machiavelli, Ai Palleschi, in L’arte della guerra, 579–584. This letter dates from early November 1512; cf. “Nota al testo” by Marchand, ibidem, p. 581. The same Jean-Jacques Marchand, Niccolò Machiavelli. I primi scritti politici (Padova: Antenore 1975), 304–5, persuasively argued that in Ai Palleschi Machiavelli counseled the Medici to build an alliance with the popolo. Riccardo Fubini considers the Discursus Florentinarum rerum as antiaristocratic, “Dalla rappresentanza sociale alla rappresentanza politica. Sviluppi

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politico-costituzionali in Firenze dal Tre al Cinquecento”, in Riccardo Fubini, Italia Quattrocentesca. Politica e diplomazia nell’età di Lorenzo il Magnifico (Milan: Franco Angeli, 1994), Cf. also John Najemy, “Machiavelli’s Florentine Tribunes”, in Renaissance Studies in Honor of Joseph Connors, eds. Machtelt Israëls and Louis Waldman (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press; Milan: Officina Libraria, 2013), 65–72. 68 Cf. Romain Descendre, “Of ‘Extravagant’Writing: The Prince, Chapter IX”, in The Radical Machiavelli. Politics, Philosophy and Language, eds. Filippo Del Lucchese, Fabio Frosini, and Vittorio Morfino (Leiden: Brill, 2015), 57ff. 69 For an overview of Baron’s interpretation of Machiavelli, see John Najemy, “Baron’s Machiavelli and Renaissance Republicanism”, The American Historical Review, 101/1 (1996): 119–129.


The meaning of parliamentary elections in seventeenth-century England long seemed clear enough. The mid-twentieth-century master narrative of England’s history was unapologetically progressive, a story of the conscious and socially responsive construction of restraints on the arbitrariness of monarchical power. The agent of such construction was, of course, parliament and the electorate that returned the House of Commons to Westminster accordingly held an unmistakable significance. Elections in this formulation registered the growing involvement of a broad ‘political nation’ – potentially perhaps one third of the adult male populace – in a parliamentary process informed at the local level by issues of increasingly national significance, and characterized as well by manifest political partisanship. In the 1960s and 1970s a number of works gave shape to that general outline.1 But all this was to change fast in the revisionist moment of the later 1970s. Then the brilliant parliamentary historian Conrad Russell (later the Fifth Earl Russell) asserted both the nonconfrontational nature of most parliamentary proceedings in the early Stuart period and the continued dominance of members of the nobility.2 Meanwhile, for historians of the later seventeenth century, the progressive vision receded as the absolutist options facing England seemed to become ever clearer.3 But it was not until the 1980s, when the American scholar Mark Kishlansky determinedly questioned the centrality in the early Stuart period of elections, and thus the role of ordinary people more broadly, that the new approach gained a sharper polemical edge.4 The master narrative gave place to something that seemed subtler and, for a moment, more plausible when Kishlansky detected in Shakespeare’s Coriolanus an attribution of the near-collapse of Rome’s early republic to the divisiveness of elections. Early Stuart elites were, he assured us, revealingly reluctant to proceed to an election, much preferring to maintain control by selecting candidates backstage. But Kishlansky’s reading of his Shakespearean source proved tendentious, as indeed

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was the conclusion that he so influentially drew of the inappropriateness of electoral analyses to early Stuart England.5 A closely contemporaneous text pointed in another direction. Indeed, this invites us to take a very different measure of the meaning and significance of elections, to turn away from the polling and the constituency data that have shown themselves almost as beguiling in the seventeenth century as in the twenty-first, and to take seriously the phrase that provides the watchword for this volume of essays: ‘a culture of voting’. And that means paying attention to practice.

The practice of voting In 1619 or 1620 Thomas Middleton, the most popular English playwright of his day, finished Hengist, King of Kent: Or, The Mayor of Queenborough for the London stage. The play’s title, for all its awkwardness, declares an interest in rule, and the text’s focus on the popular origins of power lives up to the title. Middleton shows us the last Roman authority in Britain, the hapless Constantius, drafted into office by popular ‘election’, by popular ‘electing’; by contrast, he sees divine favor in a more indirect succession practice. Reporting on the Saxons’ fifth-century descent on Kent under that famous pair Hengist and Horsa, Middleton’s Chorus pronounces, ‘When Germany was over-grown with sons of peace too thickly sown, / Several guides were chosen then by destin’d lots to lead out men’. In that neat counterpointing of choice and divine providence, ‘destiny’, Middleton exploited the double meaning of the word ‘election’, and might have seemed to offer the revisionists another critic of polling. But Middleton’s view of more conventional electoral processes was scarcely hostile. He painted a fairly relaxed picture of a bunch of small-town bumpkins – the good men of Queenborough – trying to persuade the newly arrived Hengist to rescue their mayoral election. Hengist protests, reasonably enough, that ‘the choosing of a mayor goes most by voices’ (italics mine). ‘True, sir’, a tanner and the apparent front-runner in the election replies, ‘But most of our townsmen are so hoarse with drinking, there’s not a good voice among them all’.6 That’s scarcely the near-apocalyptic electoral vision Kishlansky claimed for Act III of Shakespeare’s Coriolanus, with its prophecy of the unbuilding of Rome; nevertheless, the dramatic encounter imagined by Middleton, who was about to become London’s chronographer and official celebratory voice, had cosmic significance of its own. For it is with this mayoral election that Middleton’s Saxon invader is naturalized into the everyday world of Kent. The election seems to be, in Middleton’s imagining, the end of Britain, the beginning of England. In any attempt to understand the meaning of voting in seventeenth-century England, Middleton’s account – coming as it does from an important city official and a very popular entertainer – deserves attention. In ushering us into ‘England’, Hengist in formal terms short-circuited the Queenborough voting, and thus seems to vindicate Kishlansky’s argument for selection by the great rather than election by the many. On the other hand, Middleton does not draw formal distinctions and he seems to

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see the synthesis of consensual outcome with lip service to popular form as in some measure the English way – indeed, perhaps constitutive of the English way. We should therefore question our instinct for differentiation and distinction. Any political moment featured contradictory pressures, consensual and contestatory, in different ratios and no doubt in different places at the same time.The summoning of a parliament provided only the occasion for parliamentary elections; contests happened only if a plurality of would-be candidates appeared in a constituency and were able to find a modicum of support. It is no news that before the Civil War of the middle of the seventeenth century only a minority of English parliamentary constituencies were contested. But not all initiatives were top-down: in 1640, that is before the Civil War, Toucher Carter, ‘a plain country carrier’, was among a group of locals who invited a neighboring lawyer and landowner to stand for their little Buckinghamshire town of Marlow.7 Election contests ebbed and flowed not only with the intensity of gentry ambitions but also with the local political temperature – which, of course, was rising as the Civil War neared. And what of all those mayoral elections, like the one in Queenborough? Were alcohol and the rotation of office the true dynamics, as Middleton seems to suggest? In pre-Civil-War Ludlow and Great Yarmouth, both of them richly documented and carefully studied, mayoral and parliamentary elections alike revealed common aspirations, tensions, and resentments.8 As a result, increasingly, if erratically across the country, in constituencies of disparate size and governmental structure, voting did happen.

The meaning of elections What the elections signified might not be immediately clear. Partisans would then, as now, draw their own conclusions from more or less obscure results, and the modern scholarly disagreements over the shape and meaning of the electorate suggest that intentions and calculations are hard to fathom even when the existence of partisanship can be presumed. We ignore to our cost the possibility that at this grassroots level of politics people may have been ready enough to turn out for the excitement without being exactly sure what it all meant. Voting in a period that lacked a formal constitution or fixed expectations of practice and procedure was an exercise without a continuous history, and the activity was learned and practiced in fits and starts. The possibility of puzzlement – manifested at the Suffolk election in 1640 even on such an apparent no-brainer of a question as whether women could vote9 – was certainly to diminish in the excited last decades of the century: by then, the electoral franchise had returned to its pre-Civil-War patchwork state, while the multiplication of general elections amid a ‘rage of party’ meant that countless voters grew experienced in the system’s workings and anomalies.10 In the meantime, the puzzlement evident in Suffolk suggests the difficulty of generalizing, perhaps then as much as now. How much did people know, even if the interest of the Levellers in generating electoral proposals during the 1640s suggests that many did care?11 Anyway, by the end of the century a more active press was assiduously schooling voters in issues and image, all amid the strains of an expensive foreign war and an

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extended currency crisis – a ‘rage of party’ indeed.12 Even so, the uncertainties – and throughout the century – help explain why an earlier scholarly generation’s pursuit of lists and statistics, or the narrative minutiae of such an amorphous episode as an ‘election’ clearly was, has proven inconclusive and frustrating. But can we presume that elections might have generated a sufficiently cumulative and distinctive experience to constitute a ‘culture of voting’? There are manifest grounds for locating in the seventeenth century the beginnings of broader electoral, even political, participation. But the significance to attach to such beginnings is more arguable. A generation or so ago, in the heyday of voting studies, in a time when British academics were in general more confident in their sub-Marxian progressivism, participation seemed one of the markers of modernization, and modernization was unquestionably to be welcomed.13 True, the archives tell us that the use of poll books and other voting records did increase over the seventeenth century, while the development of means of mobilizing voters (bribery and entertaining on the one hand, political appeals and propaganda on the other), and the increasingly organized dissemination of news and information, all spoke of a world that was politically, or at least electorally and organizationally, more sophisticated in 1700 than it had been in 1600. This story has been very well told by Mark Knights, who yokes an encyclopedic reading in a challengingly mixed genre – print and graphic representations of the practice of political representation14 – to an impressive familiarity with the histories of state formation and epistemological change. In such a narrative, elections and voting are no longer to be prized as vehicles of popular arousal; occurring as they did at the intersection of the new fiscal-military state, information technology and its manipulation, and partisanship they instead become the very measure not just of modernity but of its complexity and ambiguity – of postmodernity, we might almost think.15 We can even see a foreshadowing of our own robo-caller malaise in the weary protest from Bristol in the 1690s, ‘I am so solicited for my Vote for next Election of Parliamentmen for our City, that I am resolved now to dispose of it; that being engaged, I may be freed from further Solicitation’.16 But in our own world of electoral demoralization and suspicions both of the state and of the media, prequels to the postmodern may not offer the requisite kick start to those contemplating some new study of elections.17 What may seem an early modern version of community politics offers an alternative. Some of the most successful English historical research of the past generation, particularly that by Mark Goldie, has uncovered a kind of de facto republicanism in governance at the grass roots.18 Earlier scholars often turned to the center and to those who might themselves actually have heard the king’s voice, but the concern is now with those layers of England’s governance that were unpaid and neither patrimonial nor proprietorial.The phrase ‘self-government at the king’s command’ has become a staple of early modernists’ historiography: its value lies in the recognition it gives to the work of those – leet jurors, constables, overseers, surveyors, aleconners, and the rest – in countless towns and villages who took upon themselves the myriad tasks of government, and who were subject to replacement usually by

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annual householder rotation but often by municipal or wardmote election. It has been argued that in early seventeenth-century London fully ten percent of the householder population was in office at any one time:19 a similar proportion is likely in other cities like Newcastle,York, or Norwich; in Colchester the figure may have been higher. Rural villages, if less elaborately structured, were normally no less hierarchical; in many, surveyors, scavengers, and wardens served by houserow, by rotation. Furthermore, recent work has shown that our so-called information culture, the culture of record keeping, grew from the ground up as householders, churchwardens, and petty magistracies, too, tried to cope with the consequences of population increase and population mobility: adult participants in the informal work of government might thus have been tallied for quite informal reasons.20 The political and social vitality of processes, non-elective and elective alike, that were not geared to the parliament at Westminster or to a formal state, as state, is beyond question; indeed, perhaps the single most inflammatory incident in the genesis of the ‘rage of party’ at the end of the century was, though electoral, nonparliamentary: the 1682 election of sheriffs in London.21 It is equally clear that in the localities there had developed a culture of participation.

Local patriotism But the master narrative of English history has drawn its strength from the Westminster parliament and national representative practices, and it has shown a parallel impatience with what elsewhere would look like local patriotism. Two distinct historiographic approaches have coalesced, speaking past each other, sometimes with a trace of irritation, in parallel attempts to lay claim to modernity.22 One group, fewer in number than earlier seemed likely but including above all Knights himself, updates a familiar story by exploring the meanings of Restoration England’s adjustments to the fast-changing facts of electoral and informational life and draws a line of continuity to salient features of today’s political scene (all those party, state, and media formations). Others locate the culture of participation, and with it the roots of ideological change and political quickening, in a more traditional local order.23 The master narrative was certainly due for a makeover, and it is arguable that in experiential as well as ideological terms a culture of participation trumps febrile practices of parliamentary representation; but it may be that the distinctions between the two have been too firmly drawn. In our pursuit of mechanisms, we have lost sight of the actual voting. There, we may find clues to the imaginative purchase of elections, and more largely to that distant and sometimes unfathomable institution, parliament. Voting presumably originated as something akin to the shout of affirmation that greeted the elevated king at a coronation. Shouts of assent might give way to shouts of groups of contending supporters if there was more than one candidate for a seat; but even if an actual division for a poll was deemed necessary – and increasingly over the seventeenth century it was – it did not have to entail divisiveness. There can be no question of the place of unity in the early modern imaginary, that

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homeland of the body politic. Recognition of unity’s normative power underlay the so-called revisionist movement of the 1970s and 1980s, with its challenge to Whiggish assumptions of the naturalness of opposition and conflict.24 But how coercive was that early modern ideology of unity? Mark Kishlansky argued eloquently that contested elections were in effect a post-Civil-War novelty. But when the House of Commons in 1624 voided the contested Cambridgeshire election, it did so because the result had not been brought ‘to the utmost trial by the pole’.25 The House evidently thought then that the numbering of votes was the way to go if there was challenge. Was this confident majoritarianism of a kind that was to be so much in evidence by the end of the century? Clearly not, for as Kishlansky himself recognized (but quickly elided), at Warwick in 1621, after a hotly contested election, a divided election, ‘the whole number’ of the local voters ‘reassembled and consented and agreed to that election’.26 As so often in modern assemblies and corporate bodies, when the political community divides for a vote on appointments, the fact of such division may be readily accepted; what is improper is division that winters over into divisiveness. Thus, in the King’s Book, Eikon Basilike – that spiritual fount for royalists and conservatives – Charles I or his ghost speaks confidently enough of both elections and voting and is there made to lament that it was the partisanship of his enemies that had eliminated ‘all freedome of differing in Votes’.The immediate referent here is, it is true, conduct on the floor of the House.Voting procedures were of course encountered at the hustings, too, as the Martyr King knew.There, he or his book took care only to condemn the rancor and intemperance, not the fact, of elections.27 The novel factor in the modernization that Kishlansky celebrates may then have been the advancing partisanship, but scarcely the voting. Voting was, as a matter of practice, both legitimate and ubiquitous, and it was widely and unpolemically reported in the press. Pirates, mutineers, self-exiles voted, far away in the South Seas.28 Curious English readers were informed that male inhabitants of St. Kilda in the Outer Hebrides voted on common concerns.29 The denizens of Ludgate Prison in the 1650s elected their informal ‘Stewards, Assistants & Church-wardens’ on a monthly basis. Trial jurors voted at sessions.30 Commercial companies perforce expanded the venues as well as the occasions of voting when they substituted the new, collectively held and therefore voteable, joint stock operations for the tightly held individual ventures of the traditional regulated companies; these arrangements were dutifully reported in the press.31 Academics voted in carefully publicized accounts of often long-drawn college elections, contentious then as now.32 Kings voted, too, or so the royalist hack James Howell thought in 1642; appropriately enough, for one so much the focus of devotion, even God Himself was deemed to have voted when he repudiated elective kingship and pronounced hereditary succession ‘the Vote of God’.33 And so on down the line, voting had become, or was becoming, part of the way people thought about the mind and its faculties – the influential and politically conservative Restoration moralist Richard Allestree sounded like a precocious liberal when he likened a developing moral consensus to ‘the common vote of Mankind’, ‘the universal vote of Mankind’, and claimed that reason enjoyed a ‘free vote’ as the mind went about its

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workings. He was scarcely alone. The minor diplomat, essayist, associate of Andrew Marvell and French translator Guy Miège made his own epistemological knot a little looser even as he testified to the broad legitimacy of elections when for his Anglo-French dictionary he translated the French ‘on opine’, which we might think meant something like ‘they give their opinion’, in proto-Lockean terms flatly as ‘they are voting’.34 Miège’s identification of opinion and voting seems emblematic of a gathering position that John Milton, that strenuous participatory republican, surely deplored. Voting in the modern Anglo-American lexicon comes with individualist associations that are hard to escape and that seem already to have formed in Miège’s thinking. Voting is, in this reading, something that we do in the privacy of the voting booth and by way of the ballot box; the altogether public spectacle, such as that of the 1753 Oxfordshire election which William Hogarth satirized in his great Election series of engravings, is today anathema. But while Hogarth certainly deemed the Oxfordshire election corrupt, he seems to have recognized as well a positive argument. After all, he titled the series The Humours of an Election (1755). In so gesturing to the bodiliness of the body politic he was not merely providing himself an opening through which to pillory the grotesque and failing human bodies of his subjects; he was also challenging the prevailing, and scarcely individualist, social-political metaphor. And for a metaphor to be so vividly travestied, there must have been life in it – life that was emphatically collective as well as corporeal. Our liberal sense of what voting means has difficulty accommodating that, and as a result we are at risk of drawing too firm a distinction between the electoral and the quasi-republican approaches.

Conclusion The culture of voting cannot be studied merely as politics: it was also culture, understood more widely. It cannot, for example, be detached from the festive culture of the time. We too readily see election ‘treating’ – entertaining and quasi-bribery – as simply corrupting. But the Queenborough voters in Middleton’s play with whom we began were presented to us drunk and incapable but by no means corrupt. In that, they represented the normative values of community and fruitfulness. Under a woodcut image of the king and his courtiers clearly derived from the 1620s, one election broadside of 1680, that time of high partisanship, printed a hymn to electoral bonhomie: Each Citty, and Burrough, and Corporate town / Have chosen brave persons of gallant renown, / Such men as have gained their Countreys love / And from honest principles scorn for to move. // Twas fine in the Countrey to be at the choice / When each man was there to give in their voice, / They whoop and they hollow they crow & they pother / Whiles some cryes for one man and some for another . . . / March beer and strong ale are as plenty that time, / As if it were water, and so is good Wine, / Where each freeholder

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does take off his dish / And each man does Tipple and drink like a Fish, / When they are well liquor’d to polling they go / Their voices shall carry it, it there must be so.35 It is tempting to see such an outpouring as organicist propaganda typical of the Tories and to bracket it with Dryden’s brilliant satire, from that same moment of 1680, of the sourly ungenerous Slingsby Bethel, the puritanical Whig sheriff of London. But Dryden’s Absalom and Achitophel was so effective because it assumed a studiously moderate disguise even as it exploited for polemic purposes values and practices that were universal and enduring.36 Richard Cust and Phil Withington have shown how the ideal of commonwealth that was so capable of anti-court application drew as well on an ideal of community that could make a bridge to a different kind of fellowship.37 Liberal individualism clearly provides an inadequate register of the meaning of voting. But the civic republican critique is not necessarily much more comprehensive. Those excluded from voting in parliamentary elections – and municipal elections, too – were not altogether excluded from participation. After all, there are numerous examples of strangers intruding into St. Stephen’s Chapel for proceedings in the House of Commons.38 And so, when in 1679 the mayor of Abingdon perverted the parliamentary election return, ‘the Women and Children conceiving a Generall dissatisfaction, Hissed the Mayor home to his house, Crying a Cheat, a Cheat’; that same year in the Buckinghamshire election an anti-court crowd arrayed with drums and trumpets and with ‘Shouts and Crying out, One and all, One and all, [paraded] round the Country’.39 This was a society with few organized entertainments, and anything out of the ordinary was likely to have a crowd appeal that, in any community and as the example of Abingdon showed, could quickly become participatory. Although it remains true that an election was ephemeral, and indeed that the printed appeals and accounts that proliferated over the century were only marginally less ephemeral once repurposing for the privy had claimed so many of them, voting etched itself in memory. Even in towns, with finite and known populations, the work of numbering and checking voters could keep the crowd on the scene for hours. The detail in the surviving listings for the small town of Hertford for the multiple polls through the partisan upheaval at the end of the century is daunting.40 In the much bigger city of Exeter it took three days to poll the voters (and that incompletely) in 1698; it took a whole day to poll a mere thousand voters in the county by-election for Derbyshire in 1670 after one candidate rejected a plan that would have expedited proceedings by giving each region in the county a set order to poll, thus allowing voters to time their presence in the field – a ‘field’ that is to be taken literally in this case, as in so many other county elections.41 Who knows what learning experiences were then had? That such experiences were not limited to those formally entitled to vote is suggested by Mary Astell’s scorn for one who is ‘a mighty Stickler at all Elections, and tho’ he has no Vote, thinks it impossible any thing shou’d go right unless he be there to Bawl for it’.42 It is only because the emojis and heated capitalizings of modern social media practices have educated

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us in the satisfactions to be gained from mere expression – ‘venting’ – that we can more fully appreciate the satisfactions of polling. The significance of an unfixed electorate is also becoming clearer, thanks particularly to the work of Annti Tahvanainen, who has recently demonstrated that participation was what counted above all to the republicans of mid-seventeenth-century England.43 And Astell’s comment reminds us that even in election-centered terms, informal participation could be more or less open-ended. We should therefore question the primacy of parliamentary representation, conventionally understood, in the story of voting. It was after all far away from the hustings that the culture of voting reached its experiential height. In the gathered churches that emerged in the English-speaking world in the middle of the century, voting – ‘the fellowship of voting’, ‘the fraternity of voting’ – gained quasi-sacramental status, conferring as it did the mark and seal of full membership, full participation, in Christ.44 And positions forged in church might not remain fixed there.The Charles I of Eikon Basilike might have been able to warm to the lament the great Dissenter Richard Baxter voiced during the Declaration of Indulgence controversy in 1672: ‘Voteing is not for government, but for Concord, And not to be used, (lest it seem an appearance of introduction of usurpation) except in cases where meer Concord is your work.’45 Here, voting was not the expression of opinion or the consultation of interest; it was (or ought to have been) the work of the spirit. Voting was also, and almost as urgently, a matter of manhood. Much scholarly ink has been spilt on the franchise provisions advanced by the Levellers in the later 1640s, and the tendency of those earlier historians who stressed Leveller aversion to wage-earner and ‘servant’ voters was to see in that opposition an economic calculus.46 We are now much more sensitive to the place of the paterfamilias than we were then: Phil Withington’s exploration of the culture of masculinity that underpinned urban citizenship is invaluable, and Alexandra Shepard has amplified its gender perspective.47 There is no more poignant reflection of the place of fatherhood in thinking about full manhood and the title to civic participation and thus to voting that it conferred than in the work of James Harrington, J.G.A. Pocock’s foundational English civic republican.48 Although Harrington was unmarried when he wrote Oceana, he made marriage the precondition of full participation in his imagined republic – a status that included voting – since ‘the Commonwealth demandeth as well the fruits of a mans body as of his mind’.49 The irony here is not only the ideological jolt offered by Harrington, the wonderfully urbane attendant on Charles I in his captivity, presenting himself as the advocate of the claims of proletarii with only the fruit of their loins to contribute. His stress on full-manhood participation also delivers an experiential shock, too, for he would have excluded himself. When in 1677, two years before his death, Harrington himself finally married, and married his childhood sweetheart, ‘it happening so’, a friend reported, ‘that he could not enjoy his deare in the first flower and heat of his youth, he would never lye with her’.50 The insufficiency of the liberal tradition’s narrow and formal understanding of voting is well known, but the republican tradition has weaknesses, too, if it forgets

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the varied meanings of participation. Body and soul were involved in the culture of voting as well as mind. It was a hard circle to square, then as now. The models that have been offered in the last generation to fill the interpretive gap left by the retreat of Marxism and Whiggism are welcome not just for concentrating our attention on values and practices that are at the heart of Western civilization but also for regenerating interest in a whole field. But in order to understand the seventeenthcentury world we need as well to consider how people experienced voting, how they talked about it. As Middleton knew full well, voting was part of the culture, indeed part of England.

Notes 1 The most far-reaching version of this account was Christopher Hill, Century of Revolution in England, 1603–1714 (Edinburgh:Thomas Nelson, 1961), though the most important applications of the model to parliamentary politics were John Plumb, The Growth of Political Stability in England 1675–1725 (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 1967) and “The Growth of the Electorate in England from 1600 to 1715”, Past and Present, 45 (1969): 90–116; to these should be added Derek Hirst, The Representative of the People? Voters and Voting in England Before the Civil War (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1975), and William Speck, Tory and Whig:The Struggle in the Constituencies, 1701–1715 (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 1970). 2 For some revisionist milestones, see the essays collected conveniently (though after the fact) in Conrad Russell, Unrevolutionary England 1603–1642 (London: Hambledon, 1990), and Russell’s monograph, Parliaments and English Politics 1621–1629 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1979); see also Kevin Sharpe, ed., Faction and Parliament in Early Stuart England (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1978). 3 John Western, Monarchy and Revolution:The English State in the 1680s (Totowa, NJ: Rowman and Littlefield, 1972); John Kenyon, The Popish Plot (London: Heineman, 1972); John Miller, James II: A Study in Kingship (Hove, Sussex: Wayland, 1978). 4 Mark Kishlansky, Parliamentary Selection: Social and Political Choice in Early Modern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986). 5 The referent of that prophecy was the treason charge that the tribunes intended to bring against Coriolanus, not – pace Kishlansky – the electoral challenge to him. For Kishlansky’s claim, see Kishlansky, Parliamentary Selection; for a critique, see the review by this author in Albion 19/3 (1987): Stable, accessed on 27 September 2016, 428–434. 6 Thomas Middleton, The Mayor of Quinborough (London: Henry Herringman: 1661), 10, 11, 20, 42. For Middleton’s popularity and career, see the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Online edition [], accessed on 27 October 2015). For further insight into his politics we await the important and very different researches of Meredith Beales and Phil Withington. 7 For totals, see Hirst, Representative of the People? esp. 111–112, and for Marlow, ibid., 62–63, and British Library, Additional MS 37343, f.198. 8 For Ludlow, Phil Withington, The Politics of Commonwealth: Citizens and Freemen in Early Modern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), esp. 94–107; for Great Yarmouth, Richard Cust, “Parliamentary Elections in the 1620s: The Case of Great Yarmouth”, Parliamentary History, 11 (1992): 179–191; and “Anti-Puritanism and Urban Politics: Charles I and Great Yarmouth”, Historical Journal, 35 (1992): 1–26. 9 Hirst, Representative of the People? 18–19. 10 See Speck, Tory and Whig, passim. 11 See especially Samuel Dennis Glover, “The Putney Debates: Popular versus Elitist Republicanism”, Past and Present, 164 (1999): 47–80.

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12 For press coverage amid political upheaval, see Mark Knights, Representation and Misrepresentation in Later Stuart Britain (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004). 13 See this author’s “Of Labels and Situations: Revisionisms and Early Stuart Studies”, Huntington Library Quarterly, 78/4 (2015): 595–614. 14 There is an unintentionally ironic echo here of the double meanings of ‘election’ in an earlier, Calvinist, age. Samuel Rutherford showed an instructive scorn for such niceties in Christ Dying and Drawing Sinners to Himself (London: Andrew Crooke, 1647), 329–30. 15 Knights, Representation and Misrepresentation, passim; for the fiscal-military state, see John Brewer, The Sinews of Power: War, Money, and the English State, 1688–1783 (New York: Knopf, 1989). 16 Anon., A Dialogue between Adam and John, Two Citizens of Bristol, About Electing of Parliament-men (s.n., n.d., temp. Wm. III: italics mine), 1. 17 As the republican John Hall of Durham demanded in 1651, ‘As for that formall [free] election and stipulation, who sees not what a vain and ridiculous cheat it is?’ – quoted in Antti Tahvanainen, “Free Elections and Freedom of Speech in English Republican Thought”, in Freedom and the Construction of Europe, eds. Quentin Skinner and Martin van Gelderen (2 vols, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), vol. 2, 131. Outside the purely local expressions of dissatisfaction heard in occasional urban franchise disputes and in the solitary general challenge of the Army debates at Putney in 1647, there is scant evidence of skepticism on the streets: for the franchise disputes, where skepticism might have been expressed, see Hirst, Representative of the People? The question was in some manner raised, if not directly discussed, in the extensive controversy in 1642–43 sparked by Henry Parker’s Observations of 1642, a controversy brilliantly if all too briefly illuminated in the Columbia edition of The Complete Prose of John Milton vol. 2, ed. Ernest E. Sirluck (New York: Columbia University Press, 1959): that illumination was unfortunately lost in bibliographic obscurity which has made the edition hard to track. 18 Mark Goldie, “The Unacknowledged Republic: Office-Holding in Early Modern England”, in The Politics of the Excluded c.1500–1850, ed. Tim Harris (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2001), 153–194. 19 Valerie Pearl, “Social Policy in Early Modern London”, in History and Imagination: Essays in Honour of H.R. Trevor-Roper, eds. Hugh Lloyd-Jones, Valerie Pearl and Blair Worden (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1981), 115–131. 20 Paul Griffiths, “Local Arithmetic: Information Cultures in Early Modern England”, in Remaking English Society: Social Relations and Social Change in Early Modern England, eds. Steve Hindle, Alexandra Shepard, and John Walter (Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, 2013), 113–134. 21 P.N., An Exact Abridgment of All the Trials (Not Omitting Any Material Passages Therin) Which Have Been Published Since the Year 1678 Relating to the Popish and Pretended Protestant Plots (London: Awnsham Churchill, 1690), 367–368; Anon., A True Account of the Irregular Proceedings at Guild-Hall in the Year 1682 (London: s.n., 1689), 1. 22 See, for example, John Morrill, “Renaming England’s Wars of Religion”, in England’s Wars of Religion, Revisited, eds. Charles W. A. Prior and Glenn Burgess (Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate, 2011), 311–312; Martin Dzelzainis. “Anti-Monarchism in English Republicanism”, in Republicanism: A Common European Heritage, eds. Martin Van Gelderen and Quentin Skinner (2 vols, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), vol. I, 32–37. 23 See, for example, Tahvanainen, “Free Elections and Freedom of Speech”. 24 See Hirst, “Of Labels and Situations”, 595–614. 25 British Library MS 159, f.77v, and Add. MS 18597, f.50v. 26 Kishlansky, Parliamentary Selection, 34. James Fleetwood, The Bishop of Worcester’s Letter to His Reverend Clergy (s.n., 1683), offers some instructive contemporary scorn for what Kishlansky saw as the normative practices of ‘selection’. 27 “Charles I”, Eikon Basilike (London: Thomas Warren, 1649), 2, 16–17, 227. 28 William Dampier, A New Voyage Round the World (London: James Knapton, 1697), v–vi. 29 Martin Martin, A Late Voyage to St. Kilda, the Remotest of All the Hebrides (London: T. Brown and T. Goodwin, 1698), 95.

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30 Marmaduke Johnson, Ludgate, What It Is, Not What It Was (London: Thomas Johnson, 1659), 22; Sir John Mallet, Concerning Penal Laws a Discourse, or Charge at Sessions (London: Thomas Cockeril, 1680), 11. 31 See especially the call in The Petition of the Lord Maior, Aldermen, and Common Council-men in Common Council Assembled to the Parliament for the Reducing of All Foreign Trade Under Government (London: Ralph Smith, 1662), 14, for local as well as London voting by shareholders. 32 See, for example, the account of the election broils at All Souls, Oxford, in Leopold William Finch, The Case of Mr Jonas Proast (Oxford: s.n., 1693). Since Proast was a very visible critic of John Locke, the case may have had a wider significance. 33 James Howell, The Vote, Or, A Poeme Royall (London: Thomas Badger, 1642); Abednego Seller, The History of Passive Obedience Since the Reformation (Amsterdam: Theodore Johnson, 1689), 124. 34 Richard Allestree, The Causes of the Decay of Christian Piety (London: T. Garthwait, 1667), 92, 276, and A Discourse Concerning the Beauty of Holiness (London: Robert Sollers, 1679), 164–65; Guy Miège, A New Dictionary of French and English (London: Thomas Basset, 1677), s.v. 35 Anon., Good News for the Nation, or, the Citys Joy and the Countries Happiness (London: Philip Brooksby, 1680). 36 Derek Hirst and Steven Zwicker, “Rhetoric and Disguise: Political Language and Political Argument in Absalom and Achitophel”, Journal of British Studies, 21 (1981): 39–55. 37 Richard Cust, “ ‘Patriots’ and ‘Popular Spirits’: Narratives of Conflict in Early Stuart Politics”, in The English Revolution, c.1590–1720, ed. Nicholas Tyacke (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2007), 43–61; Withingon, Politics of Commonwealth. 38 See Chris Kyle, Theater of State: Parliament and Political Culture in Early Stuart England (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2012). 39 A.B., A Letter From a Friend in Abingdon, to a Gentleman in London Concerning the Election of Burgesses for the Ensuing Parliament (s.n., 1679?), 3–4; Anon. An Answer to a Letter From a Freeholder of Buckinghamshire (s.n., 1679?), 3. 40 Derek Hirst and Shaun Bowler,“Voting in Hertford, 1679–1721”, History and Computing, 1 (1989): 14–18. 41 The Substance of Sir Bartholomew Shower’s Speech at the Guild-hall, Exon (London: M. Baldwin, 1698); The State of the Case betwixt Mr Sacheverel and Mr Vernon (London: s.n., 1670). 42 Mary Astell, Essay in Defence of the Female Sex (London: A. Roper and E. Wilkinson, 1696), 89. 43 Tahvanainen “Free Elections and Freedom of Speech”, 128–145. 44 See, for example, John Eliot, Communion of Churches (Cambridge, MA: Marmaduke Johnson, 1665), 36; Increase Mather, The First Principles of New-England Concerning the Subject of Baptisme & Communion of Churches (Cambridge, MS: Samuel Green, 1675), 5. 45 Richard Baxter, Sacrilegious Desertion of the Holy Ministery Rebuked (London: s.n., 1672), 113. 46 See especially Charles Brough McPherson, Political Theory of Possessive Individualism: Hobbes to Locke (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1964); also Keith Thomas, “The Levellers and the Franchise”, in The Interregnum:The Quest for Settlement, ed. G. E. Aylmer (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 1972), 57–78. 47 Withington, Politics of Commonwealth; Alexandra Shepard, Meanings of Manhood in Early Modern England (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003). 48 John Pocock, The Machiavellian Moment: Florentine Political Thought and the Atlantic Republican Tradition (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1975). 49 James Harrington, The Commonwealth of Oceana (London: D. Pakeman, 1656), 79. 50 Derek Hirst and Steven Zwicker, Andrew Marvell, Orphan of the Hurricane (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 72–73.

9 DEAD AND BURIED AFTER THE ELECTIONS? Voting and citizenship in the Batavian Revolution Wyger Velema

In 1793, six years after the Patriots had been defeated in their efforts to give the Dutch Republic a popular government based on elections and representation, and two years before the definitive fall of the Dutch ancien régime in 1795, Johan Meerman launched an all-out attack on the theory and practice of democracy. Meerman, who was a high-ranking civil servant, an erudite historian, a renowned book collector, and a tireless international traveler, was deeply worried about the unprecedented political unrest manifesting itself in both his own country and in France. The root cause of this unrest, he was convinced, was the inability of many of his contemporaries to properly distinguish between civil and political liberty, and their consequent failure to understand that the latter posed a grave danger to the former. Completely reversing the standard republican argument that liberty could only be guaranteed and political slavery could only be prevented by the participation of the citizen in politics, Meerman provocatively claimed that, on the contrary, it was precisely popular participation in politics, and particularly full-blown popular government, that lay at the root of political slavery. The essence of civil liberty, Meerman argued, was the protection of each individual’s life and property under a stable and constitutional government that guaranteed the rule of law. He proceeded to demonstrate in great detail that the inhabitants of the Dutch Republic enjoyed a very large measure of such civil liberty.1 Unfortunately, however, increasing numbers of Dutchmen were now suddenly dismissing this glorious and extensive liberty as altogether inadequate and were beginning to claim that without political liberty there could be no true republic. This, Meerman insisted, was extremely dangerous, since the introduction of political liberty, defined as ‘the right of all or a great number of the inhabitants of a country to participate in government either directly or through elected representatives’, necessarily meant the end of civil liberty.2 The basic reason for the inevitable descent of a democratic republic into political slavery was the fact that most people were unfit to rule themselves. Sovereignty

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could simply not be responsibly exercised by those who lacked the requisite knowledge and skills, the proper upbringing, and sufficient time. In consequence of this, unscrupulous rabble-rousers would seize their chance and popular liberty would soon show its true face as ‘slavery to the most crafty, eloquent and seditious demagogue who would succeed in bringing the people under his influence’.3 Those not convinced of this simple truth might do well to study the disastrous history of democracy in classical Athens. Meerman realized, of course, that the modern proponents of popular government, although generally ardent admirers of ancient liberty, were not advocating the introduction of a classical direct democracy but of a representative democracy based on periodic elections. In his view, however, the introduction of the principle of representation in no way diminished the dangers posed by popular government and indeed created a host of new problems. How, first of all, would it be determined who would get the vote? The reformers and revolutionaries Meerman was up against generally were in favor of giving the vote to a large part of the adult male population. But could this be called reasonable or fair? Not only did they thereby leave all women unrepresented, but they also excluded a considerable number of men on the basis of entirely arbitrary property requirements.4 The problem of incompetence, in the second place, clearly would not be solved by the introduction of elections, for they would lead to exactly the same predominance of demagogues as direct democracy had done in the classical past.5 Third, representation based on elections did not provide individual citizens with meaningful political power or influence and thereby defeated its own purpose. Let us suppose, Meerman remarked, that in Holland 250,000 people would vote for 500 representatives: A wonderful and invaluable blessing no doubt, and worthy to be bought with streams of blood, to have a one-two hundred and fifty thousand’s part in the sovereignty of my Fatherland, a part which I can, however, not exercise, and a one-five hundredth part in choosing a representative, who will exercise sovereignty with four hundred and ninety nine others in my name!6 Finally, a national system of election-based representation would lead to the creation of a national assembly holding public deliberations and voting in public – a certain recipe for chaos and corruption, as the contemporary example of Paris clearly demonstrated.7 Both Meerman’s shrill tone and his dire warnings, which combined age-old fears of pure democracy with not entirely unreasonable objections to the modern project of representative democracy, suggest that, by the 1790s, the Dutch were in the grip of an intense desire for political reform and even revolutionary political change. That such was indeed the case has often been observed by later historians of the eighteenth-century ‘democratic’ or ‘republican’ revolutions.8 Almost without exception, they have pointed out that the Dutch Patriot reformers and Batavian revolutionaries played an important and indeed pioneering role in these momentous transnational events.9 At the time Meerman published his vehement

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antidemocratic manifesto, the Dutch Republic had already been in a state of political turmoil for well over a decade. Throughout the eighteenth century, but particularly during its second half, Dutchmen had been worrying about what they perceived as the dramatic decline of their once so glorious republic. For many decades, the lively debate about the possible remedies for this worrying phenomenon largely revolved around the necessity of a reform of Dutch morals and manners. It was widely held that only by returning to the virtues of their seventeenth-century ancestors would the Dutch be able to stop the decline of their republic and prevent its fall. It was not until the late 1770s and the early 1780s that this rather diffuse criticism of the moral decline of the Dutch nation transformed itself into a political program for republican renewal. First, the events in America sent a political shock wave through the country and convinced many people that moral and political reform should go hand in hand.The Mennonite preacher François Adriaan van der Kemp, for instance, freely mixed moral and political themes in exhorting his flock to follow the American example: America can learn us how to counter the degeneration of our national character, how to stop the corruption of our morals and manners, how to put an end to bribery, how to smother the seeds of tyranny, and how to restore our ailing liberty to full health.10 When Van der Kemp spoke these words in 1782, the Dutch Republic had undergone a second and perhaps even more important shock: it had become involved in the Fourth Anglo-Dutch War. The disastrous course of this conflict, which revealed the utter impotence of the Dutch state, further strengthened the growing conviction that political reforms were urgently needed. It was this combination of the perception of Dutch decline, the example of a seemingly successful republican revolution across the Atlantic, and humiliating military defeat which gave rise to the Patriot movement in the Dutch Republic around 1780.

The Patriot movement and the National Assembly In its initial phase, the Patriot movement showed considerable similarities with earlier forms of republican opposition in the Dutch Republic. Its adherents openly accused the hereditary Stadholder of harboring monarchical or even despotic ambitions and blamed him and his corrupt court for undermining both the mixed constitution and the republican manners and morals of the nation. To early Patriot leaders such as Joan Derk van der Capellen tot den Pol, it was clear that such threats to liberty could only be stopped through a return to the original republican constitution.11 Yet very soon the Patriots moved beyond these traditional staples of republican opposition and largely abandoned the notion of a ‘constitutional restoration’. Within just a few years, and liberally supplementing traditional republican vocabulary with the Enlightenment language of inalienable individual rights, they came to the conclusion that the Dutch Republic in its present political form was

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beyond saving and that its institutions needed a thorough overhaul. The desire for constitutional restoration gave way to the ambition to create a fundamentally new republic. Radical Patriots such as Pieter Vreede started to argue that the Dutch had never been free in their entire history, since citizens had never been sovereign and had not been allowed to elect their representatives, inalienable rights had systematically been ignored, and there had never existed a proper written constitution. All of this could be remedied, the famous Leiden Draft of 1785 insisted, by the introduction of ‘the best possible of all forms of government, a democracy by representation’.12 Indeed, it was entirely clear that liberty will always remain a treacherous shadow and an empty sound, and the Dutch will be no different from nations submitting themselves to the most arbitrary rulers, as long as it is not understood to mean the right to be governed by laws approved by the citizens themselves, either in person or through their representatives.13 This Patriot conceptual move from traditional mixed government to popular sovereignty and representative democracy was clearly of fundamental importance and would, in 1795, become the ideological basis of the Batavian Republic.Yet Patriot political thought at the same time left a great many problems unexplored and a multitude of pressing questions unanswered. Given the predominantly local nature of their movement, the Patriots did not systematically reflect on the problem of federalism versus the unitary republican state: they simply took the federal structure of the Dutch Republic for granted.Their insistence, moreover, that a representative democracy was the only legitimate form of government and their local experiments with democratic elections did not lead the Patriots to develop a coherent theory of representation. The importance of the Patriot movement therefore must primarily be sought in the fact that it abandoned traditional forms of republican opposition, introduced the notions of popular sovereignty and representative democracy, and thereby opened the way for a thorough rethinking of the meaning of republicanism.14 It would take some time before this rethinking of republicanism in democratic terms could come to practical fruition. The violent counterrevolution of 1787, in which the Stadholder was fully restored to power with the help of Prussian troops and British money, drove thousands of Patriots into exile. Many of them ended up in France, where they were soon to witness the fall of the French ancien régime.15 In the Dutch Republic itself, the restored authorities attempted to stem the democratic tide through harsh repression, but it soon became clear that – particularly after the news of the revolutionary events in France reached the country – it had become impossible to contain the political debate.16 Thus, in an immensely popular and often reprinted pamphlet first published in 1793, Pieter Paulus, later to become the first chairman of the National Assembly, insisted that the first and most important right of each citizen was ‘to have a voice in the legislative assembly of the entire society, either personally, or through representatives elected by him’.

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Throughout the pamphlet, he kept returning to the theme that the only true citizens were those who were ‘their own lawgivers’.17 Despite the circulation of such clearly subversive texts, however, it was not until early in 1795, when the French troops crossed the frozen Dutch rivers, that the old and by then thoroughly delegitimized Dutch Republic finally and definitively collapsed. The Stadholder fled to England, the Batavian Republic was proclaimed, and the great work of building a democratic republic could finally begin in practice. The atmosphere in the new Batavian Republic during the first months after the fall of the old regime was one of exhilaration and optimism. The French slogan of ‘liberty, equality, and fraternity’ was heard everywhere, and within weeks declarations of the rights of man and of the citizen were adopted in most provinces.18 The old and unelected local regents were swiftly removed from their posts and replaced with elected provisional representatives of the people. While these first domestic revolutionary measures were implemented, the Batavians also reached an agreement with their French liberators. In the Treaty of the Hague of 16 May 1795, the French – in return for, among other things, a substantial sum of money – promised to respect the sovereignty and independence of the new Dutch state.19 It seemed as if everything was now in place for the rapid establishment of a new and popular form of republican government, based on the written constitution so fervently desired by the Dutch revolutionaries. Yet the initial atmosphere of revolutionary unity turned out to be short-lived. It soon became clear that there existed very little agreement among the revolutionaries about the nature of republican government and representative democracy. Indeed, it took the Batavians more than a year even to bring together their first National Assembly, which first met in the Hague – in the old ballroom of the Stadholder – on 1 March 1796. Its members were elected on the basis of a provisional set of regulations adopted, after much haggling, by the Estates General in December of 1795 and embodying the principles of popular sovereignty and representative democracy.20 These provisional regulations, which would function as the main guideline for both elections and parliamentary practice until the adoption of the first constitution in 1798, stipulated that, after the population as a whole had been counted, the country would be divided into basic units of five hundred inhabitants. From these five hundred, the adult males, that is to say those over 20 years of age, would meet for elections in primary assemblies. There were no property requirements; excluded from the vote were not only all women (although this was considered so self-evident that it was not even mentioned) but also those who were bankrupt, those who were so poor that they received public or private financial support, those convicted of serious crimes or imprisoned, and those who refused to declare that the only legitimate form of government was one based on the principle of popular sovereignty.21 The national elections were indirect: each primary assembly voted for an elector, and these electors then met in an electoral assembly in one of the 124 districts into which the country had been divided in order to elect one member of the National Assembly.22 The requirements for becoming an elector and for becoming a member of parliament were slightly more strict than those for voting in the primary assemblies in terms of age and residency requirements.

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When the National Assembly thus elected started meeting, hopes for the future were still high, despite the by-now-obvious existence of deep political divisions. As the representatives for the first time filed into the small ballroom, ecstatic crowds cheered them on with cries of ‘Vivat the Republic!’ Pieter Paulus then addressed the men who faced the difficult task of designing a new constitution. Greater steps toward the establishment of true liberty had been taken in the past year, he assured his audience, than in all the previous two hundred years of Dutch history. And all of this had been brought about without even a trace of the ‘murderous scenes’ recently witnessed in other revolutionary parts of Europe. The only thing now needed was to crown this remarkable achievement with a constitution ‘based on the eternal rights of man and of the citizen’. What could be so difficult about that? After all, the Americans and the French had already erected a ‘grand edifice of liberty’. Little more than unity and the avoidance of party strife was needed for the Batavians to take their place beside these nations.23 In reality, it took much more to achieve what Paulus, who died shortly after his rousing speech to the new representatives, had so fervently desired: a first constitution rejected by the popular vote, a second National Assembly, a coup d’état, and more than two years, to be precise. Rather than bringing about the hoped-for unity, the National Assembly served to make the deep political divisions among Dutch revolutionary republicans more visible than ever. It might be said that, for the first time in Dutch history, it created a central platform for political debate. Its activities were reported upon in great detail in the regularly published Dagverhaal, its meetings were open to the public, and its deliberations were the subject of running commentary in such periodicals as De Republikein and De Democraten.24 Closely scrutinized by public opinion, the generally highly educated elected representatives conducted, be it in the various constitutional committees or in the plenary sessions of the parliament, a debate about the nature of republican government that was quite astonishing in its depth and intensity.25 Although they made swift progress on certain topics – the separation of church and state is a prime example – the new parliamentarians failed to reach even the beginning of a consensus on the main issues, so that finally the most divisive matters had to be resolved by a relatively nonviolent coup d’état in January of 1798.26

Disagreements about democracy The first major issue on which the Batavian revolutionaries failed to reach agreement in the crucial years between 1796 and 1798 was the shape of their future republican state. Was it to be a federal republic, retaining some features of the old Dutch Republic, or was a complete adoption of the French principle of ‘unité et indivisibilité’ to be desired? The second source of deep disagreement, not unrelated to the first, was the nature of representative democracy. It has already been observed previously that, in the course of the 1780s, the Patriots had redefined a legitimate republic as a ‘democracy by representation’. Momentous as this conceptual shift was, it surprisingly did not immediately lead to much reflection on the exact nature of democratic representation. This no doubt had much to do with the fact that the

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Patriots never questioned the federal structure of the Dutch Republic and therefore simply presumed that close ties between the citizens and their representatives would exist under the new system and that ‘Government and the People’ would ‘almost be one and the same body’.27 It was not until after the beginning of the French Revolution, and more especially after the fall of the Dutch old regime in 1795, that the Dutch republican revolutionaries, many of them former Patriots, began to ponder the full implications of the concept of democratic representation that had so enthusiastically been adopted during the 1780s. Indeed, from the moment debates about the election of a single National Assembly started, the nature of the concept of democratic representation took political center stage.28 The ensuing discussion was, as we shall see, extremely complex. Most participants agreed on a number of basic points, such as the ultimate sovereignty of the people, the necessity of some form of political representation in all but the tiniest states, and the link between legitimate representation and the actual election of the representatives. That, however, was as far as the consensus went, for when it came to defining the precise nature of popular sovereignty and democratic representation, the debate revealed a deep divide between two ultimately irreconcilable positions. On the one hand, there were those who regarded election-based representation as no more than a necessary evil and considered it insufficient to secure the permanent participation of the republican citizen in politics. On the other hand, there were those who viewed election-based democratic representation as an excellent substitute for the permanent sovereignty of the people, as a sufficient mechanism for safeguarding individual rights, and an efficient new way to legitimate the inevitable rule of a small political elite.

Theories of representation In many ways, the Batavian debates on the nature of election-based representation reflected what Hannah Pitkin has called ‘the central classic controversy’ about the nature of political representation.29 They saw the emergence of a fundamental divide between the adherents of a ‘mandate’ or ‘actual’ theory of representation and the adherents of an ‘independence’ or ‘virtual’ theory of representation.30 Although the nature of representation was also ceaselessly discussed in pamphlets and newspapers, it was in the National Assembly that the most fundamental Batavian debates on this matter were conducted. Given the fact that its composition was the result of a national and free election, the National Assembly could be said to ‘represent’ the people. But what, according to the revolutionary parliamentarians, did this exactly mean? To some radical republican members of the National Assembly, it was quite clear that they had or should have very little independence from the electorate. Pieter Vreede, who defined republican liberty as the self-rule of the citizen, pointed out that a system of election-based democratic representation was infinitely inferior to a direct democracy, since the citizens lost a considerable part of their capacity to rule themselves.31 He reluctantly accepted the fact that under modern circumstances representation had become inevitable.Yet he emphatically warned that this did not

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mean that the representatives should be left to act independently after the elections were over. ‘Nothing’, he observed, ‘is deadlier to liberty than citizens who quietly go to sleep trusting the people they have invested with power’.32 Coert Lambertus van Beyma, who loved to quote the works of Rousseau to his fellow representatives, repeatedly explained that although representation, unknown to the glorious ancients, had become a necessity in the large and populous states of the modern world, it was nonetheless undeniably ‘a diminution of original liberty’. A popular government by representation, he was convinced, should under no circumstances be interpreted as replacing the will of the citizens by the will of the elected representatives. To prevent this from happening, he deemed it absolutely necessary for the citizens to exercise the greatest possible influence over those they had elected to represent them. Representatives, he pointed out, were to be viewed as the administrators of the people, not as its curators or wardens.33 Jacob Hahn, another avid reader of Rousseau, completely agreed with this evaluation of the proper role of representatives. He observed that the origins of the word ‘representative’ were to be found in the despicable ‘feudal system’ and that this alone should suffice to treat it with suspicion in a ‘free state’. It was a matter of considerable worry to him that the entirely false notion ‘that the representatives of the people possess the entire power of the people’ now seemed to have found widespread acceptance. Representatives were no more than mandataries and ‘should never imagine that they are the people’. To keep the representatives from entertaining such harmful and dangerous delusions, Hahn even – unsuccessfully – suggested abolishing the term ‘representative’ altogether.34 On the other side of the spectrum of opinion, there were those who embraced a theory of democratic representation reminiscent of the work of Sieyes. They maintained that, although the people should of course elect its representatives, these should thereafter largely be allowed to operate in independence.35 This was, they invariably pointed out, precisely the difference between a direct democracy and the modern notion of representative democracy. As Jacob van Manen put it in February of 1797,‘in a Representative Democracy the Legislative Power is what the People is in a direct Democracy’.36 Those who defended the ‘independence’ theory of democratic representation never tired of drawing attention to the fact that it was not only undesirable but also impossible for the electorate to effectively and constantly monitor the activities of the elected representatives. Johan van Hooff observed, The entire people is incapable of keeping a watchful eye on everything, since it cannot possibly be sufficiently enlightened in political matters. It is of course possible to incite it and urge it on, but surveillance by the entire people invariably means chaos.37 Giving the citizens a permanent and active role in politics other than the periodic casting of their vote would mean blurring the essential distinction between governors and governed and would open the door to all the excesses for which the democracies of the ancient world were widely known and condemned. There was,

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Van Hooff concluded, simply no viable alternative to regarding the elected legislative assembly, representing the sovereign people, as the only legitimate sovereign power in the country.38 Surprisingly enough, these opposed approaches to the nature of democratic representation did not coincide with the views the members of the National Assembly espoused on the vexed question of the federal versus unitary state. Whereas in the American constitutional debates of the late eighteenth century the Anti-Federalists generally seem to have favored a ‘mandate’ theory of representation and the Federalists an ‘independence’ theory of representation, no such neat and clear-cut division emerged in the Batavian debates.39 Republicans who stressed the need for citizen participation and therefore tended to adopt a ‘mandate’ theory of representation, for instance, could be found among both ultrafederalists and radical unitarissen. Thus Joan Hendrik Swildens, one of the more prominent federalist theorists, was convinced not only that smallness of scale was crucial to the survival of republican liberty but also that representatives should always remain bound to the citizens who had elected them. A republic should be a pyramid of ‘mandate relationships’ and should never be governed by ‘an independent collective Body’.40 Yet in the same first year of the Batavian Revolution that the federalist Swildens was warning his fellow republicans not to give away all their political power to independent representatives, Bernardus Bosch, a well-known adherent of the principle of unity and indivisibility, was doing exactly the same. It was the hallmark of a true republic, he claimed, that everybody participated in the process of governing and being governed.This ancient ideal could, under a system of representation, only be realized if all citizens constantly ‘judged, sanctioned or rejected’ the conduct of their delegates. Should they fail to protect their own supreme power in this way, the consequences would be truly dreadful, ‘because if you lose your sovereignty, in which your moral being as a human consists, you will cease to be human altogether and will once again become an animal, driven by the stick of its master’.41 While ‘mandate’ and ‘independence’ theories of representation could thus evidently be adopted by both opponents and supporters of the unitary state, their role in the debate about the restoration of republican virtue was less unambiguous. In the aforementioned, we have seen that the Dutch had been agonizing over their loss of republican virtue for many decades and that, from the 1780s on, they had sought the solution to this problem primarily in the introduction of new forms of political liberty. During the early years of the Batavian Revolution, however, it transpired that the different conceptions of political representation the revolutionaries adopted also led to different scenarios for the political restoration of republican virtue. Republicans who embraced an independence theory of representation tended to emphasize the need for virtue in the representatives and to regard the electoral process primarily as a way to select a virtuous elite. Once in place, this new political elite would, by its example, in turn inspire virtue in the larger population. This scenario gave rise to an extensive literature on the qualities desirable in the new members of parliament. G.C.C. Vatebender, for instance, in 1795 devoted his farewell address as rector of the Latin school in Gouda to this topic. The qualities

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of a representative of the people, he insisted, should far exceed those of the average citizen and should come as close as possible to human perfection. Over and above the qualities that every good citizen should possess, a representative of the people should also be a shining example of virtue, a deeply learned man, and a truly noble and elevated soul. Only through such rare characteristics would he be able to equal the heroic defense of liberty and country that the Roman Senate had shown at its best moments and would he, in his hour of death, be able to say to the Fatherland: ‘I have lived only for you’.42 To those republicans who emphasized the permanent participation of the people in politics, such views of course were wholly unacceptable. In their scenario, the restoration of virtue could not be achieved through the exemplary role of an elite of representatives, but only through the political activities of the citizens themselves. They therefore stressed the immense importance of grassroots politics, either in the many popular political societies that had sprung up after 1795, or in the primary assemblies. Pieter Vreede even went so far as to propose a synthesis of these two forms. In the National Assembly, he advocated the institution of ‘Constitutional Popular Societies’ in which the people would meet on a weekly or monthly basis to discuss public affairs. Such gatherings would be ‘schools, where the true interests of the country are taught, where the minds are enlightened and the hearts awakened. They would be the repositories of liberty’.43 Although they were somewhat more cautious than Vreede and carefully eschewed any suggestion that they were advocating an imperium in imperio, the editors of the influential De Democraten fully agreed with his idea that national virtue could only be politically revived at the grassroots level and that both popular societies and primary assemblies needed to play a crucial role in this process.44 Evidently, however, the sharpest confrontations between the different conceptions of election-based representation and ultimately the nature of republican government took place at those moments when key decisions on the future constitutional order had to be made. One such moment came during the summer of 1797, when the Dutch were about to vote for the first time on a constitutional proposal. Endless debates in the National Assembly had resulted in an outrageously long and extremely complex constitutional document, containing no fewer than 918 articles.45 Radical republicans in parliament had for many months opposed some of the main features of this proposed constitution. Since they had lost that battle, they now decided to appeal to the voters and published a pamphlet that has become known as the ‘Manifesto of the Twelve Apostles’.46 In sharp contrast to the indecent length of the constitutional proposal, the twelve parliamentarians presented the public with a short and succinct list of objections, all intended to demonstrate that adoption of the proposal would spell the end of true republican government. Their main point was that the proposal unnecessarily and disastrously curtailed the active involvement of the citizen in politics. By severely limiting the role of the primary assemblies in the electoral process and thus destroying the tie between voter and representative, the twelve parliamentarians claimed, the proposed constitution was cutting the heart out of the republican system. Instead of introducing popular self-government through representation, it would subjugate

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the people by imposing ‘an aristocratic yoke, upholstered in soft velvet’.47 Everything else also clearly pointed in that direction. Playing on old republican fears, the manifesto pointed out that the constitutional proposal gave a monstrous amount of uncontrolled power, ‘far exceeding that of the previous Stadholders’, to the executive and thus made it impossible ‘to protect the abused citizen against the violence of the executive power’.48 Indeed, nowhere in the proposal was the nation assured of any effective control over ‘those who are vested with power’.49 To make things even worse, the proposed constitution also made constitutional revision, absolutely indispensable to reorganize matters ‘on a more republican basis’, practically impossible.50 In a passage that revealed how strongly these parliamentarians desired to combine the modern system of election-based representation with the ancient notion of republican participation, the manifesto finally thus summed up the disastrous consequences of the proposed constitution: As long as it does not participate in politics, the nation will not be brought to great deeds.The minds will always remain in that black pit where dependence on the will of others has thrown them.The hearts will not feel the noble glow of patriotism for something they do not participate in.The citizens will once again be strangers in their own Fatherland; there will be no public spirit; every member of society will remain the same old beast of burden [. . .] the Batavians will not become Greeks or Romans, whose disinterested virtue and self-sacrifice for the common good of the Fatherland after so many centuries still shine brightly in our eyes.51 Some six months later, with discussions over a second constitutional proposal firmly deadlocked and speculation about a coup d’état already rife, the radical republican parliamentarians once again emphatically made it clear what exactly it was that they wanted. Forty-three of them put their signature under a short publication titled ‘To the Batavian nation’.52 Presenting themselves as ‘republicans who love liberty’, they demanded the introduction of an ‘unadulterated popular government by representation’.53 This implied, above all, that the people should have a ‘constant influence on its administrators’. Not only should the citizens elect their representatives, but they should also subsequently keep a close eye on them. Should the representatives display undesirable behavior, the primary assemblies – the true seat of the will of the people – should be allowed to intervene, if necessary even without authorization from the legislative assembly.54 Needless to say, this group of parliamentarians also insisted that the executive power be kept firmly under control.55 Shortly after the appearance of this programmatic publication, in January 1798, the radical republicans seized power by forcibly removing a substantial number of their political opponents from the National Assembly.Things thereafter moved very quickly. Only a few months later, in April 1798, a new constitutional proposal was submitted to the popular vote and adopted with an enormous majority.56 The first Dutch constitution was a fact. Given its long prehistory, it inevitably was a somewhat hybrid document. In giving a much larger role to the primary assemblies than

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previous constitutional proposals had done, in defining the electorate very broadly, in curtailing the power of the executive, and in establishing a clear procedure for constitutional revision by the people, however, it nonetheless represented a major victory for the radical vision of republican liberty.57

Conclusion It will most probably not come as a surprise that the tale of Dutch republican democracy did not have a happy end. Like many other contemporary experiments in election-based representative democracy, the Batavian Revolution of the late eighteenth century ended in failure.Within a decade from the adoption of the radical constitution of 1798, the Netherlands had become an authoritarian monarchy. Yet the story of the Batavian struggle with the meaning of elections, representation, and democracy nonetheless remains worth telling, not in the least because it reminds us of the fact that in the late eighteenth century, election-based representative democracy remained a highly fluid and ambivalent concept. The Batavian revolutionaries were convinced that representation was inextricably linked with elections and that a large part of the adult male population had the right to participate in such elections. Indeed, they expanded the electorate to levels thereafter not matched until the twentieth century.That, however, was where all agreement ended, for in the constitutional debates between 1796 and 1798 it became abundantly clear that the revolutionaries were deeply divided about what the introduction of broadly based national elections actually meant. To some, like Rutger Jan Schimmelpenninck, the introduction of democratic elections basically meant that the ruling elites would henceforth acquire a new legitimacy, which in turn would serve to bolster the protection of civil liberty. For Schimmelpenninck it was entirely clear ‘that civil liberty is the true liberty, the ultimate goal of society, and that the greatest value of political liberty lies in its protection of civil liberty’, and that an independence theory of representation admirably served this goal.58 For many others, however, such a minimalist and elitist interpretation of the meaning of election-based representative democracy was entirely inadequate and unacceptable. It would mean that, as Bernardus Bosch put it in 1796, ‘the people would be dead and buried after the election of its representatives’ and that the hard-fought introduction of general and free elections would result in no more than the rise of an elective aristocracy.59 For men such as Bernardus Bosch, who remained inspired by an ultimately classical conception of citizen participation in politics, elections and voting were of crucial importance, but they would soon lose all meaning unless they were embedded in a much broader political culture of republican citizen participation. A rigorously enforced mandate theory of representation was a vital but by no means the only part of such a culture, for it also for instance involved citizen armament, education in republican virtue and constant public debate facilitated by a complete freedom of the political press. It was only in such a broad context that voting and elections could truly flourish as instruments of citizen-participation. The introduction of an election-based representative government in the Batavian Republic thus opened up

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the debate between, in the words of John Dunn, on the one hand a ‘dismally ideological’ and on the other hand a ‘fairly blatantly utopian’ conception of representative democracy.60 It is a debate that is still very much with us today.

Notes 1 Johan Meerman, De burgerlyke vryheid in haare heilzaame, de volks-vryheid in haare schadelyke gevolgen voorgesteld, inzonderheid met betrekking tot dit gemeenebest (Leiden: S. en J. Luchtmans, 1793), 5–26. 2 Ibid., 26–27. 3 Ibid., 27–29. 4 Ibid., 30–32, 46–48. 5 Ibid., 32–36. 6 Ibid., 36. 7 Ibid., 38–40. 8 The term ‘democratic’ is generally used by historians who wish to emphasize the essential newness of the late eighteenth-century revolutions. The classic statement of this interpretation is, of course, Robert Roswell Palmer, The Age of the Democratic Revolution. A Political History of Europe and America, 1760–1800 (2 vols, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1959–1964).The term ‘republican’ is preferred by historians who agree with Franco Venturi that ‘it is more worthwhile to follow the involvement, modifications and dispersion of the republican tradition in the last years of the eighteenth century, than to examine the emergence of the idea of democracy in those same years’ (Franco Venturi, Utopia and Reform in the Enlightenment (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1971), 90. 9 Robert Roswell Palmer, “Much in Little:The Dutch Revolution of 1795”, The Journal of Modern History, 26 (1954): 15–35; Simon Schama, Patriots and Liberators: Revolution in the Netherlands 1780–1813 (New York: Alfred A. Knopf), 1977; John Dunn, Setting the People Free:The Story of Democracy (London: Atlantic Books, 2005), 84ff. 10 François Adriaan van der Kemp, Elftal kerkelyke redevoeringen (Leiden: L. Herdingh, 1782), 239. 11 For the political thought of Van der Capellen see, most recently: in Wyger Velema, “Generous Republican Sentiments: The Political Thought of Joan Derk van der Capellen tot den Pol”, in A Marble Revolutionary: The Dutch Patriot Joan Derk van der Capellen and his Monument, ed. Arthur Weststeijn (Rome: Palombi Editori, 2011), 39–65. 12 Ontwerp om de Republiek door eene heilzaame vereeniging van regent en burger, van binnen gelukkig en van buiten gedugt te maaken, etc (Leiden: L. Herdingh, 1785), 46. 13 Ibid., 62–63. 14 For more extended discussions of Patriot political thought, see Stephan R. E. Klein, Patriots Republikanisme. Politieke cultuur in Nederland (1766–1787) (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press,1995); Nicolaas C. F. van Sas, De metamorphose van Nederland: Van oude orde naar moderniteit, 1750–1900 (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2004), 173–274; Wyger Velema, Republicans: Essays on Eighteenth-Century Dutch Political Thought (Leiden: Brill, 2007), 115–177.The best and most comprehensive treatment of the political history of the Dutch late eighteenth century in English remains Schama, Patriots and Liberators. 15 On the Patriot exiles in France, see Joost Rosendaal, Bataven! Nederlandse vluchtelingen in Frankrijk 1787–1795 (Nijmegen:Vantilt, 2003). 16 For a discussion of the political repression during the Orangist counterrevolution, see Cornelis H. E. de Wit, De Nederlandse revolutie van de achttiende eeuw 1780–1787: Oligarchie en proletariaat (Oirsbeek: H.J.J. Lindelauf, 1974). 17 Pieter Paulus, Verhandeling over de vrage: in welken zin kunnen de mensen gezegd worden gelyk te zyn? En welke zyn de regten en pligten, die daaruit voordvloeien? Fourth printing (Haarlem:

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C. Plaat, 1794), 81, 117. On Paulus see E. J. Vles, Pieter Paulus (1753–1796): Patriot en staatsman (Amsterdam: De Bataafsche Leeuw, 2004). 18 Wybo Jan Goslinga, De rechten van den mensch en burger: Een overzicht der Nederlandsche geschriften en verklaringen (The Hague: A.J. Oranje, 1936), 86–107; Franciscus Hendricus van der Burg and Hendrik Boels, eds., Tweehonderd jaar rechten van de mens in Nederland: De verklaring van de rechten van de mens en burger van 31 januari 1795 toegelicht en vergeleken met Franse en Amerikaanse voorgangers (Leiden: F.M. van Asbeck Centrum voor Mensenrechtenstudies, 1994). 19 Schama, Patriots and Liberators, 192–210; Raymond Kubben, Regeneration and Hegemony: Franco-Batavian Relations in the Revolutionary Era, 1795–1803 (Leiden: Brill, 2011), 141–463. 20 “Reglement, volgens het welk eene algemeene Nationale Vergadering door het Volk van Nederland zal worden byeen geroepen en werkzaam zyn (30th December 1795)”, in Godard Willem Bannier, Grondwetten van Nederland:Teksten der achtereenvolgende staatsregelingen en grondwetten sedert 1795, met verschillende andere staatsstukken, historische toelichtingen en eenige tabellen (Zwolle: N.V. Uitgevers-Maatschappij Tjeenk-Willink, 1936), 17–35. The complex story of the making of the first National Assembly is told in Joris Oddens, Pioniers in schaduwbeeld. Het eerste parlement van Nederland 1796–1798 (Nijmegen:Vantilt, 2012), 73–100. 21 “Reglement”, article 10. 22 For a discussion of electoral regulations and procedures and related matters in the years between 1795 and 1798, see Renger Evert de Bruin, Burgers op het kussen. Volkssoevereiniteit en bestuurssamenstelling in de stad Utrecht, 1795–1813 (Zutphen: De Walburg Pers, 1986); Dieuwertje A.J. Overdijk, “Regeling en praktijk van het algemeen kiesrecht in Nederland in de jaren 1795–1798”, in De Bataafse omwenteling en het recht: Acta van het rechtshistorisch colloquium over de betekenis van de Bataafse Revolutie (1795) voor de rechtsontwikkeling in Nederland (Utrecht-Nijmegen, 29 en 30 mei 1995), eds. O. Moorman van Kappen and E.C. Coppens (Nijmegen: Rechtshistorische Reeks van het Gerard Noodt Instituut, 1997), 55–77; Peter A. J. van den Berg, “Wie behoorde tot het ‘Bataafse volk’? Opvattingen over Bataafs burgerschap en politieke participatie in de eerste jaren van de Bataafse Republiek”, Pro Memorie, 7 (2005): 211–250; Mart Rutjes, Door gelijkheid gegrepen: Democratie, burgerschap en staat in Nederland 1795–1801 (Nijmegen:Vantilt, 2012), 94–105; Ron de Jong and Mart Rutjes, “Slecht gekozen: Politieke vertegenwoordiging en electorale wanpraktijken in Nederland, 1795–1917”, Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis, 128 (2015): 579–598. 23 Dagverhaal der handelingen van de Nationaale Vergadering representeerende het volk van Nederland, vol. I (The Hague:Van Schelle en Comp, 1796), 5–8. 24 On De Republikein, see Simon Vuyk, “De republikein van Jan Konijnenburg (februari 1795 – augustus 1797)”, in Stookschriften. Pers en politiek tussen 1780 en 1800, ed. Pieter van Wissing (Nijmegen:Vantilt, 2008), 217–230; René Koekkoek, “ ‘Eene waare en vrije republiek’. Jan Konijnenburg, De Republikein en de uitvinding van de moderne republiek” De Achttiende Eeuw. Documentatieblad Werkgroep Achttiende Eeuw, 42 (2010): 236–259; on De Democraten, see Herman de Lange, “De politieke actie van een bewuste publieke opinie”, De Gids, 8 (1971): 505–515; Allard de Buijzer, “De Democraten, 1796–1798. Een politiek weekblad in roerige tijden” (MA thesis, University of Amsterdam, 2011). 25 On the background of the members of the first and the second National Assembly in general, see Oddens, Pioniers in schaduwbeeld, 101–145; for detailed information on individual representatives, see A.M. Elias and Paula C.M. Schölvinck, Volksrepresentanten en wetgevers: De politieke elite in de Bataafs-Franse tijd 1796–1810 (Amsterdam:Van Soeren & Co, 1991). 26 The most recent discussions of the coup d’état of January 1798 are Nicolaas C.F. van Sas, Bataafse terreur: De betekenis van 1798 (Nijmegen: Vantilt, 2011); Oddens, Pioniers in schaduwbeeld, 302–317. 27 Ontwerp om de Republiek, 56.

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28 For general discussions of political theories of representation, see Hanna Fenichel Pitkin, The Concept of Representation (Berkeley: The University of California Press, 1967); Bernard Manin, The Principles of Representative Government (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); Franklin Rudolf Ankersmit, Political Representation (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2002); Nadia Urbinati, Representative Democracy: Principles and Genealogy (Chicago:The University of Chicago Press, 2006); Ian Shapiro, Susan C. Stokes, Elisabeth Jean Wood, and Alexander S. Kirshner, eds., Political Representation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009). For recent discussions of the concept of representation in the Batavian Republic, see Rutjes, Door gelijkheid gegrepen, 69–120; Oddens, Pioniers in schaduwbeeld, passim. 29 Pitkin, The Concept of Representation, 145. 30 Ibid.: The question at issue may be summarized as: Should (must) a representative do what his constituents want, and be bound by mandates or instructions from them; or should (must) he be free to act as seems best to him in pursuit of their welfare? 31 Dagverhaal der handelingen van de Nationaale Vergadering representeerende het volk van Nederland, vol. IV (The Hague:Van Schelle en Comp, 1796), 449, 601. 32 Ibid., IV, 598. 33 Ibid., IV, 76 and VIII, 276–277. 34 Ibid., IV, 651. The Dutch reception of Rousseau is discussed in Walter Gobbers, JeanJacques Rousseau in Holland: Een onderzoek naar de invloed van de mens en het werk (ca. 1760 – ca. 1810) (Ghent: Secretariaat van de Koninklijke Vlaamse Academie voor Taalen Letterkunde, 1963). 35 For Sieyes’s concept of representation, see Keith Michael Baker, “Representation redefined”, in Keith Michael Baker, Inventing the French Revolution: Essays on French Political Culture in the Eighteenth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), 224– 251; William Sewell, Jr. A Rhetoric of Bourgeois Revolution. The Abbé Sieyes and What is the Third Estate (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 1994). There is no thorough study of Sieyes’s impact in the Netherlands, but see Rutjes, Door gelijkheid gegrepen, 80; Oddens, Pioniers in schaduwbeeld, passim. 36 Dagverhaal, IV, 932. 37 Dagverhaal der handelingen van de Nationaale Vergadering representeerende het volk van Nederland, vol.V (The Hague:Van Schelle en Comp, 1797), 1118. 38 Ibid.,V, 1115. 39 A more detailed comparison between the American and the Dutch cases may be found in Wyger Velema, “Conversations with the Classics: Ancient Political Virtue and Two Modern Revolutions”, Early American Studies. An Interdisciplinary Journal, 10 (2012): 415–438. 40 [Johan Hendrik Swildens], Zes-daagsche Staats-brief over ‘s Lands Hoogste Zaak aan den Burger Vitringa, etc (Amsterdam: Joannes Roelof Poster, 1796), 28–30. 41 [Bernardus Bosch], Over de constitutie, constitutioneele magten en regeringsvorm.Toepasselyk op, en voor ons vaderland (Amsterdam: Hendrik Brongers, 1795). The quotations are on 103 and 109. 42 Gerrit C.C. Vatebender, Reedevoering over het character, de kundigheden en vereischte zielsgesteldheid van eenen waardigen vertegenwoordiger des volks, etc. (Gouda: H.L. van Buma, 1796). 43 Dagverhaal,VI, 117. 44 De Democraten, number 7 (4 August 1796) and number 13 (8 September 1796). 45 Ontwerp van constitutie voor het Bataafsche volk. The constitution was rejected by an overwhelming majority of the voters: 108,761 against 27,955. Leonard de Gou, ed., Het ontwerp van constitutie van 1797: De behandeling van het plan van constitutie in de nationale vergadering: Met een facsimile uitgave van het ontwerp van constitutie, vol. I (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1983), xl–xliv; vol. II (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1984), 580.

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46 Beoordeling van het ontwerp van constitutie voor het Bataefsche volk, also printed in Leonard de Gou, ed., De Staatsregeling van 1798: Bronnen voor de totstandkoming, vol. I (The Hague: Instituut voor Nederlandse Geschiedenis, 1988), 492–500. 47 Ibid., 2–4. 48 Ibid., 5, 7–8. 49 Ibid., 10–11. 50 Ibid., 13–14. 51 Ibid., 9–10. 52 Cornelius Rogge, Geschiedenis der staatsregeling voor het Bataafsche volk (Amsterdam: Johannes Allart, 1799), 473–480; also printed in De Gou, De Staatsregeling van 1798, I, 574–577. 53 Rogge, Geschiedenis der staatsregeling, 474, 477. 54 Ibid., 477–478. 55 Ibid., 479. 56 For the story of the hectic first half of the year 1798, see Oddens, Pioniers in schaduwbeeld, 319–362. 57 The text of the constitution of 1798 may be found in Joost Rosendaal, ed., Staatsregeling voor het Bataafsche volk 1798: De eerste grondwet van Nederland (Nijmegen:Vantilt, 2005). 58 Gerrit Graaf Schimmelpenninck, Rutger Jan Schimmelpenninck en eenige gebeurtenissen van zijnen tijd, vol. I (The Hague and Amsterdam: Gebroeders van Cleef, 1845), 205; on Schimmelpenninck, see, most recently, Edwina Hagen, President van Nederland: Rutger Jan Schimmelpenninck 1761–1825 (Amsterdam: Uitgeverij Balans, 2012). 59 Dagverhaal, IV, 58. Not much has been written about Bernardus Bosch, but see Oddens, Pioniers in schaduwbeeld, passim; Niek van Sas, “De Republiek voorbij. Over de transitie van republicanisme naar liberalisme”, in Het Bataafse experiment: Politiek en cultuur rond 1800, eds. Frans Grijzenhout, Niek van Sas and Wyger Velema (Nijmegen:Vantilt, 2013), 65–100. 60 Dunn, Western Political Theory, 26.


Practices, institutions, procedures

10 THE CULTURE OF VOTING IN MEDIEVAL SPLIT Appearance and reality Nella Lonza*

On 22 April 1358, Ser Gentilis de Calio, podestà of Split, demanded that the city’s Major Council deliberate on several issues: where to find the revenues for the payment of the commune’s salariati; how to respond to the podestà of Trogir, considering his warranty demand on the export of grain from Split; the modality of the tithe paid to the archbishop; the posting of sentries on the hill near the city; and the stealing of cattle by the people of Poljice. Each item of the agenda was discussed individually, a concrete proposition being formulated and voted on. The document, taken from the minutes of the Major Council of Split, like many others in the same volume, gives a complete insight into the governmental decision-making process in mid-fourteenth-century Split: the agenda, the discussion, and the vote.1 The aim of this chapter is to explore the real meaning of the entire process: was it all about reaching the optimal decision by means of free discussion and vote, with little or no interference of the podestà? Did it reflect a genuine battle of arguments in the Council of Split, and the process of the articulation of new legislation? And what was the voting culture behind it?

The minutes of Split: the ambiguities of the record My analysis is based on a fragment of the deliberations of the Council of Split from 1352 to 1354 and from 1357 to 1359, which are today kept in the State Archives of Zadar, and were edited in 1982 by Jakov Stipišić and Miljen Šamšalović.2 Generally speaking, not much is left of the once-vivid production of deliberations in the councils of the Eastern Adriatic cities before the fifteenth century. Besides the Split fragments and a fasciculum from Korčula from the turn of the fifteenth century,3 only Dubrovnik is blessed with a longer series of preserved volumes, which begins in 1301.4 The Ragusan documents owe much of their preservation to the political context: in 1358 Dubrovnik became a de facto independent republic, and

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the old and new deliberations of the Major Council started to be seen as a valuable testimony of institutional tradition and the city’s autonomy. By contrast, Venetian lordship progressively reduced the communal autonomy of Dalmatian cities in the fifteenth century. The volumes which had not perished at an earlier date probably fell victim to the negligence of this new ruler, who was certainly not eager to keep documents pertaining to the former period marked by broader autonomy. Politics, however, is not necessarily the only reason behind the fact that so little has been preserved: many deliberations were actually no more than administrative decisions of an ephemeral nature and therefore of no significance for a permanent record (as shown by the example quoted in the first paragraph), while the deliberations characterized as permanent law for the common benefit were usually extracted and copied into special collections known as Reformationes or under similar names.5 In a way, with time, the minutes of the Major Council became obsolete. We can also deduce that the latter registers were not meant to be kept with particular care from the fact that they were written on paper, whereas the official copies of the statutes or Reformationes were on parchment. Registers of this kind preserved in Italian cities are older and richer because of an earlier and more vigorous development of the communal constitution than in Dalmatia.6 Yet even in Italy only fractions of the original series survive. Whereas Dubrovnik and Korčula adopted the Venetian style in compiling council minutes (i.e. they recorded only the final proposition and the outcome of the vote), the two fragments from Split are much more informative about the decisionmaking procedure and include discussion. It is noteworthy that the change of the sovereign had little impact on the style of the registers from Split. This is similar to Dubrovnik, which continued to follow the Venetian style well after it had gained independence. Both cities displayed a certain traditionalism and were reluctant to abandon the system of recording the deliberations they had adopted in the earlier, ‘formative’ years of their communal life. Record-keeping methods greatly affect the value of the minutes for historical research. As observed in the originals from Split (Figure 10.1), the entries are very tidy, which means that the scribe made notes during the session and copied them into the minutes only later – maybe even as much as a week later, something we can surmise from inconsistencies in chronology.7 The notary did not write down the debate in extenso, but merely summarized the discussants’ opinions and their propositions – something Brunetto Latini had already noted.8 Moreover, the minutes were written in Latin but the discussion in the Major Council was not; without a doubt, it took place in one of the vernaculars used in the public life of Split (Romance idioms, Vulgar Latin).9 This implies that the written record of the decision-making was heavily reshaped by the notary who mastered Latin and was acquainted with the usual terminology of the genre and with the legal formulae.10 In sum, when using the minutes as a historical source, we should bear in mind that they do not convey the genuine discussion in the council, but that they have been remodeled, summarized, translated, and edited with the usual terminology – that is, the records we have before us are an outcome of the notary’s framing.11 It

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FIGURE 10.1  Libri

consiliorum communitatis Spalati – Reformationes annorum 1357–1359,

f.23r Courtesy of the State Archives in Zadar

should be further noted that only the items where a decision was reached found their way into the minutes; in those cases the dissent in discussion was also recorded. When no proposition reached a majority of votes, the item was left out entirely, as was also the norm in Lucca and Florence.12 In addition, discussion of politically sensitive issues may have been only partially copied into the register. For example,

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the minutes mention dissenting opinions (dicta aliorum arengatorum) in a debate on the authority to suppress possible conspiracies, but only the first proposition, which echoed the wishes of the government, found its way into the final record.13 Therefore, a historian can hardly see a comprehensive and realistic image of the discussions and controversies within the council, and this is an important caveat for any research into the political life and culture of voting of the medieval communes.

The podestarial legacy of Split and its impact on the terminology and culture of voting The fragments of the minutes from Split originated in two different political contexts, allowing the historian to compare the decision-making process and the culture of voting in the period when Split was headed by a count sent from Venice (1352–1354) and the time when supreme rule over the city was in the hands of the Hungarian and Croatian king, and a foreign podestà presided over the city government (from late December 1357 onward). In 1239 the commune of Split benefited from the weakness of the royal Hungarian power and adopted a model of podestarial rule (regimen Latinorum), which it expected to buffer the internal tensions and secure the city’s autonomy.14 In fact, the rule of the podestà, an impartial stranger who was engaged on contractual basis to govern the city, was already an acknowledged remedy for the political life in many Italian communes burdened by factional struggles.15 Imported into Split, the podestarial model of government left a clear and long-lasting mark on the city’s institutions and legal system.The Statute of Split of 1312 adopted many of its principles, and contributed to the fact that podestarial rule continued to be seen as a basic constitutional framework. The heritage of the podestarial system which Split shared with central Italian towns is visible in the layout of the registers, but also in terminology, as illustrated by a couple of arguments and examples. In Split, the term proponere stood for the act of defining the items on the agenda, called propositum or even proposita (f.) – in Bologna, Florence, and Lucca it comes in the variant propositio.16 Both the general term for the activity of the council and the verb for addressing the assembly is consulere; because the latter is most often done from the rostrum (arenga consilii), we find also the word arengare, and the verbs are sometimes paired (consulere et arengare).17 The phrase for putting to a vote in Split is partitum (or partem) ponere, partitum facere, and so on, much as in Florence.18 Two formulas alternate in the description of the result of a vote: a quasi-Venetian captum fuit per X, contrariantibus Y;19 or a more Florentine placuit X consiliariis . . . non obstantibus Y consiliariis.20 Through the vote, a proposition becomes a reformatio (i.e. deliberation with immediate legal effects).21 This was the usual terminology of the podestarial system, illustrated in the well-known treatises of Giovanni da Viterbo, Brunetto Latini, and others, and widely adopted in many Italian towns. It is important to note that the terms and concepts in the minutes from Split vary little with regard to the change of government, whether it was podestarial rule with a foreign administrator at the head of the commune, or instead government by a Venetian count, or in all the temporary and transitional forms of

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administration with domestic governors (consules or rectores). The similarities should not come as a surprise, since recent research has shown that Venetian rule participated in many ways in the phenomenon of podestarial government.22 Yet, for the transfer of the specific terminology and procedures not so much the podestàs (or the Venetian counts governing the cities) should be credited but the notaries who flanked them during their term of office.

The agenda and the discipline of speaking During the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries the authority of the assembly of all the citizens of Split was gradually transferred to the Major Council, which reflected both a propensity to more operative institutions and ongoing social stratification.23 According to the Statute of 1312, the Major Council of one hundred members did not yet consist solely of noble citizens, yet in 1334 – following the example of Venice and other Dalmatian cities – it ‘closed’ its ranks by introducing a hereditary clause for the election of new members, which marked the beginning of its transformation into an institution of the city nobility. Besides its duty to elect members of communal administration, the core activity of the council was to deliberate on city matters.24 Even though council membership was the essence of noble status, participation in the decision-making process was feeble: on average only a slight majority of the council members cast their votes.25 The crucial question of the decision-making procedure revolved around who had the authority to set the agenda and formulate the items. In Split this was the privilege of the head of commune (podestà, count, etc.), but only upon the consent of a body known as Curia.26 The Curia – consisting of local patricians elected by the Major Council – was able to filter out and prevent any unwanted initiative of the podestà.27 It would be unrealistic to describe the role of the Curia as exclusively reactive: some documents make it clear that in practice its members – all local patricians – provided the podestà with the background information and made sure that the matter was brought to the council. For example, the podestà had been in Split for less than a month when he proposed the measures to be taken regarding the monastery of St. Stephan, whose property was being wasted.28 The podestà was probably briefed about the problem by the members of the Curia, and it may have been their idea to submit the issue to the Major Council. The set of rules concerning the ‘discipline of speaking’ in the Split Major Council reflects typical elements of podestarial government. The Statute of Split demanded that the participants in discussion follow four very simple principles: (1) do not interrupt the speaker from the bench, but wait for your turn to speak; (2) do not stage a riot; (3) do not repeat what has already been said; and (4) keep to the topic of the proposition.29 It should not come as a surprise that the aforementioned rules from the Statute of Split follow faithfully the principles of loquendum in consilio, as formulated by Giovanni da Viterbo in his Liber de regimine civitatum and Brunetto Latini in his Livres dou Tresor.30 They also have clear parallels in thirteenthand early fourteenth-century Florentine legislation.31 While the first three rules

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concern broadly good manners when acting and speaking in public, the prohibition against discussing any matter outside the official issue formulated by the podestà and the Curia – that is, the government – was crucial.32 A number of other statutes mention this principle, for example those of Bologna and Trogir.33 The principle also appears as a topos in Brunetto Latini’s Trésor, where it serves rather as a general measure to ensure the smooth running of the meeting.34 The rationale may have been a wish to prevent the loss of focus, but by broadening the discussion the ‘government’ risked losing control over the decision-making process. The Statutes of Split and Trogir even give the ‘government’ the authority to fine a recalcitrant speaker, once or several times, in order to impose silence on him, regain control over the council proceedings, and return to the official agenda.35 Some other rules articulated in the treatises on podestarial government are not in the Statute of Split but nevertheless seem to have existed in practice. For example, Giovanni da Viterbo advises not to discuss too many issues, and in fact, the agenda of the meetings in Split usually centered on one or two issues at the most (it averaged 1.73).36 Only once did the agenda contain as many as six issues – the same as can be stated for Bologna and Lucca.37 Thus by adopting a podestarial system of government, Split internalized the whole ‘package’ pertaining to it: its language, the calendar of parliamentary activities, and the discipline of speaking. Only a part of this was explicitly regulated by the city statutes, while the rest were introduced in practice by the leading activity of the podestà and the Italian chancellors trained in ars notariae. In this way, a specific ‘culture of voting’ emerged, which became quite resistant to the changes of the supreme rule over the city.

The method of casting a vote During the fourteenth century, Split underwent a transformation in the method of casting a vote. The Statute of Split from 1312 prohibited the previous practice of voting, namely by standing up (de sedendo ad levandum).38 This practice is known from the earlier period of Italian communes (Bologna, Florence, Parma, Novara, Brescia, etc.) and was still practiced in Trogir in 1322.39 In mid-fourteenth-century Split, the vote was carried out exclusively by ballots and urns (ad bussula et ballotas), as was the case in Lucca,Venice, and Dubrovnik.40 In the Council of Split two urns were carried around simultaneously: the red for the affirmative and the yellow for the negative vote (bussulum rubeum del sic, bussulo zallo del non). The voter was supposed to put the ballot unobserved (private) in one hand and put both hands into the urns.41 The same method, with two urns, was observed in contemporary Venice. At the end of the Trecento Lucca already used an urn with two compartments designed to ensure the secrecy of vote, a system which would be introduced in Venice only a century later and was also adopted in Dubrovnik.42 Although the fourteenth-century Statute of Split warned that the number of ballots in the urns should not exceed the number of persons attending the meeting, in practice no attendance record was kept. The changing number of ballots

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during the same meeting might suggest that the members of the council left the chamber freely or joined the meeting later on, but in a couple of cases it seems that a number of councillors simply did not cast their ballot. Perhaps they were unable to choose a side, or – we can merely speculate – they tried to ‘spare’ the ballot and secretly reuse it on another occasion (a practice Lovro Kunčević also discusses in the case of Ragusa). An extreme example of this comes from the meeting of 27 February 1358, when the number of voters in different votes oscillates as follows: 54, 64, 54, 36.43 Such fluctuation in the number of votes during one meeting has been noted in Lucca, too.44 In fact, the introduction of measures which ensured a good supervision of the total number of voters and a precise result in numbers pro, contra, and abstaining, matching the number of the people present, was a very slow process in Italian and Dalmatian towns.45 Giovanni da Viterbo found it perfectly acceptable not to come to the vote if it was ‘evident’ that everyone supported the proposition.46 His contemporary Ranieri of Perugia still assumed that a viva voce vote sufficed and was to be supplemented by vote by standing only if more than one person expressed his dissent; even then the counting of votes should have proceeded solely if the notary was unsure about the majority.47 The methods of vote by standing and sitting, applied in some Duecento Italian cities and documented at a later date in Trogir, also display a certain negligence toward a precise result of vote. Voting by ballots or beans came only at a later stage, while the implementation of checks between the number of ballots and voters was the last measure introduced.48 The fact that an approximation of voting was considered satisfactory enough indicates that the decision-making process was not strictly focused on the definition of the ‘will’ of the council’s majority. The proceedings in the council room of Split involved other layers of meaning, which are addressed in the following section.

The practice of voting: a staged reality? The minutes from Split show that every issue proposed at the Major Council meeting was followed by a ‘discussion’.49 In reality ‘discussions’ with two or more speakers were rare and in about three quarters of all cases only one councillor was recorded as having ‘expressed his opinion’.50 One might expect that more interest in discussion would be shown in the weightiest issues of communal policy, but this is not the case. One of the two cases involving four speakers concerned the keeping of pigs in the city, and the other regarded the provision of a horse for the new podestà who was expected to come via the port of Senj: the whole debate developed around the issue of whether the city should send him a horse or the money to buy a horse in Senj.51 There seems to be no correlation between the issue’s weight and the attention it aroused. Unsurprisingly the same names crop up very often as speakers in discussions. Analysis of the period August–December 1357 shows that a patrician called Franciscus Damiani was a discussant in forty percent of all cases; three other fellow councillors in another thirty-seven percent, while some ninety remaining members

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of the council participated in discussion in only twenty-three percent of cases. The most frequent speakers were all members of the local elite, which included approximately one fifth of the membership of the Major Council; the same persons were elected to all the highest offices of the commune and sent to important missions, for example, as envoys to the king.52 In many cases their social status went along with financial power.53 The many meetings with only one recorded speaker indicate that his duty was simply to articulate the ‘official’ proposition, which was almost always left open. For example, an official ‘proposition’ of the podestà was that it should be decided on the renewal of the contract of the communal physician, and the first speaker came with the motion that the contract should be renewed for another two years.54 Or it was proposed to establish the period of the summer recess and the ‘first speaker’ presented his opinion that it should last until mid-July.55 When more than one issue was discussed, it was almost always the same person who acted as the ‘first speaker’ for all the items.56 For example, at the meeting of 4 April 1358, Franciscus Damiani was the ‘first speaker’ in all the four issues proposed by the podestà.57 This and many other examples suggest that the ‘first speaker’ formally proposed a ‘discussion’ of the matter but in truth presented the proposition as it had been prepared in the Curia. His fellow councillors certainly knew that the discussion was staged, but they did not see this as a manipulation of the council by the executive. The ‘simulated discussion’ was not an exclusive phenomenon of the voting practice of Split. In fourteenth-century Lucca this ‘parliamentary theatre’ was even more obvious, as the first speech repeated the official government proposition word for word.58 Similar practices can be found in Florence, too.59 Why did the patricians of Split and their podestà (along with their colleagues in the Italian cities) stage this unusual performance? And why did the podestà and the Curia not come to the council with an already-articulated proposition to be voted on? Why did they instead ask another speaker to publish their proposition? To find some answers one must turn to the rich legacy of treatises on podestarial government. Prehumanist political writers were persuaded that the community ought to have an impartial governor at the top.60 They saw the role of an ideal governor as that of a coordinator, mediator, and someone who guarantees that the ‘common good’ (bene comune) would prevail over the particular or factional interests.61 The Statute of Split elaborates on this same idea by stating that the podestà or rector, or whoever will be the governor of the city should not be partial or incline towards a party in the city of Split, and should not act in favour of one party more than the other, but should observe the laws and justice, and govern the city by respecting justice, community and equality.62 In pursuing the principle of impartiality, Giovanni da Viterbo goes so far as to warn sharply that the podestà should not disclose his opinion, not even by the mimics of

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his face.63 Hence, it was preferable to keep the governor away from formulating a proposition to be voted on, as doing so unveiled his own view on the matter. Second, one of the topoi in the prehumanist literature is that podestà must audire consilium, whereby the abstract biblical imperative is transformed into the duty of the governor to listen to the standpoint of the council.64 The minutes of Split also convey the idea that the government should address the council to hear its standpoint as to how to solve an issue – for example, ‘requesting’ that ‘everyone express his opinion about what he prefers’,65 or asking ‘what the Council is pleased to decide and deliberate in the said matter for the benefit of the commune, and requesting it to give a useful advice for the commune’.66 By these and similar formulas, inspired by the podestarial rhetoric, the decision-making process is presented as an open dialogue between the government and the council.67 In fact, public discussion in the Major Council of mid-fourteenth-century Split was designed to show that the right solution had to originate from the body of the patriciate by way of debate. Since the members of the council were in practice not always interested in taking part in discussion, the custom was created so as to have a distinguished patrician play the role of the ‘first’ or rather ‘official speaker’. The arranged ‘first speech’ was not so much an instrument for the government (Curia) to control the council but rather a vehicle for creating a semblance of discussion. The practice in Siena, where an official named Maggior sindico was called to make a proposition to be voted on if no member of the council wished to speak, was not so far from the practice in Split.68 Indeed, factions were hardly the central problem of the political life of Split in the mid-fourteenth century; the problem seems to have been instead lack of interest in political participation. The phenomenon is noticeable in the low attendance at meetings and also in the patricians’ lack of interest in using their right to speak and take an active part in the decision-making process.

Conclusion In conclusion, the Split minutes clearly indicate that the act of voting was not the only objective of the decision-making process in the Major Council. The meeting of the city nobility proved to be a most valuable occasion to stimulate the spirit of unity and to promote civic values. The veiled role of the government in the decision-making process, an ostensibly neutral attitude of the podestà, staged propositions, and the staged debate in the council were all part of an important political play orchestrated to display the success of the commune in collecting heterogeneous views and reaching a durable compromise. The Split documents show how the principles of podestarial rule were translated into the voting practice of a small Dalmatian city. In addition, they demonstrate that the technicalities of voting can offer an insight into the fundamental political values of a given society.The fact that decision-making in medieval Split encompassed several staged elements illustrates the complexity of a pre-modern culture of voting, in which operative and ‘theatrical’ components may be intertwined, and where the expression of civic values and political ideals may be as important as the outcome of vote itself.

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Notes * This research has been supported by a grant from the Croatian Science Foundation (no. 5106). I wish to thank the anonymous reviewers who provided most helpful comments, and Ms.Vesna Baće and the editors, who were kind enough to improve the English style of this chapter. 1 Jakov Stipišić and Miljen Šamšalović, eds., “Zapisnici Velikog vijeća grada Splita: Libri maioris consilii civitatis Spalati, 1352–1354, 1357–1359”, in Zbornik Zavoda za povijesne znanosti Istraživačkog centra Jugoslavenske akademije znanosti i umjetnosti (henceforth: JAZU) 12 (1982): no. 110, 183–184 (henceforth: ZVVGS, with the document and page numbers). I use the term ‘minutes’, although it does not fully correspond with the nature of the source, as discussed later. 2 ZVVGS: 63–266. 3 Korčula’s minutes have not been published yet, though they are extensively analyzed in Vinko Foretić, Otok Korčula u srednjem vijeku do g. 1420. (Zagreb: JAZU, 1940) and Serđo Dokoza, Dinamika otočnog prostora (Split: Književni krug, 2009), 167–181. 4 The volumes anterior to 1358 are published in Ivan. Kr. Tkalčić and Giuseppe Gelcich, eds., Monumenta Ragusina. Libri reformationum, vols I–V [Monumenta spectantia historiam Slavorum meridionalium, vols X, XIII, XXVII–XXIX] (Zagreb: JAZU,1879–1897). 5 Jaromir Hanel, ed., Statuta et leges civitatis Spalati (Zagreb: JAZU, 1878) (henceforth: SS, with the number of book and chapter, or other indication of the part of the statute), Reformationes (henceforth: Ref.), Prologue, 260 and Ref. 96: ‘quia magis videntur in se habere necessitatem observandi; que tangunt publicam utilitatem.’ See also Antun Cvitanić, Iz dalmatinske pravne povijesti (Split: Književni krug, 2002), 219–220. Cf. Massimo Sbarbaro, Le Delibere dei consigli dei comuni cittadini italiani: secoli XIII-XIV (Rome: Storia e letteratura, 2005), 124–125. ZVVGS: no. 68, 150–151 is copied into Ref. 19–21; ZVVGS: no. 174, 221–224 is copied into Ref. 22–25. 6 For an overview, see Andrea Zorzi, “Le fonti normative a Firenze nel tardo Medioevo: Un bilancio delle edizioni e degli studi”, in Statuti della Repubblica fiorentina – Nuova edizione, I, eds. Giuliano Pinto, Francesco Salvestrin and Andrea Zorzi (Florence: Olschki, 1999),, p. 6 and 20, accessed 23 March 2014; Sbarbaro, Le Delibere, 209–230; Lorenzo Tanzini, “Delibere e verbali: Per una storia documentaria dei consigli nell’Italia comunale”, Reti Medievali Rivista, 14/1 (2013): 60, 62, 77. 7 ZVVGS: nos. 131–132, 199; nos. 172–174, 220–224; nos. 185–186, 235–236. 8 ‘Lors doit il commander a ses notaires k’il metent diligeaument en escrit les dis des parleours, non mie tout çou k’il dient, mais çou sans plus ki touche au point dou conseil’ (Brunetto Latini, Li Livres dou Tresor, ed. Francis J. Carmody (Berkeley, Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1948), 408. 9 Nigel Vincent, “Languages in Contact in Medieval Italy”, in Rethinking Languages in Contact: The Case of Italian, eds. Anna Laura Lepschy and Arturo Tosi (London: Legenda, 2006), 15. For reasons of space, I leave aside a very important question of the language of communication. On this, see Nella Lonza, “Splitski statut i praksa odlučivanja u Velikom vijeću sredinom XIV. stoljeća”, in Splitski statut iz 1312. godine: povijest i pravo, eds. Željko Radić, Marko Trogrlić, Massimo Meccarelli and Ludwig Steindorff (Split: Književni krug Split [etc.], 2015), 157–160. 10 For example, ZVVGS: no. 37, 135: ‘non derogando, molestando vel preiudicando iuri alicuius alterius persone; ZVVGS: no. 127, 195–196: habeant plenum, liberum et generale arbitrium, bayliam, autoritatem et potestatem . . . prouidendi, faciendi, tratandi, deliberandi et ordinandi quidquid eis videbitur et placebit pro utilitate, honore et comodo dicti comunis . . . statutis ordinamentis et reformationibus in contrarium loquentibus non obstantibus etc.’. 11 The notaries active in mid-fourteenth-century Split were no longer local priests but professionals trained in the notarial art, who arrived from Ancona, Lucca, Padua, and Piacenza. For an overview, see Branka Grbavac, “Oporuka i inventar splitskog notara Jakova pok. Ubertina de Pugliensibus iz Piacenze. Prilog proučavanju splitskog notarijata”, Acta Histiae, 21/1–2 (2013): 78.

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12 Gaetano Salvemini, “Le Consulte della Repubblica Fiorentina del secolo XIII”, Archivio Storico Italiano, ser. 5.23 (1899): 1,, accessed on 24 March 2014. 13 ZVVGS: no. 200, 243. By comparing the information on the same events provided by both the deliberations and the narrative sources, Cammarosano came to the conclusion that the minutes of the councils give a reduced version of the reality, purged of many voices of dissent. See Paolo Cammarosano, “L’éloquence laïque dans l’Italie communale (fin du XIIe-XIV siècle)”, Bibliothèque de l’École des chartes, 158 (2000): 433. 14 A valuable contemporary account on the introduction of the podestarial rule in Split is given in Archdeacon Thomas of Split, Historia Salonitanorum atque Spalatinorum pontificum / History of the Bishops of Salona and Split, eds. Olga Perić, Damir Karbić, Mirjana Matijević Sokol and James Ross Sweeney (Budapest, New York: Central European University Press, 2006), 220–235 (Latin original and English translation). See also Mirjana Matijević Sokol, “Regimen Latinorum arhiđakona Tome u teoriji i praksi”, Historijski zbornik, 52 (1999): 17–32; Jean-Claude Maire Vigueur, “Il podestà che veniva dal mare: Gargano degli Arscindi e l’impianto del sistema podestarile a Spalato (1239)”, in Circolazione di uomini e scambi culturali tra città (secoli XII-XIV) (Rome:Viella, 2013), 197–220. 15 A useful survey of the principal literature on podestarial government is given in Enrico Artifoni, “Podestà del comune italiano”, in Federico II. Enciclopedia fridericiana, vol. 2 (Rome: Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana, 2005), 527–529. 16 SS II, 23; Gina Fasoli and Pietro Sella, eds., Statuti di Bologna dell’anno 1288 (Vatican City: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 1937), 31–33 (I, 14); Francesca Klein, ed., I Consigli della Repubblica fiorentina, Libri fabarum XVII (1338–1340) (Rome: Ministero per i beni culturali e ambientali, 1995), no. 1, 3; Antonio Romiti, ed., Riformagioni della Repubblica di Lucca (1369–1400), vol. I (Rome: Accademia nazionale dei Lincei, 1980), XLIII. 17 Cf. SS II, 22–29. 18 For example, ZVVGS: no. 48, 141; no. 72, 153. The usual expression in Florence is partitum facere (e.g. Klein, Libri fabarum, no. 6, 23); in the Dalmatian city of Zadar, partitum ponere or mittere (Tadija Smičiklas, ed., Codex diplomaticus Regni Croatiae, Dalmatiae et Slavoniae (Zagreb: JAZU, 1908–1911), vol. VI, no. 556, 663; vol. VIII, no. 310, 378; vol. IX, no. 120, 139). In Dubrovnik documents, a proposition is usually termed pars (e.g. Gelcich, Libri reformationum, vol. V, 217, 247, 258), and the same is true of Venice (Roberto Cessi, ed., Deliberazioni del Maggior Consiglio di Venezia, vol. II (Bologna: Nicola Zanichelli, 1931), 80, IV, 4). 19 ZVVGS: no. 47, 141; no. 84, 163–164; Cf. Cessi, Deliberazioni del Maggior Consiglio, vol. II, passim (without the number or votes). 20 ZVVGS: no. 82, 162. Cf. Klein, Libri fabarum, no. 5, 20. 21 SS II, 23. On the term reformatio, see Paolo Cammarosano, Italia medievale: Struttura e geografia delle fonti scritte (Rome: Carocci editore, 5th edition, 1998), 159–166; Philippe Jansen, “Statuer et amender. Rédaction et promulgation des statuts et de leurs riformanze dans les communes des Marches aux XIVe-XVe siècles”, in ‘Faire bans, edicts et statuz’: légiférer dans la ville médiévale, eds. Jean-Marie Cauchies and Éric Bousmar (Bruxelles: Publications des Facultés universitaires Saint-Louis, 2001), 462–463;Tanzini, “Delibere e verbali”, 50. 22 Elisabeth Crouzet Pavan, “Venise et le monde communal: Recherches sur les podestats vénitiens 1200–1350”, in I podestà dell’Italia comunale, I, ed. Jean-Claude Maire Vigeur (Rome: École française de Rome, 2000), 277–307. 23 Zdenka Janeković Römer, “Splitski statut: ogledalo razvoja komune”, Splitski statut iz 1312: godine: povijest i pravo, eds. Željko Radić, Marko Trogrlić, Massimo Meccarelli and Ludwig Steindorff (Split: Književni krug Split [etc.], 2015), 75–78. 24 See Grga Novak, Povijest Splita, vol. 1 (Split: Matica hrvatska, 1957), 283–293; Tomislav Raukar, “ ‘Consilium generale’ i sustav vladanja u Splitu u XIV. stoljeću”, Historijski zbornik, 37.1 (1984): 90–96. 25 Raukar, “Consilium generale”, 90–91. Cf. Sbarbaro, Le Delibere, 24–25. 26 SS II, 23; ZVVGS: no. 51, 143. According to the Statute of Trogir, the count had to summon up a body similar to the Curia of Split a day before the meeting of the Major

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Council. See Ivan Strohal, ed., Statutum et reformationes civitatis Tragurii (Zagreb: JAZU, 1915), I, 54 (henceforth: ST, with the number of book and chapter). For Italian cities, cf. Tanzini, “Delibere e verbali”, 65–67. 27 Generally, on the communal institutions which were to counterbalance the authority of the podestà, see Lauro Martines, Power and imagination. City-States in Renaissance Italy (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2nd edition, 1988), 43–44; Mario Ascheri, “Assamblee, democrazia comunale e cultura politica: dal caso della Repubblica di Siena (secc. XIV–XV)”, in Studi in onore di Arnaldo d’Addario, eds. Luigi Borgia, Francesco di Luca, Paolo Viti and Raffaella Maria Zaccaria, vol. IV (Lecce: Conte editore, 1995), 1144. 28 ZVVGS: no. 84, 163. 29 SS II, 27–29, 32. However, the practice sometimes proved otherwise. See ZVVGS: no. 69, 151. 30 Iohannes Viterbiensis, Liber de regimine civitatum, ed. Gaetano Salvemini [Scripta anecdota glossatorum vel glossatorum aetate composita, Bibliotheca iuridica Medii Aevi, vol. III] (Bologna, 1901), ch. 120, 260–261; Brunetto Latini, Li Livres dou Tresor, 408. 31 Sbarbaro, Le Delibere, 51–52. 32 SS II, 29: ‘nullus de consilio generali debeat consulere arengando ultra id quod in proposita continetur’. 33 Fasoli and Sella, Statuti di Bologna dell’anno 1288, I, 15; ST I, 55. 34 Brunetto Latini, Li Livres dou Tresor, 408. 35 SS II, 29; ST I, 55. 36 Viterbiensis, Liber de regimine civitatum, ch. 120, 261; Brunetto Latini, Li Livres dou Tresor, 408. 37 ZVVGS: no. 110, 183–184. 38 SS II, 24. 39 Fasoli and Sella, Statuti di Bologna dell’anno 1288, I, 14; Arthur M. Wolfson, “The Ballot and Other Forms of Voting in the Italian Communes”, The American Historical Review, 5.1 (1899): 5. TS I, 71 bis from 1308 and I, 65 from 1322. 40 For Venice, see Cessi, Deliberazioni del Maggior Consiglio, vol. II, 80–82; for Dubrovnik cf. Gelcich, Libri reformationum, vol.V, 403; Nella Lonza, “Election Procedure in the Republic of Dubrovnik”, Dubrovnik Annals, 8 (2004): 24–25. In early fourteenth-century Parma, the councillor voting affirmative cast a bean into the bag, while in Bologna and Florence the vote was expressed by means of white and black beans (fabe albe, nigre; hence the name of the registers: Libri fabarum). See Amadio Ronchini, ed., Statuta Communis Parmae ab anno MCCCXVI ad MCCCXXV (Parmae: Ex officina Petri Fiaccadorii, 1859), 95, html, accessed 15 April 2014; Fasoli and Sella, Statuti di Bologna dell’anno 1288, I, 14. 41 SS II, 24. 42 Romiti, Riformagioni della Repubblica di Lucca, vol. I, XXII. Reinhold C. Mueller, “Nel segreto dell’urna. La riforma della procedura elettorale adottata nel 1492 dal Consiglio dei dieci di Venezia”, Quaderni Veneti, 2.1–2 (2013): 219–228; Lonza, “Election Procedure”, 25, 27. 43 ZVVGS: no. 96; for other examples, see Raukar, “Consilium generale”, 91. 44 Romiti, Riformagioni della Repubbllica di Lucca, vol. I, LVI; vol. II, LXV–LXVI. 45 Tanzini, “Delibere e verbali”, 47–49, 58–59. 46 Viterbiensis, Liber de regimine civitatum, 261. Similar was the situation in Split on the occasion of the reelection of the podestà Gargano. See Archdeacon Thomas of Split, Historia Salonitanorum atque Spalatinorum pontificum, 234–235. 47 Tanzini, “Delibere e verbali”, 59. 48 Ronchini, Statuta Communis Parmae, 95; Cessi, Deliberazioni del Maggior Consiglio, vol. II, 83 (IV, 13 from 1267). 49 SS II, 33. 50 Giovanni da Viterbo advises limiting the number of speeches to four to avoid the saturation of the councillors, or boredom (tedium):Viterbiensis, Liber de regimine civitatum, 260.

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5 1 ZVVGS: no. 54, 144–145, modificating SS IV, 68. ZVVGS: no. 65, 149. 52 For details, see Raukar, “Consilium generale”, 97–98. 53 See Miroslav Brandt, Wyclifova hereza i socijalni pokreti u Splitu krajem XIV. st. (Zagreb: Kultura, 1955), 197–199. However, by example of two biographies, Raukar emphasizes that the political and the economic elite do not coincide completely (Raukar, “Consilium generale”, 99–100). 54 ZVVGS: no. 32, 132. 55 ZVVGS: no. 22, 125–126. 56 For example, ZVVGS: no. 94, 171–172; no. 96, 173–174; no. 100, 176–177; no. 106, 181; no. 107, 181–182; no. 108, 182–183; no. 113, 185–186. 57 ZVVGS: no. 106, 181. 58 Romiti, Riformagioni della Repubblica di Lucca, vol. I, XLVI, XLIX. 59 For example, Klein, Libri fabarum, no. 9, 32, 35; no. 11, 43. 60 Cf. Brunetto Latini, Li Livri dou Tresor, 408: ‘Mais garde bien ke si dit et ses pors soient nu et simple, de tel maniere que nus hom li puisse dire k’il weille plus l’une partie que l’autre’. 61 Quentin Skinner, “The Vocabulary of Renaissance Republicanism: A Cultural longuedurée?” in Language and Images of Renaissance Italy, ed. Alison Brown (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995), 94–103; Quentin Skinner, The Foundations of Modern Political Thought, I – The Renaissance (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, etc., 1978), 45–48; Quentin Skinner, Visions of Politics, II – Renaissance Virtues (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 23–29; Enrico Artifoni,“Tensioni sociali e istituzioni nel mondo comunale”, in La Storia, I grandi problemi dal medioevo all’età contemporanea, vol. II, eds. Nicola Tranfaglia and Massimo Firpo (Torino: Utet, 1986), 467–468; Andrea Zorzi, “Bien Commun et conflits politiques dans l’Italie communale”, in De Bono Communi: The Discourse and Practice of the Common Good in the European City (13th–16th c.), eds. Elodie Lecuppre-Desjardin and Anne-Laure Van Bruaene [Studies in European History, vol. 22] (Turnhout: Brepols, 2010), 267–290. 62 SS II, 20: ‘potestas et rector et quicumque fuerit officialis dicte civitatis non debeat esse partiarius nec dare se ad partem in civitate Spalati, nec plus favere uni parti quam alteri, sed debeat esse legalis et iustus et in iusticia, communitate et equalitate regere debeat dictam civitatem’. 63 Viterbiensis, Liber de regimine civitatum, 261. 64 ‘Audi consilium et suscipe disciplinam ut sis sapiens in novissimis tuis’ (Proverbs 19:20). Latini refers to this proverb, Li Livres dou Tresor, 408. 65 ZVVGS: no. 55, 145: ‘petentes, quod quisque consulat quid sibi placet’. 66 ZVVGS: no. 92, 170: ‘quid placeat ipsi consilio pro predictis ordinare et reformare pro meliori dicti comunis et utile consilium petit sibi dari pro ipso comuni’. For other formulae, see ZVVGS: no. 23, 126; no. 93, 171. 67 On an apparent dialogue between the podestà and the council in the decision-making process in Verona, see Tanzini, “Delibere e verbali”, 52. 68 Ascheri, “Assamblee, democrazia comunale e cultura politica”, 1145.

11 FROM DISCUSSION TO VOTE Practices of political deliberation and written records in communal Italy Lorenzo Tanzini *

During the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, voting was one of the most common aspects of citizenship in Italian communal regimes, particularly after the first decades of the Duecento, when the political movement of the popolo succeeded in widening the access to the councils and public magistracies. The issue of political participation in medieval cities is very hard to understand using modern categories: communal councils in this period were so large that most adult citizens could experience – occasionally or frequently – the daily life of a great political assembly. Certainly, the vast majority of councillors were not able to play an active role in defining or even discussing political matters: their role was confined to the narrow choice between agreeing or disagreeing with the elite.Voting, in other words, was the main context in which agreement or dissent could be expressed, following the rules and custom of the assembly. The subject of this chapter is the way in which councils worked to translate political inputs and discussions into simple decisions to be voted, approved, and finally put in practice. Beyond this, there are several crucial questions: why did citizens attend public councils? What did they expect from participation? And, above all, how far was their participation expected to be a means of control and influence over the main decisions of the municipal community? This chapter’s ultimate aim is to answer these questions and, through them, to understand the meaning of participation and deliberation within a medieval city-state, before our own modern societies of individuals within a political space.

Introduction The importance of councils as centers of municipal public life was clear already in the late twelfth century: in that period councils were usually chaired by the podestà, a foreigner charged with controlling the regular procedures of discussion.1 The role of the old assemblies of citizens was to give advice to the podestà in order

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to make good choices concerning the city’s everyday needs. Dare consilium to the communal regime of the podestà was also among the councils’ first aims when the earliest council records appear at the beginning of the thirteenth century. One of the clearest cases is in the archive of San Gimignano. Usually the podestà himself opened the works of the assembly by asking ‘quid placet dictis consiliariis providere super . . . (de facto quod)’ – ‘what do councillors think about the fact that’ – expecting contributions from the councillors in order to find the most trustworthy and reasonable opinion. The aim of the process was to show what the council believed concerning the various different matters: the final step, according to the records, was to identify the opinion of the maior pars.2 In other words, the councillors’ advice was to be declared as the official opinion of the universitas.3 This first step in the councils’ historical development was crucial even to their later evolution: since the council’s central activity was to participate in a process of giving advice, rather than in a final decision, the council itself was perceived as the image of the political society of the city, much more than as an office. The podestà, as the chair of the council, had the task of gathering the different opinions and making a final statement: the assembly needed to translate proposals and discussion into a clear text, in order to reach a final decision. This was the task of notaries, who were important in every matter concerning written records in medieval Italy. Early in the thirteenth century, Italian cities designated a special officer, the notary of the council, and charged him with writing council deliberations. Professional handbooks and treatises started very early to describe the duties of the notary in keeping a clear and regular record. One of the first witnesses in this sense is the Ars Notarie of Ranieri of Perugia, written around 1233: Therefore, in such records, you must remember to write down three things, in a short and clear way: first what is the subject of discussion; second the different opinions of the councillor or councillors concerning the subject – not idle brays, which burden the minds of those present and induce torpor in the audience; third, what is finally decided.4 Here notarial practice has already defined a three-step redaction: the proposal, that is the political input; the discussion, with a vivid warning about the need to operate a selection; and finally, the reformatio, that is the text submitted to the vote. This procedure was described in a similar way by the most famous textbook for potestates, the De Regimine civitatum of Giovanni da Viterbo, whose text was later used by Brunetto Latini in his Tresor.5 After the first decades of the thirteenth century this technical model for recording minutes in three steps or sections spread even outside Italy, becoming a crucial contribution of Italian notarial practice to the life of municipal councils.6

The councils of the people During the central decades of the thirteenth century, this institutional structure of councils underwent a profound political change. The decision-making input no

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longer came from the podestà as the chair of the municipal assembly, but rather from the populus, that is the representatives of crafts, professional corporations, or popular associations, who were usually organized into small councils of Priori or Anziani.7 The change concerned the recruitment of the political elite, but also transformed the constitutional profile of the regime, creating a paradoxical situation. In a sense, the popular regimes tended to emphasize the importance of participation as a reflection of the broader composition of the councils. At the same time, however, the municipal government was now led by a council of Anziani, and, consequently, political decisions usually consisted of two phases: first, small popular councils drafted an initial proposal, and, second, discussion and vote took place in large councils. Within the frame of this sociopolitical context the communal assemblies defined a typical structure: a small center of political decision, usually helped by a few skilled ‘sapientes’, and a large participatory assembly where decisions were confirmed and subsequently recorded in legislative measures and statutes.8 Since the political decision was now taken by small councils of citizens who embodied the whole ‘people’, and no longer by the foreign podestà, the former, role of large councils as the place where the city ‘gives advice’ was decisively weakened. The council’s central role was no longer advisory but became associated with the final decision, both in a political and documentary sense. This general evolution may explain the increasing concern with clarity, order, and uniformity that communal records show in the proceedings of the councils. Such concern reflected the aim of granting councillors an effective participatory framework, but at the same time it revealed the determination to gain a rapid definition of the final decision. In order to avoid any confusion in his work, the notary needed to distinguish clearly the statements of the different councillors in his records of the discussion. Sometimes the notary was expected to present a first draft to be read to the assembly: in Parma, for example, statutes from the late thirteenth century ordered that the notary write down a first version of the record, containing the speeches of the councillors, in order to provide, just before voting, a clear exposition of the different opinions.9 This is the reason why notaries were so impatient toward councillors who did not speak in a clear and direct way. Sometimes, they openly regretted the uncooperative attitude of particular councillors, criticizing them for wasted words in useless speeches. In Macerata, for example, the notary inserted his impressions among the lines of the records: Petrus Palmerii said that he had five daughters married and he always cared for the business of the commune . . . he multiplied his useless words so that he bored me while I was writing . . . Bonaventura Adalascie added his useless words and finally he failed to say anything worthy of being written . . . Gentilis Aymerici called ‘the poet’ stood up and harangued the councillors (how vain is to have so many speakers talk about these subjects!).10 The verbal vices of the councillors are a very common topos in thirteenth-century literature, starting from the treatises of Boncompagno da Signa at the very beginning

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of the century.11 However, in the second half of the century such vices came to justify more severe limitations. A straightforward way of reducing the quantity of useless words was to limit the number of contributions councillors were allowed to make: fewer people speaking, fewer opinions, and less work to arrive at one or two reformationes. Communal statutes very often prescribed such limits to the discussion. In Como, the statutes in 1279 permitted no more than six councillors’ speeches for each matter of discussion and no more than four items in a single meeting.12 In Treviso and Bologna four speeches were the maximum allowed, in Siena, five.13 In Bologna, again, each councillor might speak only once a week: it was a simple way to avoid the multiplication of unexpected contributions. This practical aim followed the advice of contemporary thinkers: Brunetto Latini, following Giovanni da Viterbo’s De Regimine civitatum, suggested in his Tresor a narrow limitation of the number of councillors who were allowed to speak during a single meeting.14 Moreover, councillors were strictly forbidden to speak more than once in a single meeting or even reply to the speech of a colleague. In Alessandria, for example, the statutes of the late thirteenth century stated that no one could quarrel with another councillor nor use rude words against his colleagues.15 In Vicenza in 1264, ‘no one can respond to the speech of another councillor’.16 The aim of these prohibitions was obviously to avoid arguments between councillors. But this was not merely a technical tool. Such an attitude toward discussion reveals the cultural approach of notaries and regimes to the assembly’s deliberations. For their purposes, discussion and a variety of opinions were not a positive feature of collective life: on the contrary, they saw a dangerous possibility of conflict in them. A possible outcome of the obstinate use (or abuse) of public speech is evident in a very debated council in Macerata – a perfect example of the conflict and even the violence that could arise from assembly discussions. In 1287 the Great Council was summoned in the central square of the town.The subject was the fiscal organization of the commune, and the discussion became very tense. One of the councillors, Babus domini Scambi, wanted to express his opinion: despite the priors’ decision, he suggested the appointment of a special officer for fiscal procedures. The priors urged him to stay silent, but he continued to speak: confusion became quickly unmanageable, and the notary wrote that ‘the people rose up with rage and violence and the turmoil grew from the people, so that during the parliament no decision could be taken’.17 Notaries tried to conceal under a standardized form what really happened during the meetings, above all disguising conflicts and open manifestations of dissent. Notarial records give the impression of running toward the conclusion, the final vote, and displaying a peaceful unanimity. This reflected the general attitude toward dissent in medieval institutions and political culture: even discussion and diversity of opinions had to be concealed as a preparation for achieving unanimity.18 In a sense, from the notaries’ perspective, council discussions should have been no more than an ordered catalogue of opinions. For the same reason, in cases where many councillors raised similar arguments, notaries used to summarize their opinion as a single speech: this is why only a few names of councillors are mentioned

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in the records. For example, when we study procedures of Florentine councils at the beginning of the fourteenth century, it is fairly clear that very few councillors spoke at almost every meeting (in spite of the statutory limitations we have seen), a small range of ‘habitués della ringhiera’, those most accustomed to discussion, usually notaries, lawyers, or great merchant-bankers – that is the elite of the communal regime.19 This, however, should not lead us to the conclusion that they were the only members who spoke: the notary tended to use the opinion of these few ‘men of the council’ to summarize the speeches of other colleagues as well. In any case, the notarial pattern of an ordered – and definitely boring – council procedure was more real in rules and statutes than in practice. A very different dynamic appeared in the case of great assemblies summoned in town squares (adunantia generalis, parlamentum), or when the council was summoned not specifically on a particular subject following the priors’ aims but in order to debate proposita utilitatis, a ‘proposal on [common] utility’.20 There is a very early example in the thirteenthcentury records of Vercelli, when the podestà asked ‘anyone who has anything to say or suggest for the utility of the commune, because he would be ready to listen’.21 In Siena it is possible to find another procedural tool meant to ameliorate the work of the council from the second half of the thirteenth century onward. In every council, a special procedure existed called approbatio necessitatis: when the matter to be discussed was very important or difficult, the council could not deliberate immediately – the decision needed a preliminary vote to ‘approve necessity’; in other words, it was necessary to declare the special need to decide. After a few days, when need was declared, it was possible to vote on a particular decision concerning the matter.22 During this procedure, it is likely that councillors could voice their opinion and be listened to more effectively than in single or ordinary deliberations.

Analogies and differences For all these reasons, there were many different degrees of clarity and complexity in the procedures of the various councils. Sometimes, even in the fourteenth century when decision-making was more dependent on small governmental councils, the Great Council was summoned without an agenda or even an early draft of the matters to be discussed. In these cases, every councillor could identify a matter which he considered important and useful for the common good of the city.23 He might do so even if the first input for the decision was already; sometimes, when we can count the number of speeches made (e.g. in Bologna for the last decades of thirteenth century or Todi at the beginning of the fourteenth) it is not unusual to find more than ten councillors speaking at a single meeting.24 This was a very open kind of meeting, which ran contrary to the notaries’ ambition to reduce and simplify the procedures of collective discussions. Such an ‘open’ discussion did not mean necessarily a ‘democratic’ chance to express free opinions. For example, in Orvieto in 1348, after the brief lordship of the Monaldeschi family, a huge council was asked to express its opinion concerning ‘the free and quiet regime of the people

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and the commune of the city’.25 But only one councillor spoke, using a very solemn declaration: While speaking he said that in the name of God this city of Orvieto and its territory has to be well and perfectly governed by a popular and free government, and the good and perfect regime of the people needs to be firmed and confirmed.26 This is too clear and solemn a statement to have been spontaneous: probably the seemingly ‘open’ speech was instead planned in advance.The Orvieto case is hardly unusual.27 On the other side, it sometimes occurred that the popular regime presented an already-defined proposal, asking councillors only to vote yes or no – a trend in this sense is increasingly visible at the beginning of the fourteenth century. I will discuss this here with particular reference to the case of Florentine Provvisioni. This development does not mean that councils were no longer relevant in municipal politics, because laws were still made almost exclusively through conciliar deliberations: in reality, however, councillors spent most of their time listening and voting. It is worth recalling that in many communal regimes more substantial prohibitions existed against the expression of opinions contrary to the priors’ statement. In Prato, for example, a new statute was introduced in 1291 concerning councillors’ speeches: everyone could express his opinion, but once the Otto (the name of the priors in Prato) had declared the regime’s official opinion, no assembly members were allowed to contradict it.28 In Florence such a prohibition existed even before 1291. A famous case arose in 1260, when a noble member of the council objected to the decision concerning the war against the Ghibellines; the Anziani were unable to silence the councillor and threatened him with huge fines: after a dramatic discussion, he finally gave up after being threatened with death. Yet he was right and the priors were wrong, because the war proved disastrous for Florence.29 Dante Alighieri, whose speeches in 1300 were among the reasons of his condemnation and exile, was also, of course, one of those councillors who paid a very high price for expressing his opinions.30 A final remark concerning the procedures before voting might clarify the contradictory appearance of communal institutions. As we have seen, the whole deliberative procedure was intended to prepare the reformatio – that is, the final statement to be voted. It meant, as we have emphasized, that the very heart of the notary’s preoccupation was not the discussion per se, but rather the catalogue of opinions to be expressed and ordered. Yet the speeches of the councillors were necessary steps leading to the vote. In other words, the council format needed opinions, and this generated another contradiction between the written rules and the practice. During the thirteenth century, the political leadership of the assembly was held by the Anziani: they prepared the matters to be discussed and voted; sometimes they wrote the texts of deliberations and, usually, individual councillors were not permitted

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to speak against their opinions. At the same time, the Anziani always needed at least one speech to constitute (at least in theory) a negative statement, in order to present the vote as an alternative between opposite opinions. The complete lack of discussion was considered damaging for the deliberation itself. The 1309 statute of Siena, for example, deplored that ‘because of fear, friendship, or someone’s requests’ (per paura, amistà, overe preghiere) nobody wanted to speak during the discussions.31 In order to avoid such embarrassing silences, some communal statutes prescribed the creation of a special officer, the contradictor, whose task was to speak against the official proposal of the Anziani within the council. The name contradictor is used, for example, in Bergamo, and the same office was mentioned in the Pisan statutes: whenever nobody spoke against a proposal, podestà and capitaneus should ‘speak and give advice against what is said, using suitable arguments’.32 A similar custom was observed in some communal cities, where a special officer was charged with pointing out when proposals or decisions were taken against the statutory rules.33 This system had a doubly positive effect. On the one hand, the contradictor declared an alternative opinion and therefore made it possible to vote for or against the proposal. On the other hand, the contradictor expressed a merely theoretical opposition, not a real alternative: in other words, the expression of dissent against the proposal of communal government was just a formal procedure and not a real political goal.

Voting Even though the first part of the proceedings, the discussion, was probably longer and more complex than its final written report suggests, the crucial part of the council proceedings remained the vote. As seen previously, the general evolution of the institutional practices in communal cities led to a simplification of the passages between discussion and vote. During the early thirteenth century, for example, in the old council records of San Gimignano, the notaries of the councils used to list three or four different opinions, asking the members of the assembly to declare their preference; the records showed the alternatives and the list of votes for each of them in different columns.34 A different system spread from very early on, however: at the end of the discussion the councillors needed only to accept or refuse a specific proposal by voting yes or no.35 Florence is a good example of such an evolution. The daily records of the councils have been preserved (with many gaps) from 1280. Procedures were very complex, not only because of the different practices within each council, but also because of the different councils: there were no less than five assemblies, summoned usually one after the other.36 It is still possible to read the personal opinions and speeches of the councillors, even though the notaries were heavily formulaic. In order to draw a clear series of decisions from this complex reality of political discourse, notaries used to write a special kind of records called Provvisioni. The Provvisioni recorded, so to speak, the final outcome of the councils’ discussion and vote. While the first record of the notary aimed to write down the matter to be discussed and the procedure of voting, the Provvisioni were compiled

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after the final vote had taken place, and – more importantly – they only included the actual decisions, excluding all that which the councillors had not approved. The relation between two distinct sets of records, Consulte and Provvisioni, changed during the course of the fourteenth century. After c. 1330, the Provvisioni convey a very full image of what happened within the councils: reading the big parchment book of the Provvisioni, we can find how the assembly was summoned, what kind of proposal was presented (usually by the priors, the political center of the regime), how many people voted for the proposal, and how many against. At the bottom of every decision, a long appendix of formal clauses was intended to link the decision to other sources of municipal laws, first of all statutes. At the same time, the notaries continued to record every single proposal and vote, daily, in a different series of registers: but now, unlike what had happened during the thirteenth century, records simply contained a short reference to the subject of the proposal and the list of votes.37 Such a record is immensely useful, because it shows how often councils refused to approve what the priors proposed. On the other hand, research into real discussion based on the registers would be almost impossible, because no discussion was recorded: only a number of long and boring lists of placuit and displicuit, yes and no. This is the reason why in Florence these registers are called Libri fabarum, books of beans, after the small colored beans used to vote. Apart from the technical system, such records give a very clear image of the institutional life of the commune: decision-making was a matter of proposing, a monopoly over which was guarded jealously by the priors, and voting.The hundreds of councillors remain voiceless in these institutional records and no one could expect to be anything more than a single bean. Florentine history is not always an effective mirror of the general features of communal Italy – even though scholars in the past have not always been ready to admit it. In particular, discussion was not so early and so completely excluded from written records in other cities. A correct assumption would be that a sharp opposition between the actual decisions and the practice of councils was typical of the big city republics, such as Florence or Venice.38 However, small cities, when they did not fall under the rule of a signore, tended to preserve archaic and complex procedures. Florentine history is a useful example for understanding how the operation of voting became the very center of the life of the council. Even in Siena, for example, where traditional procedures remained in force for longer, in 1332 the regime abolished the approbatio necessitatis; as a consequence, every deliberation had to be concluded in a single meeting, and reduced to two steps: listening to the opinion of the government and then voting.This does not even take into account the frequent cases of meetings where the priors or Anziani simply asked the council to endow them with a special authority to decide on the subject of discussion.39 One could argue that such an historical evolution stripped the role of the councillors of any political relevance. Yet this can be seen also as an evolution toward a ‘modern’ council. At the beginning of our story, many different councils coexisted, in which members were expected to ‘give advice’ (dare consilium). It was, in a sense, a

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‘private’ attitude to assembly politics. On the contrary, in fourteenth-century councils, especially in big cities, procedures and institutional organizations shared many features of modern parliamentary proceedings, which are expected to record legislative measures. This may be why social scientists can consider Renaissance Florence or Venice a possible term of historical comparison concerning participation, representation, and collective choice.40 It is a real theoretical problem to define how far such a comparison can be followed, while avoiding every possible misunderstanding of medieval political systems and culture. In a very general sense, nowadays it seems unlikely that communal institutions marked a ‘republican’ season whose principles of freedom and participation anticipate modern democracy: communes were often ready to recognize foreign rulers or local signori in order to protect their traditions and interests.41 And in a more specific sense, concerning institutional tools and procedures, voting within ancien régime societies has been recently seen first of all as a means of creating consensus, rather than a real tool of political freedom in a ‘modern’ sense.42 Communal Italy shared such a general frame in its medieval institutions, but with its broader range of historical cases and archival materials, it allows us to study political principles in the very long term.This is why it is worth reading municipal statutes, in big and small cities, as they devoted such sustained attention to the methods and procedures of voting.

The technical features of voting Coming to the final step of the deliberation, one of the crucial problems was how to express the vote. The earliest documented system, already used at the beginning of the history of communal assemblies, was called ad sedendum et levandum: after the declaration of the proposal, the councillors who agreed were invited to remain seated, while disagreement was expressed by standing. It is a system derived from the early assemblies summoned in open spaces, where agreement or disagreement had to be declared in a very explicit way – note that in communal Italy councils were usually very large, three hundred to five hundred people, or even more. Another version of the same system was practiced when councillors expressed their vote by moving to different spaces of the hall.43 On the other hand, the inconveniences of the system were evident: one had to express his opinion, perhaps against the majority or against the statement of the priors, taking the risk of an open opposition. It is not a surprise that no one dared to speak, as the Sienese statute intimates. In order to guarantee the free expression of opinions, many councils resorted to a different system, called ad palloctas (or similar words). Every councillor had to put a bean in a special box divided in two different sections, one for approval and another for dissent; or, alternatively, he had to put a black bean in the box to say yes or a white bean to say no. The box was made in a special way to conceal the section where the councillor was putting the bean, so that nobody could see the vote of the colleague. Secret voting was, therefore, one of the most common features of communal practice: in a sense we could say that it was a concession to the freedom of the councillors, in a period when their role within the assembly was, in practice,

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being progressively reduced. And it was not a minor concession. In communal councils, a qualitative evaluation of the vote had no place: every councillor counted via his vote, exactly like his colleague; when the vote was not secret, it is likely that the choice of the ‘sapientes’ or the opinion of the most important and renowned members of the council could prove very influential on others – the choice of a secret system made every vote equal, whether the councillor was a knight, a lawyer, or a humble craftsman. For the same reason, in order to emphasize general principles of republican legality, the secret was confirmed by a solemn ceremony. Friars or monks were required to handle the practical arrangements for gathering and counting the votes, in order to avoid any possible fraud. A religious silence had to be kept during the vote and only the sound of the bean dropping into the box could be heard. In Venice, speaking to colleagues while going to the box for votes was prohibited: they shall not say ‘this opinion is better or the other, nor this is worse’ or similar words, but only ‘I go with this one’.44 The choice between open or secret vote depended on the actual needs or aims of the deliberation. Sometimes the government chose to call for an open vote to have stricter control over the decision of the council. In Turin, for example, the municipal statutes of 1360 – when the city was under the rule of the dukes of Savoy – prescribed that in ordinary matters votes should be expressed in secret – with the exception of matters concerning the Savoy family itself.45 Before concluding, it is useful to go back to Florence once again to emphasize the political relevance of voting. The issue, in fact, is not only the practical way of voting but also its effects on decision-making: how large did a majority need to be in order to approve? And which procedures were necessary to validate the vote? In Florence, during the fourteenth century, the many vote registers (Libri fabarum) enable us to analyze the voting system in detail. Usually a majority of two thirds was required: here again, communal votes were expected to be something approaching unanimity, in spite of the sharp opposition that was often raised within the councils. Another contradiction of municipal politics lies in this: the principle of a large agreement within the council conflicted with the government’s desire to achieve its purposes even when a political opposition existed. A very common way to avoid the contradiction was to introduce extraordinary systems of representation in the case of very important matters. In Florence, after 1378, the most important changes in institutional rules were not discussed by the councils but ratified in huge, extraordinary assemblies summoned in the city squares – the parlamento, at which every citizen could be present. A parlamento gave the impression of a very open and wide participation, whereas in fact decisions were made by a very small group of politicians and only ratified by the common acclamation of the people.46 The same system was used by municipal signori when their rule and lordship needed to be ratified by a huge assembly: in both cases, fear and threat played a central role in the ‘free’ vote of the people. In republics such as Florence or Venice, however, it

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was difficult to use direct threats against councillors and it was impossible to abolish councils, as sometimes signori did elsewhere, because participation in the council was central in communal identity.47 As a consequence, during the late Middle Ages city rulers opted instead to create new councils, or reform the old ones, so as to obtain a safer control over the assembly. One of the most common procedures in this sense was the addition of special members to the old assemblies: a large number of former officers were included alongside ‘ordinary’ councillors, so that the government was overrepresented.48 When a third, or even more, of the members of a council were former magistrates, the council was no longer an independent office, but rather a kind of mirror of the government. In Florence, again, in 1393 the regime created a new council, later called ‘of the Two Hundreds’, which included a selection of former members of the republican magistracies since 1382, that is since the beginning of the regime itself.49 In this case, an institutional change took away much of the political relevance of the vote, by changing the nature of the membership of the assembly.

Conclusion The cultural and political framework of the communal regimes of medieval Italy was very different from that of modern states. The sense of participation and political identity in these societies recalls, above all, the ancient idea of citizenship: the possibility to attend the councils and to be recruited for political office defined the condition of those male adults who were considered citizens.50 Therefore, broad participation within the municipal assemblies was perceived as a crucial element for the legitimacy of the government itself. At the same time, since the Italian communes gained very large governmental powers and undertook major political initiatives, especially after the first decades of the thirteenth century, the need for skilled leadership justified a clearer distinction between collective discussion, deliberation, and participation, on the one hand, and political decision, on the other.This impacted very deeply on written records. This chapter has focused on records in order to explain the complex relations between the internal workings of the councils and the final redactions of legislative measures, throughout the whole technical process going from the initial discussion to the registration of final decisions voted by the councils. During the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, the frequency and relevance of popular participation in the councils was affected more and more by the growing need for political control and effective decision-making, yet municipal assemblies formally preserved their double function of discussing and voting on a final decision. The final historical outcome was that late medieval city councils, while no longer real places of discussion, continued to enjoy a prestige and a tradition that gave them a crucial role in the civic pride and identity of the municipal elites in the later Middle Ages.51 Such a tradition shows how far the experience of collective deliberation during the communal period continued to have meaning in the following centuries.

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Notes * This chapter uses most bibliographical and archival references from my recent monograph, A consiglio: La vita politica nell’Italia dei comuni (Rome-Bari: Laterza, 2014). 1 Italian scholars refer to such an institutional system as ‘sistema podestarile-consiliare’. See Enrico Artifoni, “Città e comuni”, in Storia Medievale, eds. Enrico Artifoni et al. (Rome: Donzelli 1998), 363–386. 2 ‘Factum est Comsilium a domino Baldovinetto, Dei gratia potestate Sancti Geminiani, coadunatum ad sonum campane, more solito, ultima die memsis februarii, super eo quod palam dicitur in partibus istis: quod Vulterrani acquirunt et emunt arma et equos, occasione Montisvultrarii [. . .] Unde dicta potestas petiit comsilium, sub nomine iuramenti, quid et qualiter et quomodo sit eidem potestati pro communi Sancti Geminiani faciendum super predictis vel quollibet predictorum [. . .] Dominus Gemtilis, surgens, comsuluit et dixit quod [. . .] Riccardinus Petri, surgens, comsuluit quod [Councillors voting for the first or the second speaker]: cum Riccardino XXV, cum domino Gentile XVIII. Maior pars Comsilii est cum dicto Riccardini Petri et sunt XXV homines numero’: Oretta Muzzi, ed., San Gimignano: Fonti e documenti per la storia del comune. Parte seconda. I verbali dei consigli del podestà (1232–1240). Volume. I (1232–1237) (Florence: Olschki, 2010), 27–28. 3 On the ethics of ‘giving advice’ see Carla Casagrande, Chiara Crisciani, and Silvana Vecchio, eds., Consilium:Teorie e pratiche del consigliare nella cultura medievale (Florence: SismelEdizioni del Galluzzo, 2004). 4 ‘Unde nota, quod in his consiliis omnibus tria precipue scribi debent breviter et aperte, scilicet: primum quod proponitur sive postulatur; secundum dictum consulentis vel consulentium spectans ad propositum vel petitum, non ambages boantium, que animos adstantium nimis aggravant et audientibus tedium generant sonnolentum; et tertium ipsorum reformatio iterata’: Ludwig Wahrmund, ed., Die Ars Notarie des Rainerius Perusinus [Quellen zur Geschichte des romisch-kanonischen Prozesses im Mittelalter, III/2] (Innsbruck, 1917), § CCCXVI, 194–197. 5 Brunetto Latini, Tresor, eds. Pietro Beltrami et al. (Turin: Einaudi, 2007), § III, 87 (826): ‘lors doit il [li sires] comander a son notaire que il mete diligenment eb escrit les diz des parleors, et non mie tout ce que il dient, mes ce senz plus qui touche au point du conseil [. . .] Et quant il ont dit et d’une part et d’autre, li sires se lieve a deviser les diz par parties, les uns contre les autres. Cil a quoi s’acordent la greignor partie des genz qui sont assembles au consoil doit ester fermes et estables, et tout ensi le doit escrire le tabellions’. 6 For some relevant examples from Mediterranean cities, see Noel Coulet, “Les délibérations communales en Provence au Moyen Âge”, in Le médiéviste devant ses sources. Questions et Méthodes, eds. Claude Carozzi and Huguette Taviani-Carozzi (Aix-en-Provence: Publications de l’Université de Provence, 2004), 227–247; Pierre Bonin, Corinne Leveleux-Teixeira, Anne Rousselet-Pimont and Florent Garnier, eds., Le gouvernement des communautés politiques à la fin du moyen Age. Entre puissance et négociation: Villes, Finances, État, Actes du colloque en l’honneur d’Albert Rigaudière (Paris: Editions Panthéon-Assas, 2011); Xavier Nadrigny, Information et opinion publique à Toulouse à la fin du Moyen Âge (Paris: École des Chartes, 2013), 83–106. 7 Daniel Waley, The Italian City-Republics (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1969); Alma Poloni, Potere al popolo: Conflitti sociali e lotte politiche nell’Italia comunale del Duecento (Milan: Bruno Mondadori, 2010). 8 Sara Menzinger, Giuristi e politica nei comuni di Popolo. Siena, Perugia e Bologna, tre governi a confronto (Rome:Viella, 2006). 9 Amadio Ronchini, ed., Statuta communis Parmae ab anno MCCLXVI ad annum circiter MCCCIX (Parma: Fiaccadori, 1857), 59. 10 ‘Petrus Palmerii dixit quod iam ipse nuxit V filias et fecit et facit osequia comunis sua verba multiplicando tot et tanta que fastidium mihi scriptori generarunt; hic fuit bonus consiliarius quia respondit bene ad proposita dum cum difficultate dixit quod comune videat quid ius est . . . Bonaventure Adelascie . . . multiplicavit sua verba inania ita quod ad factum non venit ut consilium scribi posset. [93v] Gentilis Aymerici poeta novus surrexit in dicto consilio et arengando (que fatuitas est hec tot

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arengatores dicere super predictis!)’: State Archive of Macerata, Archivio priorale, 1 (1287), fols. 93–93v. 11 See, for example, Rhetorica Novissima, § IV, 2 De illis qui abutuntur lepidis et concinnis. On Boncompagno’s works about councils, see Massimo Sbarbaro, Le delibere dei Consigli dei Comuni cittadini italiani (secoli XIII-XIV) (Rome: Storia e Letteratura, 2005), 161–179. 12 Antonio Ceruti, ed., Liber Statutorum Comunis Novocomi [Historiae Patriae Monumenta, XVI, Leges Municipales, II/1] (Turin: Bocca, 1876), § CLVIII, ‘Quod in uno consilio non possit fieri ultra quatuor proposiciones, nec possit consuli super eis per plures sex sapientes’ (1278). 13 Bianca Betto, ed., Gli Statuti del comune di Treviso (sec. XIII-XIV), vols I-II (Rome: Isime, 1984–1986), § 112 ‘Quod nullus arenget ultra propostam’ (97–99); Mahmoud Salem El Sheikh, ed., Il Costituto del Comune di Siena volgarizzato nel MCCCIX-MCCCX (Siena: Fondazione Monte dei Paschi, 2002); I, 247, ‘Che neuno posa arengare nel consellio quello che detto et arengato sarà pe altro (se altra novità non dicesse, overo al detto d’altrui non agiognesse)’, I, 248, ‘Che neuno possa arengare nel consellio poscia che V consellieri avaranno arengato’; Gina Fasoli and Pietro Sella, eds., Statuti di Bologna dell’anno 1288 (Vatican City: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 1937), § I, 15 ‘De consiliariis in consilio concionantibus quomodo et quando admittantur ad concionandum’. 14 Tresor, § III, 87: ‘Et [li sires] si ne sueffre pas que trop de genz se lievent a conseiller’. 15 Felice Amato and Camillo Duboin, eds., Raccolta per ordine di materie delle leggi, editti, manifesti eff. pubblicati sino agli 8 dicembre 1798 sotto il felicissimo dominio della real Casa di Savoia, tomus 9, vol. XI (Turin: Bianco, 1833), 755–762, § ‘De verbis iniuriosis in consilio non dicendis’, from the statutes of 1297. 16 ‘Quod nemo debeat respondere verbis alicuius arengantis’: Fedele Lampertico, ed., Statuti del comune di Vicenza MCCLXIV (Venice: Deputazione veneta di storia patria, 1886), 260–261. 17 ‘Et ad predicta populus surrexit cum furore et clamore et furia taliter crevit in populo quod de propositis in eodem parlamento reformatio aliqua minime fieri potuit’: State Archive of Macerata, Archivio priorale, 1 (1287), fol. 90. 18 Paolo Grossi, “Unanimitas: Alle origini del concetto di persona giuridica nel diritto canonico”, Annali di storia del diritto: Rassegna internazionale, II (1958): 229–331; Olivier Christin, Vox populi: Une histoire du vote avant le suffrage universel (Paris: Seuil, 2014), 81–134. 19 On such a category of political leaders, see Piero Gualtieri, Il comune di Firenze tra Due e Trecento: Partecipazione politica e assetto istituzionale (Florence: Olschki, 2009). 20 The adunantia generalis is usually cited in thirteenth-century Perugian councils:Vincenzo Ansidei, ed., Regestum reformationum comunis Perusiii ab anno 1256 ad annum 1300 (Perugia: Deputazione di storia patria per l’Umbria, 1935). Sometimes it was recorded even in the fourteenth century: see State Archive of Perugia, Comune di Perugia – Consigli e Riformanze, 182, fol. 13–19v (1371). 21 ‘dominus Jannotus [. . .] proposuit ut quicumque dicere vellet de qualicumque utilitate communis diceret et proponeret quia paratus erat audire’: Laura Baietto, “Scrittura e potere. Politica documentaria dei comuni piemontesi nella prima metà del secolo XIII”, Bollettino storicobibliografico subalpino, 98 (2000): 105–528 [517]. 22 On this particular procedure, see my “Emergenza, eccezione, deroga: tecniche e retoriche del potere nei comuni toscani del XIV secolo”, in Tecniche di potere nell’Italia del tardo medioevo, ed. M.Vallerani (Rome:Viella, 2011), 149–181. 23 It was much more frequent in small towns than in large communes; as an example of the former, the proposita generalis utilitatis is often used in council records of Cortona, near Arezzo: Historical Municipal Archive of Cortona, Q (Deliberazioni del Comune) 1 (1322–1323). 24 Some examples include State Archive of Bologna, Comune – Governo, Riformagioni e provvigioni serie cartacea, 219, fol. 9–9v (1315); Historical Municipal Archive of Todi, Riformanze, 2, fols. 35–36v (1288): 14 speeches on a single subject of discussion. 25 ‘quid videtur et placet dicto consilio et consiliariis eius consulere ordinare stantiare providere et reformare super salubri bono pacifico et libero statu populi et comunis civitatis urbisveteris’: State

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Archive of Orvieto, Archivio storico del Comune di Orvieto, Riformagioni, 135 (66), fols. 35–36. 26 Ivi: ‘arengando alta voce dixit et consuluit . . . quod in Dei nomine hic Urbevetana civitas cum suo comitatu et districtu ex nunc regatur et regi debeat ad populum et libertatem bene et perfecte et firmetur et firmari debeat status populi eiusdem civitatis bonus et perfectus.’ 27 The use of an accurate report of the speech within the assembly is not always the effect of a very open practice of participation; see, in that sense, the observation from the French examples of Caroline Fargeix, “La reconnaissance des délibérations lors des assemblées lyonnaises du XVe siècle dans les registres consulaires: un problème politique”, in L’espace public au Moyen Âge: Débats autour de Jürgen Habermas, eds. Patrick Boucheron and Nicolas Offenstadt (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 2011), 219–227. 28 Sergio Raveggi, “Protagonisti e antagonisti nel libero comune”, in Prato storia di una città, sotto la direzione di Fernand Braudel, I. Ascesa e declino del centro medievale (dal Mille al 1494), ed. Giovanni Cherubini (Florence: Le Monnier, 1991), 613–642, at 634. 29 Cited in Silvia Diacciati, Popolani e magnati: Società e politica nella Firenze del Duecento (Spoleto: CISAM, 2011), 201–202. 30 Concerning Dante’s experience as a councillor and sapiens communis, see Giuliano Milani, “Dante sapiens, consigliere e priore”, in Intorno al Codice Diplomatico Dantesco: II. Presupposti e contesti dell’impegno politico a Firenze (1295–1302), eds. Giuliano Milani and Antonio Montefusco,, Reti Medievali Rivista, 18, 1 (2017): 511–563. 31 Salem El Sheikh, Il Costituto del Comune di Siena, § I, 249 ‘Che quando neuno si leva a conselliare partasi a scruttineo ne li casi infrascripti’. 32 ‘dicere et consulere in contrarium et pro parte contraria et assignare causas et rationes ad id expedientes’: Antonella Ghignoli, ed., I brevi del comune e del popolo di Pisa dell’anno 1287 (Rome: ISIME, 1998), 46; about contradictor in Bergamo, ‘qui contradicere debeat omnibus et singullis propositis et positis fiendis per ipsum potestatem et iudices et officialles eius’, see Giuliana Forgiarini, ed., Lo statuto di Bergamo del 1353 (Spoleto: Cisam, 1996), § I, 16. 33 William Bowsky, “The Constitution and Administration of a Tuscan Republic in the Middle Ages and Early Renaissance: The Maggior Sindaco in Siena”, Studi Senesi, 80 (1968): 7–22. 34 A very clear example is a council of 7 April 1233, when councillors had to choose among eight different statements of their collegues: see Muzzi, San Gimignano: Fonti e documenti, 162–166. 35 An interesting snapshot of the transition toward the new system is in early fourteenthcentury Todi: a technical committee was appointed within the council to link the different opinions and reduce them to a vote yes or no: Historical Municipal Archive of Todi, Riformanze, 7, 43–43v (1 November 1313). 36 The first Florentine records are published as Alessandro Gherardi, ed., Le consulte della Repubblica fiorentina dall’anno MCCLXXX al MCCXCVIII (2 vols, Florence: Sansoni 1896–1898); about Florentine institutional structures of this period, see Diacciati, Popolani e magnati. 37 The change is very clear following the texts published in Francesca Klein, ed., I Consigli della Repubblica fiorentina: Libri fabarum XVII (1339–1340) (Rome: Pubblicazioni degli archivi di Stato, 1995). 38 In Venice the statements of the councillors during the discussion before the final deliberation were not recorded: Roberto Cessi, ed., Deliberazioni del Maggior Consiglio di Venezia, vols I–III (Bologna: Zanichelli, 1931–1950). 39 For Sienese councils, see William Bowsky, Un comune italiano nel Medioevo: Siena sotto il regime dei Nove, 1287–1355 (Bologna: Il Mulino, 1986). 40 The most interesting case being Bernard Manin, The Principles of Representative Government (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); see also Jean Boutier and Yves Sintomer, eds., “La République de Florence (12e–16e siècle): Enjeux historiques et politiques”, Revue française de science politique, 64/6 (2014): 1055–1081. On the heritage of the pre-modern city-states about assemblies, public discussion, and public meeting, see Mogens Herman Hansen, ed., A Comparative Study of Thirty City-State Cultures: An

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Investigation Conducted by the Copenhagen Polis Centre (Copenhagen: Det Kongelige Danske Videnskabernes Selskab, 2000), especially the “Conclusion” at 597–623. 41 Such a particular idea of freedom in respect to local tradition, even within a superior rule or without a real democratic participation, is strongly emphasized by E. Igor Mineo, “La repubblica come categoria storica”, Storica, 43–44–45 (2009): 125–167. 42 As a general survey, see Christoph Dartmann, “Eine Kultur der Niederlage? Wahlen in der italianischen Stadt des Hoch- und Spätmittelalters”, in Technik und Symbolik vormoderner Wahlfahren, Historische Zeitschrift Beiheft 52, eds. Christoph Dartmann, Günter Wassilowsky and Thomas Weller (Oldenbourg: Verlag München, 2010), 53–70; Hagen Keller, Il laboratorio politico del comune medievale (Naples: Liguori, 2014), especially 165– 226; Christin, Vox populi. 43 Fasoli and Sella, Statuti di Bologna dell’anno 1288, I, 14 ‘Quomodo et qualiter propositiones et reformationes fieri debent’. The very same system was used in ancient Greek cities: see the example of Sparta in Thucydides, Histories, I, 87. 44 ‘non possit formare nec difformare partem, pro qua vadit, nec aliquam aliam, nec dicere: ‘ista est melior pars vel alia, nec ista est deterior vel alia’ nec similiter verba, nisi hoc solum “ego vado pro tali parte” ‘: Cessi, Deliberazioni del Maggior Consiglio di Venezia, II, 82. 45 Dina Bizzarri, ed., Gli Statuti del comune di Torino del 1360 (Turin: Tip. Gabetta, 1933), in particular § XXX ‘De partitis faciendis in credentia et alis consiliis a tabulas albas et nigras et non aliter, exceptis negotiis proprie dominum tangentibus’ (32). 46 The celebration of a parlamentum was a reason of political coercion much more than a mean of participation: ‘come fu questo parlamento, così fatti furono gli altri, colle spade in mano’: Marchionne di Coppo Stefani, Cronaca fiorentina, ed. Niccolò Rodolico (RRIISS XXX) (Città di Castello: Lapi, 1903), 335. 47 Even in seignourial regimes, however, total abolition of councils was very rare, as I remark in my “Signori e consigli”, in Signorie cittadine nell’Italia comunale, ed. Jean-Claude Maire Vigueur (Rome:Viella, 2013), 383–401. 48 In fourteenth-century Bologna, for example, former officers appointed within the Consiglio del popolo were sometimes more than the ‘ordinary’ members: Anna Laura Trombetti Budriesi, ed., Lo statuto del comune di Bologna dell’anno 1335 (Rome: ISIME, 2008). In a sense, such an ‘extraordinary’ membership of the councils had been introduced even earlier by the use of sapientes: on this subject, see Menzinger, Giuristi e politica nei comuni di Popolo. 49 Riccardo Fubini, “Dalla rappresentanza sociale alla rappresentanza politica: Sviluppi politico-costituzionali in Firenze dal Tre al Cinquecento”, in Italia Quattrocentesca. Politica e diplomazia nell’età di Lorenzo il Magnifico, ed. Riccardo Fubini (Milan: Franco Angeli, 1994), 41–61. 50 Philip Jones, The Italian City-State: From Commune to Signoria (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997). 51 Gian Maria Varanini, “Aristocrazie e poteri nell’Italia centro-settentrionale dalla crisi comunale alle guerre d’Italia”, in Le aristocrazie dai signori rurali al patriziato, eds. Renato Bordone, Guido Castelnuovo and Gian Maria Varanini (Rome, Bari: Laterza, 2004), 121–193.


The nexus between voting and political parties has until now received only occasional attention from historians of late medieval Italy. This may be because, whereas the frequency and centrality of voting and elections in that time and place is beyond doubt, little consensus exists on the suitability of the category of ‘political parties’ in the same period. Eighteenth-century analysts of the political party phenomenon – including, among others, David Hume and John Adams1 – looked back to the Italian Middle Ages as a precedent and a model (positive or negative); Max Weber was one of the last in a distinguished lineage regularly to include examples from Antiquity and the Middle Ages in his reflections on the nature of political parties.2 Twentieth-century political science has instead deliberately severed the genealogical link connecting pre-modern and modern party forms. Seymour Martin Lipset and Stein Rokkan acknowledged that the history of the idea of ‘party’ should go back to the Middle Ages but subscribed to the schema put forward, a few years earlier, by Giovanni Sartori:3 ‘political parties’ are intrinsically modern phenomena, whereas before modernity one should rather speak of ‘factions’. Indeed ‘faction’, not ‘party’, has been the more frequented conceptual bridge between the social sciences (particularly anthropology and sociology) and medieval and early modern political history, fostering exchanges around, for example, the idea of patron-client relations, or that of social networks. Sartori’s argument deserves to be rehearsed, as it endeavors to make explicit (from the perspective of a political scientist) what is often an implicit conceptual distinction. Parties are not factions, because (1) they are not evil, (2) they act as parts of a pluralistic whole and (3) they express wider constituencies and not simply the interests of the contestants themselves.4 Political parties presuppose, therefore, a relatively pluralistic state form, a relatively widespread access to and participation in politics, a relatively liberal system where dissent is, to a certain extent, possible and legal – Sartori’s notion of parties as not evil rightly emphasizes the moral

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dimension of the acceptance (or lawfulness) of political pluralism. If the state form is ill-defined, if politics is confined to very small circles (such as a court or an oligarchy) and if organized political dissent is in itself illegal or immoral (or, one could add, sinful), then we should speak not of political parties but of factions. The concrete examples, the epitome of medieval partes/parties, which Max Weber and his predecessors had in mind, were the Italian Guelfs and Ghibellines. Weber, in particular, based some of his assumptions on the medieval party on a reading of the statute of the Parte Guelfa of Florence.5 Issued in 1335, when Guelfism was nearly a century old, these statutes present the Florentine Guelf Party as a fully institutionalized body, endowed with material resources, and integrated in a political system where Guelfism was the official credo of the commune and Ghibellinism was proscribed.6 Even though the Guelf Party had formed a century earlier as one of a pair of opposites, by 1335 no official Ghibelline Party existed in Florence. The Florentine Guelf Party in the fourteenth century thus seems to perfectly illustrate one of the problems Sartori saw in medieval partes: this Guelf pars endured only because it claimed to be one and the same with the whole. A true multiparty system failed to form because Florence – and by extension the medieval commune – was incapable (ideally and practically) of accommodating and normalizing political pluralism within a single institutional framework. Its multiplication of political entities (the commune, the popolo, the parte, etc.) produced a pluralism of a different, and presumably nonmodern, kind, whereas competition between parties always exceeded the confines of institutions, becoming violent, or leading to the exclusion or expulsion of one side. The history of the Guelphs and the Ghibellines from the 1240s onward, then, has stood for a vision of medieval partisan conflict as pernicious and constantly on the verge of explosion, unable to become an element of government. Partisanship was confined outside institutional politics, turning into antipolitical violence and exclusion, or instead it penetrated institutions through informal clientelistic networks, which acted in ways more akin to corruption and electoral fraud than legitimate competition. Such an image is not incorrect but, if the jeu de mots can be forgiven, is very partial. A wealth of sources and case studies have been brought to light in the past two decades, which call for a profound renewal of our understanding of late medieval forms of partisanship.7 The paradigmatic place of the histories of Florence and Venice is one of the causes of the perspectival distortion. Between the late thirteenth and the midsixteenth centuries, Florence and Venice developed two distinct models of republican self-government, ‘popular’ the former, aristocratic the latter. The two republics, however, addressed the problem of partisan conflict in remarkably similar ways.The Venetian way revolved around the serrata, or ‘closure’ of the regime into a formal oligarchy, generally believed to have begun in 1297.8 The drafting of an official and more or less definitive list gave the constitutional characters of an oligarchy to a political system that might have already tended to become socially aristocratic. After a series of reforms which clarified the terms of the serrata, political inclusion and political exclusion became in Venice a simpler and relatively less contentious issue:

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those who were not in the list were in principle excluded. The closing of a regime to the point of rendering it a patrician oligarchy became an appealing constitutional model for many, in late medieval Ragusa for example, and in much of Italy from the fifteenth century, when Bologna and Perugia adopted it; in the sixteenth century, a large number of dominant or subject cities in Italy gave themselves a closed patriciate of sorts. The beginning of the Venetian serrata followed a Florentine constitutional reform of comparable magnitude and opposite ideological tinge, known as the Ordinamenti di Giustizia. The Ordinances of Justice, first issued in 1293,9 mandated that a large group of families, branded as magnates and whose names were written in a list, be excluded from elective offices and subjected to certain judicial disabilities. The entity in the name of which the ordinances were issued, the popolo of Florence, presented itself and its values of justice and peacefulness as beneficial for the entire ‘Commune and city of Florence’, in the very act of excluding other Florentines from full political membership.10 In drafting a list of the excluded, the Florentine reformers left the issue of positive political membership relatively undefined and open to new entrants, particularly migrants from Florence’s surrounding countryside, but also former magnates who accepted to change their family identity and renounced their name. In both Venice and Florence, the groups that emerged as fully enfranchised in the fourteenth century rejected all party division in their midst (between Guelfs and Ghibellines, and between nobles and popolo), and sought, more or less successfully, to enforce concordia, concord, through electoral procedures whose rules were explicitly designed to stamp out partisanship. Both Venice and Florence, as it is well known, resorted to multistep elections, combining the randomness of sortition with qualitative phases of nomination and preliminary scrutiny. The Venetian oligarchic constitution defused conflict more successfully than the more permeable Florentine ruling group; the increasingly rigid legal boundaries the Venetian patriciate erected around itself limited the competition for office (the gara d’ufici which the Florentine chronicler Dino Compagni saw as one of the main causes of partisanship) and rendered the vertical ties between patricians and the popolo of Venice electorally useless, albeit often politically important. The performance of unity was an essential, and even existential, condition for the functioning of the Venetian oligarchy; divisions formed in its midst but were resolved internally and hidden from view, and divisive issues in assemblies and councils never ‘froze’ into durable party cleavages.11 In Florence the only legitimate electoral partition was determined by guild affiliation, and indeed the number of recognized guilds, the respective quotas between major and minor guilds and the guilds’ autonomy in drafting nominations returned as the crux of all Florentine electoral reforms throughout the fourteenth century.12 The presence of factions is far easier to trace in Florentine documents than in Venetian ones, from the clash between White and Black Guelfs in the 1300s, to the so-called arciguelfi faction in the 1360s, to the rise of the Medici faction in the 1430s, or the Piagnoni in the early sixteenth century. Some of these factions were certainly more than informal political networks; for the fifteenth century there is

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strong evidence, for example, of oaths taken together by the anti-Medici faction in the 1460s13 – and oaths could be the first ritual step toward consolidation. Even so, all those factional groupings never organized explicitly as a pars, as they had in the thirteenth century, and never obtained electoral recognition. The presence of a fully recognized Parte Guelfa in the Florentine one-party system might have even functioned as a deterrent. A very different solution to the problem of political division was conceivable, however. A proposal, made by an obscure Florentine citizen, Dino Gucci, in a Consulta meeting of 1430, pointed to such a solution: Let the Signori constitute a commission of 24 citizens, choosing 12 among those citizens not partisan in any way, and the same number among those partisan in this division that is said to exist, and let them be in equal number from each party, as this seems better.14 Since it seems that a division exists, Gucci proposed, let the government acknowledge its existence by constituting a commission, composed in equal number of partisans and nonpartisans, and let the former have an equal number of members from each side of the cleavage. (The division concerned the continuation of the war with Lucca, a matter of great importance, on which the records of Consulte meetings and other contemporary documents show ample evidence of clashing opinions, as well as a general awareness of who the leaders of each camp were.) Dino Gucci’s proposal was unusual, outlandish even, in the context of early fifteenth-century Florence. It was not unprecedented, however. It echoed, in fact, a short-lived reform enacted about one hundred fifty years earlier, the pax between Guelfs and Ghibellines brokered by the papal legate, Cardinal Latino Malabranca, in 1279–80.15 One of the terms of that complex settlement, the one with the most profound constitutional significance (but also, curiously, the least studied), was the creation of a new supreme government council, the Fourteen, to be chosen with a new electoral procedure, designed to openly take into account party affiliation and do so by reflecting the respective numerical strength of the parties within the citizenry. A twelve-member commission, formed by six Guelfs and six Ghibellines, was to be charged with organizing a sort of political census of ‘all [male] citizens, from adolescents aged 21 to old men aged 70’, in order to determine ‘who is Guelf, who is Ghibelline, as well as who is Common or Indifferent’. Councils and offices of the commune were then to be allocated proportionally among Guelfs, Ghibellines and Indifferents ‘according to the number of heads found in each party’.16 The reform would in turn imply that distinct lists of eligible citizens needed to be created, according to their party affiliation, or lack thereof. There are scant sources that can illustrate how this reform was implemented and applied to elections in the following months, but it seems clear that party registration was indeed taken into account for candidates/nominees.17 It might well be that an effective Guelf majority in Florence was the one reflected in the composition of the council of

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the Fourteen, which had eight Guelf and six Ghibelline members – the Indifferents apparently not represented. Two-party government in Florence lasted less than three years. A far more consequential reform in 1282 inaugurated Florence’s durable second popolo regime, where eligibility was determined by guild affiliation, rather than party affiliation.18 From this moment the Florentine Arti – primarily socioeconomic, rather than political, entities, unlike the Guelf and Ghibelline Parties – became the constitutional foundation of the government of the commune. The Fourteen were soon replaced by a newly formed supreme magistracy, called the Priors of the Arts. Dino Gucci’s proposal in 1430, whether or not it was consciously reminiscent of that old and short-lived precedent (its acknowledgment of the third group, of nonpartisans or Indifferents, is suggestive), left no trace at all in legislation. One of the consequences of the inclusion of the principle of party affiliation in electoral procedures, in the thirteenth as in the fifteenth century, was the official recognition of parties, and therefore their institutionalization. In order to form a two-party council, or even just a multiparty commission like the one suggested by Dino Gucci, the partisan affiliation of all those with the right to be elected needed to be recorded and to an extent fixed. The reform would have made the division visible and, to use Sartori’s category, the evil of partisanship a legal requirement.

The Genoese political system Florence’s failure to embrace this option has until recently obscured the fact that other Italian communities successfully adopted it. The largest and most powerful of these was Genoa, where partisan affiliation was a visible and relatively stable foundation of electoral politics from the fourteenth century to the first quarter of the sixteenth century.19 The following description of the Genoese political system is by the humanist Antonio Ivani of Sarzana and dates from 1477: In Genoa there are a great number of patricians, whom we vulgarly call nobles, such as, for example, the Fieschi, the Doria, the Spinola, the Grimaldi, the Centurioni, the Gentile, the Lomellini, and many others. Some of these favor the Guelf party, others the Ghibelline: but all of these together usually oppose themselves to the popolo. The latter consists of three categories of citizenry: the cappellazzi, the popolo grasso, and the plebs. The cappellazzi, that is the tribunes of the plebs, are the Adorno, the Fregoso . . . With these the patrician families have mingled by means of the different factions that exist among them as well as favours and reciprocal marriages, such as the Fieschi and the Doria with the Fregoso, and the Spinola with the Adorno. In the popolo grasso, the Giustiniani have preeminence for the great size of their family and for their wealth. The Cattanei, the Fornari, and many others come after, and these care more about commerce than sedition, although they also

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allow themselves to become involved in the same various favours. After these come the orders of craftsmen and the multitude of the plebs, the greater part of which usually follow the different factions in arms.20 The structure of the Genoese party system in the fifteenth century was the complex result of three different and intersecting cleavages: Guelf/Ghibelline (more often called Blacks/Whites), nobles/popolari, and Fregoso/Adorno. These cleavages emerged at successive points during two centuries, but the oldest were not canceled out by the most recent, because the former did not overlap with the latter, and instead divided political society according to different parameters, which in principle encompassed everyone who was politically active.The image that emerges from Antonio Ivani’s description is not only that of a pervasively partisan political society but also one where multiple political and social ties (factions, favors, marriages) connect the different parties. Of the three party cleavages identified by Ivani, two had ‘frozen’ into official partisan affiliations: Guelf/Ghibelline, and nobles/popolari. From 1339, Genoa had a stato popolare, a regime in which the nobles were legally excluded from certain important political posts, and in particular were excluded from the highest office, the newly instituted doge. Whereas the exclusion rules affecting the nobles changed over time, nobles were never allowed to hold the doge’s office before the oligarchic constitution of 1528.21 The Genoese popolo was institutionally divided into the categories of grasso and minuto, which is to say into merchants and artisans. The doge being necessarily a man of the popolo, the Adorno and Fregoso factions emerged as a consequence of the competition, wholly internal to the popolo, for appointment to the position of doge. The two great popular clans of cappellazzi Fregoso (or Campofregoso) and Adorno, which gave the names to the factions, were in fact the ones who divided the dogeship among themselves for much of the fifteenth century. They thereby remained popolari despite their wealth, land holdings and their followers and clients throughout the Riviere, which rendered them socially and culturally very similar to the nobility. Noble Ghibelline families like Doria and Spinola participated in the competition for a post from which they were legally excluded by establishing alliances with one of the popular factions: in the fifteenth century, the Spinola tended to support the Adorno and the Doria supported the Fregoso. The powerful Fieschi, noble and Guelf, were, in the words of a contemporary, ‘for themselves, and wherever they lean they tip the balance’.22 Of the four great noble families and alberghi of Genoa, Doria and Spinola were of Ghibelline color and Grimaldi and Fieschi were Guelf. It was agreed in 1378 that there would always be two representatives from this group of only four alberghi among the Anziani (the Elders, that is the governing council), always ‘keeping the colors’. The Genoese popolo was in the majority Ghibelline (although this was not true everywhere in the subject communities of the Riviere and the settlements in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, or in the largest city of the Genoese dominion, Savona). The chancellor Giorgio Stella estimated at the beginning of the fifteenth century that the numerical size of the Guelf Party within the popolo was one

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quarter of that of the Ghibellines. In the early 1500s around 62.4 percent of the 1,113 citizens in a list of those eligible were registered as Ghibelline.23 Documents produced by the Genoese parties as such have not emerged for the fifteenth century, although the full proceedings survive of a council of the Ghibelline Party summoned in 1395 to deliberate and vote on the cession of the lordship over Genoa to the king of France, Charles VI. The Genoese government kept official books in which the two vice-doges drew up lists of eligible citizens, updated every six months, based on information mandatorily provided by the conestagie (topographic units of the city and the suburbs) and the alberghi (associations of families bearing the same name): it was in these books that party affiliation (the ‘color’) of each individual was registered for the use of elections.The Genoese state archives preserve a large quantity of interim records of fifteenth-century elections of magistrates and officials on individual paper sheets, where the names of nominated candidates are neatly listed under Black, White, Noble, Popular, Merchant and Artisan.24 Different electoral lists, purses or boxes existed and a record of party affiliation for all the citizens was effectively consulted.We also have something very rare: in 1410, forty-seven ‘Guelf noble and popular citizens’, in some cases with sons and brothers, went to the notary to register as Ghibellines.25 This document confirms that it was necessary to officially certify one’s own party affiliation, at the very least when an individual or a family decided to jump ship and register into a different party. Genoese parties, then, must be understood in the context the Genoese electoral system and its voting culture. Guelf and Ghibellines, nobles and popolari, did not emerge as assembly factions – the partes in Genoa and everywhere in Italy began as groups and movements of the political society, congealing around clienteles, class interests, ideology and supralocal alliances. Competition and compromise between parties shaped the electoral rules, and electoral rules in turn influenced the party system and voting cultures.

Elections in Genoa The Genoese electoral system has not been studied in depth, and despite the abundance of potential sources no single constitutional text allows a straightforward description of the rules.The Genoese regulae of 1363 and 1413, both written under Adorno doges, are not the exact equivalent of a statute, and their validity was strictly connected with the tenure of the doge under which they were issued.26 It is clear, however, that many of the norms included in the regulae both shaped and followed the legal custom.The regulae strive to establish firm procedures particularly for the election of the doge and the offices immediately dependent on him, yet such procedures were seldom applied in practice; chronicles suggest that the dogeship continued to be won in most cases by the leader of a faction that prevailed politically or militarily, outside the strictly electoral contest. The election of the doge, despite its importance, is in fact the least reliable focus for a study of Genoese electoral procedures, among other things because, for prolonged periods in the late

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Middle Ages, Genoa developed a peculiar tradition of contractual foreign lordships, which consisted primarily in the replacement of the doge with a governor sent by the foreign lord (generally the king of France or the duke of Milan). During those periods, the rest of the government apparatus remained virtually unchanged under the control of the Genoese, and elections continued to take place with regularity. Unlike dogeships and governorships, all other political offices in Genoa were generally assigned through elections. The college of the Anziani or Elders, who shared the highest government powers with the doge or the governor, and the powerful economic magistracies of the republic were renewed with continuity and regularity, belying the impression of instability conveyed by the comings and goings of doges and governors.27 The procedures detailed by the 1413 regulae for the election of the twelve Anziani involved several phases. First the doge and the outgoing Anziani gathered in council, nominated eight among ‘the best and sufficient’ citizens, ‘lovers of the peaceful state of Genoa’, from the city and its suburbs. Each nominee was to be approved by a majority of at least ten out of fourteen votes (the doge having two votes). Each of the eight elected was then summoned to the palace accompanied by another citizen, so that the real identity of the elected was not apparent to him or to those who saw him, before he reached the palace; once in the presence of the doge, the ‘truly elected’ took their oath of loyalty, while the ‘falsely elected’ were dismissed. This first eight-member commission proceeded, together with the doge, to elect a second commission of eight electors, approving each name with a majority of at least seven out of ten votes. The summoning of ‘true’ and ‘simulated’ elected citizens to the palace was repeated, and so was the oath-taking for the former and the dismissal of the latter. The second commission of eight electors was the one in charge of electing the new college of the Anziani. They were to choose eleven citizens from the city and one from one of the suburban podesterie of Voltri, Polcevera and Bisagno, in rotation. For all these commissions, and for the Anziani, the regulae prescribe parity of representation between nobles and popolari, and, within the quota for popolari, parity between merchants and artisans; the Anziano elected from the podesterie belonged to the quota of artisans. Parity between Guelfs and Ghibellines is not explicitly mentioned in the regulae, but there are reasons to believe, as I will mention later, that it was applied.28 Such a complex procedure, which reprises almost verbatim that of the regulae of 1363, appears overwhelmingly concerned with preventing lobbying and corruption. All communication and gift exchange between the first and the second group of eight electors is prohibited. Electors cannot nominate themselves, their own electors, or their and their colleagues’ fathers, brothers or sons. Former Anziani can be elected only after one year out of office, and no current officeholder is eligible. The curious summoning of ‘simulated’ elected citizens together with those vere electi must have also aimed to thwart last-minute deals, made before the conscience of the elected was bound by their solemn oath in the palace to act bene et legaliter, that is, ‘well and within the law’. The earlier regulae of 1363 contemplated for the election of Anziani a further step, which prescribed that the names of twelve nominees, each approved with two thirds of the votes, be placed in two sacculi, or purses,

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one for merchants, the other for artisans, from which a further commission of six electors would be drawn randomly.29 Silence about the use of sortition in the regulae of 1413 does not necessarily indicate that sortition was not employed. The regulae are vague, for example, on the procedure for the election of the powerful offices of Mercanzia and Gazaria, which are expected to elect their successors ‘in the usual way’, more solito. A different early fifteenth-century set of laws, devoted specifically to Gazaria, describes the election of its officials in more detail: the eight outgoing officials were to nominate thirty-two eligibles (presumably resorting to the vote on each nominee), write their names on cedule, put them into purses according to the usual party quotas and draw from those purses eight names every six months. The purses were to be completely renewed every year, thus giving nominees a fifty-percent chance to be elected within the year, in principle – a slightly higher chance in practice, since, if one elected recused himself for admissible reasons, the purse was used again to elect his substitute.30 The distribution of the republic’s many salaried offices, often entailing territorial jurisdiction, was a crucial electoral moment in Genoa – so much so that the regulae allow officials and citizens to obtain authentic copies of the relevant electoral norms from the palace notaries. Such offices must be granted ‘communally and not by property’, the regulae say – the reference is to the practice of selling salaried offices received through election, a practice deprecated and prohibited elsewhere. All salaried offices were to be assigned once a year, in December, with a threestep nomination-and-vote process similar to the one prescribed for the Anziani, and were subject to a number of exclusions on the basis of kinship links, place of origin of the candidates, previous appointments to the same position and so forth. The commissions of electors were formed according to the party quotas and each nominee needed to be elected with a very large majority – ten out of twelve votes if the doge was present, nine out of ten in his absence, in the first commission; eight out of ten votes with the doge, six out of eight without him, in the second commission.31 A further legislative reform of 1443 confirms that the assignation of salaried offices was the object of strenuous competition and many complaints in Genoa.The stated aim of the reformers was to choose ‘the best and most suitable’ men, ‘lovers of the present state of the republic’, but also to adhere strictly to the quotas reserved to the ‘colors’, nobles/popolari and Guelf/Ghibelline. Offices that were individual rather than collegial needed to rotate among the colors; a book of all those applying for an office (a liber requirentium) was to be compiled in early December, and applicants needed to be aware of which office fell to which color that year.32

Quotas and qualified majorities Given such an electoral system, political competition and conflict operated around and not within elections. Powerful individuals and strong popular movements, both of which are features of Genoese history in the late Middle Ages, sought to gain

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political clout and offices for their party not so much by influencing the outcome of single elections but by negotiating or renegotiating the electoral equilibrium of quotas as a whole. Parity in the allocation of offices between Blacks and Whites (i.e. Guelfs and Ghibellines) and nobles and popolari reigned throughout the fifteenth century and the first decades of the sixteenth; in the quota reserved for the popolo, merchants and artisans usually had the right to equal representation. These quotas concerned all the republic’s principal magistrates (Anziani, Moneta, Mercanzia, Gazaria, extraordinary magistracies and commissions, San Giorgio, and even official embassies), and those of its territories, with the exception of the office of doge, who needed to be always assigned to a Ghibelline from the popolo. In Caffa, the principal city of the Genoese dominion in the Black Sea, offices were also allocated to equal quotas of cives (Genoese citizens) and burgenses (non-Genoese inhabitants of Caffa). A report of the consul and massarii of Caffa in 1471, written four years before the fall of that city to the Ottomans, claims that the observance of quotas for the colors there conflicted with the assignation of offices to the best candidates. The authors of the report argue that the burgenses in Caffa ‘do not much care about colors’, but only that parity be preserved between cives and burgenses.33 The problem of competence versus party affiliation might have been felt in Genoa, too, but not acutely enough that it inspired a revision of the system. The Genoese quota system was stable but not static. A political movement or a crisis could prompt a change in the electoral quotas, but such changes always proved to be short-lived. In 1477, for example, for about two months the newly instituted magistracy of the Eight Defenders of the Fatherland was elected according to different quotas, tilted in favor of the popolo (six members) and specifically the artisans (four members), whereas parity between Blacks and Whites was maintained.34 A similar allocation, with two thirds of the offices assigned to the popolo, was the most important electoral reform pushed by the government installed after the revolt of the Cappette in 1506.35 A very clear example of how political conflict translated into electoral outcomes comes from the peace stipulated on 1 January 1454, with the intermediation of the apostolic legate Cardinal Domenico Capranica, between the then doge of Genoa, Pietro Campofregoso, and Gianfilippo Fieschi, count of Lavagna.36 This peace put an end to the hostilities between the doge, on the one hand, and Fieschi and his followers, on the other. Given the importance of the figures involved and the reciprocal concessions exchanged, it marked an important junction for the fifteenthcentury Genoese state. Of the thirty articles that it comprised, one in particular, the eighteenth, was extrapolated from the full text and recopied in four notes to be sent on the same day to the two allied governments of Florence and Milan, to the pope, and to the dethroned king of Naples, René of Anjou.37 The ‘special eighteenth clause’, brought to the attention of these four addressees, stated that the Guelf color must have half the benefits, the offices, the remunerations, the prerogatives, and the honours of the city and community of Genoa,

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as is customary . . . in mode and form such that the said color is understood to have its own stato. Neither the doge Fregoso nor the count Fieschi would be ‘exempted by any reason of color’, that is, they would not be able, under any circumstance, to patronize offices beyond the quota reserved for their respective color. An important and obvious consequence of the Ghibelline majority in the popolo of the city of Genoa was that a regime with equal representation between Guelfs and Ghibellines inevitably favored the Guelfs, because their quota of offices was split among fewer eligible persons. The skewed nature of the electoral quotas was clearly understood by contemporary Genoese; the peace of 1454 marked a victory (military and political) of the Guelf Party and of those areas in the Riviere where the Guelfs were stronger.38 Gianfilippo Fieschi reasserted the parity of colors on behalf of the whole Guelf Party; thus in the eighteenth article of the peace a member of a leading Genoese noble Guelf family negotiated the parity of the colors in the distribution of the offices of the republic, acting not in his own name or that of his named accomplices and associates (among whom there were many Ghibellines) but in the name of the Guelf Party. In return, the mechanism dividing offices between colors allowed Gianfilippo Fieschi to claim for himself a rather impressive personal power of patronage, without at all officially modifying the Genoese constitution. The 1454 peace takes the distinct appearance of an electoral agreement where it prescribes that Fieschi would ‘govern and nominate the officials’ in the small Riviera towns of Recco, Rapallo, Portofino, Monterosso, Crovara, Framura and Moneglia. He would nominate the podestà in another eight locales (all officials who would take orders from the doge and be paid with public money), and assign salaried posts within Genoa itself: One knight of the four of the Most Illustrious Doge, and one of the knights of the podestà . . . and one Vice Doge, and the collateraria. Item . . . one ministry, one of the consuls of justice, one of the consuls of the levies, one of the officers of the syndicators, one of the officers of Bisagno, one to one of the offices of the ordinary expenditure, one to one of the offices of criminal justice, one to one of the offices of the craft guilds, and one to one of the offices of the Mercanzia. Gianfilippo, who received for himself the post and salary of captain general of the republic, would also be able to nominate the patrons and officers of the Genoese galleys, should the need arise to build up a military fleet, with a quota of one third reserved for the Guelf color and two thirds for the Ghibelline – here the fact that the quota of Guelfs among patrons of ships was one third rather than half seems to further confirm that, especially within the popolo, the Guelfs were simply not of sufficiently large number. Perhaps the most powerful confirmation of the widespread Genoese culture of party quotas in public offices comes from an unexpected place.When the society of

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the Dame della Misericordia, whose charitable purposes were at best of a semipublic nature, became in 1478 the object of complaints about the lack of equal representation of nobles and popolari in its leadership, this collegium of mulieres, too, was urged to elect its eight female leaders according to the party quota system in use in the republic’s male-led Ufficio della Misericordia.39 The Genoese laywomen involved in the charitable society must have proceeded, therefore, to compile their own eligibility lists and record their members’ party affiliation, before engaging in the electoral process of nominations and votes. The qualified majorities repeatedly prescribed in the regulae for the election of officials deserve particular attention. A majority of at least two thirds of the votes, often expressed via the ballot, was a requirement for all the elections of which we have detailed descriptions in legislative texts. When every collective magistracy, every office, every commission is formed according to the parity rule along the two intersecting cleavages, nobles/popolo and Blacks/Whites, then the requirement of a qualified majority means that no individual party can elect a candidate on its own. No Guelf can be elected only with Guelf votes; no noble can be elected only with votes from the nobles. Cross-party alliances are necessary at every turn, at every election, hundreds of times a year, and they need to be managed by a large number of citizen-electors. These votes required, then, those political ‘favors’ mentioned by Antonio Ivani in his description of the Genoese party system. A constant exchange of votes between parties must have been in fact a structural requirement of Genoese electoral practice. It seems plausible that this electoral requirement fostered, in turn, the distinctive political culture of coalition-formation, which has been observed for the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries.40 If factional conflict is indeed one of the characters of Genoese political life, an equally striking trait is that major crises, even those leading to the contractual subjection to external sovereigns, such as the dukes of Milan or the kings of France, not only left the internal Genoese constitution largely unchanged but also never succeeded without cross-party alliances and coalitions. Another feature of Genoese politics, the cross-party petitions requesting amnesty for those who had caused political trouble, which regularly rained on the new governments after every political crisis, was an expression of the same political culture.

Justifying party affiliation It would be hasty to assume that the official existence and coexistence of parties in Genoa, in the broader European context of a moral discourse that reviled and delegitimized parties, would be entirely unproblematic. The very same 1413 regulae that mandated, in their second article, that the doge be always de populo ghibellino, contained an article devoted to ‘extinguishing partialities’, ad partialitates extinguendas.41 This article, again reprising the earlier regulae of 1363,42 condemned the pernicious effects of divisions and partialities in past times and prohibited, in the name of ‘the public good’, the observance of quotas for Guelfs and Ghibellines in future elections of officials, and even the discussion of a division between

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these two parties and the mentioning of the parties’ names. Equal representation of nobles and popolari, and, within the latter, of merchants and artisans, was instead reasserted. In a departure from the regulae of 1363, however, the regulae of 1413 added that this article’s content was to be further discussed, and if necessary amended, within one year, by a specific commission. Thus by 1413 earlier aspirations to stamp out the division between Guelfs and Ghibellines, while preserving that between nobles and popolo, must have appeared obsolete or unsustainable. The choice to officially call the parties Blacks and Whites, instead of Guelfs and Ghibellines, was in all likelihood an attempt to wriggle out of the tension between moral discourse and political pragmatism – a tension that the Genoese always resolved in favor of the latter. The most obstinate and systematic attack on parties in the fifteenth century was waged by Observant Mendicant preachers, who devoted sermons in each cycle of preaching specifically to the ‘sin’ of factionalism.43 Franciscan preachers, thanks to the immense popularity of orators like Bernardino of Siena, could have ambiguous effects on civic communities, generating great bubbles of fervor and swift, yet often short-lived, reforms. In Genoa, one official attempt was made in the fifteenth century to upset the electoral division according to parties, and it followed the preaching of the Observant friar Battista Tagliacarne. On 29 March 1465, the Milanese governor (who at the time had the functions of the doge) and the Anziani presented the following proposal to the council: Segnoi, Sirs, the reason for your convocation is this. The majority of you have understood what this venerable religious friar Battista Tagliacarne proposes concerning the removal of colors in this city and in our country, and how many good reasons he has produced regarding this matter, hence . . . we have called this meeting so that once again you can listen to his advice about this and, having heard everything, offer your wise counsel on that which to you appears best to do.44 During the deliberation messer Battista da Goano described the proposal of the friar and the government to be so clearly just, so evidently agreeable, that it required few arguments in its favor. Speaking as the jurist that he was, he reminded everyone that ‘divisions are condemned by both civil and canon law and by the most authentic authors’. Thus he supported the proposal to extinguish the colors and cease to say their names, as well as the adoption of other criteria for the election of magistrates, to be established by an ad hoc commission formed, in order to begin virtuously, ‘without observing the said colors’. The majority of the votes recorded supported Battista da Goano’s opinion. Under the record of his speech, however, no decree was ever added by the governor and the Anziani. The proposal came to nothing: perhaps it was noted that such a major modification of custom would require a reshuffling of the existing equilibrium and a reform of the Genoese electoral system in toto.45 What was so evidently agreeable was also quite evidently unfeasible and equal quotas of Blacks and Whites continued to be applied to elections.

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The Adorno and Fregoso factions, produced by the competition for the dogeship, constituted a further factional layer, which cut across the two other cleavages but never enjoyed official electoral recognition in the form of quotas. More ephemeral factions or lobbies constantly formed, which aimed to influence elections and the allocation of offices; the most important of those was perhaps the enigmatic group called the Botta or botteschi, already known in the mid-fifteenth century and still active in the early sixteenth.46 The difference between the opaque Botta, similar to a lobby, or even a secret society, and the colori, institutionalized by the electoral system, was clear to the Genoese themselves. The former kind of faction was not perceived as fully legitimate. In 1510, during the king of France Louis XII’s lordship over Genoa, complaints reached the ear of the king about the fraudulent influence of the botteschi on the elections of the Anziani. When the king proposed a reform that would abolish ‘all such passions and manners [of doing]’, including the quotas for colors in all elections, the Genoese representatives responded firmly that it was not advisable to do so, that this would be too great a departure from their forma del vivere, their ‘form of life’ – civic and republican life, one might add – which had remained unchanged for a long time. ‘Great confusion’ would follow a reform of this kind, and no loving ruler would wish such an outcome.47 So the Genoese stuck to their old reprehensible political passions throughout the fifteenth century and the early sixteenth. Party affiliation lost much of its importance only with the oligarchic constitution of 1528. This reform aimed to ensure the survival of the republic during the existential uncertainties caused by the Italian Wars and singled out membership of the alberghi as the primary basis for electoral and political franchise. A closed list of names was eventually established, similar to the Venetian one.

Conclusion The case of Genoa may be the most complex and best documented instance of a model of party system that several other communities adopted in late medieval Italy. The juncture between political parties and electoral procedures is a crucial locus where the complexity and resilience of a political system can be gauged. Like in most self-governing communities in Italy, in Genoa, in addition to the right to vote, it was the right and fair opportunity to hold office that mattered to citizens. Political parties concentrated their efforts on negotiating and enforcing quotas in all the republic’s magistracies. Parties constituted the principal channel through which citizens accessed political office and were successful in enforcing a degree of social and political pluralism in the selection of the ruling group, even though they promoted the paternalistic logic of client-patron rapports, made of both consensus and abuse, and occasionally also violence. More fluid factional formations and pressure groups, which sought to exercise political influence, needed to rely on coalitions that cut across the institutional parties.

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In Genoa, quotas, not election results, were the product of political competition. In order to be certain of maintaining their share in government, their part in the stato, as the documents say, party quotas, and the parties themselves needed to be official and public. Despite a dominant political discourse that was profoundly fearful of political division and hostile to its official recognition, the Genoese devised and sustained for a couple of centuries their own forma del vivere, which acknowledged that division existed indeed but could become part of a relatively stable and cooperative political system. This was an original path, even in the highly experimental context of late medieval Italian politics and institutions, and one that invites a revision of long-held assumptions about medieval political cultures and their relationship to modern ones.

Notes 1 David Hume, “Of Parties in General”, in Political Essays, ed. K. Haakonsen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 33–39; John Adams, “A Defense of the Constitutions of the United States of America” (1789), in The Portable John Adams, ed. J. P. Diggins (New York: Penguin, 2004), 291–335. 2 See, for example, Max Weber, “Politics as a Vocation”, in From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology, eds. H. H. Gerts and C.Wright Mills (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1946), 99–101. 3 Seymour Martin Lipset and Stein Rokkan, “Cleavage Structures, Party Systems, and Voter Alignments: An Introduction”, in Party Systems and Voter Alignments: Cross-National Perspectives, eds. S. M. Lipset and S. Rokkan (New York: The Free Press, 1967), 3–4. 4 Giovanni Sartori, Parties and Party-Systems: A Framework for Analysis (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1976), 21–25. 5 Weber, “Politics as a Vocation”, 99. 6 Francesco Bonaini,“Statuto della Parte Guelfa di Firenze compilato nel MCCCXXXV”, Giornale storico degli archivi toscani, 1 (1857): 1–41. 7 For a survey in English of recent research on parties and factions in late medieval Italy, see Marco Gentile, “Factions and Parties: Problems and Perspectives”, in The Italian Renaissance State, eds. Andrea Gamberini and Isabella Lazzarini (Cambridge: Cambridge University Pres, 2012), 304–322. 8 See Gehrard Rösch, “The Serrata of the Great Council and Venetian Society. 1286– 1323” and Stanley Chojnacki, “Identity and Ideology in Renaissance Venice: The Third Serrata”, both in John J. Martin and Dennis Romano, eds., Venice Reconsidered:The History and Civilization of an Italian City-State (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000), 67–88 and 263–293. 9 Francesco Bonaini, “Gli Ordinamenti di Giustizia del Comune e Popolo di Firenze compilati nel 1293”, Archivio Storico Italiano, 1 (1855): 2–93. The ordinances and their social and political meanings have been much debated in the historiography on Florence, ever since the early studies of Gaetano Salvemini and Nicolai Ottokar, who sharply disagreed on the importance of class identities in the conflict between popolo and magnates. A summary in English of more recent debates, which have instead focused on the exclusionary mode of the ordinances, as well as their ideological context, enriched by comparative considerations emerging from the case of Bologna, can be found in the first pages of Carol Lansing, “Magnate Violence Revisited”, in Communes and Despots in Medieval and Renaissance Italy, eds. John E. Law and Bernardette Paton (London: Ashgate, 2010), 35–45. 10 On the exclusionary mode in the Italian communes (and particularly Bologna), see Giuliano Milani, L’esclusione dal Comune: conflitti e bandi politici a Bologna e in altre città italiane tra XII e XIV secolo (Rome: ISIME, 2003).

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11 The reference here is to Lipset and Rokkan’s concept of the ‘freezing’ of cleavages into party systems: Lipset and Rokkan, “Cleavage Structures” 12 John Najemy, Corporatism and Consensus in Florentine Electoral Politics, 1280–1400 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1982). 13 Geno Pampaloni, “Il giuramento pubblico in Palazzo Vecchio a Firenze e un patto giurato degli antimedicei (maggio 1466)”, Bullettino senese di storia patria, 23 (1964): 212– 241. On an evaluation of the anti-Medici faction in those years, see Nicolai Rubinstein, The Government of Florence under the Medici. Second Edition (Oxford: Clarendon, 1997), 155–198; and Serena Ferente, Gli ultimi guelfi. Linguaggi e identità politiche in Italia nella seconda metà del Quattrocento (Rome:Viella, 2013), 81–126. 14 State Archive of Florence, Consulte e Pratiche, 49, fol. 32r, 26 April 1430. 15 Isa Lori Sanfilippo, “La pace del Cardinale Latino a Firenze nel 1280. La sentenza e gli atti complementari”, Bullettino dell’Istituto Storico Italiano per il Medioevo e Archivio Muratoriano, 89 (1980–1981): 193–260. 16 Isa Lori Sanfilippo, “La pace del Cardinale Latino”, 206–207: per XII viros ydoneos, sex Guelfos et totidem Gibellinos, de omnibus civibus ab adolescentibus qui vigesimum primum usque ad senes, qui annum septuagesimum actigerunt, disquisitio fiat, qui sint Guelfi et qui Gebellini; qui vero communes sive indifferentes secundum provisionem ipsorum et qui de neutra parte se profiteri noluerint, ad professionem huiusmodi non cogantur; dividantur autem consilia et officia iuxta numerum capitum, que invenientur in singulis partibus, et hii, qui se volent communes vel indifferentes asserere, similiter iuxta ipsorum numerum partem in consiliis et officiis sortiantur. 17 This aspect of the reform seems to have escaped the attention of historians of Florence. The record of the nominated and scrutinized from the Florentine sesto of Oltrarno for the March 1282 election of the Fourteen, where all the names are accompanied by their party affiliation, seems to me to confirm that the quota system was indeed implemented: Alessandro Gherardi, Le Consulte della Repubblica Fiorentina dall’anno MCCLXXX al MCCXCIII, vol. I (Florence: Sansoni, 1887), 71–72. 18 On this and successive electoral reforms in Florence, see John Najemy, Corporatism and Consensus. 19 On parties and factions in late medieval Genoa, see Arturo Pacini, “La tirannia delle fazioni e la repubblica dei ceti.Vita politica e istituzioni a Genova tra Quattro e Cinquecento”, Annali dell’Istituto italo-germanico in Trento, 18 (1992): 57–119; Riccardo Musso, “I ‘colori delle Riviere’: Fazioni politiche e familiari a Genova e nel suo dominio tra XV e XVI secolo”, in Guelfi e ghibellini nell’Italia del Rinascimento, ed. Marco Gentile (Rome: Viella, 2005), 523–558; Ferente, Gli ultimi guelfi, 127–176; Matthias Schnettger and Carlo Taviani, eds., Libertà e dominio. Il sistema politico genovese: le relazioni esterne e il controllo del territorio (Rome: Deutsche Historisches Instituut, 2011). 20 This portrait of the Genoese political system is found in a letter from the humanist Antonio Ivani da Sarzana to the Florentine Giovanni Giannotti, dated 21 April 1477, published as an appendix to Antonio Ivani, Historia de Volaterrana Calamitate (Rerum Italicarum Scriptores, XXIV/3), ed. Francesco L. Mannucci (Città di Castello: Lapi 1913), 47: Est in ea patriciorum ingens numerus, qui vulgo nobiles appellantur, utpote Flischi, Aurii, Spinule, Grimaldi, Centuriones, Gentiles, Lomellini et alii plures. Quorum pars guelfam factionem, pars gibellinam fovet: sed simul omnes a populo dissentire solent. Is tribus civium ordinibus constat: capellaciis, populo crasso et plebe. Capellacii, velut plebis tribuni, sunt Adurni, Fregosii, Montaldi, Gualchi, quorum duo priores antecedunt potentia et auctoritate. Per diversas inter se factiones et his interdum se favoribus connubiisque patriciorum familie miscuerunt, ut Fregosii Flischi et Aurii, Spinulae Adurnis. In populo autem crasso Justiniani excellunt familia et opibus, Catanei, Furnarii et plures alii subsequuntur, mercature quam seditionibus intentiores, quamquam et ipsis variis favoribus trahuntur. Sunt post eos opificum ordines et plebeia multitudo, quorum maxima pars diversis factionibus ambire solet ac armis cursitare.

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21 On the constitutional history of Genoa in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, see Vito Piergiovanni, Gli statuti civili e criminali di Genova nel Medioevo (Genoa: ECIG, 1980); Rodolfo Savelli, “ ‘Capitula’, ‘regulae’ e pratiche del diritto a Genova tra XIV e XV secolo”, in Statuti città territori in Italia e Germania tra Medioevo ed Età moderna, eds. Giorgio Chittolini and Dietmar Willoweit (Bologna: Il Mulino, 1991), 447–502. 22 Ferente, Gli ultimi guelfi, 158–161. 23 Georgius Stella, Annales Genuenses (Rerum Italicarum Scriptores, XVII/2), ed. Giovanna. Petti Balbi (Bologna: Zanichelli 1975), 316. I calculated the percentage in the early 1500s from the list published by Arturo Pacini, I presupposti politici del “secolo dei genovesi”: la riforma del 1528 (Genoa: Società Ligure di Storia Patria, 1990), 359. 24 State Archive of Genoa (henceforth: ASG), Diversorum Communis, 3141. 25 Archivio Storico del Comune di Genoa, Ms. 440, Giambattista Cicala, Memorie della Città di Genoa e di tutto il suo Dominio, t. II, p. 88, in which Cicala copies the names from the notary’s acts. 26 See the works cited previously in n. 21. Regulae also included a government budget. The regulae of 1363, issued under Doge Gabriele Adorno, are published in Historiae Patriae Monumenta, t. XVIII. Leges Genuenses, eds. C. Desimoni, L.T. Belgrano and V. Poggi (Turin: Bocca, 1901), cols. 243–388.The regulae of 1413, issued under Doge Giorgio Adorno, are available in several manuscripts, of which I have used ASG, Manoscritti tornati da Parigi 19 (15th c.). I will provide references from an eighteenth-century manuscript copy of the same regulae, from the Archivio Storico del Comune di Genova, Manoscritti Ricci 91, now available in a digital reproduction on the website of the Società Ligure di Storia Patria,, accessed on 31 May 2017. 27 On this point, see Christine Shaw, “Counsel and Consent in Fifteenth-Century Genoa”, English Historical Review, 116 (2001): 834–862. 28 Archivio Storico del Comune di Genova, Manoscritti Ricci 91, 57–61. 29 Leges Genuenses, col. 273. 30 Supplementi alle leggi del Bucicaldo, in Leges Genuenses, cols. 741–742. Gazaria was the name, derived from that of the Byzantine province once occupied by the Khazars, of the office in charge of Genoese affairs in the Black Sea. 31 Archivio Storico del Comune di Genova, Manoscritti Ricci, 91, 265–281. 32 Quoted in Vito Piergiovanni, Norme, scienza e pratica giuridica tra Genova e l’Occidente medievale e moderno (Genoa: Società Ligure di Storia Patria, 2012), 99–100 (note 109). The 1443 legislation was issued by the Capitani della Libertà during one of the brief periods when Genoa had neither a doge nor a governor. 33 The report expresses perplexity about the election of four new officials of the Moneta, who do not seem as expert and prudent as their predecessors, and asks San Giorgio to authorize an election without quotas, since ‘volendo eligere omnes aptos male possunt hic servari colores. Isti burgenses non multum curant de coloribus, solum quod burgensis habeat suum lochum, scilicet sint cives et burgenses pro dimidia’: “Codice diplomatico delle colonie TauroLiguri”, Atti della Società Ligure di Storia Patria, 7/1 (1871): 782, ed. A.Vigna, vol. II, 1. 34 Ferente, Gli ultimi guelfi, 145. 35 Pacini, I presupposti politici, 175–176. 36 ASG, Politicorum, 1648. 37 Ferente, Gli ultimi guelfi, 162–165. 38 Another peace including similar electoral accords survives from 1450: Musso, “I ‘colori delle Riviere’ ”, 543. 39 Giovanna Petti Balbi, “Il sistema assistenziale genovese alle soglie dell’età moderna: L’ufficio di Misericordia (secolo XV)”, Reti Medievali Rivista, 14 (2013): 111–150, www., accessed on 31 May 2017. 40 Pacini, I presupposti politici, 96; Ferente, Gli ultimi guelfi, 174–175. Contemporary observers, and sixteenth-century historians such as Giustiniani, suggest that the Genoese themselves were aware of such the role of party alliances in maintaining the city’s autonomy.

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4 1 Archivio Storico del Comune di Genova, Manoscritti Ricci, 91, 200–202. 42 Leges Genuenses, cols. 300–302: ‘Quod nullus de verbis parcialibus vociferetur vel loquatur’. 43 See Cynthia Polecritti, Preaching Peace in Renaissance Italy: Bernardino of Siena and His Audience (Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 2000); Francesco Bruni, La città divisa: Le parti e il bene comune da Dante a Guicciardini (Bologna: Il Mulino, 2003). 44 ASG, Diversorum, 577, cc. 123r–124r, 29 March 1465. 45 Ferente, Gli ultimi guelfi, 166. 46 On the botteschi, see Carlo Taviani, “Hanno levato l’amore dal comune e postolo a San Giorgio” ‘, L’immagine del comune e della Casa di San Giorgio di Genova (XV–XVI sec.)”, in Libertà e dominio, 293. 47 Pacini, I presupposti politici, 188–189.

13 THE ELECTION OF THE ABBESS Political reasons of monastic discipline in Renaissance Parma Letizia Arcangeli * Translated by Serena Ferente

The topic of this chapter is a series of reforms of nunneries implemented in Parma between 1486 and 1525.1 The most notable change the reforms introduced was to abolish the perpetuity of the abbess’s office. The reforms had deep roots and any explanation of how they evolved in concrete terms, their chronology and their priorities must go back to political transformations, which date back at least to 1480. In some respects the reforms can be analyzed as part of a process of disciplinamento.2 On the one hand, female communities, which used to be mostly free from institutional supervision, and a locus of female power, such as the office of the perpetual abbess, fell under the control of civic and ecclesiastical authorities (see the first section of this chapter). On the other hand, the de facto powers of the abbesses’ families over their respective nunneries was reduced to the benefit of the city. It was initially the prince who pursued the supremacy of the public over the private, as an element of his attempt to overcome the system of party government that characterized the early years of Sforza rule in the duchy of Milan (discussed in the second section).3 The city of Parma adopted the same objective only later, when the papal government of Parma endorsed the transition from a political system dominated by factions and vertical clans (including both the landed aristocracy and the urban ‘nobles’) toward a system organized around social orders (ceti), where the central power recognized as ‘public’ only the city, governed by citizens on their way to constitute a patriciate (to be discussed in the third section). Finally, the case of Parma suggests that the monastic rule imposed on nunneries can be read politically: the painstaking discipline of words, gestures and behaviors promoted the political necessity of manners and the repression of personal antagonisms, which could develop into factional allegiances inside and outside the monastic community (as discussed in the final section).

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The abbess from signora to officiale Attempts to reform nunneries in Parma long predate the period under consideration here. In the fifteenth century alone (and leaving aside male religious orders) several bishops took the initiative. Delfino della Pergola, for example, often clashed with the dukes of Milan, the religious orders and major families from Parma. Both a bishop-functionary such as Sacramoro da Rimini (1479) and a bishop-curial such as Cardinal Schiaffenati (1486) instead closely collaborated with the duke.4 The city itself appears uninvolved in these early phases, even as it promoted reforms of the male religious orders. The city only explicitly started to target nunneries in 1512, soliciting the popeprince to reform those communities’ observance, claustration and communal life.5 That first initiative concerned all nunneries and convents indistinguishably, but in practice the reform never touched the three Observant Mendicant houses, where, between 1450 and 1460, a group of tertiaries and two recently aggregated groups of women had received their rule: these three houses, ‘magni numeri . . . modici redditus . . . honestissimae vitae (of great number . . . modest income . . . most honest life)’, represented the monastic ideal for the city.6 In 1524–25 the city created some deputies specifically in charge of claustration, who in turn formed commissions assigned to each religious house and assisted the episcopal vicar in his negotiations with the abbesses, monitoring the implementation of the reform and the administration of the nunneries’ patrimonies.7 The reform itself was never conceived merely as a generic disciplining of the nuns according to their original religious rule but instead focused primarily on abolishing the abbess’s perpetuity of office. It was a revolution in the organization of power inside the monastery, clearly inspired by the early fifteenth-century reform of the male houses attached to the Congregation of Santa Giustina.8 In this way the reform suppressed a female ‘career’, that of the abbess-signora, the most notorious example of which in early sixteenth-century Parma was Giovanna da Piacenza, abbess of San Paolo from 1507 to 1524. Giovanna had defied her enemies in the city and commissioned Correggio to decorate the fresco of her famous Camera, the complex iconography of which was an indirect celebration, in the language of classical mythology, of female intellect and wisdom.9 The same themes were more explicitly recalled in Christian language through the figure of Saint Catherine of Alexandria disputing with the philosophers, an image which appears in the garden of the nunnery and in the chapel painted by Alessandro Araldi.10 The abbesses were signore not because of their family but by virtue of the powers connected with their office. Whether she belonged to a powerful feudal family, like the Sanvitale women in San Quintino, or instead merely to the urban patriciate, or even to a ‘new’ family, like Giovanna herself, the ‘perpetual abbess’, assisted by her kinsmen, governed an institution rich in material and symbolic power, and did so with lordly authority, something well illustrated by the inscriptions etched on the nunneries’ buildings.11 If female religious houses subject only to the pope (immediate subiecte) were few in Parma (and such a privilege appears the product

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of jurisdictional fights against the bishops, rather than an ancient condition), old Benedictine houses controlled vast landed seignorial patrimonies and the collation or confirmation of a substantial number of benefices, including some parish rectorates.12 In exercising such rights, the abbesses found themselves more than once in open conflict with the pope, the bishop of Parma and members of their parish, and in a less open conflict with the duke of Milan, whose suggestions for candidates they occasionally dared to ignore.13 Around 1512 in Parma the abbesses of three out of four Benedictine houses, of the Cistercian nunnery, of Santa Chiara, San Cristoforo and Santa Caterina, as well as probably San Domenico, were all perpetual.14 One can interpret the suppression of the office of perpetual abbess as an episode or a variant of the process of transition from the government of the nuns’ kin to the government of the city, which Gabriella Zarri has observed in central-northern Italy by the end of the period of Tridentine reform.15 Far from opposing an initiative pushed by the bishop, as in Padua and Verona in those very same years, in Parma the city council pursued the reform with great zeal, whereas the bishop embraced it only lukewarmly.16 Parma’s different attitude and its comparatively belated focus on female religious houses can be explained with an overview of the politico-social organization of the city between the demise of the Rossi clan (1484) and the Italian Wars.

City, feudatari and factions A peripheral city in the Milanese state, to which it belonged until 1512 and again from 1515 to 1521, and even more peripheral within the Papal States, from 1512 to 1515 and from 1521 to 1545, Parma became a capital following the constitution of the Farnese state in 1545. Parma probably represents an extreme case of the institutional and sociopolitical weakness of civic government that characterizes, within communal Italy, the region of northern Emilia, where medium-sized urban centers struggled to control exceptionally vast dependent rural territories (contadi). A peculiar feature of Parma is the fact that over two thirds of its territory contained the feudal domains of a handful of great families, who exercised seignorial powers well into the fifteenth century and were absorbed late and with difficulty, compared to the rest of the Milanese state, within the structure of feudal investitures centered on the dukes.17 The strength of such a seignorial-feudal presence seems to characterize and accentuate also the conflict among urban factions, which in Parma had an institutional profile. The four major feudal families, Rossi, Pallavicini, Sanvitale and da Correggio, excluded from the city councils, gave their names to and controlled the four factions, or ‘squadre’, that shared the council seats during the Sforza years, and occasionally fought in the city’s streets – the Rossi faction against an alliance of the other three (Tre Parti). The commune, which never completely renounced its claim to jurisdiction over the rural territory against the feudal families, was at the same time involved in the conflict among these families over control of the territory, the city, as well as influence on external powers, but almost always in a subordinate role. The names of the

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commune’s councillors are the same we find in the lists of political exiles (confinati) after the outbreak of factional clashes. The importance of factions continued even after the expulsion of the most powerful squadra, the Rossi, in 1484, and the end of Sforza power over Milan in 1499, when factions lost their official role in the formation of Parma’s city council. Castles, condotta contracts, offices and benefices – including those of abbesses or nuns – were resources whose distribution was profoundly influenced by those power clashes. Female religious houses, particularly Benedictine ones, were very regularly involved in each cycle of factional clashes, which in turn reflected moments of particular weakness at the center, as in the years 1477–84 and during the first decades of the Italian Wars (1499–1521). Conflict over honor or interest among families and factions found easy motives and pretexts in the bad reputation (mala fama) of an illdisciplined nunnery. This happened, for example, in 1479 at San Domenico, where ‘scandal and jealousy’ arose around the issue of monastic property appropriated by the abbess’s family.18 Most of all, conflict arose on the occasion of the election of a new abbess, when competition could spill over into the streets.19 During these periods the electoral rights of the chapter of the nuns and the mechanisms of ducal control of the distribution of benefices came into play. The solutions to the rather frequent cases of double elections show how the factional system, which preoccupied the Milanese governors and officials responsible for urban peace and military control, often paved the way to the interventions of the duke or the papal court. These started as pressures and sanctions, then turned into arbitration and choice. In this way the election of the abbess was taken away from a life-appointed electoral body, the chapter of the nuns, which was not easily bent to accommodate the changes in the city’s factional equilibrium and its relationship with the central power. The nuns’ right to elect was recognized by the dukes and never formally abolished. But ducal and papal priorities as well as politico-clientelistic interests became increasingly decisive. Seven (out of thirteen) ‘women and nuns, to whom is assigned the election’ at San Paolo wrote to the duchess: We shall not dare make a public election for fear . . . of your orders and decrees . . . and we shall not presume to find a public or private person, who . . . should give us help, assistance, and favour if . . . Your Benignity . . . had not approved it first.20 For at least seven of the fourteen abbesses elected in the Benedictine nunneries during the second half of the fifteenth century, we have evidence of pressures, in some cases violent or in blatant conflict with the opinions of the chapters. Every time the city discussed a political reform that would eliminate factions, the reform of female religious houses was always also on the agenda, but so long as the city was governed through the factional system the reform initiative came from other forces, namely the prince and the bishop.

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After the defeat of the Rossi, it had seemed possible to bury the factional system, since one of the four political parties was deprived of representation in the council. There are signs of a policy aiming to abolish factions, even as the city preserved the institutional role of the three surviving parties: for several years the composition of the city council was reviewed by Milan, and the names of the more openly factious members were excised from the electoral lists provided by the parties. Simultaneously, the duke sent soldiers ‘to compress the temerity and insolence of the hotheaded’.21 He also started a propaganda push for pacification, through the activity of preachers such as Cherubino of Spoleto and Bernardino of Feltre, touching on the three themes that were prominent during the disorders: usury, factionalism and the reform of religious houses.22 Bernardino’s presence in Parma certainly enjoyed ducal support but seems to have come through the initiative of the bishop, Cardinal Schiaffenati, whose relationship with the prince was often tense but who was interested in reforming the nunneries, since he was also facing the opposition of several abbesses on matters of benefices.23 The only nunnery where a radical reform was actually implemented in the fifteenth century was Sant’Alessandro, a place whose existence had been marked by internal discords for decades. In 1431 a rift had opened in the chapter on the occasion of the election of the abbess, only resolved seven years later by a direct papal intervention in favor of Lucrezia da Canossa (1438–57).24 Subsequently only six nuns elected Lucrezia’s successor, Lucia Rossi (1457–79), whereas the other five nuns refused to join the chapter for the election – they eventually dropped their opposition as an act of obedience to the duke. When Lucia died, in the midst of the violent factional clashes that followed the assassination in Milan of Duke Galeazzo Maria Sforza (1476), the chapter was again divided, and elected two competing abbesses. On that occasion the bishop appeared rather keen to guarantee parity of treatment to the two parties, as he sent notaries and canons affiliated to both the Rossi and the Tre Parti to monitor the election, against the recommendations of the ducal official in charge of benefices (economo) and against ducal decrees that explicitly forbade the presence of external persons at chapter meetings. Nuns, witnesses, procurators, courtiers and canons were involved in all the phases of the procedure and mirrored the balance between the parties in the city. Thanks to the support she enjoyed at the papal curia, Margherita da Canossa, elected by five nuns, of whom at least three were from families of the Tre Parti, obtained with unusual timeliness a papal bull charging a canon from the Tre Parti to instruct the informative process. Nearly a month later, her rival, Eleonora Rossi, elected while absent from the monastery, also obtained her own bull, but eventually the pope decided against her, in line with his broader policy hostile to the Milanese regency government and therefore also to the Rossi of Parma who supported it.The Milanese government, then under serious military threat, avoided taking sides, even as its sole ally in Parma, Pietro Maria Rossi, insistently asked ‘for my honour and that of the whole of my house’ that Eleonora be confirmed.25 The group of nuns who had elected Eleonora Rossi – all from the Rossi party with the exception of the eldest, who belonged to the Sanvitale squadra but had

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been under the spiritual direction of Basilio Rossi for a long time – appear to constitute the core of a movement in favor of monastic observance. Such a movement can be traced back to several initiatives of Pietro Maria Rossi, exemplifying the ambiguous ‘seignorial religion’ that characterized, as both protection-promotion and occupation-spoliation, the relationship between great families and ecclesiastical institutions in Parma. A protégée of Pietro Maria was the blessed Simona della Canna (a sort of santa viva, persecuted by the then bishop), who around 1450 led edifying ‘conversations’ with the nuns of Rossi-influenced houses, including Sant’Alessandro. The aforementioned Basilio Rossi was Pietro Maria’s cousin, who addressed spiritual epistles to the ‘Rossi kinswomen’ at Sant’Alessandro. Pietro Maria himself negotiated the annexation in 1471 of a male monastery he had founded in his feudal lands to the Congregation of Santa Giustina, and designated Basilio Rossi as the abbot. He did the same with the male Benedictine house of San Giovanni Evangelista in Parma, a benefice held by his son Ugolino (Ugolino was to be expelled from the monastery in 1477 after an attack by members of the Tre Parti). It is likely that female houses, too, were part of Pietro Maria’s plans: Bishop Sacramoro Visconti wrote in 1479 that Lucia Rossi, abbess of Sant’Alessandro, proposed to transform her office from perpetual to triennial.26 The Congregation of Santa Giustina was indeed crucial in the 1486 reform of Sant’Alessandro. The abbess and the nuns voted to adopt strict claustration and observance, to be subject in temporal and spiritual matters to the abbot of San Giovanni Evangelista (by then a member of the Congregation of Santa Giustina) and to hold annual elections, first of a prioress, while the current abbess was alive, then of the abbess herself. The economic and patronal interests of the abbess’s family were safeguarded: Margherita da Canossa consented to the reform but exempted herself from it, and obtained from the episcopal vicar, by virtue of her ‘nobility and dignity’, a generous grant of monastic income and the right to manage all beneficiary matters without summoning the chapter – this was a habitual compromise in case of union to Santa Giustina, modeled on the division between the abbatial mensa and the monks’ mensa typical of the commenda. The decision to reform the house and impose observance was motivated by the desire to avoid further conflicts among the citizens on the election of the abbess (‘ne inter cives inimicicie et discordie dicta de causa oriantur, prout hactenus factum est’).27 It was the most tangible result of Bernardino of Feltre’s preaching against factions. This was the same cycle of sermons that, at least according to Bernardino’s biographers, induced the citizens of Parma to delete from their houses the arms of their squadra, replacing them instead with the inscription Pars mea est Deus. Indeed, as a show of reconciliation, some Rossi men linked to the monastery of San Giovanni Evangelista were among the promoters of the reform, whereas several Tre Parti men appeared as witnesses at the chapter meeting that approved it.28 The reform was therefore the product of different impulses: factions inside and outside the monastery, jurisdictional conflicts with the bishop, princely concerns about public order. Bishop Sacramoro wished already in 1479 that ‘these abbacies of nuns should be triennial, as the true Rule of St. Benedict prescribes, so that these

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scandals that so often happen there may cease’. The reform remained confined to Sant’Alessandro, however, and its aggregation to the Congregation of Santa Giustina eventually happened only much later, in 1497 – sponsored, as it seems, by the city.29 Seen from the prince’s perspective, the reform presented advantages as well as some inconveniences, because the improvement in public order also entailed a diminution of the prince’s opportunities for patronage.30 Similarly, devaluing the abbess’s benefice lowered the stakes of the election but increased its frequency – something which could itself become a danger (a very similar argument was used by the podestà of Parma, Fabrizio Zucchi, to support the institution of a perpetual general civic council to replace the elective one).31 Different solutions might appear to have been more efficient, because they would have emptied the election of any real significance: to make the abbess a de facto hereditary office, or, more often, to practice formal resignation of office – two instances for which ducal consent and papal confirmation were decisive.32 And indeed San Quintino was allowed to become a family patrimony, with Sanvitale abbesses ruling it from 1425 onward, and after 1483 no elections. Sant’Ulderico was controlled by the Carissimi family from 1453; San Paolo fell under the control of the Bergonzi family from 1484, with decisive ducal support; and the Cistercian house, too, was governed, at least from 1502, by the descendants of an old economo of the nunnery.33

Feudal clienteles and civic institutions: the reforms of 1512–25 The political instability and further factional conflicts that followed the end of Sforza power in Milan (1499) again turned female religious houses into objects of a fight between opposing groups aiming to control them. The difficult start of the new papal government in Parma introduced a new element, however: the city now needed to negotiate both the distribution of benefices and any initiative regarding religion and the local Church with the new sovereign pontiff, without the mediation of a secular prince, and therefore from a weaker position. It is true that the city was able to exploit the conflict, personal and political, between the bishop (from 1509 to 1534 Cardinal Farnese) and the papal governor or, later, the papal legate (Cardinal Salviati, papal nephew, created in 1524 with jurisdiction over the four provinces of northern Emilia), to whom beneficiary matters were conferred.34 The Medici popes privileged the relationship with the governor and the legate, whereas Pope Paul III expanded the powers of the bishop (his nephew the cardinal of Santa Fiora), who was also Camerlengo and thus became the most direct counterpart of the city on fiscal and administrative matters, intervening in matters of benefices and episcopal jurisdictions.35 At the time of its subjection to Julius II in 1512, Parma found itself in a good bargaining position. The city’s plea for a reform of all female religious houses then seems to have been motivated primarily by the situation at San Paolo. The abbess’s brother-in-law, Scipione Della Rosa, one of the leaders of the Tre Parti, was vying

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for control of the nunnery with the cousins of the previous abbess, leaders of the Rossi party.The latter had been trying to recover their ancient incomes, offices and patronage in Parma since the fall of the Sforza.36 Yet a reversal of electoral fortunes in the city council may have prompted the retreat from the reform of the nunneries, which eventually concerned only minor houses – unsuccessfully for Santa Chiara and the Cistercian house, more concretely for Santa Caterina (but for a very brief period) and the Mendicant house of San Cristoforo, whose nuns, unsurprisingly, bore names of little political prominence.37 San Paolo, which was the likely initial objective of the reform, eschewed it, and in 1514 building works started in the private apartments of the abbess.The commission of Correggio to paint the frescoes in the famous Camera, together with patronage from the male house of San Giovanni Evangelista and the Fabbrica of the cathedral (which counted among its members the brother-in-law of the abbess), testify of the good relations between the nunnery and the most authoritative institutions in Parma and confirms that no reform of claustration or communion of goods was troubling San Paolo at that time. The periodic demand for a reform of nunneries must be interpreted in the context of party struggles, of which it was initially a tool. This therefore explains to large extent why it failed repeatedly. When the reform finally succeeded, it was because it intercepted the pope’s political plans, particularly those of the Mediceans working for Leo X and Clement VII: to take away power from the feudal families and the factions, giving it instead to the city’s institutions. The Medici popes were determined to found their government of Parma and its territory on civic bodies, not on the feudal families, as the French government in Milan had done. Such a plan, already sketched during the first brief papal domination of 1512–15, was later developed and applied with energy and coherence from 1521 by the governor Francesco Guicciardini and the legate Salviati. Clement VII eventually abandoned this path after the Sack of Rome, and Paul III buried it, moving away from the ‘stato cittadino’ once and for all toward a princely court. It is only when the Mediceans began their experiment with a new political model, which forsook party government and promoted the independence of urban elites from feudal clienteles, that civic initiatives of monastic reform, too, became more convinced and substantial.The project of a ‘disciplined’ management of female religious houses emerged in those years. Nunneries were no longer perceived as goods belonging to factions or families, but as ‘civic’ goods. Reform of nunneries was implemented in this brief period in which factional struggles were suspended, not as the outcome of a specific civic magistrate’s action, as in other Italian cities, but through the abolition of the perpetuity of the abbess’s office. The reform followed the model imposed decades earlier on Sant’Alessandro, which had been able to guarantee the communion of the goods of the nunnery even in the absence of a supervising civic magistrate. The frequency of elections implied by the reform presented political risks, which must have been intensely discussed in Milan and Parma, and it was not without negative consequences for the observance of a rule like the Benedictine one, which puts great emphasis on obedience. The transition from a perpetual abbess, who expressed the dominance

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of a family, to a temporary abbess, who represented the equality among the nuns, paralleled the political evolution of the city council itself, which turned from a forum for the encounter or clash of factions expressing the power of some families into a corporate body of equals, founded on the co-optation of members from a civic patriciate (magnifici et platenses). The objective of the abolition of the perpetual office of the abbess was not front and center during the first phase of the reform (1512–14), and the episcopal vicar himself contested it, for example at Santa Caterina. The reform appeared again among the city’s requests during its negotiations with the papacy in 1521, and was approved two years later: the papal governor was charged with its implementation, together with the episcopal vicar. At San Paolo the reform was implemented in 1524, apparently following a decision of the ruling abbess, who was close to death and had already diverted some monastic property in favor of her kin.To her secular and artistic glories Giovanna da Piacenza thus added the good example she was offering to other nunneries of Parma, in line with the wishes of the city government, of which her brother-in-law was an eminent member. From this moment onward, San Paolo became the ‘saintliest’ of endowed nunneries in the eyes of the episcopal chancellor Dalla Torre. In his praise for San Paolo one can detect the echo of the antifeudal tone that the civic reform of nunneries took in its later stages: San Paolo admitted, ‘virgins only born of the city, not of feudal lords and nobles . . . although the principal feudal lords tried with all means [to have their women admitted]’.38 Once the case of San Paolo was settled, the city seems to have been keen to accelerate the reform, now directed principally against the two Benedictine nunneries controlled by families, Sant’Ulderico and San Quintino. The papal brief authorizing the reform mentioned only a generic visit and correction of the six houses not yet reformed, but the vicar’s activity, instigated and assisted by the city’s representatives, extended far beyond his remit and contemplated even the deposition of abbesses deemed to be at fault. As was to be expected, the strongest resistance came from the Sanvitale clan controlling San Quintino, who mobilized their relations at the very top. They petitioned Cardinal Farnese, then bishop of Parma, who protested that his jurisdiction was being infringed upon; they activated their relative Guido Rangoni, then general of the papal army. Finally, they convinced the legate Salviati naïvely to allow Laura Sanvitale, sister-in-law of the abbess of San Quintino, to obtain spiritual refuge in that nunnery, where she intimidated and blackmailed the nuns who were in favor of observance, threatened the vicar and mobilized her kinswomen.39 Eventually the bishop promoted the kind of compromise that had been already successfully tested elsewhere. The title and part of the nunnery’s goods would continue to belong to the incumbent abbess, who could live with her entourage, exempt from the reform, in the apartments reserved for her, but was not allowed to accept novices or veil new nuns. After the last perpetual abbess’s death, all the nuns would share the same living quarters, the nunnery’s goods would be consolidated and the election of the abbess would be annual and nonrenewable beyond

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the second term. Rigid claustration and observance would apply to all the nuns – with disciplinary mitigations to be determined by the abbess.40 The stubborn resistance of the Sanvitale women only achieved small changes in the internal division between ‘conventuals’ and ‘observants’, but women of the family would succeed in regaining control of the nunnery in 1531 by accepting observance for themselves.41 The reform was more about property administration than discipline. A concrete proof of the increased economic efficiency that followed religious observance is the little account book of Sant’Alessandro, where income deriving from the novices’ dowries is neatly laid out opposite outgoings, which included the investments in the expansion of the buildings destined for the new entrants. All the reformed nunneries saw an increase in the number of nuns after the reform: in 1486 at Sant’Alessandro, nineteen nuns, including the abbess, participated in the chapter meeting that approved the reform, but in 1519 there were at least thirty-three nuns and eleven lay sisters; at San Paolo, eighteen nuns came to the chapter summons in 1525, and thirty in 1542; at San Quintino in 1542, forty-four nuns had the vote in the chapter, ‘vocem in capitulo’, compared with twenty-eight in 1525.42 Yet the end of perpetuity did not improve the turnover in the government of the houses. At Sant’Alessandro only two prioresses took turns governing between 1486 and 1493, and two abbesses from 1519 to 1525; increased rotation is recorded only between 1537 and 1549. At San Quintino, Sanvitale abbesses continued to hold office, alternating with nuns from the group that had supported the observance; later the nunnery again had two consecutive Sanvitale abbesses.43 How did the nuns react to the reform? Factions inside the nunneries could translate, as we have seen, into movements in favor or against observance. Civic sources generically mention a majority of nuns in favor of observance; in the case of Santa Caterina, in 1517 a group of nuns actively favorable to the reform is documented, because they chose to leave the house when the episcopal vicar decided for the return to the perpetual abbess.44 When the city’s reform initiative became more determinate, it faced no resistance on the part of the nuns; the abbesses’ opposition attracted a small number of followers, except at San Quintino. The compromise generally adopted allowed the elected abbess to soften the demands of the rule, and, especially if such a promise was the condition for her election, then an obstinate defense of the nuns’ liberties became unnecessary.45 At San Quintino, where two substantial groups clashed, the division followed class lines, not factional ones. As the lists of new entrants from 1525 to 1531 confirm, the family names of the eleven professe supporting the perpetual abbess in addition to the three Sanvitale, and almost all the names of novices and converse, seldom or never appear in the lists of city council members. Conversely, the names of the supporters of the reform frequently match the names of city councillors, even those of the Sanvitale squadra. The factional logic appears to be less decisive than one dictated by class also when one considers the support that the Sanvitale nuns received from Pietro Maria Rossi, leader of the opposite faction.46 From the city’s point of view, it was sufficient to prevent the spoliation of the nunneries’ patrimony, which they saw prefigured in the system of perpetual (and

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nearly hereditary) abbesses, and to maintain and expand the female religious houses that welcomed the surplus daughters of the patrician elite. The ‘discipline’ the reform imposed was a political-administrative and social discipline, limited to the use of the nunnery’s properties and its offices, and the preservation of public order, which was threatened by any political or sexual scandal. That these were the city’s priorities is confirmed by the absence of any reaction to the return ‘to the prior mode of life’ of the nuns of San Quintino, who decided to be free to eat meat again, to dress with linen clothes and take dozens of girls as attendants.47 Indeed when the Apostolic Visitor Castelli presented his plans for a more severe discipline within female houses in 1576, the city responded with skepticism and hostility.48 Observance in the form introduced in 1525 was satisfactory to the civic elites, who feared not disciplinary infractions but the return of the external influence of feudal families. This happened, for example, when two widowed noblewomen installed themselves at Sant’Agostino, bringing frequent visitors and discord among the nuns, a situation inevitably destined to translate into discord in the wider citizenry.

The reasons of the rule Precisely the issue of internal and external discord suggests a political interpretation of the monastic discipline imposed on the nuns. For Sant’Alessandro we have some interesting documents. One is the Aviso et recordo (1 May 1488), a single page with eleven essential points, of which only one concerns spiritual matters, written by a monk instructed by the president of the Congregation of Santa Giustina. From this document it is evident that, nearly two years after the reform, the nuns were already distancing themselves from the ‘religious customs’ concerning claustration, dress and ways of speaking. Much longer documents are the Monitione da esser facta in convento da li padri visitatori ale madre e sorelle de S. Alexandro (11 September 1489),49 two epistles from Basilio Rossi to one of the nuns,50 and a Narrativa, written around 1520 by a monk of Santa Giustina, who had access to the archives of the nunnery.51 All these texts, excluding the letters, are strictly related to the Benedictine Rule and the Dichiarazioni on the Rule issued by the Congregation of Santa Giustina.52 The Monitione, in particular, is largely a selection from those, which emphasizes and develops the administrative part (fifteen chapters), and seems to deduce from it a series of concrete behaviors to be put into effect in daily life. It is divided into fifteen sections and sixty-seven chapters.53 The order of topics is not the same as in the Rule, but the Rule is cited explicitly in several chapters, and the text literally quotes from it or, more often, from the Dichiarazioni. The Monitione seems to have been written specifically for Sant’Alessandro. The Narrativa, which has a different objective, recalls few essential and consequential points of the Rule and alludes to the link between disorder inside the nunnery and civil discord. This link was also explicitly mentioned in the act of reform of Sant’Alessandro. The Narrativa’s very simple schema presents the infractions against the Rule as the cause of the nunnery’s decline, accompanied by the ‘murmurs’ of the people of Parma. Conversely, the return to the Rule is the immediate cause of the growth ‘of

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the temporal and spiritual good, with great consolation of the whole city’.The second part of this text complicates the story with the introduction of different themes: a sort of hagiography of Basilio Rossi, ‘the devout man’ who guided the nuns back to their Rule, the exaltation of the Congregation of Santa Giustina, the praise for some laymen who supported the observant Benedictines and praise for the nuns and their confessor. It is probably the hagiographic intent that prevented the author of the Narrativa from making more explicit the connection between the infractions against the Rule and the city’s factions, which are suggested by the historical account. In the pages devoted to the return to the Rule, so full of biographical and historical detail, there are some significant omissions: no mention, for example, is made of the division inside the chapter and the double election of the abbesses, nor to the previous ‘conversations’ of the nuns with the Blessed Simona della Canna, protégée of Pietro Maria Rossi. The link between political factions and the nunnery is alluded to and censored at the same time, in order to highlight the spiritual influence of Basilio Rossi on the nuns. The Rule, therefore, takes center stage in the discourse addressed to the nuns. Explicit citations from the Scriptures or fathers and doctors of the Church (Saint Jerome, Saint Bernard) are scarce or can be traced back to the Rule.54 The need to observe the Rule literally is emphasized and illustrated by the inevitable consequences, social and patrimonial, of violations, however minimal, such as exchanging futile words or objects of little value.55 The Monitione warns against ‘vain and idle words’ in order to avoid ‘sects and divisions in the monastery’. Female inferiority is evoked to downplay the violation of silence: this infraction initiates the decline of the nunnery, ‘since they cared little about observing silences in the appropriate places and times’, but is explained by female nature, ‘as it seems the natural property of women to speak much and eagerly, and therefore it was impossible for them to observe the holy silence’. The failure to observe the silence56 is indicated as the cause of the ‘familiarity’ among the nuns, and of their relationship with ‘secular people’, who, coming to know the nuns’ unhappy ‘passions’, felt ‘nausea and sadness’,57 and instilled into the religious house the detestable vice of proprietorship . . . Since the good custom of common life was dwindling every day, and the sin of singularity was instead growing, as soon as the spiritual was lost also the temporal for the greatest part began to ruin, as the abbesses in those times wished to fatten their friends and kinsmen rather than provide for the needs of the House.58 Hence, the divisions within the nunnery: Only those nuns prospered and enjoyed an abundance of superfluous things who were more sensual and the favourites of the abbesses; whereas those who were simpler and purer and of a more saintly life often suffered from much deprivation.59

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Silence, claustration and common life are thus crucial, in the Narrativa and the Monitione alike, in order to prevent the formation of those personal links of ‘singularity’, ‘familiarity’ or enmity among the nuns, and between the nuns and laypeople. These endangered not only individual virtue but also the whole nunnery as an institution of civic life. A return to the Rule would be the first step toward reform: Many sisters, having deposed their linen shirts, wore woollen robes and began to fast according to the Rule, and pray with many saintly exercises, so that . . . in Parma there was no nunnery enjoying a better reputation, and nothing was missing save a full and real reform of the house. In the Monitione, a text so close to the Rule and its Dichiarazioni, the monastic ideal that underpins the discipline of gestures is only rarely made explicit. The tone is instead similar to that of a book of manners.60 ‘In eating let them be most polite . . . no one should presume to raise her eyes and pry into what others are doing or eating . . . as it is particularly in the act of eating that one judges the devotion of the servants of God’, and one must not choose ‘cups . . . and spoons, which is most rude’.61 The norms in the Monitione refer to interpersonal relations more often than in the Rule. The opening lines, which follow closely the chapters of the Rule, prescribe humility through appropriate gestures: to show reverence to one another when they meet within the house, bowing their heads and asking for licence to sit as the Rule commands . . . to kneel down when they are being reproached. And those who misbehave or act proudly and refuse to obey must confess their guilt and be severely punished.62 The moral rationale is even less prominent in other chapters: It is not permitted to address the sisters with their first name only, as the Rule commands, nor to say you!, or listen! or come here!, nor do this!; when asking a sister for something one must call her Lady such and such, and always address her as Voi, however inferior and younger she may be.63 More explicitly: they should walk modestly with their eyes lowered and their hands covered, and they must not run or otherwise stir their bodily sensations; item, no one should presume to address any other sister by her first name only, or say in a loud voice o Caterina! o Madalena! o Agnese! Even less it should be permitted to dare to insult one’s sister or say an insolence, or something worse, about her name, or blurt out cursing words, such as be damned and cursed! and may God give you the scourge and the canker!, or ugly beast!, or you lie in your throat! and similar dishonest talk.64

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As the exemplification of behaviors to be avoided becomes more concrete, it is clearer that the aim of the norm is mundane and different from monastic perfection. Through the control of words and gestures, ‘they shall eschew sects and divisions within the nunnery’.65 Discipline appears here not aimed to spiritual perfection, but, overwhelmingly, to the preservation of public order.

Notes * This essay is an abridged translation of “Ragioni politiche della disciplina monastica. Il caso di Parma tra Quattro e Cinquecento,” first published in Gabriella Zarri, ed., Donna, disciplina e creanza cristiana dal XV al XVII secolo: Studi e testi a stampa (Rome: Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura, 1996), 165–187, and later in Letizia Arcangeli, Gentiluomini di Lombardia. Ricerche sull’aristocrazia padana del Rinascimento (Milano: Unicopli, 2003), 303–329. 1 Around 1525 Parma had the following female religious houses, in italics from Catalogus beneficiorum of 1520 in Antonio Schiavi, La diocesi di Parma, vol. II (Parma: Fresching, 1940), 67–101, and in square brackets from the Descriptio omnium civitatis et dioceesis parmensis ecclesiarum, monasteriorum et beneficiorum in eis fundatorum, by the episcopal chancellor Cristoforo Dalla Torre, 1564, Ibidem, 104–226: (1) S. Agostino [moniales S. Augustini]; (2) S. Caterina [ordinis Canonicorum Regularium]; (3) S. Cristoforo [ordinis Haeremi, gubernatur per fratres haeremitanos]; (4) S. Alessandro [Benedettine]; (5) S. Ulderico [Benedettine]; 6) S. Paolo [Benedettine]; (7) S. Quintino [Benedettine]; (8) S. Basilide ‘cum Monasterio de Cistellis in ecclesia Fontanellarum ultra Hentiam’ (also known as de Martorano) [Benedettine] (Cistercian); (9) S. Maria Maddalena [per fratres Carmelitanos gubernatur]; (10) S. Domenico [ordinis S. Dominici]; (11) S. Chiara [Ordinis Sancti Francisci]; (12) S. Maria delle Grazie [gubernatur per fratres Annunciate] (Observant Franciscans); (13) S. Gregorio (Schiavi, La diocesi di Parma, cit., vol. II, 415, Gesuate); (14) S. Maria de sanitate (Servites de observantia, State Archive of Parma [henceforth: ASPr]) Notarile, b. 874, 12 September 1520; (15) Suore del Terz’ordine di San Francesco, founded in 1487–88, later called ‘della Campana’ or ‘della Carità’, and Santa Elisabetta (S. Elisabetta). 2 Pierangelo Schiera, “Disciplina, disciplinamento”, Annali dell’Istituto storico italo-germanico in Trento, 18 (1992): 316. 3 On private and public, see Giorgio Chittolini, “Il ‘privato’, il ‘pubblico’, lo Stato”, in Origini dello Stato. Processi di formazione statale in Italia fra medioevo ed età moderna, eds. Giorgio Chittolini, Anthony Molho and Pierangelo Schiera (Bologna: il Mulino, 1994), 553–589. 4 Giovanni Maria Allodi, Serie cronologica dei vescovi di Parma, vol. I (Parma: P. Fiaccadori, 1856), 662–825; the essays by M. Ansani, G. Battioni and M. Pellegrini in Giorgio Chittolini, ed., Gli Sforza, la Chiesa lombarda, la Corte di Roma (Naples: Liguori Editore, 1989); Gianluca Battioni, “Sacramoro da Rimini ed il governo della diocesi parmense (1476– 1482)”, in Parma e l’umanesimo italiano: Atti del convegno internazionale di studi umanistici (Parma, 20 ottobre 1984), ed. Paola Medioli Masotti (Padua: Antenore, 1986), 55–73. 5 On the reform of female houses as a civic problem and a princely duty, see Gabriella Zarri, “Monasteri femminili e città (secoli XV-XVIII)”, in La chiesa e il potere politico dal Medioevo all’età contemporanea, Storia d’Italia. Annali 9, eds. Giorgio Chittolini and Giovanni Miccoli (Torino: Einaudi 1986), 359–429. Requests concerning the reform of female houses appear only in the Capitoli addressed to various princes in the years 1512 (26°), 1516 (29°) and 1523 (11°), also published in Umberto Benassi, Storia di Parma, vol. II (Bologna, 1971), 219–228, 247–255; vol. III, 237–245; vol. V, 361–384, from which I cite. 6 S. Maria delle Grazie, S. Maria Maddalena and S. Agostino, cfr. Capitoli 1523, 11° e Descriptio omnium civitatis, 148 and 166.The little we know about the preregular existence of these houses seems to point to a trajectory ‘from beguines (bizzocche) to nuns’, studied in the case of Milan by Lucia Sebastiani, “Monasteri femminili milanesi tra Medio evo

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e età moderna”, in Florence and Milan: Comparisons and Relations: Acts of Two Conferences at Villa I Tatti in 1982–1984, vol. II (Florence: La Nuova Italia editrice, 1989), 3–15; and more generally in Gabriella Zarri, “Dalla profezia alla disciplina (1450–1650)”, in Donne e fede: Santità e vita religiosa in Italia, eds. Lucetta Scaraffia and Gabriella Zarri (Roma, Bari: Laterza, 1994), 183–186. 7 Benassi, Storia, vol. II, 31 and 101; vol. III, 33; vol. IV, 58; vol.V, 271–278; ASPr, Notarile, b. 818, 18 May 1525 and especially Ibidem, b. 834, 18 June 1525; ASVat, Armadi, XXXIX, vol. 55, fol. 76r, 6 January 1526; Benassi, Storia, vol.V, 276–277 (for 1528). 8 On the Congregation of Santa Giustina, founded in Padova in 1419, see Gregorio Penco, Storia del monachesimo in Italia dalle origini alla fine del medio Evo (Milano: Jaca Book, 1983), 308–328. On the female houses attached to the congregation, see Giovanni Lunardi, “Benedettine”, in Dizionario degli Istituti di Perfezione, vol. I (Rome: Edizioni paoline, 1974), col 1230; and in ASPr, Diplomatico, Repertorio di S. Giovanni Evangelista, vol. I, fol. 347, where under the title ‘Diversa ad congregationem cassinensem spectantia’ we find registered under the year 1500 the approval of the annual election of the abbess given by the nuns of S. Margherita of Milan, S. Maurizio del Monastero Maggiore of Milan, S. Giulia of Brescia, all nunneries of the Congregation of Santa Giustina. On the crucial nature of such a reform, see Susanna Peyronel Rambaldi, Speranze e crisi nel Cinquecento modenese: Tensioni religiose e vita cittadina ai tempi di Giovanni Morone (Milano: F. Angeli, 1979), 171. 9 The engaging image of Giovanna da Piacenza as the standard-bearer of monastic liberties against papal power (Ireneo Affò, Ragionamento . . . sopra una stanza dipinta dal . . . Correggio nel Monistero di San Paolo in Parma [Parma: Stamperia Carmignani, 1794]; Erwin Panofsky, The Iconography of Correggio’s Camera di San Paolo [London:Warburg Institute, University of London, 1961]; Delio Cantimori, Umanesimo e religione nel Rinascimento [Torino, Einaudi, 1975], 270–271) has been revised. The mottoes and frescoes in her apartments seem to celebrate a more specific victory (Giuseppa Zanichelli, Iconologia della Camera di Alessandro Araldi nel monastero di San Paolo in Parma [Parma: Università, Centro studi e archivio della comunicazione, 1979], 26 and note 67), that is, the retraction of defaming accusations (Marzio Dall’Acqua, Correggio e il suo tempo [Parma: Graphital, 1984], 31–35) she had received from the brother and cousins of the previous abbess (State Archives of Milan, henceforth ASMi, Notarile, b. 5669, 12 August 1511; ASPr, Notarile, b. 515, 19 September 1508, 3 October 1508; b. 311, 3 October 1508; b. 935, 1 April and 7 February 1515). 10 On this image, see Allodi, Serie cronologica, vol. I, 83; Zanichelli, Iconologia, 55–56 and 101; on its celebration of female superiority, see Zarri, “Dalla profezia”, 177–178; on the ‘feminist’ meaning of the iconographic choices of Araldi in representing the Virtues, see Panofsky, The Iconography, 8–9 and, with some doubts, Zanichelli, Iconologia, 29–30. 11 ‘Coecilia antistes nulli virtute secundae fecit / Bergontiae gloria magnae domus’ could be read on the high walls of S. Paolo in 1494 (Affò, Ragionamento, 26 ss.); on S. Ulderico the family arms of the abbesses Cantelli and Carissimi were entwined with the pastoral (Angelo Pezzana, Storia della città di Parma, vol. IV [Parma: Dalla Ducale tipografia, 1852], 21). Giovanna da Piacenza belonged to a ‘new’ family on her father’s side but descended from an important family of Parma, the Bergonzi, on her mother’s.We then have in San Paolo, even if in a more contentious way, a dynastic continuity similar to that of the Sanvitale abbesses in San Quintino, but hardly visible because it ran along the female line. Maria Benedetti (niece of Agnese on her father’s side, abbess from 1434 to c. 1454) was succeeded by her Bergonzi nieces, Cecilia and Orsina, and later by the niece (great-niece) Giovanna da Piacenza, also a Bergonzi on her mother’s side. 12 According to the Catalogus beneficiorum of 1520, the abbess of S. Alessandro conferred fifteen benefices including simple curates and clerics, for an annual value of lire 790; S. Paolo, nine for lire 1000; S. Quintino, two for lire 160; S. Ulderico and the Cistercian house each conferred one simple benefice a year. To this we must add the confirmation of many benefices of private patronage. On the ducal recognition of the right to

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collation to the abbess of S. Paolo, see Angelo Pezzana, Storia della città di Parma, vol. III (Parma: Dalla Ducale tipografia, 1847), 231, year 1463. In 1466 S. Paolo, S. Ulderico, S. Cristoforo and S. Quintino were subject to the bishop; S. Alessandro was immediate subiectum to the pope. 13 For cases of contrasts with the duke, see ASMi, Sforzesco, Potenze sovrane, b. 1635, 1 September 1468 for S. Alessandro, 17 April 1492 for S. Paolo; for contrasts with the pope, see Pezzana, Storia, vol. IV, 169; Benassi, Storia, vol. I, 130 n; for clashes with the bishop, infra; a civil dispute (1499–1593) between the abbess and the neighbors of S. Bartolomeo in Ghiaia for the nomination of the parish priest is in ASPr, Diplomatico, Repertorio di S. Alessandro, fol. 212. 14 ASPr, Notarile, b. 374, 9 July 1513. 15 Zarri, “Monasteri femminili”, 409–410. The government of the nuns’ kin was perceived as completely legitimate, as in the document in Eleonora Sàita, “Fatti di monache del Quattrocento: l’abbaziato del monastero femminile di S. Maria in Valle di Milano”, in Libri & Documenti: Archivio Storico Civico e Biblioteca Trivulziana, 18 (1993/2): 14–22. See also the Dichiaratione on chapter III of the Rule of S. Benedict in F1547. 16 Angelo Martini, “Tentativi di riforma a Padova prima del concilio di Trento”, Rivista di storia della Chiesa in Italia, 3 (1949): 66–94; Olindo Viviani, “Il vescovo di Verona G.M. Giberti e il riordinamento dei monasteri femminili”, Atti dell’Accademia di Agricoltura Scienze e Lettere di Verona, VI (1956–57): 135–166; Adriano Prosperi, Tra evangelismo e controriforma. G.M. Giberti (1495–1543) (Rome: Storia e Letteratura, 1969), 140. 17 Giorgio Chittolini, La formazione dello Stato regionale e le istituzioni del contado (Milan: Unicopli, 2005). 18 On S. Domenico ASMi, Sforzesco, Carteggio interno, Parma, b. 840, letters of Bishop Sacramoro da Rimini, (28 July, 2 August), of Giacomo Ardizzi (5 August), and more broadly ASMi, Comuni, b. 65, sworn declarations of the nuns and the podestà. Cf. also Battioni, “Sacramoro da Rimini”, 64 and n. For the years 1508–1514, see the chronicle of the ‘bookseller’ Leone Smagliati in Parma (Leone Smagliati, Cronaca parmense, 1494–1518 [Parma: Deputazione di storia patria per le province parmensi, 1970], 140, 149). 19 In San Paolo in 1484, with immediate ‘concorso di molti citadini armati . . . chi per favorire una parte et chi per favorire una altra’ (ASMi, Sforzesco, Carteggio interno, Parma, b. 1172, 5 July 1484). The other elected abbess was Caterina Bravi, of the Rossi party, who in 1486 still refused obedience to her rival Cecilia Bergonzi (ASMi, Sforzesco, Potenze estere, Roma, b. 99, 17 December 1486 and 20 September 1486). Other double elections are noted in Ireneo Affò, Vita di monsignore Bernardino Baldi da Urbino (Parma: Filippo Carmignani, 1783), 52 n. 20 ASMi, Sforzesco, Potenze sovrane, b. 1635, 18 April [1460], ‘done et moniale, ale quale specta la electione’: Non ardiresemo de fare publica ellectione per timore . . . de li ordini vostri et decreti . . . ni trovaressimo persona privata né publica che . . . ne prestasse adiuto subsidio et favore se prima . . . la vostra benignità . . . non se dignasse de consentire. Their candidate would later lose to Maria Benedetti (Michele Ansani ed., Camera Apostolica: Documenti relativi alle diocesi del ducato di Milano [1458–1471]. I “libri annatarum” di Pio II e Paolo II [Milan: Unicopli, 1994], 380). 21 ‘comprimere la temerità e insolentia deli capestri’: ASMi, Missive, r. 163, 20 December 1484, fol. 231v, e r. 167, 25 May 1486, fol. 64; ASMi, Sforzesco, Carteggio interno, Parma, b. 1172, 15 June 1485 and 28 November 1487. 22 Luke Wadding, Annales minorum seu trium ordinum a sancto Francisco institutorum, vol. XIV (Florence: Ad claras aquas, 1932–33), 460, 469, 501, 513; Allodi, Serie cronologica, vol. I, 816, 819–820; Angelo Pezzana, Storia di città di Parma, vol. V (Parma: dalla Reale tipografia, 1859), 19–20, 37–40; Narrativa, cit. a nota 59; Giuliano Bonazzi, Cronica gestorum in partibus Lombardie et reliquis Italie (aa. 1476–1482) (R.I.S.2, t. XXII, part 3) (Città di Castello:Tipi dell’ editore S. Lapi, 1904), 65, 69, 70, 81, 91, 100. On the theme of factions

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in Franciscan preaching, especially starting with Bernardino of Siena, see Jean-Claude Maire-Vigueur, “Bernardino et la vie citadine”, in Bernardino predicatore nella società del suo tempo (Todi: Accademia Tudertina, 1976), 253–282; Carlo Delcorno, “La città nella predicazione francescana del Quattrocento”, in Alle origini dei Monti di Pietà: I francescani fra etica ed economia nella società del tardo medioevo. Studi in occasione delle celebrazioni nel V centenario della morte del beato Michele Carcano (1427–1484) fondatore del Monte di Pietà di Bologna (Bologna: Banca del Monte di Bologna e Ravenna, 1984), 29–39. 23 ASPr, Conventi e confraternite, S. Alessandro, b. 33, segn. F.22, n° 5, 1 April 1485. For partial confirmation (concerning S. Caterina and S. Ulderico) of monastic reforms initiated by Bernardino, which had failed because of resistance from inside the nunneries (Angelo Pezzana, Storia di città di Parma, vol.V, p. 39), see ASMi, Missive, r. 167, fols. 14v–15r, 30 and 31 March 1486, fol. 19v, 4 March 1486 and ASPr, Notarile, b. 193, 1 April 1486. 24 ASPr, Conventi e confraternite, S. Alessandro, b. 26, segn. 2.5 and 2.2.1. 25 On Lucia Rossi, see Pezzana, Storia, vol. III, 169; ASPr, Conventi e confraternite, S. Alessandro, b. 26, segn. 2.2.4. On the 1479 election, Ibidem, segn. 2.2.6, 26 May 1479, ASPr, Notarile, b. 63, 21 May 1479 e b. 223, 22 May 1479, and ASMi, Comuni, b. 64 and Sforzesco, Carteggio interno, Parma, b. 840, 23 June 1479: ‘per honor mio et di tutta la casa mia’. On Eleonora Rossi, see Gianluca Battioni, “La diocesi parmense durante l’episcopato di Sacramoro da Rimini (1476–1482)”, in Gli Sforza, la Chiesa lombarda, la corte di Roma, 143; ASMi, Famiglie, Rossi, b. 159, 12 and 20 June 1479. 26 ASMi, Comuni, b. 64, 21 May 1479, Sacramoro da Rimini to the dukes; on what precedes, see Battioni, “La diocesi”, 144–166; Cipriano Carini, “Basilio de’ Rossi primo abate di Torrechiara”, Archivio storico per le province parmensi, 26 (1974): 217–236. On ‘sante vive’ or ‘living saints’, the reference is to the classic study by Gabriella Zarri, Le sante vive: cultura e religiosità femminile nella prima età moderna (Turin, Rosenberg & Sellier, 1990). 27 ASPr, Notarile, b. 226, 19 March 1486. 28 Allodi, Serie cronologica, vol. I, 819–820. 29 ASMi, Sforzesco, Carteggio interno, b. 840, 21 July 1479; Archivio del comune di Parma, henceforth ACPr, Missive e responsive, b. 495, 27 and 30 April 1497: Tommaso Leccisotti, Congregationis S. Iustinae de Padua O.S.B. ordinationes capitulorum generalium Montecassino, part I : [s.n.], 1939, 50. 30 Gabriella Zarri,“Aspetti dello sviluppo degli Ordini religiosi in Italia tra Quattro e Cinquecento: Studi e problemi”, in Strutture ecclesiastiche in Italia e in Germania prima della Riforma, eds. Paolo Prodi and Peter Johanek (Bologna: Il Mulino, 1984), 207–258, esp. 241–243. 31 ASMi, Sforzesco, Carteggio interno, Parma, b. 1172, 26 December 1484. This argument was deployed also in Verona: Prosperi, Tra evangelismo e controriforma, 140. 32 In S. Chiara, the resignation happened between abbesses carrying different surnames, ASPr, Notarile, b. 372, 28 July 1492, where the male order seems to object to it (cfr. ASMi, Sforzesco, Carteggio interno, Parma, b. 1174, 19 September 1492); on S. Paolo in 1505; Benassi, Storia, vol. I, 110; on the Cistercian house ASPr, Notarile, b. 372, 10 April 1502, e b. 374, 9 July 1513, between Lucrezia Capelluti, daughter of Emanuele, economo in 1453 (see Ansani, “La provvista dei benefici”, 103), and her nephew Filippa. On S. Quintino Pezzana, Storia, vol. IV, 370 n, 3 December 1425; ASMi, Sforzesco, Carteggio interno, Parma, b. 745, 5 and 6 July 1453; ASPr, Notarile, b. 56, 27 August 1456, and Pezzana, Storia, vol. IV, 370 n., 368–370 e n; and ASPr, Conventi e confraternite, S. Quintino, segn. B, n° 5, L, n°13 and I, n° 15; until at least 1525 the aunt governs while the nephew holds the title. At S. Ulderico, the chapter’s designation is still in force (ASPr, Diplomatico. Documenti pontifici, 15, 3 January 1496). 33 A trend toward heredity, but contested in the play of factions and by ducal interventions, can be detected in the sequence of abbesses: on S. Alessandro cfr. supra; at S. Paolo Agnese Benedetti / Selvaggia Arcimboldi / Maria Benedetti (Caterina Bravi) / Cecilia Bergonzi (Caterina Bravi); at S. Ulderico Sandrina Cantelli / Piera Carissimi (Maria Cantelli); the name of the non-elected are in brackets. Obviously only in-depth research can uncover heredity along the female line.

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34 Benassi, Storia, vol.V, 47–51, and ACPr 2126. 35 In ACPr, Missive e responsive, bb. 501 e 503, there are many letters of the community, years 1538 and 1540, particularly 2 October 1540, on the powers of the episcopal vicar on matters of benefices. 36 Smagliati, Cronaca parmense, 126–127, 129–131, 137, 140, 149. 37 The act of nomination of a civic commission in charge of S. Chiara is in Benassi, Storia, vol. II, 102 (1514), 263–265 (1515), but the house is still unreformed in the Capitoli 1516 and in the papal brief of 12 January 1525, attached to ASPr, Notarile, b. 834, 8 June 1525; on the Cistercian house, see Benassi, Storia, vol. IV, Documenti, 95, 1 October 1522; on S. Cristoforo, a summary of Leo X’s bull, 20 October 1515 in S. Cristoforo, Repertorio; also ASPr, Notarile, b. 449, 24 November 1515, which speaks of twelve professe, properties amounting to 220 biolche and the right to alms. For S. Caterina, we know of a recent unanimous decision of the nuns ‘tunc conventuales’ favoring claustration and the turnation of offices, confirmed by the papal brief, from the brief dated 3 August 1517 (in ASPr, Diplomatico. Documenti pontifici, 17). The issue was eventually settled by the episcopal vicar in favor of a perpetual abbess (brief of 13 September 1517 in Biblioteca Palatina di Parma, ms. parm, 429). 38 Descriptio omnium civitatis, 140: ‘virgines tantum ex civitate ortae, non autem feudatariorum et nobilium; licet . . . omnibus mediis principales feudatarii id tentaverint’. See also the city’s worried attention on initiatives of ‘religione signorile’: one example is in Benassi, Storia, vol. IV, Documenti 74, 31 July 1522. 39 The city’s and the Sanvitale’s moves in this dispute are well documented in the lively memorandum sent by the community to Rome on 5 May (ACPr, Missive e responsive, b. 496), as well as the correspondence of the years 1524–25 (Ibidem and r. 530), particularly regarding Cardinal Farnese (the future Pope Paul III). 40 ASPr, Notarile, b. 818 A, divisions s.d., 26 May 1525, ACPr, Missive e responsive, r. 530, 26 May 1525; Ibidem, b. 496 from Antonio Gabrieli, 1525). 41 ASPr, Notarile, b. 714, 20 February 1531. The story is summarized in the brief of 20 March 1528, ACPr 4138a. 42 Libro de memorie diverse, in ASPr, Conventi e confraternite, S. Alessandro, b. 33 bis, fols. 35 ss. and 112v–113, ‘monache scripte ne la compagnia del S. Rosario de Madona’. On S. Paolo ASPr, Notarile, b. 1343, 31 December 1542; on S. Quintino Ibidem, b. 623, 5 May 1525 (including the two abbesses); Ibidem, b. 1343, 2 June 1542. 43 ASPr, Conventi e confraternite, S. Alessandro, b. 35 (promissiones). ASPr, Conventi e confraternite, S. Quintino, segn. A, n° 10, C, nn° 33–34, P, nn° 32–35, ASPr, Archivio Sanvitale, b. 17, 23 April 1547. 44 See note 38. 45 On armed resistance against the reform in 1520 Naples, instead, see Elisa Novi Chavarria, “Nobiltà di seggio, nobiltà nuova e monasteri femminili a Napoli in età moderna”, in Dimensioni e problemi della ricerca storica, 2 (1993): 84–111. In the newly reformed nunnery of San Paolo there were perhaps nuns ‘retrograde al santo vivere’, ‘membri fetidi’ (Benassi, Storia, vol.V, 273), but civic sources present their resistance only as ‘ribaldesca et subrepticia’, due to the ‘perversi e iniqui agenti de quella povera donna mirava al perpetuo abbatissato’ (ACPr, Missive e responsive, r. 530, letter to Rome s.d. [fol. 19], and from Rome, 14 December 1524). 46 On the nuns, see ASPr, Notarile, b. 661, 24 April 1525 e b. 623, 4 May 1525; on Pietro Maria Rossi, ACPr, Missive e responsive, b. 496, 5 May 1525. 47 ASPr, Conventi e confraternite, S. Quintino, segn. B. n° 10 e R n° 6, 12 March and 17 April 1537, and ACPr, b. 2061, 4 April 1549, Statuta et ordines . . . super reformatione monasteriorum. 48 In a city memorandum ‘Per le monache’ (Ibidem) there is sarcasm against those orders imposing strict claustration, humility (forbidding acts and words expressing social deference) and common life, and against the chapter of guilts and penances (cfr. Decreti e ordini generali of the Castelli visitation Ibidem, b. 2058). On the Castelli visitation, see Adriano Prosperi, “Dall’investitura papale alla santificazione del potere. Appunti per una ricerca

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sui primi Farnese e le istituzioni ecclesiastiche a Parma”, in Le corti farnesiane di Parma e Piacenza /1545–1622, vol. I, Potere e società nello stato farnesiano, ed. Marzio A. Romani (Rome: Bulzoni, 1978), 161–188. 49 Parchment manuscript volume of 10 cc., not numbered. Both documents in ASPr, Conventi e confraternite, S. Alessandro, b. 33, F.22. n. 31. 50 Ibidem, n. 32, 20 July 1489, to the ‘humili et devote ancille Christi domne Constancie [Palmia] priorisse et ceteris sanctimonialibus . . . in Christo Jesu matribus et sororibus amantissimis. Parma in eodem monasterio’ (from now on A), and n. 37, 10 September 1492, to the same,‘devotissime Christi ancille d. Constancie sanctimoniali in monasterio Parme matrique in domino amantissime’ (from now on B). 51 Of this Narrativa I found two copies, both written after 1520: Ibidem, n. 38, probably made by Casapini, 19 cc. not numbered; and Biblioteca Palatina di Parma, fondo Casapini, n° 149, apparently late sixteenth century, with a more evident division into chapters: Narrativa del stato nel quale si ritrovava il monasterio delle monache di S. Alessandro della città di Parma dell’ordine di san Benedetto estratta da certe scritture antiche ritrovate nel sudetto monasterio; Del modo e tempo che il monastero di S. Alessandro fu riformato sotto la congregatione di S. Giustina di Padova, et della unione fatta a quella per Innocenzo VIII, et del numero delle sorelle quale allora si ritrovavano presente; Come il capitolo fece gratia duplicata alle Madre di S. Alessandro, prima mandandogli quatro monache da Mantova per sua edificatione, secondo concedendogli che per l’avvenire s’avessero a confessare con gli monaci della congregatione. 52 Willibrord Witters, “La rédaction primitive des déclarations et constitutions de la Congrégation de Sainte Justine de Padoue (XV siècle)”, Studia monastica, 7 (1965): 127–146. I consulted the Regula sanctissimi patris nostri Benedicti, cum declarationibus editis a patribus congregationis cassinensis pro directione et conservatione regularis observantie et salubris regiminis dicte congregationis, Firenze 1520 (henceforth: M1520), and compared it with Regola del Padre S. Benedetto.Tradotta in lingua Italiana per quella parte solamente, che spetta alle Monache, che viuono sotto la regola di S. Benedetto dell’Osseruanza. Con le dichiarationi circa i dubij, che possono occorrere dell’osseruazione d’essa. Composta . . . nell’Anno 1547 (henceforth: F1547). The edition of the Rule I used is Gregorio Penco, ed., Sancti Benedicti Regula (Florence: Editrice “la nuova Italia”, 1958). 53 The sections separated only by empty spaces are on obedience (1); the vice of proprietorship (2–13); common life (14–21); modesty (22–25); prayer (26–29); administration (30– 36); ‘bono exemplo ai seculari’ (claustration and relationship with laypeople) (37–44); silence (45–51), including also work, meals (52–55) and charity (including the laundry, cleaning and forbidding ablutions in the presence of external people) (56–58); culto (59–64); finally three isolated chapter, concerning contacts with the outside world (65), modesty in speaking (66); and stealing within the house (67). Fifteen chapters concern administrative matters, fourteen claustration generally, including the habit, fasting, prayer and property. 54 Scriptural citations are ‘dividebatur autem singulis . . .’, Actus Apostolorum 4, 35, which is also in Sancti Benedicti Regula, XXXIV. Citations from Jerome Lettere a Eustochio, whereas about Bernard, ‘specchio di vita monacale’: ‘questo eccellente dottore volendo mettere in odio alli suoi monachi il vitio della proprietà dice queste parole: “ubi proprietas, ibi angulus, ubi angulus ibi sordes, ubi sordes, ibi fetor et vermes”’ (‘ubi proprietas ibi singularitas; ubi autem singularitas ibi angulus; ubi vero angulus, ibi sine dubio sordes sive rubigo)’, Sancti Bernardi, Opera, vol. VII, Epistolae. I. Corpus epistolarum 1–180, ad fidem codicum recensuerunt J. Leclercq, O.S.B., H. Rochais (Rome: editiones Cistercienses, 1974), 55, epistle XI Ad cartusienses et Guigoni priori. On the importance of these authors for the Congregation of Santa Giustina, see Luigi Pesce, Ludovico Barbo vescovo di Treviso (1437–1443), vol. I (Padua: Antenore, 1969), 256 n and 259–260. 55 ‘Qui minima spernit paulatim decidit’, a variant of ‘Qui spernit modica, paulatim decidet’, Ecclesiastes 19: 1. 56 F1547, 6, Del silentio: ‘è scritto: “nel molto parlare non scamperai il peccato” ’; Monitione [51] against ‘parole vane, seu ociose’ to avoid ‘secte et divisione nel monasterio’. It is one of the rare passages where eternal damnation and the Devil are mentioned.

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57 ‘Passioni’ and ‘nausea et tristitia’: see Monitione [38]. A ‘superiore’ must be present during audiences, with the task de tagliare li superflui e mundani parlamenti; e non permetta che cosse e facti di seculari vengano dentro del monastero, . . . convertendoli in rasonamenti spirituali aciò che se schiveno le curriosità e a le persone seculare sia data edificatione perché per esser consolati e edificati . . . soleno recorere li seculari a le persone religiose. One can easily compare this prohibition to the ducal decrees against external relations in the days preceding the electoral chapter meeting (see supra, note 21), and the city’s worries: ‘per l’abitazione continua di queste signore nascono discordie così in eleggere officiale . . . confessori, fatori . . . che una favorisse una parte l’altra . . . l’altra’. 58 Intrando in casa il detestabile vitio della proprietà . . . Mancando . . . ogni dì la bona usanza del vivere in comune e crescendo il peccato della singularità, subbito che fu perduto il spirituale conseguentemente cominciò etiandio a ruinare in gran parte il temporale; di sorte che le abbadesse perpetue di quelli tempi più desideravano di ingrassare gli amici e parenti che provedere alli bisogni della casa. Narrativa, which develops the same themes as Monitione [2] on the ‘periculoso vitio de la proprietà’ (echoing Sancti Benedicti Regula, XXXIII); [4] on the prohibition to keep ‘cassa chiavata’; [10] on the prohibition to exchange presents, ‘quantunche picola senza la licenza della madre . . . che tal mala usanza e pestilentia non habia loco nel monasterio peroché da qui soleno nascere inconvenientie e trasgressione e propriamente tali doni sono seminarii del demonio’, using the same expression the Rule reserves for ‘munuscula’, cfr. M1520, Dichiarazione (54) and F1547, Dichiarazione (51/LIV), clearly referring to emotional disorders. 59 ‘Solamente quelle abbondavano e avevano superfluità assai che erano più sensuale et favorite dalle abbadesse; ma quelle che eran più semplice et pure et de più santa vita patevano molte volte bisogno assai’: Monitione [15]. 60 See Dilwyn Knox,“ ‘Disciplina.’ Le origini monastiche e clericali della civiltà delle buone maniere in Europa”, Annali dell’Istituto storico italo-germanico in Trento, 18 (1992): 335–370. 61 ‘Nel manzare siano costumatissime . . . non presuma alcuna levare li ochii e curriosare quel che fanno over manzano le altre . . . peroché nel acto del manzare assai se iudica la relligiosità delli servi et serve di Dio’ and ‘coppe e . . . cucchiari, qual cossa sta molto male’: Monitione [52] and [55]; very close to the text of the Decor puellarum by Giovanni di Dio cited in Gabriella Zarri, “La vita religiosa femminile tra devozione e chiostro: testi devoti in volgare editi tra il 1475 e il 1520”, in I frati minori tra ‘400 e ‘500. Atti del XII convegno internazionale. Assisi, 18–19–20 ottobre 1984 (Assisi: Università di Perugia, Centro di studi francescani, 1986), 127–168, esp. 154. 62 ‘Insieme portarsi reverentia quando se incontrano per casa, inclinando el capo et dimandando licentia da sedere come comanda la regula . . . ingenochiandosi quando son represe, et chi contrafarà over serà superba et non vorà obedire dica sua colpa e sia gravemente punita’, (Monitione [1]). 63 ‘Non è licito de appellare le sorelle de puro nome, come comanda la regola, né dire ‘tì’, né ‘oldi’, né ‘ven qua’ né ‘fa’ cossì e cossì’; ma domandando la sorella se dice ‘Donna tale’, e sempre li dite ‘vuy’, quantunche sia inferiore e giovene’, (Monitione [46] on silence). 64 ‘debbeno andar mortificatamente cum li ochii bassi et le mane coperte et non correre over altramente desordenarsi deli soi sentimenti corporali; item niuna presuma de andar over adimandar alcuna dele sorelle per puro nome over dire ad alta voce ‘o Caterina, o Madalena, o Agnese’. Ma molto meno sia permisso che alcuna habia audacia de improperare sua sorella over dirle vilania, o pegio, del suo nome, over prorumpere in parole de maleditione, como è ‘in mal hora e mal puncto’ et ‘Dio te dia el mal anno e la mala pasqua’, over ‘bestiaza’, over ‘tu menti per la gola’ e simili parlari fora de ogni honestà’ (Monitione, [1]; [46] on silence; [23] on modesty). 65 Monitione [51].


This chapter analyzes the characteristics of political decision-making in the Republic of Ragusa (Dubrovnik) in the second half of the fourteenth century and during the fifteenth. Although little is known in international scholarship, the Ragusan case is highly relevant for the political history of urban republics. Namely, Ragusa was one of the longest-lasting republican regimes of Europe: having achieved its independence in the mid-fourteenth century, it preserved it continuously until the early nineteenth, when it was conquered by Napoleon. In almost five centuries of independence, the city developed a sophisticated system of aristocratic republican governance whose mechanisms of decision-making are presented in this essay. The article analyzes in particular those institutional mechanisms which the republic devised to solve two fundamental political concerns. The first was how to ensure a stable and long-lasting form of collective decision-making, preventing the concentration of power in an individual or group. The second concern was how to ensure that the participants in the decision-making acted freely, but at the same time minimized the potential for conflict inherent in such a ‘democratic’ approach. In order to answer these questions, it is necessary to investigate voting and elections beyond the merely procedural level, reflecting on broader factors which influenced them, such as Ragusa’s specific political culture and institutional framework. The first section of this chapter, therefore, introduces the Ragusan governmental bodies and modalities of their mutual communication, presenting the main agents of decision-making and their relative contributions to the creation of political will. The second section describes voting and election procedures, stressing the various methods through which the government sought to ensure the solemnity and discipline of patrician voters. The third section is dedicated to the first key characteristic of Ragusan decision-making, which is here termed ‘collectivism’. It analyzes the various mechanisms which prevented individuals concentrating power in their own hands and ensured that all the important political decisions were made by

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collective magistracies. The fourth section engages the other key characteristic of decision-making, which was secrecy. It addresses various practices which obscured the details of decision-making, thereby ensuring that the councillors enjoyed sufficient anonymity for independent action, but also mitigating conflicts that arose from dissenting political opinions. Finally, the conclusion seeks to relate many of the mechanisms addressed in the text to the specific values of Ragusan political culture, such as public-spiritedness, patrician egalitarianism, and the ideal of unanimity.

The main governmental institutions of Ragusa and their modus operandi Ragusan political institutions were strongly influenced by those of Venice, which ruled the city during the period between 1205 and 1358. Ragusa was governed through a system of intertwined councils, elected from a closed patrician elite which established its political monopoly in the first decades of the fourteenth century, in a process reminiscent of the Venetian serrata.1 Although each of the councils tended to focus on a certain group of issues, there was no clear division of competencies between them. In certain situations all of them could deal with extremely diverse matters, ranging from individual appeals to diplomatic issues or legislative proposals, and each of these bodies had certain judiciary and electoral functions.2 The formal head of the republic was the rector who convoked and presided over the three main councils. In these activities the rector was assisted and supervised by the eleven officials who, together with him, constituted the Minor Council. The Minor Council was an executive body which independently dealt with lesser issues but also prepared the agenda for other councils and implemented their decisions. The Senate, which consisted of the Minor Council plus a number of elected senators and ex officio members, encompassed some thirty to over sixty individuals, depending on the period. It had a key role in foreign policy as well as state security, and deliberated on all major political issues, solving the more sensitive ones by itself, and referring the others to the Major Council for the final decision. The third and broadest of the main governmental bodies was the Major Council which encompassed all the adult male patricians, including almost four hundred individuals at the peak of the nobility’s demographic expansion in the late fifteenth century. Seen by the Ragusans as the most important governmental institution – anachronistically put, the bearer of ‘sovereignty’ – the Major Council elected the majority of magistrates, granted pardons, and voted on the new legislation.3 Besides these three councils, Ragusa had a complex web of other magistracies dedicated to the more specialized tasks. The five provisores civitatis had the task of controlling the work of governmental bodies and alternated with the Minor Council in drafting the text of diplomatic letters and law proposals.The civil and criminal courts, established in the fifteenth century, dealt with the majority of judicial affairs. The state and ecclesiastical property was administered by the state treasurers and various procurators, while the financial control was performed by the five ‘officials of accounts’.There were many other less important magistracies dealing with issues

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such as public health, measurements, or customs, as well as a group of officials entrusted with the governing of Ragusan district. In sum, by the fifteenth century the governmental apparatus of the Republic consisted of around fifty to sixty different offices filled with some one hundred sixty patricians.4 When it comes to the relative influence of the governmental bodies, traditionally the central role was assigned to the Major Council, as the bearer of ‘sovereignty’, and to the Senate, as a narrower body which deliberated on all the most important issues.5 The basic criterion on which this legitimate interpretation rests is the question as to who had the last say on the most important issues. Yet, when one takes a closer look at the details of decision-making – the entire, sometimes quite long, procedure preceding the final decision – a different picture emerges. The Minor Council, often seen as a body dealing merely with lesser issues, had much greater influence than is usually suspected: that is, it held a number of important functions related to the communication of the government within itself and with the world. This council served as the main magistracy through which the republic gathered information, receiving all letters and reports, as well as individuals wishing to communicate with the government. Moreover, it was the first to debate all issues, deciding which to resolve itself and which to send to the other councils, thus distributing information and tasks in the governmental apparatus. Finally, the Minor Council convoked both the Senate and the Major Council, largely determined their agenda, and often drafted the proposals to be put forth for the debate and voting.6 Although the Senate and the Major Council did enjoy a degree of influence over their agenda – deciding whether to postpone debating a certain issue, and even occasionally specifying the topics for their next meetings – these sensitive matters were largely decided by the Minor Council.7 All the aforementioned functions – which, actually, amounted to coordinating the work of the main political bodies – enabled the Minor Council to exert a profound, albeit less visible, influence on the politics of the republic, ‘framing’ its decision-making processes. Another magistracy whose influence appears in a new light when considered from the perspective of decision-making processes, are the five provisores civitatis, established in 1477. Somewhat reminiscent of the modern constitutional courts, their main task was supervising the work of all governmental bodies except the Senate and the Major Council, ensuring that it was according to the republic’s laws and customs.8 Most importantly, the provisores oversaw the work of the Minor Council and could admonish it, if a certain decision seemed legally problematic. If the Minor Council refused to change this decision, the issue was brought to the Senate which had the final say whether the intervention (intromissio) of the provisores was justified. Importantly, the provisores also supervised the work of the Minor Council when it served as the presiding body of the Senate.Their numerous interventions during the Senate meetings reveal the broad powers of the Minor Council – but also of the provisores themselves – in important issues such as the order of proposing motions and the formulation of proposals, as well as deciding on the forms of voting to be adopted for different issues.9 Besides this supervisory role, the provisores competed with the Minor Council in influencing the republic’s

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decision-making in yet another way. They alternated with the Minor Council and ad hoc committees when it came to composing the drafts of laws and diplomatic letters, which were then modified or approved by the Senate and Major Council.10 When the aforementioned importance of the Minor Council and provisores is taken into account, it becomes apparent that the usual assessment of the Ragusan government, which focuses on the Senate and the Major Council, is not fully adequate. Observed from the vantage point of decision-making processes, a more nuanced picture emerges. Although the final decisions were made by the two broader councils, the smaller bodies were certainly able to influence them strongly, perhaps even crucially. Before the establishment of the provisores in 1477, such a smaller body was only the Minor Council with its prerogatives of controlling the flow of information and coordinating the work of other councils. The provisores further complicated the dynamics of decision-making: from the late 1400s, there were actually four main magistracies using their specific prerogatives to negotiate the creation of the political will.

The procedures and the discipline of voting The main decision-making procedure in all the three councils of the republic, applied during both voting and elections, was the secret ballot. During voting, after a certain proposal was put forth by the rector and debated, the councillors balloted by inserting their hand into a specially designed urn, carried around the hall by the clerks. The councillors secretly dropped the ballot into one of the urn’s two compartments, thereby choosing whether to accept or to reject a given proposal. The proposals were always formulated in pairs, as prima and secunda pars, with secunda pars sometimes being simply the negation of the prima, and sometimes a different proposal about the same topic.11 The election procedure, which took place primarily in the Major Council as the main elective body, was similar but more complex due to the nomination part which preceded the balloting.When it came to the key magistracies, the candidates were nominated by three chambers, two of them created by lot from the councillors, with the Minor Council traditionally serving as the third. During the elections for the less important offices, candidates were proposed through direct nomination, with each councillor entitled to suggest a name to the chancellors. After the customary three candidates were nominated for each post, the councillors proceeded to balloting, which was done in a similar way as the ordinary voting: for each candidate, one could cast either a positive or negative ballot in a different compartment of the voting urn. The winning candidate was the one who received the biggest number of positive votes, providing that this number superseded half of the valid votes (in some periods and, for some offices, even two thirds).12 Of course, an occasion as important and politically sensitive as voting was strictly regulated and controlled by the government. There were numerous measures seeking to ensure that the councillors behaved in a solemn way and voted according to the best of their ability. On the one hand, this goal was sought through

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exhortation, by reminding the councillors of the key values of the republic. The oath which the councillors had to swear each year before the election of the key magistrates stressed these values, which included public-spiritedness and prudence, but also obedience.13 The iconography and public inscriptions of the governmental buildings also propagated similar messages. The key themes of a rich iconographic program of Buon governo, decorating the rector’s palace, were harmony, justice, and the prudence of the patrician government.14 Among the numerous inscriptions which reminded the councillors of their duties, the most famous is the one still preserved today, carved above the entrance to the hall of the Major Council, which proclaims, ‘Obliti privatorum publica curate’ – ‘Forgetting the private affairs, take care of the public ones’.15 The behavior of the councillors was often far from the lofty ideals propagated by the government, however, and therefore it was regulated by numerous prohibitions and penalties. One persistent, albeit not really major, problem was ensuring that sufficient patricians attended the council meetings for a quorum to be attained. In general, attendance seems to the have been good, largely due to penalties imposed upon those absent, such as fines or prohibition to leave the city for the next two weeks.16 Another typical problem was attempts at electoral engineering, which occurred occasionally but never achieved the extent and sophistication of the famous Venetian broglio.17 The usual stratagem was to withhold casting the ballot in one election and use it in another, which resulted in surplus ballots for a certain candidate. In such cases the governmental practice was quite pragmatic: the balloting was repeated only if the difference between the number of voters and ballots cast was such that it would change the outcome of the election.18 The participants in such electoral engineering were threatened with severe punishments, which ranged from fines to imprisonment, and temporary exclusion from all offices.19 Since voting was par excellence an occasion with high potential to cause conflicts, there were also numerous regulations aimed at preventing insults and violence among the patricians. In order to avoid the worst scenarios, councillors were forbidden to carry weapons into the council hall.20 They were also forbidden from interrupting the speakers or insulting each other, under the threat of home confinement, imprisonment, or fines, which in some cases reached the astronomical sum of 500 ducats for each insulting word spoken.21 Nonetheless, many instances of unruly behavior are recorded, but most amounted only to insults, disobedience, and political jokes, such as two scandals from the 1400s when, to the consternation of the Major Council, somebody cast a playing die in the voting urn instead of a ballot.22

The collectivism of decision-making The fundamental political concern of the Ragusan elite was to maintain the balance of power within the patriciate, which they deemed necessary for republican governance to function.This concern is clearly discernible in the numerous institutional mechanisms which are here labeled the ‘collectivism’ of decision-making. In

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a positive sense, ‘collectivism’ consisted of mechanisms which sought to ensure that all the important decisions were made in group magistracies, composed of individuals representing different patrician families. In a negative sense, ‘collectivism’ manifested itself in mechanisms which sought to limit the autonomy of individual magistrates and prevent the concentration of power, ensuring that the entirety of the patriciate remained the bearer of ‘sovereignty’.23 Although many other factors also contributed to Ragusa’s exceptional political stability – that is the remarkable continuity of its institutions – there is no doubt that these measures played a serious role in preventing the establishment of signoria or (more restricted) forms of oligarchy.24 The patriciate’s strongly collectivist ethos was noticed by the fifteenth-century humanist Philippus de Diversis, who stressed that Ragusans ‘appoint several incumbents to every office’.25 Admittedly, de Diversis simplified a bit, forgetting that individuals were appointed as counts and captains in the Ragusan district.Yet the Italian humanist was on the right track: when it came to the central institutions of the republic, all offices had several incumbents – at least three, if not more. The only exception was the office of the rector himself, which was the only important individual magistracy. Not surprisingly, the rector was rigidly controlled. In questions of any political relevance he always acted in conjunction with the Minor Council – that is, he was actually not a separate political agent but the head of collective magistracy of twelve people.26 The fundamental idea permeating the Ragusan system of governance was that the agents of the political process should be the councils and collegial magistracies, never an individual. This principle was nicely explicated in a letter to the Hungarian king from 1361, in which the government complained about individual political activity of one patrician, and stressed, ‘the affairs of this city of yours are not conducted by one citizen, but by many citizens gathered in our councils’.27 The composition of these collective bodies was carefully arranged in such a way as to prevent the concentration of power and to distribute offices to a broad number of individuals. Numerous measures sought to prevent oligarchic tendencies by decreeing that only one member of every noble kindred was allowed to hold a certain office, especially the most important ones.28 In a similar vein, in order to ensure unbiased elections, relatives of the proposed candidates were required to absent themselves from the hall before the balloting.29 Most importantly, the Ragusan political system was characterized by short terms of office followed by fairly long periods of vacancy, that is periods during which an individual could not be reelected into the same office. This resulted in a quick rotation of people and enabled a significant number of patricians to participate in government.30 The clearest example of this tendency was the most important office – that of the rector. The rector probably had the shortest mandate of a head of government in the entirety of European history: he was elected for one month, which had to be followed by a vacancy of one year – prolonged to two years in 1395.31 The majority of other important offices – including the positions of minor councillor, judges of the criminal and civil courts, and provisores – lasted one year and former incumbents

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could be reelected to those positions only after one or two years.32 A  genuine ‘constitutional anomaly’ was the position of state treasurers, who for a time held their office for life; however, by the early sixteenth century even their mandate had been reduced to five years.33 The insistence on collective rule is noticeable also in the mechanisms regulating the internal functioning of the governmental bodies, which reveal a strong concern with maintaining the equality among the officeholders. Thus, on all occasions the vote of every member of the councils – regardless of his office, age, or origin – had the same value. Moreover, it seems that there were no strict regulations limiting the freedom of speech and that every councillor could express his opinion freely.34 The councillors could also put a topic on the agenda of any of the three councils by submitting it to the rector and the Minor Council, who had to accept it by voting and then propose it to the Senate or the Major Council.35 A similar attempt to prevent the evolution of a hierarchy is visible when it comes to individuals presiding in the governmental bodies. As already mentioned, the rector presided over the three main councils, and therefore different individuals discharged this influential duty every month. In the same vein, the meetings of the three most important magistracies besides the councils – the civil and criminal court, and the provisores – were chaired by their members, who changed as heads (capi) even more frequently, on a weekly basis.36 Decision-making processes themselves were also shaped by the same collectivist logic. As has been stressed, the system was made with an obvious intention that no important decision could be made individually. In fact, there was a clear tendency to decide the most important issues in the broader assemblies within the apparatus. Thus, in the first decades of the republic, after the acquisition of independence in 1358, a quite radical solution was adopted.The Major Council, the broadest assembly encompassing the entire patriciate, debated all the crucial affairs, including the most delicate issues such as foreign policy and state security.37 During the fifteenth century the need for secrecy and efficiency gradually led these delicate issues to be confined to the narrower but still numerous assembly of the Senate. However, even in this later period the Major Council remained crucial when it came to many other important decisions such as elections or legislation of the republic. Such an emphasis on broader assemblies as final decision makers made it prudent, even necessary, for topics proposed to them to be first considered and prepared in smaller bodies. Therefore, one important consequence of collectivism was that the majority of important issues were debated several times, usually in ever broader circles of patrician officials. This was the case already with the fundamental axis of intergovernmental communication – the role of the Minor Council as the body which prepared the agenda for the Senate and the Major Council. In other cases, provisores or specific ad hoc officials were designated by these bodies to write diplomatic letters, formulate opinions, or prepare proposals on certain issues, which were then deliberated again and finalized in the councils.38 This insistence on broad assemblies together with the quick rotation of people in positions of power certainly supported the collective rule, but also generated

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specific problems regarding decision-making. The first problem was ensuring secrecy, that is preventing the leaking of important information due to the relatively large number of those involved in the political process. The many measures aimed at controlling the flow of information, which are addressed in the next section about secrecy, constituted an attempt to mitigate these problems. The other major problem was ensuring continuity, that is ensuring the long-term coherence of politics despite the quick change of magistrates on all the levels. When it came to important issues, a degree of continuity was ensured already by the tendency to decide them in broad assemblies whose membership was more stable than that of smaller magistracies. Obviously, the Major Council was not problematic in this regard, since it encompassed all the patricians. On the other hand, the presence of former magistrates in the Senate was carefully ensured through specific measures. The key officials from the last year – the entire Minor Council and the judges of the two courts, but also other officials such as supervisors of the wool trade or civil attorneys – entered the Senate for the next year as ex officio members.39 The problem of continuity was even more acute when it came to all the other magistracies whose composition changed rapidly. Thus, in the case of offices such as procurators of ecclesiastical institutions, officials of the ars lanae or of the mint, another mechanism was adopted. At the end of their mandate, the expiring officials were balloted in the Major Council and the one who received the most votes remained in office also for the next year.40

The secrecy of decision-making Another fundamental concern of the Ragusan elite was how to reconcile the divisions and conflicts, which necessarily arose during the decision-making process, with the ideal of harmonious and unified patriciate. Even more precisely, the problem was how to ensure that the participants in decision-making acted independently and to their best ability, but at the same time mitigated the conflicts which often followed from this type of political deliberation. The key methodology in achieving these two somewhat discordant goals – independent political action and avoidance of conflict – was secrecy. On the one hand, various forms of secrecy ensured anonymity to the councillors, which was crucial for their autonomy. On the other, secrecy was the main element in different mechanisms which ensured that political decision-making generated as little conflict as possible, primarily within the elite, but also the republic at large.41 Secrecy was an essential element of decision-making already on the level of procedure: it characterized the casting of ballots, but also the nomination of candidates for office. During the elections for the main magistracies in the Major Council, after the councillor drawn by lot had proposed a candidate, the three nominating committees used a secret ballot to decide whether to accept the nomination.42 In elections for the minor offices, when all the members of the Major Council could nominate, a specific procedure was adopted, which concealed whom the councillors proposed. The chancellor approached each patrician and asked him

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confidentially to suggest a candidate, writing the name on a strip of paper whose ends were stuck together and rolled around a wooden stick. Importantly, the chancellor began noting the list of those nominated at a random place on the paper, so that it was impossible to reconstruct who nominated whom by referring to the seating order in the hall.43 When it came to the balloting itself, the councillors were supposed to cast the ballot ‘concealingly and secretly’, putting their hand into both compartments of the voting urn, and public display of where the ballot was cast was strictly forbidden.44 The secrecy of voting was further ensured by the fact that the ballots were made of linen, so that the sound of their fall would not reveal in which compartment they were dropped.45 Importantly, these complex procedures were used in all three councils, including the Minor Council which at its full number included only twelve people. The most obvious reason for introducing secrecy into the voting and election procedures was to weaken the pressures on councillors and prevent electoral engineering, giving every individual a chance to express his opinion independently and, hopefully, with the common good in sight.46 However, what is often neglected in analyzing the rationale behind the secret ballot is that it also served as an effective way of preventing conflicts among the councillors.The voting process had a serious potential for creating tensions within the elite: one’s decisions in the council hall were a delicate issue which could easily create grudges.This fear of divisive effects is clearly explicated in the law from 1388 which provided the aforementioned procedure for nominating candidates to lesser offices. As the law’s text stresses, the reason for the peculiar procedure with the strip of paper wound around the stick was to remove ‘any reason for scandal, anger, and hatred between the patricians’ which had occurred during the previous elections.47 Importantly, secrecy permeated not only the voting and election procedures but also their record.The standard way of recording the council’s decisions was established only in the fifteenth century – albeit it was grosso modo present already in the fourteenth – and it is this standard form that is analyzed here. The intriguing fact is that, although the texts of the decisions are often quite extensive, details about the decision-making process in them are extremely laconic. In the Minor Council, the record is absolutely minimal: usually there is only a short formulaic phrase such as ‘it was decided that’ (captum fuit quod), followed by the text of the decision.While one could still occasionally find information about the number of those present or the number of votes for a certain proposal in the late fourteenth century, even that disappeared in fifteenthcentury minutes, leaving only the date and the text of the decree.48 The records of the Senate and the Major Council are only slightly more revealing. Besides the proposal (pars) that was accepted, there is a short note about the number of votes for and against it, and sometimes the number of those excluded from voting, while the proposal that was rejected is crossed out.49 Records of elections are similarly brief.They list only the names of candidates and the number of votes for and against each candidate received, sometimes also noting the number of those excluded due to kinship.50 Clearly, the minutes were formulated in such a way to reveal as little as possible about the details of the decision-making process. The final decision, often a result

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of a long and conflict-ridden procedure, emerges almost as if ex nihilo. This way of recording made it impossible to detect any trace of debate or to reconstruct what was said and by whom. Equally so, it was impossible to grasp the way in which individuals voted, revealing only the general count of votes for and against. In the case of elections, the record concealed not only which candidate the councillors voted for but also whom they nominated if they were the electors. The custom applied when a candidate received more negative than positive votes was especially symptomatic: while, normally, the number of votes was noted, in such delicate cases only three zeroes were written next to the candidate’s name.51 In sum, there was a systematic attempt to hide both the decisions of the individual councillors and the conflicts and divisions of the council in general. Ensuring that the decisions of individual councillors remain secret through such peculiar form of recording served the same purposes as secrecy applied to the voting procedure itself. By making it impossible to reconstruct the individuals’ political behavior from the record, the government hoped to achieve the two aforementioned goals: to weaken the pressures on the councillors, prompting them to vote according to conscience, and to prevent conflicts and grudges among the members of the elite. Importantly, this way of recording probably also had another function: hiding from those outside the political struggles of the patrician circle. It obfuscated the conflicts within the councils, facing the reader of the minutes with the illusion of a smooth series of political decisions, the work of a well-behaved, if not really unanimous, elite.52 Yet another, quite different, aspect of secrecy is noticeable when it comes to keeping and protecting the physical record of voting. It was decided in 1428 that two reliable secretaries specifically entrusted with recording the political proceedings were to keep the books of council minutes, and also of diplomatic letters and instructions, under strict lock and key.53 Soon, however, the question of state secrets became even more pressing. Thus in 1443 a specific kind of minutes was introduced, the so-called Secreta rogatorum, in which the secretaries noted the most sensitive decisions of the Minor Council and the Senate, which were excluded from their ordinary minutes.The prologue to this decree clearly states the reasons behind it. In the ordinary minutes, there were ‘many secret things of our councils’, which were thus found out, leading to serious ‘scandals’ and damage to the ‘honor’ of the republic.54 The Secreta were even more closely guarded than the ordinary minutes. The secretaries who kept them locked were allowed to show them only to the Minor Council or the Senate – and then only if they had the quorum – and these books were occasionally destroyed.55 Clearly, with these measures the government tried to prevent the leaking of politically sensitive information beyond the narrowest circle of the patrician elite. As the introduction to the law from 1428 explicitly stated, ‘in the republics and signorie the secret things and those of great importance always have to be restrained to a smaller number of people’.56 Finally, there was yet another type of secrecy which consisted of an attempt to limit communication about delicate political issues exclusively to the spaces and occasions designated by the government. Namely, the authorities made a serious

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effort to prevent councillors from speaking about sensitive political issues outside of the council’s sessions. The members of the Major Council were bound by solemn oaths, taken at the beginning of the annual elections in December, to maintain secrecy regarding those issues they were ordered to.57 In addition, on numerous occasions the councils imposed strict penalties on their members, forbidding them to speak about what had happened during the sessions. These penalties were sometimes very harsh, revealing the anxiety of the government about this matter: they ranged from substantial fines to imprisonment, loss of noble privileges, and trial for perjury.58 Besides protecting the confidential information, the attempts at imposing silence on the councillors also served to maintain the image of consensual, or at least harmonious, government in front of the city’s population. An intriguing decree from 1359 reveals just how important public perception was to the authorities: the Minor Council threatened its members with a heavy fine if they ‘dared’ to speak badly about its decisions – they were allowed to speak well about them, however.59

Conclusion: on political practices and political values This chapter has focused on various institutional mechanisms which influenced the political decision-making process not only by shaping its very procedures but also, indirectly, by determining the composition and modus operandi of the governmental bodies. The conclusion seeks to broaden the perspective even further by relating these mechanisms to the fundamental political values of Ragusa. These values – only superficially outlined here – both inspired concrete institutional mechanisms and were reinforced by them in turn. Although many other norms shaped the practices of decision-making, this section will address only the three most salient among them: patrician egalitarianism, public-spiritedness, and the ideal of harmony. Patrician egalitarianism or even ‘patrician democracy’ (B. Krekić) was the normative claim that all the patricians were equal as shareholders in power and that therefore the supreme rule should belong to the patriciate as a whole, never to be monopolized by a smaller group or an individual.60 This idea is visible already in de Diversis’s repeated insistence that all the patricians are ‘equal’, and it was precisely formulated in one description of Ragusa, probably from the mid-sixteenth century: ‘there is not a single distinguished family, because all the nobles are considered equal, nor does one claim superiority over another; and if one were to claim it, he would be universally detested by all the others’.61 Two events, albeit centuries apart, reveal how deeply rooted was this patrician egalitarianism. In 1429, the young patricians whom the rector tried to expel from the council hall asked him, ‘do you have a greater share in power than we do?’ Likewise, in 1672 a patrician quarrelling with the rector’s deputy proclaimed, ‘I am also the Rector!’62 The numerous institutional manifestations of patrician egalitarianism can be clearly discerned in what was here labeled the ‘collectivism’ of decision-making. The ideal of collective rule shaped the measures such as the short durations and long vacancies of offices,

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rapid turnover of individuals presiding the councils, equal value of every councillor’s ballot, and the tendency to decide important matters in the broad assemblies. Another fundamental value imbuing many of the institutional mechanisms analyzed here was public-spiritedness. It was a typical value of republican patriotism, epitomized in the ideal of a virtuous citizen whose political activity is directed toward the common good of the patria, regardless of his private interests. The absolute primacy of common interest, the good of the patria, was stressed often, as in the introduction to one law from 1439: in this life there is nothing sweeter, more precious, and more worthy of a free man than the good state of his homeland, over which every good citizen has to watch constantly . . . both for the sake of honour, gain and glory which that brings to him, and for the sake of our immaculate liberty and unity.63 The clearest summary of this ideal of public-minded activity probably was the aforementioned inscription Obliti privatorum publica curate at the entrance of the hall of the Great Council. It was elaborated in more detail in one law from 1394, according to which each councillor should swear that ‘having dismissed and abandoned any personal dislike or obligation which he has, he will elect and speak neither due to friendship nor enmity, but always with honest, pure, and good spirit, and according to his conscience’.64 This ideal was propagated through symbolic practices and artifacts which surrounded voting, such as the councillor’s oath or the public art and moralizing inscriptions of the governmental buildings. Behaving like a good citizen was also enforced through a series of prohibitions, such as the laws against electoral corruption and exclusion of relatives, as well as decrees about the solemn behavior during the council sessions. Finally, acting in the public interest was also facilitated by some of the aforementioned methods of secrecy, such as the secret nomination and ballot which sought to create conditions in which the councillors could vote with the bene comune in mind. Finally, the third crucial value which influenced many of these mechanisms was harmony, or in its stronger articulations, unanimity. It was an ideal of serene and traditionbound interactions between the different social groups, but also within the ruling patriciate itself.65 Some apologists made strong claims about the absolute and mythic unanimity of Ragusa, such as Francesco Serdonati (1540 – after 1602), who insisted that the republic has lived ‘without any strife, any intestine evil for more than a thousand years’.66 The most articulate ideologist of Ragusan republicanism, Nicolò Vito Gozze (c. 1549–1610), was more realistic. He proclaimed that ‘there is no worse poison or terrible plague in the state than discord’, but allowed for ‘partially different opinions’ among the ruling elite, since they often led to the common good.67 The main way in which this ideal affected political practice was through the persistent effort of the government to prevent or hide political conflicts. Thus, on the one hand, the ideal of harmony contributed to the development of institutional mechanisms aimed at preventing conflicts during voting, such as the secrecy of the ballot and nomination or the strict rules about discipline in the council hall. On

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the other hand, this ideal also imbued various practices which concealed the traces of conflict during the decision-making process, such as the laconic record of voting or the prohibitions to speak about the decisions of the councils.68 It seems fitting to conclude this chapter by invoking its main premise through J.G.A. Pocock’s memorable phrase, ‘context is king’.69 By considering decisionmaking in a broad context, this chapter has shown that the creation of political will in Ragusa, as elsewhere, can be properly understood only by transcending the narrow procedural viewpoint. Yet a lot more remains to be done. New insights could certainly be gained by stressing the diachronic perspective, that is analyzing the effects of institutional changes on voting through time. Another rewarding approach would be to compare the Ragusan decision-making practices with those of other cities, especially addressing the question of how the Venetian model was applied to the very different Ragusan context. The third crucial theme, only superficially addressed here, is the complex question of dietrologia, of reality behind the norms and official rhetoric, primarily the question of oligarchy and factions, which certainly shaped Ragusan politics.Yet, despite all these insufficiencies, the basic goal of this text has hopefully been accomplished: it has shed some light on the least known among the great republican regimes of old Europe.

Notes * This work has been fully supported by the Croatian Science Foundation, under project number 5106. 1 Zdenka Janeković-Römer, The Frame of Freedom: The Nobility of Dubrovnik Between the Middle Ages and Humanism (Zagreb-Dubrovnik, HAZU, Zavod za povijesne znanosti u Dubrovniku, 2015), 101–110; Nenad Vekarić, “The Proportion of the Ragusan Nobility at the Closing of the Major Council in 1332”, Dubrovnik Annals, 16 (2012): 7–22. 2 Nella Lonza, Pod plaštem pravde: Kaznenopravni sustav Dubrovačke Republike u XVIII. stoljeću (Dubrovnik: Zavod za povijesne znanosti HAZU u Dubrovniku, 1997), 64–74; Janeković-Römer, The Frame, 163. 3 Good overviews of the three main councils are Konstantin Vojnović, “O državnom ustrojstvu republike Dubrovačke”, Rad Jugoslavenske akademije znanosti i umjetnosti, 103 (1891): 24–67; Janeković-Römer, The Frame, 163–173; David Rheubottom, Age, Marriage, and Politics in Fifteenth-Century Ragusa (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), 30–43, 132–138. 4 On provisores, see Lonza, Pod plaštem, 74–76; Nella Lonza, “Dubrovački patriciji pred izazovom prava: druga polovica 14. i 15. stoljeće”, Acta Histriae, 16/1–2 (2008): 125. On the judicial bodies, see Kosto Vojnović, “Sudbeni ustroj republike dubrovačke”, Rad JAZU, 108 (1892): 99–181; Rad JAZU 114 (1893): 159–220; Rad JAZU 115 (1893): 1–36; Lonza, Pod plaštem, 39–56; On procurators and officials dealing with treasure, see Kosta Vojnović,“Državni rizničari republike dubrovačke”, Rad JAZU, 127 (1896): 1–101; Nella Lonza, “For the Salvation of the Souls, for the Welfare of the State: Ragusan Treasurers and Perpetual Trusts XIII–XV c.”, in Knjiga rizničarskih najmova/Liber affictuum thesaurarie (1428–1547), ed. Danko Zelić (Zagreb-Dubrovnik: Zavod za povijesne znanosti HAZU, 2012), 25–41. On other officials, see Rheubottom, Age, Marriage, and Politics, 36–40. For the number of 160 officials in the fifteenth century, see Ibid., 36. The total number of adult patricians in the second half of the fifteenth century oscillated from around three hundred to around four hundred and therefore the political participation was relatively high (Ibid., 135).

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5 Just several influential examples are Filip de Diversis, Opis slavnoga grada Dubrovnika, ed. Zdenka Janeković-Römer (Zagreb: Dom i svijet, 2004), 159; Giacomo Luccari, Copioso Ristretto degli Annali di Ravsa (Venice: Antonio Leonardi, 1605), 154, 156; Francesco Maria Appendini, Notizie istorico-critiche sulle antichità, storia e letteratura de’ Ragusei, vol. I (Ragusa: Antonio Martecchini, 1802), 186. 6 The information regarding the modus operandi of the Minor Council is scarce and one has to rely primarily on the descriptions of the republic’s government, usually made by the well-informed observers or the patricians themselves (Diversis, Opis, 157–158; Luccari, Copioso, 158–159; Seraphinus Maria Cerva, Prolegomena in Sacram metropolim Ragusinam. Editio princeps, ed. Relja Seferović (Zagreb, Dubrovnik: Zavod za povijesne znanosti HAZU u Dubrovniku, 2008), 309; Appendini, Notizie, I, 187; Bogdan Krizman, ed., “‘Memoire’ Bara Bettere austrijskom generalu T: Milutinoviću o Dubrovačkoj Republici iz 1815”, Anali Historijskog instituta Jugoslavenske akademije znanosti i umjetnosti u Dubrovniku, 1 (1952): 426). Although these decisions are rarely detailed, there are numerous examples of the Minor Council deciding to put a certain topic on the agenda of the other two councils (e.g. Josephus Gelcich, ed., Monumenta ragusina. Libri reformationum, vol. IV [Monumenta spectantia historiam Slavorum meridionalium, vol. XXVIII] [Zagrabiae: JAZU, 1896], 32, 68, 73, 103, 112; State Archives of Dubrovnik [hereafter: SAD], ser. 5, Consilium Minus 5 [1430–1432], fols. 6, 9, 12, 14, 122, 123, 126v, 129, 186v). The Minor Council’s influence is also indirectly confirmed by various decrees and laws which obliged it to convoke the other two councils or to put a certain issue on their agenda (Branislav M. Nedeljković, ed., Liber viridis (Beograd: SANU, 1984), cap. 263; cap. 270; cap. 283; cap. 294; cap. 301; cap. 302; cap. 319; Branislav M. Nedeljković, ed., Liber croceus (Beograd: SANU, 1997), cap 86). 7 For the Senate, see, for instance, Gelcich, Monumenta, vol. IV, 65, 101–102, 106, 159, 169, 178, 182, 191, 195, 202, 244, 247, 253; Nella Lonza and Zdravko Šundrica, eds., Odluke dubrovačkih vijeća 1390–1392 (Zagreb-Dubrovnik: Zavod za povijesne znanosti HAZU u Dubrovniku, 2005), 90, 92, 93, 98, 222, 253, 257, 281; SAD, ser. 3 Consilium Rogatorum 22 (henceforth: CR) (1473–1476), fols. 29, 30, 31, 32, 38v, 43, 44v, 46, 46v, 48v, 49, 50, 51, 52, 54v. For the Major Council, see Gelcich, Monumenta, IV, 256, 258–259; Lonza and Šundrica, Odluke dubrovačkih vijeća 1390–1392, 86, 100, 112, 351, 356, 362, 363, 373; SAD, ser. 8, Consilium Maius 1 (1415–1419), fols. 14v, 39, 50, 82, 117v, 124v. 8 Nedeljković, Liber viridis, cap. 86; Lonza, Pod plaštem, 74–76; Lonza, “Dubrovački patriciji pred izazovom prava”, 125. 9 Only some, chronologically later but representative, examples of the disputes between the Minor Council and provisores civitatis regarding the formulation of agenda and proposals in the Senate are CR 82 (1609–1611), fols. 34, 35; CR 84 (1615–1617), fols. 91v92, 101v-102; CR 98 (1643–1645), fols. 15v-16, 102, 108; CR 116 (1668–1669), fols. 7, 58v, 147. 10 Nedeljković, Liber viridis, cap 86; Lonza, “Dubrovački patriciji pred izazovom prava”, 123–125; see also note 37. 11 Milan Rešetar, “Dubrovačko Veliko vijeće”, Dubrovnik, I/2 (1929): 64–65; Nella Lonza, “Introduction”, in Odluke dubrovačkih vijeća 1395–1397, ed. Nella Lonza (ZagrebDubrovnik: Zavod za povijesne znanosti HAZU u Dubrovniku, 2011), 20. 12 A comprehensive description of the election procedures is Nella Lonza, “Election Procedure in the Republic of Dubrovnik”, Dubrovnik Annals, 8 (2004): 7–41. 13 Nella Lonza, ed., The Statute of Dubrovnik of 1272, trans.Vesna Rimac (Dubrovnik: Državni arhiv u Dubrovniku, 2012), 2, V, C, 105; Nella Lonza, “Dubrovački statut, temeljna sastavnica pravnog poretka i biljeg političkog identiteta”, in Statut grada Dubrovnika sastavljen godine 1272, eds. Ante Šoljić, Zdravko Šundrica and Ivo Veselić (Dubrovnik: Državni arhiv, 2002), 38–39; Lonza, “Election”, 15–16; Nedeljković, Liber viridis, cap 83. 14 Igor Fisković, “O značenju i porijeklu reljefa na portalu Kneževa dvora”, in Reljef Renesansnog Dubrovnika, ed. Igor Fisković (Dubrovnik: Matica Hrvatska Dubrovnik, 1993), 148–156.

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15 Nella Lonza, “OBLITI PRIVATORUM PUBLICA CURATE: A Ragusan Political Epigraph and Its Historical Background”, Dubrovnik Annals, 11 (2007): 25–47; for other inscriptions in the governmental buildings, see 35–36. 16 Janeković-Römer, The Frame, 172–173. 17 Dorit Raines, “Office Seeking, Broglio, and the Pocket Political Guidebooks in Cinquecento and Seicento Venice”, Studi Veneziani, N.S. 22 (1991): 137–194. 18 Lonza, “Election”, 31–32. In the sixteenth century, however, stricter measures were introduced against casting of multiple ballots (Ibid., 32). For an insightful analysis of attempts to manipulate the elections, see Lonza, “Election”, 33–36. 19 Nedeljković, Liber Viridis, cap. 83; Nedeljković, Liber croceus, cap. 86; Lonza, “Election”, 33–34. 20 Odluke dubrovačkih vijeća 1395–1397, 316. 21 For some examples, see Gelcich, Monumenta, IV, 60; Lonza and Šundrica, Odluke dubrovačkih vijeća 1390–1392, 112; Odluke dubrovačkih vijeća 1395–1397, 167; JanekovićRömer, The Frame, 174. Even stricter penalities – several months in prison and the loss of noble privileges for years – were directed against those who insulted the magistrates of higher rank (Nedeljković, Liber croceus, cap. 86). 22 Rešetar, “Dubrovačko Veliko vijeće”, 66, 68; Janeković-Römer, The Frame, 174; Zdravko Šundrica, “Skandal u Velikome vijeću”, in Tajna kutija dubrovačkog arhiva, vol. 2, ed. Zdravko Šundrica (Dubrovnik: Zavod za povijesne znanosti HAZU u Dubrovniku, 2009), 305–306; 23 For many intriguiging analogies in the Venetian political system, see Ivone Cacciavillani, La “Bala d’oro”: Elezioni e collegi della Serenissima (Venice: Corbo e Fiore Editori, 2001), 61–109. 24 On the stability of Ragusa, see Lovro Kunčević, “O stabilnosti Dubrovačke Republike (14–17. stoljeće): geopolitički i ekonomski faktori”, Anali Zavoda za povijesne znanosti Hrvatske akademije znanosti i umjetnosti u Dubrovniku, 54/1 (2016): 1–38. 25 ‘quod in quolibet offitio plures instituntur offitiales’ (Diversis, Opis, 158). 26 On the limited influence of the rector, see Vojnović, “O državnom ustrojstvu”, 35–40; Janeković-Römer, The Frame, 190–195. The only other central magistracy with a single incumbent was that of the rector’s deputy, the vice-rector. However, the vice-rector should not be numbered among the important offices, since he was an official of minor influence with the task of assisting the rector and replacing him in petty judicial affairs (Vojnović, “O državnom ustrojstvu”, 38; Janeković-Römer, The Frame, 194). 27 ‘quia non fiunt tractamenta vestre terre ab uno cive, set a multis civis in nostris consiliis ordinatis’ (Jorjo Tadić, ed., Pisma i uputstva Dubrovačke Republike (Beograd: SAN, 1935), 40). 28 For the important offices such as minor councillor, provisor, and civil and criminal judge, see Lonza, The Statute, 1, III, C, 75, 77; Nedeljković, Liber viridis cap. 164, cap. 492; Nedeljković, Liber croceus, cap 86. See also the general decree: Monumenta ragusina: Libri reformationum, vol. II [Monumenta spectantia historiam Slavorum meridionalium, vol. XIII] (Zagrabiae: JAZU, 1882), 239. 29 For the elections, see Lonza, “Election”, 29. Good examples from the dramatic 1358– 1359 election are Monumenta ragusina, vol. II, 238–240, 242, 257, 259, 268. 30 Lonza, Pod plaštem, 49–50; Janeković-Römer, The Frame, 256. Another important reason for this practice was the desire to provide sufficient governmental posts for the ever more numerous patriciate. 31 Branislav Nedeljković, “Položaj Dubrovnika prema Ugarskoj (1358–1460)”, Godišnjak Pravnog fakulteta u Sarajevu, 15 (1967): 450; Nedeljković, Liber viridis, cap 83. 32 For the aforementioned examples, see Lonza, The Statute, 1, III, C, 75, 77; Nedeljković, Liber viridis, cap. 83, cap. 164, cap. 492; Nedeljković, Liber croceus, cap. 86. 33 Lonza, “Za spas duša”, 12–13. 34 Since the internal functioning of the councils was largely regulated by custom and rarely explicated, this issue requires further research. However, from numerous en passant references it does seem that the members of the three main councils could speak freely

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(see, for instance: Lonza and Šundrica, Odluke dubrovačkih vijeća 1390–1392, 112, 268; Lonza, The Statute, 6, LXV, 257; Aleksandar Solovjev ed., “Liber Omnium Reformationum Civitatis Ragusii”, in Istorisko-pravni spomenici, knjiga 1: Dubrovački zakoni i uredbe (Beograd: SKA, 1936): pagina XXI, V, 120–121; Nedeljković, Liber viridis, cap. 14, cap. 426; Nedeljković, Liber croceus, cap. 86; Krizman, “ ‘Memoire’ Bara Bettere”, 426; Rešetar, “Dubrovačko veliko vijeće”, 64; Janeković-Römer, The Frame, 174; Žarko Muljačić, “Prilog povijesti političkog govorništva u doba Dubrovačke Republike”, Dubrovnik, 9 (1966): 46–51. 35 Luccari, Copioso, 159; Gelcich, Monumenta, vol. IV, 112; Rešetar, “Dubrovačko Veliko vijeće”, 64. 36 Nedeljković, Liber viridis, cap. 86, cap. 165, cap. 492. 37 For instance, in the crucial year 1358, the Major Council debated the details of the negotiations with the new overlord, the Hungarian king. For the crucial events of 1358 in Ragusan history, see Zdenka Janeković-Römer, Višegradski ugovor. Temelj Dubrovačke republike (Zagreb: Golden Marketing, 2003). 38 For only some of the numerous examples of such officials being entrusted with different tasks by the councils, see Gelcich, Monumenta, vol. IV, 8, 10, 71, 81, 96, 174; Lonza and Šundrica, Odluke dubrovačkih vijeća 1390–1392, 52, 80, 87–88, 132; Consilium minus 12 (1448–1451), fols. 18v, 22v, 27v, 72, 122, 190v, 210; CR 1 (1415–1418), fols. 76v, 87, 96, 102, 108. For the provisores, see CR 24 (1481–1484), fols. 54v, 57v, 62, 66v-67, 77–77v, 85v, 89, 90–90v. 39 Vojnović, “O državnom ustrojstvu”, 55; Janeković-Römer, The Frame, 168. 40 For some examples, see Solovjev, “Liber Omnium Reformationum”, pagina XXXIII, cap. VIII, 181–182; pagina XII, cap. VII, 69; Nedeljković, Liber viridis, cap. 101, cap. 152, cap. 183, cap. 252; Gelcich, Monumenta, vol. IV, 111. Another guarantee of continuity, especially in judicial affairs, were the nonpatrician salaried clerks of the chancellery who were usually Italians, some of them with a law degree, and who served for several years (Lonza, “Dubrovački patriciji pred izazovom”, 131). 41 According to the innovative distinction between two aspects of secrecy, proposed by M. Pattenden in this volume, most of Ragusan examples could be categorized as ‘anonymity’, but some of them also as ‘isolation’ (Miles Pattenden, “Cultures of Secrecy in the Early Modern Papal Conclave”, PP. (will add in proofs). 42 Nedeljković, Liber viridis, cap. 176. 43 Lonza, “Election”, 22–23. The procedure changed somewhat during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, but retained elements of secrecy (Ibid., 23–24). 44 Nedeljković, Liber viridis, cap. 176. 45 Lonza, “Election”, 25. 46 It should be stressed, however, that in early modern Europe the secrecy of voting was not always understood as the best method of ensuring the common good. For the opposite interpretation according to which public voting, allowing for the influence between the voters and greater responsibility for one’s choice, led to better results, see Hilary Bernstein, “The Benefit of the Ballot? Elections and Influence in Sixteenth-Century Poitiers”, French Historical Studies, 24 (2001): 621–652. 47 ‘omnis materia scandali, indignationis et odii inter cives nobiles’ (Nedeljković, Liber viridis, cap. 65). 48 For some fourteenth-century decisions with the number of those present or the number of votes for the proposal, see Lonza and Šundrica, Odluke dubrovačkih vijeća 1390–1392, 73–75, 88, 157, 218, 231, 241–242. 49 In the fourteenth century there are still few exceptional cases where the minutes mention the opinion of individual councillors (Monumenta, vol. II, 197; vol. III, 193; vol. IV, 111). 50 On the form of the record of the council’s minutes, see also Nella Lonza, “Introduction”, in Odluke dubrovačkih vijeća 1390–1392, 22. Nella Lonza, “Introduction”, in Odluke dubrovačkih vijeća 1395–1397, 20–21. 51 Lonza, “Election Procedure”, 27.

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Janeković-Römer, The Frame, 174–175. Nedeljković, Liber viridis, cap. 223. Ibid., cap. 342. Ibid., cap. 342; Janeković-Römer, The Frame, 170. ‘Conzo sia che le re publiche e le signorie nelle cose segrete e di grande importantia sempre se debia restringere in menor numero di persone’ (Nedeljković, Liber viridis, cap 223). 57 Lonza, The Statute, 2,V, 105. For the context of this oath, see Lonza, “Election”, 16. For the oaths of other officials also specifically obliged to preserve secrecy, see Lonza, The Statute, 2, II, 101; 2, IV, 103; 8, II, 291. 58 Janeković-Römer, The Frame, 170. For several examples of governmental decrees against the leaking of information, see Monumenta, vol. II, 212, 236, 245; Gelcich, Monumenta, vol. IV, 245; CR 25 (1485–1488), fol. 169v. 59 Monumenta ragusina. Libri reformationum, vol. III [Monumenta spectantia historiam Slavorum meridionalium, vol. XXVII] (Zagrabiae: JAZU, 1895), 5. 60 Janeković-Römer, The Frame, 40–42; Bariša Krekić, “Developed Autonomy: The Patricians in Dubrovnik and Dalmatian Cities”, in Bariša Krekić, Dubrovnik: A Mediterranean Urban Society, 1300–1600 (Aldershot, Brookfield:Variorum, 1997), II: 198. 61 ‘Famiglia segnalata non vi è alcuna, perciò che tutti li nobili si tengono eguali, ne dimostra l’uno haver maggioranza sopra l’altro; et non v’è niuno, che la dimostri, da tutti generalmente vien esser odiato’ (Šime Ljubić, ed., Commissiones et relationes Venetae. Listine o odnošajih između južnoga slavenstva i Mletačke republike, vol. 3 [Zagreb: JAZU, 1870], 74); for de Diversis’s insistence on the equality of patricians, see Diversis, Opis, 155–156). 62 These two examples are taken from Lonza, Kazalište, 75. 63 ‘Conzo sia che in questa vita presente non sia alguna cosa piu suave, cara e al’omo libero piu degna ch’al buon stato della soa propria patria per la qual cadauno bono citadino die vegliar qualuncha tempo . . . si per l’onor, fruto e gloria e fama e che de eso ne seguita, como etiamdio per la nostra imacolata liberta e unita’ (Nedeljković, Liber viridis, cap. 319. For other examples, see: Janeković-Römer, The Frame, 42–48). 64 ‘remissis et omissis quolibet odio et qualibet promissione quod et quam haberet, nec per amiciciam vel inimicitiam ipse non eleget nec consulet unquam in consiliis, salvo semper puro et bono animo et sua bona conscientia’ (Nedeljković, Liber viridis, cap. 83). 65 Janeković-Römer, The Frame, 38–40; Z. Pešorda Vardić, U predvorju vlasti, 176–181. For a similar Venetian tradition which certainly influenced Ragusa, see Margaret L. King, Venetian Humanism in an Age of Patrician Dominance (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1986), 92–205, especially 174–205. For unanimity in general, see Paolo Grossi, “Unanimitas. Alle origini del concetto di persona giuridica nel diritto canonico”, Annali di storia del diritto: Rassegna internazionale, II (1958): 229–331; Olivier Christin, Vox populi: Une histoire du vote avant le suffrage universel (Paris: Seuil, 2014), 81–134. 66 This same point is made in two places: Serdonati Florentino, Francesco, Orationes duae habitae Rhacusii, altera in funere Chrysostomi Caluini Archiepiscopi in aede Diuae Mariae (Camerino: Apud Haeredes Antonij Gioiosi, & Hieronymum Stringarium, 1578), III, 19. 67 Nicolò Vito di Gozzi, Dello stato delle republiche (Venetia: Aldo, 1591), XXXI, 413; LXIX, 418; CXXXIV, 425. 68 Intriguing thoughts regarding the analogous use of secrecy in order to maintain the image of harmounous government in Venice are found in Filippo de Vivo, Information and Communication in Venice: Rethinking Early Modern Politics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), 40–45. 69 John Pocock,“Foundations and Moments”, in Rethinking the Foundations of Modern Political Thought, eds. Annabel Brett, James Tully and Holly Hamilton-Bleakley (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 37. 52 53 54 55 56

15 ‘IL FAIT BON VOIR DE TOUT LEUR SÉNAT BALLOTTER’ The ubiquity of voting in late medieval and Renaissance Venice Claire Judde de Larivière

‘Il fait bon voir de tout leur sénat ballotter. Il fait bon voir partout leurs gondoles flotter’.1 The famous Joachim du Bellay’s sonnet belongs to a political rhetoric about Venice that started to be forged at the end of the Middle Ages, praising the splendor and wealth of the Serenissima, and the refinement of its political organization, or criticizing, opposite, the tyrannical power of patricians.Venetian rulers, foreign visitors, humanist writers and political thinkers contributed to a tradition which remained efficient for many centuries, and which have contributed to create what have been called the myth and the anti-myth of Venice.2 The Venetian ‘constitution’, based on the balance of power, the principle of collegiality, the constant use of voting and the sophistication of institutions were all at the center of their considerations. Venetian institutions were complex ones, constantly evolving from the moment they were implemented in the twelfth century until the end of the Republic in 1797. At the end of the fifteenth century, there were more than 750 offices reserved to nobles (or patricians).3 Regular elections were organized to fill these positions, and once elected, patricians had to share power and take collective decisions in collegial assemblies. As a consequence, voting was one of the most common political practices, used both to elect and to take decisions.4 But as we shall see, there were many other opportunities to vote in Venice, within local communities, parish churches, guilds or confraternities. Voting seemed everywhere in the lagoon: it could take many different forms (compromise, drawing lot, secret vote or voiced one), and was employed by patricians as well as cittadini and popolani.5 This chapter considers these different practices, focusing on voters, procedures and uses. In doing so, it aims at shedding light on the nature of the Venetian political culture and the common principles that were shared by the population of the city. On the one hand, voting was used in elections, to choose and designate rulers and representatives and to allocate equitably political functions which could be seen as privileges, resources or duties. For attractive functions, desired by many, the vote

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helped decide fairly between the different applicants and choose the best and more qualified candidates. For functions that were considered dangerous, costly or too demanding, voting was a way to constrain reluctant candidates to take their share of the burden. On the other hand, voting was an essential step in the decision-making process, to take political and legal resolutions, which intended to lead to the best possible resolutions, and to govern accordingly to the opinion and choices of the majority. Beyond the effectiveness of vote and the role of the procedure, the practice of voting was also an essential part in the definition of political communities. Determining who could vote, when and how was a way for rulers and inhabitants to establish the limit of their groups and to define political and social belonging on the basis of shared rights and duties.The legal definition of the patrician group itself was based on membership in the Great Council (Maggior Consiglio): one belonged to the assembly because he was from a noble family and his family was a noble one because it could sit in the assembly. And being a member of the Great Council meant having the right to elect magistrates and to vote laws. But even for the ordinary people, who were excluded from political institutions, to belong to a parish or a guild could give the ability to vote within these institutions. Deciding together how to defend common interest, and who would be in charge to do so, helped create the feeling of belonging to a community, and contributed to giving this group its identity. Voting was a sign of politicization, as it implied debates and the necessity to express choices, and to choose between them. As such, it obliges us to wonder who can be considered political actors in Venice, if we focus on this practice. To be sure, ordinary people were excluded from power and political institutions, but they were still able to express an opinion and to act collectively to take decisions.6 The study of voting in Venice is indeed a good way to shed a new light on the political culture of the lagoon inhabitants, considered as a whole.

A shared power In the middle of the twelfth century,Venice negotiated its definitive independence from the Byzantine Empire, which had until then claimed political authority over the lagoon.Venice became a commune, with its own institutions, which were rapidly monopolized by a group of rich and influential merchants who managed to keep power for themselves. They formed the Great Council, ‘the sovereign body of the state’.7 Through a well-known political process called the Serrata (Closure), they gradually controlled the access to the institution before closing it definitively. The process, which occurred from the end of the thirteenth century to the first decades of the fourteenth, led to the definition of a hereditary nobility.8 The group became the only one authorized to rule institutions and exercise power. At the end of the Middle Ages, there were around two thousand members in the Great Council, where general decisions were voted, but most importantly where elections took place, to fulfill the numerous offices and magistracies ruled

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by patricians.9 Collectively, they had to run the city, as well as the territorial state in the Mediterranean and in Italy (Stato da Mar and Stato da Terra). Power was shared in order to prevent certain families from seizing power for themselves, as often had been the case elsewhere in Italy. The multiplication of institutions and the rapid rotation of posts (in general kept for one to two years) meant there could be no specialization; the patricians ruled without favoring a certain type of office or jurisdiction. This also prevented factions or family groups from seizing certain institutions or considering a specific area as their own specialty.The potential influence of these pressure groups was thus limited by the fragmentation of offices and duties.

Electing the doge The only magistracy occupied by a single person was the most prestigious one, the doge, who was elected for life after having demonstrated its abilities during a long public career.10 It was the only office that was not subject to a division of power or a mandate limited in time which explains in part the recourse to a specific and complex procedure of election. It combined drawing lots and voting, and became one of the most successful political topoi linked to Venice. The doge was not the ruler of the city but the representative of the city’s sovereignty, which the noble elites incarnated as a group, like a collective figure of prince. He did not rule the patriciate, but can be considered as its emanation. He represented the power that the group possessed collectively. The election of the doge was organized in the Great Council, and implied a long process combining phases of vote and phases of drawing lot. The aim was to constitute a college of forty-one patricians who would finally participate in the election, and who would represent the different interest groups equally. Thirty members of the assembly, aged over 30, were drawn by lot and were then isolated in a room. A new drawing of lots was held among them so as to select only nine out of the thirty. These nine patricians then elected forty other patricians (seven votes out of nine were required to be elected). After this first election, the nine returned to the Great Council Hall with a list of the forty candidates they had elected. Their names were publicly announced so as to verify that they belonged to different families, since it was forbidden for two members of the same family – brothers, fathers, cousins, uncles – to be part of the same electoral committee. After this first phase of the election, there were seven other similar phases in succession combining a lottery and voting. The forty patricians met in turn and twelve of them were drawn by lot.Those twelve then elected twenty-five patricians, of whom nine were drawn by lot.These nine patricians elected forty-five patricians, among whom eleven were drawn by lot. The latter, in turn, elected forty-one patricians. It was this group of forty-one who formed the committee charged with electing the doge. Alternating drawing lots and elections sought to avoid corruption and prevent clans from imposing their influence. Even the most powerful patricians, despite their efforts, could not hope to control the choices of voters at all stages of the proceedings. Moreover, by isolating the electoral committees in separate parts of

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the doge’s palace, contact between the members of the Great Council and the electors was avoided and the latter could not be pressured by the former. But beyond the mathematical effectiveness of the process, its ritual dimension was as important as the results. It showed off the fight against corruption, and staged the collective participation of the whole group in a long and sophisticated process. Whether its effects were due to the laws of probability or the illusion of impartiality, the procedure did have the consequence of limiting fraud and asserting that corruption was not tolerated in that system. The ducal election functioned because it imposed a discourse of equality that the patricians adhered to and believed in. The ritual existed to make that discourse of equality manifest to all – the fact that it lasted for so long is proof of its effectiveness.

Political elections For other political elections, the procedure was less complex and relied mainly on vote, even if drawing lot could be used at different stages of the process.There were two main types of election in Venice: those reserved to the Signoria and the Consiglio dei Pregadi (Senate), two smaller assemblies, which had to decide about the most important magistracies; the second type of election occurred in the Great Council, where the entire group of patricians voted.11 In both cases, elections did not imply that one voted for his favorite candidate, but that each voter expressed an opinion about each candidate, voting positively or negatively, yes or no, for or against. The most important elections were reserved to the Signoria (the ducal council, including the doge, six ducal councillors, and the three heads of the Forty) and the Senate (which gathered its own members and those of other assemblies, between one hundred eighty and three hundred men at the end of the Middle Ages, with a quorum of seventy).12 But not all members of the Senate could vote or propose laws.13 At the end of the Middle Ages, the Senate nominated and elected around one hundred fifty offices (e.g. ambassadors; provveditori, i.e. commissioners; and magistrates in military matters), through a procedure called scrutinio. Some senators could propose names of candidates, and the whole assembly had to vote for or against the propositions made by their peers.The candidates with the highest scores (the highest numbers of yeses which could not be fewer than the number of noes) were elected. All the other offices – and, indeed, the majority of them – were attributed in the Great Council, described by chronicler Marin Sanudo as ‘the lord (signor) of the city, and it creates all the offices and magistracies of the city and all the councils’.14 The assembly gathered every Sunday and the afternoon was spent ‘balloting’, that is, voting. In general, nine elections were held at the beginning of each session. The positions to be filled had been announced before by city criers at Rialto and San Marco. For each function, there was an age limit both for voters and for candidates. Because of the size of the Great Council, voters could be numerous – even too numerous to guarantee a peaceful process. In the early sixteenth century, the size of the institution started to become excessive, and was sometimes close to 2,500 members. But it was quite rare to see all of them present at a given session, and in

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general many patricians were absent, either because of their business or political duty outside Venice, or because they no longer participated in political life.15 In the documents, voting was called ‘a bossoli e ballotte’, literally ‘with boxes and ballots’. Ballot boxes were small or large repositories, sometimes called a ‘hat’ (cappello).16 Until the fifteenth century, these boxes were open, but from the end of the century, they were closed or covered in order to avoid any attempt at fraud. The new model of box, which took some years to be adopted, became widespread and ensured the secrecy of the procedure. The two compartments were hidden under a lid, and voters could deposit their ballot in one of them without being seen. They had to pass their hand above the two compartments, and then dropped the ballot in the yes or no compartment. Ballots were round or oval balls or tokens, the size of a cherry or slightly larger, originally made of wax, and then metal or cloth. The election usually followed three steps, in which nomination, vote and drawing lots were combined. First, an initial procedure aimed at constituting the electorate committee, selecting the patricians who would be in charge of choosing the candidate. For each election, four electoral committees (mani) of nine members were constituted, and a lottery was used to constitute each of them. Second, the committee had to propose – by conciliation or voting – a list of potential candidates, as it was not to patricians themselves to officially apply for a position. Third, the Great Council voted to decide between the different candidates proposed by the different committees, each voter deciding on each candidate. The whole procedure took place in the very large hall of the Great Council, in the doge’s palace. On one side of the room, at the tribune, was installed the members of the Signoria, presided by the doge. Three large bronze urns were placed in front of them, and each was monitored by one of the doge’s counsellors. Placing them high on platforms was done to make sure that no one could look inside. For the selection of the committees, about eight hundred balls of silver and thirty golden balls were placed in the two side urns. The middle one contained twentyfour balls of silver and thirty-six golden ones. The first random drawing, done according to the benches on which the patricians were seated, decided the order of their passage to draw from the urns. The benches were placed on four sides of the room, in four directions symbolized by well-known spaces in Venice: Piazza San Marco (north), the island of San Giorgio (south), the Arsenal quarter of Castello (east) and the Broglio, a space located in front of the doge’s palace on the Piazzetta (west).The patricians each rose in turn and proceeded to the side urns. If they drew a ball of silver, they would return to sit down. If they drew a golden ball, they would then draw again from the central urn: if that ball was silver, they would also return to sit down; if it was golden, they were then on the electoral committee. A notary cried out the person’s name, and another in the middle of the room repeated it to ensure that the great number of patricians present heard it. This was done to verify that two members of the same family were not appointed to the same electoral committee. The candidates who had drawn two successive golden balls then had to sit on a special bench near the doge, turning their backs on the other members of the Great Council to avoid receiving instructions by signs on how to vote.

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Once the electoral committee had been appointed, its members had to swear before the grand chancellor (the head of the chancery) to carry out their mission impartially.Two secretaries came to escort them to a small room where the election would be held (four separate rooms, therefore, for the four committees).The members were seated according to their age.The youngest of the nine electors was given a list of the nine posts to be filled, arranged in hierarchical order and preceded by a number. A secretary read out the current electoral laws, recalling in particular those against fraud. He then placed nine balls in an urn with the numbers corresponding to the positions to be filled. Each person drew a number and this established which patrician would be in charge of the election for which office. For the first post, the patrician who had been appointed had to suggest the name of a candidate, who could be a member of his family, or even himself. Then the committee proceeded to vote. With six yes votes, the candidate was elected; otherwise, another name had to be suggested and then voted on.The election continued until nine patricians were appointed to the nine positions. Once the election was over, the electoral committees did not return to the Great Council – the two secretaries communicated the results to the grand chancellor by giving him a note with the candidates proposed by each committee.The chancery then verified that all the candidates were eligible for the office for which they had been elected, by consulting the registers of magistrates’ lists (in Venice, there was the contumacia, a forced time during which one could not fill the same post again). For each post, the Great Council was finally presented with four potential candidates, and the assembly voted after the members of the candidate’s close family had left the room. The person who received the most approval votes was elected. Once elected, it was difficult to refuse the position. Political functions were considered a civic duty that patricians owed the community. Therefore, the person had to accept their nomination, and though it was not impossible to decline, it was considered poor form to do so. The election’s three steps (forming the committee, proposing candidates, voting) were equally important, and constituted an additional precaution against corruption. The multiplication of phases of voting were considered another way to limit fraud, because rituals and public gestures also helped legitimize the results and the sense of the election. The procedure was strictly controlled by the citizen magistracy of Segretario alle Voci, who had to register the vote’s result, and keep lists of election to the ordinary and extraordinary functions. The Segretario alle Voci was part of the chancellery, a large and efficient para-political institution essential to the proper functioning of the political machine. As in any large medieval state, it was in charge of producing and keeping the official documents, as well as checking the legality of the electoral and procedural process within patrician institutions.17 It was ruled by the citizen class, cittadini or bourgeoisie, and its chief was the grand chancellor, whose position was often considered the equivalent of the doge for the nonnoble inhabitants of Venice. The elections held in the Signoria, the Senate and the Great Council determined the composition of all the other institutions. But, in turn, these councils and magistracies could organize elections. Some elected their own head by voting or by

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drawing lot. For example, this was the case for the three courts of the Forty (Quarantia Criminale, Quarantia Civil Vecchia, Quarantia Civil Nova), each of which had the task of electing its own chair. These positions were decisive as they were members of the Signoria. Some institutions also had to elect subaltern officers, assigned to poor patricians who needed these stipendiary functions to survive. It was for example the case of the ‘nobili da poppa’, young noblemen who boarded the merchant galleys to participate to their military defense.18 They were elected in the Quarantia Criminale among patricians aged older than 18. The same assembly also had to proceed to the recruitment of some of the chancery staff, notaries and secretaries, chosen among the group of citizens. An electoral committee was designated by lottery, and had to propose candidates, before a vote happened on each name. The ones with the majority of yeses were elected. Rulers knew the strategic importance of these secretaries, and fraud in this election was monitored as carefully as for political functions. The Council of Ten also elected its own secretaries, before controlling the whole chancellery; the Collegio (the steering committee of the Senate) voted to elect, among others, the scribes who served on merchant galleys.19 Wherever they were held, and whatever importance they might have, these procedures were watched and monitored by specific institutions in order to prevent fraud and corruption. In 1517, a new magistracy was created to monitor the electoral practices, the Censori.20 The incipit of the decree establishing the magistracy insisted on the principles and values that the magistracy had to defend. Elections had to designate those who ‘by merit, integrity and good procedure had deserved’ their position (per meriti, probità, et bone operazion sue li hanno meritati). The rhetoric of excellence, impartiality and equality, as that of fairness and justice, were essential to the Venetian political discourse. This was obviously not enough to avoid corruption, and the topos of the perfection of Venetian institutions was overturned in the 1980s historiography by a denunciation of a diffuse fraud.21 In a more balanced way, recent studies have reconsidered the whole question, incorporating in the frame and analyzing lobbying and debates, the question of parties and factions and the role of information.22

Taking decisions Patricians were elected by a vote, and once elected they had to vote to take decisions in turn. Their job consisted in governing the city, deliberating, enacting laws, arbitrating conflicts, dispensing justice, according grace and giving fiscal or commercial privileges. Collegial magistracies always implied a vote, at some point in the decisional process.The definition of quorum and majority, as well as the procedure, varied from institution to institution. For any proposition put to the vote, patricians had three possible choices: yes, no or abstain (si, no, non sinceri). To be accepted, the proposition had to receive a majority of yeses, and no more than a third noes.Voting was a daily activity, as archival documents show. Every proposition submitted to a vote was written down with the number of ballots received.

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Courts of justice also voted in order to determine sentences.23 There were many of them, collaborating together and following different proceedings, with or without investigation, witness questioning, torture and so on. The Lords of the Night (the Signori di notte who monitored the streets, especially at night, and acted as a court in some cases) voted to establish the guilt of defendants, before deciding a sentence. The cases investigated by the Avogaria di Comun (the communal attorney, the main court of appeal) ended with the preparation of an intromissio, the prosecution case, which was presented before the court, generally the Forty. A debate could take place, before an initial vote occurred, to establish the culpability of the defendant; a second vote decided the nature of the punishment. The same happened in the severe Council of Ten: after the investigation, the council had to vote yes, no or abstain to act against the accused. A simple majority was enough to decide the prosecution and to establish the sanction. Debates were not recorded, and it is rare to have documents about the content of deliberation, but sometimes the repetition of votes prove the difficulty of the assembly to find an agreement on the decision to take.24 Finally, it is interesting to note that familiarity with voting encouraged patricians to make private use of it as a procedure. For example, in 1533, Bartolomeo Bragadin wrote his will, leaving some money to the poor members of his ca’ (the large noble lineage sharing the same name). In order to decide who would have benefitted from this donation, his will stipulated that the family members had to vote.25

Local communities Patricians monopolized political authority, and voting was closely associated with this privilege. Nevertheless, they did not have a monopoly in voting. One should not conflate political power and political practice. Ordinary people had opinions, debated about political events and also took part in many institutions, where they had many opportunities to vote.There were several local communities in the lagoon who had their own institutions represented by the figure of the rector or podestà, even though they were still subjected to the authority of Venice. Torcello, Burano, Malamocco and Murano were among these small islands, populated by workers, fishermen and peasants, who formed organized communities.26 The example of Murano is an interesting one: it had a population of approximately five thousand inhabitants at the end of the Middle Ages, men and women involved in different activities, artisans, glassworkers, servants, fishermen and peasants.27 The island obtained its own statutes at the end of the thirteenth century, a set of rules which defined the community’s laws and local institutions in charge of its governing and which was reshaped in 1502.28 The general assembly, the Arengo, gradually gave way to a restrictive Council of Thirty, called by the statutes ‘the thing most necessary to the needs’ of the island.29 The assembly’s members debated, voted on and passed laws submitted by the podestà. In order to smooth decision-making, five magistrates (two judges, two economic magistrates and a chamberlain) were

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elected from within the Thirty to form a banco, a subcommittee to assist the podestà in matters of greatest weight. There were also, in the island, other magistrates and subcommittees as the procurators of the churches (procuradori dele ghiesie) or the deputies for the needs of the town (procuradori per li bisogni della Terra); there were also officials who had to help them govern (a chancellor, a public crier and a cavalier, that is a policeman). All of them were appointed by the podestà or elected by the members of the Thirty. The statutes clearly described the way elections had to be organized. They appear as varied and complex as those of Venice. The procedure to renew the Council of Thirty, for example, was the object of the second chapters of the statutes. It happened every five years, and aimed at ensuring that the island’s leading families had fair representation. The podestà had to convoke the current council, with a quorum of at least two thirds of its members. The podestà and the five members of the banco had to name ‘fifty among the best citizens of the island’ (ten by the podestà, eight for each other). The chancellor had to write down their names on a sheet of paper, before reading them aloud to the council, explaining that they would have had to choose the ‘best, and more competent, and more loyal to the land (terra)’. Then he had to prepare fifty small pieces of paper (bollettini), and put them in a box. The podestà drew them one by one, and for each name a vote occurred, yes or no, while the chancellor wrote down secretly the result on another sheet of paper, under the supervision of the podestà. The box had to be placed on the table of the tribunal, and covered; beside it were the thirty ballots (or the number of voters that day); each voter came, took a ballot and placed it within one of the compartments, ‘yes’ or ‘no’, being careful to pass his hand above each compartment in order to keep secret his vote. Everyone was held to vote ‘according to his conscience’ and family members could not nominate or vote for one another. They even had to leave the room when the vote for a member of their family occurred. Finally, it was clearly stipulated that the vote count for each name had to remain secret; just the result was announced. The thirty candidates with the most votes were elected. From the end of the fifteenth century, one had to be a citizen of Murano (cittadino di Murano) to be able to join the Council of Thirty. This personal status started as a social recognition of the superiority of certain inhabitants, because of their wealth and worthiness. It was legally recognized during the sixteenth century and was stabilized in 1602 with the establishment of a Golden Book. But the citizenship of Murano was different from that of Venice, which was reserved to men who did not work with their hands. In Murano, on the contrary, the citizenship included glassworkers and artisans, as did the medieval Muranese institutions, which were always in the hands of nonnobles. It is revealing that in Murano, as in other local communities of the lagoon, councils, assemblies, offices and magistracies were also controlled by commoners, who decided collectively on the fate of their territory, and voted on a regular basis, as the documents they produced show.

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Parishioners Another local institution where voting and elections were used was the parish. In late medieval Venice, local priests could be chosen by parishioners. This practice appeared in the twelfth century, when the neighbors (convicini) of San Matteo di Rialto asked for the right to choose their priest.30 It was only at the beginning of the fifteenth century that the phenomenon seems to have emerged again. The ius electionis appeared in 1436 and became a general practice in Venice from the 1470s. In general, the vote was reserved to a major pars, that is the richer patricians and citizens, who represented a small part of the inhabitants of the parish. The vote could be declared aloud, or ‘a bossoli e ballotte’, or ‘per balotas’, with bulletins. Before voting, many debates took place within parishes.31 Inhabitants discussed who could vote: owners of estates or simple inhabitants, ‘honest men’ or anyone, illegitimate sons or only legitimate ones, only men or also women? From one parish to another, the content of these debates shows an interest in discussing what gave people the legitimacy to vote and what it meant to be part of the community. In the vast majority of cases, patricians managed to exclude other inhabitants, even though a trial organized in Murano in 1508 after a chaotic election in the Church of Santi Maria e Donato shows that ordinary people and simple workers regularly took part in these elections.32 But even if baser inhabitants were generally excluded, the fact that the debate took place shows the possibility of collective discussions about what it meant to belong to the parish. Deciding who could vote and who could not was a way to delineate the political and civic community. The final resolution was taken in February 1526, when Pope Clement VII enacted the ‘Clemetine Bull’ recognizing the Venetians’ right to elect their parish priests and fixing the procedures for such elections.33 The parish was one of the most important local institutions for ordinary people, one of the most inclusive and one of the closest and most intimate. It defined a space, a community of inhabitants, a shared interest and an identity. But other organizations and institutions also played a decisive role in the social life of inhabitants, which were based as well on the principles of shared decision, collegiality and solidarity.

Guilds and confraternities Guilds and lay confraternities were among the most important social organizations in late medieval Venice, as they were in many other cities.34 They were regulated by statutes, called mariegole in Venetian (from matricola, rule) and produced an abundant documentation composed mainly of rules, deliberations, accounts and trials. References to voting are constant in these documents: to elect new members and representatives or simply to take decision in order to regulate the institution’s activities. Some institutions accepted women’s votes but others refused them; some reserved the vote to the most important members, that is masters, while others were more

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inclusive. The general chapter (capitolo generale) gathered the members (or some of the members, depending on each institution). In general, the chapter had to assemble twice a year, in the albergo, a common room often adjacent to a church. Most of the time, that is where and when elections took place.The different mariegole shared some common electoral rules, which often combined vote and drawing lots, but each of them gradually settled on its own specific layout.35 Some professional guilds were more open than others, allowing sons of members to become automatically members themselves. Others reserved the right to vote on new members to current ones. Such was the case of the boatmen’s guild of the ferry of San Pietro di Chioggia, which accepted applications from candidates who were competent, had experience and owned a boat of good quality and fitted out.36 Candidates had to be approved ‘a bossoli e ballote’ by the other members. In the wool guild (arte della lana), at the beginning of the sixteenth century, in front of the high number of foreign candidates, it was decided that the chiefs of the guild had to vote to accept them.37 Guilds were headed by chiefs, representatives and judges, the precise number and name of which changed from one institution to another (gastaldi, degani, etc.). Their election could be organized by the general chapter or reserved to a smaller group of masters, combining votes and drawing lots, and often organized the day of the patron saint. There were usually two steps to voting: the first to designate the electoral committee, the second for the election itself. These chiefs or representatives were in charge of the association and, as such, were the ones in contact with patricians and institutions. Their mission made it necessary that the best officers should be elected and in a fair way. The election, once again, was supposed to guarantee that the choice of the majority would be respected, and they would be allowed to choose the candidates most able to defend the institution’s common interest. But these missions of representation were also considered difficult, and they were not always particularly sought after: they involved time and money, and the responsibility they gave could become a problem in a difficult political or economic time. So the election could also aim at obliging someone to take responsibility. The mariegole made it quite difficult to refuse an election – for example, in the bakers’ guild, ‘if somebody has been elected gastaldo, he cannot decline’.38 Electoral procedures evolved over time and changed from one association to another. For example, from the end of the thirteenth century, in the glassmakers’ guild, the departing gastaldo had to choose twenty men among whom five were drawn by lot, and these five were to elect the new gastaldo. In the caulkers’ guild, nine electors were drawn by lot among members over 25 years of age and having resided in Venice for at least ten years. Those nine elected the guild’s representatives.39 In the bakers’ guild, the election took place at the beginning of each year. The incumbent steering committee had to designate five of the ‘best men’, three from the side of Rialto and two from the side of San Marco, and these had to vote.40 In 1536, the Savi alle Acque in charge of the water of the lagoon decided to gather

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the representatives of fishermen, to solicit their opinion concerning certain decisions related to the management of the lagoon.41 The vote had to be organized in different places and communities, San Nicolo and Sant’Agnese in Venice, but also the islands of Murano and Burano. In each community, fishermen had to choose ‘two of the oldest fishermen, sensible and practiced or former fishermen’. They were elected for two years to give their ‘opinion’ to the Savi alle Acque. To be able to vote, fishermen had to be at least 40 years old and had to take the oath that they would choose the best of their number. In lay confraternities as well, scuole grandi and scuole piccole, members had to vote regularly.42 In the Scuola di Sant’Orsola, in the fifteenth century, the general chapter gathered on the second Sunday of December to vote for their representatives (gastaldo, vicario and ten degani) who would start their mission on the 1 January; they then met again on the second Sunday of June to elect their officials (one secretary and two degani) who started their functions the first of July.43 Finally, besides in their elections, members of guilds and confraternities voted to take decisions. Once again, every institution set its own rules, though within a common framework. Sometimes, gastaldi and other representatives were the only ones who could decide through vote, sometimes it was the whole chapter, sometimes the better part of it. In July 1397, the chapter of the furriers (varoteri) gathered in San Giovanni di Rialto, and thirty-one members (gastaldo and compagni) voted.44 In 1554, the Cinque Savi – the patrician institution in charge of the regulation of arti – decided that the gastaldo and other representatives of the shoemakers (calegheri) had to take their decision in front of the chapter, in order to give everyone the opportunity to debate and then vote.45 Many mariegole insisted on the necessity for members to give their opinion before any vote happened.46

Conclusion As these different examples show, voting was part of a common Venetian political culture, shared by patricians and popolani. As soon as a group of persons had to take a collective decision after a debate, voting was the easiest way to decide between divergent points of view. It suited Venetian ideology and the Republic’s political ideals. It was also an efficient procedure, as its diffusion and durability in the traditions of the lagoon attest. The ubiquity of voting allowed the inhabitants to defend an idea of the common good, which obviously differed from one institution or one social group to another. But the same rhetoric and the same horizon of expectation were shared. As a sign of politicization, voting can also be considered as an indicator of the way ordinary people could act and talk about politics. Even if deprived of power and excluded from the main institutions, they had a political share in communities or associations, which were sometimes rather more important for them, because they directly concerned their everyday life.Voting within these institutions was a proof of political capacity, not necessarily linked to power, but evidence of collective agency.

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Notes 1 Joachim du Bellay, Les Regrets, 1558, sonnet CXXXIII. 2 Angelo Ventura, “Scrittori politici e scritture di governo”, in Storia della cultura veneta, vol. III, eds. Girolamo Arnaldi and Manlio Pastore Stocchi (Vicenza: Neri Pozza editore, 1981), 513–563. About the myth and anti-myth, Robert Finlay, Politics in Renaissance Venice (London: Benn, 1980), esp. 27–37; Edward Muir, Civic Ritual in Renaissance Venice (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1981), 44–55. 3 Andrea Zannini, “L’impiego pubblico”, in Storia di Venezia: Dalle origini alla caduta della Serenissima, vol. IV, Il Rinascimento: Politica e cultura, eds. Alberto Tenenti and Ugo Tucci (Rome: Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana, 1996), 415–463; 461–2: in 1493, there were 514 offices in Venice (uffici di città); 138 offices in the maritime empire (uffici di fuori in Stato da mar) and 113 offices in the territorial state (uffici di fuori in the Stato da terra). 4 For a recent synthesis of the question about the practice in Europe, see Olivier Christin, Vox populi: Une histoire du vote avant le suffrage universel (Paris: Seuil, 2014). 5 About the social organization in Venice, see Brian Pullan, “ ‘Three Orders of Inhabitants’: Social Hierarchies in the Republic of Venice”, in Orders and Hierarchies in Late Medieval and Renaissance Europe, ed. Jeffrey Denton (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 1999), 147–168. 6 Filippo de Vivo, Information and Communication in Venice: Rethinking Early Modern Politics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007); Claire Judde de Larivière, La révolte des boules de neige. Murano face à Venise, 1511 (Paris: Fayard, 2014). 7 Finlay, Politics, 39. 8 Stanley Chojnacki, “La formazione della nobiltà dopo la Serrata”, in Storia di Venezia: Dalle origini alla caduta della Serenissima, vol. III, La formazione dello stato patrizio, eds. Girolamo Arnaldi, Giorgio Cracco and Alberto Tenenti (Rome: Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana, 1997), 641–725; Gerhard Rösch, “The Serrata of the Great Council and Venetian Society, 1286–1323”, in Venice Reconsidered: The History and Civilization of an Italian City-State, 1297–1797, eds. John Martin and Dennis Romano (Baltimore, London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000), 67–88;Victor Crescenzi, Esse de maiori consilio: legittimità civile e legittimazione politica nella repubblica di Venezia: (secc. XIII-XVI) (Rome: Istituto Palazzo Borromini, 1996). 9 There is abundant secondary literature about political institutions and elections in Venice. This chapter is mainly based on Giuseppe Maranini, La costituzione di Venezia, vols. I–II (Venice, 1927), especially vol. II, 106–129; Andrea Da Mosto, L’Archivio di Stato di Venezia, indice generale, storico, descrittivo ed analitico (Rome: Biblioteca d’Arte, 1937); Frederic C. Lane, Venice. A Maritime Republic (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1973), especially 87–117 and 251–273; Mario Caravale, “Le istituzioni della Repubblica”, in Storia di Venezia: Dalle origini alla caduta della Serenissima, vol. III, 299–364, esp., 326–356; Giuseppe Gullino, “L’evoluzione costituzionale”, in Storia di Venezia. Dalle origini alla caduta della Serenissima, vol. IV, 345–378; A. Zannini, “L’impiego pubblico”, in Ibid. About procedures, see the descriptions in Marin Sanudo, De origine, situ et magistratibus urbis venetae ovvero la citta di Venetia (1493–1530) (Milan: Cisalpino-La Goliardica, 1980), 240 sq. 10 For a general framework, see Gino Benzoni ed., I dogi (Milan: Electa, 1982). More recently, about the electoral procedure and its effectiveness, Miranda Mowbray, Dieter Gollmann, “Electing the Doge of Venice: Analysis of a 13th Century Protocol”, HPL2007–28 R1, 2007,, accessed on 23 May 2017; Claire Judde de Larivière, “Ducal Elections, Institutional Usages, and Popular Practices: Drawing Lots in the Venetian Republic”, in Allotment and Democratie: Practices, Instruments, Rheories, eds. Liliane Lopez-Rabatel,Yves Sintomer (Exeter: Imprint Academic, forthcoming 2018). 11 The jurisdiction of each assembly, the electoral procedure and the functions of the different institutions constantly evolved and adapted to circumstances. What follows is a general presentation that should be refined for details.

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12 Finlay, Politics, 21. 13 Ibid., 60; Lane, Venice, 258–260. For the list of offices elected in the Senate, see Da Mosto, L’Archivio di Stato, 37–38. 14 Marino Sanudo, Cronachetta (1493) (Venice: M. Visentini, 1880), 233, translated and quoted by Finlay, Politics, 59. The list of the magistracies elected in the Great Council is in Da Mosto, L’Archivio di Stato, 31–33. The description of the procedure is in Lane, Venice, 258–265. 15 Zannini, “L’impiego”, 432. 16 Reinhold C. Mueller, “Nel segreto dell’urna: La riforma della procedura elettorale adottata nel 1492 dal Consiglio dei dieci di Venezia”, Quaderni Veneti, 2/1–2 (2013): 219–228. 17 Andrea Zannini, Burocrazia e burocrati a Venezia in età moderna: i cittadini originari (sec. XVIXVIII) (Venice: Istituto veneto di scienze, lettere ed arti, 1993); Filippo de Vivo, “Coeur de l’Etat, lieu de tension: Le tournant archivistique vu de Venise (XVe-XVIIe siècle)”, Annales: Histoire, Sciences Sociales, 68 (2013): 699–728. 18 Frederic C. Lane, “The Crossbow in the Nautical Revolution of the Middle Ages”, Explorations in Economic History, 7/1–2 (1969): 161–171. 19 Zannini, “L’impiego”, 444. 20 Da Mosto, L’Archivio di Stato, 177; Gullino, “L’evoluzione”, 377, note 232. 21 Donald E. Queller, The Venetian Patriciate, Reality Versus Myth (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1986); Finlay, Politics, 27–28; 196–226. 22 See in particular, for a later period, Dorit Raines, “Office Seeking, Broglio, and the Pocket Political Guidebooks in Cinquecento and Seicento Venice”, Studi Veneziani, 22 (1991): 137–194; de Vivo, Information and Communication, 25–45; Claire Judde de Larivière, “Du Broglio à Rialto: cris et chuchotements dans l’espace public à Venise, au XVIe siècle”, in L’espace public au Moyen Âge, eds. Patrick Boucheron and Nicolas Offenstadt (Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 2011), 119–130. 23 Guido Ruggiero, Violence in Early Renaissance Venice (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1980), 18–39. 24 See, for example, Judde de Larivière, La révolte, 266–267. 25 Sanudo, I Diarii, vol. LVIII, col. 50–51, 17th April 1533. 26 Ermanno Orlando, Altre Venezie. Il dogado veneziano nei secoli XIII e XIV (giurisdizione, territorio, giustizia e amministrazione) (Venice: Istituto Veneto di Scienze Lettere ed Arti, 2008). 27 Judde de Larivière, La révolte. 28 “Statuto de Muran del 1502”, in Statuti della laguna veneta dei secoli xiv-xvi, eds. Gherardo Ortalli, Monica Pasqualetto and Alessandra Rizzi (Rome: Jouvence, 1989), 209–287. 29 Ibid., book I, chap. 2, 238–240. 30 About this question, see Pascal Vuillemin, Parochiæ venetiarum: Les paroisses de Venise au Moyen Âge (Paris: Garnier, 2017), 139 et suiv.; here p. 142. 31 Numerous examples of these debates can be found in Giovanni Battista Gallicciolli, Delle memorie venete antiche profane ed ecclesiastiche, vol. IV (Venice: Domenico Fracasso, 1795), 256–308. 32 Judde de Larivière, La révolte, 234–244. 33 Vuillemin, Parochiæ venetiarum, 154. 34 Giovanni Monticolo, I capitolari delle arti veneziane sottoposte alla giustizia e poi alla Giustizia vecchia dalle origini al MCCCXXX (Rome: Forzani, 1905); Richard Mackenney, Tradesmen and Traders: The World of the Guilds in Venice in Europe, c. 1250-c.1650 (London, Sydney: Croom Helm 1987), especially 21–28; Francesca Ortalli, Per salute delle anime e delli corpi: scuole piccole a Venezia nel tardo Medioevo (Venice: Marsilio, 2001); Patricia Fortini Brown, “Le Scuole”, in Storia di Venezia. Dalle origini alla caduta della Serenissima, vol. V, Il Rinascimento: Società ed economia, eds. Alberto Tenenti and Ugo Tucci (Rome: Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana, 1996), 307–354. 35 Giorgetta Bonfiglio Dosio, “Le arti cittadine”, in Storia di Venezia: Dalle origini alla caduta della Serenissima, vol. II, L’età del comune, eds. Giorgio Cracco and Gherardo Ortalli (Rome: Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana, 1995), 577–625, especially 599–601.

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3 6 Biblioteca del Museo Correr, Mariegole, 61, fol. 12, chapter 4. 37 Andrea Mozzato ed., La Mariegola dell’arte della lana di Venezia (1244–1595), vol. II (Venice: Il Comitato editore, 2002), 421–422, chapter 729. 38 State Archive of Venice, Arti, 446, Pistori, fol. 4, chapter 27. 39 Bonfiglio Dosio, “Le arti cittadine”, 599. 40 State Archive of Venice, Arti, 446, Pistori, fol. 2v°, chapter 13. 41 State Archive of Venice, Podestà di Murano, 187. 42 Ortalli, Per salute delle anime, 18–36; Fortini Brown, “Le Scuole”, 324–330. 43 Fortini Brown, “Le Scuole”, 351, note 78. 44 Monticolo, I capitolari delle arti veneziane, vol. III, 405, 27 July 1397, chapter 96. 45 State Archive of Venice, Arti, 27, Calegheri, fol. 11, 15 October 1554. 46 For example, State Archive of Venice, Arti, 446, Pistori, fol. 43v°, chapter 141.

16 THE CITIZENS AND THE KING Voting and electoral procedures in southern Italian towns under the Aragonese Pierluigi Terenzi

In the late medieval Kingdom of Naples, urban institutions were a traditional field of dialogue between monarchy and towns. During the second half of the fifteenth century, under the Aragonese (1442–1501), interest in procedural aspects grew rapidly, in connection with the need of renewed institutional structures. The reign of King Ferrante I (1458–1494), when at least twenty-five reforms were realized in twenty-one towns between 1466 and 1493 (see Table 16.1), was particularly important. The reforms, whether demanded by the community or decided by the king, were always the result of negotiation – the key concept that characterizes recent research on southern Italian urban history.1 Scholars have, in fact, abandoned the traditional point of view that considered cities as having necessarily been oppressed by the monarchy ever since the advent of the Normans or the Staufen. Instead they now propose new interpretations, which are more in line with European historiography on other monarchical states.2 This reconsideration has yet to be done for urban institutions, the history of which was only sketched out perfunctorily in some late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century works.3 This chapter is therefore the first attempt to reconsider those institutions through the prism of negotiation, focusing its attention on voting and electoral procedures. Although such procedures were already used or known in some communities, their diffusion was, in fact, the most innovative aspect of the reforms, which makes them important in any analysis of political developments in southern Italy during the late Middle Ages. Furthermore, procedures and institutions provide materials for putting the Kingdom of Naples into comparative perspective with other European monarchies. The main questions are three: how did procedures affect local political life and relations with the Crown; why and how did they become crucial under the Aragonese; and which actors and political cultures lay behind them? These issues are obviously connected to the reforms in

TABLE 16.1  Institutional reforms under the Aragonese, 1466–93*







Feb. 4 Aug. 15 Sept. 2 Nov. 22 Jan. 14 Jan. 19 Aug. 9 Dec. 18

Apulia Apulia Abruzzi Calabria Calabria Calabria Apulia Calabria

Loffredo 1893, 363–380 Cioffari-Schiralli 1995, 241–246 Faraglia 1888, 365–368 Privilegi Cosenza 1577, 24v–72v Zeno 1912, Appendix II Faraglia 1883, 135–143 Loffredo 1893, 381–414 Spanò Bolani 1857, 238–246

Feb. 17 ante Aug. 6

Barletta Trani Sulmona Cosenza Stilo Catanzaro Barletta (2) Reggio Calabria Molfetta Giovinazzo

Apulia Apulia

Dec. 22 Aug. Sept. 24 Oct. 1 Sept. 5 Oct. 1 Oct. 1 Oct. 1 Oct. 1 Oct. 1 Oct. 16 Oct. 16 Mar. 18 Aug. 23 Feb. 15

Cosenza (2) L’Aquila Lecce Aversa Sorrento Barletta (3) Manfredonia Sansevero Taranto Ariano Salerno Sanseverino Atri Rutigliano Rutigliano (2)

Calabria Abruzzi Apulia Campania Campania Apulia Apulia Apulia Apulia Campania Campania Campania Abruzzi Apulia Apulia

Libro rosso Molfetta, 231r–245v Volpicella 1880, 710–711 (mention) Privilegi Cosenza 1577, 42r–44v Terenzi 2010, 216–266 Palumbo 1997, I, 246–250 Trinchera 1874, 1–13 Trinchera 1874, 65–74 Trinchera 1874, 113–132 Trinchera 1874, 148–164 Trinchera 1874, 95–113 Trinchera 1874, 135–147 Stanco 2012, 478–491 Trinchera 1874, 190–209 Trinchera 1874, 166–184 Trinchera 1874, 228–245 Trinchera 1874, 294–297 Trinchera 1874, 359–366

1472 1473

1474 1475

1476 1479 1490 1491

1492 1493

* Cioffari-Schiralli 1995 = Gerardo Cioffari and Mario Schiralli, eds., Il libro rosso della università di Trani (Bari: Centro studi nicolaiani, 1995); Faraglia 1883 = Nunzio Federigo Faraglia, Il comune nell’Italia meridionale (1100–1806) (Naples: tip. della Regia Università, 1883); Faraglia 1888 = Nunzio Federigo Faraglia, ed., Codice diplomatico sulmonese (Lanciano: Carabba, 1888); Libro rosso Molfetta = Libro rosso della città di Molfetta, Biblioteca del seminario vescovile, Molfetta (BA), digital photographic reproduction available online at (March 2016); Loffredo 1893 = Sabino Loffredo, Storia della città di Barletta con corredo di documenti (Trani:Vecchi, 1893); Palumbo 1997 = Pier Fausto Palumbo, ed., Libro rosso di Lecce (Fasano: Schena, 1997), 2 vols; Privilegi Cosenza 1577 = Privilegii et capitoli della città de Cosenza et soi casali [. . .] (Neapoli: apud Mactiam Cancrum, 1557); Spanò Bolani 1857 = Domenico Spanò Bolani, Storia di Reggio di Calabria da’ tempi primitivi sino all’anno di Cristo 1797, vol. 1 (Naples: Fibreno, 1857); Stanco 2012 = Gianfranco Stanco, Gli statuti di Ariano. Diritto municipale e identità urbana tra Campania e Puglia (Ariano Irpino: Centro europeo di studi normanni, 2012); Terenzi 2010 = Pierluigi Terenzi, “ ‘Per libera populi suffragia’: I capitoli della riforma istituzionale de L’Aquila del 1476: una nuova edizione”, Annali dell’Istituto italiano per gli studi storici, 25 (2010): 183–266; Trinchera 1874 = Francesco Trinchera, ed., Codice Aragonese [. . .], vol. III (Naples: Cataneo, 1874); Volpicella 1880 = Luigi Volpicella, “Gli statuti per il governo municipale delle città di Bitonto e Giovenazzo”, Archivio storico per le province napoletane, 5 (1880): 699–725; Zeno 1912 = Riniero Zeno, L’ordinamento amministrativo dei municipi calabresi nel sec. XV e XVI: Contributo alla storia del diritto pubblico (Milan: Società Editrice Libraria, 1912).

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general: their reasons, aims, promoters, and outcomes will be taken into account insofar as they are useful for our purposes. The starting point for our discussion is a synthetic explanation of the features of southern Italian towns during the late Middle Ages, which provides a frame of reference for the subsequent analysis. The examination here focuses on the case of L’Aquila, a densely populated and rich city of the north of the kingdom, whose sources offer many opportunities. The political and institutional practices that should have been affected by the reform of 1476 are quite similar to those of other towns, which permits us to develop a general discussion, in spite of other differences. As a first step, we will examine political life in L’Aquila before the reform, to point out the features and importance of voting and electoral procedures in the local dynamics before their transformation. Then we will analyze the reform, in conjunction with similar reforms realized in other regions of the kingdom, so as to attain a holistic point of view. Our analysis stresses the importance of procedures among the other aspects of the reforms, which will lead us to a general conclusion about royal and urban policies, relations, and institutional cultures.

Southern Italian towns The late medieval urban network of the Kingdom of Naples consisted of a large capital (Naples), a small number of larger cities (medium sized, if compared to northern Italy), and a myriad of small centers (under five thousand inhabitants).4 What distinguished the most important cities was the complexity of their sociopolitical and institutional structures, as well as the political strength they enjoyed vis-à-vis the Crown to negotiate immunities and privileges. Independently from their size, towns could be of two juridical types: demaniali, which depended directly on the king, or feudali, which submitted to a feudal lord. The difference lay in the authority to whom citizens had to pay taxes and for whom they carried out various services, as well as in whose courts they were judged in the first instance.While demaniali towns dealt only with local and regional royal officers in all the fields of public administration, the feudali ones were subject to a lord exercising the merum et mixtum imperium over a territory through its representatives, which made it more difficult for them to obtain immunities and privileges and to implement royal law. Therefore, being demaniale was considered the better condition, since that status made it easier to negotiate with the king, whose position ‘obliged’ him to operate in favor of his subjects. However, the sovereign could change a town’s status for strategic and geopolitical reasons, for example, to strengthen a community or a lord’s loyalty. The status’s antiquity or the nature of the authority who had given it hardly affected the king’s decisions, but the bargaining power of the community or the lord could influence it considerably. In this chapter we will focus only on demaniali towns, for which sources on procedures are rich enough to build up a discussion, and also because the repercussions of the triangulation town-lord-king on institutions need their own specific study.

260  Practices, institutions, procedures

The monarchy exercised its authority in demaniali towns through a captain, in office for six months or one year.The captain’s main tasks were to administer criminal and high civil justice, to preserve public order, and to guarantee the collection of royal taxes. Furthermore, captains often monitored the urban councils’ activities and took part in some elections; between the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, however, they lost these powers in many towns. During the late Angevin period the most important cities succeeded in obtaining greater autonomy in public administration, so that the captain became more akin to a public officer than to a royal representative.5 As for institutions, more complex administrative structures developed in some of the major towns during the fourteenth century, while other cities reached the same level of complexity during the fifteenth. This process concerned above all the councils’ structure and composition, which shared some common features despite the very heterogeneous overall landscape. In many towns two restricted councils emerged at some point with the aim of speeding up decision-making, including a government (often composed by six members) and an intermediate council, which acquired most of the urban parliament’s deliberative power. In most cases, councils and offices were subdivided into two institutional groups, composed of the representatives of the nobiles and populares. The two groups, whose social composition varied from town to town, were represented in different proportions on a case-bycase basis, but in general the populares obtained a greater number of representatives during the fifteenth century. Other social or topographical criteria could also be used in the councils’ composition.6 Usually the councils’ structure was set up by the communities themselves and confirmed by the monarchy, at least before the reforms of the Aragonese period (1443–1494). In conclusion, it must be remembered that towns never united to reach a common goal and had no fixed representation in the kingdom’s parliaments, which were different from those of other European regions. In Naples, parliaments had an advisory function, their meetings providing occasions to communicate important royal decisions, or else assumed a symbolic dimension as places where oaths of obedience were taken. Consequently, parliaments did not produce any mutual obligation between the king and the subjects, whose relations continued to be negotiated both before and after parliamentary meetings.7

L’Aquila: institutions, elections, and voting before 1476 L’Aquila was founded in the mid-thirteenth century, as a result of the aggregation of people who lived in around seventy villages in the Aterno Valley. At the beginning of the following century, thanks to the wool trade, it was already an economic power and was well integrated in the Italian commercial system.8 The birth of stable institutions took place later, after the death of Lalle Camponeschi, a noble and faction leader who had ruled the city from the 1340s.9 The new system was approved by the monarchy, and at the beginning of 1355 the so-called Reggimento ad Arti came into effect. Three councils shared power: the Parliament, the Guilds’ Council,

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and the Camera aquilana. The second one was composed of eighty people – sixteen per guild and twenty per quarter – in office for six months; its authority is not stated, nor can it be inferred from the city statutes (which date from the second half of the fourteenth century). The Camera was the city government, in office for two months and composed of six members, the Camerlengo and Quinque artium, who represented five groups of guilds or professional collegia.10 The role thus played by corporations in the political institutions of L’Aquila, though typical of northern and central Italian communes, was unique in the Kingdom of Naples. The representative system combined social and topographical criteria, because quarters were as essential as the guilds in the councils’ composition.11 The councils’ structure changed between the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. In the first register of assembly records of 1467–1469 (Liber reformationum I), the Guilds’ Council was replaced by a new intermediate council, the cerna, whose composition varied and whose election procedures are unclear. It was composed of some tens of people, ranging from twenty-four to seventy-seven in the only three lists of participants available. As a point of reference, some of the most important parliaments of the period counted approximately one hundred members, from a total of about eight thousand citizens. The cerna was summoned by the Camera to discuss and take decisions about every matter, while the Parliament was only involved in the more important ones, and also to announce the new magistrates and officers elected.12 As for the procedures, before the reform of 1476, assembly records or other documents reveal no traces of formal acts of voting or electing; they only record their results (decisions and choices of magistrates). For instance, in the first Liber reformationum most of the parliamentary sessions of 1467–1469 consist of mere lists of the elected, starting with the government.13 Since no information about electoral boards and procedures is provided, we can only suppose that the new Camera and other offices (notaries, treasurers, statutes supervisors, etc.) were chosen by the outgoing government and the cerna. The members of the latter are never even listed, since this council had no fixed composition and was ‘created’ each time by the Camera in office, without any inferable social or topographical criterion, or a list of qualified citizens.14 The transformation of the Guilds’ Council into the cerna entailed the loss of the electoral procedures prescribed in the statutes, which, as in many European towns, were characterized by two stages: the election of an electoral board and the election of magistrates.15 It must be underlined that, although the monarchy approved the system, the role played by superior or external authorities in elections was limited, even if it concerned the important Quinque council. The royal captain, in fact, had to choose the new government among a group of twenty people (four per guild, five per quarter), previously selected by the Guilds’ Council and the outgoing Quinque.16 The lack of sources does not permit us to understand whether these rules were applied or not, nor how and when the community adopted the informal system which appears in registers from the second half of the fifteenth century. Analysis of

262  Practices, institutions, procedures

the assembly records reveals that the councils’ composition was the result of political and social ties between the members of the urban elite, who ensured their own participation in the various institutional positions. Significantly, most deliberations prescribed that decisions should be implemented by an ad hoc commission, to be elected by the Camera without any explicit rule or procedure. As for the cerna, the choice of its members by the Camera depended on the matter discussed and on ‘convenience’. The largest cerne were summoned to debate the most important subjects, such as military requests from the Crown or management of taxes, while a Parliament was gathered in case of disagreement or hesitation. Nevertheless, a small group of citizens was always summoned to be part of the cerna, and their opinion was clearly more influential than that of others. This institutional elite of about thirty men was mainly composed by merchants (fifty percent), followed by legum doctores (doctors of law). This group steadily held power during the last decades of the fifteenth century, also managing the participation of other citizens in these institutions. From a quantitative point of view, participation in L’Aquila was quite ample, but the elite members usually selected their clientes to be part of a cerna or to receive an office. In this way, patrons strengthened their political weight and clients obtained at least some remunerative office, as it happened in many European cities.17 The centrality of political ties also concerned voting. Before 1476, decisionmaking followed three steps: the government proposed matters and some possible decisions (propositio), the councillors of the cerna expressed their opinions (sententie), and the two councils took the decision (reformatio).18 No formal expression of votes was recorded, since the chancellor merely wrote what the assembly had decided (Reformatum fuit quod). Probably councillors reached an agreement after having declared their opinions, through a further informal discussion which was not recorded – perhaps because it was considered ‘unofficial’. Nevertheless, in fourteen of the forty cerne reports from 1467–1469, the chancellor specified that the decision was made unanimously. The specification occurs when the matter concerned the city’s privileges and immunities or when it was about relations with the Crown or other powers, such as the pope. Highlighting unanimity was then a way to express the solidarity of the urban political body against external powers. This does not necessarily mean that unanimity was actually reached, nor that in those cases an actual formal vote was expressed.19 This kind of decision-making reflects a weak culture of voting – in the sense of formal acts that follow specific procedures – which is already traceable in the city statutes. Voting was prescribed there only to approve certain kinds of expenses, by secret ballot (ad bussulas et palluctas), or exceptionally by open vote (de sedendo ad levando).20 For other matters the general principle was that councillors were obliged to vote only if they did not reach agreement. The creation of a new institutional structure in 1354, after a decade of unregulated personal power, did not include widespread use of voting procedures. Despite the evident influence of communal models in the guild-based structure, detailed voting rules, a typical aspect of the institutional life in communal Italy, did not seep through the kingdom’s

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boundaries.21 Perhaps a detailed regulation of voting for all institutional processes was considered unnecessary, from the perspective of a harmonious administration ruled by the guilds and given the capacity for regulating conflicts conferred on the royal captain. Between the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, as an elite of citizens emerged, the political side of the captain’s power was limited. At the end of this process the deregulation of voting followed the concentration of power in the hands of the elites, who could control how nonelite members expressed their opinions, or at least considerably influence their stances.22 This is evident in some larger cerne, when noneminent citizens simply declared their agreement with the eminent ones. In these cases a combination of factors operated in the dual direction of consolidating the elites’ legitimation and of giving strength and solidity to decisions, through the temporary extension of political participation to a wider number of citizens, even if the expression of their opinion was conditioned.23 Then, concerning voting, the absence of secrecy is not surprising, because the secret ballot would have prevented the elites from exercising their power fully. A weak culture of voting cannot be considered as typical of the kingdom’s towns, since we know that Atri – a city, like L’Aquila, located in the kingdom’s north – used different kinds of voting methods between 1350 and 1362: per voces, ad sedendum et levandum, per bussulas et palloctas, and so forth.24 The influence of communal culture there is certain, since the pope had recognized Atri as an actual commune in the mid-thirteenth century, in the context of the struggle against the Staufen. Some elements of that culture survived in institutions and the political language of the following century, despite the Angevin domination, which returned Atri to the condition of an ordinary demaniale city. It is hard to understand how exceptional the opposite cases of L’Aquila and Atri were, but it is clear that, before the fifteenth-century reforms, there was no uniform system in voting across towns, and that each one developed its own means of decision-making. Another key element shaped political ties in L’Aquila: factions. Until the middle of the 1480s, the pars Camponesca occupied the scene completely, in harmony with the institutional elite. Part of this faction was also actively involved in political and military actions against its opponents, various weak groups of exiles.25 The urban and factional leader, Count Pietro Lalle Camponeschi, sometimes participated in the councils and often also in the commissions created to apply the councils’ decisions or for electing officers. The Camponeschi faction always participated in political processes in one way or another, even if the consensus enjoyed by its leader made a permanent presence in the councils unnecessary.This power obviously conditioned institutional activity, but it seems that a degree of dissent could be expressed, even if only about how to apply decisions rather than decisions themselves. Pietro Lalle’s opinion was considered necessary in important matters, which (again) concerned the relations with the monarchy and other external subjects.26 Regarding this, and as an important aspect for the analysis of the 1476 reform, we should remember that Pietro Lalle was simultaneously the leader of the Angevin party in the north of the kingdom. In 1460 he had organized the revolt against

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King Ferrante and was appointed as viceroy of Abruzzi by the Angevin pretender, until the pacification of 1463 and the return of L’Aquila to obedience in 1464. Despite the constant threat represented by Pietro Lalle’s power, and his adherence to the Angevin party – which concerned the elite, too – it was only in 1476 that Ferrante decided to intervene in the internal affairs of L’Aquila. He chose a diplomatic way to do so.

Towns and monarchy in dialogue: the spread of procedures under the Aragonese In May 1476 Ferrante appointed the skilled diplomat Antonio Cicinello as plenipotentiary lieutenant in L’Aquila, giving him three tasks: to restore public justice and order, to guarantee the collection of royal taxes, and to reform local institutions. In his letter of designation, the king insisted on the first two aspects, and remained rather vague about the third. The king’s main aim was to limit some practices that bypassed royal law: criminals who escaped trials, and taxes which were paid irregularly or not in full.27 As Ferrante would declare in 1485, Camponeschi had been the chief figure responsible for that situation. Despite that, Cicinello carried out his tasks by combining diplomacy with an iron fist, since he negotiated with Pietro Lalle and the elite, while at the same time exiling criminals regardless of their political affinities.28 Negotiation also characterized the institutional reform that Cicinello proposed to the community and he let the councils approve it. Beyond local circumstances, the reform was not extraordinary; a series of similar interventions affected many other towns, in two phases. At least thirteen reforms took place between 1466 and 1479, twelve between 1490 and 1493 (see Table 16.1). The following analysis considers the reasons for this wave of reforms, the promoters of reforms and their aims, the reforms’ contents and their outcomes, and the fundamental role of procedures. The preamble of the 1476 reform states that in L’Aquila ‘public corruption’ had ‘depraved the republic’s administration and the well living of the city’, so it was necessary to ‘renew the ancient and good orders [. . .], to call back the old statutes and to make new ones’.29 The reference to the ben vivere is standard, since it is often used in communication between the Crown and communities, and in most reforms. Nevertheless, that statement was not a mere formula nor a specious argument to justify a royal intrusion in local life, since in many cases conflicts are explicitly cited as reasons for the reform. In each town conflicts had their own causes and actors, but the common thread is undoubtedly the struggle between social groups to control institutions and wield political power.30 In most cases, the problem was that populares considered their representation in councils and offices too limited, or felt that the nobles prevented them from accessing institutions, despite the existing rules. The conflicts also concerned elections, since the ruling groups, by monopolizing them, could determine the composition of councils, especially if the rules fell into disuse and no external authority put an effort into reviving or enforcing them.31

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This is exactly what the monarchy aimed to do in L’Aquila, even if the quotas of different groups were not the point there. The Crown accepted the existence of a dominant elite as such, but could no longer tolerate an ‘alliance’ with the Camponeschi faction, because it risked the rebellion at the kingdom’s northern boundary, which was, at the same time, an important element of the city’s bargaining power. The monarchy was not explicit on this point, so the official explanation mentioned only a generic – but morally evocative – reference to public corruption, together with the usual mention of the need to respect royal law. The Crown first tried a relatively soft approach, because there was no urgent or particularly evident reason to modify institutions in L’Aquila, as there was in other cities. As far as we know, no factional or political struggle emerged immediately before the reform and no petition was addressed to the king by nonelite members or social groups. The monarchy decided to act at some point, perhaps considering what had been previously done in eleven other cities, but conflicts could not be mentioned among the reasons for the reform. The pacificus status was instead troubled by unpunished criminals, so that ‘disorder’ was connected to crime and not to political institutions. L’Aquila was thus the only town forced to discuss and approve a reform during the 1460s and 1470s, even if the community was able to negotiate part of its contents. In Lecce, for example, a more complex process took place, when the Crown ordered the reorganization of councils and the use of new procedures in 1472.32 In other cases, it was the community itself that proposed a reform to the king, as in Barletta and Trani in 1466 and in Sulmona in 1472. The reforms drafted by these cities were approved by the sovereign, who sent back a privilege containing the new norms, in order to render them effective. Another option for cities was to ask the Crown for an intervention, as happened in Calabria in 1472–1473, when Alfonso, the king’s son and vicar, was informed about political crises in Cosenza, Stilo, Catanzaro, and Reggio. Having verified the situation, he sent the three cities reforms, which followed a common scheme adapted to their specific circumstances. A third option was closer to what happened in L’Aquila, but rather more consensusdriven: Ferrante sent his counselor Francesco de Arenis to Barletta (1473) and Molfetta (1474), with the task of realizing a reform with the community’s agreement. The first wave of reforms, therefore, was generally characterized by dialogue between Crown and towns, even if to differing degrees. As for the 1490s reforms, unfortunately it is impossible to understand whether or not communities asked for a reform or received it by royal decision. The only exceptions are Rutigliano, which in 1492 asked the king to approve a series of norms proposed by the community, and Troia in Apulia, which in the same year asked Ferrante for a reform ‘as he has sent it to many other demaniali cities and lands of the Kingdom’.33 Nevertheless, a comparative analysis of the features and contents of the reforms of the 1490s leads us to assume that at least seven of them were conceived by the monarchy. They bear the same date (1 or 16 October 1492) and, above all, they prescribe the same number of council members, twenty-four or thirty-six for intermediate councils and six or four for government councils; they also prescribe the same number of electors (seventy-two or one hundred eight).

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Despite the higher degree of uniformity among these reforms, the whole series presents some common features in the institutional structure and in the rules and requirements for accessing councils and offices. The number of assemblies and the number of their members, as well as the quotas of the represented groups, were redefined, with different impacts on the existing situation. In L’Aquila the flexible cerna was replaced by two councils, the Twelve and the Forty, in office respectively for two and six months and composed on a topographic basis. This ‘revolution’ was a unique case, since elsewhere the reorganization concerned, above all, the number of councillors and how they were divided between nobles and populares whereas the existing institutional structure was left substantially intact. Nevertheless, in all cases the new or confirmed structure was subject to detailed regulation. A hierarchy of councils was (re)created and regulated, so that the most important matters were discussed by the larger assemblies, restoring the ancient power of collective approval based on the famous principle Quod omnes tangit.34 Furthermore, councillors had to meet eligibility conditions (citizenship, age, a clean criminal record, etc.), could not be reelected to the same position before a certain period of time had elapsed, and could not be immediate relatives of others in the same mandate of the same council. Some of these rules already existed in some towns, but had fallen into disuse or were implemented only irregularly or according to the elites’ will. The (re)introduction of structures and rules served as a normative framework to which local dynamics and conflicts could be reduced, as public administration was regulated in detail and each group was represented in the correct proportions. For the same reasons, the reorganization was combined with procedural rules, the extension of which is the unifying and most innovative aspect of the reforms. Despite some differences, all the reforms prescribed that: • • • • • • •

lists of eligibles, selected by an electoral board and confirmed by the parliament, had to be created for a period of three or four years; elections had to be performed through sortition; councils were obliged to employ the secret ballot, using black and white beans, and to decide by simple majority; in some cases, the government had to use the open vote, but it was mostly free to use secrecy; in case of parity, voting had to be repeated up to two times; then, a larger number of councillors were to be called to vote; the royal captain was to attend all the electoral assemblies; the chancellor was to record the names of all the eligible candidates, the elected, and all final decisions.

The wider use of secrecy and sortition is the most significant point of the reforms: through their mandatory application, they became fundamental principles of good administration, going beyond their previous optional nature. The objective was reached only gradually, since at the beginning of the series secret balloting was

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limited, even where it was supposedly already mandatory. In Barletta and Trani (1466), sortition was to be used only for the government and some officers, while the secret ballot was prescribed only in case of disagreement among councillors. Considering that these reforms were proposed by the cities themselves, and that the limited use of secrecy and sortition bears resemblance to what is prescribed in the statutes of L’Aquila, electoral procedures hardly appear as fundamental in the town’s conception of their own institutions, or at least not as fundamental as the councils’ and offices’ repartition. In Trani, for example, the main difference introduced by the reform is precisely the number of nobles and populares represented.35 If the reform proposed by Sulmona in 1472 contains mandatory secrecy in voting for all councils and matters, subsequent developments were generally determined by the monarchy. Secrecy in all electoral processes was decreed by Duke Alfonso for Cosenza, where, furthermore, sortition appears for the first time as obligatory in electing councils.The progression continued in the following years: in Molfetta (1474) and Cosenza (1475) secrecy was prescribed in votes, while sortition was prescribed only for some councils and offices. The same was prescribed by the Crown to Lecce in 1472. This development reached its peak in the 1490s, when sortition and secrecy were decreed for all elections and assemblies, with the exception of those in Rutigliano and of some officers in Sansevero (1491). In many towns, the reorganization of councils led the populares to increase the number of their representatives in them.36 This growth was supported by the monarchy with the aim of counterbalancing the concentration of power in the hands of nobles.37 Nevertheless, only a combination of reorganization and new procedures could guarantee the participation of all qualified citizens and a transparent and controllable administration. Reshaping councils, in fact, did not in itself prevent nobles or the elite from dominating them, nor did the limited use of voting and electoral procedures. In order to reach its aim, electoral reform needed to concern the institutions as a whole, and its extension was undoubtedly pushed by royal policy. Whether or not a reform had been requested by the town, the monarchy aimed to affect the town’s political system at its root. The Crown demanded clear criteria and rules for the composition of councils and offices, for rotation in institutional positions, and always demanded more secrecy and the use of sortition. Negotiation could modify certain aspects of the reforms, but the criteria and procedures were supposed to work independently from the institutional structure. The royal attempt was then to instill a concept of public administration based on participation and transparency. Antonio Cicinello expressed this principle clearly in L’Aquila, declaring that ‘each one should have its part in magistracies’ and that – just to confirm the centrality of procedures in the royal plan – ‘magistrates should be chosen by sortition’.38 The Crown wanted to create a new order through procedures, rather than through the simple reorganization of institutions. The title of one of the articles of the 1476 reform, which concerns the government’s activity is meaningful: ‘On conserving previous power, but using the vote’.39

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As for the results of this policy, the analysis of the reforms implemented in L’Aquila reveals that the monarchy succeeded only partially in breaking the monopoly of the established elite. After initial opposition, the elite understood that the reform offered them a chance to strengthen their legitimacy, specifically via the respect of procedures, without losing their power. The selection of eligible candidates remained in fact in their hands (as elsewhere) and they kept control, even while respecting rotation and topographical criteria for the councils. Rotation was bypassed through the enactment of the still legal ad hoc commissions, composed of members of the elite, while turnover in councils was insufficient to exclude them from decision-making, even if a greater number of noneminent citizens now had the chance to participate. At the same time, it seems that the secret ballot did not affect the system at the root.40 The history of L’Aquila in the 1480s reveals that the Crown partially reached its goal of spreading a new culture of administration. The first Liber reformationum available after the reform (1482–1485) shows, on the one hand, that the councils’ reorganization was not fully respected: the Twelve still existed, the Forty had disappeared, and the cerna had come back. On the other hand, the Camera was still elected by sortition, while secret voting had become discretionary. In other words, a hybrid form of administration had come into existence before 1482, which included old and new practices and procedures selected by the local elite. From its own point of view, the Crown did not believe that a restoration of the reform was useful or urgent, perhaps because the degree of participation and transparency was considered good enough. Subsequent developments demonstrate that the principles introduced by the monarchy were active in local dynamics. In 1486 L’Aquila approved another reform, clearly modeled on the 1476 one: two intermediate councils (the Sixteen and the Thirty-Two), mandatory secret voting, and election by sortition to the Camera.The reasons for the reform are eminently political and external, since the city was preparing its return to the Aragonese obedience after one year of ‘secession’ from the kingdom. In October 1485, the Gaglioffi family organized a revolt and led L’Aquila to declare its subjection to Pope Innocent VIII. In this case, Camponeschi was not implicated, as he had been arrested in June.41 In July 1486, when it was clear that the papal experience was close to an end, the councils decided on a new reform, whose features met the royal ideal for institutions.The reform was abandoned soon after, when it became clear that the king was interested only in punishing the revolt’s leaders. Only at the beginning of 1490s did Ferrante decide to restore the 1476 reform in toto, but again by negotiating with the community rather than imposing it on them.42 This happened after Pietro Lalle Camponeschi’s death in 1490, which left a power vacuum and generated new factional conflicts: the Crown again connected political struggles to regulated institutions, while it sent another extraordinary officer (Giovanni del Tufo) to manage the situation. It is remarkable that in the same period the court promoted a second series of reforms in many other towns,

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which suggests that the monarchy conceived of urban institutions as a key aspect of the kingdom’s internal stability. From this point of view, it must be stressed that in the same decade the monarchy gradually introduced controls over the eligible and the elected, requiring them to be submitted to royal confirmation. In the two series of reforms, control was operated only in respect to procedures, when the royal captain was carrying them out, and a posteriori, if needed, in the assembly’s records. Confirmation of who was elected is provided in the case of Cosenza (1472), only for some officers, but not for the councillors. Before the series of reforms, the government of Lecce was confirmed by the king’s lieutenant in 1469, but this was an exceptional intervention.43 In general, citizens could elect magistrates freely, so long as they respected the procedures and election conditions. A stricter control, with the possibility of nonconfirmation by the Crown, was introduced later. L’Aquila, for example, asked the king’s vicar in 1494 for permission to open the new cycle of elections, through the composition of new lists of eligible candidates. Duke Ferrandino, King Alfonso’s son, answered that the community must submit the new lists to him and could obtain confirmation only after he himself had made possible modifications.44 For the first time, the Crown intruded directly in elections, whereas until then it had trusted in rules as sufficient for regulating public life. It is not by chance that this happened at a critical juncture: apart from the ongoing factional conflict, the French Army was descending into Italy, and King Alfonso, unable to manage the crisis, would soon resign his title.45 On the one hand, the city needed new tutelage against internal conflicts and the military threat; on the other, the Crown felt it was in so much danger that it believed a more stringent control of local political life – especially in the north of the kingdom – would help to enforce stronger unity against the French.

Conclusion The chronological concentration and quantitative scale of the reforms realized under Ferrante were completely new and derived from the combination of various factors. The need for renewed political structures was strongly expressed by those urban groups that aimed to access power or to hold a larger part of it, notably the populares (except in L’Aquila). In order to obtain consensus and weaken the concentration of power, the king satisfied the towns’ requests to redefine representation, while at the same time seizing the opportunity to regulate institutional activity further. The royal interest in supporting the populares derived from the troubled relations between the Aragonese and the nobles, who represented the main opponents of the dynasty’s reforming policy, which affected some of their immunities.46 The ideology elaborated at the Neapolitan court also pushed in the same direction, since some intellectuals and counselors, like Giovanni Pontano and Diomede Carafa, stressed the importance for a prince to be ‘loved by the people’.47

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The season of institutional changes was a parable, going from towns to the court and from the court to other towns. The first series of reforms was an experiment originating in urban needs, which the monarchy took up, reelaborated, improved in its procedural aspects, and transformed into an actual model, which it then applied in the 1490s. The reform proposed by Sulmona in 1472 contains already some elements of future reforms; the declared purpose of the secret ballot, for example, is illuminating: ‘so that anyone can express freely his will’.48 The affinity with what Antonio Cicinello said a few years later in L’Aquila is evident and shows a similar effort in the struggle against the concentration of power.The monarchy directed that effort toward a wider application of the same procedural rules, since – observing local situations from its point of view – it found that the critical aspect of urban administration was exactly the ‘corruption’ which stemmed from the lack of rules. Rather than trying to impose overall control on communities, the king – aware of his political fragility, which two major revolts had revealed – chose dialogue. Local elites, such as those of L’Aquila, realized that the implementation of the new procedures could generate stronger sociopolitical cohesion – which they might also use in shaping their relations with the king – and consolidate consensus at the price of a limited reduction of their power. From the royal point of view, the flexible and partial application of the reform in L’Aquila, as well as the revisions in Barletta, Cosenza, and Rutigliano, show that reforms were not conceived as rigid constitutions but as frameworks that could be negotiated constantly, leaving a certain room for maneuver to local groups. Nevertheless, the monarchy acted to coordinate reform in a way similar to other areas of Europe, where reform happened with or without royal intervention. In Germany, for example, some towns adopted statutes and procedures from major cities, such as Lübeck or Dortmund, while in France the Établissements de Rouen served as model for many smaller towns.49 The procedural aspects of elections and voting pertained generally and traditionally to cities. The urban culture of procedures belonged to the tradition which originated in communal Italy.50 In fifteenth-century Naples, it was the Renaissance juridical culture of the Aragonese court that recalled that tradition and applied it in dialogue with communities, something that was facilitated by their knowledge of those procedures and principles. The intense relationship between Naples and Florence is well known.That relationship may have had some effects on royal policy and on the political culture of those southern towns, which had intense commercial and political relations with Tuscany (especially in the Abruzzi). Royal policy could refer to other models, too, like Sicily and above all Spain, where the Aragonese dynasty already had experience of reforms. Alfonso the Magnanimous, Ferrante’s father, was the first sovereign under which the insaculación (election by sortition) spread through the Kingdom of Aragon between 1427 and 1457. Assuming that this experience inspired Ferrante, but considering the different situation of the Kingdom of Naples, it should be remarked that in Spain the insaculación was a typically urban form of designation, which the monarchy intended to control by introducing the mandatory confirmation of people elected to office.51 Again, the urban culture of election by sortition could have been assumed by the

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court and used in shaping the relations with towns. A future comparative analysis of these two kingdoms could bring other elements into the reflection: for example, it is perhaps not just by chance that both Ferrante of Naples and Ferdinand the Catholic realized their reforms with greater intensity during the 1490s. At the end of the fifteenth century, the need for a stronger application of royal policy, even if not throughout the whole kingdom, emerged as an important factor in the construction of the future modern state and of its wider uniformity.

Notes 1 Francesco Senatore, “The Kingdom of Naples”, in The Italian Renaissance State, eds. Andrea Gamberini and Isabella Lazzarini (Cambridge: Cambrigde University Press, 2012), 30–49; Giovanni Vitolo, L’Italia delle altre città. Un’immagine del Mezzogiorno medievale (Naples: Liguori, 2014). 2 Gisela Naegle, Stadt, Recht und Krone. Französische Städte, Königtum und Parlement im späten Mittelalter, vol. I (Husum: Matthiesen, 2002); Pierre Monnet, Villes d’Allemagne au Moyen Âge (Paris: Picard, 2004); Ana Isabel Carrasco Manchado and François Foronda, eds., El contrato político en la Corona de Castilla: Cultura y sociedad políticas entre los siglos X al XVI (Madrid: Dykinson, 2008); François Foronda, ed., Avant le contrat social: Le contrat politique dans l’Occident médiéval, XIIIe–XVe siècle (Paris: Publications de la Sorbonne, 2011). 3 Nunzio Federigo Faraglia, Il comune nell’Italia meridionale (1100–1806) (Naples: Tipografia della Regia Università, 1883), 111–168; Francesco Calasso, La legislazione statutaria dell’Italia meridionale (Rome: Multigrafica, 1929), 229–293. 4 Eleni Sakellariou, Southern Italy in the Late Middle Ages: Demographic, Institutional and Economic Change in the Kingdom of Naples, c.1440–c.1530 (Leiden: Brill, 2012), 442–447. 5 This topic needs a renewed in-depth analysis. For the moment, see Giuliana Vitale, “ ‘Universitates’ e ‘officiales regii’ in età aragonese nel regno di Napoli: un rapporto difficile”, Studi storici, 51/1 (2010): 53–72. 6 For a synthesis, see Faraglia, Il comune, 85–104; 133–168. 7 Francesco Senatore, “Parlamento e luogotenenza generale. Il regno di Napoli nella Corona d’Aragona”, in La Corona de Aragón en el centro de su historia. 1208–1458, ed. José Angel Sesma Muñoz (Zaragoza: Universidad de Zaragoza, 2010), 435–478. For a comparison, see Antonio Marongiu, Medieval parliaments: A comparative study (London: Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1968); see also Vicent Baydal Sala’s contribution in this volume. 8 Alessandro Clementi and Elio Piroddi, L’Aquila (Rome-Bari: Laterza, 1988). 9 Pierluigi Terenzi, “Conflits urbains et politique monarchique en Italie méridionale: La ville de L’Aquila à la fin du Moyen Âge”, in Factions, Lineages and Conflicts in European Cities in the Late Middle Ages: Models and Analysis From Hispanic and Italian Areas, eds. María Asenjo González and Andrea Zorzi (Florence: Firenze University Press, forthcoming), 175–190. 10 One litteratus (lawyer, notary, or physician), one merchant (especially of the wool guild), one craftsman of metal (gold, silver, iron, steel), one craftsman of leather, and one butcher or livestock merchant. 11 Pierluigi Terenzi, L’Aquila nel Regno: I rapporti politici fra città e monarchia nel Mezzogiorno tardomedievale (Bologna: il Mulino, 2015), 2–23. For a comparison, see Lorenzo Tanzini, A consiglio: La vita politica nell’Italia dei comuni (Rome, Bari: Laterza, 2014). 12 Terenzi, L’Aquila nel Regno, 23–29. 13 See, for example, Maria Rita Berardi, ed., Liber reformationum. 1467–1469 (L’Aquila: Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio della Provincia dell’Aquila, 2012), 97–119. 14 Terenzi, L’Aquila nel Regno, 43–47. 15 See, for example, Albert Rigaudière, “Voter dans les villes de France au Moyen Âge (XIIIe–XVIe s.)”, Comptes rendus des séances de l’Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres

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IV (November–December 2000): 1439–1471, in particular 1466–1467; and Eberhard Isenmann, “Élections et pouvoirs politiques dans les ville médiévales allemandes”, in Élections et pouvoirs politiques du VIIe au XVIIe siècle, ed. Corinne Péneau (Pompignac près Bordeaux: Bière, 2008), 165–196. 16 Alessandro Clementi, ed., Statuta civitatis Aquile (Rome: Istituto storico italiano per il Medioevo, 1977), no. 165; for other councils and offices, see no. 49 and 166. 17 Terenzi, L’Aquila nel Regno, 181–208. 18 For a comparison, see Massimo Sbarbaro, Le delibere dei Consigli dei Comuni cittadini italiani (secoli XIII–XIV) (Rome: Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura, 2005). 19 Edoardo Ruffini, La ragione dei più: Ricerche sulla storia del principio maggioritario (Bologna: il Mulino, 1977), 211–316; for a comparison, see Noël Coulet, “Les déliberations communales en Provence au Moyen Âge”, in Le médiéviste devant ses sources: Questions et méthodes, eds. Claude Carozzi and Huguette Taviani-Carozzi (Aix-en-Provence: Publications de l’Universite de Provence, 2004), 227–247. 20 Clementi, Statuta, no. 73, 83, 93, 99, 103, 149, 188, 205. 21 Tanzini, A consiglio. 22 Terenzi, L’Aquila nel Regno, 208–216. 23 For a comparison, see Rigaudière, “Voter dans les villes”, 1447–1452. 24 Luigi Sorricchio, Il comune atriano nel XIII e XIV secolo (Atri: De Arcangelis, 1893), 337–373. 25 Terenzi, L’Aquila nel Regno, 264–286. 26 Ibid., 236–244. 27 Pierluigi Terenzi, “ ‘Per libera populi suffragia’. I capitoli della riforma istituzionale de L’Aquila del 1476: una nuova edizione”, Annali dell’Istituto italiano per gli studi storici, 25 (2010): 183–266. 28 Terenzi, L’Aquila nel Regno, 508–525. 29 Terenzi, “ ‘Per libera populi suffragia’ ”, 223–224, 228. 30 As in other European areas; see, for example, Christian Maurel, “Réformes municipales et luttes politiques à Marseille au tournant du XVe au XVIe siècle”, Provence historique, 202 (2000): 391–411, and Serena Ferente’s chapter in this volume. 31 As it was, for example, in the Kingdom of Aragon; Juan Abella Samitier, “Elecciones, poder municipal y violencia política en las villas aragonesas de la Valdosella en el siglo XV”, in La convivencia en las ciudades medievales, eds. Beatriz Arízaga Bolumburu and Jesús Angel Solórzano Telechea (Logroño: Instituto de estudios riojanos, 2008), 133–148. 32 Pier Fausto Palumbo, ed., Libro rosso di Lecce, vol. II (Fasano: Schena, 1997), 25–26. 33 Francesco Trinchera, ed., Codice Aragonese, vol. III (Naples: Cataneo, 1874), 307–308. The reform is not available. 34 Yves Congar, “Quod omnes tangit, ab omnibus tractari et approbari debet”, Revue historique de droit français et étranger, 81 (1958): 210–259. 35 Gerardo Cioffari and Mario Schiralli, eds., Il libro rosso della università di Trani (Bari: Centro studi nicolaiani, 1995), 154–158. 36 In ten cases, nobiles and populares had the same number of representatives in the councils, while in eight cases the people had the majority; on the whole, it was a significant progress for the populares. 37 The social composition of both groups, the relation between social structure and institutions, and the role played by monarchy in these aspects deserve an analysis which cannot be carried out here. 38 State Archive of L’Aquila, Archivio civico aquilano, S 76, Liber reformationum II, fol. 7v. 39 ‘De pristina potestate servanda sed cum suffragiis’, in Terenzi, “ ‘Per libera populi suffragia’ ”, 259. 40 Terenzi, L’Aquila nel Regno, 530–534. 41 Serena Ferente, Gli ultimi guelfi. Linguaggi e identità politiche in Italia nella seconda metà del Quattrocento (Rome:Viella, 2013), 177–225; Terenzi, L’Aquila nel Regno, 293–313. 42 Ibid., 535–538.

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43 Palumbo, Libro rosso di Lecce, II, 11–12. 44 Terenzi, L’Aquila nel Regno, 538–545. 45 David Abulafia, ed., The French Descent into Renaissance Italy, 1494–95: Antecedents and Effects (Aldershot:Variorum, 1995). 46 Mario Del Treppo, “Il regno aragonese”, in Storia del Mezzogiorno, vol. IV, tomus 1, eds. Giuseppe Galasso and Rosario Romeo (Naples: Edizioni del Sole, 1986), 87–201. 47 For Ferrante’s and his court’s political culture, see Francesco Storti, “El buen marinero”: Psicologia politica e ideologia monarchica al tempo di Ferdinando I d’Aragona re di Napoli (Rome: Viella, 2014). 48 Nunzio Federigo Faraglia, ed., Codice diplomatico sulmonese (Lanciano: Carabba, 1888), 366. 49 Monnet, Villes d’Allemagne; Naegle, Stadt, Recht und Krone. 50 Julien Théry, “Moyen Âge”, in Dictionnaire du vote, eds. Pascal Perrineau and Dominique Reynié (Paris: PUF, 2001), 667–678. 51 Regina Polo Martín, “Los Reyes Católicos y la insaculación en Castilla”, Studia historica. Historia medieval, 17 (1999): 137–197.


The Iberian parliaments of the Crown of Aragon and sources for studying them The Crown of Aragon was established in the twelfth century through a dynastic union between the queen of Aragon and the count of Barcelona, the highestranking noble in the earldoms that would form the Principality of Catalonia in the fourteenth century. Starting in 1162 a single monarch ruled those two political entities, into which were incorporated other dominions, newly created following the conquest of the Islamic lands of Al-Andalus, such as the Kingdom of Majorca in 1231 and the Kingdom of Valencia in 1238, or seized from various European powers, such as the Kingdom of Sardinia in 1324, the Kingdom of Sicily in 1409, and the Kingdom of Naples in 1442. At the end of the fifteenth century a dynastic union between the Crown of Aragon and the Crown of Castile formed the Monarchy of Spain, governed by one king from 1516. However, until their legal dissolution at the beginning of the eighteenth century in the aftermath of the War of Spanish Succession, the various territories of the Crown of Aragon always maintained their own laws and institutions, independent of those of Castile, and their own parliaments, except for the small Kingdom of Majorca. This chapter focuses on the voting systems of the parliaments of the main territories that composed the nucleus of the Crown of Aragon, called the ‘cismarinis lands’ due to their location in the Iberian Peninsula – that is, the Kingdom of Aragon, the Principality of Catalonia, and the Kingdom of Valencia.1 In all of these lands, parliaments, referred to as corts or ‘courts’ (curiae), emerged in the thirteenth century and fully consolidated their operations throughout the fourteenth century. In the 1280s, against the backdrop of grave difficulties for the monarchy stemming from the Franco-Angevin invasion after the Sicilian Vespers, the courts of Aragon and Catalonia assumed an important legislative role by creating general laws passed

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by the king and the estates, requiring that they be convened, in theory, every two or three years. In the Kingdom of Valencia, the consolidation of this legislative role took a little longer, since the military estate was not fully integrated into parliament until 1330–1336, when triennial sessions were established.2 Nevertheless, it seems that the sessions of the courts of Aragon, Catalonia, and Valencia were not fully operational until the 1350s, as before that time we are aware neither of the filing of grievances, for which the wrongdoings of the royal administrations were amended, nor of routinely granted subsidies paid to the king by all segments of society. This deficiency may simply be a documentary misapprehension, specifically because, prior to 1349 in Valencia, 1350 in Catalonia, and 1357 in Aragon, we have no primary source with which to document the development of the assemblies, namely, the proceedings of the courts in which a scribe recorded the main events of each session. We do know with certainty that only from those years, in keeping with the rise of public taxation, the courts began to systematically grant general subsidies to the king. This was due to the Crown’s debilitation following the invasion of the king of Castile, who kept the Aragonese monarchs embroiled in a bloody war between 1356 and 1369.3 Pedro IV of Aragon was barely able to rely on his own resources at that juncture, since he and his predecessors had engaged in an intensive process of selling off real estate to finance their wars in Sicily and Sardinia, and to do battle with the Genoese and Granada. Consequently, Pedro had to rely on the courts of each territory for help in obtaining the funds needed to continue the war, while the estates seized the opportunity to take control of the subsidies paid through a new institution emanating from parliament, the Diputació del General.This institution – in the 1360s one emerged in Aragon, one in Catalonia, and one in Valencia – was composed of representatives of each of the estates and was responsible for managing taxes and collecting the subsidies granted by the courts, so that it succeeded in acquiring considerable political and economic power on behalf of the community of the realm.4 On the whole, the convening of courts by the monarch in order to obtain general subsidies, to pass new laws with the collaboration of the estates, and to correct abuses committed by royal officials was the rule in the three territories from the latter half of the fourteenth century to the middle of the sixteenth century. As a general average, one out of every three or four years was taken up by parliamentary sessions. The frequency of the convocations depended largely on the occasion and the needs of the monarch, but during those two centuries rare was the decade in which several court assemblies were not held in Aragon, Catalonia, and Valencia. Thereafter, the monarchs strove to avoid the convening of those sessions and spaced them out as much they could, directly negotiating the affairs of each territory with the Diputació del General and with permanent representatives of the estates duly established in the capitals of Aragon (Zaragoza), Catalonia (Barcelona), and Valencia (Valencia). The courts would continue to convene at a much slower pace until the early eighteenth century and the War of Succession, after which they faded away owing to the abolition of the sovereign legal systems in the territories of the Crown of Aragon decreed by Felipe V.

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What I propose here is an initial, and still quite general, analysis of the voting procedures of the courts of Aragon, Catalonia, and Valencia between the fourteenth and the seventeenth centuries – a long period during which the polity of the Crown of Aragon changed remarkably, but parliamentary institutions maintained their power. Through this case study on voting systems I intend to contribute to the more general debate on the evolution of medieval and modern parliaments and their role as a decision-making body. Voting procedures in parliaments have not been sufficiently studied in many European countries and it seems that not much evidence of fixed voting procedures survives.5 For example, we know that in the case of Scotland rules were flexible and the estates sometimes disputed the voting process.6 On the other hand, in Castile parliamentary ordinances about voting procedures dating from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries have survived.7 However, no in-depth studies have been done on their effective use in the courts’ meetings, except for the second half of the seventeenth century.8 The information I have gathered in the case of the Crown of Aragon is highly fragmented and depends to a great extent on the typologies of available sources. Firstly, there are the works of contemporary jurists which deal with aspects of the courts’ workings.9 Two such works date from the first half of the fifteenth century: the Extragravatorium curiarum of Jaume Callís, c. 1423, about practical matters concerning the courts of Catalonia, and the Speculum principum of Pere Belluga, c. 1441, which contains parliamentary advice given to the monarchs and based on the broad expertise of the Crown of Aragon. From the late sixteenth century, when sessions were less frequent but increasingly ritualized, several manuals were written on the ceremony and development of the assemblies, such as those of Jerónimo de Blancas in 1585 and Jerónimo Martel in 1601 for the Kingdom of Aragon; those of Miquel Sarrovira in 1585, Lluís de Peguera c. 1605, and Gabriel Berart in 1626 for the Principality of Catalonia; or that of Llorenç Mateu in 1677 for the Kingdom of Valencia. It is doubtful that information on the issue of voting procedures can be extrapolated directly from later treatises and applied to earlier centuries. In fact, differences among authors indicate that there were no established rules, but rather that these could vary over time or as a function of the conflicts that arose during the course of the assemblies. In this regard, an interesting avenue for expanding our knowledge about the decision-making process is the study of the correspondence exchanged between the members of the estates and the trustees or proxies representing them in parliament. A large percentage of the nobles and bishops as well as the cathedral chapters or the municipal councils apparently sent representatives to the courts and generated a steady flow of correspondence, which sometimes made reference to the diversity of positions within each estate and the ways in which agreements were reached. This correspondence has survived in many cases since the fifteenth century, especially in municipal institutions, and its study can provide insights into the voting process even though there are currently few works in this regard.10 Lastly, the main sources for discovering what happened during parliamentary sessions are the proceedings of the courts, similar to the parliamentary rolls of

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England, which, as indicated earlier, recorded in writing the major events that took place in the assembly. The proceedings included, for example, the Letters of Convocation, addressed to the members of each estate, as well as the election of the ‘facilitators’ (habilitadors), members of the estates who were responsible for verifying that attendees were eligible to participate in the courts, attending either in person or as representatives of others with sufficient powers for this purpose. Proceedings included also the ‘proposition’ (proposició), which was the request that the monarch made of the estates, typically concerning a sum of money for waging a given war. Similarly, the proceedings noted the election of ‘negotiators’ (tractadors) and ‘provisors of grievances’ (provisors de greuges), members of the estates who formed commissions, usually of six to thirty people, to negotiate with representatives of the monarch on the various matters that were dealt with in the assembly, namely, the subsidy requested by the king, the laws that were proposed, and the grievances against the royal administration. The progression of those negotiations was not set out, but occasionally various pleas made to the king in the plenary sessions of the courts or conflicts arising from the negotiations were recorded in writing, when a person, a group of people of an estate, or an entire estate mounted a protest or ‘dissent’ (dissentiment) on any of the decisions that the rest of the attendees had taken. In that case, another commission could be chosen to try and reach a solution that was satisfactory to all, or instead the matter could be brought directly to the king, who, in the manner of a judicial referee and enlisting the advice of parliament, resolved the conflict with no recourse to appeal. Lastly, apart from the closing of the assembly, the proceedings of the courts also documented the financial offer the estates made to the king and the method for raising the money granted, the laws passed, which the king published as the session concluded, and the causes or grievances presented before the king with the rulings handed down by the judges appointed to resolve them. The format of the proceedings was very similar in Aragon,Valencia, and Catalonia – and, as I have mentioned, it came into being in the middle of the fourteenth century. From the early period, only those proceedings compiled by the main notary of the royal chancery have survived, so they do not offer a great deal of information as to how the members of each estate voted, because the votes needed to remain secret before the monarch. A conflict occurred in the Catalan courts of 1454–1458, in which the king compelled the notary of the noble estate to reveal the minutes in which the votes cast by its members in a particular case were recorded, against which the estate as a whole protested, since ‘if the votes of each voter were examined by His Majesty, it would do away with the right to elect freely’.11 Therefore, the proceedings noted down by the king’s notary contained neither votes nor the decision-making processes, so that information can be found only in the protests that were actually documented in writing, and then in a highly sporadic manner. Conversely, in the proceedings drafted by the notaries of each estate, the opinions and votes of members of the Church, the nobility, and royal towns are sometimes shown, especially in from later centuries. This type of estate proceedings and such drafts provide much more information on voting than those produced by the

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notaries of the royal chancery, but only one of them has been published yet, namely that of the royal estate in the Catalan courts of 1585, which I will discuss later.

Unanimity, weighted vote, and simple majority As Michel Hébert explains when comparing how various European parliamentary assemblies operated during the Middle Ages, the decisions made following deliberations of the estates were rendered in such a way as to give the appearance of unanimity.12 The desire to obtain ‘none dissenting’ (nemine discrepante) decisions was common in Christian culture, in close relationship to the notion of Church and the harmony inherent in the mystic body of that community. Thus, in other European parliaments, as well as in those of the territories of the Crown of Aragon, frequent reference was made, whenever appropriate, to decisions that were made ‘unanimously’ (unanimiter), ‘all together in one voice’ (omnes in simil univoce), ‘all of one accord’, with ‘unanimity and agreement’, and so forth.13 Everything seems to indicate, for example, that one of the most important votes undertaken by the parliaments of the Crown of Aragon, the Compromise of Caspe, sought to characterize itself as having been made unanimously, even though this was not in fact true.With the throne being vacant in 1410 after the death of Martín the Humane, who left no direct descendants, the parliaments of Aragon, Catalonia, and Valencia decided to choose a successor among seven candidates and struck an agreement on how to arbitrate in the Aragonese town of Caspe in 1412. They gave over the decision to nine arbitrators, three from each territory, with certain conditions: the choice must be unanimous, ‘in concord’ (in concordia), and if this was not possible, by a two-thirds majority, six out of nine, provided that at least one vote came from each territory. The new king, Fernando I, was elected with six votes in favor: three from Aragon, two from Valencia, and one from Catalonia. However, later chroniclers learned about the results of the vote in some notarial copies of the votes, which were not entered in the proceedings of the compromise and not made public at that time. According to Francisco Gimeno, this concealing of information was no accident, but rather reflected the wish to show a unanimous decision, made ‘with unity and accord, by the grace of Our Lord God’.14 At other times, the practice of acquiescence by acclamation is documented, meaning the approval of certain matters by collective assent is voiced aloud by all members of the parliament. In the proceedings of the courts of the Crown of Aragon decisions were recorded, especially in the second half of the fourteenth century, primarily as a collective confirmation of decisions that had been previously discussed by each estate, like the approval of the subsidy, or customary acts, such as the dismissal of officials of the Diputació del General while the assembly was in session. For example, in the proceedings of the Catalan courts of 1377 it was noted that the spokesman for the noble estate proposed the dismissal and that all presented consented, ‘omnes dicte Curie qui ibidem erant una voce dicentes “hoc, hoc, hoc”, assensum eorum predictis omnibus prebuerunt’.15 Likewise, in the Valencian courts of 1367, the king’s notary received the record book with the offer tendered by the estates and,

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holding it up, asked everyone present if they had signed it, to which all affirmed together out loud, ‘Aye, aye’ (Hoc, hoc). Subsequently, members of the estate of the Church recanted and tried to withdraw support from the offer on the grounds that they were unprepared to pay certain taxes it included. However, arbitrators appointed by the parliament ruled that they had already agreed, inasmuch as the acclamation had generally been achieved without opposition, nemine contradicente.16 The process is reminiscent of group decisions made ‘almost by divine inspiration’ (quasi per inspirationem divinam) identified as the most powerful and valid in Canon 24 of the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215.17 Included in it as well, however, were two other methods for coming to a decision: by compromise (compromissum), leaving the decision to arbitrators, as we have also seen was done in the courts of the territories of the Crown of Aragon, and by formal questioning (scrutinium), that is, polling the individual votes of all the members of the group, so that the final decision would be approved by all or by the greater or sounder part (maior vel sanior pars). This last nuance introduced a difference between the ‘majority’, which is to say, the simple majority, and the part considered more ‘sound’ (sana), meaning, the opinion of those who were considered to possess greater stature and therefore whose vote could have greater weight than that of others, even if they were the minority. Concerning the Crown of Aragon, Pere Belluga theorized about this in the midfifteenth century in a chapter on these ‘unequal voices’ (De inaequalitate vocum), indicating that those of lesser stature, respect, and economic means could not go against the decisions made by those more qualified and that inferiors may not gainsay (non possunt minores contradicere).18 It was the principle that ‘votes were not to be counted but weighed’ (vota non sunt numeranda, sed ponderanda) that many jurists alleged and could precipitate endless debates to achieve a firm approval. Indeed, Michel Hébert (2014, 427–429) documents this disjunction and disputation between the simple majority and the qualified majority in almost all European parliaments, albeit with a general trend toward the prevalence of the former.19 Likewise, in the Crown of Aragon we also find this variety of situations and arguments: a predominant wish to reach general consensus by unanimity, but, at the same time, a need to devise decision-making systems through arbitration agreements or voting by qualified majority or simple majority. In fact, different circumstances were documented in the various Crown territories, from the requirement of complete unanimity to the gradual imposition of simple majorities in early modern times.

The mechanisms of decision-making in the parliaments of Valencia, Aragon, and Catalonia The functioning of the courts of the Kingdom of Valencia is the least familiar among the three territories discussed here, since only eight of the parliamentary proceedings between 1349 and 1403 have been published, from the forty-two assemblies held from the mid-fourteenth century to the middle of the seventeenth.20 In these, having been recorded by the royal scribe, no information is given about the

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mechanisms for making decisions, other than those that were made unanimously or by acclamation. It was not until the late seventeenth century when Llorenç Mateu explained the method of resolution for each estate in his parliamentary treatise, but only with reference to the last courts held in the kingdom, in 1645, whose practice perhaps should not be traced back much beyond the end of the sixteenth century.21 Firstly, Mateu explains that in the three estates there were spokesmen responsible for moderating the sessions and collecting the final decision made by each of them, being, in the case of the Church and the royal towns, a permanent post – a member of the cathedral chapter of the city of Valencia and another from the municipal council in the same locality – and in the case of the nobility a person elected ad hoc at each court session, with four adjutants or substitutes. Moreover, the ecclesiastical estate, then consisting of about eighteen members, made decisions by simple majority, ‘as laid down by Law and the dictates of reason’ – but with an established hierarchy for voting: first, the archbishop of Valencia, next, the grand master of the Order of Montesa – the most important military order in the kingdom – followed by, in order, the remaining bishops, abbots, commanders of military orders, and cathedral chapters. In any case, as a contemporary memorandum indicates, decisions used to be made by mutual agreement of all, since ‘the estate having few voices easily reaches unanimity’.22 In the estate of the royal towns, apparently, the representatives of the city of Valencia voted first, five with voice and vote, followed, in honorific rank order, by the rest of the cities and towns – about thirty, with only one representative per town at that time. As Mateu reported, in the fifteenth century the city of Valencia claimed that its vote should be half that of the entire estate, but King Fernando II did not accede to the request, which had evidently met with opposition from the other royal towns. Finally, according to the same author, the noble estate, which in the seventeenth century numbered approximately three hundred members, made decisions in parliament nemine discrepante: ‘we all have seen this in practice’ and ‘nearly all believe this is the greatest privilege of the military estate’, he said. There was no established order or any weighted vote among the nobles, but rather all votes were of equal value and it was the spokesman, who did not vote, that established the order of speakers. The practice of unanimity was not established by law, but ‘based on custom’ and, as Mateu indicated, it was ‘disruptive’ to many enterprises, since just one person could block a decision. However, it also highlighted the pivotal role that the spokesman played as moderator, ‘requiring astuteness and skill’ to arrive at a consensual decision. Additionally, it also indicated that a nemine discrepante decision could in reality be illusory, since in certain cases of disagreement the members of the estate with the greatest stature or seniority could compel dissenters to leave the meeting so the outcome of the vote would be unanimous. Llorenç Mateu related the need for unanimity in decisions made by the noble estate in the courts of the Kingdom of Valencia also to the Kingdom of Aragon, where, indeed, at least in the second half of the sixteenth century, not only was unanimous consent required of all the estates for approval of a parliamentary decision, but also unanimity within each of the four existing estates. There were the

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estate of the Church, which by then had about forty members; that of the royal towns, with about thirty; that of the upper nobility, with one hundred fifty; and that of the lesser nobility, which could reach well over one thousand members – although turnout to the sessions was far lower, since this social stratum was of great importance in Aragonese territory. We know about the requirement of unanimity, unusual across Europe except in the case of Poland, because a law was passed in the courts of 1592 to facilitate decision-making.23 From then on unanimity would not be necessary, neither in the plenary assembly nor within each estate, but rather a simple majority would be valid, ‘as if all in accord, nemine discrepante, had voted for it’. However, in the report that was prepared for the passage of the law, it was stated that in the proceedings of the courts of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries there appeared notices of decisions adopted without unanimity.24 The proceedings of medieval Aragonese courts that have been published in recent years – to date, twenty-seven of the forty-one assemblies held between 1347 and 1515 – contain frequent reports of decisions of the estates made over the protests of some of its members.25 Yet, since the proceedings were those written up by the royal notary, because no notary was appointed to prepare a record of the acts of each estate until the courts of 1533, those reports were of generically described disagreements, with no explanation of the specific mechanisms for making the decisions nor any express reference to the need for securing unanimity. It is possible, for example, that, despite disagreeing with a decision, a favorable vote was given in pursuit of the common accord, but the protest would be made public. On the other hand, the proceedings of the fifteen parliamentary sessions that took place between 1519 and 1702 still await their edition, and may hold a clue to the time when and the reasons why unanimity among all estates and within each estate came to be viewed as an essential requirement for parliamentary agreements. Moreover, analysis of some of the sessions of the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, when unanimous agreement was no longer required, highlights the role of the spokesman for each estate, referred to in Aragon as a ‘promoter’ (promovedor), in the decision-making process.26 These spokesmen had appeared since the courts of 1436 and assumed, as in the case of Valencia, the position of moderators and directors of the deliberations. As in that situation, the office of spokesman of the estates of the Church and the royal towns was always conferred on the same individual: the archbishop of Zaragoza and the principal official of the municipal council of the same city. In the case of nobles, in the estates of both the upper and lesser nobility, the promovedor was formally elected each week, while the courts were in session, with the opportunity, however, to extend his tenure while carrying out that role. Furthermore, regarding the voting process itself, we know that, at least from the late sixteenth century, there was an order of priority when voting on the proposals.27 In the ecclesiastical estate it was the spokesman himself, the archbishop of Zaragoza, who was the first to vote, and then, in the same hierarchical order in which they were seated in parliament, the bishops, abbots, commanders of military orders, and cathedral chapters. There was a spokesman for the estate of the royal

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towns, too, from the capital of the kingdom, Zaragoza, who voted first, followed by the other three representatives from the same city – four in all – and by the rest of the cities, communities of hamlets, and towns, which only had one envoy, following the honorific order in which they sat. Conflicts occasionally erupted among the members of those estates on the order of seating and voting, both in medieval as well as early modern times, which were usually settled by the king in the same courts.28 Lastly, the two noble estates followed no established seating arrangement, all votes being considered equal, while the order of voting, at least since the late sixteenth century, was as follows: in the estate of the upper nobility, the spokesman decided who was to vote first, and that person, in turn, selected the next and so on in succession until the turn came around again to the spokesman, who was the last to vote; in the estate of the lesser nobility, the spokesman was the first to vote and then the member seated to his right, then his left, then the next right and next left, and so on.29 The case of Catalonia is different from those of Aragon and Valencia, since neither in law, nor in parliamentary treatises, nor in the proceedings of the courts is any explicit mention made as to the need for unanimity in the process of making decisions, nor in the plenary parliament nor within any of the estates. In this instance the proceedings of the Middle Ages have already been published for some time,30 but only those of the royal notaries, who, as already mentioned, did not provide any information about the voting practices of the estates. From the mid-fifteenth century, however, we know that proceedings of the courts were recorded by the notaries of the estates and in the sixteenth century the proceedings compiled by the royal notary included rough drafts of these documents, which contained the results of ongoing votes taken during parliamentary sessions. In this sense, the proceedings of the Catalan courts of 1585 are the only published ones from the early modern age to offer this unique feature and a much more detailed insight into the workings of the assembly, since they rely on the proceedings prepared by the notaries of the king and the estates of the Church, nobility, and royal towns, along with a preliminary draft in the latter case.31 The absence of a requirement for unanimity in Catalonia perhaps derived from the courts of 1283, a key part of the process of empowering the Catalan parliament, wherein it was agreed that general laws would always be passed with the consent of the estates or the maioris et sanioris partis of them.32 This principle, however, also opened the door to claims of a qualified vote by the clergy, nobles, and towns of greater honorific stature, since they could automatically be considered to be ‘the soundest’ of the community. Such was indicated, for example, by Jaume Callís, who, writing in the 1430s, explained that decisions were to be made with the approval of the ‘majority of the bigger of the realm’ (maioris partis maiorum regnum), despite their being the numerical minority.33 In particular, Callís envisioned the case of a confrontation between the bishops, on one side, and the abbots and cathedral chapters, on the other, within the ecclesiastical estate; of earls and viscounts against the rest of the nobles and chivalric class within the estate of the nobility; and of the cities of Barcelona, Lleida, Girona, and Perpignan against the other towns of the royal estate.

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In similar cases, he said, the opinion of the qualified minority should prevail, since the ruling of the most suitable parties was required (requiruntur rectores et idonior pars), an opinion shared by canonists of the same era, Francesco Zabarella among them.34 Nonetheless, Callís was only giving an opinion, which may have been influenced by the fact that he himself belonged to the oligarchy of the city of Barcelona. The documentation, moreover, does not suggest that there was an established policy in that regard, although, as in the case of Aragon and Valencia, there was the possibility of lodging a dissentiment, whereby disagreement could be shown with a decision made by an estate or the entire parliament compelling resolution of the dispute through an arbitral decision handed down by the king in consultation with the estates of those that had not instigated the protest.35 This concept was so important in Catalonia that it was referred to specifically as a iudicium in curia datum, based on a precept of the Usatges (the legal code in use in that territory since the twelfth century) according to which any sentence given in curia – referring here to an actual court of justice, not to parliament – must be accepted by everyone, since it was supported by ‘the princes, bishops, abbots, earls, viscounts, philosophers, scholars and judges’.36 As we know from sixteenth-century testimonies, iudicia in curia were to be avoided, since, in addition to delaying the progress of the assemblies, they were considered to jeopardize the harmony of the principality and the public good.37 They did occur, however, and when this happened, the proceedings of the courts recorded some of the information about the conflict, such that we are sometimes able to learn the details pertaining to the arguments raised during the decisionmaking process. One of the most interesting cases is the iudicium in curia that took place in the courts of 1449 to end a dispute that arose within the noble estate.38 The confrontation was precipitated by the appointment of nine representatives of the estate who had to implement the proposed subsidy to the king and audit the accounts of the Diputació del General. On one side, the earl of Prades and eighty-five nobles preferred to elect the representatives by taking a vote, knowing that they were in the majority, while on the other side, the viscount of Èvol, with fifty-six supporters, wished them to be elected unanimously, a mechanism referred to as being ‘of the Holy Spirit’ and through which, since they were in the minority, they could at the very least exercise a veto. Having set out the two positions, the final decision was deferred until after dinner, when the estate session was to be resumed at four in the afternoon. The minority, however, found a deceptive way to circumvent the process: the estate sessions were being conducted in the refectory of a Barcelona monastery so, before the session resumed, they met in a nearby orchard, forcibly detained the notary who recorded the acts of the estate, and unanimously chose the nine representatives they wanted. The scribe – who recounts that he could not escape since he was ‘not a bird’ – warned them that they could not make a decision on behalf of their estate outside the usual session venue, but they retorted that decisions could be made anywhere, even though they had to be published in the customary place. Hence, after forcing the notary to record the election of the nine

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representatives, they headed to the refectory, where the other members of the estate were waiting in their seats to resume the session. As soon as the minority entered, before being seated, they compelled the notary to publish their decision inside the room and informed the rest of the estate that they had already chosen the representatives on all their behalf. Naturally, the majority contested the decision, insisting that the election be carried out through a vote in which all of them would take part. The dispute was eventually settled by the queen in a iudicium in curia, in consultation with the ecclesiastical and royal estates. In the complaint they lodged, the minority argued that the majority were not acting in ‘good faith’ nor were they seeking to benefit the public good, since they had interests in the Diputació del General, which was corrupted by people close to them. In contrast, they, despite being fewer in number, had the legitimacy required for making the selection of the representatives of the estate and had done so unanimously,‘through the Holy Spirit’, which was the canonical and most desirable route. For their part, the majority contended that the decision had been guided not by the Holy Spirit but by ‘the will of the men’ and had been a fraud. Ultimately, the queen ruled in favor of the majority, rejecting the minority’s reasoning. In any event, the conflict and arguments raised during the trial indicate that there were no regulatory standards regarding decisionmaking and that any position could be justified as optimal, whether through unanimity, the qualified majority, or the simple majority, using the existing conceptual framework. However, the documentation suggests that throughout the sixteenth century there was a move toward the predominance of the simple-majority principle in the decisions of the Catalan estates. In fact, in the courts of 1547 a iudicium in curia datum established that the opinion of Barcelona could not block a decision of the entire royal estate, as the city had claimed previously, by asserting a qualified vote. The numerical majority, by contrast, would suffice for the entire estate to be bound, as was the practice in subsequent parliamentary assemblies.39 This was also practiced in the courts of 1585, when we know many of the votes taken by the estates due to the thorough documentation preserved and mentioned previously. Indeed, despite constant attempts to garner the broadest agreement possible, in order to avoid clouding the atmosphere of the assembly, most decisions were eventually made by simple majority vote. By this time we also have the commentary of two writers, Miquel Sarrovira (1701) and Lluís Peguera (1632), who supplement our knowledge of the voting process. According to them, in the case of Catalonia there was a difference between the spokesmen of the estates, referred to here as ‘promoters’ (promovedors or promotors), who were restricted to expressing the decisions reached in other estates or before the king, and the ‘heads’ (presidents) of the estates, who moderated the respective sessions. While the former were elected by vote at each session of the courts, the latter, at least in the second half of the sixteenth century, were always specific individuals: the archbishop of Tarragona – if not attending in person, the bishop of Barcelona – in the ecclesiastical estate; the duke of Cardona, who was the

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most preeminent nobleman, in the noble estate; and a representative of the city of Barcelona in the estate of the royal towns. As to the order of voting, it apparently followed the order of seating: in the ecclesiastical estate, which then consisted of thirty members, an order of dignity was observed, with the archbishop and bishops first, and the abbots and cathedral chapters following; in the royal towns estate, with some thirty-five communities, Barcelona had up to four votes and other towns such as Lleida, Girona, and Tortosa had two, those with city status voting first, followed by the towns; in the noble estate, which had over four hundred forty members at that time, there was no seating order, but the highest ranking nobles voted first and then the lesser gentry, by age. The proceedings of the various estates of the courts of 1585 point to the Church as the most conciliatory group, both because of its smaller size and because there appeared to be a desire for greater harmony. Although in this case no specifics are recorded in the proceedings as to the actual votes taken, the disagreements were noted, and these were much rarer and of a lower profile than the disputes that took place in the noble and royal estates. Direct confrontations and radical attitudes were avoided, and mechanisms were found for reconciling differences and marginalizing dissenters, who ultimately accepted the decisions of the group’s majority, obviating the need for taking repeated votes. It seems as though here, the ideal of unanimity and accord, the ‘way of the Holy Spirit’, continued to operate effectively at least until the late sixteenth century. In fact, the frequency of use of the terms unanimiter, nemine discrepante, or concordia was greater here than in the proceedings of the other two estates. In contrast, the noble estate, which was the largest, quarreled constantly and with great intensity. As noted in the proceeding prepared by the notary of this estate, many of the opposing positions were defended in the name of honor and, moreover, the contemporaneous testimonies indicated that during votes, shouting was frequently heard in the noble estate, accompanied by great commotion.40 In this sense, since decisions were made by majority, it was very important to determine who could vote. In the courts of 1585 a group of knights argued that the right to vote be withdrawn from those who had not attended in person, since only about 180 nobles were present, while the other 260 had appointed proxies who acted on their behalf. Some participants pooled many of those delegates, so that they could represent up to twenty, thirty, or even forty nobles. Therefore it was requested that the proxies not be allowed to vote in the name of their constituents, but be counted only for purposes of attendance, which was compulsory, and be allowed to present dissentiments on those matters that directly affected them in jurisdictional or other types of issues. The petition, however, appears to have been rejected, since no resolution to this effect was noted and the proxies were allowed to vote on behalf of their constituents, as was customary. It is also interesting to note that the 180 nobles present did not always attend all the sessions, and that many of the sessions saw a very low turnout, with only thirty or forty percent of them present. Attendance increased considerably at sessions in the final weeks of the assembly, when the most important decisions were made.

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Lastly, the royal estate is the one for which we have the most data during the courts of 1585, since, as previously mentioned, in addition to the proceedings of the estate, we also have a draft, which includes all the votes made. In two hundred days of sessions, over four hundred votes were held – usually a public oral vote, sometimes with a second round of balloting if the results of the first vote were very close – and voting invested many different issues: elections of members of the estate for parliamentary commissions; questions of protocol; each of the grievances that were submitted to the king; all of the laws proposed in parliament, sometimes section by section; and so on. In this case decisions were also made by simple majority, although the opinion of the cities, especially that of Barcelona, was carefully considered and often reflected the sentiment of the majority. In this regard, it is worth noting that the larger presence of representatives of this city enabled it to have not only more votes but also a greater impact in working committees and on the various negotiations that took place during the sessions of the assembly. However, the relationship between the representatives of Barcelona and the municipal council they represented was not always good. As can be deduced from the correspondence between the two parties, there were several conflicts in the assembly of 1585.41 Firstly, the representatives initially sent to the courts with explicit instructions were replaced after two months, as the municipal council believed they were pursuing their own personal interests and not those of the city. The newly elected representatives were more attuned to the council, sending letters every few days, but ultimately they also had numerous problems when voting on the subsidy to the king, as the council felt that they had not adhered to the position they had espoused, which was opposed to the terms of this contribution. Eventually the courts created a commission to review all the relevant correspondence, and the council moved to file a complaint against its representatives for failing to comply with the oath they had taken at the beginning of their term as proxies for the city. The king defended and supported those representatives, awarding them honors and privileges, which might indicate that some kind of private agreement had taken place, which was concealed from the Municipal Council of Barcelona and, more generally, that the pressure the monarch exerted over those attending the courts could be considerable.

Conclusions The first salient feature of the mechanisms for making decisions in the Iberian parliaments of the Crown of Aragon is that there was no established standard in voting systems or ways of reaching agreements, but rather a tendency to refer to custom combined with a flexible procedural regime. Only in the case of the Kingdom of Aragon in 1592 was a law passed to end the purported requirement of total unanimity in force at the time, despite earlier examples of final decisions opposed by certain members of parliament. From then on, simple majority would operate among the estates and within each one, as was also occurring in Catalonia, at least from the mid-sixteenth century. In Valencia, in turn, unanimity was required in

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the noble estate even in early modern times, although there were mechanisms that enabled them to present an image of unanimity while in reality dissenting voices existed. Thus it seems that from the Middle Ages into the early modern era a general trend can be detected away from unanimity or the qualified majority toward simple majority vote, where all votes were considered of equal value. This evolution has been observed in other areas, such as Scotland and Castile, although it must be noted that in Castile only one estate attended the courts, that of the royal towns. Additionally, throughout early modern Europe there was also a trend toward more frequent voting on new taxation, a situation that seems to accord with what can be observed in the Crown of Aragon, despite the abrupt elimination of its parliamentary institutions after the War of the Spanish Succession at the beginning of the eighteenth century.42 It also seems evident that the voting procedures of the courts of Aragon,Valencia, and Catalonia were still quite different from more egalitarian voting systems, such as those of the English Parliament, since the former preserved mechanisms that continued to give an advantage to the most prominent members of the estates. Session moderators for each estate, for example, such as the archbishops and representatives of the capital cities, or the capital cities’ greater number of representatives than other cities and towns, enabled them not only to garner more votes but also to have greater influence over the progress of the negotiations. In addition, the order of the vote was also hierarchical, especially in the estate of the Church and in that of the royal towns, whereas among the nobility, apparently, a certain egalitarianism reigned, especially in the case of Aragon, where the nobles and gentry, who had two separate estates, formed the largest sociopolitical group.The concept of dissentiment, moreover, which existed in the three territories and could paralyze the decisions made by the estates to resolve disputes through an arbitral decision, could serve in practice as a veto to the decisions made in the parliament by any attendant. This paralysis, however, needed to be endorsed in actual practice by a numerical majority in order to prevail. Much remains to be learned about the decision-making and its evolution in the parliaments of the Kingdom of Aragon, the Kingdom of Valencia, and the Principality of Catalonia between the fourteenth and seventeenth centuries; it may be possible to close some gaps in the future with the support of the proceedings of the courts that have yet to be edited, along with the additional documents supplementing them, such as the correspondence between the proxies attending the assemblies and their constituencies.

Notes 1 Flocel Sabaté, “La organización central de la Corona de Aragón cismarina”, in La Corona de Aragón en el centro de su historia. 1208–1458, ed. José Ángel Sesma (Zaragoza: Gobierno de Aragón, 2010), 393–414. 2 Vicent Baydal, Guerra, relacions de poder i fiscalitat negociada: Els orígens del contractualisme al regne de València (1238–1330) (Barcelona: Fundació Noguera).

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3 Manuel Sánchez Martínez, El naixement de la fiscalitat d’Estat a Catalunya (segles XII-XIV) (Girona: Eumo, 1995);Vicent Baydal, “La importancia del gasto militar en el proceso de construcción de la fiscalidad general en el reino de Valencia”, Roda da Fortuna: Electronic Journal about Antiquity and Middle Ages, 1–1 (2014): 148–169. 4 Isabel Sánchez de Movellán, La Diputació del General de Catalunya (1413–1479) (Barcelona: Generalitat de Catalunya/Institut d’Estudis Catalans, 2004). 5 Alec R. Myers, Parliaments and Estates in Europe to 1789 (London: Thames and Hudson, 1975); Wim P. Blockmans, “A Typology of Representative Institutions in Late Medieval Europe”, Journal of Medieval History, 4 (1978): 189–215; Michel Hébert, Parlementer: Assemblées représentatives et échange politique en Europe occidentale à la fin du Moyen Age (Paris: Éditions de Boccard, 2014). 6 Keith M. Brown and Alan R. MacDonald, eds., History of the Scottish Parliament: Parliament in Context, 1235–1707 (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2010), 142–144. 7 Salustiano de Dios, “El funcionamiento interno de las Cortes de Castilla durante los siglos XVI y XVII: Las Ordenanzas de votar”, Revista de las Cortes Generales, 24 (1991): 185–276; 25 (1992): 133–218; Ibid., “Libertad de voto y privilegios procesales de los procuradores de las Cortes de Castilla (siglos XVI–XVII)”, Anuario de Historia del Derecho Español, 63–64 (1993): 235–344. 8 Felipe Lorenzana de la Puente, La representación política en el Antiguo Régimen: las Cortes de Castilla, 1655–1834 (Madrid: Congreso de los Diputados, 2013). 9 Eva Serra, “Butlletí bibliogràfic sobre les Corts catalanes”, Arxiu de Textos Catalans Antics, 26 (2007): 663–738. 10 Esther Martí, Lleida a les Corts: Els síndics municipals a l’època d’Alfons el Magnànim (Lleida: Universitat de Lleida, 2006); Josep Capdeferro, “Tortosa a les sessions de Corts catalanes de 1632: Pere Joan Miravall, un síndic fatarellut ‘al peu de la obra”, in Actes de les Jornades d’Estudi sobre el municipi abans de la Nova Planta (1716): el cas de La Fatarella, ed. Josep Serrano (Tarragona: Diputació de Tarragona, 2013), 383–410. 11 Josep Coroleu and Josep Pella, Las Cortes catalanas (Barcelona: Imprenta de la Revista Histórica Latina, 1876), 269. 12 Hébert, Parlementer, 420–421. 13 Sylvia Romeu, “Cortes de Valencia de 1360”, Anuario de Historia del Derecho Español, 44 (1974): 706; María José Carbonell and Rosa Muñoz, Las Cortes de Don Martín I el Humano (1401–1407) (Valencia: Corts Valencianes, 2014), Satellite/Layout/Page/1260974741704/Cortesforales.html?lang=es_ES, accessed on 1 March 2017. 14 Francisco Gimeno, El Compromiso de Caspe (1412): Diario del Proceso (Zaragoza: Institución Fernando el Católico, 2012), 54, 70, 163–169. 15 Cortes de los antiguos Reinos de Aragón y de Valencia y del Principado de Cataluña (hereafter CARAVPC), vol. IV (Madrid: Real Academia de la Historia, 1896–1922), 30. 16 Archives of the Crown of Aragon, Royal Chancery, Proceedings of the Courts, 6, fols. 114v, 143r. 17 Concilium Lateranense IIII (Rome: Cooperatorum Veritatis Societas, 2007), 22. Corinne Péneau ed., Élections et pouvoirs politiques du VIIe au XVIIe siècle: actes du colloque réuni à Paris 12 du 30 novembre au déxembre 2006 (Pompignac: Bière, 2008). 18 Petrus Belluga, Speculum principum (Brussels: Francisci Vivien, 1665), 490. 19 Hébert, Parlementer, 427–429. 20 Sylvia Romeu, “Aportación documental a las Cortes de Valencia de 1358”, Anuario de Historia del Derecho Español, 43 (1973): 385–427; Ibid., “Cortes de Valencia de 1360”; Ibid., “Cortes de Monzón de 1362”, Anuario de Historia del Derecho Español, 47 (1977): 714–798; Bibiana Candela, Cortes Valencianas de finales del reinado de Pedro IV: actas de 1369, 1371 y 1375 (Alicante: Publicaciones de la Universidad de Alicante, 2006); Mateu Rodrigo, Diplomatari de la Unió del Regne de València (1347–1349) (Valencia: Publicacions de la Universitat de València, 2013); Carbonell and Muñoz, Las Cortes de Don Martín I. 21 Llorenç Mateu, Tratado de la celebración de Cortes generales del Reino de Valencia (Madrid: Julián de Paredes, 1677), 40–42, 77–79, 88–93, 141–147.

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22 Memorial al rey nuestro señor del estamento eclesiástico del Reino de Valencia (Madrid: Mateo Llanos, 1690), 27. 23 Xavier Gil, “Crown and Cortes in Early Modern Aragon: Reassessing Revisionisms”, Parliaments, Estates and Representation, 13 (1993): 109–122; Andzrej Wyczanski, “Le phénomène de l’unanimité: Quelques réflexions sur le liberum veto en Pologne”, in L’Europe des diètes ai XVIIe siècle: Mélanges offerts à Monsieur le professeur Jean Bérenger, ed. Daniel Tollet (Paris: SEDES, 1996), 223–238. 24 Leonardo Blanco, La actuación parlamentaria de Aragón en el siglo XVI (Zaragoza: Cortes de Aragón, 1996), 165–171. 25 ACRA: Acta Curiarum Regni Aragonum (Zaragoza: Gobierno de Aragón, 2006–13). 26 Blanco, La actuación parlamentaria de Aragón; Enriqueta Clemente, Las Cortes de Aragón en el siglo XVII (Zaragoza: Cortes de Aragón, 1997). 27 Jerónimo Martel, Forma de celebrar Cortes en Aragón (Zaragoza: Diego Dormer, 1641). 28 Acta Curiarum Regni Aragonum, vol. III, 345–47; Clemente, Las Cortes de Aragón, 20–22. 29 Blanco, La actuación parlamentaria de Aragón, 46. 30 See note 32. 31 Eva Serra, ed., Cort general de Montsó (1585) (V vols, Barcelona: Generalitat de Catalunya, 2001–2010). 32 CARAVPC: Cortes de los antiguos Reinos de Aragón y de Valencia y del Principado de Cataluña (Madrid: Real Academia de la Historia, 1896–1922), vol. I, 145. 33 Joan Egea and Josep Maria Gay, “Eficàcia de les normes a la tradició jurídica catalana des de la baixa edat mitjana fins al decret de la Nova Planta”, Revista Jurídica de Cataluña, 2 (1979): 281. 34 Brian Tierney, Foundations of the Conciliar Theory (Leiden: Brill, 1998), 199–213. 35 Lluís Peguera, Pràctica, forma y stil de celebrar Corts generals en Catalunya (Barcelona: Gerony Margarit, 1632), 93–102. 36 Josep Maria Pons, Reculls d’història jurídica catalana (Barcelona: Fundació Noguera, 2006), 9–18. 37 Serra, Cort general de Montsó (1585), vol. II/5, XXVI–XX. 38 CARAVPC, vol. XXII. 39 Serra, Cort general de Montsó (1585), vol. II/5, XXVII; Mònica González Fernández,“Barcelona i la vint-i-quatrena de Corts a les Corts de Montsó de 1585”, Pedralbes: Revista d’Història Moderna, 13/1 (1993): 299–307. 40 Josep Capdeferro,“ ‘Attès los dits diputats no eran sinó procuradors . . .’: relacions entre els braços i la Diputació del General durant la celebració de les Corts Catalanes de 1599”, Ius Fugit, 10–11 (2001–2002): 849–870. 41 Serra, Cort general de Montsó (1585), vol. II/5, XXIX–XXXI. 42 Yoram Barzel and Edgar Kiser, “Taxation and Voting Rights in Medieval England and Frances”, Rationality and Society, 14/4 (2002): 387–429; Josep M. Colomer, ed., The Handbook of Electoral System Choice (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), 3–78.


In January 1441, the ruling nobility of Ragusa gathered in the council hall to discuss some matters related to the city treasury. During the debate, they expressed their concern and indignation regarding the fact that there had been some recent ‘novelties’ in their city. Namely, they had observed that certain individuals increasingly elected their gastalds and other officials by using urns and ballots, summoned the assemblies by ringing the church bells, and appointed gastalds as the executors of last wills, thus destroying not only the public treasury, but also the very honour and reputation of the Ragusan government and state.1 The noblemen therefore prohibited all confraternities, associations, and communities from electing their gastalds, offices, and officials in such manner. All those who would oppose this ban faced the penalty of expulsion from the confraternities, as well as a prison sentence of one month for each time they violated the rule.2 What brought the Ragusan nobility to attack so fiercely the electoral and voting procedures in the confraternities – institutions that had multiplied considerably in the Ragusan area over the centuries and played an important role in the city’s social history as charitable lay associations?3 Why were the noblemen so appalled by the fact that someone emulated their electoral and voting procedure? Were they referring to some specific confraternities when speaking of gastalds and officials? In itself, the decree of 1441 does not offer any answers to these questions, except for indicating that the Ragusan noblemen were keen on retaining the electoral procedure practiced in the city councils for themselves, in an exclusivist manner and also on a ritual level. The contextualization of this provision, though, in the period in which it was adopted allows us to speculate that the Ragusan patricians, while reacting so

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vehemently to the electoral procedures in confraternities, may have had a particular confraternity in mind, namely that of St. Anthony the Abbot. This confraternity, along with that of St. Lazarus founded a hundred years later, had undoubtedly become a gathering place for the city’s secondary elite. This was a social class excluded from participating in the government after the serrata of the Major Council, composed of individuals and families that counted among the wealthiest and most distinguished citizens of the republic, such as the families of Kotrulj, Nale, Latinica,Vetrano,Vodopija, and Brugnoli, as well as numerous public officials – notaries, chancellors, doctors, and teachers. However, its members’ success and social rise had simply taken place too late in time to provide them with access to power and to the city’s councils, as the governmental institutions were irreversibly closed for all nonnoblemen after the 1330s.4 All that they could do was to assimilate within the class of ‘citizens-commoners’ (cives populares) or, in short, the citizenry – the Italian term found in the Ragusan sources being cittadini.5 On the hierarchical social ladder, they were placed one step below the nobility, yet above the broad masses of plebs.6 In their efforts to acquire and stabilize their status as the secondary elite in the city, the cittadini of Dubrovnik, in a sort of imitatio domini, largely adopted those elements of behavior that the aristocracy used to secure its identity.7 In everyday life, they acted very much like their patrician counterparts, imitating the latter’s marital strategies and family structure, creating their own coats of arms, giving endowments to the Church, and building large houses as status symbols.8 The Lucchese humanist Philippus de Diversis, who stayed in Dubrovnik from 1434 until 1441 as a school rector, and who wrote his Description of the City of Dubrovnik (Situs aedificorum, politiae et laudabilium consuetudinum inclytae civitatis Ragusii, 1440), commented on this phenomenon with some derision, saying that the commoners had been imitating the patricians ‘as their teachers and masters’.9 On the institutional level, the citizenry strove to achieve distinction by means of establishing two confraternities – that of St. Anthony, founded in the mid-fourteenth century (whose members were later colloquially known as the Antunini), and that of St. Lazarus, founded in 1531 (the so-called Lazarini).10 If we are looking for analogies in the Mediterranean context, these two confraternities resembled most closely those of the Scuole Grandi in Venice, as they accommodated a similar group of citizenry and had approximately the same status as those well-known elite confraternities.11 Just as in other Mediterranean cities, control over these spiritualcharitable lay institutions was in the hands of the state authorities. In Dubrovnik, the foundation of all confraternities as well as their statutes had to be ratified by the Minor Council, as the relevant executive body of the noble authorities.12 In terms of how these confraternities operated as the institutional ‘pool’ for the city’s secondary elite, the elections of officials and the corresponding rituals certainly played a significant role, undoubtedly offering these individuals and their families some sort of compensation for their exclusion from power.13 One must therefore ask, what did the system of voting and elections look like in these two Ragusan societies? Did the brethren and the confraternal bodies explicitly imitate the procedures of the ruling elite, being a sort of ‘parallel aristocracy’ with ‘no

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distinctive culture or outlook of its own’, as Brian Pullan has described the Scuole Grandi of Venice?14 Did the election and voting regulations implicate a possible oligarchic concentration of power within these institutions, offering to a narrow group of its members the opportunity of ‘playing politics’? Did the confraternities employ devices to prevent the corruption of electoral process and, subsequently, the usurpation of power? Finally, did the electoral system in these confraternities occasionally cross the boundaries imposed by the Ragusan government, calling for stricter control by the state authorities out of fear that this parallel confraternal hierarchy may pose a threat to the ruling one, as may be inferred from the aforementioned decree of 1441? As for the election and voting regulations, we learn about them mostly from the confraternities’ statutes, as well as their membership and administration lists. Both books of statutes are nowadays preserved in the State Archives of Dubrovnik.15 However, given the fact that all these regulations were normative in nature, and that, at least for the medieval and early modern period, there are no surviving sources analogous to the patrician council records, it is not an easy task to verify how these modalities functioned in reality. This situation changed to some extent during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, with more types of sources preserved. Nevertheless, for the earlier period we are confined to the regulations, decrees, and lists of officeholders recorded in the confraternities’ statutes, with all their limitations and impediments. Due to these circumstances, the electoral reality, with its possible deviation from the norm and manipulations in the voting procedure, can, unfortunately, be addressed only indirectly and speculatively. In the beginning, the confraternity of St.Anthony, the older of the two, was occasionally referred to in the sources as the confraternity of merchants, as it included all the most important merchants of Dubrovnik.16 In its first decades, its membership structure indicates a broad social base, although the citizenry undoubtedly prevailed. However, after this initial social variety, by the end of the fifteenth century membership was actually limited to rich businessmen and foreign employees in the city administration, such as chancellors, notaries, teachers, pharmacists, and doctors, as well as descendants of the illegal branches of noble kindred.17 Their names were written in the confraternity’s register, established in 1432 and today preserved at the State Archives of Dubrovnik, which makes this register a kind of collective identity symbol (Figure 18.1). The confraternity of St. Lazarus emerged in 1531.18 In their application to the Ragusan government, its founders explicitly referred to the permission that had previously been granted to the confraternity of St. Anthony, obviously intending to establish an analogy between them.19 What was to distinguish this association from the outset is that it consisted of merchants who focused on the Levantine trade (mercanti di Levante), as stated in the book of statutes.20 Questioning the motivation behind the establishment of a new confraternity, it can be presumed that the aforementioned ‘elitization’ of the late fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Antunini had an impact on it. The Antunini had come to be associated largely with public administration, while economically focusing on western Mediterranean seafaring.

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FIGURE 18.1 

Book of Statutes, confraternity of St. Anthony, Dubrovnik

Courtesy of the State Archives of Dubrovnik

On the other hand, as Štefica Curić Lenert and Nella Lonza concluded after their research on the confraternity of St. Lazarus, this society was established as a second merchant fraternity following the strong takeoff in the Balkan trade, which ‘led to the creation of a relatively numerous specific group of merchants that St Anthony’s confraternity could not or would not absorb en bloc’.21 The fact that several of the newly accepted Antunini from the aggregation of 1668 had previously been members of the Lazarini – some of them, such as Marcantonio Sabaci or Šimun Gleđević, even occupying the posts of gastalds and officials – also indicates a hierarchical relationship between the two confraternities.22 Although it was initially possible to hold double membership in both fraternities, this option was abolished in the seventeenth century.23 In 1614, the Lazarini decreed that membership in their confraternity would entail the loss of membership in others, except for the few whose members wore their ‘own robes’.24 With time, the two confraternities developed a hierarchical relationship, which became particularly pronounced during the eighteenth century. Being accepted into the Antunini undoubtedly meant taking a step forward in one’s social positioning; some scholars of the older generation, such as Milan Rešetar, concluded that the Antunini were thus the more distinguished among the two, while the Lazarini gathered ‘the less wealthy brethren’.25 Further research on the relationship between these two confraternities is still needed, especially focusing on the possible rivalry and ranking among them, as well as the attitude of the city authorities toward one or the other.

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The brethren and their offices Both confraternities were organized, as the majority of confraternities were in those times, as collegiate structures headed by lay chief officials (gastalds). The gastalds represented the executive body of the confraternities. In time, these officials also acquired a role as the nominating committee for candidates for office, especially as their own successors. Each confraternity had three gastalds and three other officeholders (who lacked specific titles).26 They were elected for a term of one year, resembling the relatively short terms of office that marked the institutional system of Dubrovnik.27 In the beginning, and unlike, for example, the Venetian Scuole Grandi, there was no particular set of conditions that the future gastalds of the Antunini had to fulfill, such as having been born in Dubrovnik, having been a resident there for an explicit number of years, or having been a member of the confraternity for a decade or more.28 The Lazarini had, though, one exception: two of the three future gastalds had to fulfill one crucial condition from the outset, namely to be involved in the Levantine trade.29 Theoretically, offices in the confraternities were open to all of the brethren, accessible to anyone who had the ambition and support. Especially in the first decades of the confraternities, it was still too early to restrict them according to the criterion of birthplace. By the same token, quick rotation after a single year made it possible for a rather broad circle of individuals to hold offices, at least in principle. As long as the classes were still in their formative phase and accepting new members, it would not have been expected to have the restrictions based on one’s origin or the time spent in the confraternity. Nevertheless, there must have been other criteria that the gastalds were obliged to meet, financial power and good social reputation probably being the most prominent ones. By the end of the sixteenth century, in 1580, the Antunini had added the criterion of age, requiring that no officeholders should be younger than 30.30 In addition, although the Ragusan authorities did not imitate Venetian legislation that forbade the chancery officials from holding office in a scuola (this regulation was somewhat relaxed in the course of time), during the late medieval and early modern period, the brethren of liberal professions or employed by the chancery are very rarely found among the confraternities’ officeholders – even if they were their prominent members. It seems that, although there was no strict law about this in Dubrovnik, the practice largely followed the same pattern that James Grubb has described for Venice, namely that the ‘two major spheres reserved to citizens were to be occupied by different parties and were not to be monopolized by any single element’.31 The central body in both confraternities was the chapter (capitulum).32 In the sixteenth century, the term Major or General Chapter (Capitulo Maggiore) emerged.33 All decrees and regulations of the confraternities had to be ratified by the General Chapter, sometimes by a two-thirds majority, at other times in another ratio. A minor executive body was also established in the confraternities: it was the Minor Chapter (Capitolo Minore), which would have dealt with those affairs that did not

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require the summoning of the Major Chapter. It consisted of the gastalds and the other officials, as well as brethren elected by the General Chapter.34 In the beginning, who could sit in the General Chapter was not strictly defined. Judging from the sources, it should have consisted of all members of the confraternities. In the first regulation of the Lazarini statute in 1536, it is written that the chapter summoned all brothers currently in the city. In addition, it was declared that anyone who gave alms for charitable purposes to the amount of one golden ducat should be listed among the ‘brethren of the chapter’, that is, among the ‘full’ members of the confraternity.35 There was also an option of partaking in the spiritual goods (beni spirituali) of the confraternity by paying three gross coins, but such members were not considered ‘full’ and could not participate in the affairs and offices of the confraternity.36 This group of ‘honorary members’ included the noblemen of Ragusa. Indeed, soon after both confraternities were established, a large number of patricians became their members.The register lists of the confraternities include a series of prominent names of Ragusan noblemen.37 However, with only two exceptions, no preserved documents can confirm that noblemen indeed participated in the internal operation of the confraternity, in its meetings, ceremonies, or its voting and electoral procedures. Even though no legal regulation prevented the noblemen from holding offices, the Ragusan citizenry had a sort of monopoly in these confraternities, in much the same way as the monopoly over holding offices in the city councils was firmly in the hands of the nobility. With the end of the sixteenth century approaching, members of noble origin suddenly disappeared completely from both confraternities. The register of new members in the confraternity of St. Anthony contains not a single noble name from the early seventeenth century until its dissolution.38 In all the centuries of existence of the two confraternities, it is only on two occasions that two noblemen were accepted to the Lazarine chapter – Nicolas Sorgo (1602) and Secundo Gozze (1688) – the latter being appointed gastald four times.39 Whether there may have been another, lost register for this kind of member, or perhaps there was a reform of membership imposed by some external circumstances, excluding noblemen from membership, remains unknown. If the mere presence of Ragusan patricians as confraternity members can be interpreted as a means of supervising the confraternities for the elite also remains unclear. Štefica Curić Lenert and Nella Lonza have argued that the answer to this question in regard to St. Lazarus’s confraternity should be a negative one. Noblemen were not becoming members of the chapter and did not participate in the operation of the confraternities, and state supervision was anyway ensured through the Minor Council and the Senate, which had to ratify the foundation and the statutes of the confraternities.40 The same answer could be given with respect to St. Anthony’s confraternity. It indeed seems that the nobles largely enjoyed only the devotional benefits of membership. Nevertheless, the extent to which the invisible ties between the ‘honorary members’ and the ‘full’ chapter brethren influenced the politics, including the elections, within the confraternities, remains a puzzle.

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The hereditary aspect of membership seems to have been important from the very beginning in both confraternities. Once the fathers were listed in the Antunini register book, the next generation included their sons, after a while their grandsons, and so on, without a particular electoral or voting process.41 At first, the Lazarini also supported such a model, and the sons of the confraternity’s brethren could become its members upon coming of age if they paid a ducat as the inscription fee and three gross coins to the benefit of the confraternity.42 Nevertheless, unlike the Antunini, the Lazarini sought to limit this hereditary right to membership. In 1614, the Major Chapter issued a decree that the descendants of the Lazarini would henceforth need two thirds of the votes in order to be accepted.43 And yet, it seems that this rule was bypassed already in the second half of the seventeenth century, when descendants were listed without any special decision on their acceptance.44 Demographic problems, difficulties in achieving a quorum, and a general decline in membership must have contributed to this laxness. The Antunini opted to circumscribe membership of their confraternity in the regulations of 1600 and 1603. In 1600, the brethren decided that nobody could be inscribed di nuovo in the confraternity unless he obtained the votes of the majority in the Major Chapter. The Major Chapter thus remained reserved for those ‘who had previously, as was the custom, participated in meetings and voted’, as well as those ‘who belonged to such kindreds whose ancestors were officials in the confraternity’.45 If someone wanted to enter the confraternity di nuovo, he could do it only by obtaining the votes of the majority in the Major Chapter.46 The hereditary principle, which had already been present in the structure of the Antunini, now became a rule defined by the chapter, which left the decision on each potential member in the hands of privileged individuals, selected on the principle of heredity. In 1603, the Major Chapter issued a regulation on establishing the so-called Mirror Book (Specchio) of all living members of the confraternity, which in practice meant that membership was barred to most new applicants.47 The right of heritage is also reasserted, so descendants of families whose members had been officials of the confraternity could automatically, without a vote, enter the Major Chapter upon becoming 22 years of age.48 As it has been stated before, only those who were listed in the Antunini Mirror Book could enter the Major Chapter, which practically closed the door to everyone else. Those who wanted to enter the confraternity and its chapters, yet could not refer to any ancestors among the Antunini, had to pass through the election sieve first. It was only with the approval of the majority of brethren sitting on the chapter that they could become members of the confraternity.

Confraternities’ assemblies as stages for the ‘voting pageant’ The General Chapter of the Antunini was to meet at least once a year, on the feast of St. Matthias the Apostle (24 February), when they had to elect the new governing body. In the Lazarini confraternity, the voting and election day was on the eve

Voting in Ragusan confraternities  297

of the feast of St. Lazarus, 21 June.49 A written decision in the Antunini book of statutes from 1432 said that the chapter should be summoned by ringing the bells in two churches, St. Francis and St. Peter. Upon hearing the bells, the brethren were to gather in the chapter of the Franciscan church, and those who ignored the call were to pay a fine for each chapter meeting they missed.50 That the church of St. Francis indeed served as the meeting place for the Antunini chapter is confirmed in a decision from 1515, which mentions that the chapter had met in that place as was apparently customary.51 Nevertheless, as we have seen, in 1441, barely ten years after ratifying the Antunini confraternity, the Dubrovnik authorities condemned this way of summoning the brethren by ringing the church bells. Apparently, it bore too much resemblance with the established custom of summoning the patrician councils, thus symbolically threatening the government, in a way the aristocratic authorities were not willing to tolerate.52 Indeed, about a century later, when the confraternity of St. Lazarus is first mentioned, the brethren were ‘sought out and personally summoned to the chapter’.53 The annual chapter meeting, in which new officials were elected, took place at the church of St. Lazarus or St. Sebastian, or in ‘another suitable place’.54 Both fraternities restricted the enrollment of new members from quite early on, mainly by producing stricter admission rules. Thus, in 1599, the Lazarini changed their regulations, decreeing that any future admission to the confraternity first had to undergo a vote within the Minor Chapter. Only a candidate who deposited one golden ducat and received two thirds of the votes in the Minor Chapter could proceed to the candidature in the General Chapter.55 In 1619, it was further decreed that nobody could join the Lazarini confraternity without previously asking the gastalds for admission, and they were to officially recommend the candidate to the chapter.56 Unlike the records of patrician council meetings, there are no sources that would testify to the brethren’s presence and activity at the chapter’s meetings and elections. The right to sit on the chapter and to vote was in both confraternities related to the eligible age, generally 18 or 20.57 Nevertheless, in the confraternity of St. Anthony, this was additionally restricted by the regulation of 1488, after which only those Antunini who were heads of families or married had the right to vote. This provision also reduced the electoral body, because it excluded all those who did not match these criteria.58 The Lazarini statute only briefly states that nobody should sit on the chapter or vote if still a minor, which meant, according to a later interpretation in the register, younger than 18.59 Business undertakings, journeys, and occasionally the simple lack of motivation could affect the number of brethren in the assembly. Aware of the potential problem, the Antunini included an early definition of quorum in their founding regulation of 1432, specifying that all elections conducted in the chapter were valid only if at least twenty-four brethren were present.60 A note from 1588 recording some conclusions of an assembly mentions that the decisions of that particular annual meeting were made with thirty-three votes for and four against, which means that thirty-seven members of the chapter were present.61 A similar number is given for

298  Practices, institutions, procedures

1606, when thirty-four members of the chapter voted on the expulsion of a confraternity member, in a ratio of thirty-one to three.62 In the confraternity of St. Lazarus, the number of members needed for the quorum was twenty-five in the beginning, and the decrees were to be valid if they obtained the absolute majority of votes in the quorum (Figures 18.2 and 18.3).63 The results of a vote in the Lazarini chapter in 1570 reveal that thirty-five brethren were sitting on the chapter at the time.64 Over time, the number required for the quorum changed in both confraternities. However, after reaching a peak in the sixteenth century, this number decreased, mostly due to the demographic decline

FIGURE 18.2 The

quorum requirements in the Book of Statutes, confraternity of St. Anthony, Dubrovnik

Courtesy of the State Archives of Dubrovnik

FIGURE 18.3  The

quorum requirements in the Book of Statutes, confraternity of St. Lazarus, Dubrovnik

Courtesy of the State Archives of Dubrovnik

Voting in Ragusan confraternities  299

that affected both confraternities and the city itself. In the Lazarini confraternity, for example, the number needed for the quorum reached its lowest point in 1750, with merely eighteen members.65 What was then the ratio among those who made decisions versus the actual membership of the confraternities? What was the concentration of operative power among the brethren? According to the information supplied by Ivan-Marija Matijašević in his work Zibaldone (1769), the Antunini had 261 members in 1514.66 Some data concerning the Lazarini imply that in 1537, only a few years after the foundation, there were 198 full members in the confraternity.67 According to these meager sources that speak of membership numbers and some minor notes on the present members in the assemblies, there were probably twenty-five to thirty active brethren – that is, about one eighth – sitting on the chapter and making key decisions affecting the life of these two confraternities.

The procedure of nomination and election of the confraternities’ officeholders The earliest description of the procedure for nominating and electing officeholders among the Antunini (1432) does not specify who was proposing the candidates for the office of gastald. By all accounts, the election still adhered to the principle of free nomination and all the brethren had an equal chance to do it. This was also in accordance with the model of direct nomination of candidates (scrutinium).68 However, in 1481, a change in nomination and election procedures occurred. Obviously, the wide range of potential candidates implied the risk of bad choices, as well as an inability to control them.69 Therefore the Antunini seem to have soon given preference to the indirect nomination of candidates (electio).70 This was also the preferred model for holding elections in the noble councils, especially for the main administrative offices.71 The nomination committee consisted of the chief officials whose term of office was to expire, and the Antunini did not resort to the nomination by lot, as was the practice among the nobility, as well as in the confraternity of St. Lazarus from 1599 onward. Hence, the Antunini’s gastalds were to nominate twelve brethren at the end of their term, and from these twelve, three were to be elected by the majority of votes and confirmed as the chief officers of the confraternity. The process was repeated until three gastalds and three officials (iudices) had been elected. The chaplain blessed the elected officials immediately after the procedure, consecrating their office.72 The procedure of electing the gastalds among the Lazarini was detailed in their book of statutes. Unlike their Antunini counterparts, the Lazarini soon dropped the practice of nomination of the candidates by the committee made of current gastalds.73 In 1599 they introduced nomination by lot, modeling it on the mechanism already established by the sixteenth century in the patrician Major Council.74 The Lazarini book of statutes mentions three black ballots (tre balle negre), and each of those chapter members who happened to draw them had the authority to nominate a candidate.The winner was the nominated candidate who received two thirds

300  Practices, institutions, procedures

to balle negre in the Book of Statutes, confraternity of St. Lazarus, Dubrovnik

FIGURE 18.4 Reference

Courtesy of the State Archives of Dubrovnik

of the votes. The same procedure was to be applied in the election of the second and third gastalds, as well as for other officials (Figure 18.4).This system remained in use until the first quarter of the eighteenth century, when the brethren decided to accelerate the procedure and decreed that the new officeholders should be elected together rather than separately.75 Unfortunately, the documents do not reveal the cause of this change in the system of choosing candidates – an unfavorable experience or the threat of an oligarchic administrative elite might have influenced it. Beside the gastalds and their assistants, the election procedure was applied to the spiritual officeholders of the confraternity, namely its chaplains. And whereas there is no information on the Antunini confraternity for the early period (it is possible that the chaplain was simply appointed, without an election), in 1512 it was decreed that he should be elected for a period of one year by means of ballots, and with the majority of votes.76 The Lazarini described in detail the procedure of electing the chaplain from the outset. At first, when the confraternity was established in 1531, he was elected in the chapter meeting, but the required number of votes was not defined.77 Since a revision of the decision from 1614 decrees that he should be henceforth elected with two thirds of the votes, it may be presumed that an ordinary majority was sufficient before, which was apparently made stricter with time.78 As for the election and voting ritual, the brethren from both confraternities celebrated the Mass before proceeding to the election, praying for God’s providence to help them to select the best candidates.This is explicitly stated in the Lazarini book of statutes, and even though the Antunini book of statutes does not say anything about it explicitly, it is plausible to presume that the Mass preceded the election, as the chapter met in the Franciscan church.79 Chaplains played a prominent role in the voting and election ceremony itself in both confraternities. They collected the votes of all the brethren present in the chapter during the nomination process and also during the election.80 This ritual, by the look of it, once again followed the model already established in the patrician councils.81 The Lazarini book of statutes contains a detailed description of that crucial moment, which played a key role not only in appointing the new officeholders but also on any other occasion of voting in the chapter. The chaplain (in the city councils this duty belonged to the chancellor) approached the gastalds and then each brother with a rosary (una corona di pater noster), which he carried under his mantle or in a sleeve, secretly counting down the votes that the brethren whispered

Voting in Ragusan confraternities  301

FIGURE 18.5 Description

of the voting procedure in the Book of Statutes, confraternity of St. Lazarus, Dubrovnik

Courtesy of the State Archives of Dubrovnik

into his ear. If for any justified reason the chaplain could not come to the election, this role was taken over by the oldest gastald, who first had to swear publicly that he would not resort to any fraud. When the votes were collected, the chaplain showed them to the gastalds alone, who counted them together with him and publicly pronounced whether a proposal had been confirmed or rejected (Figure 18.5).82 The indirect nomination of candidates that, as stated previously, came to be applied in both confraternities certainly reduced the possibility of scattering votes, accelerated the electoral process, and perhaps, to some extent, gave the impression of a safer practice against machinations and fraud, similarly to the patrician councils.83 Yet at the same time it increased the power of the gastalds, especially in the Antunini confraternity, since the nomination of new officeholders depended on their choices and they had become the main nominating committee. In order to prevent an excessive influence of the gastalds and to provide additional control on the administrative and financial functioning of the confraternity, in 1475 the Antunini established the office of three conservators. The Lazarini took a similar step, establishing the office of three reviewers (reviditori) in 1599.84 The conservators and the reviewers were supposed to supervise the property and valuables of the confraternity, as well as monitor the actions of the gastalds. Over time, the role of the conservators gained in significance, and by the end of the sixteenth century, their names were on an equal footing with those of the gastalds.85 They were elected for a one-year term and were not obliged to refrain from holding an office for a period of time (vacanza) as other officials. By the end of their term, they could be replaced by the chapter, but also reappointed.86 This transition to an indirect nomination system, as well as the introduction of the offices of conservators and reviewers as a sort of corrective body, show that in

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both confraternities a small group of men was emerging who ruled the policy of the confraternity. However, this small group that took over the administration can be reconstructed only indirectly. The membership list records only the names of new brethren, as well as the elected officeholders, but not who was actually present at the regular chapter meetings. If such lists existed, they would surely answer more accurately the question on the concentration of power in the inner circle of officials. Nevertheless, as was the case with the nobility as well, the prevailing criterion in the choice of the highest officeholders in the confraternities during the late medieval and early modern periods was, by all means, still that of being a suitable person, rather than the one with the right kinship.87 Of course, the person’s status was always tied to the reputation of his family, and vice versa.88 On several occasions, sons of distinguished fathers were elected as the chief officials (gastalds) of the Antunini confraternity as it was believed that they ‘picked up’ something from their father’s fame and name, which distinguished them and made them appropriate candidates for leading the confraternity. In addition, it should be taken into account that during the fifteenth century cittadini families were still young lineages, consisting largely of the wealthy ‘new men’ who were just building their identity and kinship networks. During the election, a person’s reputation, his financial situation, and probably the ambition to obtain the leading office in the confraternity played a crucial role. It was a process in which the more capable, more intelligent, more ambitious, and wealthier had more access to the real levers of power.89 As Bariša Krekić has stated, ‘the combination of “political” influence and individual economic strength was more dominating in these elite confraternities than it had been the case among the Ragusan nobility’; I can only confirm his conclusions.90

Mechanisms for preventing electoral corruption and the usurpation of power Although in Dubrovnik we do not find similar evidences to Alessandro Caravia’s criticism of Venetian Scuole Grandi in his satirical poem Il Sogno dil Caravia (1541), where he criticizes some Scuole as hives of intriguing factions, the fear of fraudulent elections, conspiracy, and corruption of power must have existed in Ragusan elite confraternities as well.91 The concentration of power among the wealthy and prominent brethren was noticeable, and both confraternities tried to prevent the degeneration of the governing body into an oligarchy based on kinship and blood. In 1488, the Antunini made an important decision to exclude relatives during the election process and balloting. When electing a new gastald, brothers of the gastalds in the nominating committee could not be appointed to an office. Furthermore, brothers or cousins up to the second degree of kinship were not allowed to vote for the nominated candidate.92 In their founding statutes of 1536, the Lazarini excluded from the nomination and voting procedures all the relatives of the candidate up to the third degree of kinship.93 With these measures, the brethren tried

Voting in Ragusan confraternities  303

to prevent the degeneration of the governing body into an oligarchy based on kinship and blood. Nevertheless, as Nella Lonza has observed in regard to the similar provisions within the patrician circles, ‘this was designed rather to allay the social embarrassment caused by the voting of relatives than to protect the fairness of selection’.94 Family connections could perhaps be tracked down, but it was impossible to eliminate collusion based on subtler ties of friendship or common business interest.95 Another mechanism used to prevent the usurpation of power was an obligatory period of absence from the office (the so-called vacanza).This regulation prescribed that an official, having completed a term of service in a given office, became ineligible for a certain period of time either to reoccupy it or to be appointed to other offices. From the foundation of the Antunini until 1488, the required period of absence from office was one year.96 However, it seems that this provision became a dead letter during the first decades of the confraternity. At the chapter meeting of 1481, the brethren concluded that the regulation was not being obeyed. This violation was causing, as they stated, ‘a great damage to the confraternity’ and thus they decreed that, in the future, the gastalds could hold the office for a maximum of thirteen months. Those who violated the rule were required to pay a small fine to charitable purposes.97 This penalty may seem relatively mild, but the records show that from its introduction the gastalds were regularly elected and replaced on a yearly basis. Soon, however, the one-year vacancy was assessed as insufficient and too short. In the same year (1488) when the regulation that prevented the voting of relatives was enacted, a decision was passed that extended the duration of absence from office to as much as five years.98 This change lasted for a hundred years, until a new regulation was issued in 1588, which again reduced the vacanza to a two-year period.99 The Lazarini, by contrast, prescribed a vacanza of two years from the outset.100 Judging from the confraternity’s list of officials, the brethren adhered to this rule, although it can be observed that certain names reappeared among the gastalds as soon as the period was over.101 If we go back to the end of the fifteenth century, the five-year period of vacanza introduced by the Antunini shows that, during that time, the confraternity must have been so strong in terms of membership that it could enforce such a long period of abstinence from office holding. It was also necessary to preserve, at least in theory, the equality of all members in the competition for the leading offices. The power of the gastald’s office, with its leading role in the financial administration and social responsibilities of the confraternities, surely could provide various opportunities for ambitious citizens, at least within the confraternity as a replica of the patr