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Changing Attitudes towards Judicial Violence in the Italian Communes, ca. 1260-1360

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - J-ViC (Changing Attitudes towards Judicial Violence in the Italian Communes, ca. 1260-1360)

Okres sprawozdawczy: 2021-10-01 do 2023-09-30

Public opinion has often had a strong influence in setting the boundaries of judicial violence in Europe. This project consists of a detailed analysis of secular and religious attitudes towards judicial violence in the period ca. 1260-1360, through the case-studies of the well-documented communes of Florence and Siena. Western Europe underwent in this period substantial penal reforms, ultimately making greater use of corporal punishment. At the same time, there were also changes in religious attitudes towards this phenomenon: the first confraternities devoted to the spiritual assistance of criminals condemned to death were founded in the 14th century. The political and religious reasons for these changes, their detailed chronology and the attitudes of different social segments towards them have not yet been thoroughly researched. This project aims to do so by combining the study of theories and practices of criminal justice of secular and religious origin and the history of emotions. It aims to advance our knowledge of medieval society and provide insight for understanding comparable contemporary phenomena, by producing as its outputs a monograph, preparatory articles, a series of podcasts and a briefing document on the role of public opinion in the increase/decrease of judicial violence throughout history. The overarching objectives of J-ViC are:
1) Understanding why religious and lay attitudes towards judicial violence changed in the period 1260-1360, and how this related to the aforementioned contemporary socio-political
2) Investigating the tension between rehabilitation and punishment as the objectives of judicial sanctions in past societies, and their relationship to changes in attitudes towards judicial violence among social actors;
3) Understanding the conditions under which crowds are convinced to consider an act of judicial violence as legitimate or illegitimate, and the role of emotions in this process.
The main activities carried out during the first ten months of the project have consisted mostly of:
- Secondary research mostly undertaken in the libraries of the University of Milan
- Primary research carried out in the State archives of Siena, Florence and Pisa
- Participation in conferences in Italy and the United Kingdom
- Organisation of an online seminar on medieval concepts of publicness
- Teaching a graduate seminar on the history of emotions at the University of Milan, plus guest lectures at Milan, Belgrade, Siena and Rio de Janeiro
- Preparation of three academic publications, two of which to be published in conference proceedings, one in a peer-reviewed journal
- Administrative and project management activities
- Identification of training needs and completion of relevant training courses in quantitative methods for History and in Digital Humanities
The main results describe above are all contributions that allow debates on the emergence of corporal punishments in late medieval Europe to progress beyond the state of the art. Besides the article and two book chapters already mentioned, the expected research outputs include a monograph that will synthetize the overall results of the project (to be submitted in 2025), another article to be submitted to a peer-reviewed journal and an article on the emotional reactions to executions that will appear in the first academic work devoted to the history of collective emotions, a book co-edited by the researchers with two other colleagues and that was published in September 2022.
Allegory of safety by Ambrogio Lorenzetti (1337), Siena, Palazzo Pubblico