- Series: Oxford Historical Monographs
- Hardcover: 208 pages
- Publisher: Clarendon Press; 1 edition (May 23, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0199247935
- ISBN-13: 978-0199247936
- Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 0.8 x 5.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1 customer review)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,233,691 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Sumptuary Law in Italy 1200-1500 (Oxford Historical Monographs) 1st Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Actual information about sumptuary laws themselves is somewhat sparse; there are chapters devoted to the enforceability of sumptuary law, and chapters about how various city-states in Italy decided to pass these laws and why. Its examination of gabella, or the voluntary implicit tax on sumptuary scofflaws, is fascinating. There's also a good synthesis tying sumptuary law to public displays like weddings and funerals, setting out a thesis that cities were really only concerned with public excessiveness. I really also liked a short essay about circumstances under which these laws were relaxed, and biographies of those who supported and fought against the laws.
However, what I actually wanted from this book, actual sumptuary laws, is not really there -- I wanted to know for myself how the laws changed within each city over time; I wanted way more examples. That isn't particularly present. What is present is useful for helping to understand the period, because how society worked with sumptuary law is important to understanding the Renaissance. I'd definitely regard this as a book someone'd want to read at least once to help gain a full understanding of sumptuary legislation during the period.
Incidentally, the author of this book is a prolific and knowledgable writer on this subject; her knowledge shows quite well here. The writing's fast-paced, and easy even for a novice in the period to understand, free of that awful high-flown "university prose."