Trevor Dean
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in The towns of Italy in the later Middle Ages
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This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts covered by the collection of original sources in the book. The towns of later medieval Italy were one of the high points of urban society and culture in Europe before the industrial revolution. They also produced huge amounts of written material, which is exceptional in quality and quantity for the Middle Ages. The book focuses on the buildings and their decoration, and urban 'social services'. It then addresses Italian civic religion, and deals with social groups and social tensions. The book explores production and commerce: the effects of monetary affluence, the guilds and markets, government interventions to stimulate production, to regulate exchange, and to control the city's population. It examines the great variety of political regimes in late-medieval Italy.

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