Trevor Dean
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Political structures
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The documents in this section examine the great variety of political regimes in late-medieval Italy: from consolidated communes such as Florence or Venice, to stable or unstable 'tyrannies' in Pisa, Ferrara or Verona. The Italian communes of the thirteenth century have been celebrated for their recreation of the institutions and methods of ancient democracy. From the middle decades of the thirteenth century, political life in northern Italy began to be dominated by a new breed of political and military leaders, generally known as tyrants or signori. If the major political developments of the thirteenth century were the appearance of city-lordships and the consolidation of communes, the major political development of the fourteenth was the construction of regional states, in which one dominant city came to control several formerly independent city-states.

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