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By David Abulafia

Quantity five brings jointly reports of the political, spiritual, social and financial historical past of the total of Europe and of the Mediterranean international among approximately 1198 and 1300. accomplished assurance of the advancements in western Europe is balanced by way of realization to the east of Europe, together with the Byzantine international, and the Islamic lands in Spain, north Africa and the Levant. Thematic articles examine the advantageous arts, the vernacular, communications and different elements of a interval within which the frontiers of Latin Christendom have been increasing vigorously outward. consciousness is also paid to the frontier societies that emerged in Spain, the Baltic and the Mediterranean islands.

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These urban magnates lived in fortified towers in the city while drawing much of their wealth from rural property. They maintained networks of clients and kin throughout the contado, and lived by a code of honour and vendetta that by the s posed a serious challenge to political stability. But what principally distinguished them from their fellow citizens was their self-conscious allegiance to the cult of chivalry, the French origins of which paradoxically increased its importance in Italy as a marker of aristocratic solidarity.

In northern Italy, the growth of property taxes during the thirteenth century reduced the fiscal privileges attendant upon nobility, making nobility more than ever a matter of values and style. In the south, however, the opposite occurred. Tax exemptions on feudal property became more securely established, and a growing prejudice against noble involvement in commerce increased the economic dependence of the nobility on their estates. Inheritance customs differed also, indivisibility in the south preserving the integrity of powerful noble lordships, while the partible inheritance customs of the north acted to dissolve them.

Regional, even local, variation is everywhere apparent. In a very general way, however, the association of chivalric ideology with the greatest lords of the age raised the prestige of knighthood in thirteenth-century society, while raising also the requirements of descent, status and display necessary to enter into and sustain it. As a result, the number of men who took up formal knighthood declined in most areas, more rapidly as the century proceeded. This process of social elevation and exclusion had begun already by the end of the twelfth century, and continued into the fourteenth.

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