The first study to analyse popular protest across the Italian peninsula and the Venetian colonies during the early modern period, 1494 to 1559. Drawing on a vast range of contemporary documents, Samuel K.
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Popular Protest and Ideals of Democracy in Late Renaissance Italy is the first study to analyse popular protest across the Italian peninsula and the Venetian colonies during the early modern period, 1494 to 1559. Drawing on over 100 contemporary chronicles and diaries, the fifty-eight volumes of Marin Sanudo's diplomatic dispatches, mercantile letters, and commentary, and 586 collective supplications scattered through archival sources from towns and villages
in the Grand duchy of Milan, Samuel K. Cohn, Jr. places these incidents and their patterns in comparative perspectives, first with the late medieval heyday of popular revolt and then with regions north of the Alps. Cohn finds new developments during the early modern period such as an increase in women
rebels, mutinies of soldiers, and new tactics of revolts such as shop closures, peaceful demonstrations of strength, and use of religious processions for discussions of tactics and strategies for obtaining logistic advantage. At the same time, these protests show convergences with the medieval Italian past, with leaders coming almost exclusively from the ranks of nonelites, religious ideology playing a surprisingly minor role, and the majority of revolts centring overwhelming in towns and
cities. Finally, this study demonstrates that democracies do not just die under the duress of military occupation and growing powers of autocratic regimes. Ideals of representation and equality not only persisted; they could emerge in new forms and with greater sophistication.