Early Medieval Genoa

Balzaretti, Ross (2018) Early Medieval Genoa. In: A companion to Medieval Genoa. Brill's companions to European history (15). Brill, Leiden, pp. 72-92. ISBN 9789004360013

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The earliest coherent written documentation for Genoa in the early medieval period is from the latter part of the tenth century. Charters documenting the property transactions of several local churches (notably San Siro and Santo Stefano) reveal that the bishop and his clergy had property rights at the extremities of costal Liguria and in the interior. Fifty eight texts have survived between 916 and 1000 Synopsis, A Companion to Medieval Genoa (Brill, 2017) 3 and the first part of this chapter is devoted to their detailed analysis. This number is rather fewer than for comparable Italian urban centres and that fact needs to be explained. Nor has a substantial local historical narrative survived until the twelfth century, albeit more typical of wider Italian patterns.

Some sense of local identities does emerge from short hagiographical narratives, especially one dealing with the translation of the bones of San Remo from that site to Genoa itself. There is also a sense of civic community within the famous diploma of Berengar II and Adalbert issued on 18 July 958. These meagre texts allow some conclusions to be reached about the social and political structure of the town in the tenth century but not before. Its economic functions are better understood from recent archaeological work on the port itself which covers a much longer historical time span and that will be summarised here. The chapter will conclude by arguing that taking the surviving evidence as a whole in the current state of knowledge Genoa's connections with the interior were at least as important for its historical development as the more celebrated connection with the sea. The narrative is neither one-dimensional nor uni-directional and it is likely, for example, that access to the sea via the port of Genoa was more important to the economic functioning of the Carolingian Empire than can be demonstrated from current evidence.

Item Type: Book Section
Keywords: Genoa; Early medieval; Italy; History
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Arts > School of Humanities > Department of History
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Balzaretti, Dr Ross
Date Deposited: 30 Nov 2017 10:38
Last Modified: 12 Mar 2020 04:30
URI: https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/48426

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