Bourgeoisie Culture in the 13th Century Italy Part 1
According to Top-Mba-Universities, effort to create new institutions and defend them from the assaults of the feudal world, more intense economic activity leading to a new economy, rise of new social classes and strata, wider world experience, naturally also represented a new culture, new spirits and new forms. The new religious and civil architecture has arisen at the same time. The statutes are enriched with urban police provisions. Custom is being refined, even as partisan hatreds are intensified and punitive law becomes more cruel. Urbanity takes the place of the ancient almost rustic feature: and it is almost ceremonial in the greeting, in the conversation. The amiable gifts of intelligence and the witty joke are appreciated, the art of singing and playing and poetry. Consideration has grown for good speaking in public or on solemn occasions in family life. The word adorned and effective, it is said, is more effective than the sword. And there is already a tendency to trust a lot in the subtle devices of ingenuity. All this was born in the people’s regime, in parliaments and councils, between party leaders and demagogues.
In the same people’s regime, the study of law acquires a central place, which finds its seat in the universities or “studies”. It responds to the need of a society that changes its fundamental assises, must regulate relations with the Empire and the Church, reconciling and claiming, building new institutes and hierarchies of offices, innovating in the field of the possessory and family system, in maritime trade. and in matters of credit, international relations and corporate law. Think of all the multiform statutory activity, of the municipality, of the people, of the Arts, as early as’ 200, even in small lands, not without the irony of the people learned in literature and in law. These statutes are, from the beginning, a mere written custom, for jurists who look at them a little from top to bottom, they who are waiting to gloss and gloss over their Justinian texts. But reality soon takes over. The new public law attracts attention, as the Roman law is often now inapplicable. In ‘200, the new statutory right is the former, it too can derogate from any previous law or right, places itself alongside or above the canons, yields only to the prescriptions of the Gospel. This teeming of laws coeval with the development of people’s life, also means public and private litigation, multiplication of courts, teeming with jurists and notaries and lawyers for many functions, and their overflow even in political life. They interpret, apply, create the law, but also devalue it in public opinion, contribute to disturbing the simple but firm ancient concept of just and unjust, lawful and unlawful. But in this activity of lawyers, masters of law or practitioners of statutory legislation, one must also see the Italian law that was born, made up of Germanic residues and more numerous Roman elements, of written law and of vulgar law:
It should be added that in the 13th century these men of the law were nine-tenths of the educated class par excellence. Not only the study and revitalization of Roman law and statutory legislation are their work. But they are also, for the most part, the chroniclers: men of the law are Senzanome Florentine chronicler, Rolandino chronicler of the Marca Trevigiana, a bourgeois from Padua, a fierce enemy of Ezzelino, even if a little fascinated by him; Gherardo Maurizio of Vicenza, partisan and chancellor of Frederick II, apologist for Ezzelino. And it is known what place, in the intellectual production of the 13th century, the news, an emanation of the city and its parts, echoes of the municipal struggles and the struggles between emperors and popes, between Guelphs and Ghibellines, but at the same time a mirror of regional life and Italian, also open, with a more or less clear vision of the connections, to the things of Alemagna or France or England: unlike the more ancient or contemporary imperial or papal history, suspended almost in the void of its universality, and the monastic chronicle, limited to the events of the monastery. How poor of fictional prose e. up to the sec. XIII, of poetry, equally rich in history. They are also, those men of the law, the writers of the time, the first vulgar poets, at the court of Frederick II or in Bologna or in the Tuscan cities; they are the first intermediaries, as jurists and as writers, between the ancient classical culture and the new world in whose service it is placed: remember Pier della Vigna. The vernacular begins to be used as a literary language, naturally undergoing, in its effort to ennoble itself, the reflex influence of Latin. It partly takes the place of Latin, in part of the French and Provençal, very popular in Italy, among men of letters and business and court, together with the Provençal lyric and the songs of deeds and the French and Breton novels. And he makes his first tests in the business correspondence of merchants and in legislative acts: that is, for essentially practical purposes.