Urban Legends: Civic Identity and the Classical Past in Northern Italy, 1250-1350
Between 1250 and 1350, numerous Italian city-states jockeyed for position in a cutthroat political climate. Seeking to legitimate and ennoble their autonomy, they turned to ancient Rome for concrete and symbolic sources of identity. Each city-state appropriated classical symbols, ancient materials, and Roman myths to legitimate its regime as a logical successor to&—or continuation of&—Roman rule. In Urban Legends, Carrie Bene&š illuminates this role of the classical past in the construction of late medieval Italian urban identity.