Description - The Captain's Concubine by Donald Weinstein
On March 21, 1578, Holy Thursday, Cavalier Fabrizio Bracciolini charged that he had been ambushed, slashed, stoned, and left bleeding in a Pistoia street by fellow Cavalier Mariotto Cellesi and four accomplices. This is an examination of the lengthy investigation of the incident, baring the motives of the actors and following the ensuing trial. Donald Weinstein explores the roles of the patricians, merchants, shopkeepers, weavers, priests and prostitutes who served as audience, bit players and chorus in this Renaissance street theatre drama. When Fabrizio is revealed to be the lover of Chiara, the concubine of Mariotto's father, questioning moves away from the street fight itself to the right of the defendants to take revenge for violated family honour: accuser becomes accused, and a simple case of assault turns into a community's discussion of its most tenacious values. Lurching from comedy to tragedy and neglected even by local chroniclers, the Holy Thursday incident involved issues of honour, family, religion, gender relations and power familiar to social historians of late mediaeval and early modern Europe.
For the Medici ruler of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, the Holy Thursday affair presented a dilemma - bound to regard duels and street fights as threats to an all too fragile public order and a challenge to his sovereignty, Francesco I nevertheless respected and fostered the aristocratic code of honour, family loyalty, and chivalric valour to which the Cellesi appealed. How these contradictions were accommodated is a crucial part of the story Weinstein tells.
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(229mm x 152mm x 20mm)
Johns Hopkins University Press
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
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Book Reviews - The Captain's Concubine by Donald Weinstein
Author Biography - Donald Weinstein
Donald Weinstein is a professor emeritus of history at the University of Arizona. He is the author of several books of medieval and Renaissance history, including Savonarola and Florence: Prophecy and Patriotism in the Renaissance.