International Workshop on Good Governance in the Late Medieval City (1200-1600)

Organized by Nele De Raedt (UCLouvain) and David Napolitano (Utrecht University)

Nele De Raedt
Peter und Johann Friedrich Hamman: Handzeichnungen Von Worms aus der Zeit und nach der Stadtzerstörung 1689 im "Pfälzischen Erbfolgekrieg". ©Stadtarchiv Worms.
Peter und Johann Friedrich Hamman: Handzeichnungen Von Worms aus der Zeit und nach der Stadtzerstörung 1689 im "Pfälzischen Erbfolgekrieg". ©Stadtarchiv Worms.

This international workshop focuses on the definition and scope of good governance in the late medieval city (1200-1600). It questions specifically how good governance was defined in diverse source types; how urban administrators tried to translate this abstract ideal into practice; the duties and responsibilities that befell urban administrators;  in general, but also in relation to the use of municipal money, the exercise of justice, or the construction and maintenance of the built environment. The study day on good governance in the late medieval city (1200-1500) focuses on these topics, and especially how to address them from different disciplinary angles. Which sources do we use? How do we use them? And what conclusions can we draw?

The workshop brings together researchers from different disciplines (political history, literary studies, art and architectural history,…) to present on these issues. It aims above all to provide a forum for ongoing research with specific attention to research questions, methodological issues and questions about source material.

February 1th, 2023
Utrecht University

This interdisciplinary workshop is made possible thanks to the financial support of the Dutch Research School of Medieval Studies, the Louvain Research Institute for Landscape, Architecture and the Built Environment (LAB, UCLouvain), the Utrecht University Centre for Medieval Studies (UUCMS), and the Research Alliance CITY (Ghent University and Vrije Universiteit Brussel).


09:45-10:00 Registration

10:00-10:15 Welcome

Chair: Nele De Raedt

10:15-10:35 Minne De Boodt (KU Leuven)

Debating good governance. The added value of a cross-contextual analysis for the study of late medieval political thinking

10:35-10:55 Frederik Buylaert (Ghent University), Kaat Capelle (Ghent University), Klaas Van Gelder (Universiteit Brussel/State Archives in Brussels)

Comparing “good governance” in town and countryside: the evidence from Flanders, c. 1250-1550

10:55-11:15 David Napolitano (Utrecht University)

From mirrors-for-princes, over the podestà literature, to mirrors-for-magistrates: Preliminary explorations of three modern labels for medieval advice literature on rulership

11:15-12:15 Discussion


Chair: David Napolitano

13:30-13:50 Nele De Raedt (UCLouvain)

Mirrors for magistrates on building the city

13:50-14:10 - Mats Dijkdrent (UCLouvain)

Architectural descriptions as mirrors for good governance in sixteenth-century Antwerp

14:10-15:10 Discussion


Chair: David Napolitano

15:30-15:50 Giacomo Santoro (Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa)

Magistratus virum ostendit: a perspective on good governance in the Republic of Siena, between pedagogy and government (1428-1456)

15:50-16:10 Vasileios Syros (Jawaharlal Nehru University & The Medici Archive Project)  

Good governance and the city in early modern Italy and India

16:10-17:00 Discussion and closing remarks



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