Capitalism Promotes Peace: Medieval Mercenaries, Milan, and the Market.Submitted by aalcorn on Fri, 02/15/2013 - 20:37
The Italian City-State of Milan was predominantly ruled by the Visconti family. Similar to the de Medici’s of Florence, the Visconti’s rarely if ever held high office within the oligarchical representative system of Milan, which they ironically called “communes”. The Visconti family maintained enormous power in Milan from the early 14th until the mid 15th century when the last surviving male heir of the family Philippe Visconti died in 1437. The eldest daughter Valentina Visconti served as the head of the family but never managed the amount of control or leadership of previous generations.
The reason I demonstrated the background is to note the circumstances in the city-State of Milan, northern Italy in the middle of the 15th century. They were easing out of totalitarian rule beginning at the time of Philippe Visconti’s death. There was no revolution, but the power of the State receded entirely for almost two years. This is worthy of note in and of itself.
Meanwhile, the wealthier citizens of Milan decided that the city would be better off with a return to a (relatively) more representative and effectual communal rule. Under the rule of the Visconti family the reality of the commune was similar to that of the Roman Senate under Julius Caesar.