Reply To: Armed citizens in medieval Europe

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You do realize Imperial City in the Classical era of Athens, Sparta or Rome and “Imperial City” in the medieval period mean two completely different things, right?

Imperial city is a modern technical term for cities which go down the path that Babylon and Athens and Carthage and Rome went down of conquering their neighbours. Many cities in medieval Italy did this on a small scale (Florence and Sienna and Pisa Prato).

Venice’s empire in Crete, Cyprus, and at one point most of the Peloponnese (not to mention the terrafirma and Dalmatia) was not just a snack! I think they got into a big fight with Maximillian in the Alps.

Most towns with an artisan or partially artisan government had pretty liberal weapon laws for citizens. Again, this is because the citizens made up the bulk of the town watch and the militia.

That does not follow at all. A very common solution, in the country I was born in and others, is requiring people to own weapons and keep them at home but sharply restricting how and where they can be carried. People usually pass these laws themselves because they are tired of armed people making trouble.

The talk had some great details I had not heard before, but it made some broad claims about weapons in daily life and then supported them with evidence which was overwhelmingly from the 16th century. Maybe it was delivered for someone like the Meyer Freifechter folks who are focused on the 16th century, but the sixteenth century is not medieval! Everyone agrees that swords and weapons are much more visible in everyday urban life in 16th century Europe than 14th century Europe, so we can’t just extrapolate back from the 16th century any more than we can extrapolate forwards from those early medieval law codes about every free man having to carry their spear and shield to the assembly.

  • This reply was modified 3 years, 3 months ago by Philologus.
  • This reply was modified 3 years, 3 months ago by Philologus.