End of Europe's Middle Ages
Despite her self-ascribed virtue of republicanism and legislative precautions designed to circumvent the rise of desports or oligarchies, Florence was effectively an oligarchy ruled by the leading families of the popolo grasso. Florence's ability to avoid openly despotic control during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries could more aptly be attributed to luck than conscious policy. Headed by the gonfaloniere della guistizia, the "standard-bearer of justice", the Committee of the Priors was responsible for deciding on and enacting all matters of civic justice and administration.
The End of Europe's Middle Ages / Applied History Research Group / University of Calgary
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