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Professor Katherine Jansen, Catholic University of America

Medieval Italian communes are known for their violence, feuds, and vendettas, yet beneath this tumult was a society preoccupied with peace. Focusing on Florence in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, an era known for violence and civil discord, this lecture will look at how religious and political leaders used peace agreements for everything from bringing an end to neighbourhood quarrels to restoring full citizenship to judicial exiles. Drawing upon evidence from notarial archives, sermons, hagiography, political treatises, chronicle accounts and images, it will explore aspects of life in an Italian commune, a socially and politically unstable world that strove to achieve peace.   

Katherine Ludwig Jansen is professor of history at the Catholic University of America. Her books include the award-winning The Making of the Magdalen: Preaching and Popular Devotion in the Later Middle Ages (Princeton).     

This event is part of the Director’s Seminar Series, which brings leading scholars to the Institute to share new research and fresh perspectives on the key issues in their fields. Lectures are followed by a reception. Free and open to the public.