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Lust for Liberty

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Expanding on his study of popular revolt in the Florentine Republic, Cohn examines the ways in which common people expressed their political will in medieval Europe—the surprisingly rare bread riots, angry apprentices against the guilds, French peasants fending off the 100 Years' War by Jacquerie, anti-clerical outrages (as when a cardinal washed his lapdog in the communal fountain), support of a scorned female ruler (Joanna II of Naples against her foreign husband) and the larger events like the Sicilian Vespers, Ciompi Revolt and the English Peasant Rebellion.Cohn explains his methods of teasing out the accounts of largely illiterate and suppressed people, especially the presence of women and the aims of the rebels as recorded by their (usually) victorious enemies.Strikingly, this shows that medieval peasants were not especially satisfied with their status and continually acted against authority, although they lacked the communications, coordination and force to make it stick.
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