Barons and Castellans

The Military Nobility of Renaissance Italy


The military nobility – "signori di castelli", lords of castles – formed an important component of the society of Renaissance Italy, although they have often been disregarded by historians, or treated as an anomaly. In Barons and Castellans: The Military Nobility of Renaissance Italy, Christine Shaw provides the first comparative study of “lords of castles”, great and small, throughout Italy, examining their military and political significance, and how their roles changed during the Italian Wars. Her main focus is on their military resources and how they deployed them in public and private wars, in pursuit of their own interests and in the service of others, and on how their military weight affected their political standing and influence.
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Biographical Note

Christine Shaw is an Associate Member of the Faculty of History, University of Oxford. Among her many publications on Renaissance Italy are Popular Government and Oligarchy in Renaissance Italy (Brill, 2006), and (with Michael Mallett), The Italian Wars 1494-1559 (2012).

Table of contents


Chapter 1 Barons and castellans in the mid-fifteenth century

Chapter 2 Lands and fortresses

Chapter 3 Barons in the city

Chapter 4 Honour, faction and private wars

Chapter 5 A life in arms

Chapter 6 Allegiance and rebellion I: the fifteenth century

Chapter 7 Allegiance and rebellion II: the Italian Wars


Abbreviations and Bibliography


Those interested in the military and political history of Renaissance Italy, in the nobility of fifteenth and sixteenth century Europe, and in military history.

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