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View Diary: Must Read in the Times Today (163 comments)

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  •  I am a historian of medieval Venice (5+ / 0-)

    The interpretation of the Serrata is about 40 years out of date. I really don't feel like typing a medieval history essay, but it's been disheartening to see the analogy flitting around the internet today. It's pretty much as bad as the way the right wing claims the Magna Carta is a document about freedom. There's just enough historical truth to be in the ballpark, but it's a C- kind of accuracy at best.

    •  Reasoning by Analogy is always suspect - but... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mightymouse, dkosdan

      That doesn't mean you can't learn from it, or at least start looking in the right direction.

      I suspect you may be taking issue with Freeland for focusing on a restricted and somewhat simplified take on Venetian history. That doesn't mean Freeland doesn't make some valid points. Church politics, struggle with other city-states, even plagues and such are factors. It's a rich and complex period of human history.

      Her commentary is adapted from a larger work; it might be more to the point to critique that, rather than focusing on something adapted to fit the limited space of the Times editorial space.

      "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

      by xaxnar on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 09:35:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Serrata (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        grollen, MGross, protectspice

        It means closing in Italian. And 40 years ago it was thought to have been a closing, a calcification, just as the book authors (not the journalist, who is just a synthesizer looking for data).

        In fact, it seems to have been a moment of opening in a society feeling the pressures of class rigidity. Non-patricians were elevated in to the patrician class and legal guidelines formed to acknowledge the realities of the ground.

        So it's evidence of completely the opposite side of Freeland's thesis. That's the issue and it's the issue in short form or long form. This reading of the Serrata as a closing seems inaccurate according to our best knowledge.

        •  So if I understand what you're saying... (0+ / 0-)

          Entry to the circles of power was NOT blocked after it was formalized?

          Or did they simply create the process to make it official whether or not a person could be considered a "Merchant Prince" - effectively barring the door to those who couldn't make the list past the gate keepers?

          And how does that tie in with eventually ending the investment mechanism?

          Do you have alternate suggestions for the decline of Venice? A link or two wouldn't hurt.

          "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

          by xaxnar on Mon Oct 15, 2012 at 09:46:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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