A history of Verona, by A. M. Allen. Edited by Edward Armstrong, with twenty illustrations and three maps. Page: 30 of 493
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THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE SELF-GOVERNING COMMUNE
T HE origin of the mediaeval Italian Communes has been the
subject of much controversy. The older view that they
were developed from the survivals of the Roman municipality
is now no longer tenable,1 attractive though it was, and supported
by the use of the titles Potestas and Consul for the
earliest magistrates of the new communities, and by the recurrence
of such terms as Senatus, Praetor, Plebs, etc., in the works
of writers who were influenced by the dawn of the classical
revival. The theory which regarded the Communes as the
continuation of the Carolingian institutions has also been disproved.
Recent research tends rather to show that they were
developed originally out of the consorterie (groups of families
formed to cultivate land held in common) and that their subsequent
growth was largely due to their gradual acquisition of the
functions of the Imperial officials, the Counts, Viscounts, etc.,
and of the temporal powers of the bishops, which had risen to
such heights during the tenth and eleventh centuries. Doubtless
other circumstances helped on the expansion of the new
communities. The walls that were built to repel the invasions
of the Hungarians and other barbarians at the end of the ninth
century, had already restored to the cities much of their former
supremacy over the surrounding country. This was increased
later by the growth of their commerce and the decay of feudalism.
The probability is that the rise of the Communes was
owing directly or indirectly to these and many other causes,
some of which would act in one case, some in another. Still
1A. Fertile (Storia del Diritto Italiano, vol. i. pp. 104-7) has shown that the
Roman municipality had died out all over Italy by the eighth century, and much
earlier in the regions ruled by the Lombarda.
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Allen, A. M. A history of Verona, by A. M. Allen. Edited by Edward Armstrong, with twenty illustrations and three maps., book, 1910; New York. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1025/m1/30/: accessed November 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .