Description: The Renaissance Florentine Captain of the People began as a court, which defended the common people or popolo from the magnates and tried crimes such as assault, murder and fraud. This study reveals how factionalism, economic stress and the rise of citizen magistrate courts eroded the jurisdiction and ended the Court of the Captain. The creation of the Captain in 1250 occurred during the external fight for dominance between the Holy Roman Emperor and the Pope and the struggle between the Guelfs and Ghibellines within the city of Florence. The rise of the Ciompi in 1379, worried the Florentine aristocracy who believed the Ciompi was a threat to their power and they created the Otto di Guardia, a citizen magistrate court. This court began as a way to manage gaps in jurisdiction not covered by the Captain and his fellow rectors. However, by 1433 the Otto eroded the power of the Captain and his fellow rectors. Historians have argued that the Roman law jurists in this period became the tool for the aristocracy but in fact, the citizen magistrate courts acted as a source of power for the aristocracy. In the 1430s, the Albizzi and Medici fought for power. The Albizzi utilized a government mandate, which had the case already carried out or a bullectini to exile Medici adherents. However, by 1433, the Medici triumphed and Cosimo de Medici returned to the city of Florence. He expanded the power of the Otto in order to utilize the bullectini to exile his enemies. The expansion of jurisdiction of the Otto further eroded the power of the Captain. Factionalism, economic stress and the rise of the citizen magistrate courts eroded the power of the Captain of the people.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Hamilton, Desirae