View Full Version : Life in High Medieval Genoa

08-31-2012, 06:29 PM
Hey everyone. I'm working on a new WIP, and decided for a change of pace for the setting; instead of low medieval, I've decided to do late Medieval/early Renaissance (1450s-1550s). It's set in a low-magic fantasy world, and firearms are becoming more prominent/common.

The main location the story takes place in is a large port city, the 'city' of a prominent and powerful city-state. I'm trying to model it after Genoa, Venice, and Constantinople/Istanbul. I've done some research on what life was like in them, but any additional help would be awesome.


08-31-2012, 06:51 PM
It would help if you specified what sort of help - dress, food, housing, travel, society and how it was organized, illnesses, religion - so many different aspects.

Venice - best book on it is (imo) A History of Venice by John Julian Norwich. http://www.amazon.co.uk/History-Venice-John-Julius-Norwich/dp/0141013834/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1346424641&sr=8-1-fkmr1

08-31-2012, 08:10 PM
1450 to 1550 is not considered medieval...

08-31-2012, 09:29 PM
1450s-1550s is the height of the Renaissance - it's considered "early modern," not medieval. There's a vast literature on all sorts of relevant topics for the period & places you mention. People will probably be able to give you better tips if you narrow your question.

BTW -- Firearms are not "becoming more prominent/common" in this period - they *are* prominent/common, and they are a decisive component of wars throughout this period. (A major contributing factor to the Turkish seizure of Constantinople, frex, was their superior artillery, which vastly outclassed the defenders. Cannons gave attackers a tremendous advantage when laying siege to old-fashioned fortifications, which were high rather than thick -- after 1500 the defense caught up with a whole new style of fortification that was deep rather than tall, called the "trace Italienne." Very expensive to build & maintain, so contributed to the concentration of power in the hands of centralized states. Recommended reading: Siege Warfare (vol. 1) by Christopher Duffy.)

08-31-2012, 09:41 PM
It would help if you specified what sort of help - dress, food, housing, travel, society and how it was organized, illnesses, religion - so many different aspects.

Ack, apologies for the vagueness of my question (and the screw-up of the eras). I'm mainly interested in what everyday life was like; what people did in the city, where/how they lived, and the way women were treated. I'd also like to know more about the urban nobility and economy; there's going to be a bit of noble intrigue.

benbenberi: Thank you for your clarification on firearms. To clarify, I'd want firearms to begin to replace other missile weapons/revolutionize warfare; the days of the knight are fading, ect ect.

08-31-2012, 10:02 PM
A little Google-fu brings up this 1998 article: City Ritual as a Key to Interpreting Renaissance Genoa (http://www.scribd.com/doc/38033573/City-Ritual-as-a-Key-to-Interpreting-Renaissance-Genoa). The article itself is a bit dense, but the references in the notes may point you to some useful sources.

There's a survey that might have useful info & references: Daily Life in Renaissance Italy by Elizabeth S. Cohen & Thomas V. Cohen (Greenwood Press, 1991). There's a partial preview of it on Google Books (http://books.google.com/books?id=I1y-evYSu74C&), so you can check & see if it's something you might be interested in getting hold of.