Ars Bellica


Between the thirteenth and sixteenth century, Europe experienced one of the most profound transformations in its history: the construction processes of state structures that were consolidating and renovate the administrative network of the territory, resulting in some cases in building strong national monarchies, in a sort of "modern-era way". All this engraved on the relations of political domination with the society: the strengthening of the central government often corresponded to a diversification of the means of government, the development of peripheral institutions that articulated as intermediate bodies capable to transmitting the directives of the center, control the law execution and implementation and to control firmly the populations.
The costs relating to the operation of this complex system of government, the expenses of the court and any type of war caused a dramatic increase of taxes: the increase of the tax burden, constituted one of the most obvious of late medieval political domination. Another essential character of this latter, especially in France, Spain and England, consists in the importance assumed by the representative assemblies of the social classes, who had the task to approve the extraordinary taxes (subsidies) required by the king. At the beginning of the fourteenth century these assemblies touched their apogee in every part of Europe, but then saw diminish their political clout.
The counterpoint to these changes and the proof of the fact that Europe moved away from the political horizons characteristic of the central Middle Ages, was given by the collapse of imperial power following the death of Emperor Frederick II (1250). For centuries, especially in Italy, the empire was no longer able to work out as a stable and effective resource for territorial-political coordination: now it was shaped more like a force, essentially German, among other things, that hardly constitutes the pin of a real political coordination of the numerous German principalities. Indeed, even within the empire occurred territorial aggregation processes, mostly for the benefit of the greatest military dynasties, resulting in spatial extremely varied and articulated. From one of these processes, but not without hard struggle with the surrounding principalities, it developed between the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries, the Swiss Confederation: a politically original formation, respected for the wise use of their infantry, but very weakly oriented towards a political unit structure.



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