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The Wine Porters of Northern Italy and Their Saint, 1200-1800
Indispensable immigrants recreates the world of peasants who streamed into the cities of late-medieval and early modern northern Italy to carry crushingly heavy containers of wine. Written in an easily accessible and unassuming style, it is solidly grounded in previously untapped archival and visual sources. In this first ever reconstruction of the forgotten metier of wine porter, topography plays a key role in forming the labour market; in the scramble to distinguish professionals from manual labourers the term artist gets divorced from lowly artisan, and wretched diet is invoked to explain why workers are so unintelligent; the wine porters make one of their own their patron saint in thirteenth-century Cremona and other interest groups scheme successfully to get him canonised in Rome five centuries later; and when enlightened despots abolish the guilds, the wine porters' trade fades away just as the candles on their patron's altars sputter and die out. -- .
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What Reviewers Are Saying
'The book is a sheer delight, perfect for leisure reading by all historians no matter their chronological or geographic specialization, a testament to the joys of what we do.' - Rudolph M. Bell, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, Journal of Social History June 2016
'It is a welcome contribution to his already-renowned scholarship and a tribute to a little-known Italian medieval saint. As a consequence the book itself will be indispensable to medieval and early modern scholars who work on Italy, saints, cults, the papacy, lay piety, and town life.'
Janine Larmon Peterson, Marist College, The Medieval Review, 2016 -- .