Inheritance and Identity in Early Renaissance Florence

Thomas Kuehn

in Society and Individual in Renaissance Florence

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2002 | ISBN: 9780520232549
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520928220 | DOI:
Inheritance and Identity in Early Renaissance Florence

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This chapter illustrates how law and personal identity interacted in Renaissance Florence in the delightfully complicated case of a legitimated bastard who was a murderer and who, with top-notch legal assistance, successfully laid claim to his dead father's estate. It explores the identity forged in the crucible of law from the evidence provided by a single Florentine family from the early fifteenth century. Paliano di Falco possessed wealth sufficient to place him as the twentieth most affluent citizen in the quarter of San Giovanni in 1403. Paliano chose his heirs by legitimacy over gender but also validated his son's attachment to his family and its ancestors. All the legal maneuvers and lawsuits revolving around the estate of Paliano di Falco were about giving economic and moral wherewithal to the family, but here only one of five children could propagate an agnatic line and that with a cloud of illegitimacy over it.

Keywords: inheritance; personal identity; Paliano di Falco; Renaissance Florence; law; estate; wealth; Florentine family

Chapter.  8029 words. 

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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