Published online by Cambridge University Press: 20 November 2018
In 1542, Florence's Duke Cosimo I established a magistracy to supervise territorial hospitab and consolidate poor relief. Tense relations between the magistracy and these hospitab demonstrate the barriers to bureaucratic centralization in the sixteenth-century state, and underscore the fact that the shift from traditional charity to ‘new philanthropy’ was as much geographical and cultural as temporal. Tensions between the magistracy and successive Medici Dukes also demonstrate how in negotiations between bureaucrats and local communities territorial rulers could play both sides to advance their personal authority, and could learn from the difficulties of one magistracy how better to design another.
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